my old new favorite thing, reconstructed ::::
My childhood always has fond memories of trees. The top two are the willow tree gracing the backyard of the first house I grew up in, speckled with cicadas in the summer and the pine in our English back garden.
That pine tree, crisp with sap and dark, feathery beaches, stood high against neighboring often barren fruit trees. It seemed immensely tall and wide to me at the time; in retrospect I suspect it was probably only about twice as tall as my dad. My sister and I would often scale this tree to the almost top, the fan of thick green branches making an easy ladder to climb. We would sit on the top branches, eat warm scrambled egg sandwiches, and sing Christmas carols in the cold springtime weather. We would stay until our noses and fingertips grew cold and rosy, climb down, and warm up inside the house. Sometimes the process of readying our pack took longer than time spent in the tree. I’m not sure which part was more fun.
No matter the amount of time we spent in the tree, I felt powerful and safe. We had full view of the neighbors’ garden around us, the small apple orchard next door and the attempted mirror-image back garden of the other side of the duplex that our home was connected to. We could see the birds in the surrounding trees. We could hear neighborhood dogs. I could hear the soft clucking from inside the chicken coop at the far end of the garden, belonging to neighbors I never met. There was an occasional skulking cat. The thick layer of each level of branches provided a safety net; I never feared we’d fall hard to the ground that high up, just tumbling to the layer below instead. It was every kid’s dream tree, ready to catch me if I faltered but high enough to make me feel free and invincible.
This is a reconstructed version of those egg sandwiches, but not treetop friendly. The ultra-crunch croutons take the place of toasted, buttered bread. This dish is comfort food for me, part of the appeal being it is best eaten in a warm bowl and a large spoon, that powerful crunch of those croutons a close second to sitting high in the air, ignoring the plebeians below.
One year ago: schrödinger’s brownie
Two years ago: tawa naan
Four years ago: crisp flatbread with za’atar
- Day-old bread, cut into a handful of cubes*
- Olive oil
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoon heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon salt for eggs, plus a few sprinkles for toasting the croutons
- Scratch or two of pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley or whatever herbs you prefer, chopped
- A large dollop of butter, for pan
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Drizzle bread cubes with olive oil, mix to coat, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toast bread in oven until golden brown, checking every 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
- Crack eggs into a medium-sized bowl, pour in the cream, and add ½ teaspoon salt and scratch of pepper. Whisk well.
- In a good skillet, melt the butter on high heat. Add egg-cream mixture and immediately turn the heat to medium-high to medium and continuous stir the eggs with a wooden spoon until soft curds form. Off the heat and put cooked eggs into serving dish. Add the croutons and chopped herbs. Enjoy immediately.
- This is an easy recipe to scale up from a one-person meal to 10. Also, I tend to make extra croutons: everyone likes extra to crunch on while waiting for the eggs to cook.