Last weekend, Lucy and David slept out on the deck in the backyard. They didn't have a tent, or a screen porch. Just a blanket. They used the cushions from the outdoor furniture as pillows. They had stars as cover. It was a beautiful night and she fell asleep in his arms, in front of the fire. There were fire flies and the sounds crickets make from unknown, invisible places around the yard.
Edie and I slept indoors, of course. We happily hogged the whole bed, stretching out this way and that way across the bed. David wanted us to join them outside, but I'm not that kind of girl, I'm afraid. The last thing he said before I left them for the night was, "Don't worry, we'll come in if the bears try to eat us".
I realize he was joking, but I couldn't get the thought out of my head the whole night. (Thanks, David) And I also heard strange house sounds in the middle of the night and had to go to bed with my computer, running an old Top Chef episode, to keep from getting freaked out. I checked on them a few times during the night to make sure they were okay. They slept like the dead.
And in the morning, all was well. I found her there, sleeping in the morning sun.
And waking up happy.
And a little in awe of herself for having done such a cool, brave thing. That's when she started calling herself "Nature Girl".
We made egg crepes and ate them outside together, on the steps, with bare feet and plates in our laps, looking out into the woods, talking about all that might have happened around her as she slept. And we told her she was braver than her Mommy, but we all knew that. And then, I checked Nature Girl for ticks. Because that's just who I am.
Egg Crepes with Caramelized Leeks, Ricotta & Chives
Inspired by the "Skinny Omelete" at 101 Cook Books
For this recipe, store-bought ricotta is fine. But home-made ricotta is simple to make (the kids in Lucy's class made it and it was one of their easiest cooking challenges) and even more satisfying. And yes, you'll be able to taste the difference. In this case, the home-made is more delicate, cloud-like and supple. The texture between home-made and store bought, I think, is significant and making it from scratch is what turns this dish from a quick breakfast with the family into a special brunch worthy of a guest or two. The best ricotta recipe on the planet belongs to my friend Jennie Perillo. Don't make anyone else's.
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 Knob of butter
2 Leeks, cleaned and diced
Kosher Salt (to taste)
2 Large organic eggs
1 1/2 Tablespoons of cream
3 Tablespoons or so, chopped chives
4-6 Good-sized dollops of ricotta cheese
You are going to need a nice big pan for this. I used cast iron, that or non-stick is definitely in order. If you have a crepe or omelet pan, use that. You want the egg to spread out across the pan and be thin, like a crepe.
In a pan, add a few drops of olive oil and a tablespoon or so of butter. Turn the heat to medium and let the butter and oil get warm. Add the leeks. Throw a little salt on them. Let them get soft and caramelized. If they start to fry, turn down the heat. It should take 10 minutes or so to get them soft and glistening.
While the leeks are cooking, crack the eggs into a bowl, add the cream and beat them together with a fork. They should be beaten well and thoroughly mixed together.
Pour a couple drops of olive oil in the pan and spread it over the bottom with a paper towel. Get the pan nice and hot over medium heat. The oil should glisten. Pour in the egg. Pick up the pan and move it around so the egg spreads out covering the entire bottom of the pan.
Wait about 30 seconds for the crepe to firm up a little. Add some of the carmelized onions in a line down the center of the crepe. Add 3/4 of your chives (saving the rest for garnish) and 3/4 of your ricotta (saving some also for garnish). Add a little sprinkle of salt. The egg is going to cook quickly, in a minute or so, so don't step away from the pan for long. Use a spatula to gently peel up the ends of the crepe. if you want to see how it's cooking, you can kind of look underneath.
When it is light brown and ready, turn off the heat (if you are using an electric stove, you might want to take it off the burner). Run the spatula under one side of the crepe, lift it up and fold it over so it's covering the leeks, cheese and chives. Do the same with the other side. Slide the spatula under the crepe, supporting the filling in the middle, and lift onto a plate.
Sprinkle a little salt onto the crepe. Garnish with leftover chives and flecks of ricotta. Serve immediately (although this tastes just fine eating it cold out of the fridge later)