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Posts Tagged ‘breakfast’

I don’t know how and when I grew up, but I know that I did. And here is why:

I used to think that I could change the world;
Now I ask myself whether the world wants to be changed the way I want it to.

I used to complain about all the things that are “wrong” in the world;
Now I learn to shut up if I don’t even try to make them “right.”

I used to think that I wanted to move around and live in a different city every few years;
Now I desperately want to figure out where I can call “home,” for the rest of my life.

I used to get really offended when others told me that I am not “Chinese enough”;
Now I am much more concerned about being authentically “myself” than I do about fitting into any “label.”

I used to get really frustrated for not being understood;
Now I acknowledge that we as human beings are just incredibly lousy at really understanding each other, and the least we could do is not to judge.

I used to think that I would really regret if I hadn’t set my foot on all seven continents and experienced all the great cultures before I die;
Now I know that I would call it a great run if I have loved, been loved and brought happiness to some people’s lives.

I used to think Titanic is the most beautiful love story where one is willing to die for the loved one;
Now I think my grandma and grandpa who were together every day in their life for sixty years show me what love really is – it is about being willing to live, and be there, for the loved one, no matter how hard life is.

I used to think that cooking was a waste of time;
Now I can’t think of a better way to relax, to cleanse my mind, to meditate, and to spoil and love my friends.

I used to think the symbol of success is to be able to dine at expensive restaurants and order everything on the menu;
Now I get a much bigger sense of satisfaction from cooking fresh and delicious food for my family and friends than from any so-called “success.”

I used to freak out when I thought my life was on a predictable trajectory and I could almost see the end of it;
Now I get anxious about not knowing where I will be, what I will be doing, and whom I will be with in a year.

I used to think that everything will be different when I “grow up”;
Now I know that I will never be done with “growing up”.

I used to believe in fairy tales, the “happily ever after”;
I still do.

And yes, I thought all of that, while cooking and eating rosemary potato frittata and having a great conversation with friends. Now try this recipe and tell me what was in your mind when you cook and enjoy this dish! J

Best for: A low-key weekend brunch on a freezing winter day with good friends

Cook time: 30 min; Level: Easy; Yield: 4 servings

How much it’s worth: $35

Created by: Rachel Ray; Link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/rosemary-potato-frittata-recipe/index.html

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic crushed
  • 1 pound baby potatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk, half-and-half or cream
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions

Heat oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in medium heat-proof skillet over medium-low heat with the clove of crushed garlic. Let the garlic infuse the oil while you thinly slice the potatoes and onion; then remove the garlic. Add the potatoes and onions to the skillet and season with rosemary and salt and pepper, to taste. Raise the heat a little and cook for 6 to 7 minutes. Turn the potato/onion mixture over and cook for 5 minutes more. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add the egg mixture to the skillet and move them around and under the potatoes to settle them. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until golden on top, about 10 to 12 minutes. Scatter the cheese on top, turn the oven off and let sit for another couple of minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.

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The story:

I’m never sure about the definition of “comfort food”, but I’m pretty sure that eggs would qualify, however it’s defined. Eggs take minutes to cook, and are also very versatile. You can scramble them, fry them, steam them, bake them, and cook them many other ways, none of which takes more than 15-20 minutes.

First work day in 2011. For someone who suffers from serious post-holiday depression, this is not a good day, especially after a wonderful and relaxing holiday + vacation. Therefore, I decided to bake a couple of eggs to cheer myself up.

I brewed myself some coffee, and then poured a little cream, a little butter, two eggs and some cheese into a gratin dish. 15 minutes later I got my colorful and fresh-out-of-the-oven baked eggs! The egg white was cooked and a little bouncy, the yolks were soft but not too runny, and the cheese was melted and hot… The look, the smell, the warmth, and the taste… Everything was just perfect… For the first time, my post-holiday depression was cured before I even arrived at the office! And I was wondering why most of my colleagues looked stressed and depressed… 😉

But oh WAIT!

That is, well, the day-dream version of the story, my la-la-land.

Now let’s rewind for what actually happened…

Rolling out of bed reluctantly, I decided that I needed something to kick my butt and get me to work. I had some baked eggs at a really cute and nice restaurant in the Village called August the day before, so I googled the recipe for baked eggs that night. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to buy any ingredients.

So there I was with eggs, butter, cream and nothing else, and was too lazy / groggy to turn on the computer. How hard could it be to bake some eggs?

I put a little cream and a generous amount of butter in a gratin dish and put it in the preheated broiler. Three minutes later, the cream and butter was bubbly (and a little burned), and it’s time to pour the eggs in. Apparently I missed an important lesson from Physics class in middle school that water is a great conductor for heat, so when I held onto the scorching baking rack with my wet kitchen mitten, I started screaming at the top of my lungs. As if that was not disastrous enough, the smoke detector started screaming even harder… I completely panicked… I threw the eggs into the gratin dish and started fanning the smoke detector!

A few minutes later, I took the eggs out. In order not to ruin everyone’s appetite today, I will refrain from describing my “baked eggs” in detail. Let’s just say that I couldn’t even make myself taste it.

That moment, I hated everything… I hated eggs, I hated my wet mitten, I hated baking, I hated cooking for myself and I hated living alone and pretending that I enjoy it…

When I left home, hungry and frustrated, I was actually a little glad that I had somewhere else to go…

… …

I had decided to wait for a few days before I wrote this entry. There are often moments like this one in life… I like keeping them aside for a few days… They are like bad milk, disgusting first and then somehow turn into yogurt or even cheese after a while… Still sour or even bitter sometimes, but I can enjoy them with a cup of fresh coffee and be grateful for moments like this to make me appreciate the happy ones a lot more and to keep me from getting bored.

UPDATE:

After swearing that I would never make baked eggs ever again, I gave it another try on Friday night. This time, I bought all the ingredients, and followed the recipe as well as I could. They turned out much better but still not perfect. A few notes for my self and whoever is going to try it:

  • Don’t put any salt in the herb/cheese mix, only sprinkle it directly onto the eggs
  • I put my broiler on “high” and the eggs were a little burned after 6 minutes, but some egg white was still a little runny. I think 7 or 8 minutes on “low” might work better.

 

Tear index: 2

Best remedy for: the first work day after a wonderful holiday / vacation, well, if it works out, that is.

Cook Time: 9 min; Level: Intermediate; Yield: 2 servings

How much it is worth: $20

Created by: Barefoot Contessa; Link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/herbed-baked-eggs-recipe3/index.html

Ingredients

  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Toasted French bread or brioche, for serving

Directions

Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.

Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and Parmesan and set aside. Carefully crack 3 eggs into each of 2 small bowls or teacups (you won’t be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. (It’s very important to have all the eggs ready to go before you start cooking.)

Place 2 individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of cream and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each dish and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Quickly, but carefully, pour 3 eggs into each gratin dish and sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. (Rotate the baking sheet once if they aren’t cooking evenly.) The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to set for 60 seconds and serve hot with toasted bread.

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