On the egg-spress to Yum Town

18 Mar

As I promised, here’s an account of the lovely time I had making eggs inspired by The Mind of a Chef, one of my favorite gems on Netflix. The first season is all about Chef David Chang, who I am sort of in love with, although, granted, my love starts in my stomach. He’s hilarious and I love watching him and his friends delve into dishes I could never even imagine attempting.  So that’s why I watched 25 glorious minutes of TV all about eggs…and then made some eggs of my own!

Egg #1: The Swirl

Origin, 2005. Chef Daniel Patterson made this up because he wanted something “super easy” where he didn’t have to wash the pots (which confuses me a little, because I had to wash my pots). I love how the whole episode is about eggs, but when Chef Patterson introduces his recipe, he says, “there’s an egg involved.” You think?

You start the Swirl by beating an egg. Bring water and salt to a simmer, then “whirlpool your water” (as in, give it a good stir) and pour your egg in. Count to 10 and pour it through a strainer! It’s pretty simple, although I felt a sort of fear just pouring the egg into the water. IT’S ALONE AND UNPROTECTED.

When I drained the water, the egg looked disgusting. Like, “did you just come out of the ocean?” disgusting.

ewww

ewww

Thankfully it looked a little better on the plate.

ok

Chef Patterson pours olive oil on the egg and of course adds salt and pepper. My egg was ridiculously fluffy. I thought the olive oil might be overwhelming, but it’s more like an aftertaste. The egg itself is warm and tastes meaty, which is crazy considering how light it is.

interesting

In a hilarious exchange on the show, Chef Chang tastes his first Swirl and says, “Delicious. Clean. It’s an egg.”

To which Patterson says, “Yeah. It’s an egg.”

You go, guys! Keep up the good identifications!

Egg #2: The Sergio

I hate peeling eggs. I’ve tried all the tricks to make hard-boiled eggs easier to peel, but it never works. It’s like chickens have something against me eating them or something. So when Chang demonstrated what he called the Sergio Egg, I was blown away (haha…).

Chang learned the technique for “peeling” an egg from Chef Sergio Perera. It consists of not peeling at all, but instead cutting a hole at the top of your egg and blowing it out. Yes. So of course I tried it out and filmed it too, so check it out below.

The only bad thing about this method is you probably don’t want to prepare someone else’s egg this way. Or, depending on who it is, maybe you definitely want to use this method. Just remember to keep it to yourself…until afterwards, of course!

Your Egg-ellency

17 Mar

If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you probably know about my obsessions with coffee and yogurt. I also have a third life staple: eggs.

Honestly.

For you aliens who don't know what an egg is: there she blows!

For you aliens who don’t know what an egg is: there she blows!

My love affair with eggs starts with getting my tonsils out at age 11. For days after my surgery, I didn’t want to eat anything, even the ice cream, pudding and jello everyone and their mom’s yap about eating when THEY get their tonsils out. Not me. I have to use a special kind of gas when they put my under, and it makes me sick to my stomach.

But the first second I felt like eating, I wanted eggs.

“What kind of eggs?” my mom asked, trying to hide the pudding bowl behind her back. “Scrambled? Omelet? Fried?”

At that point, I’m not sure if I had even had a plain fried egg before. But when she said the word, I knew I needed it. ASAP!

Since that day, eggs have been my food of choice whenever I’m feeling sick. They are also my food of choice in the morning, as an afternoon snack or at any time of day. This works great for me since they are always in our fridge (along with milk, shredded cheese and ice cream…no lactose intolerance allowed here!).

A beautiful fried egg is still my favorite way to prepare eggs. Fried in oil, served with salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne; when I cut into the yolk, it spills out like golden nectar and serves as both dipping sauce and a nice pop of color.

It’s all about the presentation, y’all.

Tomorrow you’ll get to read about some unique ways to prepare eggs that I learned from The Mind of a Chef, one of my favorite gems on Netflix. The first season is all about Chef David Chang, who I am sort of in love with, although, granted, my love starts in my stomach. He’s hilarious and I love watching him and his friends delve into dishes I could never even imagine attempting.  So that’s why I watched 25 glorious minutes of TV all about eggs…and then made some eggs of my own! Check back tomorrow for the mind-blowing video (haha play on words! you’ll figure it out later).

Giraffe meat and coffee breaks for all!

3 Mar
Yum'o'clock!

Yum’o’clock!

