Cooking With What You Have (No Matter Where You Are)

People love the cook! This is I think why I started cooking when I was quite young. My mother suffered from migraines and when she was out of commission I started cooking for my family. The house was a sad place when my mother was sick and I hated it. My only fond memories of those times were when my brothers and father liked the food I made and told me so.

 

I just returned from a few days in Mexico with 8 friends. I hadn’t planned on cooking the majority of our meals but once there, I couldn’t help myself. The loveliest sous chefs and the rousing appreciation made it a joy.

 

We were in a house that was stocked with nothing but salt, some ancient looking bouillon powder (which lead to an excellent risotto btw), cinnamon and black pepper. A stop at a local grocery store for oil, butter, fresh produce and herbs, rice, eggs and tortillas and chicken (superb chicken with the most beautiful yellow fat) set me up. The local fish market rounded things out. I cooked day after day, each morning a frittata repurposed the leftovers from the night before. I didn’t miss my very-well-stocked home pantry.  It was a much-needed reminder of how little we need to nourish ourselves well (if we have the means to purchase basic ingredients, that is); how very versatile a frittata is; that people (at least this group) are perfectly happy eating the same (template) dish day after day; and the joy of being creative with what you have!

 

Frittata (template)

You can start from scratch of course and sauté some onion, add some vegetables and then cover with barely beaten eggs with or without cheese and cook (on the stove top and then finished under the broiler) until set. Or you can heat up leftovers–already cooked vegetables, rice, pasta, meat, etc. and then top with egg, cheese, herbs, etc.

 

On this trip I repurposed leftover rice pilaf that originally included poblano peppers, onion garlic and cilantro. Another day it was a sweet potato hash seasoned with lots of lime juice and cilantro and another it was leftover roasted chayote and zucchini and bacon. The sky is the limit, just don’t over beat the eggs–really just break them up, don’t skimp on the salt and try not to burn it under the broiler! And let it cool for a bit before eating. Frittatas are much more flavorful warm or room temp, than piping hot.

 

Happy cooking!

 

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