Return to the 1980s with me as I cook my way through a childhood recipe collection. Do Stuffed Beefaroni Peppers still taste as delicious today as they did 20 years ago? What exactly is Rainbow in a Cloud? And why do all these cake recipes feature mayonnaise? No matter when you came of age, you're bound to find laughs, dining disasters, and hopefully, a few new -- and timeless -- additions to your table.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Fresh Vegetable Frittata
“You’re bringin’ home flowers, and a bottle of chablis/You
forgot I don’t drink wine, I know that bottle’s not for me.” -- Reba McEntire, “Take it Back”
Any recipe that allows me to quote one of the great Reba
McEntire’s classic “he done me wrong” songs is a winner in my (cook) book. And
indeed, you can count that song as the unofficial anthem to this Fresh
Vegetable Frittata, seeing as a key ingredient is ¼ cup of the good stuff.
I used to thrill to the very sophisticated notion of brunch
– a repast worthy of its own name and subcategory of meal-straddling foods. Brunch
was never “done” in my house until I was at least a teenager, and then we were
firmly in the French toast and sausage camp – no quiche or frittata for us. I
had to get my egg-dish thrills from my friend Annemarie’s family – who made a
delicious crustless quiche that was actually memorialized in song (though not
by Reba McEntire).
Here, then, is a brunch recipe that clearly shows my
aspirations toward a glittering future in which I would whip up a frittata and
pour wine with a connoisseur’s hand. I’m
not sure I’ve realized that future because now, as then, I had no idea what chablis
was, other than fun to say. The recipe notes that the wine “adds a delightful
flavor.” Expectations mounting, I headed to the grocery.
The "delightful" final results.
The wine steward’s eyes lit up when I asked him where to
find chablis. He quickly ushered me to the French Imports aisle and brought
down one of the two brands offered – both retailing for $20. Skinflint that I
am, I quickly asked him what I could substitute, in the, say, $7 range. I can
still see the disappointment in his eyes. Apparently, like “real” Champagne,
Chablis is Chablis is Chablis. My dreams of substituting Two Buck Chuck died,
and, taking one for the team, I paid $20, hoping I would find a new favorite
Now that I’ve eaten my share of egg dishes, frittata has
always struck me as the quiche’s poor relation. But I have nothing against
cutting a few calories, and a lot of time, by foregoing crust. We love
breakfast for dinner at my house, and this fills the bill nicely for a meatless
main, too. I had high hopes the hubby and I could quaff a glass or two of the
star ingredient as an aperitif.
But … ugh. I got home, wrestled the eggs, zucchini and
cheese into submission and cracked the chablis. I’ll grant you my palate has
not advanced much past Boone’s Strawberry Hill. I am the only one at the Passover
table actually enjoying the grape-syrupy Manischewitz. So, take this into
consideration when I advise you to save your hard-earned cash and find a
replacement, any replacement, for a $20 bottle of chablis, which I found
bitter, acrid and most definitely not “delightful.” Alas, most of my investment
ended up down the drain.
Fortunately, the frittata has plenty of tasty flavors to
mask what chablis is bringing (or not) to the party. (For this reason, too, I
suggest a more wallet-friendly replacement.) The frittata puffed up in a
dramatic fashion. The fresh veggies, cheese and crackers were, yes, a
delightful combination. Worthy of a brunch, breakfast, lunch or dinner. And, probably worthy of its own
country-western song. Might I suggest: “Take it Back”?
Because, Reba? If chablis
is the best he can do, trust me: Cut him loose.
Fresh Vegetable Frittata
4 medium tomatoes
1 cup chopped green onion
2 medium zucchini, cut in 1/8-inch slices
14 soda crackers, crumbled
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ cup chablis
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ cup grated paramesan (sic) cheese
1.Peel, seed and drain the tomatoes well before
2.Mix together the tomatoes, onions, zucchini and
crumbled crackers in a large bowl. In a medium-size bowl combine eggs, salt,
pepper, oregano, vegetable oil, wine and Worcestershire sauce.
3.Add the egg mixture to the vegetable mixture,
tossing lightly to blend.
4.Pour vegetable-egg mixture into a well-greased
9-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake in a preheated
300-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center
comes out clean. Cool slightly before serving.
·I did not peel my tomatoes, preferring to keep
my sanity intact. I sliced them into quarters and seeded them before chopping,
and let them drain on a layer of paper towel while I prepped the rest of the
·I substituted 1 T. fresh oregano. It’s going
nuts in my garden.
·I baked this for 40 minutes, finding it too runny
Why Don’t You …
·Make this in the summer with really fresh
tomatoes, and that zucchini everyone’s giving away?
·Substitute cream sherry -- a wine that does have a distinctive flavor?
·Tell me if you love Chablis. Was my experience a
·Get Reba’s 1992 album “It’s Your Call” from
which “Take it Back” is from. It’s really excellent – especially that title
track, which is Reba at her heartbroken best.