Tag Archives: omelettes

some really good eggs

omelet-in-pan-ricotta1
One of my favorite foods for its sheer versatility is the egg.  Whenever the fridge is bare and I’m at a loss for what to cook, I can always count on eggs to be there for me.  Take Monday night, for example- I was staring at a fridge full of not much, wondering what the heck I was going to eat.   I had a bunch of eggs to use up that were left over from my Daring Bakers cake (I couldn’t use them because one of the yolks had broken into the whites) but no veggies or anything to make an omelet.  I remembered when I was a kid, my mom used to make egg drop soup a lot, but I had never tried making it myself.  I thought, how hard could it be; you just simmer a broth and then whisk the eggs in, right?  I didn’t have any stock though so I used miso.  I grated some carrot into the soup, smashed a garlic clove and threw that in there too, and cut up a couple sheets of nori to add something green.   Pretty soon I had a soup that (I’m not gonna lie to you) looked sort of like vomit, but tasted really good.  I used a lot more egg than I think would be typical, which gave the soup this unctuous, velvety texture. I stirred a little hot sauce into my bowl and dug in.  I did not take any photos because it was seriously kind of scary looking but now that I know how tasty and easy it is to throw together, I plan to come up with a proper recipe  that will use less egg and consequently (I hope) look more presentable.

morning-after-omelet

The other egg dish I present to you was much more photogenic!  Last Friday Marvin invited some friends over for dinner and made a delicious veggie “lasagna” that used slices of eggplant in place of noodles.  (It turned out really well, by the way.) The next morning, I made eggs, incorporating a bunch of leftover odds and ends from the previous night’s dinner: fresh locally-made ricotta, some spinach, roasted red peppers, and best of all, these luscious oven-roasted tomatoes he’d picked up as part of an antipasto course.  Imagine tomatoes with super-sweet, eggs-closeconcentrated flavor, marinated in olive oil with herbs… somewhere between sundried and fresh.  I could have eaten them all single-handedly, but restrained myself.  [Update: check out this post for a recipe for roasted tomatoes and a roasted tomato tart.] Anyway they were great in the omelet because I just chucked them in the pan, marinade and all, and used that as my cooking oil.  I made the omelet quasi-fritatta style, where the veggies were cooked in with the eggs and then the whole thing got folded around a filling of ricotta, a little parmesan and some basil.  I make omelets quite frequently and  never bother to write about them, but those marinated tomatoes and the fresh ricotta turned this into something special.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I’m working on some other projects at the moment that are keeping me out of the kitchen, but hopefully I’ll be able to post some new recipes soon.  I’m planning on re-creating the chicken enchiladas from El Azteco, a restaurant in East Lansing where I worked in college.  I went there the other night for dinner and it stoked my craving for their chile verde sauce!

pdx = food lover’s paradise! (day 1: 11/13/08: bijou café & navarre)

made-in-oregon-crop

A couple of months ago I had some frequent flier miles burning a hole in my pocket, and decided to plan a trip to visit friends in Seattle. When my old college roommate Kathy heard I was going out that way, she insisted I swing by Portland and stay with her for a couple days. We hadn’t talked in about 10 years but had recently reconnected on Facebook… I have to admit I was a little hesitant about whether it would be awkward after all that time, but I noticed from her Facebook page that she was into cooking and good food in general, and she won me over with the promise of teaching me how to make her mom’s recipe for guo tieh(aka potstickers)!  I was sold.

One of the four aisles of cookbooks at Powell's

One of the 4 huge aisles of cookbooks at Powells

My first day in town Kathy had to work, so I trekked all over downtown Portland.  My first stop was Powell’s Books, where I spent most of my time in their HUGE cookbook section (4 enormous, beautiful aisles…)  I found a book on baking that I had been wanting (on sale, no less) as well as a handful of non-fiction food writing/ memoirs/ etc.  It amazes me but even after working in a bookstore all those years, I can still find room on the shelves for just a couple more books…

