Cooking Challenge Day 2 results: The drama with frittata and the taco salad

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megan makes a meh-tataWell, I got through day two of the Cooking Challenge, and faced my biggest fear: The dreaded frittata. For those of you who were around for the first challenge, I was totally defeated by a quiche. So large egg dishes and I are not friends.

How did the frittata go? Well, just watch and see…

Breakfast

The frittata was more like a meh-tata. Not great, not awful. Just sort of… egg-food for my mouth hole.

Lunch

Though the frittata got a redemption come lunch time! Turns out all it needed with some little extra flavor. The goddess salad was STUUUUPID EASY to make, and perfect with the meh-tata.

the mehtata

Honestly, you could cover ANYTHING in that dressing and I’d slurp it up for lunch. Who went out and got that dressing? Are you feeling me on this?

Dinner

Much like last time, I’m starting to feel less and less hungry as the meals go by. A reader last time around pointed out that it’s probably because I’m eating REAL food. And real food fills you up more than the empty calories of a huge-ass pizza. But I was really looking forward to the taco salad. See, my buddy Jessica had made this for me before and it was one of my favorites. Plus, you know, it’s Tuesday! The day for taco enjoyment. So I forced myself to go on a massive hike to get myself hungry enough to be able to eat dinner. Weird, right?

Anyway, I made a quick video for ya…

Now, who was with me on the rockin’ taco salad? Did you try the beef-less beef? Oh, and where did I go wrong on that frittata? Can you help me troubleshoot? Or are eggs and I just doomed to fail unless they’re just full-on scrambled?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… cooking iz HARD. And also exhausting. And also time-consuming. And also really good for me.


Comments on Cooking Challenge Day 2 results: The drama with frittata and the taco salad

  1. Megan, I love your cooking vlogs. They’re pretty much the perfect working background noise for me.

    Also, a secret: sometimes cooking just comes out kinda meh. It might not be anything you did, or even the recipe. Sometimes your ingredients are meh, sometimes your mojo is meh. I cook this one recipe pretty regularly, and sometimes it is ohmygoddelicious and sometimes it is just… meh put some salt on it and shove it in my face I guess.

    • So good to hear. I wish I had thought of adding salt. That always makes the meh better.

  2. Good job! I have made some SUPER FAIL frittatas, so “meh” for your first one is an achievement. I really like to use broccoli in them instead of spinach. Normally, I just defrost like a cup or so of the frozen stuff and toss it in with the onions.

  3. I just really want you to have your own cooking show. It’d be more awesome then all the other cooking shows because I would relate to the cook (you) a lot better then all those other cooks who are on.

    • Dude, I’d LOVE to have my own cooking show. The problem with most cooking shows is that they assume you know errrrrything already. Even the easy ones! Let me show you how the truly inept do it…

      • I’d watch yours *because* you don’t know how to do it. And I say that as someone who is a decent cook (not fantastic, not terrible, but decent).

      • So, what I just heard is that the offbeat homies are going to storm food network and demand they develop a new cooking show called “watch megan learn to cook.” We can market it as half comedy/satire and half “but for serious, cooking is hard”

      • Ummm Harto & “My Drunk Kitchen”?!?!? Her cooking disasters are a thing of beauty.

  4. I’ve totally had that dressing! My family used to order it by the case from our buying club. Such good dressing! (My family always liked to pun, “Don’t look! It’s a goddess dressing!) I should see if I can find it here, or maybe try to make my own variation (it’s based on tahini, if I’m remembering right…)

    • “Don’t look! It’s a goddess dressing!” I lol-ed, and then snorted.

  5. Fucking hell, you slay me. The spinach dramz was amaze. Also, in a big ol’ iron skillet like that, be careful about using olive oil, because you’re going to want the skillet to do some solid preheating, and olive oil reaches its smoke point pretty quickly and becomes carcinogenic. More here.

    • Oh god, don’t tell Megan that. Have you noticed she is already terrified of cooking? SHE DOES NOT NEED MORE THINGS TO FEAR IN THE KITCHEN.

      I’m just imagining her right now being all

      I mean, it’s solid advice for folks who cook regularly, no doubt! But Megan: it’s OK. Cooking did not give you cancer. Probably.

      • Fer serious! I was already pretty scared of the skillet not only because it was OMGHUGE, but then there’s like special ways to clean it — or NOT clean it? And certain things can ruin it. I once saw my mom go into a ruined cast iron skillet-induced rage. Skillets are not my friend.

        • I use my cast iron for ALL THE THINGS because once you get over the scariness of its special rituals, it’s sooo easy. Plus, it gets better with buttah, so there’s that.

  6. Most of my eggs are scrambled. No shame. I hardly even have the foresight for hard-boiled.

    Actually, I feel like I reached the next level in scrambled eggs when I started waiting a bit to pop the yolk, so that some bits were whiter and some were yolkier and there was a little more runniness. I’ve also been attempting fried eggs with some success, but it took a lot of practice and I still haven’t perfected how to tell when it’s just a bit runny inside but not too runny. The best part is if you accidentally pop the yolk, voilà, fancy duo-color scrambled eggs!

