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People often ask me what my favorite dish is. I think it would be wiser and more efficient to name the few things I care nothing about, like shrimp and other crustacean. It’s not to say I won’t ever like those, but I am yet to have the shell fish served in a way that will blow my mind. Otherwise, please don’t even waste my time.
The things I can eat into infinity, on the other hand, are EGGS. Be those Sunny-side-ups with runny yolk oozing over my lunch toast or fingerling potatoes in my Salad Nicoise. Be those Poached Eggs served over Mashed Rutabaga & Celeriac. Simply hard-boiled eggs chopped and mixed with tuna and pickles that make perfectly creamy and scrumptious filling for sandwiches. An old fashioned Scramble with the volume turned up never gets old. I’ll take my eggs any time of the day, any day of the week. Alas, a lazy Sunday morning and an eggstra decadent meal are a match made in heaven.
This past weekend, I served FRITTATA with Baby Spinach, Green Apples, Goat Cheese and Pancetta. To call it a decadent meal would be offensive. It was magical…
With the first taste that reached my mouth the seat underneath my firm ass-cheeks mysteriously turned into a plush throne covered with red velvet. My hand dropped onto the massive oak table under the weight of a silver fork I never saw before in my life. Little bells rang above my head, stars dust sparkled in the air, and suddenly my left hand was lifting a heavy, silver chalice embellished with precious stones and golden rims. Then I looked down…
Here’s the thing. The last time I saw myself in the mirror before heading to the kitchen to make breakfast I was wearing a see-through tank top and skimpy boy shorts that I like to parade in on Sunday mornings. Now my negligee was replaced with a tight bustier and delicate chiffon gown with mother-of-pearl buttons running up from the waist up to my throat glands. I was astonished. It was the state of the art tailoring bearing trade marks of a royal craftsman. My jaw elegantly fainted and dropped like an autumn leaf to the plate.
The plate! The plate with my SPINACH-APPLE FRITTATA which in fact was the source of all the wicked abracadabra playing out in front of our eyes!
It would be rude and selfish of me not to share this dish with you for the experience is out of this world, I tell ya. The perks, beyond the above described ones, are:
1. It’s easy to make.
2. One batch can last for a few meals that can be stored in a refrigerator for 2 days, or even frozen to be enjoyed later.
3. It’s as versatile as scrambled eggs–you can put in it whatever your soul desires and make it anew every time.
4. You can serve it fresh and hot at home for Sunday breakfast, or pack it for lunch to go on Monday.
5. It’s made of EGGS!
6. It has magical powers…
There are several “proven” methods of making a frittata, and I’ve tried them all. You’ll need a cast-iron skillet (or any other oven proof one) and a 500° hot oven.
Depending on the size of your skillet, you’ll need 6, 10 or even 12 eggs. For my 12″ pan I usually go with 10 organic and free range eggs. Also, peel an apple of your choice (I like the tart ones), quarter, core it and thinly slice. Beat all of the eggs in a bowl, add 2-3 tbsp of heavy cream, and season with salt and pepper. If you like, add chopped chives, or a pinch of chili pepper, or a teaspoon of dry oregano. It’s your dish.
Heat the skillet on the stove top, add a touch of olive oil and butter together, and add diced pancetta. When some of the fat has rendered, tip the apples in and toss them about. Sprinkle a touch of sea salt all over to help the apples sweat and thus get softer. Next, pour the egg mixture in and reduce the heat to medium low. Crumble cold goat cheese all over your dish, add a big handful of fresh spinach, and help it incorporate evenly across the dish.
Using a soft spatula lift the edges of the frittata along the sides of the skillet allowing the still loose eggs from the top to drip underneath the set layer. Make sure nothing sticks. Grate a handful of Fontina cheese all over the surface, drizzle with olive oil and turn off the heat. Place your skillet inside the hot oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and eggs set.
