Wednesday, 21 October 2015 11:36

Nuclear eggs really aren’t good for you

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If nagging is responsible for so many failed relationships, I wonder what the designers of my hood vent/microwave had in mind when they hardwired a nag feature into the appliance?

At first, it hadn’t seemed such a bad idea. Having previously discovered day(s)-old spaghetti, abandoned in a microwave after wandering off to check my email, I got where they were coming from.
But by the second double beeping nag of my new nuker, I forgot its context and became certain it had been designed with forethought and malice in someone’s blackened heart.
Beepbeep! Your one-third cup of oatmeal is done!
Beepbeep! I’ve reheated the edges of your soup, but the middle is still cold.
Beepbeep! Spaghetti sauce is now splattered EVERYWHERE!
Nevertheless, I should probably be grateful.
Back in the dark ages, as a kid in a family of my mother, my sister and my self, we didn’t have a microwave at all. Like cave people, we had to heat leftovers in a pot on the stove. Or else slide a covered casserole dish into the oven and (quelle horrors!) wait.
 When we did finally get our first big brown box, which took up two-thirds of the kitchen’s usable counter space, everything changed. All of a sudden things that used to take half an hour to reheat only took 20 minutes in 30-second intervals, with stirring in between.
 “Sure, but you can’t actually cook in that thing,” someone pointed out.
And so it began. As though a gauntlet had been thrown down, my mother began a quest to find a recipe, an actual recipe, that works in a microwave.
 Decades have passed.
  The quest is still in progress.
  “Here, try this,” she says as she hands me a savoury egg dish, cooked in a plastic contraption from the 1980s, that has no doubt pre-seeded the eggs with tumours.
 I sniff and hand them back.
“It’s hard to believe these brownies were done in the microwave, don’t you think.”
I do not.
“You have to try this casserole. It was done in the ...”
I stop her and insist that microwaves are only good for two things: warming leftovers and melting butter for muffin batter. Sometimes I’m not even sure about those.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the radiation shielding, a different family member is getting rid of her microwave entirely.
“Causes birth defects,” she, having menopaused in the 1960s, explains.
“It said so in one of those emails I get,” she says, then presents a meat pie that’s been reheated, from frozen, in a toaster oven.
The pie, I discover, is holding at roughly the same temperature as microbiology lab incubators all over the world.
Because I was taught to always be polite, even though my life may be on the line, I resist the urge to ask for a microscope and a slide. I do the only thing I can. I take a bite, then another. I smile and say thank you, while secretly wishing for my microwave. Nag feature and all.

Garden Vegetable & Goat Cheese Clafoutis
8 slices Canadian back bacon, diced (1/2 cup)
1/2 medium shallot, finely diced
4” zucchini, thinly sliced into coins
4 large eggs
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
1/3 cup fresh goat cheese (chevre)
5 strawberry (or 10 grape) tomatoes, halved
Freshly ground pepper
In a small skillet over medium heat, saute bacon and shallot until shallot is softened. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, flour and pepper sauce until combined.
Lightly butter 5 custard dishes and into each place 1 Tbs of the bacon/shallot mixture. Follow with 4 zucchini coins and 1/2 of the goat cheese, divided evenly between dishes. Sprinkle with a pinch of pepper.
Measure 1/4 cup of the egg mixture into each dish, followed by the remaining bacon, 4 more coins of zucchini each, and remaining goat cheese. Sprinkle with a pinch of pepper.
Add remaining egg mixture and press 2 halves of tomatoes into the mix. Place dishes on a baking sheet and bake at 340F for 25 minutes, until lightly set. Place under broiler until tops are golden and puffed (5-10 minutes). Serve immediately.

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