Friday, May 29, 2009

Baby's First Omelette!

Baby’s First Omelette!

The Tea

A cooked Pu-erh tuo-cha, from the 90s. Very mellow, a little earthy and a little bit like licking a wet river rock, in the best possible way. This is kind of an evening tea for me, because I find it unbelievably comforting, but in a pinch it will do in the morning. I brewed it in its dedicated Yixing pot, which is getting nicely seasoned1. Strangely, the appearance of the outside is changing, becoming richer and slightly glossy, as the porous clay begins to absorb the flavors of the tea.

The Smoothie

Oh god I forgot again. I’m so sorry, dear readers. An extreme close-up in my iPhoto says Mango-Kiwi?

The Omelette

Well well. How do you make an omelette? I’ve served thousands of them in my long career as a brunch waiter, but still, when I thought about it there were a couple of things to figure out.

Obviously, you ________________

Crack some eggs.

Great. I cracked some eggs.
Add some milk or something?
… and Salt and Pepper…
And beat with a fork.
Right, but how much? Already I’m making decisions here. Now I like my eggs like I like my women (stuffed with produce and beaten as little as possible), so I just kind of beat them a little bit to mix everything together and get a little air in there.
Make some kind of filling…
Following my tried and true rule of method of forgetting to think about it the night before, and rummaging around in the cabinet to see what I forgot I had.
Sun-dried tomatoes! Like, a half a thing! And some mushrooms in the fridge. Hmmmmm. I really wished I had thought about it the night before and covered 6 or 8 sun-dried tomatoes in water to plump them up, but sometimes in life you just have to move forward. Wiped the mushrooms down with a wet cloth to clean them (never rinse them, those of you who don’t know already, the water will soak right in and make the mushrooms unable to absorb flavors. It’s the same principle as draining tofu, really. With everything chopped and the egg mix ready, it was time to cook stuff.
No it’s not! You’ll need to grate some cheese.
Irish Cheddar it is.
Come on, let’s get moving.
I heated up some olive oil in a large frying pan for the filling, and threw some herbs in as well.
What to cook the omelette in presented a little more of a problem. I knew I needed to put it in something “nonstick”y. But I don’t have any nonstick pans. I do have a large cast iron I recently got from grandma’s house. It’s pretty well seasoned1, but it has a couple of uneven spots in the bottom. I figured this was the best chance I had, but since it was so damn big I’d better just make one giant six egg “romantic omelette for two” (idea available for licensing, if interested please leave a comment and my management team will contact you). I heated a little butter in the cast iron and poured the egg mixture in. I used a rubber spatula to push the mixture away from the edges and to slide underneath to keep the bottom from sticking. Once it firmed up a little on top, and it started to smell like the bottom was browning a little (I also like my eggs slightly browned…) I added the grated cheese on one half to let it get a little melty. I gave it about two minutes and then added the sautéed filling to the one half (I had used a little too much oil, so I had to pour some off into the sink before putting it on top) and proceeded to fold my omelette.

Where things begin to fall apart a little bit.

And I kind of mangled the edge of it. I got it folded more or less, and tried to slide I off the pan onto a plate and ran into a little stickiness on the bottom, further mangling the edges. You can see how it came out in the end in the breakfast collage, way up top. It’s a little raggedy.

The Result?

Ugly, but delicious. The eggs were really fluffy, and the light beating leaves some nice nuance in flavor and texture. Sautéeing the sun-dried tomatoes made them a little juicier, I still wish I had soaked them though.

The omelette was originally developed in ancient Persia.

1A few notes on seasoning things

An Yixing pot is made of one of a few specific kinds of porous clays. They often begin their lives a lovely dull brown color. They should be used ideally only for one specific tea, or at least for one type of tea of a specific grade. Through gradual use, the flavors of the tea begin to soak into the teapot itself, enhancing both the visual appeal of the pot and the flavor of the steeped tea. To season a fresh pot you can either soak the pot in a larger pot filled with the tea you intend to use, or just start using it and gradually season it over time.

