Tuesday, June 5

Pattypan Squash Frittata Wins Solar Contest at Midtown

Pattypan Squash Frittata... is the perfect entree for a summer brunch. Well, that's what I think. It's light and chock full of goodness. With a noon deadline, solar-cooked items have to be cooked at the Market and ready to share by eleven to get the crowds over to my booth. This particular day was a real contest. I came fully-prepared to construct my frittata on site and had all ingredients ready. Ha. Ha. Ha. Checked the weather channel -- [sunny skies, check]. Beautiful blue sky with rising sun at 6:15 a.m. -- [blue sky for miles and sun rising, check]. Erected tent, prepared tables, set up solar oven, sun rising over tallest building -- [sun ready for work, check].  Assemble ingredients for frittata and, [er, uh, why has everything become less brilliant?] I turned my back for half a second and the sun is now a beautiful globe behind complete cloud cover! What?!?!? Returned ingredients to cooler. Well. Just. Fine.

Most of the Midtown patrons are becoming familiar with my booth and what solar cooking is all about, so, they'll wait for samples until another day.  It was time to enjoy the weather, sit, crochet, and look at my new sign!  Isn't it pretty?  But, I think it's going to take some getting used to before I stop strangling myself every time I need to get into my trunk!

The inspiration for today's meal came from a bountiful harvest of pattypan squash and one sneaky monster zucchini hiding at the very base of the plant. Had I not seen it, that would have been the end of that plant's production! Those pattypans are 5" across!

Expecting to cook, all the components for the frittata were prepared and separately bagged before leaving home so I didn't have to do much more than put it all together. The squashes, lettuce, and onion were sweated in the microwave so they'd cool before being mixed with the eggs. I also pre-chopped the herbs and put them all together with the spices and dry cream. The water and olive oil was in another baggie, and the eggs kept in the shell in another bag. Yes, I said lettuce. I wanted this to be a very light frittata and using chard or another green would make it too 'green' heavy and this was the pattypan squash's time to shine.

The clouds disappeared at 9:40 a.m. and by ten, the solar oven was at 300F. I started putting everything together, in between visitors' questions. Poured it into a foil-lined spring pan, added a tinfoil cover, and it all went into the oven at 10:25, bringing the temperature back down to 275F, which was just fine because I knew that was plenty of time for an egg-based dish to cook. 

Even in my conventional oven, I cover frittatas for the first 40 minutes of cooking because I don't like that 'rubbery' look they get when left uncovered. It was a great opportunity to show people that even with the occasional cloud and temperature drop to about 250F, a solar oven will continue to cook. It might take a little longer, but it will safely cook your food.  I removed the cover at 11:10 (the center was just a tad jiggly) and returned it to the solar oven to finish cooking. It was done by 11:20 and I decided to share some with my fellow vendors and save the rest for my lunch at home.

The texture was divine and the eggs fully-cooked and light. See the missing part? In my haste to share a few token samples, I almost forgot to take a picture!  Then, it was into the Wonder Box Cooker to keep it warm. Will serve this with one or two thick slices of garden-fresh tomato. It's all right -- you may envy me.

Pattypan Squash Frittata 

3 large pattypan squash, very thinly sliced
1/2 medium zucchini, very thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
8-9 large lettuce leaves, roughly chopped (or, your choice of greens)
4 large eggs
3 oz white cheddar and 1 oz mozzarella cheeses, finely shredded (your choice)
2 T water
1 T olive oil
1/4 tsp dry cream
1 T fresh chopped oregano
1/2 T fresh chopped thyme
1 T fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp fresh chopped stevia
1 pinch ground mild curry
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat solar oven to 225F  2-quart covered casserole (or, use tinfoil)

1. Sweat squash, onions, and greens, in the microwave in a covered dish. Do not add water. When squash begins to get translucent, remove all and set aside to cool.

2. Chop all fresh herbs together and combine with rest of ingredients in a large mixing bowl; add cooled squashes and onion, and blend. 

3. Pour into lightly greased or tinfoil-lined casserole, cover, and bake in solar oven for 1.5 - 2 hours, removing cover in last fifteen minutes of cooking.  Frittata is ready when center is set or knife comes out clean when testing for doneness.

Oh, yes, my Pattypan Squash Frittata and I danced with the sun and we won!


  1. It definitely looks like a winner of a frittata to me. I love anything egg-based and the thought of making food without leaving any carbon footprint still leaves me in awe. One day, my friend. One day.

    1. I know. It's like eggs were made knowing chefs would need them for everything; isn't it. Oh, the big debut day is officially August 4th, now. So, you'll be seeing more info as the summer progresses. And, I'm not worried. There's always a some day!

  2. It seems the sun was playing games with you!! But you did indeed win! Sounds like you and your frittata were a great success! Congrats! (and I do indeed envy your beautiful veggies)

    1. Yeah, it's like my Mom getting her laundry on the line before seven. It was back inside by ten and she rarely got rained on. I hated the winters, though. Those jeans were so stiff, I'd use them to carry the rest of the clothes! So, it was nice having something cooking, at least, for my visitors.

  3. That sounds yummy! And looks delicious!!! I loved your sign too! You are so cool Sharlene!!!

    1. I've waited a long, long, time for that sign. Now, I just need two more for my sandwich board and I'll be so cool, I'll be hot!!! Just trying to decide on the wording. Frittatas are always delicious and my pattypan squash is really coming in great, this year, so I might as well enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by. I'll be over soon.


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