May 19, 2008


Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Breakfasts.

I must protest the suggestion that eggs are culinary velcro. While you can certainly add almost anything to eggs, it does pay off to make sure the flavours and textures are harmonious. My mother, otherwise an excellent cook, had an unfortunate habit of adding cooked rice, baby shrimp and green onion to scrambled eggs, and attempting to pass it off as brunch. The texture was unforgettable, and not in a good way. I do not mean to suggest that you cannot make interesting omelettes or frittatas out of your leftovers, but for goodness sake, there are limits. Sometimes, things work best if you only select one of your leftovers, and build around it.

Frittatas (frittati?) are a favourite simple breakfast. Sure, not as simple as cheese on toast, or avocado on toast (a weekday staple) but they come out of the gate rather quickly, and divide nicely into two portions. This one made use of leftover roasted asparagus, with the addition of some crisp-fried bacon, fresh thyme, and parmesan cheese that was just hanging about in the fridge. I didn't salt the eggs, because bacon and parmesan are already salty, but I had fleur de sel standing by in case it was needed. I did add a pinch of ground mustard seed and a couple of tablespoons of half-and-half to the eggs, just to give the flavours a little punch-up.

Making a frittata is pretty easy, although there are diverse methods. I melt a little butter or heat olive oil in a small, non-stick pan, briefly saute whatever bits of meat or vegetable are going to be the "filling", and pour the seasoned eggs over top. A little judicious stirring, lifting the edges of the egg-mass up for the uncooked liquid to run underneath, a good sprinkling of cheese, and then under a broiler to finish it off, which causes the eggs to puff up around the edges. It takes only a few minutes from start to finish - really, the dicing and grating of filling items and beating the eggs takes the same amount of time as the cooking, if not longer, so have the coffee ready before you start.

So, breakfast was ready very quickly, allowing us more time to lounge around and discuss everything from the black plague to the (suspected) difficulty involved in raising genius offspring. We also figured out a plan for dinner, and made some lofty projections about meals for the coming week. We shall see about the latter.

I've been somewhat out of commission, of late, and consequently (I confess) out of the kitchen. I am currently attempting to find a way to control an unusual type of arthritis and a right trigger-wrist, which has made a substantial impact upon my ability to cook on any sort of regular basis. Much of my time in the kitchen of late has been prowling through the cupboards and trying to figure out what I can eat that takes minimal use of hands and/or wrists. We have had to adjust and accommodate our lives quite a bit to enable me to cook at all, and while Palle has certainly stepped up to the skillet a lot recently, we've also ended up eating out a lot, too.

I can still cook if I have help, especially with knife-work. A sous chef who is on hand to slice and dice things, open lids (!), and manhandle anything that needs to be dealt with in some manner more sophisticated than bashing it into the food processor. Lately, I have been finding new and exciting ways to hold spatulas and spoons and whatnot that accommodate my physical limitations, but I haven't been able to entirely do things on my own (unless I'm having an outstandingly good day, inflammation-wise). We have been developing strategies for coping, and I'm starting to feel a bit more positive about the daily business of getting food on the table.

Some of the things that I've made lately have been simply too dull to post about. Y'all have seen me make risotto, and pasta-with-things-in-it repeatedly through the archives, and really, there's only so much I expect people to want to read about turning leftovers into quesadillas. I've spent a certain amount of time lately returning to old favourites, my comfort foods, but I'm starting to get that twitch again, where I want to explore, experiment, and immerse myself in culinary possibilities.

So, stay tuned. I'll try to start bringing some new things to the table.