How are you doing, friends? I realize it is three days before Christmas. I pray that your lists have been checked twice and your minds are quieting down to ponder this precious holiday. Our family’s gifts are quite sparse this year, though the adventures of the year are a gift in and of themselves. The weather seems to have tricked our brains. While our hearts are trying to worship, it is clear that we have been conditioned to believe that summer and Christmas do not go hand in hand. Though I miss the sights and smells of the holidays in the states, I am grateful for a break from the crazy.
This year, I am thinking much of all the comforts and joy and perfect love that Jesus left behind when he left his seat at the right hand of the Father to come to this foreign, worldly land. How comforted I was to hear the words of Hebrews 2 at church this morning, of Jesus being fully human and thus being able to sympathize with us in our weakness (Hebrews 4) and be the Wonderful Counselor that we sing about.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15
Today is one of those days when I am not feeling like living in a foreign land. I bought cookie cutters to make these sugar cookies with the kids, but I can’t find meringue powder to frost them prettily. Then I thought I could make peppermint cookies, but there’s no peppermint extract to be found. And finally, I just broke down and cried in the middle of the grocery store. Not necessarily because of what I lacked but because I did see fresh cranberries. I know at home I would buy so many cranberries this time of year. But what do I need cranberries for? Should I buy them? They’ll be gone soon. Not a major life decision, but for whatever reason, the question of cranberries set me over the cross-cultural edge. I highly doubt Jesus cried over cranberries when he was homesick for heaven, but I’m comforted by the fact that I have a savior who can relate to my homesickness. And so I worship and give thanks to perhaps fathom just little a bit deeper the great cost of my salvation during this Christmas season.
Inner thoughts and cultural quandaries aside, I would be remiss if I did not share with you one of my favorite options for Christmas breakfast. I generally try to plan for something I can prepare in advance so that I can be fully present with our family Christmas morning. This frittata is delicious and perfectly festive with the red tomatoes, green spinach and white feta. And can I confess, feta in eggs is one of my favorites. Such salty scrumptiousness. I do try to balance the savory with something sweet… cranberry cake perhaps? I’ll try to share that recipe tomorrow. Or these lemon cranberry scones. I did decide to buy the cranberries – two bags in fact. See my note at the bottom of the recipe for make-head and doubling instructions.
Quick talk about shallots… what exactly is a shallot? For the longest time, I confused shallots and scallions (the white part of the green onion). They are not the same. A shallot looks like a small thin onion or a very large clove of garlic. Here is a photo to help:
A Colorful Frittata
- 1/2 lb baby spinach, tough stems removed (250 g)
- 6 large eggs
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (12 oz/375 g)
- 1 tbsp minced shallot
- 1/2 tsp chopped fresh oregano (or a scant 1/4 tsp dried oregano)
- 1/2 cup well-drained crumbled feta (2 1/2 oz/75 g)
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Rinse the spinach and drain in a colander. Place the spinach in a saucepan over medium heat with just the rinsing water clinging to the leaves and cook, tossing and stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Drain cooked spinach well in a mesh strainer or colander, pressing out the excess moisture with the back of a spoon, and then chop spinach finely. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1/2 tsp salt until blended.
Heat an ovenproof 10-inch (25-cm) sauté pan over medium-high heat, and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the tomatoes and shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot begins to brown but the tomatoes retain their shape, 1-2 minutes. Add the oregano and season the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Add the eggs and the spinach, distributing them evenly in the pan. Sprinkle the feta evenly over the top.
[*If you do not have an ovenproof skillet or if you plan to make a double recipe and cook in a baking dish, any 10-inch or larger sauté pan will work. After sautéing the tomatoes and shallot, pour them into a lightly greased baking dish of choice. Then add the eggs and spinach and sprinkle the feta as above.]
Transfer to the oven and bake until puffed and golden on top, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, grind some pepper over the top, and serve right away directly from the pan. Or, run a thin metal spatula around the edge of the pan to loosen the frittata and, with the help of a large, flat metal spatula, slide it onto a plate. *I have never attempted to do the latter in real life, so may the odds be ever in your favor if you do!
If you don't have a heatproof sauté pan, a pie dish or 8-inch square pan will work just fine. I often bake for a crowd and double this recipe, in which case I use a 9x13-inch baking dish, as pictured. When baking in a 9x13 dish, plan for at least 25 minutes in the oven, though it may take up to 35 minutes for the center to set.
Also, seeing as I'm not much of a morning person, at times I may cook the spinach, tomatoes and shallot the night before, placing the spinach in one container and the tomatoes and shallot in another and refrigerating them all until assembling in the morning.