15 February 2015

The Laziest Breakfast

photo 2
My mother always said February was the worst month. Certainly the dreariest and bleakest, weather wise, and with a holiday most people profess to hate. In Cairo, a dense cloud of pollution hangs above the city, and last week a dust storm left our houses and lungs coated with a dense layer of yellow dust. It is a month to burrow indoors and start spring seedlings, to dream of spring gardens, to make soups and bake breads and start long books.

I have been doing a lot of at least one of those things, cooking that is, but my results have been about as dreary as this month usually is. First, there was Daniel Boulud's stuffed pumpkin, a massive affair of pumpkin and cheese and bread and cream, mushrooms and bacon, all baked inside a pumpkin. We had people over, and while it was festive, something about the recipe fell flat to me. It's never a good sign when no one wants to eat the leftovers.

Then there was a stuffed cabbage (malfouf mahshi) which was fine, but I packed the rolls a bit too tightly and we pretended it was still okay by smothering them in yogurt. There was the terrible mistake of trying to make Alice Medrich's kamut poundcake with half coconut oil for the butter, which needless to say turned out miserably. I redeemed myself a bit with a riff on my usual soba noodles, topping them with a gingery stir-fry of edamame and cucumber ribbons alongside thinly sliced rare flank steak.

It shouldn't surprise you then that the best thing I made in weeks was something that took no more than five minutes to put together and was devoured nearly as quickly. It is possibly the laziest breakfast I can think of making, but surprisingly delicious. Someone recently told me that their mom used to beat eggs in the concave side of pita bread, then slide them into the oven to bake. It's totally a simple mom-on-the-run trick (no messy bowls! protein!) that kids remember fondly, and obviously I had to try it. I made ours using local baladi bread, which is a fluffier sort of pita, and topped the eggs with chunks of local soft creamy feta cheese and chili flakes. It may just be the best discovery of February.

photo 1

The Laziest Breakfast
  • pita bread -- I think a slightly puffy variety is best, although it doesn't really matter as long as it has a concave side
  • eggs, 1 per bread
  • salt
  • toppings such as feta cheese, chili flakes, herbs, avocado, etc.
1. Preheat oven with the broiler on high. Place pita bread, concave side up, on a baking sheet. Break 1 egg into each pita and swirl around with a fork. Sprinkle cheese, salt, and chili flakes over bread.
2. Slide the breads into the oven. Watch the breads closely, until the eggs are just set and the cheese is melty, but be careful the edges of the bread don't get too brown. It should only take a few minutes. Transfer to a serving plate, cut into wedges, serve warm.


Ashley McGuire said...

We are totally making this for breakfast this week! Thanks for the awesome idea!

Britt said...

That is so funny that your mom hated February for its dreariness ... Our dad dislikes it because it is the "least character building month." The days get longer faster in February, apparently.

Nawo said...

Omg! I can't believe you are in Cairo, Egypt!
This is totally kismet-like unbelievable.
Okay, so you don't know me at all.
This is how the story goes: Back in 2007 I stumbled upon your recipe of Date squares, which I made and have been making ever since, my entire family love this recipe. Back in that same year I went through reading more of your posts as I was fascinated with your travels and interest in the East and everything Arabic. I loved your writing style and felt a connection to it, being an Egyptian and reading many of your Arabic recipes back then when food blogs weren't as hip and all over the place as they are now, I found yours unique. And I was always very touched by what you wrote about your mother. I got married, had my children, lost track of time and my life and wasn't following anymore of my favorite blogs.
To cut a long story short, now here comes the kismet part. I had recently unfortunately lost many of my recipes and have been trying to recollect the ones I know and remember where I found them. Your date squares is one of them obviously.
I grabbed it and decided to see what you are up to now.
To find that you are here in Egypt!
You have no idea how surprised I am, seriously! To the extent that the first thing that came to my mind is "I have to go see her!"
And well, for some odd reason I decided to tell you this. Excuse the long comment and the crazy babbling. Irish twins will do that to you.
Have a great day.
-Sarah E.

Mercedes said...

Britt -- is there a diagram available of activities, months, days, household chores, ranked from most to least character building according to the world of Jim? maybe we should make one :)

Sarah -- thanks so much for your comment, I am indeed in Egypt! Also our good friends here have twin toddlers and yikes, that is intense!