Gonna start trying Halo 1 soon, just been either super busy or quite rundown lately, so appy-polly-loggies.
In the meantime, I thought I’d share something I’ve been experimenting with with great success. It is now a dinnertime staple in the Casa de Mario y Peach.
Friggin’ Ramen Frittatas. I have a bunch of ramen packets and I’d gotten long since sick of my usual combination of plain cooked ramen with my own spices and kidney beans for a cheap protein, or else using plain ramen and spaghetti sauce. Yawn. Boring. Good ideas for when in a rush or an empty-pantry-pinch, but boring. (Honestly, my ramen and bean mix was my dinner every night. For 2 years. Cuz I’m a poor bastard like the rest of us).
One day, I desperately wanted a frittata. Our potatoes went baaaaaaaaddddd. Damn. Bummer. Oh wait. I’ve got a shit-ton of starch sitting in our pantry collecting dust. I was at first skeptical, but I was willing to try it out. The worst thing that could happen is I would end up with scrambled eggs mixed with noodles. I was willing to take the minimal culinary risk.
Frittatas are traditionally mostly done on stovetops and finished in the oven broiler. I do not have the luxury of a stovetop-to-oven pan, so I do it all stovetop.
This is the fruits of my labor:
(Serves 1-2 people, will need a side if for 2)
- 1 packet of ramen (I usually throw the packet out–too salty, but reserve and/or use if you desire)
- Equivalent to 4 eggs (I use 2 whole eggs and 4 egg whites)
- Tablespoon of white vinegar (trust me, it will be fluffier than what water or milk could ever do)
- Your choice of herbs and spices
Mix-ins I used on separate occasions:
- 2 cut up turkey dogs and some chopped red peppers (and mesquite BBQ sauce too!)
- 1 14.5-oz can of spinach
- 3-4 cups of chopped fresh cabbage (I chiffonaded them) (I also added some teriyaki sauce, ground ginger, ground garlic, and ground red pepper to the eggs for an Asian-inspired flavoring. Tasted almost like an egg roll! Wish I had some shredded carrot)
I imagine you can use up to 2 cups of mix-ins for others (as for the cabbage, you need more since it reduces)
- Break noodle brick in half. Place in a bowl and soak with water. Takes about 20-30 mins to soften up (I do this to conserve energy, but if you want, go on and heat to directions). Don’t get it TOO soft. You want some firmness. If over-soaked, drain water and place in fridge for about 30 mins.
- Heat a nonstick skillet (like a 9-inch-er) to med-low. Spray with cooking spray.
- Dump the ramen in the skillet. Occasionally stir (preferably with a fork to keep strands separate). You want to crisp up the noodles ever so slightly.
- Chop whatever you need to chop. When ready, dump the mix-ins in with the noodles and give some stirs.
- ((If the noodles seems to get dry and sticky, you can either spray more cooking spray or add some water))
- Put all the eggs you’re going to use in a cup. Add the vinegar and any herbs and spices (and BBQ sauce or teriyaki if using). Whisk until mixed and frothy with your simple everyday metal fork.
- Shape the ramen and mix-ins into a pancake shape. Pour egg mixture evenly over ramen and mix-ins.
- It will take a bit for it to set. You can step away to check your email, facebook, twitter, myspace, etc, but be sure to check back occasionally. Run a spatula around the edges to free it up from the sides whenever you check on it. Also gently use it to check the color of the eggs on the underside. If it’s getting too dark too fast, turn down the temp. When the top is nearly set, cut the “pancake” in half (for ease of flipping–I also don’t have the luxury of higher-class flipping pans)
- It’s done.
Optional: Spread BBQ sauce on the top. (You know how some people are obsessed with ketchup? Yeah, that’s me, except with BBQ sauce)
And it’s friggin’ cheap. I get a dozen large eggs from Aldi for 88 cents. I use half in each frittata, so it’s 44 cents worth in each recipe. 22 cents per person. If you use 4 whole eggs instead of separating some, then it’s even less. Even though ramen now costs about twice as much as it used to within the last 2 years, it’s still pretty damn cheap. The mix-ins are cheap as well (unless you replace chicken eggs with quail eggs and the vinegar with sherry, add some chopped filet mignon, and sprinkle in some caviar, well then, I have two things to say to you: 1) fuck you, and 2) when will Jeeves be ringing the 24k gold-rimmed Waterford crystal dinner bell so I can get a piece? …and steal some of your heirloom Faberge eggs. You won’t miss them.)
~PeachRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
I know. Does not quite sound that appealing, but if you like salmon and, alas, you can’t afford it, this is right up your alley. Meat Loaf is awesome. The dinner entree as well. One of my favorite childhood foods was meatloaf, and as a child, I hated any fish that was not breaded and in stick form. Now I am (supposedly) an adult, so my tastes are just slightly more sophisticated. I love salmon. Unfortunately, it’s out of our price range, even on sale.
I made this the other night. I only made it once before several years ago, so I was kind of worried I’d somehow screw it up (as I tend to in 90% of my culinary adventures).
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely dice
- 12 ounces salmon (we all assumed canned and were correct)
- 4 teaspoons chives, Snipped
- 4 teaspoons parsley, Freshly chopped
- black pepper, Freshly ground
- 2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
- 1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs (fresh)
- Heat oil in pan and cook onion and peppers 2-3mins till onion softens.
- Combine salmon, breadcrumbs, chives, parsley and onion mixture in a bowl.
- Season lightly with pepper.
- Fold egg whites in lightly.
- Spoon into lightly greased and lined loaf tin.
- Bake 350F 45 mins or till firm.
- Stand 10 mins before turning out. Cut into slices to serve.
It says it serves 4. Nah. Mario and I demolished the thing with just a bit left over. So I say it serves 2, maybe 3. I just had the leftovers tonight and it tastes so much better!
Well, that’s the recipe as is. Here’s what I did:
What I did was add some garlic powder to the mixture, as looking at the recipe made it seem a bit bland. I know salmon is quite flavorful on its own, but it’s also an excellent canvas for flavor, so take advantage! It was still a bit bland, so next time I’d use fresh and/or roasted garlic. perhaps 3-4 cloves, as I love me my garlic (and if you roast it, it mellows so you can use more without being overpowering). Garlic is sooooo good for you too. Bonus.
As for fresh herbs, sorry purists, but it is cheaper to buy dried herbs. I didn’t have chives, so instead I used italian seasoning, as I felt a bite of basil would be a great compliment. No specific measurement for adding herbage, so I just go by sight, by feel, and by scent.
For more flavor oomph, in the future I’d love to add cayenne pepper or even chopped hot peppers (like jalepeno, chipotles, or even habaneros), but, ugh, Mario’s a bit of a heat wimp, so I’d have to stick with paprika or chipotles to keep the heat a bit mellowed, but still flavorful. If it were just ME (and Princess Daisy too), I’d have chopped up hot peppers replacing ALL of the red pepper!! Mmmm. Hurts so good.
Breadcrumbs. We don’t have a toaster (and even if we did, we’d have no room for it anyway), so I toasted 3 slices of wonderbread-sized bread in the oven. It made slightly more than 1/2 cup breadcrumbs. Only use 1/2 cup or else you will have a dry loaf on your hands. And no one likes a dry loaf. Giggidy.
As for the eggs, you could try to not bother beating it, but in this recipe the beaten egg whites are used for adhesion, height, and a lighter, airier texture to balance the heavy fish. Normally a whole egg is used in loafs for just adhesion, but here the egg whites are more functional than that here. You’re practically making a meringue with the egg whites. You have to get it slightly beyond a cool whip texture. A hand mixer would be best, but since we are poor bastards, we only have a whisk, so it took a shitload of elbow grease and patience to get it there. What didn’t help was getting a smidge of egg yolk into it while separating the eggs and using a plastic bowl. Fat fizzles a whip and plastic holds onto fat even from previous uses and washes. So we had to put far more effort into whipping it up than normal.
I say, if you have a hand mixer, just beat the egg whites. If not, just dump the egg whites in there straight from the shell. It won’t be as fluffy (supposed to be almost like a light quiche), so it’ll be denser and a bit shorter, but whatev. Better than a sore arm.
However, I suggest waiting until the red pepper-onion-salmon mixture cools, or else you will end up with scrambled eggs with salmon and not a loaf. You could have it like that, but if you wanted a loaf, you just failed.
