Year of Grace, Day 88. Thank goodness for frozen peas!

For some reason, heat and I have such an affinity to one another that I manage to burn my fingers or get a splash of hot oil while baking or cooking. I usually apply an ice cube immediately to the affected area, or else put ice cubes in water in a bowl and soak my fingers. The immediate lowering of the temperature eases the pain and stops the absorbed heat from going deeper.

Today for brunch, I made a glorified Spanish omelette – that is, finished in the oven like a frittata. While serving, having forgotten the pan had just come out of a hot oven, I laid my fingers on the frying pan’s very hot handle. Ouch… and discovered with dismay that there were no ice cubes in the freezer! (It’s winter and as the freezer has had ongoing repairs which meant defrosting multiple times, the trays had not been replenished.) Oh dear, what to do?

I grabbed the first thing that came to hand –- a solid pack of frozen meat — but it couldn’t get in between my fourth and little fingers where the burns were. And then I remembered my friend Gillian’s brilliant remedy –- frozen peas! I took some out of the box and put them into a plastic bag. Then I stuck my fingers among the little peas. Relief was immediate! I kept my fingers in as long as I could stand the cold, then replaced the peas in the freezer to stop them defrosting, and repeated the process, until when I took my fingers out of the icy peas and into the air, they didn’t sting as much.

Gillian also uses frozen peas wrapped around with a tea towel as a cold compress or to place on a child’s feverish brow. Super effective! The peas are more flexible than ice cubes and shape themselves nicely around a knee or brow. Thank you, frozen peas! You were absolutely brilliant today! You’re not just one of my family’s fave veggies :-). You’re great for healing too!

Here’s my recipe.

Potato-onion frittata

Potato-onion frittata

Potato-onion frittata for two

2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced into matchsticks

1 medium onion, thinly sliced into half-moons

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 large eggs, beaten

regular or smoked paprika, sweet and/or hot as you prefer

1 – 2 tablespoons (or more, to your liking) grated Parmesan or other cheese

2 – 3 tablespoons olive or other oil

Over low heat, slowly warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan with an oven-proof handle.

Once the oil is hot, add the potatoes, grind pepper and sprinkle salt over them to your taste, and top with the onions. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper and drizzle the surface with the remaining olive oil.

Cover the pan and raise the heat to medium-low.

Once the bottom potatoes start giving off scent and turning golden, turn them so that top layer of onions and potatoes are now at the bottom. Be gentle so that the potato pieces do not break.

Replace the cover and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender. Turn off the heat.

Pour the eggs, seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper if you like, over the potatoes and onions. With a fork, level the surface so that all are covered with egg. If not, add another beaten egg.

Grate the Parmesan or other cheese over the mixture, sprinkle with paprika to taste (and for visual appeal too).

Place the frying pan in the middle shelf of a moderate oven (180 C, 350 F) for about 8 -10 minutes, or until the eggs are set.

Serve at once, with Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce if you prefer.

And do please remember to leave your oven mitt on the pan handle so that you don’t end up with burnt fingers.

Guten Appetit!

By the way, the number of today’s post — 88 — is a very auspicious one in Chinese and Japanese culture. On this last day of this first month of the new year, I wish you all the very best and a most auspicious beginning for the coming months.