Happy New Year! A new start. A new opportunity to reset. A chance to work on a new set of intentions. I’m up for the challenge, though I’ve already gotten behind on some of the projects I started this week.
Spending more time on my blog is one intention I have for 2017. I cook endlessly, I invent new recipes, I record my notes, I sometimes remember to take pictures, but I don’t take time to share the winners.
Other than my participation with the Cook the Book Fridays gang, I seldom write a post. I am glad that as this community of home cooks and bloggers approach a year of cooking through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen, we’re still at it. So many of these recipes are delicious discoveries. Even when they appear to be nothing special on paper, I’ve learned that simplicity has a lot to offer. This week’s recipe, Fresh Herb Omelette, is the perfect example.
Let’s back up so I can tell you a few egg stories. The first one is about my mother. My mother was an excellent cook. One of the many gifts she gave me (and my sisters) was a love of cooking, eating, and sharing food. As in any family, there were a few things she made that were not my favorites. I only remember a few of them now. One stand-out “not favorite” was my mother’s scrambled eggs. I’m not sure who taught her to make them, but they were FLAT. I longed for the scrambled eggs my friend Cheryl’s mother made, which were fluffy with big curds. I would ask my mom for those, but I still got flat eggs that she cut into pieces with the side of the spatula to mimic curds. Sigh.
I eventually learned to make myself the scrambled eggs I craved. The next logical step after scrambled eggs is an omelette. I’m highly competent at scrambled eggs, but I continue to struggle with omelettes. I keeping with my scrambled egg preference, I enjoy puffy omelettes, filled with cheese and sautéed vegetables. I’ve watched cooking shows and videos on cooking omelettes. As hard as I try, I can’t seem to master the timing for folding the egg over the filling without cracking the egg base. My omelettes resemble sandwiches where the cooked egg stands in for two pieces of bread above and below the filling.
When I saw that we’d be making an omelette for this week’s recipe challenge, I was excited that I might finally crack the code. The recipe is super simple. It called for ingredients that are always in my refrigerator: eggs, cream, herbs, cheese, and butter. The recipe called for a large skillet. As I poured the whisked egg mixture into the pan and swirled it around, I was concerned because the eggs just coated the pan, like a large pancake. It set up quickly. I didn’t need to pull up the edge and let extra egg run underneath what was cooked. I sprinkled a line of cheese down the middle, which melted almost immediately, then quickly folded the omelette in half. The egg was soft and pliable and didn’t tear or break.
One bite took me back to my mother’s kitchen. This time, instead of being disappointed, her scrambled eggs made much more sense to me. They weren’t really scrambled eggs after all, but rather, her version of an omelette. With herbs and cheese, this one was more interesting than her plain one but they were definitely related.
Admittedly, I’m still more partial to fluffier filled omelettes, even if I don’t know how to keep them whole, but David’s omelette makes a pretty great lunch. I liked it enough to make it two days in a row. One day I used the last of some dill plus some parsley matched with Manchego cheese, and the next with cilantro and cheddar. I didn’t bother to warm the plate, as suggested, but should have because the plate (like my house) is on the cold side, so the egg cooled down as I ate it.
The only step that didn’t make sense to me was to position the cheese down the middle of the eggs in the pan, which meant there was cheese in the fold, but nowhere else. Maybe I read the recipe wrong. In the future, I’ll either sprinkle it all over the eggs or fold the eggs in thirds.
These eggs have earned a place in my lunch rotation, and maybe even breakfast too.
This week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays is for an easy appetizer called Pissaladiére, or Onion Tart. Talk about something that’s bigger than the sum of its parts.
This recipe starts by making an easy yeasted dough, similar to a pizza dough. While the dough rises, a huge pile of onions gets caramelized. In theory, the timing works out nicely. The dough should be ready to stretch out around the time the onions have the proper golden hue.
Unfortunately, I had a scheduling hiccup. I got a late start, and when the onions were done, I didn’t have enough time to stretch and rest the dough, arrange the toppings, and bake, before I had to leave the house. Disappointed, I put the onions and rising dough in the refrigerator, hoping for better luck the next day. I knew the onions would be fine but not as confident about the dough.
Next day, I approached the refrigerator with trepidation. I was surprised and delighted to find that the dough had continued to rise overnight. I feared the dough would be a lost cause, instead, I discovered that this recipe was more flexible than I expected. I let the dough warm up for about an hour, then continued with the recipe.
The dough patted out easily to fill the pan. I spread the caramelized onions on top, then had fun arranging anchovies into a crosshatch design and strewing the top with olives.
The pissaladiére is in the Appetizer chapter, but I found it worked well for lunch with soup. It was delicious! And, I also really loved figuring out that I can make the pizza dough the day before.
Definitely try this one. You won’t be sorry. It’s a winner. You can find the recipe on page 69 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. To read my blogging friends’ links about their own experiences with this recipe, check them out here.
Happy Holidays to one and all!