Is It Brunch? Or Dunch?

It would be really easy for me to give you the polite, for-company explanation; “Petey worked 7P-7A for so many years, it reset our circadian rhythms.

But, despite the fact that it may pinch, or embarrass, or make me sad, I always endeavor to tell you, Gentle Reader, the truth.  So, here’s the dog-honest truth.From the day I was born (in the late afternoon, I might add), mornings and I have had a sincerely adversarial relationship.  1AM is the shank of the evening, and my morning does not comfortably start until at least 12-1PM.

Growing up, it drove my folks around the bend trying to get me out of bed for school.  When The Kid was in school I bemoaned the absolute lack of night school for second-graders.It’s just how I’m built.  I worked 7A-3P in a hospital lab for a year.  People told me that after a while, I’d get used to it and become a morning person.  I hated and dreaded every single day of it.

Every.Single.Day.Luckily, Petey has a matching loose screw.  We actually take turns getting up early (for us); first with our child, and now with our dog.

And, I usually eat a little something upon rising.  But, I’m not sure what to call it.

By the time I get up, walk the dog, take care of a few things, I sit down with a light meal somewhere north of 2PM.  So, is it breakfast? Brunch? Lunch? Is it dunch (dinner/lunch)?Breakfast for dinner, though, I have no problem naming.  Heck, I love breakfast for dinner so much, I’d happily call it Fred.

Fred’s a wonderful meal.  It’s easy to cook; because every item’s normally one cooking technique.  And there’s a lot of stove-top cooking, which keeps you close so that you’re forced to keep an eye on things. So, here are a few tips and methods that will make your breakfast for dinner a treat, and not a penance.

1.) For scrambled eggs; use a blender so there’s no weird white stuff.  Use a tablespoon of butter for every two eggs.  Season the eggs right after they go in the pan.  Stir constantly, cook quickly, and keep them a little wetter than you want to eat them, as they’ll continue to cook on the plate.2.) Hash browns; melt butter in a skillet, then toss shredded potatoes and onions in butter to coat.  Cook in a flat cake, flip when browned, and cook on the other side.  At a stove-top setting of 3.5-4, they should take about 15-20 minutes to cook.

3.) If you have some not-so-fresh biscuits or scones, melt butter in a pan, place in biscuits, cover, lower temp to 3 or so, and cook for just a couple minutes.  This will heat it through and crisp one side.  Remove cover, add more butter to pan, then flip and crisp on the other side.4.) If you take nothing else from this epistle, clean up as you go along.  Breakfast can make a mess of your kitchen.  Keep your counters cleared and wiped.  Throw food waste in the compost or trash can right away, not the sink—that stops the quick rinsing and washing up that will save your sanity. Get your prep work done and cleaned up before cooking anything.  Set your table and have beverages and condiments ready.  If you use a dishwasher, have it empty and ready to receive the oncoming storm.So, call it breakfast for dinner, call it Fred, call it Agent Colson, just don’t forget to call me when it’s on the menu.

Thanks for your time.

Cracking a Few Eggs

Anne Burrell is kind of a big deal at Food Network.

On Iron Chef America she acted as Mario Batali’s soux chef (second in command) for each battle in which he competed.  She serves as an almost unbeatable coach on the show, “Worst Cooks in America”; both civilian and celebrity versions.  She’s competed on All-Star episodes of Chopped, and again, almost always wins.

She’s a culinary expert with proof to back it up.But as a baker, she has really blond hair.  And, as a baker, she loves spending time in upstate New York with her family.  And, as a baker, Chef Burrell studied cooking in Italy.  All this witty bush beating is my way of saying that her baking muscles are either undeveloped or atrophied.

For some reason, though, Chef Anne decided on one episode of Worst Cooks to have the contestants bake a cake.Remember, these contestants are folks who show up and make their signature dish of mole marinara spaghetti studded with peanut M&M’s or matzo ball gummy bear gazpacho.  They believe that eggplants are some sort of purple bird egg and corned beef is both a meat (beef) and a vegetable (corn).

Shockingly, the recruits possess no baking skills or experience.When it’s all said and done, baking is science.  It’s chemistry.  If you can read, follow directions and learn a few terms and techniques, you can be a successful baker.  You may not be an inspired pastry chef, but you can turn out after school treats, bake sale cupcakes, and pie for Thanksgiving dinner without blowing anything up or killing anybody.My English teacher, Mrs. Flood told me something that I’ve come to believe is true in most endeavors: first you have to learn the rules, then and only then can you bend and/or break them.  She was talking grammar, but it applies to baking.  Thus, when teaching novices, it’s imperative that they are taught best practices.

