Posts tagged ‘eggs’

April 15, 2011

Closet-Dwelling, Egg Sandwiches, and You

I have a few controversial opinions, and this is one:  I like my egg sandwiches like I like my men: Cheese, Stress, and Accessory free.

This is awesome.

My basic philosophy behind the egg sandwich is as follows: Of course you can dress it up.  Put cheese on there, avocado, tomato, bacon if you can stand the guilt, fancy lettuce, mushrooms. Go all Richard Gere dressing up Julia Roberts on that sandwich. It’s going to be delicious. But it’s not what I think of when I think about egg sandwiches. (Insert your own “what we talk about when we talk about blank” Raymond Carver bullshit here. Seriously when are people going to stop doing that? Am I the only one who notices this?)

This is bullshit.

But in the same way that I find Julia Roberts more fun and appealing as a prostitute than as a rich prostitute, an egg sandwich can be even tastier when left alone. An egg sandwich is about having no money and no patience and no creativity. You can make one when you wake up in the afternoon starving and the fridge is almost empty. Or right before you go to a party where you’re scared there won’t be any food you want to eat. Or when you come home drunk from a party and need to put food in your stomach immediately and are too poor for the all-night diner and too dignified to just eat uncooked bread. If you have friends and do things like go to parties and don’t live in a closet in small-town New York, that is. The upside of which is I can eat an egg sandwich literally any time, because I am always home.

The Julia-on-Sunset egg sandwich is the opposite of fancy, the opposite of carefully arranged gruyere and goat cheese and extraneous vegetables getting between me and hot egg yolk that has just sizzled in butter being in my mouth. Save the drama for your mama, put a fried egg on a hot piece of bread, salt and pepper, take a moment to gaze in wonder at the beautiful golden drippiness, and then shovel it into your mouth. And then you should probably eat another one, too. Here is a picture of what I mean. It is not a good picture, because I don’t have a nice phone or steady hands.

With all this said, if you want to put more shit on there, I’m certainly not going to stop you. This is America. You can put whatever you want on your sandwich. If you can put an undead baby bird on it, then you can put some cheese on it too, let’s be real.

Tomorrow I brave the small-talk wasteland of the farmer’s market.  (Sample dialogue: Nice Farmer: “Hi!” Pause as he or she tries to place where they know me from, namely me hovering behind my roommates while they “normally interact” every weekend. “Where are the non-closet-dwellers?” Me: “Oh! (Exclamation because I am relieved I know the right answer) They’re in England…” Pause as I try to remember their name, almost say it, then as I am saying it I decide that’s not the right name, which results in a winded snort-giggle.  NF: “That’s amazing! What are they doing there?” Me: “Oh, like, stuff. Your basic England stuff.”  Long pause while we smile at each other. Longer pause while I shove some potatoes onto their scale, drop some on the floor, and then crawl on the floor to retrieve them, escaping from this suburban hell-scape only after becoming so verklempt I  forget how to count money and the farmer finally takes what they need out of my hand, giving me a pitying head shake, as if to say, “Now I understand why your role is to hold the bags and smile into the middle distance”)

Oh well. For this, and many situations, I listen to this song. If you’re going to have cheeseless opinions about breakfast foods, if you’re going to live in a closet, if you’re going to drop the entire bag of beer bottles you’re bringing to the grocery store so that they roll all over the lawn and street, glinting in the sun and clinking merrily to broadcast your alcohol consumption to the neighborhood, if you’re going to be dumb, in other words, you gotta be tough.

March 20, 2011

Falafel!

Faced with cans of chickpeas and little fresh food, I opened up one of my favorite cookbooks:  Crescent Dragonwagon’s Passionate Vegetarian.  This was my first vegetarian cookbook and I’ve been finding lots of great recipes in it now that I have consistent access to a real kitchen – it comes highly recommended!  I came across her recipe for baked falafel, which at first glance seemed atrocious.  Then I thought about the time and mess created by frying and decided to give the baked recipe a try.  It was surprisingly tasty.  Not at all the same as regular fried falafel, but worthwhile in its own right.

(Serves 3-4 people with stuff on the side; takes about 15 minutes to prepare, 30 minutes+ waiting, and about 25-30 minutes baking – all in all, little over an hour)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup bulghur (cheap & great for soups; check the bulk bins at a natural foods store or co-op)
1/2 cup water
1 (15-16 ounce) can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
3 decently-sized cloves of garlic (more if you’re a big garlic fan) – coarsley chopped, as they’ll be going in the food processor
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt + extra at the end
1/2 teaspoon cumin + extra at the end
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch of cayenne
At least 2 tablespoons coarsley chopped parsley (we use about 4 tbsps of frozen parsley for this & it worked fine)
1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
(DIY Breadcrumbs:  Toast bread until it’s very dry.  Be careful not to let it burn; if parts burn, cut them off.  Chop it up.)

