Sunday, November 6, 2011

The morning's cooking adventure

I am most of the way through reading and savoring The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rosetto Kasper and Sally Swift, diligently marking recipes to try with one color of sticky note and advice with another.  I was rather impressed with my accomplishment until I discovered that there is a sequel/companion: The Splendid Table's How to Eat Weekends.

As a side note, if you don't listen to the weekly radio program on your local npr station or online, and you love preparing and eating food, you are missing out.  I have developed a tradition of listening to the Turkey Confidential episode of the show as I prepare the Thanksgiving meal, and it enhances the holiday wonderfully.  The host's approach to food and cooking has the alchemical and experimental qualities which appeal to me.

I love vegetable soup and lentil soup, but I have trouble making the broth come out as thick and hearty as I would like, and if I want the taste to be truly savory, I usually have to add meat.  No more.  Thanks to Lynne Rosetto Kasper, I have found the recipe for soup that tastes just right.  I think that the keys to the yumminess are tomato paste, paprika, wine and portobello mushrooms.  I have made two batches so far.  Bliss.  I don't even have to put cheese on top.  That's how good it is.

But soup is not the day's cooking adventure.  Eggs are.

I love eggs.  They are one of those foods with elemental versatility.  They go into dishes to help bind things together, they add depth to salads, and they provide a stage for showcasing all manner of foods in the form of omelettes and quiches.  They get a bad rap because of the cholesterol, but they are a wonderful source of protein, so if you are worried about cholesterol, just don't eat a million of them.  Apply appropriate moderation.  Or make an omelette with one whole egg and two parts eggs beaters or whites or substitute or whatever.  (Though between you and me, I would wonder what and egg substitute has in place of the cholesterol that might be just as bad, if not worse.)

Every once in a while, I like a plain, hard boiled egg, still warm from the pan, sliced in half and sprinkled with just a hint of sea salt.  No fancy combinations or processes or ingredients.  Just the egg.

Among the recipes in How to Eat Supper which intrigued me are two involving hard boiled eggs.  One is sauteed deviled eggs and the other is for sauteed hard boiled eggs.  I had some eggs in the refrigerator which were reaching a dubious age, so I boiled them yesterday.  I ate two as a snack and the other three went back into the fridge until I decided what I wanted to do with them.

This morning, as I was casting about for what to have for breakfast, I remembered the eggs and the recipe for sauteeing them.  I decided to forgo the bread crumb and garlic topping, and I had to substitute basalmic vinegar for white wine vinegar, but the result was interesting in a good way.

Word to the wise (this is the adventure part): room temperature basalmic vinegar added to olive oil which is hotter than you think it is leads to a rather impressive flambe in a hurry.  Luckily, the eggs were not yet in the pan, so I waited for things to settle down, washed and dried the pan, and started again with a lower flame and more attention.

A little olive oil, a little vinegar.  Heat until vinegar bubbles.  It doesn't take long, I promise.  Cut hard boiled eggs in half and slide into pan, cut side down.  Saute for a few minutes and then turn over.  The eggs will have a nice glaze to them.  The eggs adopted the sweetness of the basalmic vinegar nicely, and I ate them with sauteed zucchini and mashed potatoes.  The resulting flavor medley on the fork  was surprisingly savory, causing me to ponder other possible saute baths for hard boiled eggs.

Score another one for the incredible, edible egg.


  1. The September 11 Splendid Table discussed Francis Lam's How to make weapons-grade ratatouille. Resistance is futile.

  2. Who's resisting? Why would anyone resist? Other than the fact that a designation of "weapons-grade" sounds deadly rather than delicious.