Monthly Archives: February 2009

Feed Me

There are days when, despite my best efforts, I eat like a voracious billy goat. I didn’t wake up this morning planning to eat complex carbs only, but that’s what I did. I gulped down an espresso for breakfast, got super busy, and all of a sudden I looked up at the clock and it was noon. I was ravenous.

I had a grilled cheese sandwich. And some manicotti. Then a Diet Coke (I suppose that doesn’t really count?). A while later I ate (ok, more like inhaled) an olive roll. And a few minutes after that I had a bit of pastry and three French fries. And one more olive roll. By 5:00pm I was bloated and full but unsatisfied. The poor nutritional choices I made left me feeling wobbly and tired so I skipped yoga (did I tell you I’ve been doing crazy Bikram yoga about 4 times a week since January?!). That means that instead of burning 800 calories this evening, I stayed home and carb loaded some more (beer, Triscuit, pastry).

At 8:00pm I decided I still wanted more to eat and finally decided to cook some real food. It was the one nice thing I did for myself today. Did you do anything nice for yourself today?


2 ounces pancetta, cut into ¼” cubes (or 3 slices bacon, chopped)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut lengthwise into 6 wedges
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper
2 red apples (such as Gala or Fuji), peeled, cored, and cut into 6 wedges
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 (1-lb.) pork tenderloin, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons orange marmalade (apricot jam, apple jelly, or maple syrup may act as substitutes)
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

– Preheat oven to 450˚F.

– Cook pancetta (or bacon) in a large oven-safe skillet (a cast iron skillet is great for this recipe) over medium heat until golden and some of the fat has rendered (if using bacon, transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve), 4 to 6 minutes.

– Add oil and 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet and increase heat to medium-high. Sprinkle the onion wedges with the sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.

– Push the onions to the side of the skillet, add the apples, and cook until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Mix the apples and onions together and push to the side.

– Season pork with salt and pepper and place on empty side of skillet. Cook until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Distribute apple-onion mixture evenly around pork and top pork with marmalade. Transfer skillet to oven and cook until pork registers 160˚F on an instant read thermometer (145˚F if you like it pink), 8 to 10 minutes.

-Return skillet to stovetop. Transfer pork to cutting board and allow to rest 5 minutes. Meanwhile, stir remaining tablespoon butter and sherry vinegar into apple-onion mixture and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper (if using, add reserved bacon bits). Slice pork into ½” thick pieces and serve, topping with apple-onion sauce. Serve.

How to… Fry an Egg

I was in New York last weekend and went to brunch at a restaurant where I’ve had consistently good food on every single one of my many visits. Sadly, this time around the stars were not in alignment. The meal got off to a bad start when I saw that the bread basket wasn’t on the menu. “Only on Sundays,” I was informed. What? Why can’t the public have baked goods on a Saturday? I was annoyed, but moved on. More room for the huge plate of beef, hash, and eggs I wanted. Not on the menu either. “Seasonal menu,” was the explanation. Apparently cows aren’t in season. Who knew.

Since this was my favorite brunch place when I lived in New York, I let both offenses slide and ordered the special: a breakfast sandwich with spicy merguez sausage, horseradish cream, and my favorite, fried eggs. I settled back into the booth and sipped my coffee. Things were going to be just fine.

And then my food arrived. The eggs – quel horreur! – were completely overcooked. The yolks were firm and the whites were crunchy. I don’t know how you like your eggs, but I like mine over-easy, i.e. firm but not crispy whites and yolks that run when pricked with a fork tine. I don’t usually send things back, but I was revolted and just had to get rid of them. I politely asked for a replacement (I even offered to keep the rest of the dish) and in good faith saw them off. But when the second batch of eggs showed up, I knew it was all over. This pair was raw. No question about it. The whites were not white, but unsettlingly mucous-y and clear, and the yolks bright marigold instead of delicately hidden under a thin, shell pink skin.

Step 3 of my previous post explains how to make eggs over easy, but after last weekend’s debacle it occurred to me that perhaps the frying of an egg – or at least my version of the method – deserved a post all of its own. If you hate this recipe, e-mail me and I’ll tell you where to go in New York for a well done egg.

1 egg
1 pat of butter
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon water

Crack the egg into a teacup or cereal bowl.


I eat a lot of cereal. And usually I eat it at night, rather than in the morning (last week I had a bowl of Frosted Flakes every single evening). My cabinet is stocked with all sorts: Kashi Honey Puffs. Kashi Almond Crunch. Cracklin’ Oat Bran. Frosted Flakes. Honey Bunches of Oats. All Bran. Cocoa Pebbles. Cocoa Puffs. (Yes, I have TWO different chocolate cereals on hand. I can never decide whether I like the soggy pebbles or the crunchy puffs… Maybe I should mix them). While your enthusiasm for cereal may be a little less fanatical than mine, I’m sure you often arrive home after work, exhausted and ravenous, and the first thing you reach for is a bowl and a spoon.

Seriously, though, no one should have to eat cereal for dinner every night. Or takeout. You can cook. Honest. And you don’t need a culinary degree or a long list of ingredients to put together a decent meal. I’ve been delinquent with my blog; weeks will go by without any new posts, mainly because I want something that says “WOW!” to show you, but I think I’d be of better service if I posted some simple, weeknight recipes. So I’ll start today with this super-easy, super-tasty (vegetarian) sandwich for two.


4 to 5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and sliced into thin half-moons
2 pickled jalapeño peppers, sliced
Salt and pepper
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup shredded cheese, or 4 slices cheese of your choice
2 8-inch pieces baguette or 4 slices crusty bread
2 large eggs

-In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter and add onion and jalapeños. Sautée over medium-high heat, stirring, until onion softens and begins to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Stir in cream and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.Transfer onion mix to bowl.
Wipe out skillet.

-Butter exterior of baguette pieces or one side of each slice of bread. Spread onion mixture on un-buttered side of one piece of bread, top with cheese and other bread slice. Grill sandwiches, pressing down with spatula, on cleaned skillet, until browned and toasted, then flip and repeat with other side. Transfer to plates.

-Melt a small pat of butter in skillet and crack eggs into it. When whites begin to bubble, add 3 tablespoons water, cover, and cook over medium heat about 3 minutes (for over easy eggs). Season with salt and pepper and serve alongside sandwich.