Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kitchen Klutz: Cooking on a budget

By Michèle De Meglio

Groceries are way too expensive.

Thanks to this terrible economic crisis, it seems every single item in Waldbaum’s is ridiculously overpriced. Five bucks for milk? Six bucks for a pack of yogurt smoothies? Get real!

This week, I wanted to make a cheap dish that could last for several days - and not taste like rubber when reheated in the microwave.

I settled on Potatoes and Eggs. My family calls this Italian comfort food - and Italian poverty food. Seems fitting for this task.

I borrowed my mother’s recipe (she made this all the time when I was a kid) and was unhappily surprised to discover that it’s much more difficult than I expected!

Now, I thought I’d just fill a bowl with a few eggs and some potato pieces. Not so!

First, I sautéed onions in a frying pan then added the chopped potatoes to brown. I’m kinda getting the hang of this sauté thing but the sizzling sounds still make me nervous - and ready to duck splashing oil.

The next step was what I had envisioned - beating eggs in a bowl. Only one itty-bitty shell fell in!

I added the eggs to the frying pan and, according to the recipe, was to turn the entire dish over when the underside was brown. Huh?!

The trick, my mom advised, is to cover the pan with a large plate and flip that sucker upside down. Then you slide the grub, brown side up, back into the pan. Uh, yeah, I don’t wanna do that.

But, sadly, I had to. I really did try my hardest but that pan was heavy! And hot! I managed to get the food on the plate and then back in the pan but trust me, it wasn’t pretty. And I may have lost some potatoes along the way.

Verdict: What a sloppy mess!

Flipping the frying pan upside down proved to be quite difficult - and emotionally scarring - for me. It left me with a broken glop of smooshed potatoes and eggs!

It may not have looked pretty, but it sure tasted good!

Potatoes and eggs
2 lb potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 eggs
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 medium red pepper, thinly sliced
1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves
Olive Oil

In a round frying pan, sauté the onion in olive oil until transparent . Add potatoes, continue to sauté on medium heat until almost browned. Add red pepper. In a bowl, beat the eggs, adding salt, pepper and parsley. Add egg mixture to sauté pan. When set and browned on the underside, loosen it with a spatula. Cover with a round plate and flip pan upside down. Slide potatoes and eggs back into the pan with browned part on top. Cook for five minutes.

Kitchen Klutz follows 20-something Michèle De Meglio as she burns casseroles and her fingers, all in hope of trading frozen dinners for home cooking.


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