    • The best way I’ve found is to take the pan off the heat while it’s still a little runnier than you’d like. In the minute you spend buttering toast/finding a plate or whatever, the eggs will keep cooking in the hot pan but not overcook and go rubbery.

      • Yeah, good thinking! I learned the same thing with cookies (after wondering why they were always overdone), so it makes total sense that eggs will be the same.

    • I’ve never tried QoB’s way, but I’ve found one method that works for me. I crack the egg and let it cook until the whites are almost done. I’m talking like, the bottom is done but the white around the yolk is still clear. Then I flip the egg by sort of rolling it over on itself. That part takes some practice! I still break the yolk on accident some times! But if you let it roll over itself and the yolk, it works out pretty okay. Then I let it cook for just a couple minutes and do the poke test. Poke the yolk with your spatula veryyyyy gently until it feels as done as you want it.

      Take it off and put it on top of some cheese toast. nomnomnom

      • That is how I actually manage to flip them, yeah! It’s like a weird egg-white omelette with the yolk as the filling. 🙂

        Next to try: the poke test. I foresee a lot of poking too hard for a while.

    • Ok, here’s my secret to “fried” eggs… I steam them! Get your nonstick pan hot with a little butter or oil, crack the egg in it. Ideally at this point, your egg didn’t spread much because you started with a hot pan and cracked the egg gently / slowly into it. Give it 30 seconds to a minute to get that white a little more solid, then sprinkle a few drops (maybe a 1/2 – 1 tsp, just enough to make steam) of water in the hot pan away from the eggs (it’s okay if the water touches the eggs, it just helps keep the egg together if you drop the water in away from it). Cover with a lid and let it steam until the whites are solid and you get a nice skin over the yoke. If you want it super runny, serve it as-is, or if you want it a little more cooked, feel free to keep cooking it, or flip it over at this point.

  7. Eh, sometimes you just get meh food no matter what you do. Like last week I made one of our favorite dinners. Like, I dream about how good this dinner is. And then last week, it was just meh. Like, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t OHMYGODI’LLDREAMOFYOUSWEETPRINCE like it was every time before that. Didn’t use anything different, made it the exact same way, still meh. It happens to all of us so no worries!

    I ADORE taco salad. I love that you can throw anything in it and it works! Last week, we had crushed tortilla chips, black beans and corn with taco seasoning, lettuce, and cheese. We use salsa for the dressing and then I drown mine in hot sauce.

    • “Eh, sometimes you just get meh food no matter what you do. Like last week I made one of our favorite dinners. Like, I dream about how good this dinner is. And then last week, it was just meh. Like, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t OHMYGODI’LLDREAMOFYOUSWEETPRINCE like it was every time before that. ”

      Yep, I’ve definitely had those times too. Those are very sad meals because my expectations are so high from this fantastic recipe I’ve made before, so even if it’s just okay, getting okay instead of OHMYGOD is no bueno.

  8. We call frittatas “egg pie” and yeah sometimes they come out super Meh. Those we put A1 or bbq or some other kind of sauce on. Sometimes they get made into a sandwich with cheese. The best ones for me have ham or bacon in then with peppers and spinach, and Lots of Seasonings.

  9. ill be honest, a frittata with just onion, spinach and goat cheese seems pretty “meh” to me too.

    remember the biggest thing about cooking is learning techniques and flavor combinations- separately! learning how to cook a frittata is the technique. the flavor combos are endless with any technique, and a lot of them wont be “meh”.

    • Yes, add peppers (well ok peppers go into most my food) or cherry tomatoes. Even just replacing regular onion with red onion would be tasty.

    • Yeah, that combo seemed pretty sparse to me. There needed to be some garlic and some peppers and some spices in there — paprika and some thyme would’ve been good additions. Hell, we throw Old Bay on everything egg in my family. But knowing what to toss on a frittata is mostly experience. With time, everyone gets down what they like in theirs, be it all the veggies, or loads of meat, or different kinds of cheeses. Goat cheese is so mild, feta might’ve been better, there.

  10. Keep in mind you are doing cooking the hard way. 🙂 Most of us don’t make three full different meals every day from scratch. There’s a lot of room between only eating frozen/microwavable stuff and what you’re doing now. “Cooking” as a daily activity usually involves a lot more of “what can I make on Monday that can be served three different ways during the rest of the week” and a lot less “need to go grocery shopping every day for a brand new ingredient”.

    • This is so true. I usually cook once a day and eat a lot of snacks and leftovers around that.

      Also, once you develop your general cooking skills and sense of cooking, you won’t need to follow recipes to the letter anymore. You’ll be able to look at what you have already and figure out how to throw it all together into something delicious (or at least good enough). Since you’re starting out, you’re trying to develop cooking skills and a sense of your own preferences AND trying to have something edible at the end, so the RECIPE -> SHOP -> COOK formula is the perfect approach. The restrictions that make you have to go shopping all the time and do all the recipe steps are exactly what you need to keep you on course and learning new techniques and options. The more you do it, the more you can look at what you have, look up a recipe using those ingredients, and figure out substitutions or modifications for what you don’t have. Or think about what kind of flavor profile you’re in the mood for, look up recipes for inspiration, and then invent something similar using what you have on hand. Or just skip the recipe all together and throw a bunch of stuff together into a salad, soup, frittata, past dish, etc.

