Monday, May 31, 2010

The Egg A Day Experiment, Part 51

Would you pay $24 for a dozen eggs? Heck no, right? But most diners think nothing of paying a little extra for an egg on top.

The other day, I went to Nettletown for the first time. I loved the welcoming vibe and the intriguing menu. So many things sounded so good, I didn't decide what I was going to choose until I got to the counter to order and then I changed my mind at the last minute.

I went with the spatezle and got a poached egg on top for $2. This cafe is all about sourcing and I really wish I would have asked about the origin of the egg because I would have felt so much better about it if it had come direct from a farmer. I suspect it did.

The dish, which included sauteed cabbage, was good. The egg was a nice touch. But I didn't love it. I wanted a little more flavor, a bit more seasoning. I wanted it to pop. Still, that doesn't mean it was a fizzle, either.

Because the energy was so positive, I'm pretty sure I'll go back again soon. Ever feel that way about a place? Like you're rooting for it even when it's not all that it should be?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Egg A Day Experiment, Part 50

I am pretty crazy about Shultzy's, the Mom-and-Pop pub in the U-District. I worked there last June and had a blast. Learned a lot, too. It's not fancy food, but food made from scratch, seasoned just right.

The sausage burgers are my favorites. Think sausage, without the casing. Whenever I go to Shultzy's, I order a Ragin Cajun with a fried egg on top. It makes the sandwich a knife and fork affair, but I don't care. I slide the top bun off and have at it.

Ever since I was a kid, I've been fascinated by the sight of a fry cook doing his/her thing, flipping eggs like they were hotcakes. If there's a chance to sit at the counter and watch, I surely will. Like at Knight's Diner in Spokane. Breakfast and a show.

Diners can see into Shultzy's tiny kitchen, kind of. But not enough to watch the fast and furious action on the grill. I interviewed the sausage king for Seattle Weekly's Voracious blog this week. He's super chill despite how hot and heavy things can get in that tight space.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Egg A Day Experiment, Part 49

Please fill in the blank:

Eggs and ... what?

Bacon? Sausage? Baked beans? Hash browns? Fried tomatoes? Spam?

What's the best accompaniment to a couple of eggs at breakfast? Something about the creamy neutral quality of the egg makes it cry out for something salty. I wonder who first came up with the now classic combo of bacon and eggs.

The other day, I met some friends for breakfast at Kona Kitchen and asked if I could swap out the burger patty on the loco moco for fried Spam instead. Yes, but it'll cost you, the server said.

It was pretty tasty, but I had an upset stomach after the meal. (I walked it off!) Probably should have gone with the straightforward bacon and eggs on my first visit to the place, to see how they handled the basics. The restaurant was packed and had a sweet family vibe, but I prefer Kauai Family Restaurant in Georgetown.

So, what's your favorite match for your morning scramble, fry or poach?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Egg A Day Experiment, Part 48

I am crazy about pepper sauce. Not just Tabasco, though there are at least four flavors of those hot numbers in my cupboard: the green, the habernero, the chipotle and the classic.

Then, there's Crystal and Frank's Red Hot. I know I'm leaving off a couple.

One of my favorite things to sprinkle pepper sauce on is eggs. It gives them a whole lot of personality. Like the icing on a cake.

And the eggs mellow out the sharp fire, too. Such a winning combo.

So, is more better? The other day, I mixed some green and red pepper sauce on my fried egg and, yes, it was pretty darned good.

The Egg A Day Experiment, Part 47

Yes, the versatile egg appears on menus morning, noon or night, but I still think of them as the breakfast of champs. If I need fuel to blast me into the late lunch land, I will scramble up a couple and heap them on a piece of toast. Nothing fancy, but it works.

Protein-packed and cheap, eggs have heft. Yes, they have cholesterol, but there's loads of good stuff in them, too. When I was growing up, my father went to work .... ever so briefly... for a company that was marketing a low-cholesterol egg. I know this because I have an old clipping from a newspaper, a photo of him holding these miracle eggs. Like I said, it was a short-lived career.

I know plenty of people must monitor their cholesterol and worry about heart disease. I'm lucky that way. I've got good numbers. It kind of cheeses off my hubs because he works out everyday and I'm a slug and his cholesterol is higher than mine. It's genetics!

So, bring on the eggs. In the morning, I love them scrambled and fried and poached or omeletized. If I eat 'em for breakfast, I'm good to go until well past the noon hour, maybe even into dinner time.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Egg A Day Experiment, Part 46

I hosted our culinary book group this month and because we're reading an obscure book called The Physiology of Taste by a French guy named Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, I wanted to make something mentioned in the book. It was written in the late 1800s and that was a bit of a challenge.

So, I went on a tried-and-true dish -- French toast bread pudding -- and gave it a twist. Taking a cue from the fab Mother's Bistro in Portland, I put some crushed cornflakes on top. Drizzled those with clarified butter and sugar. Folded in some blueberries and it turned out fine.

The recipe, which actually made two casseroles, uses half a dozen eggs, a cup of buttermilk, a cup of milk, one teaspoon vanilla and one loaf of challah bread, cubed and dried. One thing I've learned about doing eggs in a French toast recipe is that you've got to beat them before adding the milk. Otherwise, the whole thing gets gummed up.

