Fighting Fire With Fire

Those who know me well, know that I have both an affinity and a prodigious capacity for raw vegetables. I have a tendency to fill a 2-3 quart mixing bowl with grated or chopped raw vegetables, add a little salt and some kind of dressing and call it salad. This can be a bit much for Teacherman, who can think of more appealing side dishes than an entire English cucumber, seasoned with nothing but salt.

Tonight, though, I was alone for dinner, and my vegtabular overindulgence of choice was radishes. I don’t find radishes particularly exciting, but I’m continually seduced by their physical beauty, and by the innumerable rhapsodies of many of my favorite writers. I want to love radishes with butter and sea salt, the way everyone else seems to, but I just . . . don’t. I don’t hate it, but neither do I understand it–to me, the flavors don’t work together. No matter how tasty the butter is on its own, its flavor is obscured by the spiciness of the radish, and the added salt is entirely separate from the other two ingredients, startling with its harshness (again, no matter how mild the salt is on its own).

I keep buying radishes, though. I slice them into salads, take them on picnics to eat whole, and, depending on the variety, grate them into soups. At the farmer’s market yesterday, casting about for something to make a salad out of, I noticed a big basket of watermelon radishes. They were pretty–off-white on the outside and brilliantly magenta on the inside, with a line of pale green on the border–and also cheap. I spent $2 and got an enormous bunch.

Tonight, as I began to slice the radishes for a side salad, I put a disc into my mouth. Explosion!

They weren’t the spiciest radishes I’ve ever tasted, but it did actually burn the inside of my mouth. I obviously could not eat an entire bowl of such flaming spiciness, no matter how refreshingly crunchy. I had heard somewhere, years ago, that cooking radishes could tame their assertiveness. In an attempt to save my dinner, I grated the entire bunch of radishes, then threw them into a pan with some olive oil. I sauteed them over medium heat for a few minutes–10 or 15–and then dressed the limp slivers with the same ingredients I would have put on the raw salad. A big squeeze of lemon juice, some minced green olives and garlic, and a sprinkling of white pepper. I tipped the mess into a big bowl and topped it with a few thin slices of leftover steak.

Unexpectedly, it was incredibly comforting. The radish mixture was salad-like, but (obviously), it was warm and slightly yielding. The radishes were still spicy, but no longer incendiary, and the flavor had melded with that of the dressing. The olives negated the need for salt, heightening the flavor of the radishes, and the garlic added a bit of sweetness, but the seasoning star was the white pepper. White pepper is more warming than spicy, but its peppery backnotes played off of the radishes well. It rounded out the flavors, adding an almost smoky meatiness to the salad.

I ate the entire bowlful, which, as usual, was far too much; my stomach is now stretched as tight as a drum. I’d feel embarrassed to admit to the average person that I ate myself into this amount of discomfort on radishes, but the dish was delicious, and, on reflection, I do not regret a single bite.

Published in: on October 12, 2008 at 6:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mushrooms and More

I am a mushroom lover, something deplored by both members of my own family and certain of my colleagues. The mushroom stand at the farmers’ market is one of my favorite stops, and in August, almost every type of mushroom is available for devouring—porcini, oyster, shiitake, Portobello, puffball, and my favorite, chanterelle.

I first ate chanterelles in Germany, on my honeymoon, and they were a revelation. Both sweet and nutty and utterly themselves, I ordered them at every opportunity, delighting in their burnt orange color, so different than the dark browns and pearls I was used to.

When the first chanterelles of the season appeared at the market this year, Teacherman was out of town. I thought about waiting until he came back to buy some, but couldn’t wait: I bought 6 oz for my very own self.

I barely did anything to them, just swished them through salted water to clean, sautéed them in butter, and scrambled three eggs around them. With the addition of a vinegary salad, it was, as cookbooks of 70 years ago used to say, The Perfect Supper for a Single Girl.

chanterelle scrambled eggs

When Teacherman came home a week later, I was willing to share. (Or rather, I was willing to take another opportunity to eat chanterelles). This time, though, my preparation was more elaborate.

I’d read several recipes for alternative takes on risotto, using different grains, like barley, steel-cut oats, quinoa, or buckwheat groats. I’d been wanting to try the technique using oats, and the flavor of chanterelles seemed as if it would match up well with the oats. I wanted a bit more than just oats and mushrooms, though, and I remembered another recipe I’d seen recently (I don’t remember where) for a sauté of chanterelles and corn, with tarragon. It was a short step to combine the two ideas in my mind, creating oat risotto with chanterelles, corn and tarragon.

