Thursday, February 18, 2010

0 Recipe #68: Tomatillo, Tomato, & Multi-Colored Pepper Omelette

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I whipped up this original recipe on a whim while vacationing with family in Mexico. Strangely enough, inspiration came in the form of a grocery run. Looking at all the fresh fruits & vegetables gave me some fantastic inspiration for meal ideas. Thankfully, we had a walk/live-in kitchen as part of our accommodations.

For some reason, I often cook when we go away on vacation, & happen to enjoy it immensely too. It's not that hard to see what it is about vacation spaces that get the creative juices flowing: First, it's an opportunity to be creative in a new environment, a place devoid of attachments, which has not yet been stamped with the balmy mist of memories. It's a clean slate, ripe & ready for new ideas. That gives a person a certain kind of freedom not found in one's existing home kitchen space. (Mine in particular is more cramped than I would like, which is also another challenge; a multiple course dinner has to be perfectly timed & coordinated in order for everything to come out of it without incident & without feeling like I'm cooking on top of myself!)

I've also found that, in general, it's often much more fun to cook in someone else's kitchen, even if that "someone" is a hotel conglomerate. ;) When I'm on vacation, cooking is rarely ever a chore. This is actually when cooking becomes fun again. I don't cook on vacation because I have to cook; I cook because I want to cook. And if I'm not in the mood to cook for some reason, we go out to eat. It's as easy as that.

Also, I find that when I'm in a "vacation state of mind" that I come up with lots of creative ideas without really even trying that hard. They just spring forth, as if out of nowhere.

Plus, when I'm vacationing with my family, I know they really appreciate it as well. They are on vacation too, so it gives them a chance to let someone else do the cooking for a change, that is, when we aren't going out to eat at a restaurant.

Just a brief word about creativity & fresh ingredients:

Since it was too difficult to buy all the spices I would've liked during our time in Mexico, I had to keep things extremely simple out of necessity: The original omelette I made consisted of eggs, tomatillos, grape tomatoes, & multi-colored Bell peppers, cooked in olive oil (instead of butter), with no other condiments. Definitely not my usual style. I prefer to cook omelettes in a small sliver of butter, because, IMHO, they taste much better & brown more effectively this way.

However, in the absence of spices, I was able to utilize the different flavors of the vegetables themselves in such a way that additional seasoning could be left out without sacrificing any flavor. It's amazing how creative you can become when you're working with bare-bones ingredients. :)

In any event, there were several advantages to making meals while on vacation in Mexico. For one, the fruits & vegetables are absolutely wonderful! There are the most gorgeous lemons, limes, papayas, pineapples, all kinds of peppers, jicama, etc. Everything is so fresh & ripe, & is beautifully displayed. It doesn't take much to start salivating just looking at it all. I tell you, I was in fruit & veggie heaven. :-D

And for this particular recipe, I was especially fortunate. The tomatillos, tomatoes, & peppers, were all so amazingly fresh & tasty, it was unreal.  And let me just say that the tomatillos I found in Mexico were NOTHING at all like the 'puny little suckas' I've seen in many US-based grocery chains. Let me tell you, they are HUGE. As big as some hot-house or vine-ripened tomatoes here. Any bigger & you could probably use it as a doorstop. LOL.

Some other advantages to cooking in Mexico: Also, in addition to the vivid colors & inspirational vibes of Mexico itself, it was nice to finally cook for more than just two people! :-)

So, now that I'm back in my own kitchen, & no longer have to "bare-bones" it anymore, I've modified the basic recipe back into something a bit more elaborate, as a way to include some of the ingredients I would've liked to incorporate at the time but couldn't find.  These ingredients -- particularly the spices -- provide a bit more balance, rounding out the flavor combinations a bit more. Ahhhhh.  Just the way I'd intended.

Tomatillo, Tomato, & Multi-Colored Pepper Omelette

1/8 tsp. butter (or less), to season pan
3 eggs
1/8 c. non-dairy "lite" creamer
1 oz. crumbled non-fat feta
1/4 fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
2 medium-sized tomatillos, husked & rinsed, & then quartered
1/4 c. mixture of red, orange, yellow, &/or green bell peppers
4-5 grape tomatoes, sliced into rounds
sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste
1 tsp. jalepeño pepper, quartered or finely minced (optional)

Directions: Prepare all vegetables/fruits, cilantro, & cheese, & put into individual bowls. Set aside. Beat eggs in a bowl, & then mix together with creamer. Season nonstick omelette pan with butter. Heat omelette pan to medium-high heat. Pour in egg mixture. Sprinkle feta cheese & on top, followed by tomatillos, grape tomatoes, & peppers (including jalepeño pepper, if so desired). Grind fresh black pepper over omelette face & season lightly with salt. Turn down heat to medium-low. Add cilantro. Fold omelette over as soon as eggs solidly congeal in pan.  Sprinkle remaining cilantro on top of omelette as garnish.

Important Tip: Make sure you do not fold the omelette prematurely, as it will be hard to flip the omelette later in order to cook it evenly. Flip omelette when it's reached a light golden brown color, and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until a light golden brown on both sides. Be sure to watch omelette carefully so it doesn't burn. Transfer omelette onto a plate. Et le voilà. You have a beautiful & delicious omelette!

Yield: Makes 1 serving.

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