I read an enlightening column in the NYTimes last week. Sam Anderson wrote in “New Sentences” in the Sunday Magazine about the “fleeting associations that make up a life.” I’ve been thinking about the small thoughts that pop into my head when going about my day.
When I make tuna salad I picture Clare Forster conscientiously breaking the fish chunks into mayonnaise until she had a homogeneous combination. The smell of diesel sends me back to a London street and the sound of the wind in our ponderosas puts me up in the branches of a pine tree at my family home in Iowa where I closed my eyes and longed for the forests of Colorado. As the Times writer noted, we have almost no control over these associations. These reminders are precious, popping up as I work in the kitchen, garden or studio.
Last week I decided to make baked eggs for dinner. This dish always brings the memory of my dear friend Maggie Gilboy into my kitchen. She made these for me as we shared breakfast on the porch at Parnassus, her mountain cabin, or around her Englewood table. She always said, “This is Moira’s recipe,” but I know she altered it to her taste, as have I.
First I sauteed half a chopped onion in a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of butter. (Sometimes I use a couple of shallots instead.) I added diced ham cut from a 1/2 inch thick slice and let that brown. In went a handful of parsley. I arranged the combination in three baking cazuelas.
I cracked two large farm eggs into each dish, topped with a couple tablespoons of grated Catamount and a sprinkling of parmesan. These baked at 375° for about 15 -20 minutes until the whites of the eggs were firm but the yolks still soft. Meanwhile I cooked asparagus in my preferred method ─ boiled in a skillet for 3-4 minutes in water to just cover.
And with some crusty bread to accompany the dish, dinner ─ or breakfast ─ is ready.
Top: Parnassus Geisha, charcoal and pastel on paper, 60 x 36 inches