Good grief, how could I have had such a dismal record of posts for January? Mea culpa, readers. I have but one thing to do: resume cooking, writing, and posting—post haste.
Ironically, I have been cooking and writing a lot this last month, just not for Enlightened Cooking. I have been doing a lot of recipe development for Pepperidge Farm (puff pastry) this past month, and I started teaching a series of local cooking classes at Shelley’s Bakery & Cafe, a beautiful restaurant here in Nacogdoches. I am doing two different chocolate classes this week: one on Wednesday (Chocolate Express—innovative new flavors with simple techniques) and then an Enlightened Chocolate class next Saturday morning. The recipes for the latter class will be from my book of the same name and will feature lighter recipes made with unsweetened cocoa powder and sparing amounts of bittersweet chocolate. I promise to post some action photos from both classes, as well as classes to come; apologies in advance for any crazed expressions on my part. I've a bad habit of forgetting to blink when excited about my teaching material.
So, moving to my home kitchen: yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday. Uh-huh. I am not a football fan. Never have been, never will be. But I married a man who loves college football, and in the interests of drinking beer and hanging out with friends, he is more than willing to watch the professionals do their thing in the Superbowl.
Resisting my Sunday-afternoon anti-social tendencies (a subset of my behaviors honed in graduate school when I spent most Sundays wandering library stacks and/or staring at a computer screen the whole day long—whee!), I baked a double-batch of my chocolate chip cookies and headed off to a friend’s gameday gathering with Nick, Kevin, and cookies in tow.
I must be careful for what I wish for, because I didn’t watch more than 3 minutes of the game while there. Instead, I built block castles, pretended to change the diapers of babydolls (don't I get enough of this already?), and read Golden Books to Nick and our friends’ 5-year-old, with an interlude of “rest” spent watching Dora the Explorer meets the Snow Princess.
In spite of myself, I had a lot of fun.
I didn’t eat much while there (it's the “running-after-2-year-old diet & exercise plan”) so, once home (we left shortly after half-time) I pulled together a quick meal with some edible flotsam and jetsam found in the refrigerator.
I seem to be on an egg roll (apologies for the pun)—I suppose it is one of my comfort foods, my mother having prepared omelets and scrambled eggs for meals throughout my childhood (her last-minute meals--including eggs, pancakes for dinner, and tuna crunch salad--were some of my favorites). And while I’m rarely in the mood for eggs at breakfast (it’s yogurt, fruit and cereal in some combination about 90% of the time), eggs for dinner appeals and satisfies, especially when I’m cooking for one (as I was last night; Kevin got his fill of wings and cold cuts at the party).
So, the starting line-up in the refrigerator: some goat cheese, a few leaves of basil (leftover from my Saturday morning cooking class on whole grain pastas), a bagel that had about 1 day of life left (I buy them and forget about them), and two lone Roma tomatoes. Oh, and the eggs. Hello elevated egg scramble.
I sliced the tomatoes in half lengthwise, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt & pepper. Our microwave has a normal oven function, too. I’ve never read the instruction manual, which makes Kevin crazy, but I use the oven anyway (I think I know what I’m doing; I only burn about 1 in 4 things this way, and I don’t have to turn on the big oven for small bits and pieces). Into the oven went the tomatoes, at 425F, for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, I cracked 2 eggs and 1 egg white into a bowl (I freeze the yolks for future batches of citrus curd), added a drizzle of 1/2 & 1/2 and sprinkles of salt and pepper. I slipped the bagel into the toaster (the toaster does wonders for near-gnarly bagels), gave the basil leaves a rough chop, then heated a scant teaspoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.
In went the eggs, followed by my whisk. (Sidebar: I know what you're thinking--a whisk? In the pan??!!! I’ve been cooking my scrambled eggs with a whisk ever since I saw Jacques Pepin give a tutorial on cooking perfect scrambled eggs on PBS some 15 years ago; as soon as they hit the pan, get them moving with long strokes of a wire whisk. It works far better than a spatula: the eggs emerge as tender perfection.) In about a minute, I was ready to sprinkle on my goat cheese crumbles (about 2 tablespoons-worth). Pop went the toaster, ding went the oven, and (cheers please) dinner was done. Touchdown!