Tuesday, September 14, 2004

A little garlic

One of the benefits of being the adult who stays home with the kids and makes all the meals is that, when I feel up to it, I can make for myself one of the numerous meals that the kids would refuse to eat and H would eat only under duress.

Over the last couple of weeks this has primarily meant those wonderful summer dishes made with fresh ripe tomatoes — pasta tossed with diced, uncooked tomatoes and basil, tomato and mozarella salad, panzanella, and so forth.

But today, with the temperatures in the low 60s and the house still cool from the low of 40 degrees last night, I have fired up the oven for the first of the fall oven sandwiches. My favorite fall sandwich is roasted apples and onions with melted cheddar cheese, on pumpernickel bread, but today's lunch was an amalgam of various things that needed a home. A slice of sage bread and a slice of honey-oat bread, toasted and then topped with steamed collard greens and sliced Vidalia onions, sprinkled with some crushed almonds and topped with cheddar cheese, then melted in the oven for a few minutes.

But even more than the oven sandwiches I particularly enjoy in the fall, my favorite own-meal-at-home is garlic and egg soup for one: Mince some garlic, and sauté lightly in oil in a small saucepan for just a few minutes, until the garlic is turning lightly golden. Add any spices or herbs you fancy: cumin and paprika makes a nice combination, and minced fresh herbs are good here as well. Pour in one to one-and-a-half cups of stock or broth; add a splash of white wine if you've got it handy. Simmer the stock for 10-15 minutes to infuse the garlic flavor. While it is simmering, toast a slice of bread (I find this a good way to use up heels of bread that the kids won't eat). Crack an egg into the broth, and simmer another 2-3 minutes until the whites are set. Taste for seasoning, place the toast in a bowl, and pour the broth and poached egg over.

It is really astounding how a little garlic and a little care can turn an egg, a crust of bread and some leftover cooking water into a sumptuous meal.

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