After weeks of raising a wary eyebrow to the kitchen, eschewing all self-held beliefs about cooking at home and dining on an endless line of sandwiches from the local sub shop, one morning the cook arises to brilliantly cold winter sunshine. She stands in the kitchen, hair a wild mass, bleary eyes surveying the pile of dishes she neglected to do last night because she did not want to empty out the dish rack. Her eyes raise again to this strange world outside where the world appears full of light and life, and somewhere, deep in the recesses of her brain, there is a click. Dishes get put away, dirty ones get washed, and somewhere in the middle of that the oven gets heated to 425°, and a fresh clean small bowl and whisk are pulled out, and the decision to stop writing her food blog in the third person constantly is thrown out the window.
One egg is cracked in, clean fresh-smelling flour is added, a bit of milk, a dash of vanilla, salt, and sugar are swiftly whisked together. Two ramekins are greased up and the batter divided evenly between them, then slid into the hot oven. All of this before I have even had the wherewithal to make coffee. 25 minutes later, there is a delicately sweet scent wafting out of the oven and a gigantic French press of coffee waiting to kick my brain into overdrive for the day. The addition of sugar has added an extra alluring bit of crunch and lusciously deeply browned crust to these delightful morsels, which have exploded to over five times the size of the batter that was poured in. The proof of their airiness is locked in crisply outline bubbles of air along the surface, each cranny holding a promise of how rewarding such a simple assembly of food can be.
I pour a generous mug of coffee, adulterating it to my liking, and crack open the popovers, letting forth a glorious cloud of gently sweet steam. In one last run of inspiration, a generous scoop of a Nutella-esque substance (not really Nutella, since it has high fructose corn syrup in it, and this was purchased at a store that will not carry items with HFC in them) is slathered on the steaming halves, melting into impossibly tempting chocolate-y hazelnut puddles that flow into the larger air bubble caverns. If only every morning could be this grand.
I really need to cook more.
(seriously, how beautiful are they?)
Popovers, just like before
note: I have made these before and posted on them, but to save you the search…
1 large egg
splash vanilla extract (probably only 1/4 tsp., if I was pressed to give an amount)
generous pinch salt
really generous pinch sugar (again, maybe 1 1/2 tsp., if you want to get all precise)
butter for greasing
Preheat oven to 425°. Generously grease the ramekins. Seriously, don’t be stingy. This makes it so you can just pop those suckers right out as soon as they come out of the oven, and trust me, you want to do this as fast as possible. They start to deflate the second you pull them out of the oven, like a surly souffle. In a small bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients until thouroughly combined. If you see lumps, well… then you’re doing it right. Keep whisking, they’ll disappear, I promise. Divide equally amongst the ramekins. Slide into preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. While baking, make some coffee. Have to remeasure the beans for grinding three times because the cruel irony is that you need the coffee to have enough presence of mind to properly measure the coffee will not happen until you actually have the coffee. Be grateful when it appears to be brewing properly. Check on them after 20 through the window. They will have exploded into delightful golden brown clouds. When they are good and golden brown, remove from oven, swiftly run a knife around the edge of the ramekin, and they should just pop right out. Cut in half, being careful while you do, since they will vent a lot of REALLY HOT steam. Top with Nutella-esque stuff, or just butter, or a bit of butter and jam. Eat while drinking sweet glorious coffee.