When I was in Hungary, I lived with ten other people. There was chaos, there was drama; there was fun being had at all times; but most importantly, there were coffee breaks. We had a coffee break every day at 10 or 11, and it included a side of fruit and a sweet. No matter where everyone was or how they were feeling, we got together for coffee and treats, dangit!

So much of the world revolves around these times of leisure and food intake, but for some reason, it’s not a thing in the U.S. And why not?! I think the working world would be much more productive if they got together in the afternoon to chat and drink hot beverages. But I digress.

One of those “hot beverage break” countries is Jordan. You guys might remember my world-traveling sister who brought me back awesome Middle-Eastern gifts last year.  Well, next she went to Jordan to volunteer at a tuberculosis hospital (no, I’m not lying, and yes, she’s the modern day Florence Nightingale). She said every day everyone got together for tea, and so she recreated the experience for our family.

Mysterious herbs no one can remember the name of.

Mysterious herbs and seeds.

The tea was actually from Jordan: strong, sweet and black with a hint of mint.  We had bread from the Arab market which we dipped into jam or olive oil. If you chose olive oil, you could then dip into some green herbs that tasted like salty wheat (in a weird, yummy way). The bottle the herbs came in is completely in Arabic and my sister can’t remember what it’s called, so we were all eating an unknown substance possibly containing death and/or giraffe meat (technically, anything COULD contain giraffe meat. You never know). But it was good, so…into my mouth it went!

In other news, she also got black, green and red olives, which I adored because my whole family hates olives and I almost never get to eat them.

Said olives.

Said olives.

There was food and there was tea and I still don’t know why America never got into tea/coffee time. I nominate that we start a movement in favor of it! Like:

#TeaTime4America (Oh. Well. Maybe not that one)

#GimmeABreak4Tea (What do you mean it makes you want chocolate?!)

#PeanutButterJellyTimePEANUTBUTTERJELLYPEANUTBUTTERJE… (what was I doing, again?)

Well, I’m still working on it. Suggestions welcome! ;)

You gotta do what you gotta do (food edition)

28 Feb

Alfonso was terrified. 

The king was at his inn. His inn! Alfonso’s hand shook a bit as he poured his homemade sherry into a mug. After all, it’s not every day that you serve royalty. He took a moment to compose himself. There was no reason to worry – after all, he made the best sherry in Spain! 

With renewed enthusiasm, Alfonso grabbed the sherry and headed out of the kitchen. Suddenly the door blew open and his heart plummeted. The lovely Spanish breeze had turned into a gusty wind that was whipping about the inn, also bringing wafts of leaves and dirt. Even the best sherry tastes like dirt when there’s dirt in it.

Then he saw it – the piece of ham left over from breakfast. Would it…could he…?

He did. So the legend goes, the innkeeper protected the sherry with una tapa de jamón (a lid of ham), and the king liked the idea so much that the ham started a tradition that still lives today. Tapas!

Nowadays in Spain, tapas are appetizers, not lids for your drink. But you can enjoy them with your drink as small snacks at a bar or eaten one after another to make a meal.

I want to go to Spain. I know, abrupt topic change! But I think after hours and hours of Spanish homework, I deserve to go to Spain and dine on tapas (and sherry ;) ). So I’m practicing for when I go, making tapas between filling out papers in the past present subjunctive of Spanish. Always sticking to what the Almighty Internet calls traditional Spanish fare, of course.

terrible

Apparently when it’s between eating food hot or getting a good picture…the former is more important to me ;)

Here’s what you see: greens with grilled goat cheese* and vinaigrette; Spanish rice; marinated artichoke; and eggplant fritters drizzled with honey.

It’s all appears terribly unappetizing and suspicious, but dang, it was all pretty tasty! It was also pretty stressful, because I have a habit of overestimating my cooking skills (sure, I can stir that and mix that and cut those up at the same time!) and that little plate of tapas was a lot of work. But the satisfaction of eating a yummy meal you worked hard to make is worth it.

Thanks, Alfonso. You’re the best!

*goat cheese might actually be half baked/melted, because it was freezing outside where the grill was. No tengo vergüenza de él.

The lame and acclaim of the Sochi games

8 Feb

I feel as though I need to comment on the Sochi games. I obviously know a whole lot about Russia (I’ve written one and a half blog posts about the country) and sports (I covered one sports-related event for our local paper), so I’m pretty sure I qualify as an expert.

