May 1, 2012 § 2 Comments
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? For my family, it was definitely the egg. We are the beneficiaries of friends’ and neighbors’ super-productive hens. It seems like right now my urban farmer friends have more eggs than they know what to do with, so they put those eggs in my greedy little palms. Each February I consider getting chickens, but by May I realize I can have many delicious eggs and no chickens at all. I’m such a lucky freeloader!
I may have a hard time figuring out what to do with hard-boiled eggs, but super-fresh fried eggs fire me up. They are magnificent on fried rice, smashing in a tortilla with some salsa & cilantro, and splendid on pasta. My favorite egg/pasta combo used to be spaghetti carbonara, but that recently got bumped. Now I think frying a small egg and laying it on top of pasta is perfect. The runny yolk becomes a golden, silky sauce. The texture of the crisped egg white is lovely with bites of pasta. This version is all about springtime, with English peas and arugula, but the dish will be easy to reinvent in the autumn with sturdy greens. As long as the chickens are still laying, this will be at the top of my weeknight quick dinner hit list. If you can manage to boil the pasta, cook the veggies and fry up the eggs simultaneously (and I know you can), dinner will be ready in a flash. Ka-pow!
February 26, 2012 § 4 Comments
My children’s school district has invented a week-long holiday called ‘Midwinter Break’. It falls about three minutes after ‘Winter Break’ and two minutes before ‘Spring Break’. There are no Christmas presents to play with, and the weather outside is usually awful. Sometimes I think Midwinter Break exists to derail my daily routine, sometimes I think it is a wonderful chance to spend hours alone with my girls. It just depends.
Generally, I consider myself very lucky to be a ‘stay at home’ parent (I like that description better than ‘underemployed’). But at the dawn of Midwinter Break, 6 1/2 days ago, as I watched my husband leave for his desk job I felt raw envy. Luckily I had a plan. Phase one: The 2012 Midwinter Break Film Festival, an annual event held in my living room (sometimes there are double features). Phase two: Cook and eat and cook some more. And do it with such enthusiasm and verve that my daughters want to do it, too! Yaaaaaaay!! A key component to getting the girls revved up about helping me peel and chop vegetables is to promise a favorite dish at the end. That could be 1) Home-made Potato Chips, 2) anything involving duck fat, or 3) spaghetti with meatballs. This week called for Spag & Balls. « Read the rest of this entry »
January 31, 2012 § 3 Comments
I’m trying to master the skill of creating a delicious meal composed entirely from what is on hand. Not an ‘odds and ends’ dinner, but one that seems intentional and well-considered. The folks at my dinner table might think I went to the store and carefully selected each ingredient to craft this special meal, just for them.
In an effort to waste less and flex my cooking muscles, I’ve been challenging myself to use up stuff. I’m sure this experiment will come to a grinding halt at the first sign of Spring, when fresh food will be plentiful and irresistible. But yesterday, I knew just what to do with the giant jar of olives that I uncovered in my cupboard. And the capers. And the canned tomatoes.