Don’t you wish your breakfast was hot like me?
This morning, I tried to go out and get some work done at Kafe Berlin. It’s just a block away from my apartment and has a weekend special of a muffin and small coffee for $1. I had been there once before, when Sally was visiting, and didn’t have the greatest experience. The food was very slow coming out and wasn’t paced well, so the first person who got their food had the option to eat alone or wait and let their food get cold. Ben and I disliked our sandwiches so much–roast beef and grilled cheese, respectively–that we both threw away our second halves.
But this morning I wanted to get out of the house, and I wanted to try that weekend special, and I wanted to give Kafe Berlin a second chance. I wanted to like them! They’re so close to my home, why can’t they be cool? Maybe this is Seattle telling me to stay home, save my money, and enjoy my nice new desk at the corner window in my room.
My muffin and coffee were both good, albeit comically tiny. I’ve never been great at understanding measurements. When I was 16 years old, I bought a few Kurt Cobain “posters” off of eBay and was disappointed to receive the front covers of two old music magazines. That’s how I felt when the cashier casually tossed an 8oz coffee cup my way. The banana nut muffin was moist and kind of spicy, which I love, and would have whetted my appetite to place an order beyond the dollar menu had I not been dealt that final blow: The wifi didn’t work and they didn’t know how to fix it. (After scrolling through Kafe Berlin’s Yelp page, I see this is not a recent problem.)
Not everybody has data! Not everyone has a smartphone! Home again home again, jiggity jig.
Okay. Café review slash complaint over. I went home. I was hungry. I made brussels.
Can I please share the story of how I love brussels? They’re one of my mom’s favorite foods as well, but growing up I thought they were the worst. I think it was partially due to my young, bitter-sensitive taste buds and partially due to the fact that my mom will eat boiled frozen bagged brussels. Yuck! The reason why I eat and love brussels so much today is because I stayed with my friend Melissa at her mom’s on Long Island when we were both still in college. Her mom made dinner one night and it was Brussels sprouts, pork, and some kind of starch I can’t remember, baked potatoes maybe. And there I was, this poor scared Jewish girl who hated Brussels sprouts and never ate pork growing up, who became a vegetarian in high school because I couldn’t stand eating the meat my dad would serve for dinner. But I had to be polite so I ate. And of course it was one of the most delicious meals of my entire life and I have been a brussel-addict ever since. Thanks, Melissa’s mom, for that and for a lot of other things.
Melissa’s mom fried her Brussels sprouts with onions and bacon. The recipe I generally follow is to bake the brussels in the oven at 400 degrees for 40-plus minutes with onions, garlic, olive oil, black pepper, and salt. Today, I decided to try making my brussels in a cast iron pan because I thought it would be faster and I was hungry.
First, I warmed some olive oil along with the bacon fat that was already in the pan. I halved the brussels and threw them in first because I figured they would take the longest to cook. Next, I sliced some potatoes and added them to the pan.
I cut them the way I did because Ben got really into making potato chips before we moved to Seattle and that got me thinking about this nice oval shape. Of course, his chips were delicate and translucent, and my little choppy chop was pretty coarse.
After throwing the potatoes in, I poured a liberal amount of olive oil over the top and shook on some curry powder, black pepper, and salt. Next up was the onion.
I like leaving my onion pieces big because onion shrinks up so much when it’s cooked, and anyway, I love onion. After the onion, I chopped up two spicy red peppers. I’m not sure what kind of pepper they are–they look exactly like jalepeños, only red. Are there red jalepeños? I added some of the seeds from the first pepper, then decided to include all the seeds and veins from the second pepper because I’M NOT A WIMP!
Spicerific. After mixing everything around, I decided to sample a potato and a brussel to see if they were ready for consumption. The potato was perfecto: cooked through, soft, and well-seasoned. The brussel was still pretty raw and cabbagey on its curved, uncut side. That’s because I first cooked all the brussels flat side down. I flipped all the brussels to curved-side down and then I made my FATAL ERROR. I added an egg.
What I wanted to do was fry an egg on top of this whole mess. In the past, I have put a fried egg over roasted veggies that I made in the oven, and that is a great breakfast.
Actually, now that I’m remembering, I feel like Ben fried that egg…
Anyway, what I did not realize during my cooking adventure today is that an egg would not fry so perfectly on top of a mess of veggies. It just plopped like a glob and shimmered around like warm lazy Jello. I wish I had a picture, but of course I was too busy freaking out and trying to rectify this situation to grab my camera. I decided to scramble the egg around like in Chinese food. It actually wasn’t bad at all, not fatal, but not what I was going for.
Review: It was delicious. I am satisfied. I am sated. Ben would have added salt, but I’m pretty sensitive to over-salting and thought it was perfect. The potatoes were moist and crispy and crunchy and held both the spice of the peppers and the warm flavor of the curry powder. The brussels were happily, perfectly decadent. Both sides cooked down soft and brown, they melted. The onions kept their crunch and added a brightness to the dish. They cleansed the palate between those dirty delicious brussels and potatoes. The pepper meat had a good, subtle, clean flavor, but boy were those seeds spicy! If I could only use one part of the pepper, I would choose its seeds. And finally, the egg was there. The egg was fine.
Next time, I think I would use bacon to breakfastify this meal even more. Maybe I could cook the bacon in the pan first, then fry up the brussels and potatoes in the bacon fat. I’d add garlic. I didn’t use garlic today because I didn’t feel like chopping those tiny little garlics. And if I want to add an egg, I’ll fry it in a different pan!