I followed the same trajectory as in my original chanterelle outing—swishing the mushrooms clean, then sautéing them in butter with a big pinch of salt. When they were soft, though, I took them out of the pan, and added half a cup of steel-cut oats, stirring to coat them in the butter and the mushroom juices. Once the butter was absorbed, I added vegetable stock in half cup measures, letting the oats absorb the liquid fully before adding anymore. In the end, I added about 2 cups, leaving the oats on the stove for about half an hour. The oats could have taken up a bit more liquid, but I wanted them to be toothsome, rather than mushy.

About five minutes before I wanted to stop cooking the oats, I added the chanterelles and half a cup of corn kernels, cut off the cob, letting them simmer and warm through. I added a few sprigs of chopped tarragon, then turned off the heat.

It was, I think, absolutely perfect. Both oats and chanterelles have a sweet nuttiness, and, as I thought, the two flavors blended very well. The corn added another layer of sweetness, but brighter, the butter added depth, and the grassiness of the tarragon grounded the dish firmly in the savory sphere.

We served the risotto with herb-marinated grilled chicken, but I could have happily left the chicken off the plate, so satisfying was the combination of flavors and textures. It was nubbly, soothing, delicious, and made me wish I’d made double the portion I did.
chanterelles

Published in: on August 28, 2008 at 7:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Colors

One of the many (manymany) benefits of the farmers’ market is the Technicolor burst of summer meals. The colors are brilliant, bright and arresting, drawing you in as they lie there.

Egg Salad
The substitute sunlight of nasturtium blossoms in a morning’s egg salad, accompanied by a midnight dark bowl of blackberries and blueberries.

Dill Salmon
The subtle greens of fresh dill contrasting with the pastel pink of grilled salmon and the earthy depths of cremini mushrooms (not to mention the inevitable nasturtiums on my salad).

Peaches and Cream
Honey-yellow peaches with burnished pink highlights half-hiding a billowing cloud of rich, white cream, freckled with cinnamon.

Blueberry Coconut Crisp
A big white bowl of blueberries, stewed until juicy and glistening, topped with crisp, toasted coconut.

My descriptions are no less purple than the fruit, but it’s hard not to let fly with superlatives when faced with such bounty.

Published in: on August 21, 2008 at 7:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Breakfast of Blossoms

The best thing about buying food at farmers’ markets is that one is much more likely to pick up something that you’ve never tried before. This isn’t an original statement, I know, but it continues to be true, even for people like me, who are a bit too interested in all the different ways of filling their stomachs.

Who needs to stop at regular cucumbers, when one can try lemon cucumbers, Italian cucumbers, Japanese cucumbers, and Korean cucumbers? Why eat nothing but baby greens when the next bag over contains arugula, perilla, shiso or amaranth? Turnips are great, but what about burdock? Strawberries are delicious, but what look: ground cherries! Saskatoons! Black currants! Not everything ends up being to my taste (the Saskatoons were not a hit) but some become new favorites (I don’t think I’ve ever met a root I didn’t like). Sometimes the untried foods aren’t even exotic or unknown, just things I’ve never gotten around to trying.

Enter zucchini blossoms.

Everybody knows about zucchini blossoms—they’ve almost become a cliché of pretentious poseur cuisine. Stuffed with cheese and braised, fried as tempura, poached, the recipes are everywhere. The blossoms are very pretty, but often expensive (after all, each blossom is a squash that will never grow). As intriguing and delicious as the recipes sounded, I had never tried them for one reason: I am cheap.

One recent market day, though, I was under the weather and needed a pick-me-up. In spite of the rather exorbitant price, I splurged on a big bunch of the zucchini blossoms and took them home for lunch. I stuffed them with a spiced goat cheese, simmered them for a few moments in a good broth, and gobbled them up. The combination of the hot, homemade chicken broth and the creamy cheese was perfect for a summer cold, but the strength of their flavors overwhelmed that of the zucchini blossoms themselves. Still—what I could taste was appealing and intriguing, and I resolved to try the blossoms again, but in a more delicate preparation.

The following Saturday, then, I bought another bunch of zucchini blossoms at the market. I didn’t want to eat them until the next morning, so I carefully wrapped the big, healthy bunch in a paper towel, then put it into an open plastic bag and into the lettuce drawer in my refrigerator. (Technically, this crisper drawer has a picture of an apple on it, whereas the other drawer has a picture of a turnip, but I use the apple drawer almost exclusively for lettuce and other greens, and the turnip drawer for everything else).

