June 18, 2011 § Leave a comment
See I’m the kind of person who when it comes to making something to eat at home, finds herself confronted with several problems: I’m incredibly impatient, incredibly indecisive and incredibly fickle. In other words, I can’t eat the same breakfast twice in three weeks, I can’t be bothered to cook anything complicated, and when I have the luxury of time to stay home and make myself something, I would perch in front of the open fridge for half an hour deciding whether to use ham or bacon, and then end up pulling out 5 different type of cheeses, 3 types of meat, 3 types of bread or crackers, a few couple jars of seasonings and 2 eggs getting cooked in two different ways on the frying pan. Then I would take bits of this with bits of that and basically do a musical chair of breakfast items before settling on the combination that happens to suit my mood best that morning.
Usually when I am done with that, it looks like the inside of my fridge has come out for a carnival.
It was quite a romantic scene: the toast was just stationed there without expectations of any sort, then on comes a pink film of moist chicken breast, then several cool slabs of Stilton, then after a rather suspenseful pause — a cushion of scrambled eggs right off that richly buttered pan. It’s still not of age, and still a little shy and runny. The Stilton, obliged to melt under the heat, embraces the mellow yellow on top and the pinkness below in all its pungent goodness.
First comes the roughness of the bread against your tongue, then an eruption of runny eggs over to the sides at the top (you swear you hear the cooked part that thought it covered everything say ‘shit!’), and then a sudden sharp tug from the Stilton before it retreats apologetically to give you the sweet, humble taste of chicken breast.
Come to think of it, it’s not really scrambled… but it’s my way of cooking beaten eggs. It’s like making an omlette, but instead of having fillings inside, I leave some sneaky runniness in there.
Can you define joy for me in any other way? I think not. Not today.
June 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’m trying to remember my mozzarella encounters. The pleasant ones.
It definitely wasn’t the time I gasped upon seeing mozzarella-tomato cups at the school cafeteria on 13th street, bought one, and almost spat out the first chunk that was smartass enough to have bribed its way into my mouth.
The first time – the actual first time that the cheese stroke a chord with me, must have been the time we somehow made our way back to Ekin’s apartment at 5 in the morning in Milan. I remember seeing all the cheese and breaksticks we bought from a grocery store earlier in the day on the table – we dove right into it. The mozzarella was just plain, supermarket stuff – I dunked a chunk into pesto and sloppily balanced it on top of a piece of bread-cracker thingy before sending down my throat.
It was so good.
Recently, I came across it at Mercer Kitchen again. It was your usual white lump on a bed of basil, arugula leaves and sliced tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar with two slices of thin wheat toasts on the side.
Maybe it was because I was hungry (and I promise, I won’t use this as a reason for the ‘YESSS’es from my tastebuds anymore). Maybe it was because I had a glass or two of red before that, and I just walked 20 blocks from Chelsea Market. Maybe it was because the underground space of MK was designed to be so dark that people couldn’t see the half bottle of olive oil bathing the cheese. I could really, barely see what I was eating. But the semi-liquidy core of the mozarella (cool and lithe like a smiling spring child in a white dress as it rolled across my tongue), the semi-solid exterior wall, the leaves, the tomatoes – you know that movie scene when the heavens open, white light starts pouring down and angels start blaring their trumpets?
It was like that.
The salad was simple, so simple. Goes to show how great ingredients, really really great ingredients, go a long way.
The beef was good too. But that is another story. Some other day, maybe.
Mercer Kitchen, 99 Prince St (between Mercer St & Greene St) New York, NY 10012