Two Sundays ago, I found myself in a predicament: while my body remained in Bloomington, Indiana, my mind and heart were five hours north, in Milwaukee, where my baby niece had begun her long and laborious entrance into the world. My sister Annie had called, briefly, the evening before, to report, between deep and careful breaths, that the contractions had started. Twenty-four hours passed with only a text or two of update, and I was getting antsy (or rather, auntsy). Doing homework was out of the question. Sitting at all seemed too passive an activity when I knew my whole world was about to change. I needed a project. I needed a frittata. I needed a hakuna matata frittata.
I’m calling this a hakuna matata frittata because, beyond eggs and milk, it absolutely does not matter what goes into it. Do you have half an onion, an old zucchini, one big tomato and some parmesan? Perfect, hakuna matata. Or maybe you have a couple cloves of garlic, some greens that need to get used, and a chunk of goat cheese leftover from when you made that delicious fig onion jam? No worries, friend, you’ve got the makings of one fine frittata. As it turned out, my fridge had a decent assortment of odds and ends when I set out to distract myself from waiting for “the news,” and the result — a simple yet flavorful and filling meal — was more than tasty enough to warrant sharing with you here.
I still had to wait till the following morning to hear that my beautiful and perfect niece, Evelyn Jane, had arrived. But boy oh boy, was she worth the wait.
My friend Liz tried to warn me that becoming an aunt makes your life full in ways you never knew were missing, that you will be stunned by how much love you can feel towards this tiny person you barely know. Now I know how right she is.
Welcome to the world, little Evie. I love you to the moon (and back), and I promise to make you a frittata any time you please.
hakuna matata frittata
Adapted from Naturally Ella
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup whole milk
salt & pepper
1/2 red onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 red pepper, diced
handful of red potatoes, diced
6-8 button mushrooms, sliced
small bunch of kale, sliced thinly
handful of grape tomatoes, halved
2-3 teaspoons herbes de provence (or a combo of green herbs)
3 ounces (or so) goat cheese, sliced into circles
Serves 4-6, depending on appetite
Preheat oven to 400 F.
If using potatoes, I recommend boiling them for 5-10 minutes beforehand to soften them up a bit before getting sauteed.
Slice, dice, chop and mince. I like to place ingredients in bowls according to their cooking times: the onion separate because it goes in first, then perhaps a bowl for the mushrooms and peppers, plus one for the quick-cookers like tomatoes and kale.
Heat the oil in your cast iron skillet. Cook the onion over medium heat till soft and translucent, then add garlic, pepper, mushroom, and potato. Let veggies cook until tender, maybe 10 minutes, maybe more, maybe less. Hakuna matata.
Next add the quick-cooking veggies, like tomatoes and kale. Stir and cook until kale is just beginning to wilt, 2-3 minutes. Season with herbes de provence, or whichever herbs (oregano? basil? thyme?) sound good to you.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour into the skillet and cook 5-6 minutes over medium-low heat, or until the bottom is set.
Top with slices of goat cheese (or your cheese of choice) then transfer to the oven to bake for 10-12 minutes. You know the frittata is done when it begins to puff up, it doesn’t jiggle, and the edges are beginning to brown.
Let cool for a few minutes before digging in. I suggest pairing a hearty slice of frittata with a simple green salad and some buttery bread. And if you’ve got something to celebrate — like a sweet new niece, a healthy sister, and a very proud brother-in-law — then add a glass of wine, and you’ve got yourself one lovely meal.