But Chef Burrell, unfortunately, didn’t.

While she was demonstrating making cake batter, she had to add eggs.  And so she cracked them one after another on the edge of the mixer bowl.  She then dumped them right into that bowl.I let out an involuntary shriek and got angry on behalf of all the attentive students, both on the show, and at home watching.

First, you never crack eggs against an edge.  That can drive tiny, invisible bits of shell into the contents.  You may never even know they’re in there—unless of course those bits contain a few thousand microbes of some seriously sick-making variety.  Then you will, I promise, know something has gone severely awry.Secondly, you never dump egg from shell straight to bowl.  An eggshell shard that has escaped along with the egg will be impossible to find and remove amongst the other contents.  Nothing quells my appetite faster than eating an egg dish and feeling that crunch of doom as you bite down on an errant shell. And what if something is wrong with the egg?  Do you want a bunch of blood in your white cake?  Or what if it’s rotten?  Yuck.  You’ve just wasted every other ingredient that made it into your bowl before the eggs.  And what if you don’t have enough on hand to recreate the recipe?  You have to run to the store or abandon the project.So, the grasshopper must be taught diligently, paying strict attention to proper procedure.  Then when the educated cook chooses to cut corners, they take an informed risk.  And if/when it gets screwed up, then I know I have only myself to blame.

Thanks for your time.

A Tale of Two Chefs

The Elizabeth City Boys’ Club, circa a million years ago.

One day, a nine-year-old Petey was hanging out at the Boys’ Club in Elizabeth City and met a kid named Chrissie.  He didn’t know it at the time, but they lived right across the street from each other.

They immediately became best friends, forever after.

One day, a nine-year-old me was playing at a new friend’s house in Puerto Rico and met the older brother, a teenager named Chrissie.

We immediately hated each other, fortunately, not forever after.

Puerto Rico, circa half million years ago.

It took 16 years, but we’re now as close as family.  He’s also a professional chef who is my walking, talking kitchen reference and culinary sensei.

One night when we were on the phone talking about food, and I was listing all the stuff I don’t like.  He listened quietly for a few minutes, then asked me a question.“Debbie, where did you try this?  Unless it’s been well-prepared, by somebody who knows what they’re doing, you can’t know if you like it or not.  So, knock it off.”

Oh, Chef Chrissie.  I can’t get away with anything with him.

But (and I hate to have to admit he’s right—about anything), he’s right.  And it’s brought home to me over and over again.  The most recent lesson was only a couple weeks ago.

Chef Trey Bell

Chef Trey at Euphoria.

The Kid and I went to Greensboro to check out the restaurant and new bar owned by Chef Trey Bell, one of the participating chefs of the South Carolina food fest, Euphoria.

Our first stop was his sophisticated watering hole downtown, Rue-Bar.  The space was art deco, and the bar manager Greg was laid back and welcoming.

Greg at Rue-Bar.

After a couple of really delicious and interesting cocktails, we headed to Chef Bell’s eatery, LaRue Elm.

The Kid and I were intensely honored to be diners at the restaurant’s very first chef’s table.  This is a table set up in the kitchen to watch the food being prepared and talk with the chefs.  It was only the four of us, Chef Trey and his Chef de Cuisine Kevin Cottrell, The Kid, and me.

We asked them to choose our menu.  The very first course was proof of Chef Chrissie’s philosophy: braised, marinated octopus tentacle.  My child was thrilled.  I was nervous. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut I liked it.  It was cooked perfectly.  And the flavor was pleasant, and not fishy in the slightest.

There were two other fish courses and two desserts that almost made me weep with joy (popcorn ice cream on a bed of brown butter powder and maple-bourbon crème brule).

My very favorite course of the meal was seemingly simple but in reality, risky.  Many chefs agree that the true test of a chef is how he handles that most basic of foods; the egg.  Chef Bell’s egg got whatever grade is better than an A+.

It was a perfectly soft-boiled egg yolk, returned to the shell, then topped with savory whipped cream flavored with malt vinegar and maple.  I could’ve eaten a carton of those eggs.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd you can make the cream yourself.  Flavor it however you want, and beat it to soft tender peaks.  Serve it on fish, chicken, veggies, or if you want me to move in with you, soft-boiled eggs.  I’m serious; please give this stuff a try.

