Today is Valentine’s Day, something I’ve never been terribly into, but I’ve always enjoyed making the cards for it and other occasions. In fact, when I read My Life in France by Julia Child and her grand-nephew Alex Prud’Homme, I was so very excited to learn that Julia made valentines in lieu of holiday cards. This year, however, I didn’t plan well and, as a result, didn’t make any cards, even though I had come up with what I thought was a fantastic idea back in October. Oh well. BUT (and I don’t care that you shouldn’t start sentences with BUT) had I made the cards, I would have tried to draw, then would have ultimately given up trying to draw, then would have tried to find a detailed old-fashioned-y looking illustration of the human heart. I then would have printed it up on cream-colored paper, trimmed it down to size, then affixed it to sturdier blood-red paper. I had it, along with many other things, all planned out in my head. Imagine, then, my expression when I saw the cover of My Mistress’s Sparrow Is Dead, a collection of short stories edited by Jeffrey Eugenides. The art is very close to the valentine I had mentally mapped out, so guess what book has just jumped out of the ether, as they say, directly to the top of my reading list? After I finish the two I’m reading simultaneously, of course.
Last night I hard-boiled some eggs, which I planned to chop up and add to the salad I packed for lunch today. Along with the greens I’ve got some feta cheese, grape tomatoes and cut up turkey meatballs, which is what we had for dinner yesterday evening.
(Quickly, about meatballs: I didn’t grow up in a meatball-eating household, and therefore have never been much of a meatball-maker. In the past year or so, for whatever reason, I’ve found myself doing exactly that. I’ve tried three recipes thus far — beef, bacon and Parmesan; lamb, mint and feta; and turkey, parsley and scallion — all with what I think is a great deal of success. Last night’s meatballs needed breadcrumbs, as most meatballs seem to. I had some left over from a previous meal (I had toasted them with a little butter, black pepper and lemon juice and sprinkled them over cauliflower and broccoli) so I used those along with the regular whole wheat crumbs. Honestly, I couldn’t really taste the difference. Then again, I had cut up the meatballs to eat in a salad quite similar to what I’ll have for lunch today, except instead of feta, I melted some Leonora cheese (Spanish, goat) in the toaster oven and mixed it into the salad before adding a really basic dressing of lemon juice, lemon zest, rice vinegar and olive oil. Most likely the lemon from the vinaigrette masked the lemon from the breadcrumbs. Regardless… back to the eggs.)
My mother has the ideal vessels for hard-boiling eggs: the little metal ewers she uses to make Armenian coffee. She has them in multiple sizes, so she can make as much or as little coffee as she needs. The one she uses the most frequently (coffee for two) is perfect for boiling exactly one jumbo egg, which is the only size egg my very picky father likes to see in his fridge. I don’t have any ewers of any size, so I just used a boring old pot. I think I’ll see if I can swipe one of the lesser-used ewers this weekend, when I go to New York. There’s an especially pretty blue-and-white enameled one that I’ve always liked…
Here’s my favorite part of boiling eggs — fishing them out of the water, putting them into a bowl, and watching the water evaporate off of their shells. I can’t explain why I like it so much, but I will say that sometimes I splash more water onto them just to have a repeat viewing. It makes me think of being in the darkroom and of developer, seeing the tones in a photograph slowly emerge before grabbing the tongs and plunging the paper into the stop bath.
Anyway, I thought my eggs were particularly pretty this morning when I took them out of the fridge, and since I have no idea whatsoever as to the whereabouts of my camera, I caved and used my phone to photograph them. Hopefully this will not become a habit.