Sunday, May 10, 2009

Day 54 - Squash and Goat Cheese Frittata

It's Mother's Day, and I'm playing chef at my brother's house! I've offered to cook a special brunch for my mother and my Aunt Natalie (her identical twin sister). Also in attendance are my father, my brother, and his four beautiful children: Daniel (11), Maddie (8), Lilly (6) and Emma (4). Their mother, my sister-in-law, Frani, is celebrating Mother's Day with a friend on a trip to the UK. (Jealous.)

I've planned some family favorites: French Toast (with Raisin Challah), crispy bacon, and fried salami for the kids.

And then, I've imposed a dish from the project:

Squash and Goat Cheese Frittata (p. 93)

This is a misnomer today, as since my father clearly expressed his dislike of goat cheese, I took Martha's option of replacing it with Gruyère. Therefore, I'm restating this as:

Squash and Gruyère Cheese Frittata (p. 93)

There was a little bit of a breakdown in the making of this dish, but in the end, it didn't really matter. No one could tell, and I certainly didn't fill them in. And since no one in my family seems to be able to find their way to this blog, I'm not concerned about them finding out. :-)

The frittata is a great dish because it can be served at room temperature, and it still tastes good. It's basically an omelette, but it's finished in the oven, where it (usually) puffs up and gets a nice brown crust.

Today, everything was going fine. The onions and squash were sautéed, the eggs were all whisked and ready to go. Then the eggs went in, and the drama began. The pan, which may have been non-stick at a time in the distant past, was hyper-sticky now. Unbeknownst to me, a burnt-on crust was developing on the bottom of the pan. Once I realized it, all I could do was lift it up and stir it around. Luckily, the crust hadn't burnt to the point that it ruined the taste of the whole dish. I just hoped that those few sheets of brown eggs might be a nice flavor addition. In any case, I never got those large curds that Martha was trying to coax out of me. Instead, I got little, panicked curds marbled with burnt brown patches of leather. :-(

In place of the goat cheese, I drowned the thing in grated Gruyère and Parmagiano. (If in doubt, overdo it on the cheese, right?) So when it got under the broiler, I'm guessing it was the weight of the cheese that prevented the eggs from puffing up. Either that or the burnt eggs were angry and wouldn't let the good eggs puff up for Daddy.

By the time we ate, the frittata was room temperature, which was as planned, and the taste was quite good. (Really, what could be bad? Squash, onions, chives, basil, eggs and cheese!) The texture was also fine, although I noticed that there was a pool of liquid on the plate under the "pie." As for the burnt part, I actually forgot about it and can't remember tasting it or seeing it at all.

I might have enjoyed this more if it were hotter, but even cooled, I think it turned out to be a successful dish. (All the adults ate it. The kids wouldn't come anywhere near it. Well, Daniel accepted a piece on his plate but couldn't bring himself to eat any.)

I will definitely make more of these again. It's a great way to serve eggs to a lot of people and also to prepare something in advance that doesn't have to be served hot. And it will be fun to come up with some new flavor combos.

Jeff: B (for burning the eggs and for piling on too much cheese)
Martha: A

Until we eat again....

(Picture to come)

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