A bona fide experiment from my kitchen
In which we begin calorie counting
My partner, to whom I need to assign a suitable pseudonym, has just returned from a 5 week trip to the US and Germany, and decided that a diet is in order. Since January I’ve been either recovering from surgery, or ill again, so my daily activity is much lower than is normal for me, and it shows. Consequently, we are both calorie counting for the next couple of months; him to lose some weight, and me to make sure I don’t gain any more. This means we have both set our daily caloric intake at 1700 calories per day.
In practical terms, what it means is that we calculate the calories in the foods we eat and enter them onto spreadsheets a friend made. When I cook, I weigh everything carefully and jot down the calorie contents, as well as the ingredients and the method. What this means for my recipes here is I will include exact weights of my ingredients, and calorie counts for each dish, and per serving, because I might as well share all the information I have.
Introducing the NOTEBOOK
Conveniently, one of the presents he picked up for me on this trip was a blank recipe book which is divided into sections with lots of lined pages as well as plastic pockets for recipes cut out of magazines or (much more likely) printed from the internet. In short, it’s very nifty and a decided improvement on my usual method of scribbling stuff down on loose pieces of paper, or whichever small notebook I happen to be using at the time.
(click thumbnails for full sized photos)
Pumpkin and Leek Frittata
Makes 2-4 servings
1 large leek (175g)
1 stick celery (30g)
About 1/4 of a Japanese pumpkin (300g) – any other pumpkin would do.
2 small carrots (100g)
2 large eggs (63g each)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Mixed herbs: e.g. oregano, parsley, chives, garlic, marjoram
1 tiny pinch of cayenne
Finely slice the leek and celery.
Grate the pumpkin and carrot.
In a medium sized heavy bottomed frying pan or skillet, heat the oil with a dash of water. Add the sliced leek and celery, season with salt, pepper, herbs, and cayenne, and sauté on high for a couple of minutes. Once the leek starts to soften, turn the heat to medium, and cover for 5-6 minutes. Add the grated pumpkin and carrot to the pan, stir everything together, and cover until all the vegetables are soft, but are still distinct from one another. Check to see if you need to add more seasoning.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with a couple of drops of water. Lightly flatten the vegetables with the back of a spatula, so that they cover the bottom of the pan evenly. Drizzle the eggs evenly over the veges, so that the egg mixture sinks down and binds everything together. DO NOT STIR!
Watch the pan. As the eggs cook, they will become opaque at the bottom of the pan, but remain running on top. Gently push the sides of the fritata away from the edges of the pan to check progress. Once the egg on the bottom is firm and opaque, move the pan under the grill to cook the top. Grill on medium for about 5 minutes to ensure even cooking, then sprinkle with grate cheese and grill until the cheese is melted. (Alternately, you could put the whole pan in the oven once you have added the eggs. It all depends on your pan, your oven, and how much time/attention you have at your disposal.)
Serve with blanched greens or salad.
Total calories: 490
We had half each, with 100g of blanched green beans, bringing our individual calories for the meal to 255 each.
You could easily serve 1/4 of the frittata per person (123 cal) with more salads etc. to fill out each serving.
Experimental Status: Success! Very tasty. The ingredients worked well together and the texture was good. Would use less water next time (and have modified instructions to reflect this).
Repeatability:: Yet to be determined.