I don’t know how to cook. I can make badass scrambled eggs, but that’s the boundary of my culinary expertise. As a result, I think I may have undercooked the scallops yesterday. I suppose, especially with scallops purchased in the open air (and right next to a busy street), it’s important to cook/clean it thoroughly. I’ve been feeling sick since yesterday. Blargh.
So, today, instead of making scallops again, I made comfort foods, the kind of food you want to eat when you’re sick. That solid, hot, loving food that devotes its yumminess to you without fuss.
Comfort food one: Steamed Egg Custard
This is a Chinese dish that my mother always made for me when I was sick. It’s the easiest thing to make. Prep time is about 3 min. Cooking time is about 10. Perfecting it, however, is an art. I think I did alright, though! It’s supposed to come out smooth and custard yellow, perfectly tender. The surface of mine looks a bit mountainous…don’t know why.
The traditional recipe simply asks for eggs, salt, and water. I deviated a little bit and added some chicken stock for additional flavor. After it came out of the pot, I added soy sauce and sesame oil to season.
Comfort food 2: Cacio e Pepe
I’ve never made this before, but it looked simple enough. The recipe I took from The Italian Dish, featured below.
Cacio e Pepe
serves 5-6 as a side
8 ounces spaghetti
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons cracked fresh pepper
1-1/2 cups freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Bring a heavy pot of salted water to a boil and boil the spaghetti until al dente. (I use Barilla thin spaghetti and after it comes to a boil, I cook it for exactly 4 minutes, less than what the package instructions are).
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet with the olive oil. Add the cracked pepper and gently saute for a couple of minutes.
With tongs, remove the boiled pasta and place right into the skillet (do not drain the pasta water). Swirl to coat with the olive oil and pepper. Add the cheese and continue swirling the pasta to coat with the cheese. Add a tablespoon or two of the hot pasta water and continue to coat the pasta.
Pecorino Romano is a sharp salty hard cheese made from sheep’s milk. According to lore, it was created when a shepherd filled his flask with sheep’s milk before a long trip and the motion during the trip caused the milk to naturally ferment. Who knows? I didn’t even end up using Pecorino Romano, since Battery Park Market ran out. I used Bianco Sardo, instead, also a sharp cheese that comes from sheep’s milk. It’s nowhere as salty as Pecorino Romano, though, and so I ended up having to grind some sea salt on top of it.