On Sunday morning, I checked to see if the blossoms needed any washing (in fact, they were pristinely clean), then removed the pistils and chopped the petals from their stems.

Zucchini Blossoms

I roughly tore the blossoms into strips, lightly sautéed them for a few minutes in a flavorless oil, then added three eggs, beaten with nothing more than salt, pepper and a tiny drop of water.
Blossoms in the pan
I let the eggs set on the bottom, then lifted up the edges to let the raw portion flow underneath, creating layers upon layers. In less than five minutes I had a moist, fluffy and perfectly set golden omelet, shot through with the fresh green and deeper orange tones of the blossoms.

Zucchini Blossom Omelet
Indeed, the omelet was a much better way of showing off the flavor of the zucchini blossoms. Unsurprisingly, the blossoms have a flavor strongly reminiscent of zucchini itself, but more elusive, and without the often squishy texture that puts so many people off. The texture of the blossoms, of course, is almost nil, especially after cooking, allowing the flavor to permeate the eggs. The calyx of the flowers has an even stronger flavor of the squash, but with a more toothiness than the blossoms. It’s crisp without being crispy, if that makes any sense; almost like biting into a perfectly fresh slice of ripe zucchini, but brighter, juicier, colder, (the actual temperature notwithstanding) and almost refreshing.

It was a rather austere omelet, given that it contained no butter, milk, or cheese, but the zucchini blossoms gave it a deep and satisfying flavor. The cost may be difficult to absorb, but the benefits are worth it.

Published in: on August 15, 2008 at 7:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dog Days

Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

I has been SO HOT in Chicago. The last several weeks have each sported several days in the 90s, with humidity to match. I realize that this not hot compared to the Sahara, or even just Texas, but it’s been miserable. I have a relatively high tolerance to heat, but even I have been dangerously wilted by the end of the day. (It doesn’t help that my workplace is kept at roughly 35 degrees, meaning that I also have temperature whiplash).

Naturally, therefore, I have no desired to eat a cooked dessert–even room temperature fruit is almost too much. I could refrigerate the fruit, but most fruit tastes best without too much chill on it. The best chilled dessert is obvious, of course: ice cream.

I think I’ve made a new ice cream every few days for the past two weeks. Right now I have four flavors in the freezer: fresh mint-fudge swirl, blueberry-lemon, toasted almond-candied cherry, and cherry-chocolate chip (seen in the picture above). I owe the almond and mint recipes to David Liebovitz (though I did use a lesser quantity of almonds than called for, because I was somewhat short of cash that shopping trip), the cherry-chocolate to Simply Recipes, and the blueberry to my own tortured brain. (Desperate for ice cream! Almost no ingredients! Mix things together!)

The cherry and blueberry ice creams started with cooked, sweetened fruit brightened with a little lemon juice and mixed with a few cups of milk.  Chill overnight and churn.

The mint and almond ice creams started with infusions–two cups of milk heated to the point of steaming with either 2 packed cups of mint leaves (chocolate mint, from my back garden) or 1/4 cup of heavily toasted almonds (I took them to a deep dark brown–just this side of burnt). In both cases I let the mixture infuse for far, far longer than called for in the recipes. Most recipes call for an infusion time of about an hour, but I let both the mint and the almonds sit in the milk for 24-48 hours (in the refrigerator, obviously). After straining, I made the milk into a simple custard, which I mixed with sweetener, cream, and a little salt, to bring out the flavors. After freezing, I swirled in my sauces. Simple simple simple.

Every ice cream is wonderful–I can’t think of anything I would change about any of them. Teacherman will be out of town for the next two weeks, but, sadly for him, I will not be saving any of this deliciousness. I plan to eat ice cream every single day, as long as the hot weather lasts.

Well, maybe not. Maybe there will also be some sorbet. Or popsicles. Yes, definitely popsicles . . . .

Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 7:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

It BURNS

As part of our anniversary celebration, Teacherman and I took a trip up to Madison, to eat at l’Etoile, an AMAZING restaurant dedicated to seasonal, local food, and to go to Madison’s epically-sized farmer’s market.

We bought, among other things, four quarts of strawberries (for Teacherman’s first attempt at making a berry wine) and, something that I’ve never eaten before: garlic scapes.

