Today marks the first Friday of Lent, and the only week during the Lenten season when Catholics are required to refrain from eating meat twice in one week.
Many religions around the world acknowledge some type of fasting with purposes of self-sacrifice, awareness through prayer, a time of reflection, being mindful. On Ash Wednesday this week, the first day of the Lenten season we shared together Baked Potato Skins Mixed Mushrooms, Cheeses, Greens, a side dish, meal, or hors d’ oeuvre that might be enjoyed anytime, but also met the criteria refraining from meat. Today, as promised, we share a recipe for this first Friday lenten meal from those baked potato skins, using up the fluffy whites inside the potato skins, and for lack of a better name, let’s simply call it Potato and Egg Bake.
In the other day’s post I also mentioned that in many ways refraining from meat on Lenten Friday’s now seems more mindful and less sacrificial compared to the past, with so many choices of vegetables and creative means of preparation at our available access. When I was growing up there were basically a few common dishes served, grilled cheese on white bread, oftentimes baked, until near burnt, served alongside Campbell’s tomato soup, do you remember this? There were also tuna fish sandwiches, and then, to me, among the most horrible meal ever created besides spam, were the dreaded, baked, breaded, frozen fish sticks, yes sir, Bless me Father, these things were sinfully horrible. In fact, I disliked those junky breaded things so much so I would rather have had to get on my knees and say three consecutive rosaries than eat such a dreadful invention. Well almost.
We all know the saying, “TGIF” and for this we even Thank God, one of these reasons is that after a long week we are tired, and well, maybe it’s like this for you too, but Friday’s are generally my most tired day. It’s one day I do not feel like cooking, I’m thinking Pizza, or a casual meal at the local pub. But during Lent, Friday’s have now evolved to the one day at the end of a long week where I make the extra effort to forgo the Pizza or the local pub and prepare a meal, whose ingredients for the most part are humble, but offers just a teensy bit of mindful acknowledgement of sacrifice. Now I say teensy, because the truth is, the Friday lenten dinner thing is one little gesture I came to having that sort of personality fairly lacking in any type of self discipline whatsoever when it comes to ‘giving up’ something for all of Lent.
Oh yes. Take sweets for example. I’m not much of a sweet eater, but I guarantee you if I ever said, ‘I’m giving up sweets for Lent,’ I would be just that person landing in the candy display window before Easter gobbling up every version just like the mayor in the movie “Chocolat.” Do you know this movie?
Ah yes, reminded of this, I just had to look up and share the words to the Easter sermon finally delivered in his own words by the poor priest Pastor on Easter morning, who throughout the string of the movie had to patiently re-write each weeks prior deliveries suited to the intolerant, sacrificing mayor. I think the message has good meaning in its content, perhaps you do too: ” I want to talk about Christ’s humanity, I mean how he lived his life on earth: his kindness, his tolerance. We must measure our goodness, not by what we don’t do, what we deny ourselves, what we resist, or who we exclude. Instead, we should measure ourselves by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include.”
Perhaps this little message offers a nice reflection on sacrifices and mindfulness, even those that might seem so teeny, like preparing Potato and Egg Bake on our most tired night of the week on a Lenten Friday, using up the fluffy white insides of the potato skins, being thankful, and always, keeping an open heart to include all around the shared table.
- Scooped out potato from 6 baked potatoes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (optional)
- 6 eggs beaten
- 1/2 cup half and half (milk may be used)
- pinch or two ground nutmeg
- a few pinches coarse kosher salt and cracked black pepper for potatoes, and for beaten eggs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large size nonstick pan on very low heat, add butter and olive oil, swirl around to cover bottom then scrape in chopped onion, cook three minutes, toss in the potatoes, sprinkle with a few pinches salt and pepper, stir, check seasoning. Continue cooking gently heating potatoes, occasionally turning over with a spatula until potatoes have reached a light golden brown color on both sides, around twelve minutes. Pour the half and half into beaten eggs, whisk, sprinkle in nutmeg, and a few pinches salt and pepper. When potatoes are browned pour over the egg mixture completely covering the potatoes. Let egg set for a minute or two, use a spatula to barely lift the potatoes around the edges for some uncooked egg to move to the bottom of the pan. Once egg begins setting, after a few minutes, turn off heat, sprinkle potato and egg mixture all over with shredded cheese and Parmesan then immediately place pan in oven, cook for around five minutes until dish is fully cooked, turn on broiler heating until cheese is melted and browned all around. Slide potato and egg dish out of pan, cut into pie shaped slices.