If you have even a passing interest of astrology, then you know that the most basic principle that governs Libras is our underlying, yearning desire to keep everything in balance. Subconsciously or not, it’s how I process and consume art, music, literature and food. For every fluffy album that I put on, I’ll eventually need to hear something heavier and more abstract. I’m equal parts Kate Bush and Kevin Drumm. Fleetwood Mac and Ryoji Ikeda. And so on….
But nowhere does this organizational method fling itself onto my cravings more insistently than in the way that I eat. At work, it’s mostly dabs and tastings of sugar, butter, and cream. Mouthfuls of cake and pudding and syrups. Halved scones and milk buns slathered in butter and jam. Spoonfuls of tempered chocolate and licks of glossy Italian meringue. At home, my eating habits adjust to balance out my pastry work, and I’m really seeing the results right here on my blog. Gratuitous snaps of sugary-sweet Queen Elizabeth cake… followed by a hearty breakfast of eggs, asparagus, chickpeas, and a bit of my stale old levain bread. It’s not a “light” meal, but it feels suitably oppositional to what I was eating the night before. There’s been a lot of big breakfasts like this lately… maybe I’ve been eating too much cake at work and I didn’t even realize it.
A while back I was complaining about being over that whole avocado-smashed-on-toast thing, but awesome Ashley suggested an easy switch-up: smashed avocado on corn tortillas. No duh. So simple and obvious and delicious! Just different enough that it’s renewed my (formerly waning) interest in avocado on carbs all over again. Especially if they can be eaten outside on the balcony in the sunshine.
Pan con tomate is my latest favorite breakfast (i.e., it has temporarily replaced avocado toast). It’s delicious and fast. I halve a big chunk of baguette (right now I love with the tender kamut specimens at Joe la Croûte) and drizzle it with lots of good olive oil, then lightly toast in the oven until golden. While it’s still hot, I rub the toasts with peeled and cut garlic cloves and then quickly grate a halved tomato on a box grater, until pink, thickly covered, and wet. I imagine that this would be a million times better in the summer, when tomatoes are plump and bursting with sweet flavor, but it’s still so, so good. Finish with lots of salt, pepper, and, in some mornings, a filet or two or anchovy. Yum! Perfect accompaniment with a poached egg, wilted greens, and some coffee. Does anyone else make this for breakfast?
I recently came upon a trove of Grecian goodies: honey, chestnuts, dried thyme (it has thorns and tiny purple flowers!), and liters and liters of olive oil. What better way to begin delving into their untold yumminess than with a simple breakfast — steamed spinach, a fried egg sprinkled with feta and parsley, and tomato salad, all drenched in the most gorgeous, supple olive oil I’ve eaten in a while.
P.S. The voyeur in me LOVED this food diary by Sam Sifton. Charming, honest, and delicious. There’s nothing I love more than reading a long list of dishes or ingredients (bedside reading is usually a cookbook), so stories like this are totally my internet catnip. [via Shoko]
So, yesterday was my birthday — which, of course, has prompted an undue amount of self-reflection. I worked a long 10-hour shift, but Adam made me a sweet, perfectly-me birthday breakfast of roasted brussels sprouts over eggs and some good, sour cheddar with toast.
If you had told me ten years ago, or even five years ago, that at age 28 I would be happily living in Montreal and working as a pastry chef, I would have stared at you in disbelief. When I graduated from college (was it already seven years ago?), I remember thinking that I would definitely be a music journalist, traveling the world and writing every day. I might still return to that, in fact I hope that I do. I often get anxious thinking that I haven’t done enough or accomplished that much. But where I am right now — I’m learning to see how it’s exactly right. Pastry may be a recent passion, but it already feels like it’s been a part of me forever.
My sweet friend Katherine gave me this book, written by an astrology-loving Jungian scholar, for my birthday, and I have been devouring it alive. Here’s to another year of Relating.
Breakfast in Provence. Sigh. Earlier this summer, we were toying around with the idea of going back to Sanary for a month — that’s how cheap the apartment that we rented was — so Adam could finish his book in solitude, but it’s so impossible with my new job. Still, so grateful for the handful of sunny mornings we spent there, one egg for me, two for him, some wilted greens and peeled asparagus.
If you live in Montreal, then you already know that the markets are ridiculous. Like, jaw-droppingly, achingly spectacular. It’s my favorite time of year around these parts — early summer vegetables are still kicking around, and early fall produce is starting to make its first appearance. (I saw pears yesterday!) Basically it means that you can eat whatever you want and in incredible abundance. Yesterday morning, we went for the corn, tomatoes, amaranth, carrots, kale, and fresh eggs. Tomorrow, I’m going back for eggplant — we’re finally upon ratatouille season!
Not much has changed in two years… I still have a faint loathing of the brunch ritual, unless it’s chilaquiles. In which case, yes, yes, yes. Chilaquiles for breakfast, that I can give a thumbs up. This batch was topped with not just guacamole but also my famous tomatillo salsa, made extra spicy with a habenero or two, and served warm. And also: refried black beans with salsa fresca, pan-fried breakfast potatoes with chorizo, pineapple in lime juice, and Sasha’s amazing sauerkraut.
As if it weren’t already a brunch that demanded a post-meal nap, there was dulce de leche-filled churros, too. (Thank you, Sabor Latino.)
Carlo, framed by two bunches of peonies, makes me sad that peonies here are gone so fast. When they were in season, we were picking big bunches from bushes every morning. You couldn’t keep up — the bushes would hang so heavy with the blossoms and be destroyed in an hour of rain or a day or two of sunshine. But while they were here, our apartment was full of magic.
A luscious, lengthy breakfast at Hôtel du Castellet, in Provence, France. As extraordinary as the pastry and cheeses were, I was most amazed by the butter, which seems to be appreciated in a way I’ve never seen in North America. Tiny single-sized portions of butter, carefully held in a beautiful foil wrapper, were everywhere we went. When I was little, I used to collect the tiny jars of Bonne Maman preserves they’d give out at pancake restaurants in La Jolla. Guess my affection for adorable mini-sized things hasn’t changed at all.