Sunday, October 30, 2011

beginning with breakfast

I have arrived in Zurich. I will be here for the next two months, in a studio apartment in the middle of town. One thing I am truly excited about: my apartment has a kitchen! In terms of this blog, this means a halt to the restaurant-food-in-foreign-city posts and a return to here's-what-I've-made-in-my-kitchen posts. I welcome this change.

So far, I'm quite excited by the prospect of cooking in another country. It presents some interesting new challenges.

First, the kitchen. It's tiny. I think it has everything I need, though things are in different places and some work differently than I'm used to. The oven, for example, sits on top of the fridge and heats in Celsius degrees from the top. That actually makes a little more sense to me (everyone outside of the US uses the metric system and why have both an oven and a range that heat from the bottom?); I think that with the fan, I can use it as one would a convection oven. The stovetop has two small burners, wedged between the fridge and the sink. The only countertop space to speak of is the "bar" on the side (a ledge below the window), which is also meant to serve as my dining room table and desk. This means I must be efficient with my prep space!

Then, there is the grocery store. I had my first adventure there yesterday. The local store is called Coop and it's conveniently located just down the street. While it was mostly pretty straightforward, the fact that everything is in German and not all of the ingredients I'm used to are available (or at least find-able) keeps things interesting. I like this sort of interesting, as it forces me both to learn and to improvise.

The first meal I'd like to write about is the breakfast that I cooked this morning. I had been to the store already and had purchased without a specific morning meal in mind, so possibilities abounded. The first question I had to answer was: savory or sweet? I was unable to decide, so I made an eggy version of each. It was kind of like real breakfast plus dessert breakfast. The perfect start to my first Sunday in Zurich.

Baked Eggs with Fancy Ham, Spinach & Mushrooms
Serves 2

2 slices pancetta, sliced into 1/4" strips
a handful of button mushrooms, roughly chopped
a handful of spinach
4 eggs
a splash of milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (or at least I think that's about what 200 degrees Celsius works out to...).

Cook pancetta and mushrooms in a skillet until mushrooms are tender.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs and milk together in a bowl. Set aside.

Add spinach to skillet where pancetta and mushrooms are cooking. Cook, stirring, until spinach is just wilted.

Transfer meat & veggie mixture to a greased 6-inch baking dish (I used an oven safe pot greased with olive oil, since that's what I had available; you could also do this in two 3-4 inch ramekins). Pour egg mixture over the top. Put dish(es) in preheated oven.

Cook for 10-15 minutes, until eggs are cooked through (probably adjust time down if cooking the servings separately). For me, at about 12 minutes, the top was nice and browned, but as mentioned, my oven heated from the top. To get this with a regular oven, you may have to turn the broiler on for a couple of minutes at the end of the cooking time.

Let sit out of the oven for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to release the eggs from the sides and bottom of the pan. Cut into pieces to serve.

Sweet Banana French Toast
Serves 2

2 Tbsp. butter
2-4 Tbsp. water
1/4 c. sugar
2 bananas, sliced
2 eggs
a splash of milk
4 slices rustic bread

Heat butter, water, and sugar in a small pan over medium heat (start with 2 Tbsp. water and add more as needed during cooking process to reach desired consistency). Once sugar has dissolved in the butter-water mixture, add bananas. Let this continue to cook until bananas have started to break down. Reduce heat to low to keep hot while you cook the french toast.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a slice of butter and distribute in pan.

In a small bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Dip the bread, one piece at a time, into egg mixture to coat each side. Place the 4 eggy bread slices into the hot pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, until golden brown.

Serve french toast topped with banana mixture.

One year ago: mom's split pea soup

1 comment:

  1. The oven heats from the top? Like a broiler? Very curious. Can we get a photo of the kitchenette?


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