Monday, July 2, 2018

How do you like your eggs?

Lately, the bf and I haven't been eating out at fancy restaurants anymore. It's not that we've become cheapskates. We've become, to use a more euphemistic term, practical. Just looking at the prices of the food in a resto's menu raises my bushy eyebrows. No way am I going to pay for an omelette that's 400 pesos (7.5 dollars). Or a scoop of ice cream that has the same price as a half gallon at the supermarket. Obscene, I tell you. Unless of course, the omelette has caviar or the ice cream has gold flakes, then I'm so in. I'm never going to buy caviar ever. For being minute fertilized eggs that don't even look appetizing, they're ridiculously expensive. But they taste amazing, no? I once went to a buffet and spotted these things at the table. All I did was just gorge myself on crackers and caviar the whole time. Couldn't even care that the servers were giving me dagger looks. (So there's another plus point for being a mermaid in the next life. Fresh caviar every day.)

So yes, maybe I've become a cheapskate when it comes to eating out. I can't speak for the bf though. If my meal costs more than 5 dollars, it better taste expensive, like melt-in-your-mouth or explode-in-your-palette or orgasm-in-your-pants expensive. If we sneered on fast food before, it's now become our go to. To counter all those preservatives and empty calories, I just eat it with black rice, which I always have in my bag. Because I still want to feel good about myself. I can't be eating all this greasy food all the time. I need fiber, baby. Fiber is my best friend, as I no longer need to pop a vein every time I take a dump. Also, my cardiologist would just throw the Hippocratic oath out the window and kill me if my cholesterol goes unchecked. We have a healthy patient-doctor relationship, no? Love.

Speaking of omelettes, how do you like your eggs, dear readers? I love them in different ways. And I won't be limited to just having them for breakfast. I'm not sure if breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I know a lot of people who skip it entirely and they manage just fine. They're not overweight or unhappy or or tired or anything. But I do love a big breakfast myself. And it should have three things: (1) eggs, (2) something fried like Spam or bacon, and (3) butter. Butter is a food group in itself. I use it on toast like cheese—slices of butter, not spread out thinly. I don't care that much for pancakes, but I'll eat it if it's there, especially since the bf likes to make pancakes. But pancakes, bread, toast, etc., they're all the same to me: they're just a vehicle to deliver butter to my mouth. If it were acceptable to eat butter from the container with a spoon, I'd do it. But alas, that idea hurts my Downton Abbey sensibilities.

I made a shakshuka once, and I loved it. It's like a tomato-based stew with poached eggs. I love that its flavor isn't a one note; it's salty, tart, and spicy. The extra effort to prepare it is so worth it. Prep time would even be less if you already have a tomato sauce in the fridge. It's perfect for brunch. I also love its Italian version, which has the most charming name: eggs in purgatory. You wanna know an egg dish that I think is so overrated? Eggs benedict. All that poaching, whipping (to make the hollandaise sauce), toasting, and layering is such a hassle. Eggs benny do look pretty on the plate, but that's just it, pretty. They're like eggs with no soul. All they're good for is for using that hashtag #foodporn.

I also made a green shakshuka once, and I enjoyed it because it was lighter than the traditional tomato-based one. However, I don't see why this dish is a shakshuka at all. It tastes completely different, and there's none of the creamy texture like in the first one. Other than the name issue though, it's still a wonderfully egg dish. If you're gonna make this, use lots of spinach. Spinach can be deceiving, yes? You think you're using more than enough, like 4 or 5 cups. But once you put them in the pan and they wilt, they seem to violate one of the fundamental principles of physics. You're left with just a pitiful amount. Still, this green shakshuka, it's a savory dish. Nomnomnom.

Of course, this post couldn't be just about eating; it has to have a bookish aspect as well. So, cookbooks. Page by page, they're the most beautiful books on the planet. And that's why I've started collecting a few of them lately. One of my best reads last year was a cookbook titled Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat. It's a different kind of cookbook in that it doesn't have recipes on every page. Rather, it teaches you can manipulate the four essential aspects of cooking—salt, fat, acid, and heat—so that you can cook almost anything. Very informative, I must say. And the rough illustrations and typography of Wendy MacNaughton lend an air of whimsy and charm to the cookbook.

My current favorites are Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty and Joshua McFadden's Six Seasons. Both beautiful volumes and both, interestingly, feature vegetables as the star. As I live in a tropical country where the season is just either too hot or too wet, the recipes in Six Seasons may be a challenge to pull off. I did make one dish from it though, the rigatoni with broccoli and sausage. Plenty is a book I've been browsing every night. I'd happily make the dish on the cover, the one with roasted eggplants, buttermilk, and pomegranate seeds. For some reason, pomegranates are expensive here in Manila. Still, one day, I will make it and it'll be fabulous.


Rhett said...

You make the BEST frittata in the world!

Peter S. said...

@Rhett, thank you! Mwah!
I learned from you!