Suuuuure, expert.

At least, Olympic Bear thinks so.

So, without further ado, here’s some stories about the winter Olympics I gathered from various sources on the all-knowing Internet:

Russians have interesting toilets. There have been a ton of complaints/unbelief online about the toilets in the Olympic Village and surrounding areas. I find most of them amusing, if not stinking of first world problems (stinking…hehe). Check out this audience toilet…all I have to say is, at least the athletes aren’t being subjected to squatty potties!

Speaking of bathrooms…a U.S. bobsledder got stuck in one. And then he used his bobsled skills to kick the door down. Because no matter how hard-working and determined you may be, claustrophobia always wins.

gaga

(picture from Johnny Quinn’s Twitter)

The Jamaican bobsled team is calling themselves JamBob. Plus they opened up about training in Wyoming, their desire to bring sunshine and rhythm to the games, and money vs. heart in this article. Aww. In the words of Mr. Sunshine himself, “One love, one sled…let’s get in together and run all right.”

An Austrian athlete fell down during the opening ceremony, proving that even the most athletic of us can occasionally face plant for no reason at all. The only one looking very concerned about it is the guy front and left – “Uhhh guys, do I step over him, or wait, or what?!”

Courtesy of HuffingtonPost

Courtesy of the Huffington Post

There you have it, folks. Some of my favorite happenings so far from the Winter Olympics! And let’s not forget the awesomeness of countries getting together for friendly competition. Read here about the historical Olympic Truce and how it promotes worldwide peace. Three cheers for Sochi 2014!

I’d like to buy the world a….Vimto?

27 Jan
mmm...?

The can of Suspicious.

So, I have a sister who goes to international markets and brings me home mystery drinks. Go ahead – be jealous. Now we can get on to business.

What the heck is Vimto? That was my question when I was holding a cold can of it last week. The writing on the can didn’t help – the name was in English, but the description seemed to be in French (“a bubbly, fruit-flavored beverage”) and there was also some sort of Arabic symbol (translation: no idea).

Undeterred by my ignorance, I took a sip. It was…interesting. It tasted like the color maroon, like a mix of sickly sweet berries you might find on a bush in a lonesome desert oasis. It wasn’t quite cough medicine, but it wasn’t far off, either.

A quick google told me that Vimto originated in the U.K. The berry flavor comes from grapes, raspberries and blackcurrants. The drink has had some interesting advertising history: check out this commercial. Maybe it’s a British joke, because I don’t understand a thing.

Vimto is popular in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, and apparently it’s drunk a lot during Ramadan. So that explains the Arabic on the can. This particular Vimto can was made with “Sparkling Canadian Water,” so I’m guessing that’s why there’s French as well.

I can’t say I was too enthused by Vimto. I think part of this is because I love sugar. Vimto is sugar-free and makes up for it with a cocktail of “intense sweeteners.” I’m also not used to blackcurrant, and grape flavoring is not my favorite!

In the end, I’m glad to have drunk Vimto. It was an experience. It’s not quite Coke, but if I was dying of thirst and it was the only drink available, I’d “shlurple the purple!”

I found the burek!

25 Jan

I have long bemoaned the lack of Eastern European food in Nashville.

We’re pretty international, but really people just eat a lot of Asian and gyros.  My sister and our friend call ourselves the Sketchy Restaurant Club…we’ve had Thai, Middle Eastern, El Salvadoran, Indian, Greek, Japanese…but there are definitely unrepresented parts of the world. There ain’t no Finnish restaurants, or Kyrgyz, or even Russian ones.

But lo and behold, Nashville has gained an adorable little Eastern European place called Euro Grill. Although, they seemed a little hesitant to proclaim their true identity, as the sign says, “Mediterrainian Food” [sic]. I understand, guys. Some people need to be tricked into discovering their true love of feta-filled pastry.

Apparently the restaurant’s been open since 2010, but when I got back from Eastern Europe in 2011, I looked everywhere for Balkan food and couldn’t find it. I finally got wind of Euro Grill last year, and this was my first time going.

I was a little excited.

I was a little excited.

Not only was there legit food, but most people in the place were speaking a variant of Croatian/Serbian. There were tiny coffee cups, guys wearing sweat pants and Nikes, and a group of men playing darts basically the whole time we were there. It was literally a piece of Eastern Europe in Tennessee.

And I loved it. You will see me again, Euro Grill! (and Serbia!)

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