This stuff is so simple but delicious and unexpected.  My mission is to preach the gospel of savory whipped cream.  I will travel the world with cow, sea salt, and whisk.

Tentacles that I enjoyed, and life-changing, perfectly cooked eggs.

I think Chef Chrissie would definitely approve.  I sure do.

NOT Chef Chrissie, but there are similarities….

Thanks for your time.

 

Ghosting your machines

There’s this new relationship term—ghosting.

It’s a no fuss, no muss way to break up with someone.  One simply disappears.  They stop calling, texting, smoke signaling.

And you’re probably doing it right now, as you read this.

I’m not talking about your love life.  I’m talking about all those machines in the cabinets, and pantry, and that closet where stuff goes to die.  Those gadgets that you thought you couldn’t live without (but did).

A couple weeks ago, while perusing the interweb, I stumbled upon a recipe that intrigued me.  It was gluten-free biscuits.So, here’s the thing; for various reasons, I am extremely skeptical about the whole gluten-free, celiac thing.

1.)Gluten-free products.  Gluten’s job in food is to make it stretchier so it can rise, and not having it makes the food dense.  There’s a reason gluten is present, so when it’s not, you notice.

2.)Gluten-free people.  There are two kinds of people; those with celiac, and those without.  Unfortunately, there are lots of people who don’t have it that are absolutely convinced that they do.  In truth, only 1% of the population has doctor-diagnosed celiac disease.

3.)Cauliflower abuse.  Ever since gluten and celiac became part of popular lexicon, poor old cauliflower has been abused.  It’s mashed “potatoes”, pizza crust, even (sadly) brownies.

caulicrap

This is all made with cauliflower.  And I’d have to be mighty hungry…

Because of this, when I saw the recipe from Cooking Light magazine, it was a minor miracle that I even read it.  But I did read it, and decided it sounded so tasty that I would make it.  And I used three kitchen gadget and appliances.

But I can’t call it a biscuit, ‘cause it’s not.  It’s actually a soufflé.  A soufflé that tastes really good at only 25 calories each.

Cauliflower Soufflé Cupscauli souffle4 cups steamed, fresh cauliflower

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded

¼ cup grated Parmesan

2 eggs

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place cauliflower into food processor along with garlic and whole eggs.  Blend until smooth.  Add yogurt, salt and pepper.  Mix until smooth and creamy.

While blending cauliflower, put egg whites into mixer with whisk attachment.  Mix on high until stiff peaks form.

Pour cauliflower mixture in large bowl and stir in cheeses.  Stir in one spoonful of beaten whites to lighten the mix.  Then gently fold in the rest of the whites.

Spray a mini-muffin tin with cooking spray.  Put a heaping spoonful into each cup.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until top is browned and edges are caramelized.  Let sit ten minutes before removing from pan.  Makes 24 mini soufflé cups.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo get in there and break out some neglected kitchen toys.  You’ll remember why you thought they were such a great idea in the first place.

But some stuff you just gotta have.  I’m going to Amazon and ordering a paper towel holder that charges electronics, and a carrot sharpener.  I’m positive I’ll use them all the time.Thanks for your time.

Salad ‘daise

No matter where, or when, if I’m eating out and there are Eggs Benedict on the menu, I order it.  And I always ask for extra Hollandaise.

When I am lucky enough to have potato salad on my plate, I eat everything else then slowly, savoring each bite, consume my potato salad.What do these facts say about me?

  • That if I can see the finish line and the wait isn’t too long, I enjoy a small amount of not-too-delayed gratification.
  • I’m a big fan of silky, well-made emulsification.

This is the fifth and final week of our mother sauce series.  We are wrapping up with my very favorite, Hollandaise.  And although some people might disagree, The Kid and I firmly believe that because of the emulsification in the making of it, mayonnaise belongs in this category as a sort of step-daughterThe info on this sauce is all over the place.  It was either invented in the 1600’s or maybe the 1700’s.  Hollandaise is named for the region in Netherlands, either because it was invented there, or because Holland has the best eggs and butter, which are the two main ingredients.

Traditionally, Hollandaise sauce is not the easiest of mothers.  It involves a double-boiler and whisking raw eggs over heat while retaining the smooth silky texture.  There are few tragedies as heart-rending as the sight of curdled or separated Hollandaise.

So just don’t make it at home, right?

