Not just for your cookbook Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One, from which I enjoyed (cooking and eating/devouring) your Swiss Chard, Bacon, and Goat Cheese Omelet…but for having the brass to take single out of the back room and put her/him out front.
Let’s start with being single and then I’ll share your recipe (it must be shared, though I encourage everyone to purchase this book – Joe is a great writer and it’s an easy to carry/use book with helpful tidbits and fun stories).
I love that the impetus of the book was a “not too personal” Facebook comment to one of Joe’s “Cooking for One” columns by a woman who insinuated “The pleasures of the table are so (much more) satisfying when shared.”
My single friends in the big cities (Paris, Manhattan, and Los Angeles) have their share of single moments, but they also have terrific support systems of other (thank you Ms. Jones) singletons to catch a 7:00 p.m. film with on a Friday night and order Chinese takeout (the fact that they have Chinese takeout kills me – the single worst/only thing about living in Maine no decent Chinese food). In Maine everyone has another person with whom they have created a unit, and if you are not paired up I swear you get the hmmm look of what’s wrong with you. I’ve had clients do it, friends ask what’s wrong, had my singledom compared to a brain aneurism, and then of course going to the drive-in movie theatre means asking the divorced friend, his kids and girlfriend if they have plans on Saturday night. Being single in Maine is too often equated with something being wrong with you…it’s like a disease. Then, and this is the worst, there is the fix-it-up-it “friend” who shows she cares by inviting you (because you are single) to a birthday party for a guy you don’t know with the promise that there will be great chefs and food, and instead you get a drunk guy yelling at you that hey you’re the single one here to meet my cousin….who you see and instinctively know could not be less for you if you or he tried. Friend no more? That’s another story.
My long ranting point is being single in Maine can suck, but you know I think it bothers a lot of other people a lot more than it does me. I enjoy life, love my friends who are part of a couple and/or family, live family moments with them, get to push their children around in strollers and attend their bday parties (= I get to spend time in the children’s section of a used bookstore skimming those beautiful classics for gifts), and …I also do whatever I want. I’m the only one I have to answer to (though my dog and cat get fussy and now that I’m a homeowner that barn might have a few “words” from time to time and certainly my surfboard, which is about to drive itself to the beach if I don’t get my act together but soon). I want to spend a week wherever I can, I want to eat chocolate and peanut butter for a late breakfast I can, spend an afternoon laid out on the floor with books and magazines…can….
Of course I would love to have someone to share moments with, make me smile, make smile, cook and eat with, wake up and start days with, end days with, and someday a long (but not as long) time from now rock back and forth with on the porch. Thing is, the love and companionship I want and feel I deserve is not so easily found. It’s not something I’m just looking to check off on a life’s list. It is something I know will be easy and hard, and when right so worth it. I’m not a match.com kind of gal (kudos to those who find love and partnerships there). I’m not necessarily the marrying kind either. I just want a lot more happy days than sad and difficult ones. I want more than someone to sit next to on the plane and in the car. What I want is like a tall stack of the lightest pancakes with a tad of confectioners sugar and fresh maple syrup accompanied by a fine cup of black coffee and some freshly picked berries. Or beignets after a bicycle ride one early New Orleans morning. Unlike what those Americanized romantic comedies try to push down your throat, happy endings are about as likely as beginnings and middles unless you are a supermodel and then my guess is you have your pick of the script.
So, since I’m not going to have any great romance right now and haven’t had for some time (though I’ve had great moments) I’ve recently committed to owning a home (something I always thought I’d do with a man, and am adjusting to doing without for now anyway) and started to learn to cook and bake, because good meals make me happy. I love cooking for friends in their homes and mine; it is such a gift to shop for and then cook and sit down to a table with people you love. Joe gets it and I’m so glad he dedicated a book to it – those of us who more nights than not are cooking for ourselves. Thank you Joe xoo!!
Swiss Chard, Bacon, and Goat Cheese Omelet from Joe Yonan’s Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 or 3 Swiss chard leaves
1 slice bacon, cut into 1/4-inch slices (I used turkey bacon)
1 small shallot lobe, thinly sliced
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 ounce soft goat cheese, cut into small pieces
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs to combine and season generously with salt and pepper.
Remove the Swiss chard leaves from the stems, and discard the stems or save them for another use. Stack the leaves, roll, and thinly slice. (You should have about 1/2 cup lightly packed leaves.)
Set a small skillet, well-seasoned cast iron or nonstick, over medium heat, and scatter the bacon and shallot in the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crisp and the shallot slices are lightly browned and tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and cook until the chard is wilted and shrunk, stirring occasionally, another few minutes. Transfer the chard-bacon mixture to a plate.
Return the pan to medium heat and pour in the olive oil. When it shimmers, pour in the eggs, swirling and tilting the pan so that the eggs fill the pan. Let the eggs cook undisturbed until the bottom is just set, 1 to 2 minutes. With a spatula, carefully lift one edge of the eggs and tilt the pan so that the loose eggs run underneath.
Scatter the chard-bacon mixture on one side of the omelet and top with the goat cheese. Use a spatula to quickly lift the omelet from the other side and fold it over.
Transfer the omelet to a plate, and eat.
Top image from the lovely, as in wrap your arms around virtually and hug tight, Le Love. Bottom photo Joe Yonan’s site.