Today, when I added the buttermilk, the liquid got so thick, I was concerned it might be too dense. So I added some milk and a couple of clugs worth of OJ. Then, I tossed that mixture with the bread and let it sit for 20 minutes or so before putting the cornflakes on top and baking it at 350 for 45-50 minutes. I do love bread pudding, both savory and sweet variations.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Egg A Day Experiment, Part 45

For many years, I didn't put hard-cooked eggs in my potato salad. Usually dressed the spuds in a balsamic vinaigrette. Heavy on the tang.

Then, I tried my sister, Laurel's potato salad. She made it for Claire's BBQ grad party last June and it was so fantastic, a mess of eggs, pickles, chopped onions, mayo and mustard. It's even better on Day 2.

So, I made Sissy's Spud Salad yesterday, but had some concerns about the hard-boiled eggs, which had been in the fridge for more than a week. I peeled them, smelled them, and then dumped them in the bowl. I might have been pushing the freshness envelope, but they sure tasted good in the potato salad.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Egg A Day Experiment, Part 44

I went to Flower World this weekend, after my whirlwind trip through Woodinville's Warehouse Wine district for a Seattle Magazine story I'm doing. But first I got lost and ended up stopping at Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream's plant and parlor, where I got directions and a double shot of boozey ice cream: Kentucky bourbon made with Maker's Mark and Tennessee whiskey spiked with Jack Daniels. Freaking mmmmmmmm!

The cute counter jockey gave me directions and soon I was amid acres of green stuff. I picked up a few herbs, some lavendar, rosemary and lemon balm before getting in the long line for the cash register. Now, you know how they put stuff by the front to tempt you into one more ca-ching thing. That's when I spotted the "eggs for sale" sign. They were local eggs and quite lovely, so I took the bait.

Which, naturally, started a chain reaction. The couple behind me asked how much they were and were appalled at the price. Well, I said, what if you went to Denny's? These eggs are still cheaper than a couple of Grand Slams, right? The woman seemed mildly offended that I suggested she would patronize Denny's. "Oh, that's one place we'd never go!"

Well, what about the Maltby Cafe? Now, that's a $10 breakfast. "Yeah, but you can never get in there anyway," her hubby chimed in. I left with my purchases and never looked back to see if they bought those pricey eggs. Got home and Johnny went into sticker shock, too. "Well, you know, those eggs are $6 at the farmers market," I said.

He got over it, especially when those eggs made such a beautiful frittata on Mother's Day.

What's the most you've paid for a dozen eggs?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Egg A Day Experiment, Part 43

Happy Mother's Day!

Johnny's cooking breakfast, which means frittata time. He makes 'em super thin, like a pancake, but he told me he just read in a cookbook the way a traditional frittata is much thicker, more like a quiche. It's funny when you go down a path and suddenly have someone tell you that you're lost.

I like how Johnny sautes all the ingredients separately, getting those onions extra caramelized and the bacon super crispy. He finishes it by sprinkling cheese on top at the end and popping it under the broiler for a minute. Really good.

It might be interesting to try a traditional variation one of these days, but not on Mother's Day. Stick with the tried and true today.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Egg A Day Experiment, Part 42

I first tried Bibimbap in Memphis. Everybody thinks of barbecue and fried chicken and Elvis and his peanut butter and banana sammies when they think of food in M'town, but I've got to say I was very impressed with the diversity of the global fare in that village by the Mississip!

I loved the sushi at Sekisui and Do. There was a tiny Vietnamese place I loved going. Oh, the claypot catfish... And my first Korean rice bowl with an egg on top was at a place called the Petra Cafe on Madison that had a wildly eclectic menu featuring a mix of Korean and Mediterranean. Fellow writer and brilliant musician Bill Ellis talked me into trying the bibimbap. He had lived in Japan and LOVED Korean food and he was a good guide.

But it's been a long time since I've eaten this dish. Never tried it in Seattle. Snapped this shot in Portland at the amazingly wonderful food carts you find around that crazy creative town. So, I'm on the hunt for a good Bibimbap. Know the way?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Egg A Day Experiment, Part 40

Loco moco baby!! Ono kine grindz, right brah? You got your rice, your hamburger patty, a fried egg on that and a whole mess of gravy.

I never order the loco moco when I got to Hawaiian plate lunch places. I cannot get past the katsu chicken. Oh, man, there was a place in Spokane that made a killer katsu chicken curry. Hot dang, I still crave that even though I do not remember the name of the long-defunct joint.

Went to Kauai Family Restaurant with a couple of gal pals the other day. They had never eaten Hawaiian plate lunch, so they asked the server for advice. First of all, I dug her because she told us to call her Auntie. Now, that's living Aloha!

The loco moco was on the breakfast menu and I liked it a lot. I might order it again. But what I loved was the mac salad and the kimchi cukes. And the guava cake! Da kine!!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Egg A Day Experiment Parts 36, 37, 38 and 39

It's been a good egg run the past few days, starting from the bottom and moving up with homemade biscuit sammie, a terrific happy hour pizza at Serious Pie, asparagus flan with an egg on the side and an egg tucked into a ravioli, the latter two at Saffron in Walla Walla. I saw Tom Douglas make that ravioli last summer at his culinary camp and couldn't stop thinking about it. So incredibly rich. I'm gonna learn to make that!

Again and again, eggs show off as stunningly versatile ingredients. They're chameleons. They're the stars of so many recipes, but never scream: Hey, look at me. Well, maybe on the plate with the asparagus flan. Another dish that inspires me to get in the kitchen and try to copy it.

What do you think? See anything here you'd eat?