GINNA PARSONS: Veggie-based meal might please son

OK. So here’s the conversation at my house last Wednesday evening between my 13-year-old son, Patrick, and me.
Pat: Hey, mom, what’s for dinner?
Me: Chicken casserole and steamed green beans.
Pat: What? Chicken? Again? We just had chicken last night.
Me: No, we didn’t, son. We had pork, remember? I cooked a pork loin in the slow cooker.
Pat: Chicken, pork … it’s all the same.
Me: Yes, they’re both protein. But they have different tastes and textures.
Pat: Well, why can’t we have other types of protein then?
Me: We do. Beef, turkey and fish all have protein. So do beans, like when we have vegetarian chili.
Pat: But they’re all the same.
Me: (Big sigh.)
It was obvious I wasn’t going to win this argument, so I left the room to go fold laundry. Part of me understood his frustration … yes, we probably do have a chicken casserole once every two weeks, along with turkey burgers, roasted salmon and baked pork chops.
Maybe he, like his sister, is going to eventually shun beef and pork. He’s never been a big meat eater, except when it comes to burgers. He can knock those back like water.
It got me thinking about meals my mother prepared when I was growing up. We had your usual fried chicken, country fried steak, spaghetti, roast beef, tuna noodle casserole, chicken and dumplings and grilled sirloin.
But what made her meals really special were the vegetables she’d cook.
And sometimes, her best meals were just vegetables, like peas and cornbread, greens, corn, sliced tomatoes and maybe some deviled eggs.
Now that summer is here and farmers’ markets are in full swing, maybe I should give a nod to my mother and prepare some meatless meals right from the farm.
I’d like to see Patrick argue with that idea!

Summer Vegetable Frittata
112 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced zucchini
12 cup chopped red bell pepper
13 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
12 teaspoon salt, divided
14 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 cup chopped seeded tomato
8 large eggs

Heat olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini, bell pepper, onion, thyme, 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, 1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato. Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates.
Combine eggs, remaining salt, and remaining black pepper in a bowl; stir with a whisk until frothy. Pour egg mixture into pan over vegetables, stirring gently. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 15 minutes or until almost set in the center. Broil frittata 3 minutes or until set. Invert onto a serving platter and cut into 8 wedges.
Note: Recipe adapted from one in Cooking Light magazine.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.

Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal