Friday, August 21, 2009

The Next Food Network Star? And... Potato & Bacon Fritatta

Before I share this inexpensive and easy work night dinner I made, I wanted to share with all of you something really sweet that recently happened to me.

Yesterday, during my lunch hour, I drove to my favorite clothing store. They were having a sale I couldn't resist and I always find something that I like. I was chatting with a sales woman, and I kept noticing a woman with a very friendly smile who kept looking at me. At first, I thought it was my fresh hair cut (short and sassy), but then... she finally walked up to me and asked if I have a food blog!

Paula Deen, Ina Garten, Rachel Ray-- eat your heart out! I was tickled pink that a total stranger recognized my photo on my humble little food blog!

It didn't take long for me to narrow down that a mutual friend of ours sent my blog link to this lovely woman. I jokingly asked if she wanted my autograph-- I think, for a moment, she thought I was serious. Monterey, California is a small town, indeed. Still, our interaction made me smile for a long while... and, darn it, I forgot her name! Psssssssssst, if you're reading this, would you email me privately and remind me?

Speaking of Food Network celebs-- and this is my segway for mentioning Food Network's newest star, Melissa d'Arabian.
I admit that I did "Tivo" this season's competition and that I watched most of the episodes in fast forward. I had a feeling that Melissa would win, because she is so "relatable" to home cooks (that would be me) who want to learn how to make meals that are budget conscious but have a touch of "gourmet" to them. Melissa shares useful tips so that viewers shouldn't feel intimidated about making her recipes. I thought Melissa had promising talent and she sure seemed to impress the judges with her pastry skills. I do question Food Network's wisdom in naming her show "Ten Dollar Dinners". I'm curious to see how she can pull off meals for under $10.00 that are nutritious and healthy...and don't come in a can or package mix like that other know, the Semi-Homemade one with the gaudy tablescapes...

Her pilot show featured a recipe for a Potato-Bacon Torte. This recipe certainly isn't low in calories, but might be worth a try on a cold and rainy day.While Melissa seemed very nervous (and I winced at her digs about her mother-in-law), I think she did a pretty good job in showing how to make a butter based pie crust. I made a mental note to try this recipe, or at least just the crust... someday...

Lo and behold, I had another busy day at the office right after watching this show. I had not prepared a meal plan (which I usually try to do) and I didn't have time to shop. So, I thought of Melissa's recipe and I improvised a fast meal loosely based on her recipe.

Forgive me, but I didn't take a lot of photos and I really don't have a recipe to share. (Truthfully, I wanted to post something, because I miss having free time to post more often.) Anyway, here I go...
(Pretend I have photographed my mis en place. Thank you.)

I had russet potatoes, onion, bacon and eggs in the fridge. It was already 6:30pm and I was starved (having just finished 30 minutes of after work swimming).

Using a technique from Cook's Illustrated, I peeled 1 large russet potato and sliced it fairly thin with a mandoline. I microwaved the potatoes for about 5 minutes and then set them aside.

(Visualize a glass bowl with potatoes and plastic wrap on top. You're doing great...)

In the meantime, I chopped and cooked the bacon in a cast iron skillet and then minced one small yellow onion. I pushed the bacon aside, in the skillet, and proceeded to caramelized the onion until lightly brown (about 5 minutes or so). Using a slotted spoon I removed the bacon and onion and left just a small amount of bacon fat in the skillet.

The potatoes were layered, seasoned with kosher salt and pepper and then I spread the bacon and onion. I almost added sun-dried tomatoes, but my son doesn't like them.

I found a leftover wedge of Cotswold Cheddar cheese with chives and grated that on top. Gruyere would work really well, too.

NOTE: I wish I had thought to pick a bell pepper from my backyard. I think it would have kicked up the flavors.

I whisked 6 eggs with a little milk and poured this on top and let this cook on a medium-low heat for about 5 minutes...

Then, under the broiler until lightly golden brown and until the eggs seemed set. Set that aside for a few minutes. I decided to put a dollops of low-fat sour cream on top (what the heck...)

It was quick and filling, and very inexpensive. My boys hungrily polished it off. My son raved about it being one of the best things I ever made. Men! Give them bacon and the smell of caramelized onions and they're happy...

