So far, it’s been an omelets-for-dinner kinda year.
Shortly before Christmas, I came home one day to a mass of ants hustling their way across my kitchen floor. They were fully fanned out, an ever-moving black army, and every time I blocked one point of access, they found another way in. I went on a cleaning spree, jarred and hid all my baking supplies, hid my honey bear in the fridge, laid down ant traps in every corner of my apartment. But in the middle of the night, when the mercury dropped near freezing, the ants would march right around the traps and back into my nice warm kitchen. It took over a month and a half to get rid of the infestation; I finally resorted to blanketing every flat surface in the kitchen with diatomaceous earth and leaving it untouched for two weeks.
Thus, for much of 2013 so far, my kitchen has been unusable–first swarming with ants, then blanketed with dead ants and dust. I could cook at Sam’s apartment on weekends, but not at all during the week. So I gave up on trying to feed myself well, reaching instead for crackers and frozen hot dogs and chicken tenders from the supermarket deli counter. And as it turns out, even when you’ve finally scrubbed and swept and vinegar-sprayed your kitchen back into service, the lure of processed foods is strong. I kept snacking instead of eating dinner, feeling increasingly salt-bloated and sugar-weighted and sick. Finally, about two weeks ago, I snapped myself out of it, marched myself down to the grocery store, and picked up a heavy bag’s worth of nourishing meal ingredients, to force myself to find something to do with them.
Of course, now that I’m back in the cooking swing, the holiday lull has worn off and I’m back to longer workdays and grumpier commutes. So the order of the day is stupid-simple meals. Sriracha shrimp with steamed broccoli. Veggie fried quinoa. And omelets. Lots and lots of omelets.
I’m picky about my omelets. I don’t like the fancy French ones, those piles of tiny fluffy egg-curds wrapped around themselves just so–they set off my scrambled-egg aversion something fierce. What I like is a good country-style omelet, hardly scrambled at all, a single springy egg-pillow with just a kiss of brown on the outside. Make a country omelet right, and you get a gorgeous progression of textures, from spongy outside to soft middle to creamy inside. You can fill an omelet with just about anything–it’s a great use-up for leftovers–but lately I’ve been on a straight-up cheddar cheese kick, with lots of black pepper on the eggs. Something about a mouthful of peppery egg and stringy-melted cheese is really hitting my comfort food spot these days. I suspect I’m not alone.
Simple Country Omelet
Note: All filling ingredients should be fully cooked ahead of time, and diced. If you have raw veggies, saute them quickly and set them aside while you start the omelet.
In an 8- to 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1 tbsp butter or olive oil over medium heat. Crack 2-3 large eggs into a mixing bowl, and beat them thoroughly with a fork. Pour the eggs into the skillet, and let the bottom set for about 5 seconds. Working your way around the pan, gently lift the edge of the omelet with a thin heatproof spatula and tilt the pan to let the uncooked egg on top run down underneath. Continue lifting the edges and tilting the pan until the egg on top is no longer runny. Season the top of the omelet with salt, black pepper, and any fresh or dried herbs you like, then sprinkle about 1/3 cup filling and/or grated cheese over one half of the omelet. Let the omelet continue to cook until the top is just a little bit wetter than you’d like, then turn off the heat. Use the spatula to gently fold the omelet in half, so that the unfilled half goes on top of the filling.
Slide the finished omelet out of the pan and onto a plate. Garnish with extra herbs (or, if you’re me, extra black pepper). Serve warm.