Kathy had told me that due to the temperate weather, there were outdoor food carts in various spots throughout downtown (in at least one spot, they take up an entire city block!), some of which I saw but alas did not get a chance to sample.  All types of nationalities and foods are represented and you can apparently get any number of great meals for cheap.  One of many reasons to come back for another visit. 
bijou-exterior Kathy met me for lunch at the Bijou Café, a cute little breakfast/lunch spot on the Eastern side of the downtown area (132 SW 3rd Ave, to be precise).  Apparently Portland is known for being a “breakfast” town (there are several websites and blogs devoted solely to Portland’s first meal), bijou-interiorand with lots of competition there’s no room for slack.  I chose an omelette that was on special, with chanterelles (a local product) and smoked gouda.  The omelette was amazingly fluffy and came with great hash browns; my only issue was that the smoked gouda kind of buried the flavor of the bijou-omelettesdelicate chanterelles.  Kathy ordered a mushroom panini which looked fabulous; I was actually a bit jealous looking at her mushrooms since I couldn’t really taste mine.  I couldn’t believe I ate my entire omelette plus the muffin it came with AND Kathy’s green salad, but I guess that’s what walking all morning will do for your appetite!

Kathy & Thomas outside Navarre

Kathy & Thomas outside Navarre

We had designated Friday as our “potstickers” night, so Thursday we decided to go out for dinner.  Kathy and her boyfriend are fortunate enough to live mere blocks from what is known as “Restaurant Row”, a 3 or 4 block stretch of NE 28th St. just north of Burnside.  After getting a haircut at the neighborhood outpost of Bishops, a local chain of hair salons whose gimmick is to give a free Miller High Life with your haircut, I was feeling good, and ready for a nice meal.  

customers at the bar, Navarre, Portland

customers at the bar, Navarre, Portland

We decided to stick close to home since we had lots of good restaurants to choose from right in the neighborhood.  We ended up at Navarre, a wonderfully authentic tapas restaurant at 10 NE 28th St.  I always lament the fact that there are no “real” tapas places in the Detroit area; everything is more like small plates or appetizers, and usually priced so that you would have to spend an ungodly sum to sample more than a few items.  Not so here!  

a perfect trio

bread, wine & paté at Navarre: a perfect trio

The à la carte menu featured several items in the $5 range and it would have been completely do-able to assemble a filling meal for under $20 per person.  As it was, we opted for the “We Choose” menu at $25 per person, where the chef sends out a variety of dishes.  The wonderful thing about this is that if you have more than one person, they don’t duplicate dishes (at least not that I’m aware; there were three of us and we all ordered the “We Choose” and didn’t get two of anything).  So, happily, I was able to sample many more items than if I had been dining solo or ordering à la carte. The only request we made was that the game bird paté (see above) be included in our menu, and they happily obliged. It was served with a country bread and a little dish of sweet pickled vegetables.  Kathy and I had to restrain ourselves not to polish it off before Garrett arrived- it was one of the creamiest, most delicious patés I have ever tasted (outside of France, no less).

delicious beets & spinach

our salad course: delicious beets & spinach

After the paté we were served a plate of beets and spinach, both lightly dressed and with toasted breadcrumbs for garnish.  Those were followed by trout cooked in parchment paper, which would have been delicious had it not clashed with our wine

trout in parchment

trout in parchment

choice, a 2004 Andrew Rich Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley (my favorite region for domestic Pinot).  After discussing this with our waitress, I was kindly informed by Kathy that the local pronunciation is “Wuh-LAMM-it” (rhymes with dammit), not “Will-uh-METTE”, as I’d been saying.  (Weirdos.) 

waitress at Navarre

waitress at Navarre

sweet, sweet meatloaf.

sweet, sweet meatloaf

 After the fish and veggies, there was a slice of meatloaf in a delicious sauce with an egg baked in the center, as well as two types of legumes: a dish of lentils and a dish of white beans with parsley.  Both were very good, but I was running out of steam at that point.  We sat and chatted and digested; then rolled ourselves out the door, but not before I tried to snap a couple last tipsy photos of the décor (in my defense, it was incredibly low lighting in there and difficult to shoot without flash!).  I was glad for the walk home; the fresh air was refreshing and it was nice to feel like I was burning a couple of the calories off…

navarre-decor-2

décor at Navarre

Stay tuned for Day 2 of my visit to Portland, and the potsticker recipe

(Note: all photos in this post were taken by yours truly EXCEPT the Bijou Café photos, which I found on the world wide interweb.)