Another way I’ve often both overspent and wasted food in the past: hosting dinner parties! I have had a bad habit of overestimating how much we’re going to eat, and doing an entire separate shopping trip based on the dinner. I don’t want to be inhospitable!
Most recently, I had someone for dinner the night before leaving for a week. So I determined that I had to do better than in the past: I had to do minimal extra shopping, and cook exactly enough for us to eat in one meal because I wasn’t going to be in town to eat leftovers.
I ended up doing pretty well! I had eggs and an onion and a lemon and half a serrano pepper, and a $10 gift certificate to Whole Foods. So I went over there on Saturday morning and bought cilantro, lettuce, rosemary, a few very small yellow potatoes, goat cheese, and a small yellow zucchini. Aside from having to turn over half the onion to my roommate, I managed to use up all the perishables just in advance of leaving, because I made a frittata and a salad for dinner (used the rosemary in shortbread cookies for dessert.)
Frittata for Two
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
I really enjoyed this recipe — the cilantro-chile sauce is amazing — but found that cooking it was a bit harder than expected, so I made some changes to improve my experience next time.
You need: one 8.5″ nonstick pan (next time I might use a 10-inch pan; thinner frittatas are easier to cook, IMHO)
1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, depending on size, roughly chopped
1-2 serrano chiles, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 c olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 big pinches cumin and 2 pinches salt
6 eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion or 1 small onion, chopped
3-5 (depending on size) small potatoes, sliced as thin as you can
1 small yellow zucchini, diced in 1/4″ pieces
1/4 c goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 c toasted pumpkin seeds
1) blend sauce ingredients until smooth (I used an immersion blender)
2) Swirl the olive oil in your pan and saute onions for about a minute, then add the potatoes. Cook 5-7 minutes until onions begin to brown. [A big problem I had with original recipe is that the potatoes didn’t cook through as quickly as it suggested they might, so in the future I’ll add them along with the onions much earlier in the process to give them time to finish cooking.]
3) Add squash and a pinch of salt. Put lid on pan and let cook for 3-4 min. Check to make sure potatoes are cooked through completely.
4) Slide about half the vegetables onto a plate. Pour the beaten eggs in over the rest, add about half the goat cheese crumbles, and cook until the eggs are just set, using a spatula to lift up the edges so eggs can run under (like you were cooking an omelette.) When the eggs are nearly set, spread about half the cilantro-chile sauce on top of them, then top with the rest of the vegetables, the rest of the goat cheese, and the pumpkin seeds.
5) Put the pan in the oven. You can either bake at 450 until done (depending on the thickness of the fritatta, 5-10 minutes) or put it under the broiler until done (probably 5 minutes, check often.) Divide in two and serve with remaining cilantro-chile sauce on the side.
Note: I felt that putting the entire amount of sauce (as per original recipe) into the frittata made it too liquid-y; it was hard to tell when the eggs were fully cooked. Hence the recommendation to save some for dipping. If you make this for just yourself, or if you double the recipe and make in a larger pan, frittata is good left over at room temperature; I think I’ll try doing this, and making frittata sandwiches for lunch where I spread some of the sauce on toast and then top with frittata.