If I had to come up with a cooking mantra from friends, family, students, and neighbors, it could very well be,
I just don’t have time to cook.
Sometimes that makes sense to me. Like I’m in the middle of cleaning out closets, in a frenzied rush to pack and leave for a trip, or between a deadline, picking someone up from the airport, and a trip to the movies. Ok, I’ll have some cheese and crackers. Tuna out of a can. Slice an apple.
But when I take this little meme and run with it, I come away with the knowledge that includes visions of lives running and running on empty or on the fast track without a centered vision of what it means to live in a home. Kind of like we run around a lot because we can. We watch cooking on tv, talk “Chopped” with our spouses, and then refuse to grocery shop because it takes too much time. Don’t set the table and, instead, eat standing up dropping cracker crumbs in the sink.
Do we really have so much to do that we don’t want to feed ourselves well and healthily? It’s a question for which there’s no answer. Work triumphs. Health and emotional well-being suffers. Soccer, tv, and the computer win. Laughter, easy talk, difficult conversations, and connections around the table are lessened. Rather sad.
While there’s no swift kick the pants that’ll fix it all, we can have a little list of wholesome, flash-in-the-pan meals to settle the space between famished and full. On my list is always a pan of eggs. Ok, I’m a bit big on eggs; you’re right. I know. They’re worth it.
Below are few favorites you might make for dinner (breakfast? lunch?) when time is limited OR scroll past to get to the spinach omelet. Most would serve well for Meatless Mondays or Fridays in Lent.
Or, as my good friend Chis always says,
I never met an egg I didn’t like.
The fastest thing of all is an omelet. And while you might not feel you make a great omelet, you’ll eat the first one and the last one you make. You’ll still have dinner and your omelets will get better and better. You’ll be your friends’ or spouse’s hero for this. It may be your claim to fame. Scroll down for more specific omelet instructions in links. Meanwhile, try this and have a happy dinner done in 2 or 3 minutes:
SPINACH OMELET WITH TOMATOES, MOZZARELLA BALLS, AND OLIVES
serves 1 This doubles easily; use a 10 or 12-inch non-stick pan.
There are too many words required to describe cooking an omelet.
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon water
- Pinch each fresh ground pepper and kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- Boccachini (mozzarella balls), cherry tomatoes, olives–Garnish
Set the table, pour the wine, and have the plate ready at the counter. Warm plate if you have time.
In a glass measuring cup, whisk (or use fork) together eggs briefly with water, pepper, and salt. Set aside.
Add oil or butter to a 9-inch nonstick pan and heat over medium-high flame until quite hot; butter should be sizzling or oil should be nearly smoking.
Add spinach to hot pan and let cook down 30 seconds or so until wilted. Pour in eggs evenly over spinach; let sit for about 10 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, pull down the top edge of the omelet to let the uncooked egg down into the pan. Repeat with the right side, bottom, and left side. Turn off heat, let sit 30 seconds to finish cooking if necessary. Omelet should be tender and quite moist.
Slide the spatula under the right side of the omelet and fold it to the center; repeat with the left side. Tip skillet and slide the omelet out onto the plate. If you want, you can flip or turn the pan over as you tip it out onto the plate. (Alternately fold it in half or just tip the whole thing upside down onto the plate.) Garnish with boccachini, cherry tomatoes, and olives.
Wine: I’d like a light white with this, but an omelet with a glass of wine is a very personal choice because it’s the quintessential solo cook’s meal. Drink what you have or what you like. A Pinot Gris would make me happy.
I just don’t have time to cook.
Sing a new song,
all text, all photographs: copyright Alyce Morgan, 2016 More Time at the Table