      So yes, doing it this way is hard, because you’re learning a whole lot all at once. It will not only get easier, but probably also a lot more fun because you’ll eventually have the skills to make it a creative outlet.

      • I’ll also say that some people, no matter how much they cook and become comfortable with it, will always be recipe people. My hubby has been cooking with me for years and he is definitely very comfortable and happy in the kitchen, but he still always wants a recipe in front of him, even for recipes he’s done hundreds of times. He still always gets a bit befuddled when I cook the way my mom taught me, no recipes, just throwing stuff in and testing how it tastes. Luckily, its not too hard to find recipes on the internet for him to follow, so that he can feel more comfortable.

  11. Yaknow, I JUST realized that most packets of taco seasoning are for 1 pound and the Beef-less Ground Beef is only like 12 ounces. So yeah, that would make much spiciness.
    Anti-Vegan Pit of Snakes moment: the answer to a better frittata/quiche is always country ham or bacon. Now listen, I know some people use mushrooms in these things (unpopular opinion: I find mushrooms to be completely gross and yucky), but I feel like smoked/cured meats are the way to go. I feel like you had to add a ton of vegetable matter to manage to cut through the overwhelming blandness of that much egg–I love eggs, but at this volume, all they do is dilute the flaaaaava. Bonus? You can usually get pre-cooked ham and bacon that means no scary raw meat. YUS.
    For the meat-opposed, my other solution is some fresh minced green onions/scallions over the top just before serving. MMM.

    • Seriously! I love me some bacon! I don’t make frittata often, but I love quiche and bacon makes it so much better! Also, totally agree with you about mushrooms. I cannot stand the texture of mushrooms. They absorb all kinds of flavors in amazing and wonderful ways, but they’re spongy and squishy in a way that just squicks me out!

    • My favorite add-in to frittatas is cubed day-old bread. It bulks it up and I feel like it makes it fluffier. And whether true or not, I’ve had less issues with burning the eggs.

  12. Do you realize how easily you were cooking yesterday? Every step of the frittata, except for the left-out-overnight cheese, was done with confidence! Pour oil in pan, sautee onions (including chopping onions!), whisk eggs…. you’re becoming comfortable in the kitchen!

    You rock, girl!!!

    • Gracias! Yeah, I credit the weekly dinners I’ve been having with my buddy Jessica. She’s been taking the time to show how she makes some stuff, and even forces me to do things on my own. GAH! Thanks for noticing my improvements! 🙂

  13. You may be cooking challenged, but it sounds like you have a lovely singing voice! Perhaps a spin-off of Killer Karaoke, but in the kitchen?

    • HA! That would be hilarious. Slash. Maybe ruin both cooking AND singing for me. 😉

  14. ” egg-food for my mouth hole”
    HA!! So funny…

    I have to say…despite all my years of cooking… I’m with you on the iron skillet fear. I have one that I use in a limited way ( mostly cooking meat ) . It’s so fucking heavy though I dread dealing with it. I have my own protocol for washing it that involves hot water and (gasp) a little bit of soap. I know this is not the Accepted Method and consequently would never have the guts to borrow somebody else’s!

  15. I burned the hell out of my first frittata (too much pan not enough egg) so meh is good for a first one. Yes, eggs aren’t my strongest suit either but frittatas are easier that quiche. Loving the vlogs! PS yep I would squeeze the water out of spinach the same way. Somethings just look gross but the end result is worth it.

  16. “Sometimes food is just MEH.”

    I’m a confident cook who cooks a lot. Honestly, when I’ve made something especially tasty, my usual assessment is “Good batch.” Tonight it came together with the tasty fresh ingredients and made an unusually good batch. Two weeks later, same dish, maybe not so good. The skill isn’t different.

    • OH man, the first and last time I tried to make a pizza from scratch at home… well… it almost ended my marriage. It didn’t go well. Lots of fighting. Toppings were tossed. Long story. Butttt… that was years ago, and I’m better now. Mayhaps I’ll try this one night … when that guy I married is away. 😉

  17. Another thought on salt and frittata meh-ness… our tastebuds adjust to salt levels. And prepared foods tend to have very high sodium levels- so it may take more salt to taste right when we’ve been eating lots of processed or prepared foods. Over time you can gradually reduce, and your tastebuds will adjust.

  18. I have always found frittattas to be meh with out some sort of sauce. I make a mexican inspired one with lots of seasonings that is still, in my opinion, meh with out salsa. The one you made I would pair with Hotlanta Hot Sauce (http://www.hotlantahotsauce.com/) just because it goes great on anything with goat cheese in it, but especially eggs. But honestly, I have to put hot sauce and goat cheese on scrambled eggs to be willing to eat them. In my opinion, eggs are meh with out spicy sauces. But with them …

  19. My favorite part of all of that? “It’s like the sad sack of the lettuce world.” Bahahaha!

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