Hmmmm... could I be the next Food Network Star?

Not in your life! I could never make it past the first challenge. It's brutal! I admire any contestant who is willing to have their food criticized by Chef Royalty on national television. As long as my family is happy with what I serve them, I feel like a Home Cook Star. That's all that matters to me.

What do you think of Melissa d'Arabian? Who's your favorite celebrity chef?

PS: I'm going to do some serious cooking and baking this weekend. I have way too many tomatoes to eat, so I see tomato basil soup on my food plan! I promise to have my camera ready and I hope I post some new recipes that you will enjoy. It's such fun being a food blogger!

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Frieda said...

You definitely need to try Ina Garten's creamy tomato basil soup....divine! hubby glanced at your photo and thought you were Paula Deen! Now THAT's a compliment!

Kim said...

What a cute post! So neat to be recognized for your blogging. I too watched the next food network star. I had a feeling that Melissa would win. I do like her, but also wonder about the title for her show. Ten Dollar Dinners just sounds bad. It's a given that I love Tyler, but I also love Giada and Ina. Giada and Ina are so easy to watch and so relaxing. Rachel is yapping the whole time and I can't take it. I like Paula Deen and the Neely's, but in smaller doses.

Monica H said...

You are a star! How cool to be recognized.

This frittata looks great. I make them for breakfast but never thought to make it for dinner, not sure why though because we eat breakfast for dinner all the time.

You're making me hungry.

I like Melissa, I'm glad she won. I have yet to see her show though because I keep forgetting to record it. Thanks for reminding me :-)

Donna-FFW said...

How cool is that you got recognized. It was your beauty and infectious smile, for sure!!

I also watched this seasons show and thought she would win. I was hoping to see her pastry turnover recipe soon.

Your fritatta as always looks delicious.

Favorite food tv stars, dont get to watch much TV ever, but if I do, its Tyler, Ina, and yes, RR.

Stacey Snacks said...

May I have your autograph?
How neat is that?

I love making fritattas....they are easy and you can put anything in them.
Enjoy your weekend!

Lorrie Bridges said...

oh Debby, I can't wait to try this one. You are spot on RIGHT about men and bacon!! :)
Lorrie B

Muneeba said...

the hair is super sassy .. me likey!
And that is SO cool .. being recognized by a random stranger for your blog ... man, I'd be talking abt it for days if that happened to me .. especially to my parents who still refer to it as "that little blog thing u're doing". It's a proud moment girl.
As for Melissa .. I had a feeling right from the start she'd win .. she has the whole Food Network "look" and attitude. I like her, but she definitely needs to work on her nerves .. I'll give her some time. Unfortunate theme for a new show though .. u're right abt it being too much like Sandra Lee's (UGH), so don't think it's right for her.

Judy said...

How great to be a celebrity in your little town! I love Melissa. She wasn't as nervous on her 2nd show and no MIL digs. You have a great take on her recipe, sounds absolutely delicious and easy too. If you want tomato soup recipes, check out my blog. I've got several, my fave being my most recent (grilled corn,tomato and pepper chowder). It won't post till 8/31, but don't worry I have plenty of others that are great, including tomato basil bisque, another of my faves.

Kate said...

Great post. I know a star! That is cool. The recipe looks great. I will have to try it. My days have been long and my evenings short! This would be great...I love bacon, also!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

How cool that you were recognized. That's terrific. It would have definitely made my day. And yes, your haircut is fantastic.

I love fritattas and this one with potatoes and bacon should be wonderful.

Valerina said...

What a wonderful story! It really is fun to be a food blogger ( and addicting ). It must have been great to actually see someone who has been on your site.

Thanks for sharing.:)

Your fritatta looks amazing!

Rebecca @ Belle Blog said...

Hello, I love your yummy blog. I have been strolling and reading through your posts. I love your recipes and your photos are delicious. How awesome that someone recognized you from your blog. That is awesome. I just realized, I don't think there are any photos of me on my blog. I see you met Tyler Florence too. I always love his show. His cooking is very southern and very comfy and yummy.
I am adding myself to your followers and will be back often to see what new treats you have to share.