Monday, August 25, 2008

Lots of Rain and Eggs

What an interesting week. Wet. Very wet. For those of you that watch the evening news, I’m really sorry us Floridians have taken so much attention. We don’t mean to be high maintenance, really. Unfortunately, tropical storm Fay had another plan. The radar silhouette seen here is what it’s looked like all week directly over my house.

And here was the scene from the back porch.

And the bird bath.

For the past two days the sun has been creeping its way back into the mix but oh so slowly. Still it is welcome. This was our sunrise this morning.

So to celebrate our liberation from constant drippiness, Olivia and I set out into the fray for a bit of exploring yesterday. 1st stop, breakfast. We headed off to one of my favorite places to enjoy the early meal of the day. Now I have to be honest, The Lucky Dill deli, at the Palm Harbor corner of Alderman Rd. and Alt-US 19, gets mixed reviews on the various websites I have scanned. But if a hearty NY style breakfast is what you’re after and you don’t live in Manhattan, this place should be on your short list. My simple opinion is this: if a breakfast place offers homemade corned beef hash, it’s probably a good place to grab breakfast. Their hash is not only spectacular with that slightly grilled crunch, but they top it with some thin shavings of the corned beef itself. Each forkful is perfectly designed for dipping into the rich egg yolk. As yummilicious as this is, I’m sure my blood moved considerably slower for at least an hour. A risk worth taking.

Before you even order, you are treated with this loaf that is dark and spicy; half bread-half cake. Tasting of cinnamon and clove, this warm starter is spectacular with the soft butter served right beside.

After a breakfast that left me quite pleased, Olivia and I went to see Winter. Winter is a dolphin missing her tail. She’s cared for at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Olivia just loves this animal. There’s no way for me to do justice to this inspiring story so I suggest you check it out here. If you get through the entire little movie without feeling at least a small lump in your throat, I suggest you entertain a career in seal clubbing. Seriously.

Our little trip to the deli made me reflect that breakfast is one of my favorite meals to be creative with and I enjoy the egg as the typical star. Sure, pancakes and the likes can be special and I even blogged about some breakfast crepes not too long ago, but the egg really is one of the most perfect foods. Its one of those foods that when I’m out of it, I need to go to the store. I might be able to get by without other ingredients but I depend on my eggs for so much.

Now this posting isn’t intended to really dazzle you with an egg recipe. Instead, I want to share with you a couple of tricks for a perfect egg. In this case the perfect scrambled egg. I know what you’re thinking. You say, “Listen crazy man, I’ve been making scrambled eggs ever since I was in the 1st grade. When I got up for school, mom was already on her 3rd glass of Gin and dad wasn’t home yet and those were the best damned scrambled eggs you could ever….” Oh wait, perhaps I’m projecting a bit. The point is, of course you can make scrambled eggs and I’m sure they are quite tasty. I’d eat them if you served them to me. Really I would.

But for the perfectly moist and luscious scramble there are a few simple things to do. You may already know all or some of these little tricks. If you do, I bet you love your scrambled eggs:

Salt the uncooked eggs. This is a tip I took from Cook’s Magazine a while back and it causes the salt to blend smoothly throughout the egg. Subtle.
Use a medium high heat and babysit the stove. Unlike most cooking where walking away and letting things develop in the pan is a good thing, scrambled eggs should be attended to. I use a fork or wisk and the eggs finish less than one minute. Keeping the eggs moving will keep them fluffy and cloud-like.
Scrambled eggs will continue to cook a bit after coming off the stove. That means don’t let them dry in the pan. They should be considerably moist when they come out.
If you want yummy treats in your scrambled eggs (like ham or green peppers), add them after you cook the eggs. The eggs cook really fast and there’s no real time for flavors to develop when combined so let each ingredient be its own star. And I am not above ketchup on my eggs but not usually.

Here’s a version I made this morning in less than 10 minutes from the second I entered the kitchen to the second I was eating. These were just perfect. Little yellow clouds of egg with the flecks of goat cheese and cold crispness of the freshly chopped green onions. Now this can’t possibly be an original recipe. Someone out there has done this or something very similar, but serve this at a brunch and you will be a hit. I only made this to serve 1 but if you are making a couple of items this would be perfect for 2.

Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese and Green Onion

2 slices of a good whole grain or artisan bread
1 ½ tbsp (divided to spread on toast leaving about ¾ tsp for pan)
2 extra large eggs
½ tsp salt (or to taste)
1 Green Onion (or scallion)
2 tbsp goat cheese
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Toast and butter the bread and put on plate. Wisk the eggs and the salt together and put into preheated sauté pan over medium high heat. Continue wisking until eggs just come together and are no longer runny, about 1 minute or less. Pour eggs over toast and add goat cheese crumbles and scallion. A touch of fresh ground pepper is welcome as well. Serve immediately.

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