Friday, September 18, 2009

Culinary Adventures: Sol-y-Luna

I realize this makes three culinary adventures in a row, and if I had to travel to reach my "destinations" I would be seriously considering a frequent flyer deal of some sort, but I've been having a very imaginative time in the kitchen and I want to share my discoveries.  This present one is the best of all (and, to top it off, I've gotten my camera to cooperate!  No more photos that look like they were taken through a film of olive oil.)

What's for Dinner?

This lovely dish to the right I have named Sol-y-Luna, from the Spanish for "sun and moon," because when I plated it  the first thing that came to mind was an eclipse.  But let me tell you, this is one of the most delicious eclipses I've ever encountered.  Also very easy, which is a great selling point.  I chopped up about an eighth of a white onion (that is, a quarter of the half which remains after my other adventures), and sautéed it in butter.  Then, once the onion began to brown, I added three eggs and scrambled them enough to break the yolks and mix with the onion.  Then I let them coalesce (like an omelette) and added oregano.  While the eggs cooked I microwaved a pita, and, after deflating it (it blew up like a football - or a bag of popcorn during the heating process - kind of funny, I thought), I put it on one side of the plate.  Then I slid the omelette onto the other side, with the two overlapping in the middle.  I added picante sauce (not salsa - there's a difference.  You don't believe me?  It's true - picante sauce is thinner and, in my opinion, less distracting as far as "mouth-feel" is concerned), and then some shredded cheddar cheese to the top.  Very easy.

Preparation: 5 of 5
If it's not obvious from above, the prep work for this was a breeze.  A little chopping of onion, but it was so little onion it hardly mattered.  Everything else really went straight from fridge or pantry to the action (the pita excepted, since it went through the microwave.)
How to Improve: I keep telling myself to cut up the onion ahead of time to save time in the long run, but I never do it.

Presentation: 5 of 5
I don't just give Sol-y-Luna all five points because the picture finally turned out - really, I think this is a very aesthetically pleasing dish.  The yellow of the eggs pops against the tan of the pita (and the blue of the plate), not to mention the red of the picante sauce and the orange of the cheese. The triple roundness of plate, pita, and omelette taps into a sort of Holy Trinity of circular symmetrical wondrousness (yes, I am slightly obsessed with the circle, at least as far as food is concerned).  Although the picante sauce is a bit off-center (did you notice?  I only did once I saw the photo - I was too busy stuffing my face to see it any earlier), this is really what I like to see.
How to Improve: Center the picante sauce!!!

Taste: 9 of 10
The soft and fairly neutral eggs took on the oregano well, and the picante sauce is wonderful painting on the canvas of egg and pita.  What I tasted of the cheese was good, but it was fairly weak.  To my pleasure, the onion wasn't too dominant, as it has been in previous dishes (I used less, that's why).  All in all, the flavors meshed very well and I really enjoyed this dish.

How to Improve: My primary complaint is that we could have stood to see more personality from the pita.  And it would have been great if it hadn't been so tough (but, then again, I suppose pitas are meant to be bitten or torn, not cut with a knife and fork).  In any case, the deficiencies of the pita are hardly my fault, so I'll mostly ignore them.  I should have heated the picante sauce (and used more of it - it's good stuff!), not for reasons of taste (it tasted fine, and I think there's something alluring about physically cold sauce that's actually hot), but to help melt the cheese.  Also, more cheese (viva Wisconsin)!
That was way too many parentheses.  I'm sorry.

Health: 4 of 5
This is not a terribly healthy dish, but on the other hand, it's not terribly unhealthy either.  Eggs, cheese, and butter do make it somewhat high calorie, but if this is the main meal of the day (it was mine), then that's not as much of a sin as it could be.  I admit the criticism that there are no vegetables, but that could be solved by the addition of a salad (I didn't because I knew I wouldn't have room for it, but even so I think I can hear the spinach crying in the refrigerator because it feels lonely and spurned).  This is meatless, so vegetarian-friendly, but it would probably give a vegan hives from thirty yards away.  Oh well.

Ingenuity, Creativity, and Thrift: 4 of 5
An omelette isn't original, nor is the idea of pairing a spicy sauce with eggs, but both are new concepts in my fledgling kitchen, which I intend to make good use of in the future.  Thrifty?  Well, yes, if you reckon that it's meatless, but I'll admit that in this case, I wasn't thinking too much about cost.  Though eggs were $0.85 a dozen, so three eggs is only 21 cents.  Not bad.  This would probably make it into "One-Dollar Meals" without too much effort.

Overall: 27 of 30 (A)
This dish is guest-worthy!  And furthermore, we've learned the usefulness of picante sauce, a newcomer to my kitchen.  Perhaps I should use it to spice up those Pommes-de-Terres Hachées...

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