Thursday, April 10, 2014
Before I launch into this post, let me preface it by saying this: this is a story about Natural Delights Medjool Dates (which are deliciously awesome, by the way, and also full of antioxidants and fibre and ENERGY and eating them straight with almonds is my new favourite snack ever) and my friend Anna's ridiculously good pancakes, but it's also a story about eggs and camping, and the magic my dad created using a tiny camp stove and a tiny pot, and also my mother's 90s mix tape.
My family went camping a lot when I was a kid. Both my parents were teachers, so each summer usually involved a family road trip, be it to Hell Drummer, Alberta or my grandpa's camp or all the way to Colorado. Whatever our destination, there were always long car drives (because we lived in the middle of nowhere at the end of the highway). Sometimes, on these long drives, my mom punished all of us with her Il Divo CD, while I mourned the loss of her mix-tape that was the soundtrack to the majority of our road trips in the 90s, when tape-decks were still a thing and CDs were things that only really fancy people could play in their cars. (That mix-tape was the best god damn mix tape ever; it introduced my 6-year-old self to Boogie Woogie Dancing Shoes, which became my personal anthem and also led me to believe that there were actually magical shoes out there in the world that women could simply wear and thus become The BEST DANCERS EVER. I yearn for those shoes still.)
So we did a lot of camping on these road trips, and we ate a lot of instant oatmeal on said trips, but sometimes my dad would make us a magical breakfast of Camp Eggs. These eggs were the most luscious, rich-tasting, delicious god damn eggs of my entire life, but I could only eat them when we went camping. They were literally just scrambled eggs, cooked very slowly in a tiny pot on our Coleman's camping stove. My dad once made them at home, or so he claimed, and served me a plate of something he said were camp eggs, but he couldn't fool me. They were not camp eggs. Camp eggs did not exist outside of camping, without that little pot on the propane stove. Camp eggs were creamy and soft and tasted like eggy butter, and they could never be re-created at home on our regular stove despite all its modern conveniences.
But then, many years after the last time I had eaten Camp Eggs, I read this, and my entire perspective on the matter changed. It was all in the technique, and that little pot and camp stove had forced my dad to unwittingly cook scrambled eggs to perfection. With the pot's minimal surface area and the low heat of that gas stove, the eggs were never over-cooked, thus creating the creamy, buttery, insanely delicious eggs of my memories.
All that preamble is to say that, after years of camp eggs deprivation, I realized its amazing secret: cooking the eggs slowly over low heat. GENIUS. That knowledge, combined with a breakfast experience at Takht-e Tavoos several weeks ago, involving eggs served over a bed of cooked dates and toasted walnuts, led to this dish.
It wasn't, however, until I teamed up with my amazing awesome friend Anna on a project for Natural Delights Medjool Dates that I was able to perfect it.
On a bright Saturday morning, I walked over to Anna's with my camera bag and tripod slung over my shoulders and a packaged of cheese in my purse (I should make a habit of carrying cheese around in my purse), for a delicious breakfast date, where we ate ALL THE THINGS. (Actually, I did not eat all the things. I snacked on all the things and then could not eat breakfast. WOE.)
Anna, who is the queen mother of pancakes, made a batch of banana medjool date pancakes that were later drizzled in date syrup (if I'd had my way, I would have also slathered them in peanut butter, because peanut butter), and I made these sweet & salty scrambled eggs. And let me tell you, both were pretty damn tasty. We have taste testers to back it up, I swear.
So if you find yourself with a little extra time in the morning, I highly recommend taking the time to cook your eggs slowly, with a handful of toasted walnuts and sliced medjool dates, and if you're feeling like being extra good to yourself, throw in some old cheddar cheese. Also, make yourself some of Anna's pancakes (find her recipe here). They're the best. You wont' regret it, I swear.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Miso paste. It's a game changer.
It's a fermented soy bean paste that comes in several varieties, most commonly white or red. Either variety is DELICIOUS, and has the power to elevate salad dressings, soups, and also roasted veggies and tofu. Holy god, roasting vegetables and tofu with miso paste is genius. After trying this, I had to wonder why I had never done it.
Coating the vegetables and tofu in a miso marinade doesn't just provide extra flavour that's salty, sweet, and slightly smoky, it also bakes into a crispy coating that creates textural diversity, and hello, who doesn't love diversity? Especially if it's happening in your mouth. (Just go with this, don't question the weird metaphor.)
This dish is kind of like health comfort food, which may sound like a contradiction, but let me tell you from experience, when you comfort yourself with foods that don't leave you feeling bloated and heavy and somewhat regretful about your life choices, it's better. Trust me.
So, in closing: get thee to an Asian mart and purchase thyself some miso paste (ALL THE VARIETIES. DO IT.) and roast thee some vegetables and tofu! It's for the best, really.