In my blog post "Trump's so called Blue Apron Box," I talked about how President Trump's proposal will impact the recipients of the SNAP program. Many of us are very fortunate to have access to organic and fresh produce, grass fed meats, and artisan spices. On the other hand, there are many people who live in food desserts. According to USDA, "Food desserts are defined as parts of country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers' markets, and healthy food providers." Since we are so fortunate to have nutritious food whenever we need it, we should cherish it and avoid food waste. When I worked at Flour Bakery, one of the guidelines for bakers was, "Save all food and reuse if possible. Yesterday's leftover bread becomes today's toast."
You may not know this but some dishes were invented to make good use of left over food, such as bread pudding, frittata and stir fried rice. Being a chef instructor, I have to deal with food waste on a regular basis. Every time after I finished teaching a sushi class, there would be good amount of leftover julienned vegetables, such as carrots, scallions and bell peppers. I always bring them home and the next morning, they would then be part of my power breakfast.
My favorite dish to make using left over vegetables is an easy frittata. Frittatas are a good source of protein (from eggs), fat (from cheese) and vitamins (from vegetables). When you create your frittata, you can also be creative. Just improvise with whatever left overs you have in your fridge. For example, if you have leftover sausages from grilling last night, take the meat out from the casing and use it. If you have leftover turkey after your Thanksgiving feast, the turkey meat will be wonderful, too! If you want something richer, who doesn't like bacon? In a mood for Italian food, try sun dried tomato and pancetta.
My usual frittata recipes tend to include bell peppers since they are left over from my sushi classes. I would then search my fridge to see what leftover cheeses I have. Sometimes, I use goat cheese, sometimes Gruyere, sometimes cheddar. I also like to add some interesting spice to flavor my beaten eggs. I like to use Ana N. 36 (an aromatic mixture of rose petals, sumac, and sesame seeds that creates the flavors of Turkish cuisine) or Pizza Posto (spice blend of Parmesan, oregano, tomato, garlic, salt, and more). I have a good collection of spices from La Boite. I have so much fun making frittata and using their unique spices. I never get bored making frittatas! They are easy, fun to make, and the best dish to utilize my leftovers. I've shared some of my frittata combinations. Now, it's your time to open your fridge and create your own. Bon appetite!
5 Step Frittata
- Preheat the oven 400F.
- Start by cooking your vegetables over medium heat in a little oil, maybe with a bit of chopped garlic or shallot.
- Once everything is tender, add the beaten and seasoned eggs. (Note: the amount of the eggs depends on the size of your pan.) Sprinkle cheese on top.
- Employ the edge-lift technique: gently lift up the set portions of your frittata, and let any egg mixture that is not set run into the space you've created. This will help everything to cook evenly.
- As soon as the eggs begin to set over the stove, slide the whole thing into the oven briefly to finish cooking (remember, it will keep cooking in the hot pan after you pull it out). Wait until it's caramelized and toasty.
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Melissa is 100% MIT (Made in Taiwan), where she worked as a food writer. She’s also worked alongside renowned chefs like Ming Tsai and Joanne Chang, honing her craft and gathering stories along the way. Part story-teller, part educator, and part food lover, Melissa brings a special blend of experience, skill, and enthusiasm to her work. She blends her Asian background, her new home of New England, and love of food and culture to bring joy, optimism, and inspiration to food lovers and fun-seekers everywhere.
What sparked your passion for the industry?
The desire to make things by hand. The joy of sharing delicious, hearty food with students. The opportunity for people to get connected via cooking and baking. When a child smiled broadly and told me it’s the best scone he has ever made and eaten, it really made my day!
In your opinion, what’s the most important course?
Well, I usually take a peek at the wine list first. I like tapas style, so the course doesn’t really matter. Cheese and charcuterie are always a good place to start. And since I’m a pastry chef, there is always room for dessert!
Bill Gates is picking up your tab, where would you go?