Rocket, ma’am

Mar. 25, 2014 @ 10:03 AM

I always get blue around St Patrick’s Day.
While refrigerators all over the country are stocked with corned beef and cabbage, the fridge at Chez Matthews is barren.
I adore Irish boiled dinner. When there’s a steaming slab of pink beef within reach, I lose all shame and self-control.  I can eat my weight in that stuff.
But alas, Petey dislikes both items, and while The Kid can make a Reuben disappear in a trice, naked corned beef is only mildly enjoyed, and cabbage is a definite no.
So the production of a big boiled dinner only results in tons of furry leftovers that I eventually have to toss.
It’s the same with coleslaw. I think Elmo’s makes the best in town. Years ago I begged for, and received their recipe. But I’ve never made it because a heaping bowl of coleslaw would result in me overindulging into bellyache land, and more furry remainders.
Most of the time it just stinks when there’s a food I like that the rest of the family can’t abide.
But, I’ve recently come up with some new additions to my favorite meal, breakfast for dinner (brinner? dreakfast?), that even though Petey and The Kid wouldn’t enjoy, I can make just for me without wasting food.
The first is scrambled eggs on arugula (except for Waffle House omelets The Kid hates eggs and Petey’s not into that particular green). In Europe, arugula is called rocket, which amuses me, so that’s what I’ve decided to call it from now on.
The other dish is not new; instead, a new way of preparing it. It’s a version of French toast (husband and child are not French toast enthusiasts).

Eggs in a rocket nest

3 large eggs
1 ½ tablespoons butter
2-3 cups baby Rocket (arugula)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked pepper


Prepare your bed: lay greens on a plate, and drizzle on lemon and olive oil.  Sprinkle with big pinch of salt and a couple of cracks of pepper.  Toss with hands to coat.
For eggs: In a blender, or using a hand blender, thoroughly blend eggs ‘til completely mixed and foamy.  Heat a skillet on medium and add butter.  When butter is melted and starts to bubble, add eggs and season.  Gently stir until the eggs are set-ish, but still very moist. 
Spoon onto rocket.  One serving.


Vanilla French toast
2 or 3 thick slices of day-old Challah bread
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons butter


Preheat oven to 375.  In a shallow dish mix eggs (use your hand blender on them here, too, so that there are no gross white streaks in the final product), milk, vanilla, brown sugar, and salt.
Melt butter in a large heated skillet.  Soak each side of challah in custard mixture for 10 seconds, then place in skillet.  Cook until golden brown and beautiful.  Flip and cook on other side.
Then put slices on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes.  This will cook the custard in the center of the bread, so it will not be gooey.  You’ll know it’s cooked through when it puffs up just a wee bit.
Remove from oven and dress to your taste.  I like way too much butter and corn syrup; you may like maple syrup, whipped cream or fresh fruit.
Serves one.
When I make this, I get all my ingredients prepped, and while the French toast is finishing in the oven, I dress my greens, then cook the eggs. My dishes finish simultaneously.
The other great thing about this technique is when feeding a crowd, all the French toast is done at the same time.  And they’re all piping hot. No more hanging out in the kitchen cooking batch after batch while everybody else eats.
I’m not the Lone Ranger, though.  The other two members of the Matthews family band really enjoy spaghetti and meatballs but I have absolutely no love for it.  If they want it, they’re out of luck; they have to leave home and get it on the street.
Thanks for your time.
Debbie Matthews lives, writes and cooks in Durham. Her email address is