Sunday, November 16, 2008

Comfort Food, Literally

What do you do when your furnace is FUBAR, you're contemplating a giant investment that feels like a rushed decision due to the ever looming possibility that your water pipes may freeze, your house is already at a nippy 48º F, and tonight's low is predicted to drop to 28º? Make a frittata, of course. And think of other recipes to bake, or any excuse to keep the oven on for a while.

The idea behind this recipe was to clean out the fridge and freezer. I found a half of a bag of frozen spinach, a handful of frozen peas, a few sun-dried tomatoes, a couple cloves of garlic, a bit of half-and-half, six eggs, a sorry looking chunk of onion that had been hanging out in my fridge door for a while, and a nice chunk of handcrafted provolone from the Amana Colonies.

This dish is dead simple. First, sauté the diced onions and minced garlic in butter before adding the spinach, peas, and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook off any excess water from the spinach. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with about a cup of half-and-half. Season this mixture with salt, pepper, paprika, and a bit of cumin. Pour into the spinach mixture and stir gently to evenly incorporate all the fillings. Top with the shredded cheese, reserving a bit. Bake in a preheated oven at 350º F until the filling is nearly set. Top with the remaining cheese and broil until lightly browned.

Now, I know the isn't technically a frittata, but rather a "savory in baked egg" as I learned in culinary school, but saying frittata sounds less pretentious. The main difference is that a true frittata doesn't have the liquid component of the milk or cream, and is partially cooked on the range before finishing under the broiler. I, however, wanted to use up the leftover half-and-half in my fridge and keep the oven on for as long as possible. Also, my method makes the frittata much easier to remove from a stainless steel pan.

Anyway, my new furnace should be installed Monday, and today is much sunnier than yesterday allowing my house to reach a more comfortable 56º F. On, the upside, my new furnace is more efficient, but I probably won't use it enough to realize any actual savings.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Free Doughnut!

Some Krispy Kreme shops are giving away star-shaped doughnuts with patriotic sprinkles, but the franchise here in Peoria is simply handing out one free doughnut to anyone sporting an "I Voted" sticker. I chose the pumpkin spice doughnut, which was pretty tasty - just hope I don't relapse into my dark doughnut addiction.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Need a New Camera

Buddy by the Lake

Recently I've been taking a lot of pictures with my iPhone. It's 2MP camera takes only a fair picture, but is always available when I need it. What I need is a 5MP or better camera with a slim profile that I can keep with me at all times to catch those fleeting moments that seem to be happening lately. Ideally, it would have a fully manual mode; something that seems to be lacking from many lower end point and shoot models I've seen. Also, it would be sleek and unobtrusive enough to keep in my pocket all the time, and a price tag that doesn't exceed $150. Oh well, a person can dream, huh?

I was able to remove some of the noise from this photograph while sharpening it a bit (not and easy feat), and also increase the exposure a bit. Anymore tweaking would really bring out the digital noise, but it's OK because I kind like the underexposed shot; I think it works for this near dusk setting. (There, I hope I've successfully justified this mediocre photo.)