The Dirty Dozen

Sometime in 2005, I had been living in Germany for almost three years and decided I needed to whip myself into shape for the summer. Long gone were the days of brie and aged salami on day old bread for breakfast. Note, when in Germany, I still head to my favorite bakers and procure said. Despite the fact that I did not have a car and was walking everywhere, some things needed to change. In short, a good old fashioned food overhaul was in the cards. In Dusseldorf, some of the world's best restaurants were at our finger tips. Dusseldorf has a quaint harbor known that has shaped an area known as Medienhafen. This space is also home to Frank Gehry's architectural feats, the Neuer Zollhof. It is also the birthplace of some fabulous restaurants and watering holes. A very chic scene indeed. Robert's Bistro on the harbor for gorgeous oysters and expertly prepared tuna.  We regularly frequented a bevy of German restaurants where I fell in love with a Dusseldorf specialty - Senfrostbraten - steak roasted in Dijon mustard and served with the world famous bratkartoffeln or fried potatoes. 

At the time, Dusseldorf was the largest Japanese enclave in western Europe. Some of the best sushi and noodle shops were within walking distance of our flat. Breakfasts were a larger than life production. Find your self rising with a hangover? No problem, zee Germans have you covered. Generous baskets of freshly baked, breads covered in seeds served with trays of delicious cheeses, farm fresh eggs, Irish butter, jams galore, golden honey and assorted charcuterie.  To drink we put down glasses of fresh squeezed orange juice and lattes made with 3% fat milk. Dusseldorf is home to the Alt Bier (for those of you living in Charlotte, Copper is based off of this).  Weather allowing, we would stand outside at Ueriger, Dusseldorf's oldest brewery and enjoy rolls with steak tartar and onions. They paired well with an afternoon of cold ones. Waitresses mark lines in ink on your paper drink coasters indicating the number of brews downed. Who needs technology? Brilliant.

One day, over lunch with American friends in Cologne, a girl told me she was on a regimen spurred by a book. Now this was many moons ago. They spoke to eating comfortable amounts of protein, vegetables and greens and weight loss. Like Atkins, she asserted, but without the heavy fat.  She had already lost 9 lbs and looked fabulous. Living in Germany where everything was meat and potatoes, okay I could manage without the potatoes. This seemed like my cup of tea. That very evening, I signed onto Amazon in the UK, procured the book and went to it. Great success.  I told others about it. A couple of months and a bit later I visited cousins in London and the one accused me of having "snake hips". Success. I told them about the book and they too adopted this new plan. I looked incredible and at the time, I remember thinking, I could look better. Does this sound familiar? As women - and some men too - I feel as if we are extremely hard on ourselves.  Our own worst enemies. Anyway, back to South Beach Diet.

Every morning began with eggs.  Scrambled with a bit of chèvre if I had time, fried if I wanted something quick and delicious, poached on weekends with sautéed spinach and whatever Trevor, boiled if I was in a crunch and needing to jump out the the door and eat on the go.  Eggs are still my go to breakfast on most days.  An outstanding source of protein and they can be manipulated multiple ways and with multiple things. I have even stretched them to my lunch menus.  Once upon a time, too many yolks was a bad thing.  Never mind that, buy a container of egg whites and voila. Nowadays, I try to limit my carbs (during the week only, underscore here, I had pizza last night for crying out loud). Honestly, it is what works for my temperamental system. This said, I eat eggs almost every day. Sometimes with the yolk and sometimes without. I have partner-in-crime hooked too. His workday mid-morning snack is a boiled duo with a squirt of sriracha. He is very particular about how he peels them. OCD aside, it is actually quite a cute exercise. Note, he no longer lets me peel them. According to him, I am too aggressive! Can you imagine?

One of my favorite cousin's Graeme, has a joke about eggs. He asks his decoy how they like them prepared and awaits response. Grinning like a cheshire cat, Graeme responds that he likes his fertilized. Charming. G-man, I love you! I digress. They say protein is king and who am I to challenge the authorities. Usually during the week I boil them and eat the whites while at work paired with a hot mug of Joe. Other mornings, partner-in-crime fries them for me in spray coconut oil while I am getting ready for work. They taste gorgeous on tops of salads either fried or boiled for six minutes if you want a slightly runny middle. My new favorite lunch is roasted leeks, fennel, sweet potato, fresh herbs and a fried egg for protein on top. Fact: Eggs love a nice vinegar, drizzle of olive oil and a shave of hard cheese. Voila! 

When in NYC over the holidays, we did a ramen tour and our favorites had an egg thrown in! On weekends, we put a bit more effort into our eggs. Green onions, different sheep's milk cheese variations, sautéed mushrooms, roasted cherry tomatoes and spinach. With my new cast iron skillet, I plan to become Charlotte's Queen of frittatas. Stay tuned! Fresh herbs are a must.  Additionally, they pair excellently with fresh toast, a smear of almond butter and hot sauce. Sounds weird but don't knock it until you try it. Avocados mashed with rock salt and red pepper flakes love an egg too. Growing up my mother made famous banana smoothies and she cracked an egg in for nutrition. Some might not like the notion of raw eggs - and I am not pushing them in this space. Whatever floats your boat. My now famous Caesar dressing has the yolks of two eggs whipped in, hence the gorgeous golden color. The options are endless. Pick up a dozen, cooked or not and see for yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment