Something To Flip Over
by Mara Reid Rogers,
are wonderful for entertaining, especially for small groups. They make a
superfast dinner, breakfast, or brunch. Mara Reid Rogers, the Cyber
Home Chef, shares her favorite omelet recipe along with some tips on
how to make great omelets in this terrific article.
Omelets: Something To Flip Over
Omelets savory and sweet, steal seductively into my kitchen. I have
come to the Rubicon that though omelets play a starring role at
breakfast or brunch as a rule, they are an ideal dish for an impromptu
dinner, as the only essential ingredient is several eggs.
A Cinch in a Pinch
Omelets should be fundamental in any home cook's repertoire, due to
their ease, quickness to prepare, and the democratic way they
successfully team up with nearly any ingredient. Even with the kitchen
the size of a closet, one range burner and a modest batterie de cuisine
(skillet, mixing bowl, whisk, and spatula) you can have a comforting,
wholesome, and creative meal.
Rubber Biscuit or Rubber Omelet?
Another reason to cook omelets at home is that its nearly impossible
to get a good omelet at a restaurant. Most people's restaurant omelet
experiences range from the undercooked-(what I call the "slippery
special") to the overcooked-rubbery, bounce-of-the-plate omelet
that's probably been sitting under the restaurant warming lamps for a
few hours waiting...just for you.
There are three general schools of savory omelets: rolled
(French-style), folded (a half-moon shape), and flat (round and
The rolled omelet requires a shaking and stirring skillet technique
that can take a lot of practice to master. The folded omelet is my
personal favorite (see recipe below). The folded omelet has a slightly
firmer texture and is more manageable than the rolled omelet. While the
flat omelet, is open-faced and cut into wedges to serve. Examples of
this omelet style include the "Italian Frittata" or the
"Spanish Egg Tortilla," which is served as tapas (an
appetizer, which can at times constitute as a light dinner) at Spanish
bars and restaurants.
In addition to these omelet permutations, there are two other
sub-categories of omelets (though not considered true "styles")"egg-white
omelets" (excluding the egg yolk) for those people who are
restricted to a low-cholesterol, reduced-fat diet. And "dessert
omelets," which are typically subtly sweet soufflé omelets that
are of the "folded" style (half-moon shape).
So grab your skillet and get cracking (please excuse the pun), 'cause
your edible prize awaits you!
Master Omelet Recipe
Makes one omelet
1 tablespoon butter, preferably clarified or substitute olive oil
3 large eggs, place in a bowl and cover with hot tap water; let stand
for 4 to 5 minutes
Scant ¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter in an 8-inch nonstick omelet pan or 8-inch skillet
with gently sloping sides over medium heat. Tilt the pan to coat the
bottom and sides with the butter. The omelet pan should be hot but not
scalding. Meanwhile, combine the eggs, salt, and pepper in a small bowl
and whisk together until well blended. If you want to season the egg
mixture further, do so now. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and tilt
the pan around gently so that the mixture spreads evenly over the
bottom. As the omelet begins to set, run the spatula gently around the
edges of the omelet to loosen it. Using the spatula, carefully lift the
edges of the omelet and tilt the skillet to allow the uncooked egg
mixture on the surface to flow to the bottom. Let the omelet cook
undisturbed, until it is almost completely set, 1 to 1-½ minutes,
depending on desired consistency and temperature of skillet and eggs.
When the bottom of the omelet is set and the top of the omelet is
slightly moist, but not runny, add the filling (if a filling is
desired). Gently spread the filling evenly on one half of the omelet.
(Note: Do not stir the filling.) Slip the spatula underneath this half
and lift it, folding it over the other half, in one fluid motion; the
folded omelet should form a half moon shape. If you prefer an omelet
with a slightly browned surface, let it sit in the pan once folded, for
a few seconds. Using the spatula, invert the omelet (or flip it with the
use of the spatula-yes, this takes practice; it's just like flipping a
pancake) and slide it onto a warmed dinner plate so that the omelet is
browned-side-up. If desired, ladle with a sauce, or sprinkle with a
garnish, and serve at once. (Note: Traditionally, omelets are garnished
with something that relates to the filling, but this does not need to be
a hard-and-fast rule.)