Cast iron pans are seasoned (or cured) for a different reason. A built-up layer of fat provides a nonstick surface on which to cook, decreasing the amount of fats one needs to use while cooking. For this reason one should NEVER wash a cast iron with soap, which will break down the protective coating. Instead, it should immediately be gently wiped with either water or coarse salt (kosher salt is best).

To season a new cast iron, ou can either rub it down completely with lard and put it in a warm oven for several hours, or just kind of use a little more butter or oil for a while to season it over time.

Cako-Italian Breakfast

Well, that's the cake. We had most of it. For breakfast.

The rest of it was organic whole wheat spaghetti with lemon pepper tempeh and more homemade pesto. How long does pesto keep? I'm feeling at this point that it's a good idea to eat it as quickly as possible. It was pretty good, not earth-shattering of course but for a quickie...

Full disclosure. I wanted to include a photograph here, but the picture I took looks gross. It came out looking kind of grey, and the chunks of tofu just look like clotted green masses. The whole thing has a kind of intestinal quality to it. Oh what the hell, you deserve to know the truth.

The smoothie was Peach Mango Banana, and the tea was screwed up again. dammit.

I didn't quite have enough tea left to do a full gallon, so I did about three quarters of a gallon which turned out to still be WAY TO MUCH. What the hell, I do this for a living! Why can't I get it right in my own home? Anyway, it came out good but too mild for my tastes. That's it for the lyonnais darjeeling, I'll have to get some more of my own if I want to get it right.

And everyone missed Ballz!, especially Ruby.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Filipino Breakfast!

Does this count? I didn't make anything here. Also, this was days ago. Sunday, May 24th, for my ruthlessly precise, fact-checking readers. Yes, I'm behind, and slightly stressed about it. Is this why people stop updating blogs?

The Backstory
My Sweet Lady, Unicorn Girl (Henceforth, SLUG)'s parents agreed to take Ballz! the dog into their home. This meant a sudden trip to Falls Church,Virginia! Once I got the recycling bag taped up onto the rear windshield (yep, someone "accidentally smashed it about five minutes before I was going to leave [did I mention my bike got stolen too? It's been a rough week]) and threw some off-brand granola bars into the back seat, it was time to go.

Did they take him?

Yes they did! Here he is on his new hardwood floors. Let's just hope he behaves himself (not possible) and doesn't embarrass me (nope).

Ahem, well, what did you have for breakfast!

Lots of things! The tea was generic green tea, not bad at all. When I got upstairs from a deep sleep in the windowless guest room, the table was laden with all manner of foodstuffs, including a lot of cake. Now I know where SLUG's habit of eating cake for breakfast comes from! As I was picking through the pastry plate, SLUG's father said, proudly "and these are traditional Philippino desserts." To which SLUG responded, loudly, "You got these from Trader Joe's! Ha Ha Ha!" Hilarious! The fact is, there was a lot of Philippino stuff on the table; Empanadas, Coconut Sticky Rice, Weird Gelatinous Sweet Corn Brick. The first two were a huge hit, I'll take a pass on the third. Can you see it there, in the corner?

The best part of breakfast, though, besides the fact that Ballz! waited 'til we were hours down the road to start completely terrorizing them (and the fact that a real family of grown up people was running around their large and lovely home, yelling "Ballz! Ballz!")
was the fact that SLUG's nunai (sp.?) was stirring a giant pot of cabbage and vegetables the whole time. We weren't sure what it was for, until we were about to leave and a big plate of fresh-made spring rolls were thrust into our hands. We ate them in the car, without napkins, wiping our greasy fingers on our pants, with the windows down going 90 on the interstate, listening to the same album over and over again. Another successful breakfast!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Japanese Breakfast (actually May 22nd)

Clearly, I relented a little bit. Here is some evidence that I gave both dogs a little piece of cracked pepper smoked salmon, AT LEAST ONCE.

