giovedì 18 novembre 2010
Soft Bright Golden Rolls
Rosie seemed a little down last night. None of her frantic energy scratching at the Whelping Room door, none of her bounding out, submitting immediately (you have to wonder who taught her how to do that, or why she learned that behavior), and then prowling the kitchen for ingots of dropped food. Or scurrying to the terrace, leaping over the wall (Waldo lives!) or inserting herself between the little fence and the terrace gate to prowl the garden looking for lizards.
She also didn’t seem particularly interested in her combination high-digestibility milk/water combo, and she had absolutely zero interest in her Science Diet food for Pregnant and Lactating Females. A call to the Splendid Vet this morning at 4 proved inconclusive. We should keep an eye on her. (We could have saved ourselves a phone call, as we already were.)
Having puppies for the first (and last) time has been exhilarating and scary, since all sorts of questions come up, and you don’t know the answers. And unlike friends with children, there’s a whole lot less people to ask for help. Like: How long will a mother dog be protective of her puppies? (This at http://answers.yahoo.com.) A particularly unsettling response: “If she’s anything like my dog, she’ll be protective of them forever.” (One wonders when Lulu and Harry will meet these pups.) The Animal Defense League of Texas (www.adltexas.org) provided invaluable information under such rubrics as “Pet Resources,” “Lost & Found,” “Newborn Care,” and the inexplicable “Fireworks Safety for Your Pets.”
Perhaps Rosie’s fatigue came from yesterday afternoon’s vigorous romp in the woods with Lulu and Harry. Perhaps it was due to the fact that Yip, Yap, and Yup basically attached themselves to her all day. Usually, the Whelping Room has an audio soundtrack of Yip yapping, mighty lungs has she, or Yup yipping (Ibid.). (Yap pretty much keeps her own counsel.) No noise yesterday/today because they were the Three Little Pigs.
This morning, Rosie had great interest in accompanying the Large Dogs out on their morning constitutional, but returned home – wet and sopping, just the L.D.s – and turned her nose up on her food.
This was worrying. A somewhat soothing conversation with Bobo, my Wine Consultant, ensued. “Give her an egg yolk,” she suggested, “We always gave one every morning to our dogs when they were feeding.”
The egg yolk was met with great enthusiasm. I decided to take the white, add it to the other four egg whites in the refrigerator (Sunday’s pasta for ravioli called for four yolks) and make an egg-white omelette/omelet.
Is the egg-white omelet/omelette, once faddish, an idea that could only have been created in the United States of America? Seems like everyone was eating them in Hollywood in the 90s, and now you can find them twenty plus years later in dive-ish diners around Washington Square. (They entered the mainstream ages ago.) Years ago, I remember reading an article about Demi Moore, in some trendoid restaurant, jumping up and cooking herself her own egg-white omelette somewhere in Los Angeles (made me wonder why bother going out to a restaurant if you do it yourself? Isn't one of the reasons that they cook for you?) In the more than usually health-conscious 80s, Jane Brody was an advocate of the equal amount of egg whites to whole eggs: so if you’re using four eggs, you use four whites.
Egg-White Omelette/Omelet (actually, Egg-White Scramble) or For the Love of Rosie
5 egg whites
1 T. safflower or other mild vegetable oil
1 small onion, minced
1 small potato, minced, about 1/3 c.
2 button mushrooms, trimmed and peeled (if necessary), cut into fine dice
2 generous T. soft goat cheese
2 T. chopped coriander, for garnish
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, preferably one designed to cook omelettes. Add the onion and stir for a moment or two, then add the potatoes and mushrooms. Stir to keep the potatoes from sticking. (You might want to add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper at this point.) When they are soft, toss in the egg whites and scramble with a wooden spoon. After about a minute or two, add the goat cheese, and stir to combine.
If you are at all like me, you will feel virtuous, and perhaps a big smug after eating this (especially if you have not laced it with Frank’s Hot Sauce, which is more necessary in this household than salt and pepper). You might also feel hungry; Peggy Lee singing “Is that all there is?” might come to mind, and rightfully so.
Elizabeth David would have scorned that recipe. According to her, “What one wants [in an omelette] is the taste of the fresh eggs and the fresh butter and, visually, a soft bright golden roll plump and spilling out a little at the edges. It should not be a busy, important urban dish but something gentle and pastoral … And although there are those who maintain that wine and egg dishes don’t go together I must say I do regard a glass or two of wine as not, obviously, essential but at least as an enormous enhancement of the enjoyment of a well-cooked omelette.”
This is an omelette (well, ok, a scramble) which is as decadent as the one above is austere.
2 T. minced shallots
2 T. butter
2 heaping T. pancetta (or bacon), minced
2 T. grana padana (or Parmesan)
2 whole eggs
1 egg white
2 T. heavy cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Melt the butter in an omelette plan, and add the shallots. After a minute or two, add the pancetta. In a small bowl, adding a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, mix up the eggs and the egg white. Add the cream.
Pour into the omelette pan as the edges cook, roll the pan with your wrist to move the uncooked egg. When it’s crisping on the sides, flip it by using an inverted plate, or a deft flip with a spatula … or say to hell with it, and scramble the thing.
Serves one and a morsel each for the dogs.
Inexplicable problem with footnotes remains. Quote from Elizabeth David in "An Omelette and a Glass of Wine," in An Omelette and a Glass of Wine (New York, 1985). Jane Brody's Good Food Book came out in the same town in the same year. The controversy over the spelling of omelet/omelette can be found in my post of October 12. Have yet to encounter egg white omelettes here in Italy. Of course, Italians don't do eggs for breakfast, so it's hardly surprising. My guess is that 5-star hotels have them on their breakfast menus since they cater to many Americans.