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.
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
- toppings such as feta cheese, chili flakes, herbs, avocado, etc.
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.