Kellie, Jessie and Jude Visit;
we make an omelet without breaking eggs
Kelly and her two young teenagers, Jude and Jessie, came to visit yesterday. It was an early Christmas gathering to share gifts and enjoy the blessings of friendship. It was a delight to see them all after several months. I decided to make a meal that would be familiar, yet interesting and filling. It had to be one that I could make after they arrived so I could serve it hot off the stove.
Some of my friends poke fun at my cooking. It’s all done in good jest. One of the things they point out is that meals I make tend to be very simple and consist only of one or two dishes. I thought about this and readily agree that it is a valid criticism. But that is as far as it goes. The meals I enjoy the most are ones where there are fewer items that go well together than a large selection that leaves me overwhelmed.
I usually make larger quantities of fewer dishes with available ingredients. Local and seasonal ingredients are always a better choice. Mistakes in taste combinations are regrettable but also opportunities to learn what to avoid. The key to good meals is always to enjoy the cooking and not regard it as a test of skill. The best cooks have fun when they cook. Cook what you know well and have internalized so you can make it without having to constantly refer to a recipe. You see?
Brunch was a big success. The kids helped me make it. To drink, I served juice for the kids and a crisp chardonnay for the adults. Lemon juice made with jaggery instead of sugar with a slice of fresh ginger would be a wonderful drink to serve.
If you don’t eat eggs, you could easily make a vegetable dosai. Both recipe ideas follow.
Omelet: Sauté diced onions, green chilies, capsicum and sweet peppers and squash pieces in some olive oil and butter with fresh thyme, mint or coriander leaves. Use a medium high flame and get some color and caramelize the vegetables a bit. Add cherry tomatoes and squash last so they do not get over cooked.
Beat 6 – 8 eggs with 2 tbs. of water and pour over the vegetables. Keep lifting the edges and tilting the pan to let the egg mixture from the top run under the omelet to form layers of cooked egg. Use a plate to flip the omelet and cook the other side for a minute. Be careful not to brown or overcook the omelet. Add grated cheese and chopped herbs on top. Cut and serve in wedges. Add a few slices of tomato, seasonal fruit or cucumber on the side.
Vegetable Pancake: Cook the same vegetables as above with a vegetable and till oil blend. Add some chopped curry leaves. Add equal parts of whole wheat or raagi flour, rice flour and rawa with salt and 2 tbs. of oil and enough water. Briskly whisk till there are no lumps. I use my blender for this. Add one part of sour dosai batter to three parts of the mix. You can even add a ¼ cup of oats if you like. Let the batter rest for 20 minutes. Pour this mix over the cooked vegetables, taking care to fill around the vegetables. Make a few small holes in the pancake as you would for adai and add oil and cook over medium heat till it is golden brown on both sides.
Potatoes: Cut potatoes into 2- 3-inch wedges and steam them for a few minutes. Then roast them in a pan with vegetable oil until they are golden on both sides. Add a pinch of turmeric and a ¼ tsp. sambar powder in the pan. Add one tbsp. of butter and gently toss till the wedges are evenly coated. Salt to taste. Plate them while still sizzling.
Dressing/ dipping sauce: In a blender add 2 cups of thick yoghurt or strained yoghurt, 1 chili, 1 piece of fresh ginger, a piece of unripe mango or amchur, one ripe tomato, 6 curry leaves and a sprig of coriander. Add lemon juice and salt. Grind till it is smooth and has a milkshake texture. For a spicier taste you could add a spoon of hot coriander or mint chutney. Serve in a small cup on the side for dipping.