Definitely a daddy thing to love
What a crazy two weeks!! Back from Vermont and trying to catch up on life. I was in NYC suffering from the squelching heat and humidity while Juliette and Lila were away, and I was missing them terribly. They spent the first week in PA with their mom and for the second week, Juliette in the Dominican Republic on a community service trip and Lila down in Kentucky at National Pony Finals.
On the day of Juliette's departure I took her for lunch and then on a 40 minute venture downtown to the lower east side, with her wondering where in the world is he taking me, for the most delicious salted caramel root beer float at Van Leeuwens Ice Cream. It is the first time Juliette will be traveling with out a parent or an adult that she knows and in a foreign country to boot. She is traveling with a very close friend from school but I think I was more nervous for her than she was. From the one brief conversation I have had with her while on the trip it seems the other kids immediately assumed she and her friend where snobby upper east siders. I told her that they have been watching too much Gossip Girl and once they get to know her their assumptions will change. I know the overall experience will be great for her whether she has fun on the trip or not. Bunk beds, cold water showers and some mild stereotyping never hurt anyone, especially 14 year old upper east siders. Even growing up in NYC, with parents who try to expose them to as much diversity as possible, we still tend to be cocooned by our environment.
Lila, on the other hand, spent the week with her trainer Patty at National Pony Finals. This was her first time away with Patty alone and not having her sister around. An experience she was looking forward to having. As I am writing this there was an article published in the New York Times about parents not feeling the need to attend every single game, event or meet in which their children participate. I could not agree more and happy that Lila can have the time with her trainer alone. I did get to nervously watch her show on a live feed and found myself obsessively refreshing the scoring after each rider to see how she placed. Yes, like an insane person. With 132 riders in her division, she placed 4th in the under saddle class and 25th in the model, sitting 7th overall heading into day 2. She placed 15th the next day in the over fences class and finished 8th over all. Woo Hoo!!!, with lots of virtual high fives and yes, I am still beaming writing this.
With Juliette still away, Lila and I were able to spend the weekend together in PA. I had to bribe her, with Nutella crepes, to go to the local farmers market that weekend and had to endure her eye rolling as I stopped by the roadside farm stands that are dotted along our local roads in Bucks County. Many of these are still by the honor system where you leave your money in a box and take change if needed. Juliette and Lila never cease to find the humor in it and refer to me as earthy or hipster. They make fun of my yoga, my hipster eye glasses, how I love the rain and my early morning walks and they do this in a way only your children can. They say things like "definitely a daddy thing to love", when I text them pictures of beautiful clouds or huge trees. If they only knew me back in the day when I worked in finance and I lived and dressed the part. In the late 80's and early 90's I wore blue shirts with white collars and cuffs. Practically all my shirts were french cuff with english spread collar and yes, I even had shoes with tassels. Don't even get me started on ties, where on my trading floor, guys would often turn your tie around to see who made it, Hermes, of course. At night I went to charity events and client dinners. Today, I still enjoy wearing suits but they are less banker and OK, maybe a little hipster, and only wear a tie when necessary. I even go with out socks sometimes in the summer.
My perspectives have changed since my kids were born and my divorce. I have discovered that there is no beauty without strangeness, thank you Karl Lagerfeld or was it Edgar Allen Poe, and less is definitely more. Charles Warner once wrote 'Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough". I do try to teach these values to the girls with some varying degree of success. I just hope that they learn to appreciate the beauty in everything. This weekend it was about the beauty found in unripe tomatoes.
Tomato season is upon us
August has arrived and the locally grown tomatoes are everywhere. The varieties can be endless, each having their own flavor and texture. A weekend lunch or dinner in August will always have some sort of heirloom tomato salad. For this weekends breakfast I was yearning for the piquant flavors of fried green tomatoes. Green tomatoes are unripe red tomatoes and can sometimes be hard to find at markets in the early season, with the strong summer sun they tend to ripen on the vine quickly. Late in the season when the sun isn't strong enough and the daylight hours start to wane and can no longer ripen whats left growing do green tomatoes become more popular. This weekend one of our favorite local markets allowed Lila and me to go out into the field to pick some hard green tomatoes. This breakfast dish was inspired by a fried green tomato BLT I had about year ago at Root and Bone, a delicious fried chicken joint on the Lower East Side of NY. This is my version of eggs benedict with fried green tomatoes. I use a traditional southern style recipe with cornmeal and a buttermilk wash for the tomatoes and a thick cut piece of bacon instead of Canadian ham. The fat from the bacon can be used to fry the tomatoes and there is no need for the english muffin. The Hollandaise sauce recipe is Julia Childs and enough thanks can never be given for her inspiration.
Eggs Benedict with Fried Green Tomatoes
- 2 large green tomatoes, cored and thickly sliced
- 1 cup cornmeal flour
- 4 slices thick cut bacon
- 1 cup buttermilk
- salt and pepper
- 1 egg for buttermilk wash
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs for poaching
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
Fried Green Tomatoes
- Cut bacon in half to approximate length of each tomato slice and in a large saute pan fry over low/medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and let drain on paper towel. Set the skillet with rendered bacon fat to the side for use later.
- Beat the egg and buttermilk together.
- Season cornmeal flour with salt and pepper and place in a wide dish. ( I have also used a large plastic bag for this placing several tomatoes in at a time and shaking bag to evenly coat.)
- Dip each tomato one at a time in buttermilk wash and then dredge in the seasoned cornmeal. Set each coated tomato aside.
- Add vegetable oil to bacon fat in large skillet and place over medium/high heat. The tomatoes will be low fried so only add enough vegetable oil to bacon fat to cover half way up tomato.
- Work in batches so oil stays hot and pan is not crowded. Fry for 3 minutes, flip tomatoes over and fry for additional 2 minutes until golden brown.
- Drain tomatoes on paper towels.
- Bring water to a steady simmer in a large skillet. If it starts to boil lower temperature.
- Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Stir water to create a gentle whirlpool. This will help the egg whites to wrap around yolk and create that desired tear drop form.
- Crack egg into a ramekin, not necessary but does make it easier to pour into skillet. Add eggs one at a time to skillet. The size of your pan will determine how many you can poach at a time. I generally poach four at a time.
- With a slotted spoon gently cover each egg with water from skillet until tops are white. Then gently agitate the the water near each egg to keep them from sticking to bottom.
- Cook for 3 minutes. remove each egg with slotted spoon and gently dip in a bowl of water. This helps remove any lingering vinegar flavor and place on a paper towel. This will soak up any excess water and keep the tomato from getting soggy. Teenage taste buds are acutely aware to the taste of vinegar on their eggs.
makes 1 cup
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 sticks (5 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- salt and white pepper
- Melt butter in small saucepan and set aside.
- Whisk egg yolks vigorously for one minute until thick and pale yellow in color.
- Whisk in lemon juice to egg mixture and whisk for additional 30 seconds.
- Add 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter and place saucepan over low heat. I use a double boiler over simmering water, whisk until it starts to thicken and cover your whisk. I will occasionally remove top part of saucepan from heat to ensure the yolks do not curdle.
- Immediately remove from heat and add remaining cold butter one tablespoon at a time. This will cool the egg yolks and stop the cooking.
- By driblets, beat in the melted butter to make a thick sauce.
- Season with salt and white pepper to taste and add additional lemon juice if needed.
To assemble place one fried green tomato in the center of the plate. Top with two pieces of bacon and then the poached egg. Spoon the Hollandaise sauce over the top of the poached egg. Enjoy every bite.