Valentine’s Day: Eggs à la Daniel

Dan and I tend not to go all out on the whole Valentine’s Day thing. This is the result of a whole confluence of factors, none of which have to do with either of us being curmudgeons who disapprove of occasions for chocolate-eating and flower-viewing. The holiday, however, comes directly between the winter holidays and the March holidays (namely our birthdays), right when we are smack-dab out of ideas for presents. It also has an unfortunate tendency of falling on an inconvenient day of the week like, for example, a Tuesday when the two of us are preoccupied with necessities like writing papers and making sure there is something clean to wear the next day. We’ve generally decided to skip presents and pre- or postpone the day’s celebrations to some time later in the week.

Still, say what you will about me, but I am no fool. I fully recognize Valentine’s day as the perfect opportunity to buy something pink and bubbly to drink that Dan will graciously choose not to complain about. It’s also the best time to cook up simple indulgencies. Sure, it’s probably unwise to use a full stick of butter in every meal, but on Valentine’s Day? It’s just another way to say I love you.

This dish is based on one published by Martha Stewart. Martha named the dish after her “editorial director of decorating” (not sure what that means), Kevin. I’ve adapted the dish slightly, and the name completely. This is one of the first things Dan and I cooked together and very likely one of the main reasons he’s decided to stick around so long. I usually serve with a few strips of good bacon and part of a baguette. A perfectly indulgent treat for Valentine’s day!


Eggs à la Daniel

Ingredients (Serves two):

2 tomatoes, peeled and halved

2 large cloves of garlic, crushed

1 sprig fresh rosemary (optional)

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

4 eggs

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon sugar

2 large onions, sliced

Sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

2. Scoop the seeds out of the tomatoes and rub them with olive oil. Place the tomatoes cut side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Insert some of the crushed garlic and some of the rosemary leaves underneath each of the tomatoes. Sprinkle each tomato with salt and pepper, and place in the oven. Let bake about 45 minutes, until soft.

3. Heat the butter in a small pan over medium-low heat. When melted, add the onions and the tablespoon of sugar. Stir to coat the onions in both sugar and butter. Leave to caramelize, stirring occasionally. Add a few drops of water if it looks as if the onions are beginning to burn.

4. Remove the tomatoes from the oven when they are done and set aside. Preheat the oven to broil.

5. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a small, oven-proof, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Crack two eggs into the skillet side by side and heat until the whites are just set. Place two tablespoons of caramelized onions on the whites between the two yolks.  Put two tomatoes over the onions to cover. Cover the whole concoction with the thinly sliced cheddar.

6. Transfer the pan to the broiler, and leave until the cheese is melted, about 30 seconds.

7. Slide the whole delicious mess onto a plate and enjoy!

Carbs: Negligible, unless served with bread.

A Little Taste of (Grocery Store) Home

Dan and I are both incredibly busy this semester. For example: I got home tonight around 8 PM after spending the weekend competing in a mock trial competition. Luckily for me, this weekend’s competition was in DC—meaning I got home at the civilized 8 o’clock, rather than the more typical midnight. I spent the rest of the evening working on schoolwork, which has to get done tonight because I will be at work from 9-4:30 tomorrow and in class starting at 5. You can bet I relished the extra hour of daylight-savings sleep I got last night!

And really, my schedule looks downright leisurely when compared to Dan’s. Dan currently spends a good part of his time working to end genocide and mass atrocities at STAND, the student led division of United to End Genocide. Both organizations do a lot of good, and are really worth checking out if you’re unfamiliar with them. As fantastic as Dan’s work with STAND is, it’s also particularly time consuming. He spends a fair amount of time taking the message on the road, traveling to conferences and meetings around the country.

Practically speaking this means two things. First, between my mock trial schedule and his STAND activities, we are rarely in the same city at the same time on the weekends. And secondly, I eat a lot of pasta.

When Dan was first diagnosed, I thought that my days of eating big bowls of pasta for dinner were largely behind me. Instead, I’ve discovered that carb-heavy meals are one of the hidden advantages of our conflicting schedules this semester (right up there with Doctor Who marathons and sleeping in until noon). Pasta is undeniably a comfort food: easy to prepare, soothingly warm, and (at least when I make it), full of garlic.

This recipe is my best approximation of the positively addictive Fusilli Pasta Salad at Fairway. The big meaty taste here comes from the eggplant, making it a great vegetarian option (if you omit the Parmesan, it could also make a fairly tasty vegan meal). One of the interesting things about this dish is that it absolutely tastes better the day after it is made. Sitting overnight in the fridge gives the flavors a change to blend in a way that a quick stir around a bowl just can’t accomplish.


Ingredients—Serves 8 (or 4 over 2 days)

1 box dry fusilli pasta—340 g

1 large(ish) eggplant—26.6 g

4-10 cloves garlic

4 cups baby arugula, washed and dried

3/4 cup grated Parmesan

Olive oil

Salt & Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch to 1-inch cubes. To do this, begin by slicing the eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Then cut each slice into a rectangle.

2. Place all eggplant cubes in a large bowl, and drizzle a heavy drizzle of olive oil over them. They taste best when they’ve had a chance to absorb some sincere amount of oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and mix with your hands to make sure every piece is properly oiled, salted and peppered. Eggplant soaks up oil like a sponge, so move pretty quickly here.

