As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, every summer when I was growing up, my father grew a vegetable garden. I used to watch him early each spring (all suited up in ridiculous white overalls) pull the rototiller out of the garage and wheel it to our side yard. For hours, he’d till the soil until it was, at long last, coaxed out of its winter-long hibernation and breathing once more. He would then carefully edge out the garden patch with a spade, stand back with his hands on his hips, and admire his work.
My father and I have always had what one could most certainly call a strained relationship. It’s sort of a thing, and it’s too bad. As a child, though, I admired the heck out of him. His ability to hold his breath underwater. How the dog loved him so much more than she loved anybody else. The magical way in which he managed to turn a small patch of dirt into salads, into bouquets of flowers, into Halloween jack-o-lanterns.
I have always loved the “weird vegetables.” You know which ones I’m talking about — the ones that kids don’t like, the ones they won’t touch. Broccoli, spinach, cauliflower. You name it, and I ate it — and still do. My father always loved these foods, and so he would grow many of them in the garden. My mother would steam them for him at dinnertime, and, unlike my sister, I always had a serving or two. I think that, as a kid, I loved these vegetables so much because I knew it pleased my father to see me love them so much. I was happy to eat a bowl full of asparagus; it made me happy to see him happy.
Brussels sprouts were another one of his favorites. My sister would turn her nose up at the things, but I just couldn’t get enough of the green, verdant crunch of those curious little cabbages-in-miniature. Today I like to buy Brussels sprouts at the market when they are selling them by weight and you can pick out each one individually. I know it sounds ridiculous, but there is something so satisfyingly decadent about hand-selecting each tiny little cultivar. It makes me feel somewhat like a giant — powerful, imperious, and very much in charge.
Do you know what else makes me feel very much in charge? This life-changing egg poacher from the Martha Stewart line. For years I have agonized over my inability to properly poach an egg (an agony indeed, as poached eggs are one of my very favorite foods). Through the years, I have tried many an egg poaching cheat, and all of them have resulted in tantrums of frustration, confusion, and utter sadness. Until now. Until this egg poacher.
Needless to say, since I picked it up a couple of weeks ago, my kitchen has been raining poached eggs. It’s like a whole new frontier, and I can see for miles.
Simple garden hash with poached eggs.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, shredded
- 3/4 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
- 4 farm-fresh eggs, poached
- 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
- Sea salt + cracked pepper to taste
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until they are soft but still al dente (7-10 minutes). Add the peas and cook until they are warm. Salt and pepper to taste, and distribute in two servings.
- Meanwhile, poach your eggs. When they are finished cooking, drop two on top of each pile of hash. Sprinkle each plate with Pecorino Romano.