13 April 2011

life's a carnival!

My husband loves carnivals.  Well, sort of.  He loves the rickety, death-trap rides that cost $5 and make you regret your overindulgence in carnival food.  He loves the greasy, pricey, bad-for-you snacks served up on paper plates from rolling kitchens with smoke billowing out of their lacking ventilation systems.  The smells and sounds of funnel cake, smudged paper bags of fried Oreos, cheese fries and corn dogs are enough to turn anyone into a gluttonous rat like Templeton.  My husband's favorite carnival treat has got to be the Italian Sausage sandwich; he loves them.  You know, the kind with sausage and peppers and onions on a soft roll, all fried up on a griddle that hooks up to the back of a pickup truck.  We've tried to find them elsewhere, venturing to every Italian sub shop in the hood, buying the ingredients and trying to make them ourselves, but nothing lives up to his very high standards.  The only sandwiches that will satisfy him are those from the carnival.  This is my husband at North Brunswick's annual Carnivale Italiano:

overwhelmed by the awesomeness of a Central Jersey fair
He's obviously really excited about our near-death experiences on the Himalaya followed by tasty Sausage sandwiches.  It's a pre-sandwich shot so he's still pretty skeptical.  I wish I'd had the camera ready while he was indulging but he scarfed the hoagie down too quickly for me to capture it on film.  Like I mentioned, for his sake I've tried to recreate the awesomeness of the carnival creation at home to no avail.  But as luck would have it my fridge is still overrun with veggies and I'm trying to find new and creative ways to get rid of them everyday... especially those damn peppers.  So another kitchen puzzle began to unfold itself - I opened the freezer and what is staring back at me?  Italian sausage!  To the staples cupboard where I always have a stash of onions and potatoes.  Back to the fridge for what's left of the eggs before I pulled out my hand-me-down cast iron skillet (one of my prized possessions.)  

By now I'm sure you see where I'm going with this but first I'll let you in on something that I love.  I love eggs and I love things that can be served in slices.  But I don't love quiche; well, my Aunt Kathryn's quiche is pretty awesome and my mom made a tasty one this weekend but usually I'm not a huge fan.  So what's a girl to do when she wants a slice of eggs without the crust of a quiche?  Frittata!  They are quick, simple, cheap and creative.  You can put anything in a frittata and that certainly includes sandwich stuffings.

So what happens when you mix my love of breakfast slices with my husband's love of carnival sandwiches together in a cast iron skillet?  You get the Carnival Frittata - minus the long lines, hiked up prices, and inevitable nausea felt after riding something wacky and fast and possibly dangerous called the El Diablo.

Carnival Frittata
5 eggs
2 tbsp half & half
1 lb sliced Italian sausage
1 small diced onion
1 c chopped peppers
1 c diced potatoes
salt & pepper
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1.  Turn oven to broil.  While oven is warming up, heat oil & balsamic vinegar in oven-safe skillet (preferably a cast iron skillet) on a medium heat.  Toss in onions, peppers and potatoes with salt & pepper to taste.  Fry up until tender.  Add sausage and stir with veggies until fully cooked.
2.  In a separate bowl, whisk eggs an half & half until mixed thoroughly.  Lower skillet heat to low and pour in eggs, stirring constantly.  Let eggs cook around veggies and sausage almost completely, mixing to keep from sticking to sides of the pan.  
3.  When eggs are nearly cooked, place pan on highest rack of heated oven and bake until top starts to brown.  Remove from oven an let finish cooking as it cools.  Serve in slices with a side of greens and a slice of fresh mozzarella.  

You know the meal was good and worth trying out yourself because husbo willingly ate four slices and loved it!  Finally, an at home sausage sandwich success story.

Don't limit the carnival atmosphere to the menu.  Turn your kitchen into a fun house by stringing up some lights, playing loud music and indulging in some Oreos for dessert, your call whether they're fried or straight-up.  Find a good video of fireworks online and all of a sudden you're transported to the Carnivale Italiano.  Plus you're eating breakfast for supper and who doesn't love that? 

No comments:

Post a Comment