The moon beat my alarm this morning. In its last moments, in the dark sky, the brightness from the moon through my bedroom window was as loud as my real alarm clock, pulling me into Monday. Into a day that begins quietly at my desk, french press on a coaster, iPad glowing, with a view from my second story treehouse of uncurling spring leaves. The contrast between a Monday start and any other day is polar and timed perfectly. Monday is new, gives me a rest from our normal breakneck pace, provides a feeling of anticipation that doesn’t hold dread, holds instead challenge and opportunity and fun. I don’t mind Monday.
Toss a handful of lettuce on a plate and dress it with a little vinaigrette. Add any left over veggies from dinner the night before. Fry an egg or two, over easy, or poached them and place on top of the dressed greens. The warm yolk mixes well with the vinaigrette, adding a creaminess to the salad dressing. (Inspired by the Zumbro Cafe, Mpls.)
This makes a big batch that you can use all week. Store in the fridge and let warm up on the counter for a few minutes before dressing your greens.
Mix together the following:
1/4 C red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp dijon
1 tbsp jam or maple syrup (whatever you have, optional)
salt and pepper
a small handful of chopped, fresh herbs or 2 tsp dried. Dill, basic, oregano are my faves.
Add and mix well:
3/4 C olive oil
I use a jar with a tight lid and shake it like mad.
Taste and add salt, if needed.
This time of year I start looking for new things to cook. The early sunrise, the weekend market reopened and springy energy makes me eager to branch out from our bagel, toast, cereal, scrambled breakfast routine. That routine provides ease in the AM but I am bored, and maybe the boys are too. The key to breakfast in my house is that it has to be quick and it has to fill my leggy boys up until after midday. There has to be protein and there cannot be redos. In the morning there is no time for me to be a short-order cook. I have learned that what is typically a weekend breakfast usually can work on a weekday too.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Melt a half stick (4oz) of butter in a large skillet, on the stove top.
Whisk together 1/2 C milk, 2 eggs and a pinch of salt.
Once blended, add 1/2 C flour and whisk until the flour is incorporated.
Pour the mixture into the melted butter and let cook for one minute and then throw it into the oven. Cook for ten minutes and then reduce the heat to 350 for another 5-10, until browned. Serve with powdered sugar or syrup, or both. I also like it with a squeeze of lemon and powdered sugar.
(Adapted from the Joy of Cooking)
My half hour jump-start gets me a cup into coffee, mise en place done for lunches, dinner and breakfast and the oven turned on to warm me up. The older Ginger is an early bird, firing on all cylinders, first thing, like me. The younger Ginger likes a few more minutes in his warm bed, awake but not ready to talk to anyone yet, slowly letting his eyes adjust by staring at the traffic passing through his window. There is a pause for morning hugs and questions about good or bad dreams and then the breakneck pace starts. Homework, clothes, teeth, shin guards and cleats for after school practice, beds tossed together and me ready for work. Lunches packed, dinner started and breakfast served. I thank the Google gods that make looking up “multiplying fractions” possible and ignore the mounting red box count of emails on my phone. Four hours later I get into my car and head to work, thankful for a later start that allows me this time with my boys and thankful for a job that allows my brain to switch gears for a few hours.
You can buy a crust and you can also make this exact recipe by hand. I use the Cusinart because it takes less time. This recipe makes two standard size (8 inch) pie crusts.
For the crust:
Add to the bowl of a Cusinart:
1-1/2 C flour
1 tsp salt
Pulse one or two times.
Cut a stick of butter into 8 pieces.
Add butter one piece at a time, pulse a couple times after each addition.
When butter is all incorporated, slowly add 4-5 tbsp cold water.
Stop adding water when you start to see flour mixture come together.
Divide dough, place each half in plastic wrap and place one in the freezer to use later. Put the other half in the fridge to chill overnight. In the morning, take the dough out of the fridge and roll out on a floured board. Roll thin enough to cover the entire pie pan. Crimp edges and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and add egg mixture below.
Crack three eggs in a glass measuring cup. Add a 1/2 tsp salt and whisk to blend. Add enough milk to bring the liquid total up to 1-1/2 C. (Add another egg and some milk if your pie tin is bigger than 8″.) Pour into par-baked crust and add meat or cheese (optional). Place into oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven. Pie is done when it doesn’t shimmy when you nudge it. You can also stick a knife into it and if it comes out clean you are good to go. I let it sit on the counter for a few minutes before I cut it.