Thursday, April 10, 2014

Best Ever Scrambled Eggs

Many people claim to possess the recipe for the best scrambled eggs ever. Clearly, it's an empirical question, and we are an evidence-based household. "When in doubt, eat lots of stuff," is our motto. This recipe wins the scrambled egg standoff in our kitchen every time.

Of course, don't take my word for it. Develop some healthy scientific skepticism, and then conduct a series of rigorous experiments. When people ask you what you're doing eating breakfast for the third time on a single Saturday, shout, "SCIENCE!" (Or shout, "HOBBITS!" Either way, I'll be happy.)

Olive oil
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts, halved lengthwise, rinsed very well, and sliced
1 tbsp butter
4 eggs from pastured chickens
Slosh pastured cream
Crusty whole grain bread (toasted if desired)

Heat a wide, nonstick pan over medium-low heat. When hot, add the olive oil and the leeks. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt to help prevent browning, and sauté for about 2 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes more until leeks are very soft.

In a bowl, scramble the eggs with a whisk until frothy. Just before you start to cook them, add a slosh of cream, and whisk to combine. (You want as much air as possible in the eggs.)

When the leeks are very soft, push to the side of the pan. Melt butter in the other half. Pour in the eggs, and wait a moment so that the bottom starts to set, then fold over. Repeat every 10-20 seconds until eggs are just slightly runny in the middle—they'll set the rest of the way as you serve. (You may want to flip the leeks over at some point, too, to prevent browning.)

Serve eggs on warm plates, sprinkle with salt, and top with the leek mixture. You can serve these over toast if you want, but I actually prefer the toast separate—the delicate flavor of the eggs comes through better when they're on their own.

Serves 2.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lentils with Kale and Sweet Potato

When your produce box arrives for the second week in a row with an overabundance of kale and sweet potatoes, it's important to be ready for action. Fortunately, we were armed. With French lentils. And an Andalusian combination of herbs and spices. And Turkish dried pepper. Because some things call for international collaboration.

This recipe, loosely adapted from here, is richly satisfying, full of flavor, and the perfect antidote to a rainy day (and an overflowing fridge).

Olive oil
1 small-to-medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cups diced orange sweet potato
2 small or 1 large carrot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small or 1 large bunch dino kale, cut crosswise into strips
1 cup French lentils, rinsed well and picked over carefully to remove any stones
3 cups chicken and/or veggie broth (I used half and half)
2 tsp Aleppo pepper (or sub 1 minced jalapeno)
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp paprika
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp dried thyme*
1/8 tsp dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Heat a glug of olive oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute, stirring, until translucent. Add the sweet potato and continue cooking, stirring only occasionally, until the mixture begins to brown slightly in places.

Stir in the carrot and garlic and cook for a minute more, then add the kale by the handful. Continue to cook for another minute or two until the kale wilts down. Sprinkle with salt, add the lentils, and stir well. Stir in the broth, spices, and herbs. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low (you want a strong simmer) and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring every 5 or 10.

When the lentils are tender, turn off the heat. Adjust salt and spices to taste. Ladle into bowls, top with freshly ground white pepper, and wait for a couple of minutes before serving (you want it warm but not scalding to maximize the flavor).

Serves 3. Pairs well with toasted whole grain bread and a glass of Rioja.

*To convert dried to fresh, multiply by three (so 3/4 tsp chopped fresh thyme)