Wrong.Long ago, my mom belonged to a book club.  Not the kind where you sit around in somebody’s living room drinking pinot and discussing the latest Oprah pick.  Books came in the mail.

One month it was a cookbook; The New York Times International Cookbook by Craig Claiborne.  Years later, Mom gave it to me.  I had no idea that the author was considered one of this country’s all-time best food writers.  I also didn’t have a clue that one day I would be a food writer myself.  But, as an extreme novice in the kitchen, I took help and inspiration wherever I found it.

One day while perusing said cookbook, I stumbled upon a recipe for Hollandaise that to me, looked pretty doable.  Instead of the usual procedure that came with a huge possibility of inedible failure, it was made in a blender.

Craig Claiborne’s Blender Hollandaiseblender hollandaiseMakes 4 servings.

Heat one-half cup butter to bubbling; do not brown.  Into container of an electric blender, put two egg yolks, two tablespoons lemon juice, one-quarter teaspoon salt and a pinch of cayenne.  Flick motor quickly on and off twice at high speed.  Remove cover, turn motor on high and add butter gradually, until mixture thickens.  If too thick, add cold water.  Serve with vegetables, fish or eggs.

So it looks like you’ve got raw egg yolks in the sauce.  And if you are a child, pregnant, or have a compromised immune system, just steer clear.

But.

To get the butter nice and bubbly, shoot for 200 degrees (F).  An egg yolk is considered cooked enough to be safe at 145.  The hot butter and the friction from blending should put the yolks clearly in the “safe” category.Like Craig says, the sauce goes great on veggies, fish, and eggs.  But I love it on fried, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and it’s crazy good on any type of pasta.

If you’re like me though, it doesn’t have to be all fancy-fied.  Forget the vessel on which to put it.  Just chug it right out of the blender.Thanks for your time.

Apostate Pasta

So a couple weeks ago a French website posted a recipe for carbonara and all of Italy lost their collective mind.

France, why do you want to piss this guy off?

The procedure called for the whole thing to be boiled altogether in one pot.  And while I’m a fan of the odd one-pot pasta, carbonara should not be trifled with in such a manner.

Boiled pancetta?  Really?

The classic recipe is extremely simple with just four ingredients: spaghetti, pancetta, eggs, and Parmesan cheese.

But simple, especially in the case of carbonara, absolutely does not mean easy.  It’s far easier to botch it and end up with a greasy congealed tangle of noodles that look more like a punishment than dinner.

As appetizing as a letter from the IRS.

What can go wrong: Over, or undercook the spaghetti.  You can burn, or conversely fail to render the pancetta and have limp, fatty pork.  And the most problematic of all are the eggs.  If the heat is too high, or you don’t stir briskly enough, you get scrambled eggs.  And if you do stir with enough vigor it’s possible to not have the now broken pasta hot enough to cook the eggs.

It is a dance that’s potentially dangerous enough to strike fear in the heart of the very finest dancing “celebrity”.

But done right?  Done right it’s a song sung by Freddy Mercury or Billie Holiday.  It’s a landscape by Ansel Adams, a shoe by Louboutin, a dress by Coco Chanel all rolled up into one creamy, unctuous, heart-breakingly delicious bowl of pasta.

See how that sauce clings like a bad boyfriend?  That’s what I’m talking about.

My advice from the trenches is to have every bit of your prep done before you turn on burner one.  If you’re not ready every step of the way, the whole thing will get away from you, and that way lies madness and scrambled disappointment.  Take your time—be the master of your culinary domain, and don’t let the food dictate your actions and state of mind.  You have to commit; you’re cooking something that’s a little advanced; don’t be tentative.

Attitude is half the battle.

My recipe has a healthy serving of attitude.  I had some beautiful fresh angel hair pasta and decided that it really needed to be used for carbonara.  But I had bacon, and not pancetta.  I was also very low on Parmesan, but had a nice big piece of aged Manchego, which is very hard and dry like Parm.

So I made an executive decision.  But purists might take issue with it.

Blasphemous Carbonara

carbonara

9 ounces long pasta

4 or 5 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch strips

3 extra large eggs or 3 large + 1 large yolk

1/4 cup Manchego cheese, grated fine, plus more for garnishing

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup pasta water, reserved

Place eggs and cheese into bowl, season, and whisk until well-mixed.

In a large pot, cook pasta until al dente in heavily salted water.

In a separate large pan, render bacon.  Remove and set aside.  Pour off bacon fat until 2 tablespoons are left.  Turn pan down to low.

