"Things won are done,
Joy's Soul lies in the Doing."
- William Shakespeare

Monday, March 28, 2011

Time to Shake Things Up

It's Spring.  Time to dust off the old brainpan, blow those cobwebs off boring old routines and long-indulged habits.  Remember in the last post, when I mentioned the wind bringing a feeling of change, something new in the air? Well, something new has arrived, and it definitely wasn't Mary Poppins blown in on her umbrella, jaunty hat askew.

Looking back over my life, I realize that I have a knack for seeking out a new path, whenever the current one feels a little worn and predictable.  And sometimes, I even surprise myself with the transformation.  In the past, this need to shake things up has resulted in taking off, solo, with a backpack and not very much in the savings account, to Europe.  It's resulted in meeting an amazing man, and getting married in Gibraltar, with a couple of English scuba divers we grabbed on the street to be our witnesses.  It's meant packing up and moving countries a fair few times, pretty much on a whim.  It's had us a buy a seriously dilapidated cabin on the mountain, to experience the joys and tortures of renovation.  And now, dear friends, it has me doing something really crazy.

The mister and I had a rare, and therefore precious, date night, on Friday, and went out for a meal.  While enjoying my salmon satay, I looked over at his wild boar, and mountain lamb, and said to him (whilst wiping a little drool from my mouth, and confusion from my brow), "I do believe I'm going to try some of that."  He smiled and passed me a bite.  (He pretty much takes all of my wild whims in good stride.)  And I ate it.  I ate boar, and lamb, of all things.  I know this may not sound crazy to some, but let me backtrack a bit here, and explain.

At age 15, I read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, and renounced meat.  Ever a sucker for a cause, I went at it wholeheartedly, and likely obnoxiously, lecturing friends and family on my newfound righteousness.  Eventually, I let the annoying righteous thing go, because that does get old after all, and just enjoyed my mostly vegetarian fare (mostly because even I, in all my self-righteous glory, could never go long without seafood.  Oh no.).

And here we are, 20 years into a pretty set land-meat-free lifestyle (although since being pregnant with my daughter, I do eat the occasional bird...she made me do it!), when all of a sudden, I found myself wondering just what I was missing.  And lamenting the fact that I've lived in and traveled through some places where I really, really could have sampled some good stuff...France, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand...But no regrets allowed.  Surely being an herbivore in countries where it wasn't so easy to be, helped me learn to cook creatively, and make the most of some amazingly fresh and simple ingredients.  But now, people, perhaps I've grown a little bored of the expected (well, I never grow bored of good food), or at least have grown weary of being the same old me. Hey, why not stir it up?

I'm not saying I'm converting to a meat and potatoes kind of thing, here.  I'm not even sure I'm going to start cooking meat regularly, or at least not quite yet.  But who knows?  There is, after all, a whole world of good food out there, that I may have to sink my teeth into from time to time.  I'll still be choosy about what we eat, avoiding animals that have faced cages and cattle prods...no early onset puberty or cancer for me and mine, thanks.  Never fear, I've still got my soapbox, and things are looking just fine from up here!

You see, in amongst quite a number of vegetarian cookbooks, there are a fair few recipes for meat.  We shall see.

The mister and I woke up Saturday morning, and I found myself looking into the fridge, planning breakfast.  A bit of this, a bit of that.  I grabbed the eggs, some asparagus and goat cheese, a little parsley, and what's this? Proscuitto? I hear that goes quite nicely with asaparagus.  And it is Spring, after all. Let's do this thing.

Slow-cooked Scrambled Eggs with Asparagus, Chevre, and Proscuitto
serves 2

6 free range, organic eggs
An ounce or two of chevre, crumbled
A slice or two of proscuitto
A few stalks of asparagus, blanched in boiling water for 1 minute, chilled in cold water, and dried on a towel, then chopped into bite size lengths
1/3 cup milk
Handful of parsley, chopped
1 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter

Whisk the eggs and milk, and salt and pepper.  Heat 1 Tbs butter in a frying pan over low to medium low heat.  Pour in the eggs and cook, very gently, whisking frequently, to keep large cooked bits from forming.  Once the eggs have turned into an oatmeal-y consistency, turn off the heat.  In the name of all that is holy and right, do not overcook your eggs!  They may look underdone to you, but have a little faith.  Turn that heat off and mix in the goat cheese (chevre), asparagus, proscuitto, and remaining 1/2 Tbs of butter. Top with parsley, and serve with toast.

Enjoy with your loved one.  Creamy, luscious eggs laced with salty goat cheese and proscuitto?  My husband is liking this transition, quite a lot.  I even got flowers out of the deal.  Not bad, not bad at all.

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