Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Charm in Beginnings

-Hi! There's music at the bottom of this post, just in case you wanna press play before you read-

 I was fixing my flat tire just off the trail near the university the other day and saw the procession of enrobed graduates walking in a distracted queue toward the convocation space; high heels poking holes in the grass and tassels hanging off the sides of serial manufactured graduation caps. The caps that no one outside of the movies can even keep on their heads, let alone throw up into the air in excitement (for in real life there is wind, and you never have a bobby pin when you need it). Anyway it got me thinking about all the similar ceremonies I have attended in said ill-fitting attire. Elementary, middle school, high school, university... there may even be another one on the horizon soon. As I changed my tube with the happy grads in my peripheral, I tried to remember: I'm sure there were speeches, I'm sure my parents were there... I'm sure I wore dresses, maybe even heels, but I really couldn't remember the details. I figure for most of us it's an awkward moment anyway... I mean, if what you do is anything like what I do, graduating usually signifies the following: Your funding is going to stop, your loans are going to start accumulating interest, your part-time job is now your full-time job (and yes it's the same job), your membership at the amazing library where you do most of your actual learning is going to be revoked, your ideas are still only partly developed, and you no longer have access to the brains of the awesome people who get paid to sit there while you're wide-eyed and under-slept and freaking out about "how amazing that sentence really is". Did I mention the point about library access?

 Jokes aside, though, I think I have more visceral memories of the first days of all the aforementioned experiences than I do of their respective graduations. I'm not sure if this speaks to my particular temperament or some kind of experience that is shared, but just to stay on the safe side (avoid sweeping generalizations: i learned that in school) lets say it's just me. I think I prefer beginnings. I think the vulnerability and excitement of the forward peek is more memorable than the retrospective gaze at the end. So on that note (kind of), here are some of the more memorable breakfasts of the last few weeks. Not just because breakfast constitutes a beginning, but also because I think above all I value making every day important. Because graduation may never come, I guess, and it would be a shame not to have celebrated a little every day. 
Blueberry-Bran-Yogurt Breakfast  Muffins 

1 2/3C plain or vanilla or berry yogurt 
2 tsp baking soda 
3/4C brown sugar 
2 eggs 
1/2 cup oil or melted butter 
1/2 c applesauce 
a little bit of vanilla 
lemon zest  (of like half a lemon)
2C bran 
2C whole wheat flour 
4tsp baking powder 
pinch of salt 
1C or more fresh or frozen blueberries 

Preheat over to 350 degrees and line your muffin sheets with muffin cups or grease. 

Mix yogurt and baking soda. Let sit while you mix everything else. it will bubble! That's totally fine. This will make your muffins spongy and airy and awesome. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, eggs, oil, applesauce, vanilla and zest. Add bran and mix well. 

Whisk  flour, salt, and baking soda in yet another separate bowl. 

Add the yogurt mixture to the egg mixture and mix well. Gradually mix in the flour until a you have a uniform batter. 

Fold in berries, scoop, bake 20-30minutes or until a sharp knife inserted in the centre of muffins comes out clean. 

(these muffins are moist so if you're keeping them around, refrigerate them. You can brush the tops with milk and pop them in the oven for a few minutes and they're like fresh.) 

Poached/Fried Eggs over bitter greens with spring asparagus 

2 good eggs (look at the colour of those yolks)
a bunch of rappini 
some asparagus 

Discard the bottom few inches of both rapini and asparagus stalks. 

Bring a shallow pan of salted water to a boil and have an bowl of ice water ready near by. Cook rapini and asparagus for 4-5 minutes. Then drain and submerge in cold water immediately. Allow to cool for a few minutes and drain again.

Poach or fry eggs to your desired doneness. I like my yolks runny over these greens, personally. Sauté the greens in a little bit of olive oil to warm them up. Place eggs on top. Season to taste. Want some toast? Up to you. And coffee, probably.

NOTA BENE-  here's another kind of beginning: my friend Jos Fortin recently released his debut album, Typewriter, which is so so charming. Have a listen, you'll agree! My favorite track is King Midas at the moment. The whole record just makes me smile. In fact, it's a great wake-up-and make-breakfast album I think...