Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It's been awfully hot lately, so have been avoiding turning the stove on in my place. Breakfast is usually a no-brainer (oatmeal microwaved at work or some fruit and yogurt) during this tough time; however, I was getting sick of prepackaged and sugary. Needed a change, so decided to coax from the ether one of the Frenchie's Proust-recollections.

One summer a long time ago (actually, before I was born, I think), a young Frenchie went on an adventure with some friends to Egypt. There were all sorts of trials and tribulations, runins with the authorities, even a classic coming of age sort of romantic thing. Wonderful, but rather run of the mill compared with the food, which apparently was real memory-making stuff.

What was it that kept coming back to him, that he kept describing to me in such loving detail? Certainly nothing exotic - just some local vegetables (squash, carrots, celery, onions) cooked in water until somewhat soft, then served cold with peppers, a bit of oil and salt. Apparently, there was bread on the side and some good, strong coffee. Hmm.

My version reflects what I had around the house and my memories of good North African tastes (stories for another time):

Legumes à L'Egyptienne

2 carrots - cut into coins
3 stalks of celery sliced cross-wise
2 small zucchini - cut into coins, then quartered
2 small yellow squash - same as zucchini
3 small leek stems - cut into rounds, both green and white, and rinsed in several waters.

Fill a three quart pot maybe 1/3 full with water, add the vegetables and a generous pinch of Jihadi saffron (This is the North African thing. Love it. Love how it colors the vegetables. Love how it perfumes the kitchen. Makes the heat bearable.).

When vegetables are somewhat soft, take the pot off the heat, then let cool. Refrigerate overnight if you can. Serve with flat bread. A hard boiled egg. A bit of cheese if you have it.

4 generous servings.

Isn't it pretty?

How weird, too, that I ended up coordinating my outfit with breakfast:

I swear I did not do that on purpose!


Note to my Dad: This is what color daylilies taste like.

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