Monday, March 12, 2007

I Have Eggs

Through years of living alone, or at best with roommates whose only knowledge of food was specifically on how to consume it, I have developed rudimentary culinary skills to keep me alive on a student’s budget. Those times are well in the past now and I have since refined my dexterity in the kitchen, but I still like a quicky every once in a while. For that purpose nothing can compete with eggs.
I have virtually lived on eggs for months on end. The price for a dozen AA eggs in the US was around 80¢ in the 80’s if I’m not mistaken. That, along with a few basic ingredients and bread, literally covered the 3 daily meals of 2 hungry young men. Let me make it clear, I’m an egg lover and it’s on top of the list of my all time favorite foods. I still eat one soft-cooked egg in the morning everyday. On weekends, I tend to use my imagination and either prepare or ask for some other way to eat the most perfect object in the universe. As a matter of fact read this:
Using a microwave probe of U.S. space agency NASA, scientists said they have evidence that the universe has a shape somewhat akin to an egg, rather than the expected round. 1/10/2006
This post is dedicated to all the young men and women living alone and standing in front of the fridge wondering what to have for dinner. I will skip the fancier methods of preparing eggs and stick to some simple recipes (all with 2 eggs).

1. Mfarket Lahme bi Beid (Ground Beef and Eggs)
In an open skillet, use as much butter, margarine, olive oil or vegetable oil as you like (just about a spoon would do really). Heat then add as much ground beef as you can consume with the eggs. Salt and spice it up to your liking and when the meat turns light brown, break the eggs on top and mix them thoroughly for a couple of minutes. Serve in a plate and enjoy with bread.

2. Mfarket Batata bi Beid (Potatoes and Eggs)*
Same recipe as above except that you substitute the meat with one large potato cut in small cubes (¾” x ¾”). The potato need a little more time than the meat. Just about when it’s done, add the eggs on top.

As a third option you can have potatoes, meat and eggs together. Cook the potatoes until half-done, add the meat then the eggs. All quantities as per your appetite.

*Potatoes can be substituted with: eggplants, spinach, green fava beans (fool), sliced mushrooms, … damn it, whatever vegetable you like.

3. Shakshoukeh (Tomatoes and Eggs)
Dice 2 medium sized tomatoes in very small pieces. Half fry them in your choice of (butter, olive oil, …etc.) for a minute or two. Add salt and pepper then break the eggs on top mixing thoroughly until done to your liking. Voila, serve and eat.

4. Crazy Omelette
The sky’s the limit and let no one tell you otherwise. Cut whatever you have in the fridge in small pieces and dump them in a bowl. Add a ¾ cup of milk, 2 eggs, salt, pepper and spices (go wild with spices) and mix well. Pour in hot buttered skillet. When almost done, fold in half and cook for another couple of minutes. Serve and eat.

The reader might blame me for being too vague with the above recipes. However, I tried to reproduce the ways I had utilized in the kitchen when I was a student. Let me assure you that everybody who had tried my eggs back then spoke very highly of them. The recipes might sound crude but they are extremely tasty. Don’t let the implied simplicity fool you. And, if you haven’t already found out, wine is the perfect companion to eggs. Any wine, any way you choose to eat your eggs.

26 comments:

Yazan said...

Abu Fares,

away from the enjoyment of reading ur posts...
This one I had to devour like the hungry lonely man Japan has turned me into. I'm reading it with amazement and actually taking notes so that I'd never forget... and although I might have tried all of these, in addition, let me add my own expertise here...

French Toast, or so I like to call it...
Break 2, 3... egs in a bowl, pour some milk [dont drop the milk and spend the whole day cleaning ur room], salt, mix mix mix, and mix some more..
get normal sized, thin sliced toast, dip them in the eggs, and then drop them on the hot buttered pan, and voila...
I can not stress enough the do not spill the milk warning, and try not to "tartesh" all over the place when u drop it in the pan, that would be good too...

hehe, I feel good writing that.

GraY FoX said...

man
i never knew that eggs can be useful :|

Sham said...

you made me smile dear Abu Fares..
i decided long ago to stop eating "eggs only" three times a day :P

i am having Shanklish instead :D

i like your choice of titles.

I love Munich said...

I LOVE eggs as well - nevermind if scrambled, cooked or sunny-side-up!! I prepared Shakshoukeh probably more than 500 times, in all kind of variations and can still eat it every day! I chop up onions, sometimes garlic, tomatoes, a pepper, mix it for a more creamy consitency with a spoon full of tomato-paste and MAYBE a dash of ketchup (I know I know ... WEIRD but the outcome is YUMMY!!!), salt, pepper, mix - and close the lid for some five minutes. After that I break some 4-6 eggs (along the round of the pan), salt and pepper them and close the lid again .. till the eggs have more solid consistency.
Either with pita-bread or ANY bread a REAL YUMMY DISH which is appealing for the eye on top!!!