Remove cooked pasta from pot with tongs, reserving water. Place directly into pot with bacon fat.  Toss until well-coated.

Take pot off heat and slowly pour in egg mixture while constantly, vigorously, stirring pasta.  When it’s all added, continue stirring until egg mixture is heated and emulsified.  Briefly place pot back over a low burner if more heat is needed to thicken (sauce should be the consistency of heavy cream).  If it just looks like raw beaten eggs, it needs more gentle heat.  If it seems a little tight, add in abit of pasta water.

Place into two bowls and garnish with the bacon and more cheese.

Serves 2.

If the idea of this pasta dish appeals to you, I really hope you try making it.

And it’s entirely possible that you’ll screw it up the first time.  It’s probably wise to have a dinner backup plan that night, just in case.

But I’m telling you, getting this right has a huge payoff.

Not only do you get to enjoy what is arguably one of Italy’s finest gifts to mankind (even taking into account Ancient Rome and the Renaissance), you’ll have the thrill of being the kitchen swashbuckler who had the chops to put this ambrosia on the table.  You are fierce.

 

Fierce, I tells ya.

Thanks for your time.

Hey jalousie

Jalousie is a French word, meaning louvers.  It’s also the technical name of this week’s dish.

But I have given it an American twist, used my writer’s prerogative, and renamed it.

This new recipe is now called “Saloon Doors”.

I learn the oddest and most arcane things writing these essays each week.  I should rent myself out for trivia games.  For today’s topic I did a little research on those swinging louvered doors festooning saloon entrances in Western movies.

And discovered they’re pretty much a Hollywood invention.

Think about it, having half doors swinging in the wind would have been a horrible idea for someplace like Montana in January.  And using those doors would have left no manner of securing the saloon when closed—which it did for at least a few hours every day (Miss Kitty needs her sleep, y’all).

But they make for very dramatic entrances of black-hatted villains and white-hatted heroes into the saloon and thus Tinsel Town has implanted them irrevocably into our collective psyche.

Anyway, back to my own, edible, clichéd, saloon doors.  The recipe calls for puff pastry, manipulated, stuffed and baked.  So once you know the procedure, you can fill it to your taste and occasion.  As a jumping-off place I’ll give you four ideas for filling; breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.  Where you go from there is up to you.

This recipe is made with frozen puff pastry, found in most supermarkets, and made by layering dough with butter, rolling, and refolding, countless times.  This gives it up to a thousand layers.  The water in the butter evaporates while baking.  This produces steam which gives the puff.

I offer a few pieces of advice.  Try to purchase all-butter pastry; it tastes and cooks better.  Let it thaw overnight in the fridge, or if not possible, on the counter until it can be unfolded and worked.  If you seal the edges, you will not get left.  So don’t get egg wash on them; it’ll glue them shut.  When cutting; cut, don’t press.  When sealing the two pieces, be gentle.  Egg wash, then cut the slats, so the steam can escape.

Saloon doors

(Makes 2 complete pastries)

2 sheets puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 425.

Cut each sheet in half.  Lay out two pieces on parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Spread filling on each, leaving a ¾ inch border.  Brush beaten egg on naked border.  Fill. Top each piece with the other sheet.  Lightly press border to seal.  Brush egg on top layer.  Leaving ¾ inch border, cut 1-inch horizontal slats down the length of each piece.

Bake at 425 until the pastry begins to brown and puff.  Lower oven to 375 and bake until dough is dry, crisp and deep golden-brown.

Slice and serve.  Makes 4-6 servings.

Breakfast Filling:

breakfast door

Scramble 10 eggs.  Season.  Cook 6 slices bacon until crisp. Spread eggs onto bottom sheets of pastry, leaving ¾ inch border.  Sprinkle on crumbled bacon and chopped fresh parsley.  Top with pinched off pieces of goat or Boursin cheese.  Cover with second piece, brush with egg wash, and cut slats, leaving border.

Bake according to directions above.

Lunch:

lunch door

Sauté leeks and mushrooms until browned and dry.  Spread on pastry.  Sprinkle on julienned prosciutto.  Using a potato peeler, scrape ribbons of Parmesan cheese over top.  Lay on top pastry, prepare, and bake.

Dinner:

dinner door

Spread thin layer of pesto on bottom of sheets.  Cover with shredded rotisserie chicken.  Dot with sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese bits.  Finish and bake.

