Saturday, February 22, 2014

What's For Lunch?

A ham and feta omelet and roasted potatoes and onions with basil, sage and lavender, split halfsies with Blue Gal.


Anonymous said...

If you want a good Mexican-style omelette, I have two suggestions.

1) Annatto ("Achiote") powder. I use the cheap Badia brand because it is easily available. The spice is the pulp around the plant's seeds, usually ground. I recommend the powder over the whole seeds, even though it has a little less flavor, because the seeds are hard and mildly toxic. If you use whole seeds, use a stainless steel tea ball so they don't get lost.

Put the powder in the oil and heat the oil. The annatto turns the oil a rich reddish-yellow gold color. (It is the "yellow" color of yellow cheddar cheese.) It also has a mild peppery and "generic spicy" flavor.

Here in Florida, this is easy to find and cheap. It is also an easy way to make a cheap and quick yellow rice. Heat the powder in a little oil in a pot, lightly fry the rice in the oil until it starts to crackle a bit, then add water, cover, and cook the rice. (A pinch of salt and a little pepper in the oil is good.) Shocking the rice like this makes it less glutenous. The annatto adds a nice color, and the annatto, salt, and pepper adds a nice but mild flavor that goes with everything.

2) Epazote. This is actually hard to find outside of a Latino community, though it is occasionally found in Asian markets (the Vietnamese have started experimenting with it). It is usually inexpensive, because there is a low demand, and because opening the bad releases a smell of camphor with Windex.

Epazote must be cooked. The complex sulfates break down, and the end result... if you have ever tried "Yerba Santa", it's very close to that. The closest taste I can compare it to is a very woody, "evergreen-y" rosemary, with just a hint of turpentine for a faint astringent bitterness.

It is usually used in beans, where it is a "carmative" (anti-cropdusting), and adds a nice flavor. It also goes well with meats and other heavy flavors, and in particular, a little goes a long way with eggs. This is my secret ingredient, and my partner complains when it has been too long since I've made an omelette.

Also, if you are ever in an Indian or Middle Eastern store, look for powdered asafoteda / "hing". Follow your nose for that nasty funk in the spice section.

Asafoteda is related to Fennel, and the rosin from the stalk is dried. It was introduced to European cuisine by Roman traders. It is considered magical, and when you use it (same reason as epazote), you will understand.

Uncooked, asafoteda (Hindi name is "hing"), smells like nasty old gym socks with a touch of fart. When cooked in a bit of oil, the smell suddenly intensifies, and then, as if by magic, it smells and tastes like lightly-carmelized shallots.

It is inexpensive, lasts a while, and you can use it in nearly everything. It also makes for a great omelette.


Anonymous said...

Is this Facebook? Here let me show you what I am eating.

Mister Roboto said...

I think you might have overcooked it just a tad.

chet said...

Anonymous - I had a coffee and a sesame bagel (nothing on it) but I forgot to take a picture. Sorry.

Fran / Blue Gal said...

SPAM and feta. Served to me in bed with a cat on my lap who likes the egg part.

Love you, husband.