While the variety of fast and easy fillings, sauces, and garnishes is
endless, don't forget that for an even simpler omelet, just season the
eggs with fresh or dried herbs and/or spices prior to cooking. Make sure
that the ingredients you use to fill an omelet have cooled before using.
Keep in mind that an omelet filling should complement the delicate
flavor of the eggs, not overwhelm it. Here are some very speedy,
one-step (no prior mixing or cooking involved) filling suggestions for
savory omelets, all of which are available at the supermarket.
Shredded or crumbled cheese of any variety
Chopped ham or other cold cuts
Pesto (Italian basil sauce)
Cream Cheese (a variety of flavors are available)
Cottage Cheese (a variety of flavors are available)
Caponata (a Sicilian eggplant-based appetizer, available canned at
Olive Tapenade (an olive-based Provençal spread, available jarred at
& Sour Chicken
Sweet and Sour Chicken - Chicken and pineapple combine
wonderfully and this dish shows it to great effect.
Preparation - 20 minutes, Cooking time - 15 minutes.
and Sour Chicken - serves 4
Preparation - 20 minutes, Cooking time - 15 minutes
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp cornstarch
salt and ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cubed
For the sweet and sour sauce:
1 onion, sliced
1 small red pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small orange pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 lb can pineapple cubes in natural juice
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
handful of fresh cilantro leaves, to garnish
Mix together the egg yolks, with a tbsp of water, the cornstarch, and
some salt and pepper.
Heat 2 inches of oil in a wok or deep frying pan. Toss the chicken in
the cornstarch mixture and deep-fry in batches for 5 minutes or until
crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels.
Empty the oil from the wok to leave a thin coating in the pan. Stir-fry
the onion and peppers over a high heat for 3 minutes.
Drain the pineapple cubes (reserving the juice), add to the pan, and
cook for a minute ot two.
Mix together the cornstarch and a little of the pineapple juice to form
a paste, then stir in the remaining juice, the ketchup, soy sauce,
vinegar, and 1/2 cup water. Pour this into the pan and bring to a boil,
stirring until the mixture thickens.
Stir the chicken pieces into the pan and simmer for 5 minutes until
cooked through. Check the seasoning then divide between bowls.
Scatter the cilantro on top and serve. Enjoy!
Wines & Food
|Wine and Food pairings is an
individual choice. Every person's sense of taste is different. In
general, each person should decide for him or herself what combinations
of wine and food taste good - don't worry about what anyone else says should
work. However, I understand this is difficult when a wine drinker is
just starting out. Hence, this listing.
Remember - these are only guidelines!! You will figure out quite
quickly that your own tongue has its own idea of what goes well with
what. Trust your own judgement, and eat and drink what you enjoy!
Typically, you want to drink light-to-dark, just as when you plan a
meal you start with delicate tastes and work towards heavier tastes. For
this reason, you normally don't serve a red wine with appetizers or
opening courses in a meal. Red wines do go very nicely with heavier
foods - beef, red pasta, and so on.
Produces long-lasting, deeply coloured red wines that are astringent
when young but mellow with age. As red Bordeaux, particularly from the Médoc
and Graves regions, the wines are leaner and more elegant than Cabernets
grown in California, Australia or Chile.
Noted flavours: Cedar and blackcurrant
Makes a dry wine whose range of flavours depends on where the grapes
were grown and how long the wine stayed in oak (if at all). Chardonnay
will be labeled as such in most regions other than France where it is
named after the village where it was grown. Examples: Chablis, Meursault,
Champagne also uses Chardonnay in the blend and exclusively as Blanc
de blancs Champagne
Noted flavours (cool climate): Apple, vanilla, nutty; (warm
climate): Tropical fruits, smoky, spicy.
Chenin Blanc (white)
The wines can range from very dry to off-dry to sweet as well as
sparkling. Best known as Vouvray and Saumur (villages in the Loire
Valley). Also grown in California which makes a softer, less acidic
wine, and in South Africa where it is frequently called Steen.
Noted flavours: Pear, apple.
The grape of Beaujolais. Makes a light, fruity wine that can be consumed
young, especially chilled. When blended with Pinot Noir in Burgundy, the
wine is called Passe-tout-Grains.
Noted flavours: Cherry, pepper.
