Omelets and Toast


I'm on an egg kick. It's springtime and the eggs from the farmer's market are better than ever. Yes, farmer's market eggs are pricier than the ones found in the supermarket, but the difference in flavor is noticeably in favor of the more expensive option.

I'm willing to spend a little more on things that are going to taste amazingly better. The yolks are darker, the eggs turn out creamier, and they just taste better in a way that words don't adequately explain. 

The other splurge for this meal was the bread. Again, I'm willing to shell out more dough (no pun intended) for something that is exceptional. I had been curious about these rustic loaves of bread at the Sunday Hollywood Farmer's Market, but the high price tag kept me away. Also, they don't offer samples (I sort of understand the principal of this, but on the other hand samples really work, and I probably would have been hooked on this bread months sooner if I had tried it). 
Ok, at the risk of sounding super bougie, here's what makes this bread special: Kenter Canyon Farm's makes these loaves from from locally grown heritage wheat berries, they mill the flour themselves, they bake the bread from a sourdough starter, and then they sell it at the local market and at Urban Radish. This bread is worth every penny. I'd argue that it's the best loaf of bread I've tried in Los Angeles. 

Back to the eggs... omelets can be filled with whatever you want (from fried chicken, to leftovers from dinner, to squash). It's best to prepare the filling separate from the eggs. The eggs only take a few minutes to cook, and you don't want to try and cram a bunch of raw cold things into a pocket of hot eggs at the last minute. You can use the same pan for both the omelet and the filling, just transfer the filling to the plate you're going to use for the final dish before you make the eggs.  

I had some spring onions, kale, and feta on hand.  I like the combination of something green and something cheesy. Greens love lemon, and I gave the cooked kale and onion mixture a squeeze of lemon juice before I put them in the omelet. Actually, eggs are also big fans of lemon. I'm pretty sure everything is better with lemon. 

I ate this plate of lovely eggs, hearty greens, creamy feta, perfect avocado and buttered-garlic-rubbed rustic bread and my day just got better from there.

This omelet recipe is as flexible as anything, but it's hard for me to think about serving any omelet without a great piece of toast. Find a good rustic bread with a thick crust and soft center and you're set.

Kale and Feta Omelet, with Garlic Rubbed Toast
Serves 1 
(Multiply for however many you want to serve. Omelets are best made one at a time with 2-3 eggs per omelet)

2 large eggs (or 3 if you want a super hearty omelet)
dash of cream or milk (optional)
1 cup chopped kale
1 spring onion, or 2 green onions, sliced
as much crumbled feta as you like, or goat, cheddar, swiss, brie, etc.
salt and pepper
good olive oil
good butter
good bread for toast
1 raw garlic clove
1 lemon wedge, for squeezing
1/2 avocado, sliced

Prep your ingredients: in a bowl, crack open your eggs and add a dash of cream or milk. Whisk them up and season with salt and pepper. Chop up your onions and kale. Crumble the cheese. Peel a clove of garlic. Slice up some bread. Slice up some avocado. 

In an omelet pan (an 8-inch non-stick or whatever you like to use to make eggs), on medium high heat, sauté the kale and onion in a drizzle of olive oil with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Once the greens and onions are wilted and cooked to your liking, transfer them to a plate. Squeeze a little lemon over the greens. Make sure your crumbled cheese is nearby; it's easier if all of your filling ingredients are in the same place. 
Before you cook the eggs, get your toast going. Toast will take longer than the omelet, and you don't want cold eggs or limp toast. Toast the bread. Rub the toasted slices with a raw clove of garlic, and then butter them.

In the same omelet pan, add a little butter and olive oil.  I would have used ghee (clarified butter), but I ran out. On medium high heat, add the egg mixture. With a spatula, lift up one side, tilt the pan, and let the raw egg seep into the empty space.  Do this in different spots around the pan until your eggs solidify into a single layer.
Once the omelet is still a little wet on top, add the filling, fold it over and slide it onto a plate. The eggs will continue to cook a bit even when you turn off the heat.  

Add the sliced avocado and buttered garlic toast to the plate. Serve and relish each bite.

Baked Eggs with Spring Onion and Spinach



Spring is here and with it comes all the new and tasty, green, yellow, orange and pink things popping up at the market and in my CSA (Farm Fresh To You). I'm still trying to figure out if the CSA system works for me as a single person that loves going to the farmer's market to pick out her own produce. The truth is, some weekends I'm too busy to go the farmer's market. The nice thing about the CSA is that I don't have to think about how I'm going to get quality organic produce into my kitchen. Also, I love getting surprised by seasonal items that I might not have thought to pick out on my own.

For example: spring onions. As much as I like onions, it's never really never occurred to me to seek out spring onions. Usually, I reach for the leeks instead. This bundle was delivered yesterday and I immediately felt inspired by these sweet and delicate onions. 

Baked eggs are such a foodie trick. They couldn't be easier, and they look so pretty baked in their own little white dishes (doesn't anything seem fancier when baked in its own dish?). Most importantly, baked eggs are delicious.

