Cheap Ass Monday: Which way to the bread line?

Thank god for Cheap Ass Monday, which I predict will soon become “Cheap Ass Every Damn Day” because the hourly rates of New York City psychiatrists are INSANE.  Nationally known expert, schmexpert; I’ll need another drug just to counteract the shock of the bills.  I’ve totally gone down the wrong path in life: I should have become a psychiatrist.  Based on the hourly rate of the guy I’m seeing for a second opinion this Friday, I could see four patients a week and still be making hundreds more than I do in my current job.  It’s too bad you have to actually go to medical school and can’t just apprentice with ye olde barber-surgeon anymore.


I’ll give you a clue what his rate is:  it starts with  “6″ and ends with an “00″ and there is no decimal involved.

It is thus that I drop to my knees and offer thanks for the humble egg, the humble onion and the even humbler potato.  For with them, you can make a Spanish tortilla, the potato-filled cousin of the Italian frittata. If you have some leftover dried chorizo your neighbors brought back from Puerto Rico, all the better.  Some salad dressed simply with red wine vinegar (or, to keep the Spanish theme alive, sherry vinegar) and an assertive olive oil, and you’re all set.

An Aside: As I type, Brian is sitting next to me playing Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii.  Currently, Mario is on a tiny planet trying to keep a rabbit from being eaten by a giant mole wearing a spiky war helmet.  He informs me that he has almost beaten the game and will soon win the prize, which is…getting to play the WHOLE GAME OVER AGAIN, but as Luigi instead of Mario.  I firmly believe that the people responsible for this game are batshit insane, having possibly been driven so by their psychiatry bills.


BlogHer only pays about an average of $3 per thousand impressions, so I’m going to need you to click on a lot of pages here.  Tell your friends.

A tortilla starts and ends with the potatoes.  In this case, about a pound and a half of nice waxy yukon golds from our CSA, cut into quarter-inch slices.  The taters go into a hot skillet liberally coated with olive oil, are doused with black pepper and salt and spend 20 minutes or so cooking to almost-but-not-quite-done, with some slices getting just the tiniest bit crispy around the edges.

Once the potatoes are mostly cooked they’re removed from the skillet and onion and red pepper are thrown in (along with a little more olive oil) to soften; after a few minutes I threw in a respectable amount of garlic – all the recipes I consulted called for a scant teaspoon of garlic, which I’m sure you’ll agree is ludicrous – and a handful of diced chorizo.


Or you could set a little alarm in your Outlook:  every 30 minutes, come and click!

You end up with this lovely mess, and a kitchen that smells of sauteed onion and smoked paprika.  Which I would totally buy as a candle if anyone would make that scent.  Do you hear me, Yankee Candle people?  WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH COUNTRY APPLE.  What the fuck is a country apple anyway?


I’m totally kidding, I fully appreciate your current rate of clickage.

The potatoes then return to the pan to mingle with the rest of the veg.  I’m not going to tell you not to eat any of this as is, because you will do it.  Just try to hold back as much as possible, because it really will taste amazing at the end, I promise.  The potatoes finish cooking through with the onion and pepper, which really helps the flavors to meld – kinda like cooking al dente pasta in the sauce in which it will be served.

Another Aside:  I have just been informed that the key to defeating the warrior mole is to lure him out of the ground and then “smack him in his big ol’ mole heiney.”  See?  Mentally balanced people do not come up with things like this.


Although if you wanted to click more, I wouldn’t stand in your way.

I smoothed the potatoes and assorted vegetables and pork into a relatively even layer in the skillet and then poured six beaten eggs over them, shaking the pan a little to distribute the egg evenly.  I let the tortilla firm up on the stove for a few minutes before sending it into the oven to finish cooking through for another ten minutes or so.

Then I pulled it out of the oven and I swear to the baby Jesus, I had to leave the frigging room because otherwise there was no way the tortilla would have cooled to room temperature (or okay, fine, near room temperature) unmolested.  I lingered long enough to blot off some extra grease that had accumulated on top from the olive oil and chorizo and hied downstairs to the den, because you know how I hate to miss my Dancing With the Stars.


Thank god psychiatrists take health insurance!  Oh wait, I’m sorry, I’m thinking of EVERY OTHER KIND OF HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IN THE WORLD.*

After 20 or 30 minutes the tortilla was set, cooled and calling my name.  I hastily threw together a salad and cut myself a wedge or two or three.

*Not that I am bitter.


