hole in the middle, three ways

morning things that make me happy, in no particular order:

1. eggs 

2. eggboy

3. eggboy strum strum strumming on his guitar

3. eggs in a basket

4. toads in a hole

5. hole in the middles

6. coffee

7. hole in the middles made by mum

8. hole in the middles made by other people (even when eggboy makes them and breaks the yolk, which happens 100% of the time)

9. skyr with cacao nibs

so what i am saying is that the hole in the middle is my desert island breakfast, my ultimate morning comfort food, my favorite way of celebrating the new day. there was a time in my early years when i ate these guys every single day, and during that time my mum nailed down the science behind perfecting it: crispy toasted bread, firm whites, a runny yolk, almost too much salt and pepper (which means that it's just right).

in those days i ate it by first poking at the yolk until it broke, dipping the circle into the runny part, and then eventually working my way out to the crust. i always left the smiling crust.

my approach these days is more of a fork and knife method. i cut off a corner or cut out a triangle, i eat all of the mothership trying to get a good egg to bread ratio in each bite, and then i sop up the remaining yolk with the circle, leaving behind a crystal clean plate. 

i like to think that as my mother's daughter, i have inherited the hole in the middle gene, so today i am sharing the family hole in the middle recipe over on cup of jo! it's followed by a few  fun variations that include kale, pesto, avocado, and (my new favorite) pimiento cheese. check it out here!




the other night i was woken up by my cheese craving. i was like shut up, you know we don't have cheese. but it was like screw you, you should have cheese. 

a chunk of corn bread sort of cured my craving that night, but i couldn't get over how loudly and obnoxiously i needed cheese.

my craving did have a point. save for a little blue cheese splurge a few weeks ago, i really haven't bought cheese in months because eggboy doesn't eat it. i think i've lost like a pound about it?  but one pound ain't worth it, so i bought cheese and made mac and cheese.

when i was little, mum's homemade baked mac and cheese meant that a special thing just happened: i came home from camp, i did well in a skating competition, i learned a paradiddle. orrr a bad thing just happened: i got an ear infection, i did poorly at a skating competition, i got in a screaming fight with my science teacher about a dumb chocolate cake project and got a detention for it. 

i'd count the minutes until it was ready. i'd burn my mouth on it. i'd have seconds. and then i'd linger at the casserole dish and nosh for five more minutes until i could eat no more. 

it wasn't until i was hanging out with our family friend marsha that i learned how easy it was to make mac and cheese from scratch without the production of grating a ton of cheese, making three meals worth, and baking it with breadcrumbs. marsh just whipped up a little pot of it real quickly, and that was lunch! no special occasion or velveeta necessary. 

since then i almost always make my mac from scratch. if people are coming over, i bring out the big guns in the form of gruyere, bacon, and panko. if it's just me, i use whatever cheese i've got. this one-pot version is so damn easy, i could make it in my sleep. it leaves no excuses for ignoring a midnight cheese craving. (assuming you have cheese, of course.) and in the morning, you have just an ounce of cleanup. 

midnight mac & cheese 

 makes one serving


1 tb butter

2 tb flour

1 c milk (any kind)   

1/2 c pasta

a handful of cheese

salt and pepper, to taste

anything else you want: sriracha, paprika, tabasco, nutmeg, cayenne, chili flakes, bacon, peas, hot dogs, apples, you know...  


in a medium pot over medium heat, melt butter. mix in flour to form a paste. add milk and cook, stirring constantly, until it begins to thicken. add pasta and cook, stirring often, for six minutes. add cheese and stir until melted. cook for another few minutes, stirring often, until pasta reaches desired consistency (it'll take a few minutes longer than if you were to make pasta in boiling water). add salt, pepper, and whatever else you want. go ahead, eat it straight out of the pot.

and then go back to bed. 



today my awesome mama turns... like, a bazillion years older than she looks. i really think that some night circus phenomenon is happening because she seriously doesn't appear to be aging. (right now she is prolly like, but my wrinkles! ) looking at her, i have so much faith in my future old lady self, minus the grey hair part. 

mum is a badass in the kitchen. she has cooked for esa-pekka salonen and michael tilson thomas and, like, the entire boston symphony. she also used to have a little chocolate business. pretty much everything i know about cooking, i either learned from her or by fucking up. she is always reading up on new tips and tricks and she loves finding new recipes and ingredients.

because i mailed her present way too late for it to arrive on her birthday (oops), i figured i should give a gift to someone on this special dayso here is a gift for you: kitchen tips straight from my mum!

