If you’re looking at the picture above, rubbing your eyes and thinking “why on earth does that look like a plate of potato chips with an egg on top?” then read on. What can I say, the Parsis made me do it. Or one particular Parsi cookbook author, anyway. For those who don’t know (as I did not), Parsis are Zoroastrian Persians who emigrated to India. Their cuisine has a great deal in common with Indian cooking, but retains certain unique qualities – including a serious attachment to potato chips.
I bought a copy of Niloufer Ichaporia King’s book My Bombay Kitchen some time ago, and was utterly delighted when I discovered the little drawing of the “Parsi food pyramid,” with the base layer consisting entirely of potato chips (the top two layers are ginger and garlic). These are my kind of people! According to King, potato “wafers” and eggs are both beloved of the Parsi people, and this recipe brings them together, along with cilantro and hot chiles, in a ridiculous, yet sublime, dish. We had it for breakfast, with cafe au lait, but it could be a quick supper with a bit of salad and a beer. Depending on your ability to pretend that potato chips are real food. Continue reading
I can hardly believe it, but it’s true: I had never eaten pasta carbonara before this week. Shocking, I know. And I might not have gotten around to it, if I hadn’t seen this amazing post. Jennifer’s carbonara was full of delicious local eggs, plus she had some wonderful looking pork jowl to work with; mine was a little more subdued but still very successful.
We had come home from a wine tasting at our local shop, and were feverishly trying to think what we could cook with what was on hand. We had two eggs left in the fridge, a fresh pack of Hempler’s bacon, some parmesan cheese in the freezer, and some random boxes of Barilla pasta – and I already had carbonara on the brain from the aforementioned blog post. It seemed worth a try.
We were dying for vegetables after our odd weekend in the Tri-Cities, so we loaded up a shopping cart with mushrooms, onion, fennel, beets, carrot and a parsnip and took it all home to roast with olive oil and salt. I separated out the shrooms and fennel to roast together, parboiled the beets and put them in a pan with the carrot, and put the onion and parsnip in a third pan (J is not a big fan of the parsnip). When everything was caramelized and soft I tossed it all together on our plates, and topped the piles with a lovely halibut steak that I had roasted as well. It was all very fresh tasting and delicious, and made us feel that it was nice to be home (sleeping in our own bed helped, too).
So dinner was nice, but I felt the high point was lunch the next day. I was feeling inspired after seeing this post and video on poaching eggs, as well as months of reading the wonderful blog posts on Last Night’s Dinner featuring beautiful poached eggs on top of duck hash or other yummy things. I had been known to poach an egg occasionally, but usually wimped out and ended up frying them (I’m good at frying eggs, at least) and eating them for breakfast on top of leftover greens or couscous.
But I did it! It’s not as pretty as it could be, but it was perfectly done and it tasted wonderful with the roasted parsnip and beets and such, with the yolk dribbling down and mixing with the sweet vegetables juices. With a good sprinkle of fleur de sel, it was a cheery and restorative lunch.
We’ve had a lot of soup recently for our late Monday night dinners, and I had some good gruyere on hand (left over from a wonderful cauliflower gratin I forgot to photograph), so this week I made quiche. Nothing special, just something to use up some leftover vegetables – we had mushrooms left from the risotto the night before, and a couple of red bell peppers withering away in the produce drawer. I followed my usual procedure, after sauteeing the mushrooms and peppers together and adding a handful of frozen chopped spinach. The only seasoning was a bit of salt, a grind of pepper and one pinch of oregano. Actually, I was practically making it in my sleep – I almost forgot to get it out of the oven!
I was on my own for dinner last night, a rather unusual event. I like cooking for myself, although I tend to gravitate towards things like noodles or sandwiches, or interestingly reconstituted leftovers. This time I decided to purposely keep things simple and cook myself an omelet for dinner, something I almost never do when we’re both home.
On the way home from work I talked myself into stopping at the co-op to get a small piece of cheese and a baguette to flesh things out, and when I got home I opened a bottle of white wine, a verdejo from the Spanish wine tasting last week. It was lovely with the faint sourdough taste of the bread.
I can’t remember when I started making quiche. In the early years of my marriage when I was vegetarian I made lots of things out of the Moosewood cookbooks, especially things like the ricotta-spinach pie and big gooey casseroles. Eventually I discovered the “quiche formula” in the Enchanted Broccoli Forest and I was converted.
Basically, the idea is that as long as you have the right proportions of egg and milk for the size of pan you’re using, and plenty of cheese to coat the bottom and protect the crust from sogginess, you can put whatever the heck you want in there. It’s easy to make and easy to remember (I made two quiches from scratch, from memory, for a wedding in Knik, Alaska, and felt very smug about it). I have tried many things, from chard and mushrooms to broccoli and ham, and they all come out pretty good. But the winner in our household, especially in the late summer when peppers are in season, is my patented Chorizo-Poblano Quiche. It’s rich and spicy with lots of cheesy goodness, set off by the whole-wheat flavor of the crust. We make this as often as possible every fall while we can get beautiful fresh poblano peppers from our friend Steve at Dunbar Gardens. The loose Mexican-style chorizo comes from a local producer as well, Hempler’s in Bellingham. Continue reading