I ate this for lunch with a small salad, and I left the table full and satisfied. This recipe works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You can add some cheese or sausage to the baking dish if you want something heartier. A splash of cream could add a nice richness to the dish, if you're so inclined. Tarragon or basil would be nice additions, too.  However you choose to compose your little egg dishes, you'll have a meal on your table in 20 minutes or less.

Baked Eggs with Spring Onion and Spinach
Serves 2 (Can easily be halved, doubled, tripled, or quadrupled)

2 small spring onions, tops and bottoms trimmed, thinly sliced 
1/2 cup spinach, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 eggs
cooking spray
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray two 6-oz. baking dishes with cooking spray. You can use a ramekin or whatever small baking dish you have (oval, round, square); smaller dishes will simply hold less of the filling, but they'll work perfectly well. Frankly, you can use large muffin tins if you don't have any baking dishes (use one egg instead of 2 per each cup). For the spray, I used coconut oil cooking spray, which adds a mild coconut flavor to the dish.  

Thinly slice your spring onions and roughly chop the spinach and flat leaf parsley.  Set aside and reserve. 


In a pan on medium high heat, melt a teaspoon of butter with a teaspoon of olive oil. You could use just butter or just olive oil; I like the flavor of butter mixed with the lighter quality of oil. Add the spring onions to the pan, and sauté them until they soften and a lovely onion aroma wafts out of the pan, about 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach to the softened onions, and cook it until it just wilts, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.  

Divide the onion and spinach mixture evenly between the baking dishes.

Add two eggs to each dish. Top the eggs with chopped flat-leaf parsley.

Sprinkle a little more salt over the eggs.

Place the baking dishes on a baking sheet, and put the baking sheet in the oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the eggs have fully set, and the yolks are just slightly soft. Check your eggs after 10 minutes to gage their level of doneness.


Serve with crusty bread, a side salad, and hot sauce. 
Enjoy each flavorful, fresh, buttery, onion-flavored bite!

Sushi in Tokyo


It's hard to quantify how Japan changed my relationship to food, but like any great culinary experience, it most certainly did. I experienced tastes I had never even imagined before. I ate foods I had never heard of, and I ate foods I had heard of many times but had never tasted in their most perfect form.

No food was more surprisingly exquisite than the sushi.

Sushi was the first meal I ate in Japan.  We were up early due to jet lag (16 hour time difference), and soon after 5 AM we set off for Tokyo's famous Tsukiji fish market. 

Among other things, Tsukiji is the place where tuna auctions take place, and every imaginable type of fish is sold. Certainly, tourists visit this place in droves. However, just like Pike Place in Seattle, this is a real functioning market. Just outside the market are countless restaurants and food stalls.  They're all up and running, bustling and steaming, before the sun has even considered rising.

After walking around for a bit, we spotted a place full of locals and were lucky enough to walk in just before a long line formed behind us. The place seated no more than a dozen folks at a sushi counter manned by three chefs. 


These guys weren't messing around. With the first bite of fatty tuna (toro), I realized (despite having lived in Hawaii, despite eating sushi all over the West Coast), I had never had fish this fresh, and therefor had never tasted fish as good as I did in that moment.

mackerel

toro (not meat, although it looks it)

The taste of uni was completely redefined at that sushi counter. Uni had never been as buttery, unctuous, or perfect. I instantly fell in love with Japan over breakfast, and the love affair didn't end for the duration of the trip.

For our last dinner in Tokyo, we went to Sushi Yuu. The recommendation for the restaurant came from a friend living in Tokyo with great taste in food. I knew it would be good, but I had no idea just HOW good it would be.  

The restaurant is inviting and warm, and Chef Shimazaki-San makes you feel welcome and taken care of from the moment you arrive. As an interesting side note, the Chef is married to a Russian woman. His English is quite good, but we were able to speak in Russian as well. I never expected I would be speaking Russian to a Japanese sushi chef, and it was a great joy to do so.

There's no menu, there's no ordering, you sit down and go along for the ride of incredible food. You will be served the highest quality fish, rice, wine, miso, freshly grated wasabi, etc. etc. etc. The sushi is a work of art in its own right, but I was equally blown away by the Chef's pickled baby ginger. I love anything pickled and anything ginger, and I had no idea that pickled ginger could taste as good and delicate as the chef made it taste. The ginger is pickled the same day it is served, and because it is baby ginger, it is tender, soft, not too sweet, and perfectly balanced in flavor and spice. I could eat buckets of the stuff. I would go back to this restaurant just for the ginger, and that's saying a lot, because the Chef served us the best sushi of my life. 

Here are some highlights:

tuna, with the incredible ginger and freshly grated wasabi

fatty tuna

mackerel (special sun-dried preparation)

another part of tuna, seared

veggies

type of herring

uni

toro with onion

homemade plum wine, made by the chef's mother

end of a great meal

Sushi for our first breakfast and our last dinner were the perfect bookends to an incredible trip.  

If you find yourself in Tokyo, let me know. I will send you straight to Sushi Yuu.