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Thursday, August 29, 2013

my favorite scrambled eggs

my favorite scrambled eggs

As far as I’m concerned just about everything tastes great on toast. Toast is both ubiquitous and exotic. It can be a simple, pedestrian affair, quickly smeared with salted butter and eaten, rushed, over a sink. Or it can be, slow and relaxed, taking the form of a crostino, slightly charred and toasted on one side and soft and tender on the other with a decadent topping like ricotta and fava beans, or a hard-cooked egg and a really good anchovy. I could go on and on about toast, but I believe Tamar Adler already beat me to it in The Everlasting Meal.

I suppose toast is on my mind a lot because I seem to be able to subsist on it and little else in periods of deep, intense, all-consuming work. Most often these periods are agonizing but mercifully quick, so toast consumption, and things like 1pm showering and 16 hour work days, come and go. This time, however, I expect such period to last until February 1st, 2014 when I’ll be handing in a manuscript to my editor. I’m collaborating on another cookbook, friends, and I’ll talk about it very soon, but for now I’ll just say I’ve been given six months to write a book, fa la la, and if you think that’s ambitious, then maybe I should add that I’m also working a thirty-hour-a-week (at least!) PR job and (gulp) have signed up to do another book but that one won’t be due til May 1, which is my birthday, which means, that I’ll be, hopefully handing that book in April 30, and calling it a day.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

gruyere and pancetta quiche with hash-brown crust

gruyere and pancetta quiche with hash-brown crust

Perhaps, I should mention a few things here to clear the air. One: I’m not a great fan of quiche. I don’t know what it is: the texture, the mushy, damp-tasting crust, the chalky, overcooked custard—none of it works for me. Also this: after decades of cooking, after years and years of cracking a near infinite number of eggs, I still have to do it with both hands. Whenever I see someone casually break open an egg with one hand, I wish I could do it too. But seeing as my hands are child-sized (still), the mechanics of one-handed egg-breaking simply don’t work. Pout.

I was going to write about this quiche some other time, but it’s simply so good amazing that I can’t hold off. The second I tasted the smooth, delicate custard, generously spiked with punchy Gruyere and meaty pancetta, I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. And because I love Andrew so much, I won’t have but just one, two, three more pieces. I can’t just taunt the man with a quiche, and then eat it all for breakfast and lunch, because that’s exactly what’s happening this afternoon.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

frittata with asparagus, cremini, and scallions

breakfast is served

In a few days our household is going to grow by one more. No, there’s no bun in the oven, so to speak – we’re not having a baby. If you start seeing recipes combining peanut butter, pickles and ice cream, you should start to get suspicious, but you can rest easy for now. Our household is temporarily expanding because Andrew’s younger brother, Russ, is coming to live with us while he is studying at the Cooper Union for the summer. One bedroom, an air mattress, and three people. Sounds like a script for a prime time sitcom.

Someone asked me the other day if I was dreading it – adding another person to a small New York one bedroom. I know that many people would be. I know that given my anxiety over clutter and disorder – I should be. But I’m not. I love a full house. I love the extra commotion and the noise that comes with it. While it’s nice to be just the two of us, but with another person it’ll feel like an actual family.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

eggs baked in cream

eggs baked in cream

Okay, my dears. Let’s put those take-out menus away for the night. You won’t need them this evening – I’ve got something better for you. In fact, I can offer you dinner in less than half an hour, and you can sip wine while you wait for it to cook. You like that? I thought so. Ready? Okay then.

Here’s what you do. Come home hungry and preferably a bit worn out by the day. Crave something comforting and warm. And be hell-bent on making your own dinner, but not breaking a sweat. The next part should be easy. I know you can do this and I know you’ll be stellar at it.

Find a few ingredients that you probably have lying around your kitchen anyway: eggs, onions (or leeks!), cream, some herbs. Really, any herbs will do, even the dry ones, but your fresh ones will be magical here; and make yourself a baked egg. It’s the perfect eat-alone food. Really.

dramatis personae

Last week, CBS’s The Early Show came to my apartment to find out what I eat alone, as they were doing a segment based on Deborah Madison’s new book. I showed them a plate of herring and potatoes, some pelmeni and this egg baked in cream. These were some of the easy go-to dishes I make for myself. The herring and pelmeni remind me of my childhood in Russia, and this egg is the perfect one-person meal: quick, easy, healthy and comforting. Best of all, no fancy ingredients are needed – this recipe requires things that are probably already pantry staples.

topped with harissa

The thing is, that it’s so easy for us, at least here in New York, to pick up the phone and order take out. We have our favorite restaurants on speed-dial and we even know what we want without having to glance at the menu. But here’s the thing, making these eggs for dinner, you’re really taking care to nourish yourself. You know exactly what goes into this meal. It is wholesome, nourishing, warm. And it cooks in minutes. In fact, it cooks faster than take-out arrives. I think there’s comfort in making something for yourself. It’s a little bit indulgent and even somewhat meditative. Layering your leeks, spreading harissa, gently sliding the egg on top, and pouring those few spoons of cream for softer, richer flavor. Simplicity can be luxurious too.

Of course, it was my most embarrassing, dark secret (not anymore!) admission – my love of bologna sandwiches – that made the cut on the television segment, and not this glorious egg. Of course, it serves me right, being so low-brow in my guilty indulgences. I should, in my defense, add however, that the bologna I had in mind, is what the Russians refer to as Doktoraskaya bologna – which I get in Russian delis. The Russian stuff is seriously good, and once you try it, you will never go back to your old bologna again. I promise you.

eggs baked in cream

And while this dish never got mention, I think it’s something you should try your hand at. Unless you have Russian bologna on hand. In which case, I say, make yourself a sandwich. And please – invite me over.

But wait! Can’t we watch this infamous clip of your bologna love?
Ah, yes, of course! Here is the clip of me embarrassing myself on national TV!

Continue reading eggs baked in cream.