Tag Archives: food

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.

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!)

Hungarian-ish chili for the chilly

20 Nov

Yesterday, when I was hurrying to my car after class, a freezing wind whipped my face. It instantly reminded me of wintering in dear old Budapest, which obviously made me think of piping hot, comforting Hungarian chili. I lived with a team of eight in Hungary, and this was one of my favorite dishes to cook for us because it’s pretty easy and consistently yummy. I have fond memories of gathering around the table with people from several nationalities and eating chili with hot paprika and mountains of bread.

Technically, the chili’s not totally Hungarian. I learned to make it from a Polish woman who combined recipes with her Macedonian husband to make a masterpiece influenced by their life in Hungary. However, I made it yesterday and strengthened the authenticity of my meal with stuffed peppers, which are a Hungarian staple. I’m not posting the picture because things like stuffed peppers and red beans look disgusting without the perfect lighting. 

I will post this picture of myself in Budapest, double-jacketed. My friend didn't quite understand the concept of focusing!

I am posting this picture of me in Budapest with bad lighting, though…If you look close, you can see I’m wearing two coats.  Because it was COLD.

Hungary will always be cold to me. My short stint there was from January to March, and my poor Texan friend and I would walk around shivering and wiping away frozen tears. Even though I’ve been back twice in the summer, it’s the bone-chilling winter that sticks in my memory.

Perhaps it’s fitting, because the Hungarian people are sort of wintery, too. When you get to know them, they’re beautiful and witty and mischievous. But at first glance, Hungarians are very different than the natives of my hometown of Nashville. Cashiers avoid eye contact, public transport is hushed and secretive, and pedestrians return smiles with puzzled grimaces.

Budapest is a sprawling city with gorgeously imposing architecture and striking inhabitants. Overall, my experience there was chilly, but there were glowing spots of warmth. The elderly man who laughed at me, scandalized by my atrocious Hungarian. The woman on the bus who insisted on telling me her life’s story in a language I knew 15 words of. The group of boys in my English class who made me paper flowers for Women’s Day.

Even cold people can be happy.

My friends and I braving the sleety Gellert Hill.

This chili gives me that warm feeling. When I eat it, I imagine Budapest from far away, a gray-tinted city without much detail. Then I zoom in and begin to see details – a woman waiting for the bus here, a child dipping his finger in the Danube there. I zoom in closer as the colors become more vibrant, and I find a group of people sitting around a table in the outskirts of Buda. It’s cold outside, but they’re laughing and sharing a huge pot of Polish-Macedonian-Hungarian chili.  If that doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy, I don’t know what will!

Things that would be better with food

24 Oct
  • Outdoor concerts

Picture yourself sitting on lush green grass, relaxing and listening to plucky acoustic goodness with your friends. Now picture yourself in that exact scenario, but with some fried chicken and a big ol’ southern sweet tea. Which scenario do you like most? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

  • The pool

Okay, so there’s lots of food at normal pools. Pools are the land of hotdogs, hamburgers and Icees. But it’s frowned upon to eat your food in the pool. Yet that Icee would taste so much better if you were in your float, bobbing up and down on the simulated waves and glaring at the kids who accidentally bump your feet.

Not these type of food

This is not what I’m talking about. Although it’s pretty awesome.

  • The doctor’s office

There’s a man coughing up a lung across from you. The receptionist can’t find your insurance information. Some runny-nosed kid is screaming. But look! The line for the barista is only two people long. The only cold you have now is the feeling of your iced latte!

  • Operas, plays and/or any refined show that lasts over two hours

Since you are such a classy person, I know you would never get bored at something like this, but us less genteel people need food to provide side entertainment. Plus even if the whole production is riveting, some can be three hours long. I don’t know about you, but snacking is a necessity in my life. What if you didn’t have to hide your granola bar from the ushers like a shoplifter? I’m talking full meal, three-course stuff. Oh yeah.

(pic from Heather's Sweets and Treats)

These would be good eaten ANYWHERE (pic from Heather’s Sweets and Treats)

  • The world

Literally anywhere would be better with food. Because food is awesome!