recipe: kettle eggs

When I lived in Paris, the first meal that I ordered in a restaurant was oeufs à la coque. The description of ingredients sounded like an omelet, but that it was not. Instead, I received a salad and two piping hot, seemingly uncooked eggs. Uncooked to the point that I wasn't even sure they were edible. But, out of embarrassment, I ate every last bite. (The added irony? The French word for omelet is omelette. Whoops.)

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I never quite got used to eating runny egg whites, but later in my time abroad discovered oeufs mollet—essentially a creamier version of American soft-boiled eggs. The whites are cooked, but still moist, and the yoke is just touched by heat, so that you still have to crack it open to release the golden liquid I like to think of as "egg butter."

Of course, I experimented with all different ways to achieve the same effect at home, and found that the best results came from water that was heated to a piping hot boil, then removed from the heat. Out of laziness or sheer genius, I decided my electric kettle (a staple in French kitchens) was the perfect place to achieve this effect, as it did an even better job than a stove-top pot of retaining heat after having stopped boiling.

Hence, my invention of "kettle eggs." To this day, it's still my favorite breakfast.

Kettle Eggs

Ingredients

  • two eggs
  • toasted bread
  • water (enough to fill a large kettle 3/4 of the way)

Instructions

  1. Fill a large electric or stove top kettle 3/4 of the way.
  2. Bring to a full, piping-hot boil.
  3. Turn off the heat.
  4. Gently place two eggs into the kettle and close the top.
  5. Time six minutes, swiftly remove eggs and promptly rinse with cold water until cool enough to handle.
  6. Crack eggs open (carefully) and scoop the insides out onto the toasted bread of your choice.
  7. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

 

eater's digest: boulette's larder

Photos by Lauren DeFilippo

When I was growing up, I would do anything I could to avoid eating breakfast. It wasn't for a lack of hunger. Rather, I disliked the foodstuffs that made up this iconic meal. Scrambled eggs made me nauseous. Toast, pancakes and waffles, a bit bland. Even my 5th grade invention convention entry spelled it out: a "sog-no-more" cereal bowl, crusading against soggy breakfast. On weekends, I opted for leftover chili or other savory foods.

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So when 101 Cookbooks recommended I eat this most mundane of meals at Boulette's Larder, I didn't even consider it. But my sister (older and, in this instance, wiser) noted the tip.

Our trip to San Francisco was a last minute plan, sprung from a work trip to the annual IACP conference. Being that I haven't been to SF since I was 13, I enthusiastically tacked on a few days vacation to fully explore the city, and Lauren was all too happy to come along.

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Breakfast at Boulette's, which I experienced twice - on my first and last days in the city - is nothing short of a revelation. I try to reserve such seeming exaggerations for true stunners, and this is one of them.

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From the dreamy open kitchen - complete with copper pots and other elegant details - to the intentionally brief, curated menu, everything was rave worthy. The nauseating scrambled eggs of my youth are not remotely the same species as the impossibly light and creamy eggs at Boulette. Drizzled with lemon or mandarine oil and served with a dollop of fresh chevre, they were the single dish for which I returned a second time.

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The sheep's milk yogurt and quinoa granola that I sampled the first time were also more than noteworthy. Extra-tangy, luxurious yogurt was served with a nutty, crunchy crumble of home-toasted grains and seeds. It's hard to describe how something so simple can be so exquisite, but that's the essence of Boulette's.

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Perhaps the most fun thing to order is the many-grain porridge, which is served with an assortment of little wooden boxes, offering nuts, seeds and dried fruits, such as currants. While these three stand-bys tend to be offered in different iterations each day, the extended menu changes constantly, based on the local offerings in the market.

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As for the ambiance, the unusually tall and elegant waiters are as pleasant as the food, and the prime communal table seating offers a front-row view into the kitchen. Housed in the Ferry Building, which also hosts the city's best farmer's market, there is little not to love about Boulette's.

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If I had to offer one critique, it would be of the restaurant's sweets. Both the brown sugar/kumquat and the lemon meringue tarts (which I bought on other mornings for breakfast) were a bit too sweet for my liking. It's not that they were saccharine, but rather that the tart citrus accent I had hoped for was muted by other elements. That said, the textures, crust and meringue of both tarts were among the best I've ever eaten. So if you've a sweeter tooth than I, do dig in.

Boulette's Larder
1 Ferry Building Marketplace
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 399-1155

recipe: all-green smoothie

We've all heard about the celebrity following and myriad health benefits of "green juices". But even for those of us who like the flavor of "musty grass" (as one friend put it), paying upwards of $9-a-pop for the health fix seems absurd. Moreover, the DIY types will tell you that juicers are labor of love (emphasis on labor - they're obnoxious to clean), and thus often end up on the shelf.  If you've gone through all those steps and still want the green stuff, you've maybe considered the green smoothie option - typically linked with buying the infamous Vitamix (yup, that's where I'm at). But the frugal foodie  - and MacGyver - inside me wouldn't stand for it, so I set off down the green smoothie road with only a mediocre blender at my side. (This isn't the first time I've mis-used my blender for bizarre projects.) Well, the first batch ended up all over my kitchen - but! - it did work. After a few go-rounds, I worked out the kinks and quickly became addicted to the little suckers. I tested the satiation question last week (this isn't a cleanse, and I'm anti-starving oneself for any purpose), and after a busy workweek with only green smoothies for breakfast, I can honestly attest they are energy in a cup. Caffeine without the crash. (Basically, I'm a convert...I'm sipping one now.)

Energy in a Cup: All-Green Smoothie

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 3 romaine leaves
  • 5 kale leaves (de-stemmed)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1-2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • Lemon juice/lime juice/unfiltered apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Pour water into your blender.
  2. Finely chop and add to blender (one vegetable at a time) celery, cucumber, romaine, kale, avocado.
  3. Scoop out ripe avocado, blend into mixture.
  4. Add minced/chopped ginger and herbs to mixture.
  5. When you are ready to serve, add acidity to taste: either a healthy squeeze of lemon/lime juice, or – for a probiotic boost – a splash of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
Notes/Tips
1. Blend the cucumbers and celery into the water first. This will create a good liquid base that will make it easier to blend in all the other, rougher veggies. (You can use a wooden spoon to pre-mix the rougher vegetables into pre-existing liquid in order to ease the process.) 2. Be easy on your blender, especially if you don't have a Vitamix. Use the ice-chop/pulse button to break things up before testing the higher settings. 3. Don't overfill your blender. If you get it more than 2/3 full (unless you are making a very water-y smoothie), you will definitely end up with green juice flying around. 4. Make your smoothies on the thick side for easy conservation. Add lemon/lime/apple cider vinegar and extra water just before eating, to make the texture more drinkable.