I have stopped and started writing this post in my mind several times over the last couple of weeks. I wanted to say something profound. Comforting. Something that would help us make sense. And now I find myself on the eve of the new year with the thought that, very often, the world simply does not make sense. But I wanted to offer something, so here it is, stolen from Bob Dylan’s ‘Goin to Acapulco:’
“It’s a wicked life, but what the hell, everybody’s got to eat.”
And now I’ll tell you what to eat: Eggs in purgatory. I have fallen madly for The Yellow House and yesterday I made this recipe after a cross-country ski adventure with Dan. We mowed it, along with Luna Coffee Stouts from Hinterland.
I followed the recipe as is, and while mine did not look quite as beautiful as hers, it tasted like heaven.
Eggs in purgatory (Uova al purgatorio)
From The Yellow House
1 loaf thick country-style bread, sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
28 ounces canned, peeled whole tomatoes and their liquid (or blanched, peeled whole tomatoes)
8 ounces canned tomato purée
Ground black pepper
A handful of flat-leaf Italian parsley, roughly chopped
Parmigiano or asiago, shaved
Toast the bread and set aside, covering with a clean dish towel. It’s okay if it cools a bit.
In a thick-bottomed, oven-proof pan or Dutch oven, melt the butter. Sauté the onion over medium heat until translucent and aromatic, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Do not allow the garlic to brown.
Add both the whole tomatoes and the tomato purée, stirring and using a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer, allowing excess liquid to boil off and the sauce to thicken, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Is the sauce too acidic, too sweet? Adjust as needed—sometimes it needs a pinch of brown sugar, a splash of red wine vinegar, or a dash of red pepper flakes.
Keeping the sauce at a low simmer, start the broiler on high. Using the back of your wooden spoon, make small wells in the sauce and gently crack one egg into the well. The sauce should still be on the stovetop simmering, so the eggs should start cooking immediately. When all the eggs are situated in the sauce, turn off the range and slide the pan under the broiler.
Broil, keeping a close eye on the eggs, until the whites are set and yolks have reached the desired doneness.
Place slices of bread on plates, and scoop eggs and sauce on top. Sprinkle liberally with parsley and top with cheese. Serve immediately with more black pepper.
And now I offer you an invitation for the new year. It comes from a Native American elder and I first heard it while hiking across southern New Mexico. Our backpacking guide, Kate, read it to us one night using the glow from her headlamp. I then wrote it in my brown journal that I carried with me all 120 miles of the trip. When words fail me, I rely on the words of others and I found myself thinking about these words today.
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your hearts longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive… It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company that you keep in the empty moments.
Here’s to daring to dream in 2013. Happy New Year.