For a mom-blog, we have talked very little about cooking. The Smock doesn't like to cook much, and would really prefer to let someone else do it for her permanently! I like to cook, and am OK at it, but during the years of Scouting, church volunteering, and homeschooling, expediency was key. I know a bunch of quickie casserole recipes, and have fallen back too much on them.
Now that I am finished with Scouting (though Zteen is now an assistant scoutmaster at his troop), and homeschooling for me consists simply of cracking the whip over Zteen, it's time for me to pick up the art of cooking, real cooking, again.
Julie over at Happy Catholic recommended a couple of good cookbooks to me. I took the B&N giftcards I received at Christmas and purchased The All New Good Housekeeping Cookbook. What a great basic cookbook it is. It has clear directions, nice pictures, good info on all kinds of stuff, and 1,500 receipes, ranging from homestyle favorites to more exotic ethnic fare. This isn't your mother's old cookbook.
So, I've been reading the cookbook as if it were a novel, and putting sticky arrows on tons of recipes. Last night we had Tamale Pie (good--even better as leftovers). But tonight was better than good. It was outstanding.
We had Potato and Ham Frittata, served with biscuits and a mixed berry fruit salad. I will tell you that the Pillsbury frozen biscuits are very good. Not the microwave kind--the bake in the oven kind. They were well reviewed by the cooking editor of our newspaper, and I had bought a bag last time I went to the grocery store. Not as good as my Mama Warren's biscuits, but better than my own biscuits by a long shot. And the fact I could pop them in the oven while I was preparing the frittata was a big plus.
Anyway, both of my guys raved over the frittata. We keep a "Southard Family Cookbook" of all the recipes we have really loved. The ones that I will hand down to Zack and to his bride one day. They are collected from all over--different cookbooks, stuff clipped out of magazines, handed down through the family, passed on by friends. We have three levels of "good" recipes in our house, and everyone votes: 1) OK, but if we never have it again that's fine. 2) Good, but just remember which cookbook it's in. And 3) PUT IT IN THE FAMILY BOOK. Tonight's frittata was in the third category. Its been awhile since anything hit the book.
So, courtesy of the Good Housekeeping Cookbook, here's a recipe for you to try:
Potato and Ham Frittata
10 ounces all-purpose potatoes (2 medium), peeled, cut lenghtwise in half, then crosswise into thin slices (2 cups)
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 piece cooked ham (4 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 cup)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
8 large eggs
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
pinch dried thyme
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In 2 quart saucepan, combine potatoes, 3 cups cold water, and 1 teaspoon salt; heat to boiling over high heat. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes; drain.
2. In oven-safe nonstick 10 inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add ham and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer ham to plate.
3. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer onion to plate with ham.
4. In large bowl, with wire whisk, beat eggs, water, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper, and thyme until well blended. Stir in potatoes, ham, and onion. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in skillet over medium heat. Pour in egg mixture; cover and cook until egg mixture begins to set around edge, about 3 minutes. Remove cover and place skillet in oven; bake until frittata is set, 8-10 minutes.
5. To serve, loosen frittata from skillet and slide onto warm platter; cut into 6 wedges. Makes 6 main-dish servings.
I will say that my frittata wouldn't slide out--my pan has very steep sides. But I flipped it out onto the plate and it was still beautiful. And the good thing about a frittata is that I can see hundreds of variations, depending on what's left over in the refrigerator.....