Dessert:

dessert door

Spread half of a jar of black cherry preserves on each sheet.  Cut one 8-ounce block of cream cheese into small squares.  Top preserves with cream cheese, and dot with toasted, chopped pecans.   Cover, finish, and bake.  Sprinkle cooled tart with powdered sugar, and serve with whipped cream, or ice cream.

These are easy, but look impressive.  If you often have unexpected guests, it’s not a bad idea to keep a box of puff pastry in your freezer.  You could fill them with anything that you have on hand.  And when you carry out one of these puppies they’ll be so fancy looking, you’ll make Martha Stewart look like a slacker.

Thanks for your time.

Fee day-o come and I want to eat some

In my daydreams, I’m glamorous and alluring.  Late at night, after an exclusive party, my driver brings me home to my large tastefully-decorated apartment in a luxury building in Art Deco City.

There, still attired in slinky velvet and expensive shoes, I whip up an intimate late supper for my gentleman friend Cary Grant and myself.

This may look like Greta Garbo, but it’s me I tells ya!

In the real world though, money can be tight, and Petey and I need some grub to fill our bellies.  So I still make dinner for two but clothed in a sweat suit and my fuzzy Wigwam socks.

But in both realities, it’s the same dish; a fideo (fid-ay-oh) frittata.  It’s an Italian open-faced omelet.  They’re usually studded with potatoes.  This one isn’t.  This one’s flecked with fideo.

Fideo is the Spanish word for noodle.  This variety is about 2 inches long, and the width of angel hair pasta.  The La Moderna brand is widely available in the Latin section of most grocery stores.  It’s also usually very cheap—like 2 or 3 bags for a dollar cheap.It’s traditionally used in a Mexican soup.  The fideo cooking process though, is not the normal noodle soup method of just tossing it raw into pot of soup.  The secret is in the toasting.

Oil is added to a skillet, and the fideo is gently tossed until brown and nutty.  In my frittata, after rendering the bacon, I pour out all the fat, but don’t wipe the pan, and what little bit of bacon grease left is what I use.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Toasted fideo–it’s worth the effort in the finished product.

It’s the height of folly to employ neglect or abandonment during the toasting portion of the program.  It only takes 5-7 minutes, and even I; impatience incarnate, can manage that.

Getting all your fillings cooked off and out of the way will make the assembly and cooking a breeze whether you’re just in from a late night, or it’s simply time for dinner.   I make my fillings early in the day and stash ‘em in the fridge until it’s time to cook.  You can even do them the day before.  Then in less than 15 minutes you could be sitting down to a meal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tossing and coating.

This frittata can be eaten with toast and a fruit salad for breakfast, or some mixed greens, crusty bread, and a glass of dry white for supper.  The other night I served it with some herb-roasted grape tomatoes (and glasses of sun tea).

Fideo Frittata

3 cups broccoli, cut into small florets and blanched until just tender

1/2 small onion, chopped

2 cups mushrooms sliced

2 tablespoons sliced sun-dried tomatoes in oil

2 slices bacon

3/4 cups raw fideo

2 cups chicken stock

6 eggs, well-beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper

1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, cubed or coarsely shredded

3/4 cup Marsala

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper

Cut bacon into 1/2 inch strips, and cook until brown and crispy in heat-proof non-stick skillet.  Remove and place on paper towels.  Discard oil, but don’t wipe out pan.

Put fideo in same pan, and stirring constantly, sauté until pasta has turned amber.  Pour chicken stock into skillet and cook pasta until tender, about 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

In same skillet, add olive oil, and cook mushrooms and onions until the edges have begun to crisp and caramelize.  Deglaze pan with Marsala and cook until the liquid has cooked out.

 At this point, you can stop, store everything, and finish later.

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat pan, and melt butter.  Add all the veggies and fideo and toss to coat.  Pour in egg, jiggling so it’s evenly distributed.  Scatter mozzarella and bacon over the top.  Cook for a couple of minutes, ’til bottom is set.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After assembly, before the oven.

Place in oven and cook for 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven when middle is just set (check by cutting small slit in center), cheese is melted, and bacon has begun to sizzle.  Don’t let it get brown.

Slice and serve.  Serves 2- 4.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dinner elegante!

When sliced and plated with a crispy, bright salad, my fideo frittata looks pretty fancy (even though in my real life the closest I get to sophistication is watching BBC America while wearing pants).

Thanks for your time.