I am offically done complaining.*

Goddamn, tortilla is good.  All the flavors come together in an amazing way: the potatoes just soak everything up, so you taste one delicious sweet and smoky flavor instead of a bunch of individual tastes.  The egg holds everything together and virtually disappears as an individual ingredient.  There’s a fun play of textures as well – soft potato, slightly crispy edges and top, and little punches of chewy chorizo.  In short, nothing not to love. To make it uber-special, serve it with romesco sauce – yum.

Of course, after Friday I won’t even be able to make this simple dish; I’ll be boiling old potatoes in water with whatever weeds I can pick in the backyard to make a kind of Depression-era proto-soup.  Guidance on which weeds will work the best is much appreciated.

*In this post.

Spanish Tortilla
1/4 + 2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 pounds waxy potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 large onion, sliced into half moons
1 bell pepper, cut into a large dice
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz. chorizo, diced (optional)
6 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper

Heat 1/4 of the olive oil in an oven-proof skillet (I like cast-iron) over medium heat.  Add the potatoes, toss to coat and cook for about 20 minutes, until they’ve softened but are not 100% cooked.  If there’s too much sizzling or browning, turn the heat down a bit.  When they’re soft, remove them with a slotted spoon.

Preheat your oven to 375.

Add the rest of the olive oil, the onion and the bell pepper; saute for 5-7 minutes; add the garlic and chorizo and cook for another 5 minutes. The onion should be nice and soft.

Return the potatoes to the pan and toss to combine with the onion, pepper and chorizo; cook the veggies together for a few more minutes until the potato is cooked all the way through.  Pat the veg down into a relatively even layer and pour the beaten egg over the top; jiggle the skillet to encourage the egg to distribute itself evenly.

Let the tortilla set on the stovetop for 5 minutes, then transfer to the oven for another 10, until the egg is set all the way through.  Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature, cut into wedges and serve.


17 thoughts on “Cheap Ass Monday: Which way to the bread line?

  1. Aside from the tasty eats, thank you for the key to beating the uber-mole thingy. I will pass this along and no longer be nauseated by watching my husband, as Mario, run around defying gravity hither and thither, jumping upside-down, and other such psychotic moves as concocted by evil video game girlfriend/wife-hating designers.

  2. Ooch. Sorry about the rate… I hope the guy is at least worth it :( Anyway, maybe a brand-new treasure awaits Luigi at the end. Totally LOL about finishing the game to start over… It seems we have returned to 1984.
    For cheap eats, the tortilla is looking mighty tasty :)

  3. Holy muthereffer that’s a lotta dough for an hour! *faints* I am thanking my lucky stars for socialized medicine right now. And Hellll yeah tortilla is freaking awesome. Try a wedge between a baguette. Thank me later. lmao

  4. Yup, this is one of my stand-by meatless meals (only because I never have any chorizo). And one of the few my raging carnivore of a husband actually likes.

  5. *Big Hug* Smack down that doc until he takes your health insurance. I know it’s hard work to become a doctor, but how many times can one repay one’s med school loans?

    Where can I get neighbors who bring me chorizo?

    I’ve been doing cheap-ass everything until I pay for Thanksgiving dinner. I need some cheapie ideas. This looks great.

  6. I’m totally willing to be your therapist except I don’t have a license (for that) and can’t prescribe drugs. So you may need a back up for the medication. Maybe he’ll take like $100 for fifteen minutes to check up on you quickly and prescribe drugs. Cause I did the math and figured it out, and yes, this dude makes $100 for every 15 minutes. Ask yourself at the end if this session was as therapeutic as six massages. Actually, for me, it would be eight massages. If you come to Florida, I’ll introduce you to my massage therapist and she will change your life. In a good way.

    But if you’d like to call me once (or even twice) a week so that I can be encouraging and provide vague reassurance and guidance(but are you following your heart? How do you feel about that? Have you thought about WHY you feel that way?), just let me know.

    Oh, btw, the food looks awesome. And tasty.

    I’d like neighbors that would bring me chorizo, too, so if there is some kind of service that provide those kind of neighbors, let me know.

  7. rachel and julianne, i don’t know how you get those neighbors. they’ve also been known to bring over fresh apple crisp and bottles of scotch. either we just lucked out, or it’s the universe’s way of balancing out the $600 psychiatrist.

    oh, and my therapist only makes $75 an hour, which is NYC is the deal of the century.

  8. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I’m pretty sure “country apple” is a euphemism for horse shit. Which is ironic, because that’s kind of what the candle smells like.

  9. Pingback: Random Acts of Linkage: Drool Edition | Remedy

  10. traci, in NYC for a longer consultation, a lot of ‘em do. scarier? a lot charge MORE.

    kristie, i hope the candle people never figure that out, because that makes it SO MUCH FUNNIER.

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