Remove the pan from the oven, let it cool for 5 minutes, cut in wedges and serve with a side of green salad and toasted baguette. Watch the frock on your bod turn into a royal gown, and a pumpkin coach park outside your window
A quick cheat sheet to whom it may concern: one doesn’t need to go to a culinary school (all fingers point at moi), nor be a self-trained chef (all fingers, once again: ready, aim, fire!) to make eggs like one.
On weekends, Jason and I like to sit down at our ginormous dining table for a proper breakfast, without the usual running from the refrigerator to the bathroom sink, exchanging a banana for a toothbrush, while getting ready for another work day. Most of the time, we celebrate either Saturday or Sunday with a plate of ever fabulous SCRAMBLED EGGS. The trick is to keep it fresh and versatile for there’re many years ahead of us full of chicken balls on weekends.
True, there are special occasions, like Easter for example, when I like to dress my eggs up in lace and frills.
Some days, however, I’m too hungry to fuss about their shape and form, so I simply flap my scramble-ness with an attitude (of a squash, e.g.) straight onto a plate, like I’d shown you here.
The problem with egg holidays is that they don’t come often enough. So what does one do when in the mood for some EGGstravaganza in between Easter and Hanukkah? I say adopt a holiday and turn the mundane Veterans Day, or President Day, or Labor Day for that matter into Scrambleday…
… Agi thought and so she did…
“Pancetta Italiana rendered in a hot pan, whistling a rhythmic sizzle under its nose. In the small pool of the glorious fat fresh Sage Leaves skinny dipped till crispy and fried. Next, Eggs were cracked up laughing when joining the party, seasoned with dirty salt and pepper on the rocks, they mingled and small talked with the new-found friends for life. Right when the bartender announced the last call, Ripe Gorgonzola crumbled all over the dance floor and seamlessly merged with the crowd. Instantly after the lights went off. Valets brought the plates to the front door with the toasts running. One sober gentleman, Mr. Round Cutter, offered his hand to keep the gleeful elements in shape, thus bestowing grace upon them for the last time before they reach Nirvana.”
How’s that for a recipe?
With the above set of PISANKI, or what you call here in the U.S. EASTER EGGS, I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday filled with too much food, never enough laughter, and monkey tricks with your friends and other kids in the family.
I haven’t made pisanki in maybe two decades, and so I had a lot of fun boiling the eggs first in a pot filled with water and lots of onion skins (for the color). Then I looked around the house for a sharp tool to etch the pattern (my meat thermometer did the trick) on my Easter Eggs. To finish the job, I needed to find a little basket lined with a white, crocheted napkin. The closest to such a thing in this household were my Halloween panties I wore once with my Naughty Santa Helper outfit about three years ago. I’m glad I’ve found a use for them one more time.
I bet you’re thinking of my Panty Christmas Tree, aren’t you? Yes, my panties are quite versatile and flexible, and poses an artistic inkling.
Happy Easter Everybody! A basket of love and fuzzy thoughts to you I’m going to eat my eggs now.
I have this ridiculously decadent recipe for Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies that Jason won’t let me make… dammit!
He simply doesn’t trust himself around anything chocolate, especially if it’s merged with peanut butter (or even sat next to it for that matter), as he knows both his poise and self-control would instantly strip naked and offer themselves in exchange for the aforementioned delight.
Unfortunately, it puts me in a very awkward situation on days like today when, after 48 hours of mood swings due to estrogen overdose I’m stuck in the wall teeth first… In desperate times nothing can stop me from satisfying my various PMS cravings, plaster included. One day it’s calcium, then iron, and most commonly magnesium. When the levels of the latter deplete, my mind goes blank for a split of a second, and when I recover my senses I realize the control panel in my head has turned on the red emergency light that flashes: CHOCOLATE.