Anonymous said...

I personally give a BIG salute to everyone who loves eggs as much as I do. For that reason I have been raising chicken since 1998! I have a small chicken run with eight chicken. They were eleven and a rooster, but then three passed away. As for the rooster ... well one of the nieghbors complained about its crowing. I have had four roosters since 1998, but this last one (born at at my place) was really loud!! It would start around 4am and would not stop till about 8am. So, the City Council asked to me to get rid of it or face the consequences. So, now I have eight chicken who (up till about two months ago) were giving me 3-5 eggs a day. Now, they hardly lay one egg a week!! So, it is time to get rid of them and get a new batch. Anyway, I love eggs and I can eat them any way they are cooked.
Of course Abu Fares, being an x-roomate of yours, I can testify that you used to cook very nice eggs ... or was that because we were always hungry??!:)
Abu Abdo

Omar said...

or,

slice and dice some mortadella (ok.. I use ham.. sue me ;) chop half an onion to fine cubes, half a cup of milk and 2 eggs... go crazy with the spices..

pour in a wide buttered pan until forms a thin layer... once solid bring the heat down, get a bag of gruyère rappé (grounded gruyère cheese.. or can be any cheese but gruyère is absolutely delicious) and spread over the crêpe-like surface, and add larger slices of some strong cheese (blue cheese is good, but I would recommend camembert.. optional slices of mortadella/ham are also good..
fold the newly created layer and wait until the cheese melt.. and you get the best combination you can ever get..

it was you actually abou Fares who started me on the egg journey (here)... which literally saved my life.

damn it.. my stomache is making sounds again.. gotta go and make some more omlettes..

Andre said...

So using a microwave, the super bright smart gifted intellectual people at NASA discovered that the universe has the shape of an egg rather than an orange; billions of dollars are being well spent indeed ;)
My favorite is the crazy omelette special edition which is the same as yours but adding a slice of mature cheddar cheese and sliced hot dogs!!

Cheese!

Lujayn said...

Eggs, siiiiiighh...

Once I get my elevated cholesterol levels down, first on my list is scrambled eggs and soujouk! Then I can deal with elevated cholesterol levels all over again.

abufares said...

I guess you'll all find it OK if I reply to your comments together.

Yazan
French toast is great and your specific instructions on not spilling any milk were indeed necessary. However you prepare them, eggs are the greatest.

Gray Fox
Now that you know, get at it. I have barely tackled the tip of the iceberg.

Sham
My intention, besides contributing to the so-called "student cuisine" was to make you smile. As for my choice of titles I can't really pretend that it was all that innocent.

Karin
Shakshoukeh, called JazMaz in Damascus, is one of the best ways to eat eggs. Your recipe is great and I will try it soon. Whatever you add to eggs will work out just fine. They taste so great they'll elevate the flavor of all the ingredients to new levels.

Abu Abdo
The City Council of Melbourne is so insensitive. They should've praised your ecological effort to keep nature a part of their city. As you've said, we had so many eggs together and if I'm not mistaken you were one of the best egg chefs I've ever known. Those were the days.

Omar
I got the inspiration to post about eggs ever since that post of yours. I jst needed to be in the right frame of mind before I start to write. The same sounds that got you in the mood for an omellete attacked me yesterday. It jotted down the post quickly and headed straight home for eggs and cheese, their perfect companion.

Andre
I'm kind of glad the universe looks like an egg rather than say a banana. It would've been to embarassing to all. Cheese and hot dogs indeed. I don't need to scratch my head on Friday morning.

Lujayn
Eggs = Cholesterol is just a myth. Anything that tastes so good can't be really as bad as they say.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

I had so many eggs when I was a little child… (ha ha ha) …at least 3 a day…would simply eat the yolk and through the rest.... then mother heard form a fuddy-duddy doctor that too much eggs can be bad for liver….. a significant cut on the ‘eggs’ supply has followed!
Later at the Uni, I used to sneak out of the house every once in a while (skipping mother’s food) to go to my friends in Madina Jam3iah (Uni hostel) and persuade them to prepare some Jez Mez….that variation with Mortadella was horrifically yummy!
I don’t know about you Abu Fares, but it seems to me that bachelors are the BEST when it comes to eggs? ;)

Anonymous said...

That's good Abufares!

Althought you have forgot the "Sausage&Eggs" that I just had for lunch!

If you haven't tried it before, I think it's worth it!

Keep up the good work!