Garlic scapes are the long green stem that grows up out of a planted bulb of garlic. Rarely seen in grocery stores, most garlic scapes are cut off the bulb and tossed away. People who grow garlic themselves, however, have long known that the scapes can be used in food wherever you need an especially pungent kick of garlic.

I’ve read about garlic scapes, certainly, but I’d never seen a recipe that I particularly wanted to make myself. Last Wednesday, though, a recipe for white bean and garlic scape dip appeared in the New York Times. (I would link to it, but it’ll disappear after a few days, leaving my link broken). It’s virtually identical to most white bean dips–beans, olive oil, salt, garlic–but instead of using garlic cloves, it used raw garlic scapes.

I don’t know why the recipe stuck in my mind–I rarely make white bean dips, tending instead to prefer southwestern black bean dip or hummus–but when I saw the garlic scapes at the farmer’s market I was taken in by the piles and mounds of twisty, spiraling, bean-like shoots. Every farmer selling them only wanted to sell the scapes by the pound, but I couldn’t imagine finding a use for an entire pound. I talked one woman down to just selling me a handful–probably 4 or 5 shoots–and took them back to Chicago. I threw the scapes into the food processor with one drained can of white beans, a pinch of salt and a couple of glugs of olive oil. I blended the whole thing until smooth, then scooped the thick mixture into two bowls and served it for lunch with sugar snap peas for dipping.

White Bean Dip with Garlic Scapes

It was astonishingly delicious, the scapes adding a big hit of raw garlic flavor, but also a grassy freshness not present in even the most recently peeled garlic cloves.  It was also so rich with that rawness (really–it was the scapes that added the richness, not the olive oil at all) that it coated every surface in my mouth, and my nose kept smelling it from inside my head. 

We ate the dip quickly and greedily, reveling in the pungency and burn. We finished up with the rest of the sugar snap peas, the sweetness providing a welcome contrast to what had come before.

A few minutes after we finished doing the dishes, though, we noticed that the burning flavor of garlic scapes wasn’t going away. We brushed our teeth. No difference. We brushed our teeth again. No change. We went out and bought NEW toothbrushes and brushed our teeth again. Gah!

I love garlic, but I don’t really care to taste it for six hours straight, with no ability to rid myself of it. The taste filled my mouth all the way up into my sinuses and it Would Not Go Away.

I loved the garlic scape dip. I loved the taste, I loved the burn, I loved how overwhelming it was. I have no doubt that I’ll be making something with garlic scapes in it again. Even now I’m remembering the flavor of the scapes on my tongue: the heat of the dip, due only to the essential garlic oils. I’m almost longing to make the dip again immediately.

It might, however, have to wait until next spring, when I’ve forgotten how absolutely overpowering it is to walk around with my head utterly infused with garlic for hours and hours. If it wasn’t so delicious, it would be horrifying.

Published in: on June 26, 2008 at 8:37 am  Leave a Comment  

A Year and a Day

What did we eat for lunch on June 23rd last year?

This:

Reception Spread 1
Reception Spread 2
Homemade bread, compound butter, big salads of farmer’s market greens with raspberry-mustard vinaigrette, big bowls of berries, three kinds of cheese (including Gruyere, an aged goat and a tangy Brie-like cheese), a smoked salmon-pink peppercorn tart in an almond crust, and a three-layer fritatta, with a roasted red pepper layer, a spinach layer and a cheese layer.

And for dessert?
Wedding cake

Wedding Cake.

Wedding cake and lemon cheesecake

Specifically, an almond cake filled with mixed fresh berries and frosted with vanilla bean whipped cream and decorated with red currants and a lemon cheesecake topped with lemon curd and black currants.

And what did we have for lunch on June 23rd this year?
Anniversary lunch

Sea scallops wrapped in radicchio and pancetta, then grilled and served with a red lettuce salad from the farmer’s market.

The scallop recipe was beyond simple–sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper, wrap each one in a radicchio leaf, and then wrap the leaves with a slice of pancetta. My slices were inexpertly wrapped at the butchers, and thus had unraveled. I ended up just wrapping it around and around and around each little radicchio bundle and securing the ends with toothpicks.

Who am I kidding–I used about 3 toothpicks per bundle. I am not good at food-skewering.

