A Nugget of Gold in My Freezer

On Saturday, I delivered a birthday package to the little boy next door. Inside was a toy dinosaur. The boy is crazy about all things dinosaur, and he wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up. Or at least he did the last time I saw him, several months ago. With his mother’s permission, I tucked the package in the family mailbox across the street from their house. As I walked home, I was treated to a bird symphony of spring songs. What a delight!

As I listened the birds’ sweet songs, it seemed to me that things were much the way they have always been in April, with Spring slowly tiptoeing onto our road, into our yard. An illusion, I know. The coronavirus is ripping around the world, leaving death and misery in its wake.

But still. In my back garden bright green shoots of irises and daylilies are emerging.

They are joined by the dark red leaves of evening primroses, which tend to be hogs and need thinning every year. Good thing the yellow flowers are so pretty. I will bring some of the cast-off plants to the birthday boy’s mother.Β  Last year she said she would like evening primroses for her garden. I can leave a couple of pots at the end of her driveway. (This is the same neighbor who brings eggs and won’t take any payment for them.)

With weather that is sunny and somewhat warm, I long to be out, the first time I’ve felt this way since last fall. Soon it will be hard to sit at my desk and write as the outside calls to me. But I’ll do it. Now that the children are grown, writing is the center of my life. However, my yard and gardens are a close second, and come spring it is never easy to stay inside.

Yesterday, as I was digging around the diminishing supplies in my little chest freezer down cellar, I found a square of Parmesan. If my creaky knees had allowed, I would have jumped for joy. It was like finding a nugget of gold. As I beheld the cheese, one dish immediately came to mind: Spaghetti with fried eggs, introduced to me by the inimitable Mark Bittman.

Bittman describes this dish as something that you turn to when you don’t have much time. Or much in your larder. Readers, it is so much more than that. For someone like me—who loves eggs, olive oil, garlic, and pasta—spaghetti and fried eggs qualifies as an honest-to-gosh treat.

Here are some pictures illustrating the process, which takes no more than a half hour from beginning to end.

First, brown two crushed garlic cloves in olive oil.

Discard the cloves when they are brown and crack four eggs into the olive oil. Simmer the eggs in the oil just until the whites are slightly set but the yolks are not cooked.

Dump this glorious mixture into a pot of piping hot spaghetti and stir until the eggs are broken up. The hot spaghetti will finish cooking the eggs.

Et violΓ . Top with plenty of grated cheese and lots of pepper for a special meal on a day when you are unconcerned about calories.

Note: For some reason, I don’t have the heart to post coronovirus statistics and the news from afar. Maybe it’s because spring has finally arrived.

Who knows? But for now, anyway, it’s back to writing about life at our home in the woods.



51 thoughts on “A Nugget of Gold in My Freezer”

  1. What a tasty easy meal .. nothing like Parmesan cheese in the top! During these uncertain times we are enjoying cooking and eating more than ever..I guess we all have more time to do it. Lovely for you to hear the birds and see the plants grow … enjoy each day!

  2. That looks delicious. Do you have an old family recipe you’ve dug out and hardly ever cooked before? This was on twitter: “”Kara Baskin:
    For a @BostonGlobe story: Have you resurrected an old family recipe that you’d be willing to share for a food feature? Things you might not have attempted until now, faced with a need for nostalgia and perhaps an abundance of time? Tell me your recipes!”

    Her email is kara,baskin@globe.com

    1. Nothing comes to mind right off. Last night, I made biscuits from my mom’s recipe. But I make them regularly. I will give this some thought. Thanks for the email address.

  3. Laurie, we are trying to figure out what flowers are growing here at our new home. I had failed to recognize the evening primroses! One of my pet flowers. Thank you!

  4. As important as writing is, getting out on these first warm, delightful days might be just as important. A chunk of time in sunlight and warmth is as much as a treasure as a chunk of parmesan, after all! It’s wonderful to see your flowers coming up — don’t miss them!

