Cooking in is so much more rewarding than eating out.
Last weekend we met friends out at Wildfire, a restaurant chain serving up high end steak and American fare. We don’t go out to eat much, so was fun getting dressed up and heading out together. I hadn’t been to this restaurant, so I was eager to see what they had and how they prepared and presented it. Ever the foodie, I love experiencing new places with different visions of food. I always learn something new when I dine out.
We had a wonderful time with the couple we had dinner with. We started off the meal with a few cocktails. I had inadvertently dressed as a snazzy ad executive, so a martini was calling my name. I ordered a grapefruit one, which was delicious, but not memorable. I’ve made something similar in my house, but truthfully the liquor is quite expensive so this is something I’m willing to splurge on when I dine out.
Looking at the menu, I wasn’t wowed by any one particular dish, especially for the prices listed. I knew I would most likely be eating something that was not spectacular (WOW, I sound so judgemental right now!!) so I opted for the chopped salad, which was highly recommended by our waiter, and happened to be one of the cheapest items on the menu. My meat-eater of a husband went for the prime rib, potatoes and mushrooms.
When the food arrived, we all dug in. It was good, and we had no complaints. But we also had no praises. And when we got the bill, Kenny and I owed over $100 after for our meals. It was what I expected, but on the car ride home we lamented that expense. For being just fine, it seems such a shame to pay that sum of money!
The next night, I didn’t have much in the house for dinner, so I settled on a frittata. I caramelize some onions, brought out some fresh thyme (a staple in my house), and an onion bun that had been in our fridge for too long as was beyond using as a sandwich but not spoiled yet. Delicious smells wafted through the house and Kenny shouted his usual “It smells great in here!” from the living room over the sounds of sports casters and buzzers.
After about an hour I pulled the finished product out of the oven. Personal frittatas, simple and cooked to perfection. I snapped a few pictures and was filled with pride – this frittata looked amazing! Look what I just threw together! Under 500 calories per frittata, and the whole meal under $10.
As Kenny and I sat with a beer and a glass of wine, respectively, Kenny oohed and ahhed over how delicious it was. As we reflected on tonight’s meal versus the meal at Wildfire, Kenny said it best – “I’m done with eating out! It’s overly expensive and we cook better food at home than most restaurants do!” Of course, we both agreed that higher end restaurants with unique menus/experiences are the exceptions, the restaurants in which you can experience something new or something you can’t make at home. Sushi for example – I don’t want to mess with that.
At any rate, this is the meal that solidified our confidence in our own cooking, a meal that affirmed the quality of food we make at home on a daily basis. It filled me with a feeling of love and accomplishment at being able to make something that brought my husband joy.
This recipe makes two personal frittatas in 8 inch pans or in one 12 inch pan. If using a larger skillet, I’d make 1.5 time this recipe.
Caramelized Onion & Thyme FrittatasPrint Recipe
- 1 large sweet onion
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- ¼ cup sour cream or heavy cream
- 6 large eggs
- 4-5 sprigs thyme
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- About 1 cup of day-old bread of your choice
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large pan over medium low heat. If cooking your frittata in a larger cast iron skillet, cooking the onions in this for a one pan meal. Thinly slice the onion. Melt 1 tbsp butter in the pan. Add the onion and salt to taste. Cook on low for about 45 minutes. If onions begin to burn, lower heat or add more butter if the pan is dry. Onions need to cook low and slow to caramelize.
When onions are nearly finished, prepare the rest of the frittata. Tear up the bread you plan to use into bite sized pieces. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, dairy, salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 350F. Add fresh thyme (removed from stem) and red pepper flakes into the onions as the finish. Saute for about 1 minute and remove from heat. Distribute onions evenly between two personalized skillets. Distribute bread evenly, then pour half of egg mixture oven each skillet. Top with a little more fresh thyme.
Place skillet in oven on the center rack. Bake 8in skillets for about 10 minutes. Larger skillets will need more time. It’s very important that you don’t over cook a frittata. Frittatas are done when egg trembles but is set. Check earlier than estimated done time to make sure you don’t overcook it!