1. always double the rugelach recipe. 

2. when proofing yeast, always add a pinch of sugar, even if the recipe doesn't call for it. yeast looooves sugar. it'll proof its ass off if it's given sugar.

3. red spatulas are superior to all other spatulas. and the calories in the batter that you lick off of a red spatula do not count.

4. honey never expires. it may crystalize, but just warm it up a bit and the crystals will go away.

5. scones and pie crust always get cold cubed butter. this is obvious to me now because i make scones every day at the bakery at approximately 1:36 am. but years ago when i was just starting to bake on my own, i'd let the butter soften for everything and my pastries tasted like poop. 

6. a messy kitchen is a happy kitchen. this uses the same principle of a messy dog is a happy dog. 

7. things you should keep in the freezer: sesame seeds, nuts, and ginger. they'll last longer.

8. salt every layer of a dish. salt the pasta water, liberally. salt the vegetables before they get cooked. salt the salad. salt and strain fresh tomatoes before you use them. salt eggs when they're done cooking, otherwise they'll dry out. salt and taste, salt and taste...

9. scramble eggs very slowly over very low heat. and turn the heat off before they're done cooking because the heat from the pan will continue to cook them. they'll be fluffy and dog slobbery, just like scrambled eggs should be. 

10. cold brew coffee is stupid. just brew strong coffee and pour it over a heaping glass of ice. and then always drink it from a straw so that your teeth don't get stained.

11. don't ever use anything plastic in the kitchen. it's just not classy. (tupperware for storage is exempt.) 

12. if guests are coming over, make sure whatever you're cooking has a good and overpowering smell so that guests are hit with it as soon as they enter the door. if it doesn't smell strong enough, saut√© an onion. 

13. always keep a bowl of risotto or sesame noodles (or something else) in the fridge in case you find yourself wandering through the kitchen with an empty fork and in need of a nosh. 

14. nothing gets put on the table in its original package unless the original package is cute. ramekins, ramekins, ramekins.

got it? ok now go send my mum a happy birthday tweet!!



for the past few days i've been at my other home, in illinois, spending time with family and friends, playing music, and enjoying some culinary delights that just don't exist in my little town. and i don't know what i was thinking planning so much time on farms and in little towns during my vacation from the farm, but i did just that and i enjoyed it so.

mum and i went apple picking. we snuck into the honey crisp row when we should have been picking liberties, we ate apple cider donuts, and we pet goats and cows and alpacas. it was the awkward apple picking temperature of 80 degrees out, but it was delightful. the next day, jaclyn, katie, and i went to the adorable downtown area of long grove for their apple fest. more apple cider donuts, chocolate covered grapes (weird but good!), a pond-side lunch, and a caramel apple macaron. yum.

my one bit of time in the city was spent at the super cute hideout, a quaint house hidden in an industrial area of lincoln park, playing with san ferminit was so much funnnn!! their music is such a head-boppy, sing-along, get nostalgic type of good. i brought the band 'sun' sick cakes (named after the song "sonsick"): they were fiery like the sun-- chili chocolate cake with saffron chili cream cheese frosting.  

other highlights: eating good blue cheese (i had forgotten the pleasures of that), clearing out the trader joe's nut aisle, and picking up some cacao nibs, dukkah, and pumpkin spice coffee to bring back to north dakota.

also: mum flexed her mother skills and forced a bunch of really awesome winter clothing on me in preparation for the crazy weather that is to come. there is snow in the forecast for saturday!