Souper Tuesday: Spinach Frittata (Plus: the history of Hot Breakfast)
Happy Tuesday, or, as I’m calling it, “Happy eleven days until I can log back into Facebook and digitally commune with friends while I placate my children with a series of glances, nods, ‘oh yeahs’ and ‘mmm hmms.'”
I’m only partially kidding.
Staying home with two small kids is enough of a challenge all on its own, this month or any other. I know I waxed poetic about a vacation for the brain on Sunday, but I was clearly high on nice weekend weather.
Now that we’re back to the cold, rainy weekday grind, my brain is ready to be done with that “vacation” and get back to “work.” (In this case, I’m referring to getting back on Facebook and Twitter. How my brain feels about going back to real “work,” as in employment outside the home, is a whole other post.)
Anyway. Tuesday is recipe day. And even though I continue to call it “Souper Tuesday,” this month is going to have a different focus.
Did you know February is National Hot Breakfast Month? It’s a fact I discovered while looking into how this blog does in Google rankings. (The answer: not great.)
Anyway, I love breakfast, especially a hot breakfast. I like to make brunch on the weekends, but just as often, I like to make breakfast for dinner.
So, in honor of National Hot Breakfast Month (and really, NHBM people, shouldn’t we be doing some sort of co-branding thing here?), my weekly recipes in February will be hot breakfast food.
But before we get to that, it’s time for me to explain how this blog ended up with the name Hot Breakfast in the first place.
If you had told me in 2008 that in five years I was going to be staying home with two kids and writing a blog about it, I probably would have picked a different name. But I started the blog only as a work assignment, so I didn’t put much thought into it.
Through Google, I’ve discovered that the blog name “Hot Breakfast,” is confusing in all sorts of ways. It turns out that Hot Breakfast is also
- An Australian morning radio show
- Deleware’s premier accoustic dork-rock power duo
- A reference to smoking marijuana first thing in the morning (I don’t know why I was so surprised when I stumbled across this definition on Urban Dictionary. Of course it means that. Incidentally, in my research on the origins of National Hot Breakfast Month, I discovered that February is also Marijuana Awareness Month.)
If anything, Hot Breakfast sounds like a cooking blog. But obviously it’s not, even though I do like to cook, LOVE to eat and post these Souper Tuesday recipes weekly. And if I have ever cooked for you, it’s likely been breakfast food.
So where did “Hot Breakfast” come from?
Let me answer with a question. Have you ever heard of a rice sock? A college roommate introduced me to it. It’s basically a poor man’s heating pad. As the name suggests, you take a big sock – tube sock, gym sock, I suppose even a sturdy knee sock would work – and fill it with uncooked rice. Tie it at the top. Put it in the microwave for a couple minutes, and voila – instant soothing for your aches and pains.
One day, probably early 2008, I was laying on the bed, nursing cramps or a sore lower back or what have you with my rice sock. This was pre-kids, so I imagine I was also watching a Law & Order marathon, pausing only to take a nap or get a pedicure or eat cookies without the fear of small children whining for one, or something equally luxurious, without the slightest comprehension of how nice my life was.
In the midst of this, Pat came home, walked into the bedroom and, smelling the heated rice sock, said “Mmm. It smells like hot breakfast in here.”
It did. Like Cream of Wheat or Farina or Malt-O-Meal. And that’s the story. Pat, who isn’t big on terms of endearment, started calling me “Hot Breakfast.” I guess it sounds vaguely complimentary, if you didn’t know from its origins that it basically means “perpetually achy.”
Anyway, back to the recipe. One of my favorite breakfast-for-dinner meals is a frittata. It’s easy, it’s flexible, it’s healthy: pretty much everything a good recipe should be. I don’t really use a recipe out of a book. Here’s the one I made last night.
1 small onion, chopped
Spinach, chopped (I used a 5 oz. container of baby spinach and wished I had more; it cooks down so quickly)
1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
In a medium skillet, cook onion, seasoned with salt and pepper, in olive oil over medium heat. When onion is soft, add spinach, cooking until it’s wilted and any water has evaporated from the pan.
Meanwhile, beat eggs with cheese and season with salt and pepper.
When spinach is wilted, spread it evenly across bottom of pan. Pour egg mixture over spinach. Cook over medium-low heat until eggs are set around the edges but the top middle is still runny.
Put broiler in oven about four inches below the broiler. Broil until top of eggs are set (I like it a little brown), a few minutes. Watch it to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Remove skillet from oven, allow eggs to cool, and cut into wedges.
I like frittatas because it has that “full meal” feeling of a quiche, without having to worry about a crust. You can make infinite varieties: my standby is broccoli (steamed a little before adding to skillet) with shredded cheddar cheese, but I’ve put everything in a frittata from mushrooms and spaghetti to rice and corn to asparagus and roasted red peppers.
It makes great leftovers, too, but we had none of those. As Pat said, going for his second slice “I could eat that whole thing.”
I hope you like it, too.