I don’t eat breakfast. In 13 years of school I never once ate breakfast. In college there was no such thing as breakfast. And now that I have a job that requires me to get up every day at the ass crack of dawn, I don’t have the energy for anything beyond showering and dressing.
But once in a while I do enjoy “breakfast foods”. It’s always nice when the boyfriend decides to make his famous (famous in our apartment!) banana chocolate chip pancakes or when we are lazy and cook omelettes for dinner. And while I’ve never been into the trendy brunch scene in Chicago (too expensive, too crowded, too sugary), I got talked into going to M. Henry a few months back with a friend who lives in the neighborhood as a fairwell brunch for another friend moving out of town. We had agreed to meet at 10 a.m. (way too early for me considering I was only freelancing and making my own hours) and the place was mobbed when I arrived at 9:50. I scanned the menu while we waited, skipping over the sugar coma inducing items like banana rumba french toast. (Please note: I have nothing against brioche layered with warm bananas, rum, toasted pecans and drizzled with creme caramel, I just can’t consume such things before I am completely awake) I honed in on Fannie’s Killer Fried Egg Sandwich, an item I recognized from working on Chicago magazine’s 124 Best Dishes Cover during the summer of 2007. I have disagreed with Penny - Dining Editor and guru of Windy City cuisine - before (Like that time I waited three hours, yes three hours, at Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix. An experience best described simply as disappointment), but decided I would trust her on this one.
Fannie’s killer fried egg sandwich consists of two over-medium eggs smashed between sliced sour boule with plum tomatoes, applewood bacon, gorgonzola and fresh thyme. (In what some might consider a breakfast sin, I asked for no bacon. Sorry but that ain’t kosher). I made the right choice. Something about the way the flavors and textures melded in my mouth bordered on indescribable. It was probably the most excited I had been about breakfast in my entire life.
Since then, I have had constant cravings for the sandwich (I have been back to the restaurant one time to help get me through). Last weekend I figured I would try and create it myself, from whatever I happened to have in the kitchen. I used sesame french bread, two eggs, goat cheese, oregano and black pepper. (I had just come home from vacation so I was out of tomatoes and a few other desirable ingredients) Before this, I had never made over-medium eggs, but after watching a few quick YouTube videos and reading some food blogs, I realized it wasn’t exactly rocket science. Mindy’s Killer Fried Egg Sandwich was probably the best breakfast I’ve ever made, but I would trade it in for Fannie’s any day.
Mindy’s Killer Fried Egg Sandwich
You should use whatever you want, but in case you are creatively challenged, I used:
- Two eggs
- An ounce or less of goat cheese
- Lots of black pepper
- Two slices of Sesame French Bread, toasted
Heat skillet on medium. Melt a small pat of butter or Smart Balance. Crack both eggs into a bowl, add black pepper and pour gently into skillet, making sure to keep the yolks intact. Using a spatula, go around the yolks and sever them from the outer whites of the eggs. Once the whites have cooked, fold the sides up on to the yolks carefully and flip both eggs. Allow to cook an additional minute and then remove from pan directly on to your toast. Add toppings as desired and enjoy!
By the way, if you’re ever in Phoenix, don’t waste your time at Bianco. Grimaldi’s in Old Town Scottsdale has one of the best thin crust pizzas I’ve ever had.
Lately I’ve been pretty excited when I can finds ways to combine my love for food and my newfound interest in crafting (part of my new job). Because I am now an avid reader of crafting blogs as well as food and cooking blogs, I was excited to find several of each type posting about Nancy Wu’s beef jerky bag. This bag is hand sewn by Wu and is made entirely of beef jerky. I think it’s pretty cool and accurately sums up how I feel about designer bags.
You didn’t actually think I skipped dessert? As if.
The boyfriend’s favorite dessert is creme brulee, admittedly something I have little experience with. I was eager to experiment with a few flavors, but not eager to spend the money on a brulee torch. (Insert writer’s salary excuse again here) I wanted to do something different - I’ve done tons of cookie, cake, brownie, bar variations - so where did I look? Well sexy Aussie chef Curtis Stone of course. I had seen him make a chocolate mousse layered with marscapone creme brulee a while back and bookmarked the recipe. The instructions are intimidating so I brushed it to the back burner as a possible special ocassion idea. Good thing. Of all the desserts I’ve ever made, this was by far the most labor intensive. It was definitely worth it though! The recipe is supposed to make four layered glasses but I made two. I’m not sure if it was my excessive tasting along the way or that I used large wine glasses, but I’m not complaining. It was so rich that it took me two or three sittings to finish it all, and that’s saying a lot.
I didn’t know what to get the boyfriend for his birthday (which was over a month ago, I’m behind… I know), so I figured I would do what I do best and make him a nice dinner. He is always gunning for duck or beef ribs - his two favorites - so I opted for the ribs, on sale that week. (I’m trying to live on a writer’s salary, give me a break) I used this epicurious recipe for the ribs and served them over my own mashed potatoes. (Believe it or not, these were the first mashed potatoes I ever made) I don’t eat beef so I can’t completely vouch for the recipe, but the ribs smelled amazing and the boyfriend ate about three pounds in one sitting, which I take to mean the recipe was so-so.
I modeled my potatoes after one of Rachel Ray’s smashed potato recipes (she mashes them with the skin-on, a must). I used about 2 lbs of Yukon gold potatoes that I boiled and then mashed with 1 cup of extra sharp white cheddar, a bunch of chopped chives and a mixture of low-fat sour cream and heavy cream. I seasoned with salt and black pepper. Pretty good for my first time, but I’ve got nothing on my mom’s potatoes.
One of my best friends from college came to visit this weekend and got me the Hillary Clinton Nutcracker for Hanukkah. As an ardent Hillary supporter, I found it slightly offensive but ultimately hilarious.
Quotes on the back of the box include:
“I can feel Bill’s pain” - Obama
“Why does Hillary get to have all the fun?” - Nancy Pelosi
and my personal favorite…”Hillary Nutcracker - that’s redundant” - McCain