There are few things about moving into an apartment in the OC to which Atticus, Christopher, and I have had some difficulty adjusting. We can’t complain about the amenities, and we certainly do not regret our proximity to the ocean (sigh). But, as the primary household cook, I had been accustomed to snipping a little of this along with a fistful of that to complete any planned or impromptu meal at home.
In short, I miss my garden. So, yesterday I spent some time gathering information and seeking inspirational images. It turns out that there’s quite a collection of apartment gardening “out there.” I already have potted plants, but my enthusiasm is renewed by the thought of vertical gardens or ‘living walls.’ There’s hope for my spring and summer!
Oh, there is another thing– I miss my parents and brother. Christopher and I invited them over for brunch. And, as I did manage to transport some of my favorite potted herbs from our former yard to our present patio, I decided I ought to highlight the plants that remind me of home. I came up with this one. It’s Mexican-inspired with an El Salvadoran twist. Thyme and oregano were the humble heroes of our meal today, my take on huevos rancheros.
Poached Eggs al Ranchero
Curtido Cabbage Salad (the El Salvadoran part):
1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, grated
1 quart boiling water
1 bunch green onions (white part or bulb, saving the green for dressing), sliced
1 C vinegar, (I use apple cider)
1/2 C water
1 tsp oregano
3-5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tsp sea salt
1 serrano pepper, sliced and de-seeded (optional)
Combine the cabbage and carrots in a large bowl and pour the boiling water over the mixture. Allow the mixture to steep for 5 minutes; drain well. Return the cabbage and carrots to the bowl. Mix in the green onion bulbs, vinegar, 1/2 cup of water, oregano, thyme, and salt. Toss until all ingredients are combined. Chill for 20 minutes before serving.
Poached Eggs in Salsa Molcajete:
16-18 oz. roasted molcajete salsa (sometimes found in the deli or international cheese section in markets)
1 can whole black beans, rinsed and drained
1 C roasted corn
4-6 large organic eggs
8-12 yellow corn tortillas, toasted on a cast iron griddle (or ‘tostadas’)
1/2 bunch spinach
green onions, remaining green part for garnish
additional molcajete salsa
In a wide covered saucepan, simmer salsa, beans, and corn for 10 minutes. Turn heat to medium-low and add eggs. It might help to use a wooden spoon to make “holes” in the salsa mixture for each individual egg. Cover and cook just until egg whites as no longer translucent.
Place two tostadas on each plate. Smear with extra molcajete salsa. Layer with a few spinach leaves, hot salsa mixture, and one poached egg. Garnish with green onions. Serve with Curtido Cabbage Salad.
Oh, and next time, just because they are in season, please add one ripe avocado, sliced. I forgot to use the one I had! It seems I will have the burden of finding some other use for that creamy deliciousness.