The Syrian Brit said...

Oh Happy Days!..
Alone and hungry in Beirut, wife in Damascus, curfew (or more commonly, just different factions fighting) means can't get out to buy food.. Answer: Eggs.. glorious eggs!.. Tried all shapes, forms and fashions.. tried all the above recipes, and many, many more.. delicious in whichever way they are made..
As for the cholesterol 'myth', I say it is 'Mind over Matter.. if you don't 'mind', then it doesn't 'matter'!!..

The Syrian Brit said...

p.s. I trust this is a glass of milk in the picture?.. (Cow milk, I mean.. not '7aleeb sbaa3'!..)

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Would like to know what exactly is '7aleeb sba'a3? sounds very nutritious....

Ihsan said...

Oh I love eggs....when I was kid my family used to call me "Abu el baid"...(no I didn't look like one)...but I ate..still do, egg like crazy...it's my favorite...

Anyway, since everyone here is braging about a recipe of something...I here introduce you my latest invention....I haven't named it yet so for now I will call it "Tuna & Egg"

It may sound gross or zinkha...or wa3...but you have to have a faith in the eggs...and trust me...it's one of the best easy to make things EVER...so addictive...

Heat some butter...get a tuna can (flakes in water)...through the tuna in the pan...add "all-spices"...pepper and lemon juice...salt of course...fry them all together for 3 to 5 minutes and a half..and then break a couple of eggs in there...and scramble them all together...more lemon juice would be a treat at this point....2 minutes later...and you will have a great super delicious meal...that can feed a horse...

P.S. if you have the luxury...some mushroom in the pan before addining the tuna would be even better.

Sa7tain w 3afieh ya jama3a....w jamee3 el 7oqooq ma7fooza...

abufares said...

Dubai Jazz
After reading your (and others)comment I reached the conclusion that the Egg is one of the most under-rated delicacy in the international cuisine. Everybody loves an egg, every which way possible.

Anonymous
Sausage & eggs is one of the best. I really didn't mention at least another well-known methods of preparing good eggs.

Syrian Brit
That's it my friend. You took the words about of my mouth. It's indeed a glass of cold milk.

Dubai Jazz
7aleeb Sba3 poor soul is Arak, the King of All.

Ihsan
Abu Beid could have more than one meaning :))))
I've tried tuna and eggs prepared by a friend not so long ago, and I really liked it. Hurry up, patent the recipe before somebody else claims it.

The Red Baron said...

From your Texan friend in Oklahoma, nothing is better than a Spanish omelet. Of course, a Spaniard would never really eat this. It would be way too spicy for a Spanish palate. Thus, "Spanish" omelet is really a misnomer for a dish that is truly Tex-Mex. Yummy!

Tex-Mex Omelet
You can turn up the heat or not by varying the amount of green chiles.
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion, either scallions or regular onion
2 tablespoons canned chopped green chiles
2 tablespoons chopped black olives
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

5 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon butter

chopped cilantro
sour cream
In a small non-stick skillet, sauté the bell peppers and onions in the olive oil just until softened. Remove from heat and stir in the green chiles and olives. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cumin and black pepper until blended.

Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Swirl it around and up the sides of the skillet to coat. When the butter begins to foam, pour in the eggs. Let the eggs cook for about 30 seconds, then begin running the spatula around the sides of the pan, lifting the edges of the omelet. Uncooked egg from the top will flow underneath. You can tilt the pan a little to encourage the flow. Keep this up until the top surface is almost dry. It only takes 3 or 4 minutes.

Spoon the sautéed vegetables evenly over the omelet surface and follow with the grated cheese. Turn off heat.

Take the spatula and run it about halfway under the omelet. Lift that side and fold the omelet in half. Slide the folded omelet back into the center of the pan, and let stand for a few seconds to allow cheese to melt.

Cut into portions and serve. Pass sour cream and cilantro for garnish.

Omar said...

I have eggs at least 3 times a week, and I love it.

I'm going to be referring to this post during the summer..
Keep those recipes coming Abufares

abufares said...

Hi Red Baron
Thanx for the great recipe. I will give it a try the first chance I get... Ummhhh, Texas food!!!

Omar
You are doing the right thing my friend. I particularly like the "at least" bit.
I'm really surprised. Again, everybody love eggs but we rarely talk about them or give them proper credit.

Angel said...

God! I missed 8 LOVELY posts Abufares... Still! I am so lucky ...as to have some great reading to enjoy this weekend ;-)

Now let me start with this Yummy one!