Ballz! grew on me a little. I really wish I could have kept him, but times being what they are...

Breakfast was Sushi Bowls- short grain brown rice with a healthy dose of seasoned rice vinegar (the [delicious] key to sushi), the afore-mentioned salmon, avocado, and Wakame flakes. The flakes added a really nice crunchy texture. And so full of fiber, too!

I can't remember what was in the smoothie.

Doesn't it look pretty gross?

Well,it wasn't!

It was delicious (whatever it was).

The tea, by the way, was more of the previous day's over-steeped sun Darjeeling. For those of you keeping track, I steeped it about half an hour. If I had it to do again, I'd do twenty minutes in indirect light.

Friday, May 22, 2009


NO you cannot has sopressata.

After three days of HoneyBunches of Oats with Almonds (which doesn't even have that funny of a box [except that their origin story sort of suggests that it took one man ten years to figure out how to combine other post cereals into one]), directly relating to Mister Smelly, now formally known as Franklinbutt Ferdinand Booger Bullinsky, ("Ballz!" for short), I finally had time to make Italian Breakfast.

The first step was trying to think of an appropriate sauce for the now-not-quite-so-awesomely-fresh porcini tortellini (thanks a lot, Ballz!). I was going to make some sort of shallot cream sauce with fresh oregano (man, F*CK dried oregano!) and thyme, when I remembered that I had made some homemade pesto a couple weeks ago, which I hadn't used yet. It passed the smell test and the taste test! Awesome. Boil the water, boil the pasta, slice some sweet sopressata, make a smoothie, make some iced tea, stir it all up, and voila (how do you say voila in italian?) breakfast is served.

How Was It?
Pretty good! The pesto layered a nice herby freshness on top of the earthy mushrooms, and the sausage was delicious. The smoothie (which I don't remember [look, I'm a little behind on this thing, thanks to you-know-who)] was probably pretty good. The tea: Hmmm. The tea.

The story of the tea.
The tea. It should have been really good. I had a little Second Flush Darjeeling from Margaret's Hope, a very reputable biodynamic estate, which I had picked up at that same shop in Lyon. I decided to make a sun tea (the only way to make iced tea), figuring it would draw the apricot and floral notes. So I put a couple ounces in a plastic jug, added some cold water and set it in the sun while the water boiled. Then I got all stressey-pants again (seriously, it was crazy with this dog, he was so smelly that after I washed him my drunk roommate tooka naked shower with him and washed him again with laundry detergent, and he still kinda smelled! Plus noone was coming forward for him except the douchiest of craigslist creeps, he and Princess R*** Nopants would NOT stop wrassling on the floor, seriously I could not get a moment of peace) and let it sit for a little too long. Not quite ruined, but it got all tannic and bitter. Crap. Oh, and for some reason all I had was Wonderbread, which was not quite the perfect complement to the meal, but wasn't bad with some authentic super spicy Dijon (Lyon) slathered on it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


This is a picture of breakfast being destroyed.

I was going to make Italian Breakfast, with some fresh Porcini Tortellini I picked up in Little Italy yesterday, on my way back from buying 4' T12 base flourescents and 15W sign bulbs (Lendy's Electric- they're good once you get someone's attention).

When I finally got home my bike was gone and this guy was there instead. Someone help! He keeps humping my dog.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Great Grains

Yup, just a bowl of cereal. I'm home alone this morning, and I find it to go to the trouble of whipping something up just for one. But if you haven't, check it out, Great Grains is pretty good. It's got pecans in it, and what is that, a date? Let's go to the back of the box.

Inevitable ridiculous marketing statement

"Funny thing about raisins. They just love hanging out on the vine, basking in the sun. Because the longer they stay on the vine, the sweeter, plumper and juicier they get. Our kind of raisins."

And a little further down...

"Just one of our Post Selects cereals. Each with a story of its own."

