One of my very good friends, I call him "my favorite vegetarian," just had his mother and one of her friends visit from Boston. His mother's friend evidently raises chickens as a hobby and brought him a dozen of their fresh eggs. Now, out of the many people I know in New York, I'd say that my favorite vegetarian loves food as much as just about anyone. But living where he does, on the Upper West Side, right by the most astounding collection of delis, bakeries, and gourmet shops specializing in fresh and prepared foods, he doesn't so much cook. In fact, he doesn't even own a frying pan. Which is not to say that he can't cook. He just doesn't. And that's just great, because he has gifted these precious little eggs to me.
Living in the city has made me a romantic for farm life (a lifestyle I admittedly have never actually experienced). I often threaten R with quitting my PhD and running off to live on a farm where I could collect my very own working animals (as pets, since I don't think I could ever eat an animal I have known) and grow all of the food I pay such outlandish prices for here. On my dream farm, climate would be no factor, and I could have quince and meyer lemons, along with hearty greens, pomegranate, cactus for prickly pear and nopals, and an herb garden that would produce every obscure flavor from every cuisine. Charlie and the herb garden factory: the epazote tastes like epazote!
But for now, I have these lovely little eggs. The moment I saw them I just loved them, a pale blue-green color, almost minty looking! More perfectly colored than any Easter egg could ever be. That mother nature really knows her stuff, I'm telling you,what a palette (and palate!)
This recipe is a quick and easy little gem from Madhur Jaffrey's, what else, Quick & Easy Indian Cooking. If you hard boil your eggs beforehand, it can be whipped up in minutes for a very satisfying lunch. While her recipe calls for only 1 cup of chopped tomatoes, I wanted a little more masala with my egg and used about twice that much by adding in a full 14.5 oz can. The delectable, tongue-burning, lip-tingling spice was barely diluted and made for an extremely flavorful sauce.
Hard-Boiled Eggs Masala (masaledar ublay unday)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
5 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped onion
1/2" piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 hard-boiled eggs
In a small bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients, along with a tablespoon of water. Stir to form a paste, set aside.
In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once warm, add the cumin seeds and cook for 10 seconds. Add the onion and ginger and cook until the onion turns a medium brown. Add the tomatoes and sugar and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover, and continue simmering for 10 minutes.
Add in the cilantro, stir and then add the eggs. Be careful so you don't break them up. Heap a bit of the sauce on top of the eggs, cover and pan, and simmer for 2-3 minutes until everything is heated through. Serve and enjoy!