First off – go see Food, Inc. I’ve read the books, I volunteer at the Ferry Building, I shop at Farmer’s Markets whenever I can. But this movie, even for the most food-enlightened, is a huge wake up call. We truly are what we eat and our food industry is the cornerstone of our community’s and our world’s health, social, and environmental issues.
So I have to say, after I left the movie, I was glad to know that my fridge was full of locally produced, seasonal ingredients – all of which needed to be eaten right away if I was going to keep them from ending up in my compost bin. And yes, that was probably the most typical Northern Californian sentence I have ever written – sorry I’m not sorry.
My refrigerator had the following items to work with:
chard (grown from my own potted garden)
heirloom tomatoes (from my monthly Farm Fresh To You delivery- thank you Capay Farms)
half of a red onion (woopsies…a few weeks old)
one slice of Heidi’s Hens no-salt turkey breast
and two eggs
What do you get when you combine all of those ingredients?
A delicious, oven-baked dinner frittata! Here’s how:
1. Set oven to 360 degrees.
2. Heat oil in a pan. When hot add diced red onion and cook until translucent. I was low on olive oil and added a few dashes of champagne vinegar to help deglaze the pan and add some extra moisture to cook the onions. When softened and clearer in color, transfer onions to a bowl.
3. Slice one small eggplant into half-inch disks and wrap in paper towels. Find something heavy – I used a cutting board and a potted plant on top – to squish the water out of the eggplants. Most people sprinkle eggplants with salt to get out the extra moisture but this is my sodium-safe trick. It will allow you to brown the little nuggets more easily.
3. Add more oil to pan and reheat. When hot, add diced potatoes and eggplant and sauté until brown (because they are small, this should take about 5-10 min). I added a little curry powder and red wine towards the end to add some extra flavor. When cooked, take out potatoes and eggplant and put in bowl with onions.
4. Add oil to pan again and reheat. Take off stems of chard (keeping them on is also completely OK – they will soften in the oven – just dice more finely to help cooking process) and chop the chard into bite sized bits. Throw into hot pan for 3 min or so. I added some no-sodium mustard and a few dashes of balsamic vinegar towards the end.
5. In an oven safe dish, coat bottom with oil or salt-free (sweet) butter and add the onion, eggplant, potato mixture.
6. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. I added some white pepper, cumin, and a little water and red wine.
7. Pour egg mixture over onion, eggplant, potato-ness.
8. Cover the top of onion, eggplant, potato, and now egg-ness with your softened chard – building a top layer.
9. Slice one heirloom tomato into 1/4 inch or smaller rounds.
10. Put tomato rounds on top of the chard and sprinkle some black pepper on top.
11. Bake in oven for 30 min (or until all egg is cooked).
12. Put under broiler on high for 2-3 minutes to crisp the chard and tomatoes.
13. Invite friends over to marvel your ingenious fridge-spiration…or eat it all yourself. This recipe will feed 2-4 and although the picture is a bit hideous, it is really delicious and works with any veggie combination!
And the next day…I used the leftover eggplant to make EGGPLANT CHILI! Sounds weird but seriously good.
I cubed the eggplant – mimicking chunks of meat – and used all my other standard chili ingredients: tomatoes, black beans, peppers, cumin, cayenne pepper, a pinch of oregano, and paprika. After little it simmer for an hour, I topped it off with some arugula and avacado and even used some really old Matzoh crackers for dipping. It tasted chili-tastic and was full of good, healthy things.
This seemed a little bit daring but I am glad I tried it and was successful in heroically saving the food in my fridge from going unused and transfered it safely to my belly. All in a day’s work.