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Recovery Sunday: Chinese Scrambled Eggs with Tomato

So, after a week in New Orleans, a barbeque cocktail party, and a delicious Persian dinner (khoreshte aloo esfenaj–my faaavorite), I found myself in need of some recuperative sustenance. I often turn to rice in such dire times, and what better accompaniment than a super simple scrambled egg and tomato stirfry? A fond memory of my long-ago studies in Beijing, 番茄炒蛋 is an ur-food in China. You’d never see it on any menu, but I’d wager that every even vaguely Chinese person on the planet holds it close to their hearts. It’s such a cultural touchstone that it was used to describe the (somewhat unfortunate) red and yellow uniforms the Chinese Olympic team wore…

I learned this by watching the cooks in the cafeteria every morning. It’s pretty basic, and while you could add ginger or garlic (or “magic taste powder”, ahem), I like this fairly unadorned–particularly perfect after a week of partying. It’s a comfort food for, like, 1.3 billion people; how bad can it be?

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Asparagus Salad: What the Hell Did I Do?

I’ve scratched-deeply and repeatedly-the prep work for my Easter Dinner from memory as it was quite THE LIFT. A number of you asked for the asparagus recipe which I’ve delayed posting because it requires a bit of forensics on my part. Honestly, I didn’t remember what I did. I threw a bit of this into it. Grilled that. Rendered those.

Allow me to deconstruct.

Upon thinking through the recipe, I’ve realized it’s quite easy. The tricky part is poaching the eggs. A challenge! I will elaborate in another post as, honestly, I still need to master this technique; my eggs were a little overcooked. Thankfully, they were unfertilized.

Enjoy. Last asparagus post. Promise. There’s only so much smelly urine one can handle.

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Return to Green: Springy Salade Niçoise

This weekend was a gorgeous sunny one that found all of D.C. running about outside or lying prone on the grass busily manufacturing Vitamin D after a long, grey winter. After a busy day of brunching and monument-viewing and other important activities with Mrs. T and Dr. T, everyone felt like a nice salad would be just the thing for supper. (We brunched at the Tabard Inn. There were doughnuts…) As I often do, I turned to the South of France for my very favorite entree salad (sorry Chicken Caesar, you’re just too corporate lunch box for me). Salad Niçoise is a pleasing mix of the fresh, the savory, and the piquant–and a perfect way to extend the sunshine of a glorious day out.


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Put An Egg on It: Cabbage and Egg


The inspiration for this dish comes from my friend John, a vegetarian. We both love cabbage (savoy cabbage, please) sauteed with olive oil, salt and pepper. For me, it’s an ideal complement (especially red cabbage) to roast pork or chicken. In one of Alice Waters’ cookbooks, she makes a version of sauteed cabbage with duck fat that is heavenly.  John told me recently he often makes a meal out of this dish by placing a sunny-side up egg atop the roughage. Sounded lovely, especially this morning as the sun broke through my apartment rather boisterously. Sunny-side up eggs are ‘happy food’. They bounce. They giggle. It’s kinda like being at a nudie bar in the morning.


It made for a lovely breakfast. I also snuck a small dollop of chili oil underneath the egg which gave the dish a nice kick.

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Turning Japanese: Chawanmushi

chawanmushiSo. First, dashi. Then, miso. Now, chawanmushi. This simple, savory, steamed egg custard seems–to me at least–the next logical step in our exploration of tasty things Japanese. It is also one of Mr. T’s very favorite things ever.  We first had chawanmushi at the venerable Sushi Taro (which, judging from its website, seems to have undergone a significant overhaul since we were last there) and have kept an eagle eye out for it on Japanese menus ever since. It’s usually served hot with bits of chicken and mushroom secreted away in the light, silky egg custard and decorated with slices of kamaboko (fishcake) on top, though we did encounter an elegant chilled version garnished with edamame and a clear sauce during our cooking lesson with Hirayama-sensei in Kyoto.

These really are little miracles. The are at once both extraordinarily light and quite decadent… there’s just barely enough egg (less than one per serving) to hold everything together, but the resulting custard is gloriously smooth and rich-tasting. The little additions (I used peas, mushrooms, and kamaboko) add just enough contrast to keep things exciting but not take away from this delicious, if simple, pleasure. Do note too, that these CAN be gorgeous little still lifes–in addition to being a crap photographer, I neglected to cover the individual custards when steaming them, so they’re a little mottled. SO! Cover yours, and all will be tasty and lovely.

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