Friday, February 12, 2010

Baked Eggs in a Leek Nest with Sourdough

(Note: obviously, this recipe is open to endless variation. You could make the base of this dish out of hash browns instead of leeks, maybe baked tomatoes, why not shittakes?, throw some Parmesan or feta on top, whatever you like. Go crazy. Then bake the eggs 8-10 minutes in a 390 degree oven and serve with warm, fresh bread.)

1 massive or two smaller leeks, cleaned thoroughly, halved and then sliced thin (about 5 cups)
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
4 eggs
a big handful of fresh parsley and chives, chopped
2 oz. hard Italian-style dried sausage or salami (we used finocchio), minced fine
2 tbsp butter
salt and fresh black pepper
and to serve, sliced fresh sourdough (recipe link and tale follows)

1) Preheat your oven to 390 degrees.
2) Heat the butter in a cast-iron skillet until foamed subsides; brown it if you like. Mmm.
3) Add leeks. Season with salt and pepper and saute about 3 minutes.
4) When leeks have begun to soften, add minced or pressed garlic. Continue to saute, about 3 more minutes, until garlic is toasted and leeks are starting to brown and melt a bit further. Taste to adjust seasoning.
5) With a wooden spoon, make 4 little nests in your leeks. They should *not* expose the cast-iron pan beneath.
6) Add the eggs to your nests, like so. Crack sea salt and pepper over eggs. Add minced hard salami, sprinkling over pan.
7) Bake 8-10 minutes (10 for cooked very nearly through).
8) Dish up the eggs in the nests. Garnish with herbs. Best breakfast ever. Voila.
9) Get yourself a growler of Sixpoint Double Sweet Action from Whole Foods.
10) Enjoy together.


Oh my lord.

So I joined Twitter about...oh, maybe six months back...because after all it's a free marketing tool and (more convincingly) my friend Leslie Klinger of Annotated Sherlock Holmes fame told me I was ridiculous not to be on a free social media site everyone follows and I should get with the program. (He is right in this evaluation, as he is right to laugh when I put ice in my Maker's.) I joined, and let me tell you, it is a challenge for me to come up with posts that DON'T have to do with food. (My handle is lyndsayfaye, if anyone cares.) My friend Melinda told me that she can't check my Twitter feed without getting hungry. I have reached, meanwhile, some stirring low points in 140-character statements of self. Examples: going to cozy up for some niece and nephew time. I hope there are ninja turtles involved, of the teenage mutant variety.

is uncannily skilled at forgetting to water Christmas trees. In my living room, in plain view. Thereby killing them.

has decided that duck ragu=delicious thing to have in fridge. Can you put it in pasta? Check. Risotto? Check. Hash? Check. Soup? Check.

I'm really none too good at it. And I refuse to say things like " sitting on the couch watching The L-Word. Shane is hot." What was this section about? Beer, you say? Ah, yes. What does Twitter have to do with beer? Well, kids, I soon discovered after joining Twitter that apart from following interesting people, I can also follow WHOLE FOODS. This was a seminal moment. Because a few days ago, the lads from Sixpoint (best Brooklyn brewery ever) finished a concoction they're calling Double Sweet Action for their fifth anniversary. And with admirable haste, they dispatched it and themselves to the Bowery Whole Foods Beer Room and started passing it around. For free. Free Sixpoint Double Sweet Action. Where did I find this out?

Twitter. That's what a full circle looks like, ladies and gents. We grabbed our coats and flew down to Whole Foods with the swiftness of fleet pumas.

The regular Sixpoint Sweet Action is a supremely highly rated American Blonde Ale. We love it. And so when we asked the brewers what they'd done to make the Double Sweet Action and their answer was "Doubled the malts and doubled the hops," we were very pleased. It tastes more like an IPA than does the original, of course, but the honeyed overtones and the lush tangerine really even out the bitterness. Which makes it a perfect...brunch beer! And it's nine and a half percent alcohol! You'll be out of commission by two in the afternoon. You're welcome. Go get a growler.


Gabe made a sourdough starter. Actually, there are two of them, living in the fridge like brothers. I have named them Terwilliger and Newt. One is a wheat starter and the other is a white-flour starter. Now, I don't understand the first thing about baking (you follow rules??), but here's a good discussion of starters and sourdough recipes with pretty pretty pictures of sourdough toast. Gabe followed America's Test Kitchen's recipe here, but unfortunately you need a subscription to access it. The Test Kitchen is rock solid when it comes to baking things, however, and a subscription to their website is hugely worthwhile.

Like I said, I can't bake. Meanwhile, I got to eat it. It was soooo tasty. We had it with white bean chili, and with smoked mackerel, and with jam, and with butter and cracked sea salt, and with olive oil and balsamic. And we weren't sorry.


I have a short story in friends Jon Lellenberg's and Dan Stashower's Sherlock Holmes in America anthology called "The Case of Colonel Warburton's Madness." It was a hat trick to write it, because it's an "armchair" mystery: Holmes solves a case presented to him by Watson without ever so much as leaving his chair except to pour a couple glasses of wine for himself and the Doc (hey, it's me writing Holmes here, after all).

Well, the story was just selected for the Best American Mystery Stories 2010 anthology! Huzzah! I am so chuffed over that I can't tolerate myself. Thanks very much to Otto Penzler and Lee Child for picking it. I'm thrilled. And I will probably never manage to pull off writing an "armchair" mystery of any sort ever again.

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