Eggs ‘n ‘Maters. Who Knew?
I bet you thought that I don’t cook anymore, just because Justin’s beachin’ it in Afghanistan.
What? There aren’t any beaches in Afghanistan?
Then what the f*ck is he doing there?
Anyway, if you thought I don’t cook anymore just because my man’s not around to eat it, you’d mostly be right.
See, back when he was gone for only weeks at a time versus months at a time, it was easy for me to wax on about Dinners for One and why it’s important to prepare decent meals for yourself like rustic pasta carbonara or even just a simple microwaved artichoke antipasti platter. (It sounds fancy because I used the word “antipasti,” but really it’s just a microwaved artichoke served with cheese and crackers and maybe olives, if you’re feeling extra indulgent.)
And I still believe this to be true.
Even so, I just don’t cook as often. See, I still like to eat well. But as many of you singletons have been telling me over the years, I’m learning that it’s hard to stay motivated when you come home to an empty house. It’s hard to want to cook, when you’re the only one there to enjoy it.
But then, when I stop to think about it, I realize — one of my favorite foods is a hot dog. A thick, juicy, grill-marked, real meat dog on a crisp toasted bun.
Or one of these Wellington Dogs wrapped in puff pastry from our trip to Biker Jim’s in Denver.
I think about this hot dog, and I realize — if I were standing in a large group of people, and someone set this hot dog on a table, and there was only one hot dog like it in the room or on the planet anywhere, I know exactly who I’d want to enjoy it.
Not Justin. Not my mom. Not Mother Theresa if she were still alive and offered to pay me $1,000.
And okay, maybe Mother Theresa if she coughed up the dough.
Well, we could split it.
So I can’t deny my love for food. Yet I don’t feel super motivated to cook. So I compromise: I cook one or two decent, biggish meals per week, and then I live off of the leftovers. Also, I’ve been making more breakfasts.
When I had my temporary housemates, Stefanie, the one who just had the baby, taught me one of the simplest, yet most delectable breakfast combinations made in the world. Or, if not the world, then in my kitchen.
Eggs and tomatoes.
I know, if you’ve been doing this for years, you’re wondering where I’ve been. And I know, if you’re one of those people who can’t stand raw tomatoes, you probably just gagged. But bear with me because I will have you know that this simple, 3 ingredient breakfast changed the way I see tomatoes. Before Eggs ‘n ‘Maters, tomatoes were just a garnish for salads and sandwiches. They looked pretty and tasted decent, but never were the flat-out cause of any particularly memorable gastrogasms.
Then Stefanie handed me a plate of delicate, fluffy scrambled eggs mixed with rich, wilted spinach, and warm, shiny, red tomatoes.
I can’t describe them but somehow, they were no longer just tomatoes. They were ‘maters. The perfect accent for the food I was given.
And also, I’m about to divulge a slightly embarrassing secret. You ready?
I don’t really like eggs.
I know — what kind of self-professed foodie doesn’t like eggs?
I mean, it’s not that I won’t eat them. If they’re in front of me, I’ll eat them. But unless they’re hard boiled or made of chocolate and filled with peanut butter, I’ve always felt pretty indifferent about them.
Eggs ‘n ‘Maters are a simple breakfast to make in a hurry. And, if you’re feeling especially daring, you could toss in a handful of spinach.
Here’s how to make them perfectly:
1. Melt 1/2-ish Tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat in a non-stick skillet. It has to be non-stick, people. Don’t make your life unnecessarily difficult. Especially before coffee.
Yes, this photo is blurry. Yes, the lighting in my kitchen is horrendous. Yes, especially in the morning.
2. Crack 2 eggs into a bowl and thoroughly — preferably with a whisk — whip them into shape. I mean, really whip them. They should be smooth, creamy, and pale yellow by the time you’re done with those suckers if fluffy eggs are what you desire.
If you feel so inclined, add a splash of milk as you whisk.
3. Your butter should be melted by now, so swirl it around the pan and pour in your eggs. Now. This is important, so I want you to pay attention: JUST LET THEM SIT.
You heard me. Don’t move them. Don’t stir them. Don’t tickle them or tease them in any way. I know it’s hard, but just let them sit there and start to coagulate.
4. Meanwhile, cut your cherry tomatoes in half. Then, when your eggs have started to cook on the bottom, toss your ‘maters into the pan. Go ahead and add that handful of spinach as well.
6. Using a spatula, push the outer edge of the egg “pancake” towards the center of the pan and let the wet stuff run to the outside. At this point, I lose all patience and just start scramblin’. I use my spatula to break up the egg and move the spinach around until it starts to wilt. When the spinach gets good and wilty and your eggs are cooked through (they should not start to turn brown), season with some salt and pepper, and viola!
Eggs ‘n Maters.
If you’re feeling naughty, (and let’s be honest — when are you not?), add cooked bacon and toss it all into a tortilla for a fantastic breakfast burrito.
What the heck. Throw some avocado in there, too.
You’ll never need an IHOP again.