What is this cereals "story"? This box makes it sound like it's about an obesity pandemic in the raisin community.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sequels are never as good, especially when they're made on a Monday

So here's that tofu I was talking about. Pretty weird, huh? Notice the un-
ally low price tag. And the spots.

I wanted to rework yesterday's breakfast a little, you know, at least add a little avocado. I stopped by the market on my way home, and realized I only had $5.43 left. Good thing I didn't give T. (or Ty, or Pete, or whatever his name was, I didn't quite catch it) that $4 he was trying to hit me up for. With this I figured I could get one avocado, a dozen awful eggs, and a kiwi. I had almost a dollar left over! I really wanted some mexican cheese too, but that'll have to wait til payday.

We set about making breakfast, but things got a little rocky. We were under a little time pressure, thanks to NYC's delightful Alternate Side Parking regulations, plus I had a "case of the mondays" and was "being bossy," according to someone who was there. I kept correcting her breakfast technique, meanwhile I'm dropping the radishes, oversteeping the tea, and forgetting the sausage. But we pulled together, and had a nice groggy breakfast together (apologizing is the best). We even got the car moved in time.

How was it?
so so! The burrito was better with the avocado (duh) and the smoothie was a little better with kiwi instead of strawberry. However, I didn't really have time to remake the tea, which wound up tasting like impatience and condescension. I guess you actually eat what you are, and not the other way around.

does that make sense?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Franco-Mexi-Irish Breakfast!

The First Course
A bowl and a half of Honey Nut Cheerios each, whole Vitamin D milk for me, Light Soy milk for the lady. The dog licked both bowls. Meanwhile, I opened up the fridge and found only two eggs. Hmmm. Lately I'd been doing this kind of Soysauge Breakfast Sandwich thing, but that had two eggs each! It was time to improvise.

What was in the fridge?
Some weird "grilled" tofu was the only firm tofu at the store the other day. It was packaged like regular tofu, but at a deeply discounted price, and had black spots on it that were supposed, I guess, to suggest "grilling."

Some Mexican Farmer's Cheese!
Pomegranate Black Bean Salsa
Sour Cream
Garlic and Shallots
Mixed Baby Greens
A Lemon
Some F*ing Amazing Whole Grain Dijon (From France)
Whole Wheat Wraps

Breakfast Burrito with Salad and side of Sausage it is!
So I started to make the tofu scramble with two eggs, some tofu (drained, of course, under my roommates stack of vogue magazines [don't tell!]),one garlic clove and one shallot. Mixed it up good, put it in gramma's cast iron with a little butter. At this point I looked at the cheese. Suspiciously. It wasn't opened, but I barely remember buying it, which meant it was about two months old. But hey, cheese keeps sometimes, right?

It kind of passed the smell test, but had a distinct uric taste. Too bad. Unfortunately, the Parmesan was kind of moldy too, but that's a story for another time. That left me with this goddamn 5 pound block of Aged Irish Cheddar that I got from the Restaurant Depot a little while back, it's delicious but I'm getting a little tired of it. That's the drawback to buying bulk, I guess, but it went in the burrito nonetheless. Really, I'm just lucky I had that salsa kicking around. Once the egg tofu scramble cooked up nice, cheese all melted, we assembled the burritos.

The Salad
The greens with a little mustard vinaigrette sounded fine, but maybe I had one more ingredient to give it a little pizzazz? I rummaged around in the fridge a little more, and what did I find? A little package of radishes! Perfect! It was as though I had written a letter to myself, from the past, to the future! Seriously, how did I know that radishes were going to be the perfect thing?

The Smoothie
Banana, Strawberry and Blueberry with Ginger, Flax Seeds and Raw Honey.

The Tea
Oolong- Fu Yian (Biodynamic)
A nice little number I picked up at the Tea Palace in Lyon, a wonderful store in a city that otherwise has pretty much just Lipton and thinks that Twinings is gourmet.
This bad boy is about 70 percent oxidized, pretty dark, and has a real nice sweetness that emerges in the second steeping.

The Results?