The most unforgettable of grapes. Grown in Alsace and Germany and
throughout Europe as Traminer, the wines have an exotic perfume of
lychee nuts, rose petals and sometimes red peppers. They suggest
sweetness on the nose, but the best (from Alsace) are dry. Also produced
in Oregon and California and Ontario. Gewürz is German for spicy, and
Traminer means from the town of Tramin where the vine was first
Noted flavours: Lychee, rose petals.
Very similar to Cabernet Sauvignon but softer, fruitier and faster
maturing. In Bordeaux and in many other regions, including California,
it is blended with Cabernet to make the wine rounder. Merlot
predominates in the St. Emilion and Pomerol, producing dark, full-bodied
Noted flavours: Blackberry, blackcurrant.
Muscat (white, less commonly
Although it is made as a dry wine in Alsace and sometimes in Australia,
Muscat wines are generally sweet and rich. They are usually grown in
warm climates; the hotter they are, the sweeter the wine will be,
culminating in the Muscat of Samos (Greece). Black Muscat is invariably
a sweet dessert wine.
Noted flavours: Grapey, aromatic
Grown extensively in Piedmont and other northern Italian provinces,
Nebbiolo produces the long-lived, somewhat austere Barolo and Barbaresco
with their characteristic bitter finish.
Noted flavours: Truffle, tar, roses
Pinot Blanc (white)
Similar in character to the Chardonnay, it is generally broader in
flavours. Grown extensively in Alsace. The Italians call it Pinot Bianco,
and it is widely used in sparkling wines. In Germany it's the
Weissburgunder. Generally low in acidity.
Noted flavours: Apple, peach.
Pinot Gris (white)
One of the most underrated of grapes, grown mainly in Alsace where it is
called Tokay-Pinot Gris. In Italy it's called Pinot Grigio. In Germany
and Austria, Ruländer. Full-bodied white with lots of flavour. Some of
the best come from Oregon.
Noted flavours: Peaches
Pinot Noir (red)
A notoriously fickle grape. When fully ripe, makes exquisite wines in
Burgundy that age almost as long as red Bordeaux. Also successfully
grown in Oregon and California. Extensively used in the production of
Champagne (where it is blended with Chardonnay). When used by itself, it
is called blanc de noirs (a white wine from black grapes.)
Noted flavours: Raspberry, strawberry.
Perhaps the most versatile white wine, it can range in style from steely
dryness to honeyed sweetness. The bouquet is floral with a freshness
from the acidity. It grows best in cool climates and reaches its apogee
in Germany. Best wines come from Mosel and Rheingau in Germany, Alsace
and Washington State.
Noted flavours: (Dry) lime, grapefruit; (Sweet) honey,
The major grape in Chianti (along with Canaiolo) although now Italian
producers are beginning to make it a varietal wine. It is 100 percent in
Brunello di Montalcino and a constituent of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
Highly acidic and tannic.
Noted flavours: Cherry, truffle.
Sauvignon Blanc (white)
This grape smells of grass, pea pods and elderberries. It is best known
for the wines of the Loire, Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. It grows well in
California, too. In Bordeaux it is blended with Sémillion to produce
such wines as Entre-Deux-Mers. Generally dry and crisp, it can make a
sweet late harvest wine with good acidity.
Noted flavours: Gooseberry, fig
Not often used as a varietal, this grape is generally blended with
Sauvignon Blanc to make dry white Bordeaux. Similar in style to
Sauvignon Blanc, but more floral and not as herbaceous. Sémillion is
the major grape in the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac.
Noted flavours: Fig, green plum
Makes the powerful, rich dry wines of the Northern Rhône (Hermitage, Côte
Rôtie), and is a constituent in the blend of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and
the wines of the Southern Rhône. Ages well. Also grown successfully in
California. In Australia, it is called Shiraz, where it makes a varietal
wine and is also blended with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Noted flavours: Blackberry, pepper
The major grape of Spain where it is also called Ull de Llebre. Has long
ageing capabilities and produces wines that remind you of both red
Burgundy and red Bordeaux.
Noted flavours: Strawberry, spices
Native to California, this grape is used to produce off-dry blush wines
for immediate consumption as well as powerful dry reds for aging and
port-like dessert wines.
Noted flavours: Blackberry, raspberry, spices, pepper.