A hot topic that often comes up daily in dinner conversation is asking one another what it is that we usually eat. For the French, I have found that chocolate is definitely a favorite, along with pastries and bread, in all its many, many forms–baguette, brioche, pain au chocolat, etc. Cette petite liste that I have tacked onto the end of the last sentence does not even begin to describe the amount of grains that are consumed.
For breakfast, I often eat brioche which is sweet bread with chocolate chips, and I usually coat that bad boy in Nutella before dunking it in a big bowl of warm milk. Otherwise, I’ll have toast with Nutella or jam, and most likely some cereal with yogurt. If one does not have the fortune to eat a nice lunch at home, the boulangeries as well as certain cafés offer a wide variety of sandwiches for a reasonable amount if one is looking to save some euros. Otherwise, I see a lot of people mid-afternoon walking down Rue Nationale with glace (ice cream), pastries, and entire baguettes (baguettes). As far as dinner goes, there tends to be a lot more variety there, but one can always count on baguette being served, along with a cheese bar before dessert. As you can see, the French love their grains.
I do not remember exactly how this came up, but somehow I got to talking about what I usually eat for dinner. Now, I am no cook–that would be my Italian roommate Kristi who makes a mean lasagna, a mean Italian anything really, but I must admit, I would consider myself slightly above adequate when it comes to making egg creations, in particular, my Eggs Ranchers. The bouts of vegetarianism, the high price of meat, and the blandness and loneliness of rice, beans, salsa, and tortilla pushed me to become the father of Eggs Ranchers that I am today. Thinking about what I cook, and definitely something that I miss eating, I told them about this thing that I like to create, and I promised that I would make it for them the next night.
Salsa is a rarity in France, as well as tortillas, black or pinto beans, and, malheureusment (sadly), peanut butter, perhaps my favorite food. One can have all of their needs met at their local Monoprix (mono-prie) or Carrefour (car-foor), the first being where I was able to find salsa, tortillas, and lentils (no black or pinto beans). Now, I am going to unveil my secret recipe. It is going into a future cookbook that I am going to have published with my big smiling face on it, so do not steal it! Merely profit from its culinary worth.
Matt’s Unbelievable Eggs Ranchers
(Recipe courtesy Matt Barrett)
Total Time: Depends on how hungry you are and, consequently, how under-cooked you are willing to eat your eggs, how crunchy you like your rice, how warm you like your beans, and how cooked your vegetables.
Servings: How hungry are you?
- 2 eggs
- 1-2 tortillas
- 1/2 cup rice
- beans or lentils
- red pepper, green pepper, onion
- a shit ton of salsa
- Get your rice going!
- Get your beans/lentils going!
- Fry up those peppers!
- Cook those eggs!
- Fry up/heat up your tortilla!
- Add numbers 1-5 together on a plate!
- *Cover it in salsa, guacamole, and cheese until you can no longer see what you’ve just put on your plate!
- Mange ça! (Eat it!)
The kitchen was crowded just before I was about to set to work; Joel was making some apple pie and Ella was whipping up some chocolate chip and walnut cookies. As you can see, it was American night. I began cooking 20 minutes before we were to eat. That was alright though. If there is one thing about Eggs Ranchers that you should remember it is that you can prepare them in 10 minutes if you have to. It was a bit of a rush, and I have never cooked 12 eggs all together in the same pan (they turned out to be scrambled with the use of a pie serving utensil because all that was available was a wimpy, skinny spatula), but it all turned out well. The second thing you need to remember about Matt’s Unbelievable Eggs Ranchers is that they are always good. I have made them at the end of an exhausting day, ravenous and crabby, and I have made them while content, wearing my favorite sweater on a cold day in January. They are good any time, in any mental state, during all seasons.
It was a magical night at Les Girault. A bit of partage-ing (partager=to share) of culture, and in what better form could one ask for?–chocolate chip and walnut cookies, homemade apple pie, and some weird thing that I make because I am vegetarian and like to economize, as well as a chance for us–the hosts–to say thank you to our new family. Cheers!