OOH! And it tastes soooooo much better the NEXT day (cold or reheated, but especially reheated). I recommend making this the day before you serve it for maximum nummy-ness.
$$$ Tips: I got a 14.5 oz can of salmon for $2.30 at Aldi in the US. It’s the Bumblebee Tuna brand. You do, however, have to take the skin off and some bone. That will bring it down to the 12 oz. It’s a disgusting job, but other cans of salmon for the same amount cost anywhere between 5 to 7 bucks a pop. Screw that. I let Mario do the dirty work there, as I was gagging. But soooo worth the savings, and the salmon tasted decent. A bit fishier, but decent. (And with a fishier fish, that’s why I highly recommend upping the flavorings like garlic and herbs)
For the red peppers, they have 14.5 oz jars of roasted red peppers at Dollar Tree for a buck a piece. I only used half the jar. Don’t know if your neighboring location would have it, but doesn’t hurt to check. You can always find decent stuff there if you look.
Also at Dollar Tree, they have a jar of red jalepenos. Don’t knock ’em just because they’re not ripe. They have the heat, but because they are red, they’ve got some sweet too. Just in case you wanted to spice yours up a bit more.
I’m sure you could use any canned meat: tuna, chicken, spam. Perhaps even fresh ground red meat. That would be nummy too.
I would do anything for salmon. But I won’t do that. What ‘that’ is, I do not know. Sure as hell ain’t the same as a Klondike Bar.
~PeachRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
(RotW = Recipe of the Week) So Mario had a LOOOOONG day at work yesterday. He usually does, but longer than usual because the only other person in his dept. is on vacay this week. So to cheer him up, and in honor of his birthday, I made him what he’s been craving for a long time: PANCAKES. But, I decided to make them extra special.
- 1 cup of pancake powder (I have the ‘just add water, with lard already inside’ cheapy mix)
- 1-3 – 1/2 cup sweetener or sugar
- 3 tablespoons of at least halfway DECENT whiskey
- A dash of vanilla flavoring
- Enough water to make the liquids total 3/4 cup
- Spices of choice (optional): cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves, etc
- Chocolate chips (probably used 1/3 – 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 a large nanana, chopped
- Maple syrup
Heat pan, skillet, griddle, whatev to 400 degrees Farenheit or til when water sizzles and evaporates from pan. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix the first 5 (or 6) ingredients together. Mix it when you’re ready to use it and don’t worry about lumps. The last things you want to do with pancakes is either have it sit, wet, for a long time, or to overmix it. Those develop proteins and make pancakes tough and rubbery and not fluffy and tender (thanks Alton Brown!).
Pour your pancakes on the hot thingamajigger in the shape, size, number, and polititcal party of your choice. Once the shininess starts fading from the top of the pancake, start sprinkling the chocolate chips and chopped nanana. Let the sit for a bit and melt. I used a fork to lightly spread them into the pancake.
Flip over before the top firms. Only need not even a minute on the other side.
Some people put them in a 200 degree oven to keep warm, whether in between kitchen towels or dampened paper towels. That dries it out. I get two simple plates with a bit of a lip. Put the pancakes on one plate, cover them with the other plate. Voila! Keeps in the heat and the moisture. And if needed, nuke it for a minute in the plate sandwich to heat them back up. Still moist!
NOTE: When I originally made them, I used a full shot of whiskey (approx. 1/4 cup). You could easily detect the whiskey bite. I suggest using less, as I plan to next time. Since you can taste the whiskey is why I suggest using decent stuff. We used Maker’s Mark. And, I know what you’re thinking, ‘Peach, if it’s a ready-made pancake mix, why more sugar?’ …Wait. No. Maybe you’re not asking that. But IF on the off-chance you were, I would say it is to balance out the bite of the whiskey. You want the flavor of the stuff, not like you’re dipping a pancake into your drink. Also, I used buttermilk mix, so it’s not very sweet to begin with. If the mix you have on hand is sweet up the wazoo, I’d not add extra. Just me.
These are so moist, that you hardly need maple syrup, and only need a fork.
I wanted to take a picture, but Mario demolished his plate. Don’t blame him. I demolished mine too, and I’m not big into sweets.
~PeachRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )