Monday, April 12, 2010

Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles! or...I am cheap part 3

So...as an ongoing theme...I am poor. You will probably never hear the end of this, unless of course for some reason lots of people start reading this blog and someone in publishing approaches me to write a book/star in my own cooking show on the Food Network. I'm not counting on that. Some months are tougher than others, but you know what? I get by. Sure making my own salad dressing, marinara sauce, pizza dough and other things help me save those dollars, but a tried and true way to save some cash? Mooching off of your friends. I will say that this is something that I normally hate to do, because none of my friends are rolling in it either, so it's really like the poor taking from the poor and that's not very Robin Hood. But every once in a while an opportunity will present itself that is either A) too hard to turn down because I really do want that cupcake, and I really don't want to pay for it, or B) I don't feel bad about taking because there is a surplus of something that might otherwise be wasted.

Today such an opportunity presented itself to me and I seized it like a free trip to Six Flags Great Adventure...I use this comparison because these two things bring me about the same amount of joy.


So my friend, Erica (who with two blog postings holds the record for Skinny Kitchen Fatty Blog cameos) invited me to eat (for free) at her Dad's bagel shop Ess-A Bagel.  What a friggin treat. Seriously. This is an excellent NYC bagel, not to mention the myriad of delicious spreads, salads and other amazing accoutrements available to the distinguishing Ess-A Bagel clientele. Note -- the plan is not to make this blog about posting reviews of NYC restaurants.  There are already plenty of great pages on the web for that -- if you're interested look here. Plus, I don't have the kind of budget to eat out enough to merit a good "review" page. I can however draw stupid pictures of me screwing up dinner at the age of 11 or stuck in the moral dilemma of whether to sell my unborn child or not.  But today...today this is what I ate and it was glorious and I'm going to blog about it and you can't stop me.

So firstly...we got to go after hours...because we're very important people and cannot deign to eat our bagels with the common folk (either that or we got there late and sat and ate bagels while Erica's Dad tallied receipts...all very luxurious).  But the coolest part is that I got to go behind the counter and sample all the goods while Erica made me a delicious lox and scallion cream cheese sandwich.  Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the lox and schmear approach to bagel making and eatery...you have been misled into a desert of misspent dreams and broken promises and I will be your Moses and lead you back to the land of milk, honey and cured fish products.  It's salmon. It's usually brined and then cold-smoked.  It is not like sushi.  It is briny and salty and delicious.  When paired with a perfectly chewy and crusty bagel and a light schmear of high quality cream cheese it could make a good Catholic forsake the existence of Christ. 

While Erica lovingly prepared my plate of salvation, I sampled all sorts of goodies -- flavored cream cheese of several varieties, baked salmon salad, and something I'd never tried before. Whitefish salad -- a delicious and creamy concoction of salty and tangy whitefish and possibly a little bit of crack...what a treat!  I can't tell you how jealous I am of the Jews today. But the best part of the whole outing was that when I left my belly was full and I never even reached for my horsey wallet. Now I know that Erica is well aware that I am not her friend for the bagel hookup.  I love her for her great personality, quick wit, amazing talent, great rack, and red jew fro, BUT this is a big plus and I would be lying if I ever stated otherwise.  I mean that kind of meal would run me roughly 9 or 10 dollars in a similar establishment in Manhattan, and is something that I would NEVER splurge on with a morning coffee.  So I felt that this fit into that I can't turn it down because it's so good, so even if it is in better taste to say "oh no, but thankyou so much" I will instead say sign me up and pile it high category.  Which I did, and she did, and you know what? We are better friends because of it.


In keeping with the slight, albeit wonky formula of this blog. I feel that it is necessary for me to give some culinary lesson/provide some sort of recipe, along with possibly a drawing (yay!) for your viewing pleasure.  And the readers (you two know who you are) get what the readers want.

So...

Lox, or smoked salmon or gravlax is sooooo under appreciated these days.  Now I know it can be pricey, and to have a big ol' lox sandwich everyday is not in my budget, so I wouldn't expect you to throw down for it either...but lox is one of those moderately expensive ingredients that can add so much flavor to a dish that you don't have to use too much, and the culinary payoff is very high.  Also, I have found that people that don't have an initial affinity for lox will take to it much better if it is cooked into a dish.  Lox also plays a big part in brunch, which as we all know is a meal I hold more closely to my heart than most of my family members and all of your family members...except maybe Mama Hen.

So with that in mind here is a good way to fancy up a pretty boring brunch dish.

Forsake Christ and Call Me Sharon Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Lox

Stuff to make it


2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 package or about four or five slices of smoked salmon chopped into bite sized pieces (so like the size of a fist in my case)
12 eggs (because I'm assuming you have friends at brunch and that you're not just sitting in your pj's by yourself with a mimosa...wow)
2/3 cp cream cheese at room temperature
2 T chopped fresh herbs (acceptable herbs are parsley, dill or chives. You can also used dried, just use half the amount)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Put a large (12 inches or bigger) skillet (non stick is best) over medium low heat
Beat the eggs thoroughly...Make sure the gross thick part of the white is completely incorporated and the eggs are one homogenous color...yellow
Add the cream cheese and herbs to the eggs and whisk to combine
Melt the butter and olive oil in the pan and wait for it to slightly foam
Add the eggs and start stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
Add the salt and pepper and lox.
* The key to having creamy delicious scrambled eggs as opposed to tough, dry, brown scrambled eggs sitting in a puddle of eggy liquid is to cook them slowly.  You are not a short order cook. I'm betting your name is not Smitty or Earl, and that there is no reason for you to have to rush over a pan of eggs. It's probably Sunday if you're making this, and you're probably already a little hammered, so relax.  The best way is to coax them over the course of say 20 minutes or so over medium to low heat.  I know this seems ridiculously long for eggs, but your guests will think you are amazing and the opinion of others' is what counts most in life right?
You don't have to stand over them every minute, but just don't leave them for say more than the time it would take you to apply eyeliner or read the first page of your feed on facebook.  Just keep stirring and eventually you will know when they're done.  The nice thing is you can't burn them this way unless you just forget about them altogether.  Also, the long, slow cooking method makes them impossibly creamy and once they are finished to your liking you can squeeze the lemon over the top and serve them immediately.  People will cheer and think you are fancy...You will have probably spent about ten dollars on the whole process and can feed 4 to 6 people.

Because I didn't actually make this recipe today, I can't show you a picture of it. But I can show you a picture of when I was four and I tried to cut my own hair. That seems fitting.



See ya tomorrow! Tell a friend!

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