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.

Kale, Date & Almond Salad


The other night I ate at Rustic Canyon for the first time.  I'm a big fan of Huckleberry, which is owned by the same folks. My expectations were high and overall the meal was quite lovely. The place was packed and the ambience was lively. The cocktail I had was perfect and the beer and wine selections looked great.  Everything we ate tasted good, but there were two dishes that stood out more than the others.

Service was outstanding for the first half of the meal.  For the second half of the meal, our waitress seemed to forget about us entirely. We were more or less ignored once our first round of drinks had been replenished; this made ordering dessert a little difficult. Service isn't something that matters to everyone, but it does matter to me. I'm particularly sensitive to service when the price tag of the meal is high. Regardless of what I'm paying, if a place has pretty good food and excellent service I'll almost definitely return to that establishment.  If a place has great food and terrible service I'm unlikely to go back.  Maybe it was an off-night because they were so busy (there happened to be celebrities there that night), or maybe that's just how it is. Rustic Canyon was yummy, but I'm not sure I'll go out of my way to return.

Back to the food... the gnocchi with oxtail, strawberry sofrito, pine nut, and fennel pollen was the stand-out dish, and the kale salad was a close second. I really like kale, but it's not something I tend to order at restaurants. On the menu the salad was described as having 'honey' dates, walnut, Parmesan and lemon.  It sounded good and different, and it tasted even better than I imagined. The kale was bright and slightly bitter, the dates were velvety and sweet, the lemon vinaigrette was creamy and vibrant.

I came home wanting to eat it again.  Here is a take on the great salad I had that night.

Kale, Date & Almond Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Serves 2-3

4 cups kale (lacinato/tuscan kale would be best, but I used the regular variety), thinly sliced into ribbons
1/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped (hazelnuts, pecans, or walnuts would also be good)
5 dates, pitted and halved
salt and pepper
juice of one lemon, Meyer if in season
drop of honey
3 tablespoons olive oil, or more depending on taste
crumbled goat cheese (optional)
shaved parmesan (optional)

Add the kale, toasted nuts, and pitted dates to a bowl. Lightly season the salad with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl or jar, add freshly squeezed lemon juice, a drop of honey, and a little more salt and pepper.  Whisk the olive oil into the lemon juice mixture until creamy and emulsified.  Taste your dressing and adjust accordingly.

Toss the salad with the dressing until the leaves are well coated.  Let the salad sit for at least 15 minutes before serving so that the kale properly absorbs the dressing and softens.

Top with crumbled goat cheese, or shaved parmesan if you're in the mood for that.