Sunday, October 08, 2006

bye-bye summer breakfast

I haven't really talked yet about the fact that summer ended and fall began. It's a subtle transition here in LA -- you won't see too many leaves changing, and T-shirts and flip-flops won't leave you shivering quite yet -- but I still sense it. There's a change in what I feel like eating. As much as I love summer, and I actively loved this summer, I'm already at the point where I will pass up cool light summer salads, with their berries or nectarines or perfectly ripe tomatoes, for the cozy warmth of soup -- butternut squash maybe, or a rich mushroom chowder (wow, that sounds so good I wish I had some now!).

But for some reason, I'm still holding a candle for summer breakfasts. With the sun beating down through the open window on a weekend morning, a sweet summer fruit only needed a little yogurt, pita, and a cup of tea to make a light meal and bring a little of what was going on outside to my kitchen table. I'm still not quite ready to start the mornings with something warm and comforting, but I know it's coming. I had a breakfast the other day that was entirely satisfying, but I was a little sad to realize how, in a few weeks time, I would surely pass it up for a bowl of stone-ground oatmeal to help me ward off the autumn morning chill.

Anyway, here are a couple pictures of summer breakfasts past, and a recipe for the best scrambled eggs I've ever made -- which, unlike white pants or the perfect peach, can be easily accessorized to fit all four seasons.

simple and yum

polenta with heavy, oozy, supersweet peaches

scrambled eggs, dressed for summer (Mediterranean summer, apparently)

Scrambled Eggs

3 things inspired this recipe:
  1. My dear friend Rachel got me Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties! for my birthday. Ina manages to make everything more delicious than it would have been without her intervention, and scrambled eggs are no exception: she adds heavy cream and serves them with parmesan cheese. Duh.
  2. In a recent conversation with my friend Jason, truly the most gastronomically knowledgeable person I know, we traded fun facts we had learned from Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking, a tome of endless nuggets about the inner workings of food. When I offered up the best way to cope with a wasabi attack (inhale through nose, exhale through mouth), he countered with McGee's method for perfect scrambled eggs: double boiler. I scoffed at this. Scrambled eggs are the humblest of breakfasts, at home in small town diners, dormitory dining commons, and even harried home kitchens. I simply can't get behind that kind of fuss for such a unfussy dish. But I got the point: slow cooking, constant stirring. The resulting texture is transcendent.
  3. I have a bag of cotija cheese in my refrigerator right now. What the hell am I supposed to do with a bag of cotija cheese? (This is not a rhetorical question by the way -- I am open to suggestions.) Anyway, it kind of looks like parmesan.
2 eggs
1/2 Tbs cream (half-and-half or milk will do)
1/2 Tbs crumbled cotija cheese (in a pinch, substitute parmesan or crumbled feta)
small pat butter
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk eggs, cream, and cheese in a small bowl. Melt butter in a skillet over low heat. Add eggs, and cook stirring constantly, until eggs have thickened, but not completely hardened. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 1

1 comment:

  1. About a year or so ago, I discovered that adding some cream cheese to scrambled eggs before whisking significantly improves the lightness and texture. Maybe it's the extra fat. Happily, it also works with low fat cream cheese.