IMG_1974

Sometimes as we’re struggling, we tend to overthink. When things are smooth sailing, we forget why things are so easy.

I love the spring and fall seasons. They’re my favorite. This year, spring arrived particularly early, which has confused the trees. Following an out-pour of blossoms, trees line throughout the Garden State have retained hues of red and orange. I thought it was fall again.

This afternoon, Clare and I took advantage of the lovely 63 degree F weather by biking along the Jersey shore. We started at Sandy hook, where we saw kite-surfers zig-zagging through the water at dizzying speeds and the occasional tanner enjoying the sun. Clare and I were among the many who biked along the shore.

We started out on a leisurely pace. Ten minutes went by, then thirty minutes, then fifty minutes- we had barely even broke a sweat and arrived in Long Branch, which is roughly 10 miles south of Sandy Hook. “Wow,” we marveled at each other. “That was pretty easy. We didn’t even go that fast and we’re already at Long Branch. Maybe we can ride down further to Asbury Park.”  Luckily, I had to arrive home at a certain time so we turned around and decided to pick up the pace. Thirty seconds into it, I realized something was different.

Why was the wind smacking me in the face, and why is it so much harder to pedal?

Both of us were ready to collapse by the time we made it back.

Our first leg of the ride wasn’t easy because months of spin class had made us fit. It was because we had giant tailwinds that pushed us along. And we paid for those tailwinds on the way back… Too bad we didn’t think about why that first leg was so easy.

'scapes

Long Branch, NJ in the summer
I can’t wait for summer where the beach is only a quick car-ride away. Jersey is just so beautiful.

IMG_1998

Before our trip, Clare said something interesting and worth noting. Whether or not we’re in a season of our lives that we’d like to be in, we should still enjoy our time because once we transition into a new season, that old season is never coming back. Eventually, we’ll start missing parts of that season, no matter how joyful the new season may be. Sometimes, I think about those college years when I traded leisure time for extra cramming time. There are times when I regret not taking advantage of my time as a college student living in the city. I never dreamed I’d be moving back to the suburbs. Yet, here I am. And while I love Jersey and the suburb way of life, I envy those who have the world at their fingertips in the form of multicultural restaurants, street festivals, and crummy subway systems. I wished I had taken the time to enjoy some of that stuff more.

IMG_2001

I decided a few weeks ago that I’m going to make this year count. It’s not that I didn’t make the past few years count. In fact, those were some of my happiest years. But I don’t know where I’ll be going in the years ahead. Maybe it’ll be just a bus ride away to New York City or maybe it’ll be to the West Coast. But whatever happens, I’m sure my next season will have me too busy to have this much leisure time. This year, I’m going to make my time in Jersey count. I’m going to cook and improve my photography as much as I can. I’m going to go on 20 mile bike rides along the Jersey Shore on Saturday mornings because I can. I’m going to play more beach volleyball because I can. I’m going to enjoy this season in my life, rather than fret about the coming seasons. Because when will there ever be time to enjoy any season if that’s the mentality?

IMG_2009

And so, it was with great determination that I finally hunted down a MINIATURE CAST IRON SKILLET! I’ve been looking everywhere for one of these. I did find one wherever I looked, but I couldn’t justify shelling out $20 for a skillet that could barely make enough to feed one. $5 was better. Of all places, I found it all Marshalls. I snagged it and ran to the checkout counter. I was so happy.

This morning, my stomach woke up eagerly because it knew what was coming- baked eggs. It would be an understatement to say that I have literally been DREAMING OF BAKED EGGS for the longest time. I was a damn shame I didn’t have chorizo because it would have been super epic. Oh wells, there’s always next time.

These baked eggs came out FABULOUSLY and were better than I imagined. There’s no bacon or sausage, which is why even I was surprised how wonderfully delicious these turned out. This is a must for anyone who enjoys a savory breakfast.

IMG_2006

Baked eggs with coarse dijon
Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 russet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 onion, sliced into rings.
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons of coarse dijon mustard
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Parsley
  • Salt & Petter
  • Olive oil

Method

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a saucepan, boil water and season the water with a generous handful of salt. Let the potatoes boil in the water for about four minutes or until slightly tender. You don’t want the potatoes to still have that hard crunch, but you don’t want it to be overly soft either. The potatoes will also continue cooking once you drain the water. After the potatoes are drained, add olive oil (~1 -2 tbp) into a skillet on low-medium heat. You’ll want to taste the potatoes to make sure they’re properly seasoned. If not, this is your chance to season them with some salt.  Cook the potatoes until they crisp on the edges and turn brown. After, move the potatoes into another bowl.

Add more olive oil (~1 tbp) to the skillet and add the onion. Cook until they start caramelizing, which should take about 10 minutes. You want to keep an eye on the fire. The onions shouldn’t burn or char. Instead, they should gradually turn limp and brown as they release their sugar. When the onions are done, add back the potatoes. Then, add in your 2 teaspoons of coarse dijon mustard and mix until the dijon is incorporated into the onions and potatoes. Make a well between the potatoes and onions and crack an egg. Season the egg with salt & pepper. Transfer the skillet into your preheated oven and leave it in there for about 5 minutes. The time is dependent on how you like your yolk. Like it runny? Make sure you check it after 3 minutes. Like it less runny and more solid? Leave it in longer and so forth.

When serving, garnish with parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

And do be cautious. The skillet will be HOT upon arrival from the oven.