June 21, 2011

Power Brunch

It has been entirely too long since I've posted anything about my latest food creations. Although I've been collecting pictures and notes about my latest endeavors, no actual evidence has been produced...until now!

In my true old lady, food obsessed, fashion most things on my birthday wish list this year were food related. Namely a new coffee maker, a cast iron grill pan, and my new favorite secret weapon, a mini food processor. As soon as I unwrapped my mini Cuisinart, saving him from a life of flavorless solitude inside that cardboard box, we got to work. My first creation? Homemade pesto. Although I cannot give you an actual recipe for the pesto here, (due mostly to the fact that when I cook I almost always just guesstimate until it tastes right) I can show you what I did with the pesto to spruce up a very delicious power brunch. If making homemade pesto ain't your style try this recipe with store bought, or sprinkle fresh chopped basil over the top instead of the full blown pesto sauce.

And finally...Behold my super duper power brunch!

This deliciousness was created and inspired by a variety of things. At one of my favorite cafes in Santa Monica, Huckleberry, the have a delicious twist on green eggs and ham where the ham is actually delicious, salty prosciutto and the aforementioned "green" is really just pesto slathered on top of fried eggs. Being that this is one insanely delicious combo I started out to make simply fried eggs with some homemade pesto and toast. As I was browsing through my refrigerator, as I often do, I realized I had left over brown rice, and some veggies that needed to be used, namely spinach and mini heirloom tomatoes which are a personal Trader Joe's favorite. A frequent breakfast in my kitchen is a fried egg on top of fresh spinach with sliced tomatoes and chopped basil...and suddenly the mind wheels were a whirring. Why not combine this green egg, spinach, tomato madness? All I needed now was to replace my usual slice of toast with hearty brown rice and I had the meal of the century...okay, maybe that's an overstatement. Either way it was the best breakfast of my week.

Here's how it goes:
Olive Oil
1/4 c brown rice 
1/2 c mini heirloom tomatoes halved (feel free to use any tomatoes you've got)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c fresh baby spinach
1 egg
1 Tbsp basil pesto
salt and pepper

Since I'm using left over brown rice, I pour it onto a plate and microwave for about 1 minute. Remove from microwave and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan heat 1 Tbsp olive oil, tomatoes and garlic. Cook about 2 minutes, until tomatoes begin to puff up.
Add spinach, a dash of salt and pepper and cook another minute or so until the leaves begin to soften and turn a bright green. 
Remove the tomato, spinach goodness from pan and pour onto your already cooked brown rice.
In the same pan heat another teaspoon of olive oil.
Crack egg into hot pan and fry until desired firmness. (I like my yolk nice and runny)
Slide egg on top of the brown rice, spinach, tomato pile.
Add a dollop of pesto, sprinkle with some salt and pepper and enjoy!

This is perfect if you've got a long day ahead without much time to stop and eat. If you eat it at brunch time (11am or so) you're likely to be full until dinner!

Happy Eating!

June 2, 2011

Midnight Musings

This evening I went to see the new Woody Allen movie Midnight in Paris. (No, not the homemade sex tape of Paris Hilton.) It starred all kinds of wonderful actors including Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams (a personal fave), and Michael Sheen who's in another upcoming movie I am dieing to see; Beautiful Boy. I may just end up spending my whole birthday weekend at the movies since I still haven't seen Bridesmaids OR Hangover 2! It seems every where I turn there's another movie coming out I want to see, and after missing Water For Elephants I am determined to catch as many as possible.

Anyhoozles, the movie - Midnight in Paris - centers around Wilson's character who seems to be stuck in the past. Not a past he has lived though, but rather a historical era that he idolizes. He fantasizes about 1920's Paris, all the artists and writers, the culture, the glamor etc. and somehow manages to be transported to this time period where he gets to rub elbows with the likes of Ernest Hemmingway, Cole Porter, and F. Scott Fitzgerald to name a few. During his time with all of these, now, wildly famous people he finds that they are just as disillusioned with their own era and generation as he is with his. He finds that their lives are not perfect and tidy but rather very messy and rambunctious. 

When we have heroes that we look up to, or aspire to be, we place them in a realm of memory and nostalgia that cannot possibly be accurate. We look at past generations and think how amazing it must have been to be there when...(and fill in the blank) or how amazing it would have been to meet...(fill in the blank again). I find myself doing this too. I've had the amazing pleasure of working with a few people who danced for some of the greatest choreographers Broadway had ever seen. Namely Bob Fosse and Jerome Robbins. And when people talk about these great geniuses of dance they use nicknames and share anecdotes with complete nonchalance. "Oh Bob would get so pissed at this...." "Jerry spent hours working that..." "I saw Bob throw a girl out of rehearsal for this." When I hear these stories I feel that same awestruck yearning to have been there when, to have just been in the room with those people.

But I think what the movie is trying to tell us is that no matter how much we think all the generations before us had it figured out, they were just as messy and screwed up as we claim to be now. The reason we ache for the past is because we are so unhappy, or bored, or terrified with our own present. It's a way of escaping the utter unknown of what's to come by looking back. Hindsight is 20/20 even when the memories are not yours, but those of your greatest idols and influences. I think it shows that no matter how much we look back at these people with feelings that they must have really had it all figured out, in reality they were probably just as scared, insecure, and scatterbrained as we are now in our own lives. We think about successful people and can't fathom they ever doubted themselves the way we all do everyday. Someone of that magnitude must have known all along they were great, that everything they wrote or created was brilliant. Not like now, not like us.

Maybe the movie serves as a way to humanize our idols. To remind us that no matter the time or place, everyone has these very real human fears about the present and our unknown future. Everyone wonders how their lives will pan out, and maybe we need to believe that generations prior had some magical cure to all their instability in order to get through our own. In order to believe somewhere down the road we'll find that magical cure for ourselves in this generation.