A bit of a warm breakfast on a heat-soaked morning, but the cooking is minimal and the food is a fine change from summer yogurt and fresh fruit.  Make your coffee first because once you begin making this sweet little meal, it’ll need your undivided attention.  Use up some of those ever-ripening Minnesota –Indiana, Illinois, Aix-en-Provence, New Jersey– tomatoes. Just add a few ruby-red slices to your ricotta-slathered toast along with an egg and a little julienne basil, et voila, you’re at the table!  Here’s how:

ricotta toast with basil egg    1 serving (repeat for more)

                         Read through recipe before cooking. 


You’ll need:

  • 1 slice whole wheat bread
  • 2 tablespoons ricotta
  • kosher salt/fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 thin slices tomato
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons julienne basil

  1. Place oven rack 4 inches from broiler element.  Preheat broiler.
  2. Spread ricotta on bread, season with salt and pepper; place on baking sheet.
  3. Broil 2 minutes or until ricotta is warm. Remove from oven, top with tomatoes. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper and broil again for one minute.
  4. While you’re broiling the bread, cheese, and tomatoes, heat oil or butter in a small skillet over medium high heat.  Add egg and cook until almost, but not totally done. Season egg with salt and pepper while it’s cooking. (Egg should be runny on top.)
  5. Add egg on top of the tomatoes and garnish with basil. Run under broiler briefly to finish cooking egg.
  6. Serve hot.

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dog days of august in saint paul, minnesota

Just for fun for dog days, here’s Tucker the Pup in 2010.

The heat we missed in early August when we had two weeks of temps in the 70’s arrived last weekend.  With temperatures pushing 100 degrees Fahrenheit and heat indexes way over that, Saint Paul folk — typically able to withstand any onslaught of cold or hot weather–are wilting. (It’s State Fair time, too.) People who never complain about the weather are just about “under the weather” over this last blast of wet-breathing miasma.  Those without air conditioning are leaving home in search of relief in friends’ homes or malls.  When Dave and I gave up even grilling the other night and headed to Scusi, our favorite across-the-street wine bar, we found that the poor restaurant cooling systems can’t keep up with it either, though they gave it a valiant try. (It was bearable.)  Of course, you have to figure there are pizza ovens, huge gas stoves, grills, and salamanders adding to the fray.  The dripping server brought our happy hour half-price pizza and salad with a wan grin, but was clearly unhappy to be running around in the typical waiter garb: long-sleeved white shirt, black slacks, and apron.  The rest of us had our muumuus on — or the male version thereof.

A great big boomer thunderstorm rolled in overnight and I awoke with hopes of a cooler, less humid morning—-no joy.  79 degrees F and a dewpoint of 73 at 7am when we walked the mile with the slower and slower dogs.  No hope in sight for days.  This is why, America, Minnesotans have cabins up north.  Just in case you wondered.  Going to the lake is a time-honored past time in northern Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.  I grew up going as often as my parents could get away and I’m sorely disappointed this morning that not one friend invited us up for this sweltering weekend.  We are considering holing up in a hotel with freezing central air, ordering room service, and watching sleazy movies Saturday and Sunday.  Or, as I told Dave, “Look and see how many miles we have.  Maybe we can fly somewhere cool.”
“And where would that be?” asked Dave.

I’m guessing we’re stuck in our basement with Netflix and a few cold beers or, if I’m lucky, lunch and an afternoon at Mall of America.  The only time we approach that place is when it’s 20 below zero and we can’t look at each other across the living room one more afternoon or when it’s 95 and I need a walk and red wine in the same afternoon.  I’m not sure we’ve ever bought anything there except maybe at Williams-Sonoma.  I do need some dishes, though.

In this heat I’m reading:  TRANSATLANTIC by Colum McCann ( new and lyrically written) and FAMILIES OF THE VINE: Seasons Among the Winemakers of Southwest France by Michael S. Sanders. Non-fiction that reads like fiction is Michael Sander’s forte-published in 2006, but I sadly missed it.  I adore Michael Sanders and this book is about one of my favorite grapes–Malbec or Cahors, as it’s known in France.  (French “Malbec” is usually a blend of grapes, however–Malbec, Merlot, and Tannat.)

And I’m listening to:  MUMFORD AND SONS–  2 albums:  Babel and Sigh No More.    As I prepare for choir to start, I’m listening, over and over again, to our first (one rehearsal) anthem–which is a ’96 rendition of the 23rd Psalm by Stuart Townend. No scooping, though!  Probably everyone’s sung it (we haven’t), but I adore anthems that congregations can participate in.   Too often, we only hear the 23rd at funerals.  Does anyone preach on it even when it’s in the lectionary?  Actually, I rarely hear anyone preach the psalms.  Pity.  I love the people’s song prayers. 

Help the hungry in Syria?

Like everyone else, I’m praying for peace in our world and food for the hungry–especially in Syria.  If you’d like to contribute–something very positive to do when we think we can do nothing–contact the World Food Programme.  They’re getting food to Syrians in-country as well as in the refugee areas.

Stay cool as you sing a new song,
Alyce