I spent the better part of the last decade believing I had an intolerance to eggs. Every 6 months or so I would try them again just be be sure because I love them and regret it within an hour. Recently, I started buying the cage free organic ones at Trader Joes and low and behold my intolerance has disappeared. I am not sure if I just got over it or there was something in standard eggs that was causing the issue, but either way I have resumed eating eggs with gusto. As I have mentioned in the past my dad used to get up on Sundays to get fresh bagels and then would make a giant pan of scrambled eggs to go along with it. I have now resurrected the eggs on Sunday tradition for myself and a friend who has the tendency to hang around on Sundays. Normally I am a big fan of bacon with/in/on my eggs, but having been indoctrinated by the several weeks of Wise Sons delicatessen brunches, I decided to go deli on my eggs.
Scrambled eggs with lox, scallions and cream cheese is now a modern Jewish brunch standard. Why just throw lox and cream cheese on top of a bagel when you can serve it up all creamy with your eggs… and then put it on top of your bagel.
recipe after the break
Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen made their public début at Off the Grid: McChoppin Hub on Saturday. They served a fantastic brunch with your choice of corned beef hash, bialy with lox, or cheese blintzes and babka as a side. Since I had my fill of cheese blintzes last weekend I went for the corned beef hash and a bialy with cream cheese. As expected, the corned beef was perfection, the bialy was chewy and full of oniony goodness, and I was ridiculously full by the end of the meal. I got there a bit early around 10am, so it was relatively quiet and my friend and I got our food super fast. By 11 the place was packed and had turned into a giant Cal-Jewish community reunion. If there is one thing you can say about the Jewish community it is that we turn up to support each other. We completely rearranged the tables in the restaurant so everyone could catch-up and at one point someone suggested that the deli be renamed Cheers. It was decided that the Wise Sons needs a permanent location soon because it is going to be an amazing hang-out and once they start serving pastrami and beer, I don’t think people will every leave. One of the best quotes of the morning was when a friend looked down at his plate of eggs, bialy and lox and said with pure joy, “I am so happy right now”. Overall it was a fantastic morning, with delicious food, great friends, and a successful start to a new venture. They will be at Off The Grid for 3 more Saturdays at 105 Valencia, so come on out to the next one!
May you be sealed for a good year. As my family sits down to a nice home cooked meal I hope you and yours will be blessed with a year of good fortune, prosperity and happiness. Shana tova.
Bagels, lox, hard boiled eggs and all the fixin's
Here we are, ready for slicing
This year, break-fast will be bagels and lox. I know Amiee has a whole side of cow on the cooker and I love a good brisket as much as anyone. But I wanted something that would be fun to make and would allow me to bring it all together after coming back from family services in the late afternoon (the joy of children is going to the short services). Since the bagels kettle and bake in less than an hour and the lox is already cured all I have left to do is slice some veggies.
There will be cheese cake for dessert, but more on that later.
Nova lox is yet another one of those little reminders of how poor Jews of Eastern Europe were. Clearly fresh fish was out of the question. Think of the fish that is associated with Jewish food. Smoked whitefish, gefilte fish (which is the tuna helper of appetizers) and of course lox. All of them preserved and all of them far from the caviar and Dover sole that might have graced a wealthier table. Lox has Scandinavian origins but I am not going to get in the middle of any arguments between Swedes, Danes and Norwegians as to who cured the first of these tasty fish.
As I mentioned before when I was a kid we would get our lox at Benjy’s deli. We would buy about 1/4 lb at a crack and it was pretty expensive. When I lived in Israel I realized that aside from canned, lox was the only form of salmon available. In Hebrew it is simply called salmon (say it with a slight Latin accent with an emphasis on the second syllable) Whether it was in the markets or on the menu that word always meant cured or smoked salmon. A pretty typical dish was pasta in a heavy cream sauce with chopped lox.
When I was an Israeli tour guide I would often drop groups in Jerusalem and then make my way home to the kibbutz I lived on. On my way to the bus terminal I would pass through the cavernous Mahane Yehuda markets. I would make my way up the crowded aisles past the fish mongers, butchers and bakeries stopping to pick up a few things to make dinner with. A bit of lox, fresh basil and a bottle of wine made for a nice meal in my own kitchen for the first time in a week.
If I am making bagels (and they are proofing in the fridge as I write this) then I should have some lox to go with it. Since I live in a part of the world where fresh wild salmon is almost a birthright it seems only right to make my own. Cured salmon is a pretty easy thing to do, like most cures it only requires time.
Recipe after the break.