NOTHING will prevent me from finding a piece of chocolate and holding on to it with the whole might of my jaws, like a rat that escaped from a sinking ship clenching to a raft with all that it’s got – nails, tails, teeth, harpoons, anchors, etc. Nothing, not even the stack of brand new jeans (two sizes down from the last pair I purchased mind you!) recently piled up in my closet, will stop me from satisfying THE craving.
Those jeans will stick around and I’m determined to use them as long as they fully cover my ass. One day their status will become a reminder of my “pre-pregnancy weight”. (Thanks, Heather, for your post. I’m learning so much ahead of time!) On those days I’ll be desperate to get the chocolate OUT of the grasp of my jaws, and lock it away in a chocolate jail with no option for a bail out.
Until then, however, play that funky music, white boy! Give me some of that rich and bittersweet chocolaty bite that will melt on my tongue and coat it with sheer satisfaction. I know my heart rate will rise, shivers will run down my spine, and I’ll salivate releasing serotonins that will ultimately take me to the peak of that mountain called O. Meanwhile, perfectly oblivious to all of it, Jason will continue to put out various work related fires instead of going on this hike with me… if you know what I mean.
How might I satiate this craving when the house is chocolate proof and the closest thing to sweets I can find is a half empty jar of Dijon mustard in the refrigerator? My eyes hopelessly slide down the carton of eggs, pickles, sliced turkey, my cheese-less pesto… EGGS! I got it! Suddenly it all comes together and I know what steps to take to get me to my Happy Ending!
The answer is… KOGEL-MOGEL. I’m going back to my roots again. Kogel-Mogel is – I assure you – a real word and not an Agi-ism. It is a Polish name for a kind of mousse we used to make back in the day when sweets were scarce, and all one could find on shelves in a grocery store was vinegar. Yes, it was a very different world from everything you know.
To make Kogel-Mogel you need at least one egg, 2-3 tsp of sugar, and as much of cocoa powder, plus a mug and a teaspoon to mix it all with. If you’re lazy, or want to get fancy, go ahead and grab your handheld mixer – life is hard enough as it is. Now, separate the egg white from the yolk. Save the egg white for later in a closed container inside of your refrigerator. You can use it tomorrow for the Scrambled Eggs with Roasted Acorn Squash for example, or merengues, or whatever else you want.
Drop the egg yolk into the prearranged mug, add the sugar and whip it together using the mixer. It will take a couple of minutes until the sugar is fully incorporated, thus making the egg yolk fluffy and thick at the same time. It will at least double if not triple in volume. Now turn off the mixer and add your cocoa powder (70% and organic is my preference). Whip it again for 30 seconds and YOU ARE DONE, my friend!
Go ahead and lick the mixing whisk… clean it good. You don’t have much in that mug, so take your time and dress your tongue with small servings of the chocolate mousse you’ve just made. Delight in it. Close your eyes, open your mouth and feel the pleasure with all your senses. Start climbing that mountain, and don’t look back. The world will pause and observe with envy as you get higher and higher. Forget the world, let go, breathe, relax, moan, and be free… Experience the O.
Growing up in Poland, back in the 70s, I was caught between two worlds – one of the Catholic Church and the other ruled by The Communistic Party. One excluded the other…in theory. Both of my parents belonged to The Party. While for my father it was a career choice, my mother just fought for survival.
Those aspirations didn’t stand the test of time. My father’s very promising “career” dissolved in pouring streams of vodka, which also cost him his family, and life in general. My Mom, on the other hand, left The Party, dealt with the aftermaths, and then struggled most of her adult life to raise two kiddies as a single mother in a post communistic country. Worry not, she’s now happily remarried and finds zen among her roses and hundreds of other flowers in her gardens.
(Oops, this is getting personal… Consider it a warning.)
Before Mom got another chance at life, however, we lived a life of double agents. Officially, we were forbidden to BELIEVE in god, and consequently to practice any religion. Yet my fanatically Catholic grandmother would have none of that. She understood the risk of standing up to The Party, hence she took it upon herself to introduce catechism to her god-deprived grandchildren under the veil of her house. We were like the first Christians in the ancient Rome secretly praying and hiding away from the merciless hands of Nero.
(This reminds me of the most beautiful love story from the times of the Roman Emperor called “Quo Vadis”, written by a Polish writer Henry Sienkiewicz. The novel earned him the Nobel Prize, and was also adapted by Hollywood into a movie. Look it up. The book is a brick, but when you start reading you’ll never want it to end.)
Fast forward some 20 odd years, I’m living my American Dream in the heart of sunny California, with the Love of my life by my side and a happy pup, who’s only worry is to eat as much as he can get away with, and poop at least once daily. I no longer go to church nor pray as grandma taught me, but I still love Christmas and cherish those traditions. One other thing that she instilled in me (which has recently come back into my life as a recovered omnivore) is Meatless Friday. That’s right, a diehard Catholic won’t even have a bite of kielbasa on Friday, just like a Jew won’t use electricity after sunset as Shabat begins. While the Catholics follow the rule for the religious reasons, I myself do it for the health of our planet.
In that way, our household represents thousands – and hopefully soon – millions of families that protest against the massive meat production in America. It sounds like a joke, but all of the methane gas released by the corn-fed cows when they fart and belch hugely attributes to the natural imbalances and global warming we’re struggling with these days, not to mention the millions of gallons of water that are used to support the meat industry.
I wrote about these issues before, and I’m not here to preach. I’d rather entertain you with my monkey tricks and do some cooking. Still, I want to participate in spreading the word and thus raising awareness. We can all adjust our comfortable lives by only an inch to make a mile of a difference.
Now it’s time for the fun part. I took you on this whirlwind-time-travel-journey, shadowed by the godless Communists, alcoholism, and global warming only to talk to you about…eggs. Super duper healthy and scrumptious eggs for that matter.
We get ours organic and from the happy chicks that run freely and chew on nutritious grass and grains. I know it’s usually about 2 bucks more per dozen, but then again it’s money we WON’T be spending on medication. I reckon a healthy egg a day will keep the doctor away. Plus it tastes so much better than a pill.
Here’s a dish we recently enjoyed for breakfast, which could also be easily incorporated into a lunch menu, or even a Friday dinner for all I care. I married a squash, that’s been on everybody’s mind since the Autumn Equinox, with the good all-year-round eggs. Butternut squash would be too sweet in this meal for my palette, so I chose a beautiful green and orange Acorn Squash.
One beautiful fall day I raised the veg in front of my eyes and said out loud: “Today is the day”. I gave it a kiss goodbye and with a big, fat, super-sharp knife I cut it into wedges, removed the seeds, and lay it flat on a sheet pan. Then the wedges got showered with a mist of olive oil, salt, pepper and Herbes de Provence. Properly dressed, the beauty was put into an oven, preheated to 350˚, for circa half an hour. After the “sauna”, the lady took time to rest, cool off, and get ready to be stored away in the refrigerator.
The very next morning (and it was Friday) I offered I’d make eggs for breakfast. Eggs with a twist. The twist was the squash (duh!) scalped and cut in cubes, then incorporated into a mix of eggs on a heated pan, seasoned with salt, pepper, fresh basil, a touch of turmeric, and…grated mozzarella! For the final touch I roughly chopped a few scallions and dusted the eggs on a plate. Voila. Here’s your delicious, gorgeous, organic Scrambled Eggs with Roasted Acorn Squash, Mozzarella & Scallions…
The eggs were perfectly cooked, yet still soft. The squash was softly bound with the scramble by the elongated and omnipresent arms of the cheese. Each bite was gently set on a piece of toast, and then quickly lost in the depths behind our hungry lips. It was a breakfast of champions. It was a power-shot for the rest of that day. It was a manifestation of beauty and happiness on a plate.
May you all experience a Meatless Friday that will keep you satisfied and satiated on every level desired.