Chances are, if you ask me to do something, like help with a project, climb a tree, or show up somewhere regardless of the hour, I’ll say yes. Maybe because I subscribed to #YOLO before that was a thing or maybe I don’t want to suffer from #FOMO, before or after or even if that is a thing. Or maybe because it’s nice to do nice things for nice people and karma usually comes back and pleasantly surprises you.
It looks like brunch, but it’s actually karma. See, the only person who ever made me soft boiled eggs with buttery toast strips to dip in it, (eggs and soldiers), was my grandmother. A couple things have put me out to sea this week, but I haven’t dealt with them because I spent my free time helping friends with a super cool project. It was heaps of fun, but by Sunday, I needed a completely supportive/full of truisms/reminder of the important things in life hug from my g-ma to re-balance my psyche. But she’s drinking campari in the afterlife, which is cool for her, but left me a little wistful. Then I went to brunch and my friend had made soft boiled eggs with buttery toast strips. It was a hug from the universe in an egg cup and the nicest thing ever. Psyche: re-balanced.
When I got home, I baked a million and a half mini cupcakes. As a favor.
Eggs & Soldiers
Fill a pot with enough water to cover the eggs by about an inch. Bring to a rolling boil. Carefully lower cold eggs into the water with a spoon and boil for about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and run under cold water. Serve in egg cups or shot glasses. Crack the top of the egg with a spoon and remove some of the shell or use egg shears (a thing!) to take off the top of the egg. Salt and pepper to taste. Dip strips of buttery toasted bread in the soft egg yolk.
It’s no secret I cook my feelings. Then I feed those feelings to other people. It’s my only form of expression that doesn’t fall under awkward-robot-person-with-uncontrolled-word-vomit. This recipe comes from my grandmother, the ultimate feed-people-your-feelings cook. This recipe is malleable to other veggies, but leek is my favorite, and the least involved. Generations of serving this to family and friends has shown that it is the kind of soup the cures colds instantly, eases chemo induced nausea, revives senility, tempers arguments, seduces love interests, and says I love you, thank you, I’m sorry. And it only takes 15 minutes. The last month was rough one, with a lot of stress and anxiety channeled through phone calls with my mother. So when she came to visit, I made a pot and served it while I was a awkward-robot-person-with-word-vomit. She knew what I meant.
Cream of Leek Soup
- 3 large leeks, washed and chopped (white and pale green parts only)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 Tbs butter
- black pepper
- 3 potatoes, cut in small chunks
- 6 cups water
- 2 cubes chicken boullon
In a large soup pot on high heat, saute leeks and onion until clear and fragrant. Add potato, boullon and water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour or until potatoes are soft. Remove from heat, puree with an immersion blender or pulse through a food processor or standard blender until creamy and smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.
Late October is a great time for food…between harvest season, the onslaught of pumpkin everything, Oysterfest, and widely available candy corn, there is much deliciousness to be had. Late October also brings Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. In my universe, Diwali is always celebrated with a dinner of ridiculous proportions, ridiculously delicious recipes from the cookbooks of my friend Kunur’s family, and a quest for goat meat.
This year was the first time I was not playing sous chef so I had time to make a dessert. My mother’s go to for sweets after an epic meal were always madeleines, those simple, fluffy shell shaped cakes. But madeleines didn’t really fit into the cuisine. They’re kinda…French. Doctored with citrus and cardamom, however, they felt like appropriate fusion food to join in the family recipe feasting. Oh, and there is a boozy modification below, should you want one.
Orange Cardamom Madeleines
The secret to madeleines is the order of combining ingredients, and not over-mixing the flour. These should be done by hand, never with an electric mixer
For the madeleines
- 1/2 cup of melted unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 teas vanilla
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs flour
- 1 teas baking powder
- 1/4 teas salt
- 1 teas orange zest
- 3/4 teas ground cardamom
- 1/4 teas nutmeg
- 1/4 teas cinnamon
For the glaze
- 1/8 cup orange juice squeezed from the zested orange. Eat remaining orange. (for boozy baking, substitute with 1 Tbs orange juice and 1 Tbs Cointreau or Triple Sec)
- 1 teas orange zest
- 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter. Brush madeleine pans with melted with butter. Set both aside.
In a large bowl, beat eggs; add sugar gradually and beat until smooth. Add vanilla.
In a separate bowl, sift flour with salt and baking powder and spices and zest. Gradually add to egg mixture.
Fold in melted (not hot) butter with a rubber spatula until just blended.
Fill pans about 2/3s full and bake for 7 to 10 minutes until edges are golden and cakes spring back when pressed.
Remove immediately from pans and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, mix confectioners sugar, juice and zest in a small bowl. Glaze should be thick. Brush onto madeleines. Let glaze set at least 15 minutes before serving/packaging.