Directions:
1. Boil about a cup of water.  Pour the water over the bulghur and cover the bowl.  Set aside to soak for at least 20 minutes.  (This is a very imprecise thing, so no need to get fussy with the details.  Bulghur is forgiving, tasty, filling, and cheap – what more could you ask from a grain?)

2. Place half of the chickpeas in a medium-sized bowl and mash slightly with a fork, potato masher, or your hands.  (I used a round ladle to mash it at first, then finished off with my hands.)  They should still have some texture when you’re done.

3. Place the other half of the chickpeas in a food processor with the garlic, egg, salt, cumin, pepper, tumeric, coriander, and cayenne.  Process until smooth, pausing several times to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the parsley and breadcrumbs, then process until it’s smooth.

4. Combine the mixture from the food processor with the mashed chickpeas and the soaked bulghur. Stir it around until it’s evenly mixed.  Taste and add more spices as you like.  Stick the bowl in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, more if you have the time to wait.  This allows the mixture to firm up a bit and will make your life easier vis a vis shaping the falafel.

This waiting period is a great time to whip up some tahini sauce (see below), tdzaki, or whatever you like to eat with falafel.  Plain yogurt works fine!  Also, five minutes before pulling out the batter from the fridge, turn on the oven and preheat to 350F.

5. Remove the falafel mix from the fridge and grease a baking sheet.  Shape the falafel mix into slightly flattened disks.  We made about 25 that were about 1-1/2″ in diameter.  Bake for about 25 minutes (we found that it took about 35, even with our usually hyperactive oven), then flip the falafel over and bake for about 5-10 minutes.  They should be nice and golden brown.

Coconut Tahini Sauce

Thanks to Mark Bittman for the recipe!  Excellent with falafel, or greens, or pretty much anything.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup tahini
Juice of 1 lemon (I used a lemon that had already been squeezed once for tea, and it worked fine.)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup coconut milk (about half a can)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and black pepper

Directions:
1. Put the tahini, coconut milk, lemon juice, garlic, and cumin into a food processor.  Add some salt and pepper.  Process until smooth.

2. Taste and add more spices, lemon, coconut, etc. until you like how it tastes.  Serve immediately or cover tightly and refrigerate.

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February 8, 2011

Egg Drop Soup

It is 8 degrees out and snowing.  So we are, as usual, having soup.  This one is an expansion on simple egg drop soup.   You can find the original recipe in Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express.

For this bitter cold February evening we chopped up one leek and grated up one carrot.

Picture of 3 leeks and a chef's knife on a bamboo cutting board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We boiled five cups of stock then added the leek and carrot.  For seasoning we added a dash of soy sauce and grated a little dried ginger.

Soup in pot: leeks cut into disks with shredded carrot, and wooden spoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, while stirring the soup quickly we poured in the beaten egg, stirring a lot, and cooked for a few minutes.

Spinning soup!  There's a bowl tipped over the far edge, pouring in the beaten eggs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To go alongside this are rice noodles (soak for half an hour before cooking, then boil for two minutes or until just slightly opaque and separate easily).

Bowl with spoon and soup and rice noodles

February 5, 2011

An Excellent Saturday lunch

Everyone else is out of the house today, so here’s my recipe for a quick and seasonal lunch for one.  This took me 10 minutes, tops, and looked so good I ate it without taking a picture first.

Scrambled Eggs with Mostly Raw Arugula and Mushrooms

Ingredients:
– 2 eggs, or some soft tofu (for scrambling)
– 2-4 large button mushrooms, sliced (other kinds would work, this was what we could get locally)
– A handful of arugula (cut in half if the leaves are long)
– A bit of butter or oil (to grease the pan)
– A splash of milk (if you’re cooking with eggs)
– Salt and pepper

Directions:
1.
If you’re using eggs, crack them into a bowl and whisk/fork until mixed.  Add a splash of milk and some salt and pepper.  
2. Melt the butter or put some oil in the bottom of a frying pan.  Add the eggs or crumble the tofu into the pan.
3. Cook over low heat until just scrambled.  I tend to stir them frequently and break up big curds (roughly following Mark Bittman’s advice for the best scrambled eggs), and keep the eggs moving in the pan until they’re cooked.  Our stove is hyperactive so this happens in less than 5 minutes – your mileage may vary.
4.
Turn the heat off, and push the eggs/tofu over to one side of the pan.  Add the arugula and sliced mushrooms.  I simply stirred them all together and started eating, but you could turn the heat on low and cook it for a minute or so.