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That’s right.  My boyfriend plays D&D.  Yeah, you heard me right.  D&D, as in Dungeons & Dragons. They call him the “dungeon master”, which I’m guessing means that makes him extra cool and awesome.  I’m told I’m not to be ashamed.  So I’m not.

How does this affect my life?  Aside from the crazed D&D girl groupies knocking down the door on a day to day basis and the rare appeal that I create a character and play along, not that much.  Except, some nights, dinner needs to get done in a flash in order to allow ample time for D&D shenanigans to play out.  Tonight the deadline was 8:30.   We didn’t get home until late because we were busy doing important things like buying a Trader Joe’s basil plant and arguing about whether grocery bags should be put on the floor of the car where people’s feet go (I don’t care; he cares very much).

Even after coming home with too many groceries and endless possibilities, sometimes you still want the simple things.  Like runny eggs on toast.  Here’s a quick and delicious rendition from Cooking Light magazine (adapted a bit because I like to use butter and Cooking Light doesn’t, and also because I ran out of lemon so I used  bottled yuzu ponzu).

So… I guess the next time we talk, we can pretend we didn’t have this conversation.  Right?

Open-Faced Sandwiches with Ricotta, Arugula and Fried Egg
Adapted from Cooking Light, May 2010

Yields 6 sandwiches

Ingredients

6 slices sourdough bread
unsalted butter
4 cups arugula
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons lemon juice (I used 2 teaspoons Japanese yuzu ponzu because I didn’t have lemons!  Sounds weird but it works)
6 large eggs
1 1/2  cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1.  Preheat broiler to high.  Lightly butter both sides of bread and lay on a baking sheet.  Broil 2 minutes on each side or until lightly toasted (a toaster oven would work perfectly for this)

2.  Combine ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses with thyme and salt to taste.  Set aside.

3.  Combine arugula, 1 tablespoon oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

4.  Heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  While the pan is heating, spread toasted bread with the cheese mixture and top with a handful of the lemony arugula.  Arrange on a large tray or plate and set it near the stove for easy access.  Working with 2 or 3 eggs at a time, depending on the size of your skillet, crack eggs into pan and cook approximately 2 minutes.  Cover and cook an additional 2 minutes or until the whites are completely set but the y0lk is still jiggly (that’s a technical term).

5.  With a wide spatula, carefully transfer cooked eggs to tops of arugula and cheese-piled toasts.  Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste.  Repeat the process with the remaining eggs.  Serve, with plenty of napkins and perhaps a side salad (we had a baby heirloom tomato salad with balsamic and basil from our new basil plant!)

A gluten-free aside: For the guys, I used sourdough bread, but for myself, I wrapped my egg, cheese mixture and arugula in a brown rice tortilla.  I’m trying a gluten-free diet for personal health reasons.  It was mighty tasty!

I wish I could say I make a new dish every day, that I am continuously forging ahead to learn something new and exciting when I cook.  Actually, I can be a bit of a bore.  More often than not, I find something I like and I make it for, like, a week.  Or two.  Or… months.  My friend, Bonnie, likes to ask me all the time if I’m going to cook “red noodle”.  This is because for almost the entire year I lived with her before she moved out and became a mom to the cutest baby on this planet, I would make some sort of concoction of red food, meaning basically anything with tomato sauce in a pot.  I mean, this happened 2-3 times a week for a year.  It’s embarrassing.  I’m pathetic.  I’m kind of gross.  Yes, yes, and yes.

Aside from pointing out my sad tendencies,  I bring this up because, for the past week, whenever I’ve had the chance to eat at home I’ve prepared some combination of roasted vegetables  topped with a tangy, garlicky yogurt sauce.  So not gross.  So very yum.  I yearn for satisfying vegetables tossed with bright flavors that make me feel better about all the gluttony and debauchery I’ve participated in this past weekend.  Heck, let’s be honest.  This past year?  Yeah, I’ve been a bad girl.  A bad girl that  just turned 26.

Mid-twenties* crisis, anyone?   Hey, at least a few great recipes were discovered as a result of my mini-freak out.  And more to the point, I discovered that sometimes, ruts can be utterly delicious.  And simple, to boot. (Thanks for the balloon, Lily.  And the pretty yellow flowers to distract me from its depressing message!) 🙂

Because I have been an extremely delinquent photographer (and using my cell-phone camera, no less),  I only have two recipes for you today.  The first is for crunchy toasted  chickpeas, which are usually a party snack (think tres chic Chex Mix, people), but I have discovered I love throwing them in with my main dishes, like the second recipe to follow, for some satisfying crunch and flavorful punch.     The second recipe I will leave you with is  simply roasted parsnips and potatoes topped with a cucumber yogurt sauce, which is very similar to a raita (photo unavailable as a result of aforementioned delinquency).   Make extra of the sauce.  It’s good on/in practically anything else (pita chips, rice, fish, salad, soups, and as we discovered this evening, a welcomed diversion from an over-cooked pork chop).

Hope you can try and enjoy!  Or give me some tips.  Since I will be eating this for a while, I could use some variation.

Crunchy Chickpeas

Ingredients:

1 16-oz. can chickpeas, drained and patted dry
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons garam masala (or more, if desired)
handful of cilantro, chopped (stems and all)
kosher salt to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 450° F.
2.  In a  bowl, pour olive oil over chickpeas and toss to coat.  Add the garam masala and salt and toss again.  Take a bite of one to make sure it’s adequately seasoned.
3.  Spread the chickpeas in a single layer on a baking sheet.
4.  Bake in oven for approximately 50 minutes, or until crunchy.  Toss with cilantro and serve.

Roasted Parsnips and Potatoes w/ Garlicky Yogurt Sauce
Turnips, beets, sweet potatoes, or just about anything else would be great this way, too

Ingredients:

6 small potatoes, scrubbed and halved (I use red bliss or new potatoes)
5 parsnips, washed, peeled, and quartered
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt (can use sourcream or a blend of yogurt and sourcream for a richer sauce)
handful of fresh dill, washed and chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried dill, although fresh is best)
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 English cucumber, peeled
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 450° F.
2.  On a large baking sheet, toss potatoes and parsnips in olive oil, salt, and pepper (sound familiar?)
3.  Bake in oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until nicely golden grown and crispy.
4.  Meanwhile, using a microplane or the small holes of a grater, grate the garlic into the yogurt (watch your fingers!).  Then, use the larger holes of a grater to grate in the cucumber.
5.  Add lemon juice, chopped dill, and salt.  Mix and give it a taste test.  Adjust seasoning as desired.

Serving Suggestions:  Toss the chickpeas with the roasted vegetables, add a dollop of the sauce and enjoy!  This is not necessarily a main course (although I do sometimes enjoy it with a simple green salad on the side to make it a full meal for myself).

* Is 26 considered mid-twenties or late twenties?   I argue for late twenties but many disagree.