Eggs and toast are a common weekend breakfast at our house. During the work week we both end up eating a granola bar in the car or when we arrive to our desks most days. A hot breakfast at home welcomes the weekend. Eggs and toast is still a quick meal, and the very slight effort it takes to make it yields the satisfying nourishment to remind you it is Saturday and give you the energy to have great day. Making eggs and toast for breakfast is about as simple as it gets, except if you are me. I am going through the process of re-learning how to scramble an egg. I have been scrambling eggs since I was 5 years old, and I thought I had it mastered. I cracked eggs into a bowl, and mixed them up with chunks of cheese, and cooked them in a frying pan with oil or butter, stirring them occasionally until solid. I lived under the illusion that cheesy eggs was the only way to eat scrambled eggs until I ate the Simply Scrambled breakfast at the Birchwood Cafe. In Birchwoods’ Simply Scrambled breakfast, there is no cheese in the eggs! The eggs are super fresh and a lot creamier and less solid than the eggs I’ve been scrambling for over 25 years. And they are so good! I could tell that this is partly due to using extremely fresh eggs which is something I’ve already been using for several years. These delicious, creamy, plain eggs were a mysterious new experience for me. I asked a foodie friend for his thoughts about the Birchwood’s egg scrambling technique over a year ago, and he suggested something about only having the eggs on heat for a while, then taking the pan off of the heat letting them cook themselves. I tried it, and the result was plain, unevenly cooked, verging-on-runny eggs. Next, I watched Gordon Ramsey do a demo. When Gordon Ramsey says “every time we get a new cook in the kitchen, we always asked them to make scrambled egg. If they know how to make perfect scrambled egg, you know they know how to cook properly” I am sure he is right. I don’t know how to cook properly. Since watching this demo, I’ve been undercooking eggs left and right, but using butter and a little milk or sour cream* and finishing them with fresh chives to make them “sexy.” It might be a patience issue. I’m not sure. The good news for us is, Bjorn has not had an existential crisis about scrambled egg preparation. As in most areas requiring confidence and skill, if I can do it well, Bjorn can do it better; and with a lot less effort. So we are still eating delicious eggs, scrambled by Bjorn, while I limp along re-learning out how to Properly cook something I’ve been cooking and happily eating since I was a very little kid.
There are parts of the egg and toast breakfast that I prepare that have not been called on to the carpet for re-evaluation. I have discovered that eggs and toast is another meal that a slice of tomato makes better. If you have a decent grocery store tomato, all you have to do is throw a few slices in the frying pan toward the end of cooking the eggs. The tomato gets a little softer and sweeter and picks up just enough butter or oil from the pan to make it extra luscious. All it needs is a little pepper and salt. At the height of tomato and basil season, there is always fresh mozzarella in our fridge, and so fresh, just-sliced garden tomatoes inevitably are paired with fresh mozzarella and basil, a touch of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and the usual salt and pepper. A caprese is tomato’s perfect foil. I have mentioned my love of a caprese salad and the fact that I could happily eat them as a part of three meals a day at this time of year. I wasn’t kidding. Even for breakfast. How can I resist with tomatoes like this:
It is our second year with a Square Foot Garden. Last year we planted 6 tomato plants , and enjoyed tomatoes from our garden into December. This year we expanded the garden and planted 12 different varieties. We are luxuriating in an abundance of tomatoes of all shapes, colours and sizes**. We also have 4 square feet devoted to basil. I am serious when I say I love this flavour/texture combination. It is truly a luxury to be able to walk out the back door and pick a medley of herbs to season our breakfast. This morning I picked Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, Chives, and a little dill in addition to basil.
As a nod to Gordon Ramsey and the Birchwood’s perfect eggs, today our eggs are plain, but ready to be dressed up to taste with a little grated manchego cheese and garden herbs waiting on the side of the plate***. Having both manchego and fresh mozzarella on the same plate tips the scales towards indulgence, but after a pious week of granola bar breakfasts, perfect scrambled eggs, toast, fresh herbs and a caprese with basil and tomatoes from the garden is an indulgence we can afford.
Then, there is of course, the toast. The bread today is a dense Italian loaf from the bakery at Cosetta’s Italian Market in Saint Paul.
*Sorry Gordon; we don’t stock crème fraiche in our kitchen.
**Grey squirrels have also been picking our tomatoes and eating just a few bites, much to our frustration and disgust. We’ve resorted to garden warfare. Each of the raised beds is surrounded by chicken wire. We’re using smelly garlic and peppermint squirrel deterrent sprays, and we’re both pretty good aim when we throw a shoe, but we don’t seem to be able to get the squirrels under control. If there is some kind of a secret weapon against these greedy creatures, I’d love to know about it.
***Maybe I’m not so convinced about the perfection of cheese-less scrambled eggs?!?