    When I came over our high bridge today and looked out into the bay, it was filled with sailboats of every size. It was a wonderful sight. And later this afternoon, a mama mallard came by with eight babies. They were actually getting toward teenage, with the beginning of tail feathers — but they still were mama’s babies!

  5. If I hadn’t already had dinner, that would be it! Yum. I did not know you could do that, but it sounds fabulous. And I’m glad you have things coming up!

  6. Thank you for sharing the recipe, Laurie, it sounds tasty. And there is no reason not to enjoy nature’s reawakening. I would much rather listen to the birds than to more bad news, but everyone needs to find his or her way to deal with the realities of life.

  7. Anything with pasta delights me – you’d think I was Italian, instead of French! πŸ˜‰
    It’s nice to see your plants greening up. Spring is such a glorious time of year (especially this year)!

  8. Your dinner looks good, Laurie! And i love all those photos of green shoots coming up.

    What a wonderful dinosaur gift for the little boy neighbor!

  9. I’ve never made spaghetti and fried eggs. I fry eggs for huevos rancheros with green chile, and I put fried eggs on enchiladas, but not pasta. Looks good. Nice of you to give the kid next door a dinosaur. He would go nuts in this part of the country. We have lots of dinosaur bones and petrified trees in the badlands.

    1. It’s quite a dish. Easy and oh-so good. A wining combination. Yes, the boy would go nuts looking for dinosaur bones. Not many in Maine. πŸ˜‰

  10. I am enjoying getting creative with what there is in my stores. And like you I am finding that as the freezer empties I am finding things I had completely forgotten about. Enjoy the spring and the sunshine – how lovely to have cheer at the moment.

  11. This looks like a delicious combination Laurie and I’ll try a variation of this myself when we next have eggs in the house. Lovely to see the spring flowers and greens appearing again in your garden xxx

  12. Spring has sprung here. Watching and capturing the buds is my favourite timepass.
    “Et violΓ . Top with plenty of grated cheese and lots of pepper for a special meal on a day when you are unconcerned about calories” – Oh yes sometimes we should live the life πŸ˜€
    Take care Laurie

  13. I’d never have thought of this dish, but I bet my sweetheart would like it. We’re with Timothy in enjoying huevos rancheros. I’ve been finding spring’s normal progress almost startling. I hate to think that the problems we’re having are part of nature too.

    1. Mark Bittman presents recipes you never would have thought of, and they are so darned good. At first, it seemed that we were going to have an early spring in Maine, but the cold weather just won’t release its grip.

  14. Oh my goodness!! That looks wonderful! I don’t know how I’ve never heard of this dish since I have one of Bittman’s books (the giant tome How To Cook Everything Vegetarian). Maybe I should make that a project — start going through the cookbook, trying new dishes.

    Your exchanges with the neighbor sound wonderful. πŸ™‚

  15. Thanks for sharing so many things to make me smile from the birthday gift to the emerging flowers, birds singing and your wonderful dinner!πŸ™‚ Hope the writing is going well and you have a chance to spend time in your wonderful yard soon.πŸ™‚

  16. My older son also went through a prolonged and intense dinosaur phase, so I can imagine how delighted your neighbor will be. That fried eggs and spaghetti recipe sounds fantastic. I will share with Judy though she is trying especially hard these days to be healthy so it may not make an appearance at our table for quite a while.

    1. I, too, loved dinosaurs as a child, even though it was not common for a young girl in the 1960s to like them. The boy was delighted to get the dinosaur, and his mother taped a short video with him thanking us. Sure made us smile. As for the fried eggs and spaghetti—so darned good! But they definitely fall into the treat category. No question about that. πŸ˜‰

  17. This looks like my kind of meal! I find cooking either boring or stressful and something that is easy and only takes half an hour is perfect. We don’t have any garlic, though we may be able to get some soon, who knows? The rest of the ingredients we do have, thank the Lord so this recipe is going on the list. My daughter won’t eat eggs so she’ll just have to pick the bits out, won’t she?! Or go without. πŸ˜€

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