The grill caramelized the radicchio and infused the flavor of both the pancetta and radicchio into each scallop. In spite of the fiddly eating required by all the toothpicks, it was delicious, especially from our unaccustomed seats under our lawn umbrella (which we haven’t set up, sadly, since our wedding reception). Teacherman poured an Alsatian wine to drink alongside the meal–it reminded him perfectly of the wines from our honeymoon.

Lunch was wonderful, yes, but what did we eat for dinner? Last year, we didn’t eat anything for dinner. Our reception was still going on, and due to the enticements of the lunch board, we’d eaten too much of everything.

This year, though, lunch was elegant and austere. And so, for dinner:

Anniversary dinner

Chocolate-peanut butter cookies and chocolate-peanut butter ice cream. What’s the point of being a grown-up if you can’t do this sort of thing every now and then?

(I have to admit, though, that I don’t feel remotely like a grown-up. Even though I’m nearly 30, and even though I’m married, I still have to remind myself that I’m not a kid. Thus, of course, the ideal dinner of cookies and ice cream).

If you’ll forgive my sentimentality (and if there’s one day a year when one is allowed to be sappy, one’s wedding anniversary ought to be it): Here’s hoping that we always feel this ridiculously young, and that each anniversary is as lovely–and delicious–as this one.

Published in: on June 23, 2008 at 7:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Spring’s Last Breakfast

Rhubarb Maple Fool

Rhubarb-maple fool with cinnamon and vanilla.

Published in: on June 20, 2008 at 6:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Spring, at the Last Minute

Yes, it really is spring. Finally.

I know that in less than a week it will technically be summer, but spring itself has been a long time in coming. First it was exceptionally cold and rainy, and then it was exceptionally hot and violently stormy, and in neither of those conditions were any spring vegetables available except for salad greens and occasional rhubarb.

Now, though, there are actually strawberries at the farmers’ markets, not to mention tiny carrots, multicolored radishes and asparagus in myriad sizes. This weekend I even bought some eensy little baby zucchini–THAT made me believe that summer really is on the way, even though today’s high was only in the 60s.

The weird weather, though, has meant that my meals are not as aggressively seasonal as they usually are at this time of year. I’ve had to augment my market-purchased greens with store-bought vegetables, just to vary the salad rut. On the cold days I’ve fallen back on over-wintered, somewhat unfortunate roots and pomme fruits (I’m beginning to be tired of apples), and on hot days I’ve guiltily eaten greenhouse-grown eggplant from much too far away.

Last Wednesday, though, I ate a meal that was almost 100% spring. At the morning market I picked up a small box of sugar snap peas and a small box of shelling peas, along with a bunch of spring onions, a sheaf of fresh dill and a bag of crunchy baby romaine lettuce. When I got home, I chopped the sugar snaps, shelled the remaining peas, and put both into a large salad bowl. I quartered the head of romaine, then sliced the quarters into chunks. I finely minced some of the dill and haphazardly sliced two or three spring onions, slicing finely only near the bulb. The lettuce and aromatics went into the bowl with the peas. Enamored by the crunchy sweetness of the sugar-snap peas and romaine, I went in search of more crunch and found a can of water chestnuts in the cupboard. I drained and chopped the water chestnuts and threw them in as well.

It was shaping up to be a delicious salad. I probably could have stopped here, but I needed some protein as well. I’ve seen a similar recipe that included bacon, but that fat, delicious though it might be, didn’t seem to fit with the clean, springy aesthetic of the salad. I liked the idea of a light smokiness, though, so I decided on some smoked turkey I had in the fridge. I cut a couple of ounces of the meat into pieces similar in size to the sliced sugar snap peas.

The salad now had every component except for dressing. The smoked turkey, the dill and the peas made me think of creamy casseroles; to work in the same mouth-feel and similar flavors, but without the heaviness of a cream sauce, I added a few tablespoons of mayonnaise, a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper. One quick stir to coat the salad with the dressing, and the salad was complete.

Spring Pea Salad

It really was spring in a bowl. The fresh crunchiness of the sugar snap peas, water chestnuts and lettuce ribs contrasted with the yielding chew of the shelled peas and the smoked turkey, the pungency of the spring onions and the grassiness of the dill. The dressing was both creamy and tangy, and that tied all the ingredients together. The entire bowl–an enormous pudding basin–disappeared in an instant, and I could have eaten almost twice as much again. To finish? Two or three perfect strawberries, dripping with juice and perfectly balanced between sweet and tart.

I want to eat another salad as seasonally rooted as this, but I don’t know where to start. I’ll be going to one more farmer’s market before the first day of spring; hopefully I’ll find inspiration amidst the stalls.

