Category Archives: Eggs
Argh! My blog is so neglected. It’s the time of year where I’m cooking all the time. I’ve even kept up with the Cook the Book Fridays assignments. Alas, I’ve become an expert procrastinator when it’s time to write a blog post. So, without further ado, here goes.
I was SO EXCITED to make Panisse Puffs. I can remember leafing through My Paris Kitchen when it first came out. That must have been around the time I made popovers for a rare participation in Tuesdays with Dorie because I had popovers on the brain. It’s this recipe that tempted me to buy My Paris Kitchen. Of course, I never made them. When this recipe was selected for the Cook the Book Friday schedule, I finally had the motivation I needed, no excuses allowed.
Again, I marveled at how simple popover batter is. A few staples whirred in the blender and it’s time to rock-and-roll. The pan preheats along with the oven, so the pan is buttered and then filled with batter when it’s blazing hot.
The puffs puffed. What they didn’t do is get all that brown. I’ll admit that the glass window in my oven is not very easy to see through. After 35 minutes, the puffs looked brown, but I think the baked-on splatters disguised the true color. They also were stubborn about coming out of the pan. I used a muffin tin because I don’t have a special popover pan, though I’m not sure it would have made a difference.
These looked much better in the pan. After prying them out, my puffs were rather disfigured and deflated, no longer “souffléed”. They tasted OK, but after years of anticipation, I was a little disappointed.
Soupe au Pistou
Typically, I don’t make hot soup in the summer. Gazpacho, sure, and the occasional “other” cold soup, but little compels me to heat up the kitchen with or hang around to watch a simmering pot of soup. For these reasons, I was ambivalent about making vegetable soup with pesto. Trying to stay on schedule with the Cook the Book Fridays gang, I forced myself to soak white beans overnight and move ahead.
As crazy as it seemed to me, this really is a summer vegetable soup. All the vegetables called for were part of my CSA share that week: carrots, zucchini, fresh sugar snap peas, and loads of basil. The beans simmered while I chopped everything else up. Vegetables were added in stages, depending on how long they needed to cook to tender.
While the vegetables cooked, I made pistou (nut-less pesto) in my mortar and pestle. I’d never done that before, always using the power of the food processor instead of my own muscle. The result was much rougher but pleasing when dolloped on top of the soup.
So, I was wrong to doubt the delight of a hot summer soup. This one was delicious. I’d even make it again with the vegetables of the week if the weather isn’t too hot outside.
Herbed Fresh Pasta
Another first. Those of you familiar with tales of my bottomless (Mary Poppins-like) basement won’t be surprised to know that there’s a pasta machine down there. I bought it decades ago at a now-defunct discount store for the bargain price of $15. I must have made pasta a few times back when I first bought the machine, but I don’t think it’s left the basement since we moved to this house almost 25 years ago. (Packrat? Are you accusing me of being a packrat?)
Pasta is not something I ever think to make myself. It seems intimidating, especially when making the dough by hand rather than in the food processor. I was home alone the night I made this, so I made a smaller batch. Always divide by the eggs, so I made 1/3 of the recipe. I used a variety of herbs from my garden and just followed the recipe.
No tools required! I used my fingers to incorporate the eggs into the flour. Once the eggs were absorbed, not all the flour was incorporated, so I kept sprinkling the dough with water until it all came together.
It rested for about an hour before rolling it into sheets and then cutting the sheets into strands.
I was surprised that the process was so easier than I expected. I don’t intend to wait another quarter century before the next time I attempt my own fresh pasta.
I made a mélange of pea tendrils, sugar snap peas, and shell peas to top the pasta for a seasonal spring meal (at least, seasonal in June, when I made this). Delicious!
You can find all the recipes in David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. Panisse Puffs is on page 245, Soupe au Pistou on page 92, and Herbed Fresh Pasta on page 230. My friends at Cook the Book Fridays were more timely in their execution, but go back and check out their posts for Panisse Puffs, Soupe au Pistou, and Herbed Fresh Pasta.
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.