Monday, January 25, 2010

Rainy Day Lunch: Juevos Athenos

While I wanted nothing more than to run to the supermarket so I could make pies in a jar (Mrs. Scrimp shared a glorious link to the recipe from Our Best Bites), the weather is really too dismal for that. Between the rain and the wind, I feel damp just looking out my kitchen window. But it's warm enough in here, and, upon waking up this morning, I realized that our rescued poinsettias were thirsty. Dan took them home when his boss at the pizzaria got tired of having them around. There's a lush white one, a trooper of a pink one, and a Charlie-Brown-Christmas-Tree red one:

Charlie Brown was basically leafless, aside from his blooms, when we got him. On the day I took the above pictures, I was so proud of him for making little leaves! And today, while I was watering him, I discovered that he's even working on more blossoms:

I haven't had any cooking projects going lately because on Friday we were supposed to do an Iron Chef competition at a friend's house, and that got canceled. Saturday I worked from 11-7, which really killed my prime cooking hours and I ate leftovers upon getting home. And yesterday we were at another friend's house watching the Jets lose.

Today, I have all day, but admittedly, rain makes me lazier than I already am. I really want to make bread, but that might continue getting put off. I did, however, make an omelette (well, an American omelette) for lunch with the feta cheese and salsa I had in the fridge. I love omelettes because you can really do whatever you want with them and you really can't mess them up - you can make them look less than pretty, but even if you wind up with a mashed together mess, it's still going to taste good.

Start with a pat of butter in a cold frying pan; while that's warming you'll mix up your eggs.

I made a two egg omelette and I just eye-balled all of my ingredients. Omelettes are all about taste preferences, in my opinion. You put as much or as little of a filling as you like on the inside. If you're making a big omelette for a number of people, I recommend moderation on all fillings.

And what's the secret to great eggs? Why, dairy, of course! Adding a splash of milk or cream (or, like me, half-and-half) to eggs for omelettes or scrambled eggs makes for more delicious eggs (I need to do some more research into this... my dad claims that the milk helps make scrambled eggs the appropriate fluffy consistency).

I don't salt my eggs when I'm cooking with cheese (especially feta) because I think the cheese adds enough saltiness on it's own for me. Again, a matter of preference!

2 eggs
splash half-and-half (or milk, cream)
pepper (to taste)

Whisk all the ingredients together quickly with a wire whisk or a fork for a minute or two. You don't want any gooey gobs of egg poking through, basically.

When you're done doing this, your butter should be nice and melted and sizzling a little. With a spatula (never use metal tools on nonstick surfaces!) spread the butter around the pan, coating it as evenly as possible. Pour your beaten eggs into the pan. They stay fairly controlled, but you can always nudge at the edges a little to get it to stay a certain size.

When the eggs are about half way done cooking (or a little earlier if you like runny eggs... I tend to like well-cooked eggs, but I'm slowly expanding my horizons - I think I'll have to if I want to learn to make real French omelettes) you're ready for your filling. I chose:

salsa (I used a smoked jalapeno salsa from Original Juan Specialty Food - I found it in the organic/natural aisle at the supermarket. Delicious! It says it's medium spicy, but if you're used to regular jarred salsa rankings - whose flavor is tame to begin with - this is more of a hot! than a medium; too spicy for Dan who is generally OK with things labeled medium spicy. Long story short: I am glad I did not buy the hot.)

Plop your fillings in the center of your omelette. While it is up to you how much of each ingredient you want, keep in mind that the goal here is to have the egg wrap around your fillings, so if you use too much you will wind up with a squishy mess in your pan and on your plate:

That's about 3 Tbs of feta and 2 Tbs of salsa.

Once the edges of the eggs are cooked to your liking and are firm enough to fold, create an egg burrito:

Ideally, I should have been able to flip this. But it was going to ooze out the one end if I did (and I did try, and it did make a bit of a mess, but it happens). So in the interest of keeping it together and not having a really big mess, I poked at it a couple of times and then just left it only for a few more minutes to finish cooking on the inside. And then I had my delicious Juevos Athenos omelette:

And what goes better with an omelette than fresh squeezes tangerine/clementine juice (these just showed up in my fridge one day after Dan had been at his mom, Carol's, house, so I don't really know which they are). I got this juicer from Dan's dad, Steve... it's awesome!

4 tangerines/clementines gave me a nice glass of juice.

If you like your juice extra-chunky (and believe me, when it's fresh-squeezed, you might. Leave all your preconceived notions about floaty bits in your OJ at the door and at least try it unstrained once. Dan dislikes pulp in his store-bought orange juice, but he loved half-chewing on the juice I made from oranges and grapefruits last week.) don't strain it. Otherwise, if you have a colander you can half strain it - which is kind of the "grovestand" equivalent of fresh-squeezed juices, and if you have a fine-mesh strainer you can have relatively pulp-free juice. If you do strain it in one way or another, make sure to mash at the pulp in the strainer to squeeze out every drop of delicious juice.

I need to get my hands on a blender now, because I have some ideas of what can happen with this simple little tool. Think of all the cocktail possibilities..... fresh squeezed pulpy lime juice, tequila, ice, and salt? Probably the best margarita ever.... Stay tuned for that one once I get a blender!

1 comment:

  1. That looks delicious.

    I've been given to understand that the french believe dairy is appropriate for some egg dishes, but water is better for others, depending on how light you want the eggs to be.

    In answer to your question earlier, the bread flour made for firm, elastic noodles that tasted delicious, stretched incredibly thin if I wanted them to without breaking, and didn't have any of the gluey taste I was afraid they might. I kneaded it a pretty fair amount while I was trying to get the proportions right because it just refused to stop being too sticky, and when I rolled and cut the dough I dusted with all-purpose flour instead of bread flour.