Eggs! I simply adore it... scrambled, fried (favourite) and omelette... any kind.... The recipes, you and your blogsphere friends provided, are absolutely stunning.... There are several different ways to prepare egg yummy dishes. One call for blending ingredients into the eggs before pouring the mixture into a pan, another involves jerking the pan in a particular way to form a rolled omelette and a third has the ingredients layered on top of the cooked egg and is placed briefly under the broiler to heat the toppings and melt any cheese that might be included..... Whichever method you select, you will be able to make an almost infinite variety of delicious egg dishes..... Hey! No one mentioned 3eggah Belnekha3 عجة بالنخاع?! Do you like it?

I am heading to the kitchen now, thanks a million for your inspiring post :-)

abufares said...

Thank you Angel
Your comments are always welcome and your recipes are great.
"EGGS & BRAINS", how about that for a name for your suggestion. I absolutely love it.

The Syrian Brit said...

Well, what a co-incidnece this is!..
On my waty home this evening, I was listening to the drive-time rpogramme on BBC Radio 2, hosted by the manic and very funny Chris Evans.. and what was he talking about?.. He had an 'egg'stra special 'egg'strvaganza of a show, talking about eggs and everything to do with eggs!!.. How 'egg'citing!!..
I bet he was inspired by this post!..

Никола said...

Being also a lonely bachelor in a far off and expensive country (Britain) I decided to take advantage of your recipes! thank you for bringing back some excitement about food in my back-from-university-after-midnight-and-so-tired dinners!

right now I am halfway my first Shakshoukeh!



"As a third option you can have potatoes, meat and eggs together. Cook the potatoes until half-done, add the meat then the eggs. All quantities as per your appetite.
*Potatoes can be substituted with: eggplants, spinach, green fava beans (fool), sliced mushrooms, …"


wow, this is almost musaka! (مسقه؟) just keep the eggs on top (mixed with yoghurt)!



I can add a few recipes too:

eggs and feta cheese
just mash the cheese and eggs together and pour into the pan. most probably you shouldnt salt it (check cheese saltiness first).
this is easiest but not my favourite. eat with bread.

eggs in the panagiurishte way (thats a small town north of mine)
ok that one is somewhat sofisticated - fill several cm water in a deep pan and boil it. remove from the fire and break the eggs in it, preserving the yokes intact. put it back until the eggwhite is well done and yoke still liquid. (similar to poached eggs but in water, not oil). you might have to use a spoon to constantly cover the top of the eggs with water.
when ready place them in a deep plate with bottom covered with crumbled good feta cheese. get rid of the water and fry some oil with lots of paprika (grounded sweet red pepper) - pour on top of the eggs and enjoy!
make sure to mop up every last bit of tasty juice with bread!


fried peppers with eggs and cheese (feta of course ;))
you need baked peppers for this - the ones you burn, peel and close in jars in the autumn (or nowadays - put in the freezer). so you take one batch of these and fill each with a thicker paste of mashed eggs and cheese and fry it.
thats so much delicious i usually eat them without bread, but they are an absolute murderer! - they absorb huge amount of oil! if you are a hardcore fan (and grown up in a poor country) you would also mop up all the oil and bits remaining in the pan!


phew! my shakshoukeh is long finished now!

yours,
نيقولا

PS: the egg+cheese paste seems to be ubiquitous. it is also the filling of the staple bulgarian pastry, banitza (related to biorek/bureko in turkey/greece) which is breakfast, dinner, fast-food and even festivity dish!

in that relation an easy cousin is:

butter-pastry with cheese
if you buy ready-rolled puff-pastry (butter-pastry?) in the shop you can put egg+cheese in the middle and wrap it in. bake in the middle of the oven on high temperature (200C+) until golden-brown (30min or less). might have to oil the baking tray to prevent glueing. accompany with airan of course!(yoghurt+water, and salt if desired, its on the picture?)

abufares said...

Syrian Brit
I'm glad this post had provoked so much exchange. I'm also extremely pleased to have read some recipes in the comment section. Some of them I knew but others entirely new. Just read what Nicola has to say... He's an egg genuis.

Ni Nicola
Thank you, thank you and thank you. Great recipes indeed. I will make sure and try each one separately. They all sound delicious.

BTW my FRIENDS
We've been having shitty internet service here in Syria for tha last 4 days. I can barely answer your comments, let alone read your blogs or post on mine. As soon as they get around fixing this stupid net of theirs, don't worry about my being too quiet. I'm waiting in the dark...HAHAHAHAHAHA (hysterical laugh, Jack Nicholson style)

adiamondinsunlight said...

Dear Abu Fares,

I just made shakshoukeh and it was delicious. I am very content now - thank you for the inspiration!

abufares said...

Hi adiamondinsunlight
Sa77a Wa Hana
I'm glad it turned out to you liking.