A lot has been going on lately. The past two weeks have been exams for us over-stressed Iowa Law students, and I'm going home to North Carolina for two weeks on Saturday, which means I have to concurrently study like a lunatic and figure out a way to clean out my fridge of all perishables and potentially-perishables before I leave. This has resulted in some interesting experiments - melted peanut butter, maple syrup, honey, and honey mustard vinaigrette does not a good dipping sauce make, for example - but also some successes, one of which I'd like to share tonight.
Also in this week's news, you may have noticed the advertisements now on my page, as well as the nifty little icon to the right of your screen. These are showing up because I am now a Foodbuzz featured publisher. I'm very excited about this new partnership, as Foodbuzz is helping to build a more connected foodie community, which I fully approve of, hopefully I'll be getting some new readers through the site. So if you're here via Foodbuzz, say hello! And welcome to the blog!
Variations on a Menemen theme
Now, onto one of the more successful clean-out-the-fridge attempts. It's been a running joke with my family and friends for a while that I can bake pretty impressive looking desserts, make confections and pastries, etc etc, but I can't for the life of me scramble eggs! It's not that no one taught me - many have tried, but none have managed to get the message across. I'm not very fond of the taste of eggs, but I don't think that's it. It's really a texture thing. I like fluffy eggs, and if they are sufficiently fluffy, I will smother them in cheese or douse liberally with salt and pepper and enjoy. If they are flat, grainy, or omlette-like, I will have trouble getting them down the hatch.
Still, I persevere.
I'm very excited about the course I'll be taking next semester in Intensive Turkish, as I've been fascinated with Turkish history and culture ever since I read Elisabeth Kostova's amazing novel The Historian, and I desperately want to go to Istanbul. Running with this theme, I've really been wanting to learn some Turkish recipes. I recently stumbled across menemen - Turkish scrambled eggs - and decided I had nothing to lose. In my fridge were an entire dozen eggs I needed to obliterate (I'd bought them on a whim after being eggless for one too many baking projects), much too much cheese, and a number of vegetables that needed to go soon.
The recipes I looked at called for tomatoes, peppers, cheese, and onions, which are optional. They extolled the moisture of the eggs, which are made by simply sauteeing the veggies until the tomatoes' water is somewhat reduced and then adding the beaten egg, scrambling at a low heat and topping with cheese at the end. I liked the idea of more moisture, but I couldn't get past my habit of beating with a splash of milk. I also didn't have peppers, and wanted to use up some mushrooms, so version one was born. Cremini mushrooms (baby bellas), chopped yellow onion, and chopped tomato with parmesan cheese. I didn't use salt or pepper, and didn't need it - these eggs were fantastic!
On a roll, I decided to continue. The mushrooms were looking a little unhappy though, and I hate risking it with fresh produce, so I tossed them and grabbed half a zucchini I'd used recently on a vegetable gratins instead. Noticing the fresh mint about to go at the back of the fridge, I tore off all the green bits as well and then decided to add some of this great "four peppers" fresh goat cheese I'd splurged on.
After all the chopping, I threw my veggies in the pan and sauteed them, but this time remembered to cut the heat from medium down to low before adding the eggs. Last time it turned out all right, but the eggs did cook very quickly, leaving little time to grab the cheese and throw it in to allow for melting. I considered doing a three egg extravaganza, but who am I kidding? I can't eat three eggs!
Again, the eggs got fork-scrambled with a healthy splash of milk. After I turned down the heat and added them to the pan, I realised I had forgotten to crumble the cheese, but big hunks were actually okay, as they melted beautifully. I added the chopped mint to the pan and gave it a nice little scramble. The result?
My eggs were moist, and the ingredients were a heavenly symphony of tastes. I hate to wax poetic on food (I should save that for my poetry!) but the combination of mint, zucchini, and goat cheese was to die for. I also love all the colours (as my mom's best friend would say, this is "beautiful food") and the spring look to it cheered me up after weeks of snow and ice. I felt like I was eating brunch on the lower east side, instead of in my slightly messy kitchen.