Published in: on June 16, 2008 at 7:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Long and Scattered

Behold, I am alive.  Ambulatory, even.  (Kind of.  I’m walking perfectly easily, just not for very long periods of time). 

What’s more, I have been cooking.  AND going to the newly-opened farmer’s market. 

Given that it’s still so early in the spring, I’ve been able to do very little at the farmer’s market aside from make a considerable dent in the supply of pea shoots and rhubarb every week, but still.  The pea shoots have graced innumerable salads and sautes and stir-fries, and the rhubarb has been part of soup (poached in red wine and cassis), sorbet (cooked with the juice and zest of blood oranges) and smoothies:

Rhubarb Smoothie

(Greek yogurt, fresh ginger: need I say more?)

Unfortunately, aside from dishes containing the just-picked farmer’s market produce, my main meals have been somewhat lackluster.  Nothing has been actually bad, but nothing has excited me or made me want to write about it.  I haven’t saved a recipe I’ve prepared in almost a month. 

I am not entirely discouraged, however.  Even when living on hum-drum lunches and mediocre dinners, breakfast is always there to save me. 

Like probably 50% of the rest of the population of the U.S., when I was growing up, my parents would occasionally fix ‘breakfast for dinner’ as a special treat.  Whole wheat pancakes with scrambled eggs and bacon was the standard meal when the whole family sat down, and enormous potato pancakes–really thinly shredded hash browns bound with beaten egg and served with (forgive me) ketchup–when the food was meant for just my sister and me. 

Unlike most of the population of the U.S., however, my family also ate breakfast for breakfast.  I know that many people are unable to stomach heavy food–or food of any kind–early in the morning, but my family has never been been part of that group.  Toast (with peanut butter and honey) and fried eggs was my default meal through childhood, while my sister took her toast neat and her eggs scrambled.  My parents both consumed large quantities of yogurt and granola, and chili-covered cheese-filled omelets were rampant.  All of this on ordinary weekday mornings, no less. 

I don’t eat quite the same way anymore.  I have to eat my breakfast at 6:30 am to be able to get to work on time, and I cannot allow myself unlimited time to prepare a meal.  I must, however, eat just as heartily as I always have.  My usual lunch break isn’t until 1 pm, with no break for a snack, meaning that my breakfast has to last me more than six hours (and a 1.5 mile walk, when I’m up to par).

On weekdays I stick to my strict schedule: I eat a hardboiled egg, some homemade sausage (variety subject to change at a moment’s notice) and a large serving of whatever fruit is in season. 

Weekends, however, are a different story.  I have much more time to prepare my meal, and, given that I’m an early riser even without an alarm, the kitchen to myself to prepare it in. 

Farmer's market eggs

My weekend meals usually center around eggs.  Sometimes savory–two weeks ago I poached three eggs in the leftover sauce from a curry-roasted chicken.  It was tangy, spicy and absolutely divine.

Curried Eggs

More often, though, I use my eggs for sweet dishes.  Souffleed omelets and jam-filled crepes are my fall-back meals for weekends.  Both are usually topped with fruit, and both benefit from the eggs I get from the farmer’s market.  The yolks are bright yellow and melt into a custard with almost no need for additional flavoring; the whites are stronger than I am and whip up to stratospheric heights. 

Last week I made a very simple souffleed omelet–I whisked three egg yolks with two tablespoons of simple syrup and a teaspoon of vanilla, then folded in three egg whites, whipped to stiff peaks.  I poured the mixture into a hot cast-iron skillet, the bottom filmed with flavorless oil.  After a second on the heat to set the bottom, I slid the pan into the 400 degree oven, for 15 minutes, until it was cooked through–golden on the outsides, but still soft on the inside, like a meringue. 

I topped the whole thing with fresh strawberries tossed with slivered mint.  It looks enormous and sounds decadent, but it was so light on the tongue that the entire omelet disappeared without a second thought.

Strawberry souffleed omelet

Yesterday morning I made crepes.  Three more of those lovely eggs whisked up into the batter, along with a little Amaretto.  I filled each one with apricot jam, dusted the plate with cinnamon and topped it with raspberries.  It was, believe it or not, a clean-out-the-refrigerator meal. 

Breakfast is my favorite meal, and I’ve been having some great ones, but here’s hoping that the other two meals are soon up to snuff.

Published in: on June 2, 2008 at 7:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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