3. Spread the cut eggplant out on a parchment paper- or aluminum foil-lined baking sheet (this isn’t necessary necessary, but it will save you a headache when washing the baking sheet later). Put the eggplant in the oven, and set your timer for ten minutes.

4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on the back burner of your stove. Ignore it until it reaches a rolling boil.

5. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, chop your 4-10 garlic cloves. Last time I made this recipe, I used five large garlic cloves and found myself really missing a stronger garlic flavor. Let your own taste be the judge here—if you’re the kind of person who hates bad breath more than you love garlic, take it easy with the garlic.

6. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and sauté until softened, about a minute or two. Set aside.

7. When the eggplant timer goes off, check the eggplant. Pull the baking sheet out of the oven. Use a spatula to scrape any stuck pieces of eggplant up, and flip all of the pieces over. Then put the eggplant back in the oven with the baking sheet facing the opposite direction (rotate it 180 degrees from the position you took it out in). Set your timer for five minutes more.

8. When the pasta water comes to a boil, pour the full box of pasta in the water and stir. Cook according to package instructions. When the pasta is done cooking, drain it, rinse it in cool water, and set it aside in a large bowl. Pour a heavy glug of olive oil over the pasta, and stir it to prevent it from becoming sticky.

9. Add the 4 cups of washed arugula, the sautéed garlic and 3/4 cup of grated Parmesan to the pasta. Stir to combine.

10. Check the eggplant again when the timer goes off. It may still need another five to ten minutes. The eggplant is ready when it has darkened and softened. At that point, remove the eggplant from the oven and add it to the pasta mixture, stirring to combine.

11. Taste the pasta and season it with salt and pepper, if needed. For the tastiest result, let the pasta sit in the fridge overnight, and eat it for lunch or dinner the following day.

Total Carbs: 367

Carbs Per Serving: 46

Comfort Me with Avocado (Toast)

The problem with most so-called “comfort foods” is that they are a heck of a lot of work. My mom’s homemade chicken soup is fantastically fantastic, and could beat your mom’s chicken soup in a chicken-soup-battle-to-the-death any day of the week—but if my mom’s not here to make it, it’s just not quite as comforting. The best comfort foods are simple enough to make even when recovering from a three-day fever and an overnight trip to the emergency room. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you avocado toast.

This is not avocado toast

 I woke up early on Thursday morning to get in some last-minute studying for my midterm later that day. Then I swallowed and realized there was no way that was happening. My throat was in excruciating pain. For some reason, perhaps because I think very very slowly in the morning, I decided it was still a good idea to try to sit through my econ lecture on . . . actually, I have no idea what the lecture was on. Half way through I bolted, bags, umbrella and all, and made my way over to student health.

After much debate, the friendly people at student health came to the conclusion that they had no idea what was wrong with me, or with my throat, but that if it got any worse, I should probably go to the emergency room. They did give me a note to get out of my midterm, which, considering I was running a 102 fever at that point was probably a good thing.

So instead of the weekend Dan and I planned, (Eastern Market, Capitol Hill Books, Nando’s Piri Piri Chicken and 50/50), there was much whining (me), comforting (Dan and my mom, over the phone), watching of the Hour, and a midnight trip to the ER on Friday night. Well, the only thing that needs to be said about that is that I was by far the soberest patient in there that night and, unlike the other patient in my room, did not threaten to throw an apple at any of the nurses.

Anyway, I am well on the road to recovery now, which is a big relief. But, since swallowing even water had been a serious problem, I ate nothing on Thursday or Friday. So the challenge of today, the first day I could walk to the kitchen without taking a break to lie down on the couch, was to find something to eat that was delicious, fatty, and easy to make. Enter avocado toast.

This time last year, I was on study abroad in Ghana. It was an all-around wonderful experience that I will try to address more in a future post (I am planning on trying to make fried yams at some point), but one of the few things I did not love about Ghana was the spiciness level of the food. I am not quite as much of a wimp as Dan is when it comes to spicy food, but I lean towards the wimpy side. So one afternoon, when I could not stomach the thought of any more jollof rice, I invented avocado toast.

Some other delicious Ghanaian produce: white pineapples and papaya

(I cannot take credit for this as an invention in the grand scheme of things—I am sure avocado toast has been invented by hundreds of people all around the world. But for me, then, it was a new idea, and a pretty cool one at that).

Avocado toast is comforting, high in all the best kinds of fat and fiber, creamy and delicious. Best of all, you can make it sitting at your kitchen table if you’re feeling too weak to stand!


1/2 a small-ish Calafornia avocado- 6 carbs

1 piece of whole wheat bread, toasted- 20 Carbs

About a tablespoon of olive oil

Salt & Pepper

1. Cut your avocado in half. Wrap the other half in saran wrap, with the pit still in it to keep it from turning brown (it won’t keep the exposed part from turning brown, but it will prevent air from getting to the part under the pit and oxidizing it).

2. Slice the avocado flesh horizontally, and then vertically, and use a spoon to scrape it into a small bowl, just like you were making guacamole.


3. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil over the avocado. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Mash it all up.

4. Spread the avocado on the toast. And there you go: you’ve got a comforting piece of avocado toast!

Total Carbs: 26

Muppet Toast!