Whatcha got cookin’?


Well, since I moved, now nearly two weeks ago, I’ve been getting used to my new kitchen. It looks pretty spacious in this photo, but really it’s a pretty small galley-style kitchen from the mid-1970s, and it took me awhile to get it organized.  There’s a microwave oven, which I’ve never had (or wanted) in my life. I am mainly using it to store my skillets, but I did use it the other day to liquefy some honey, and I’ve heard it’s good at reheating a cup of tea.


It’s nice to have a pineapple in one’s kitchen


The pantry has lots of shelves. How thoughtful.

Fortunately, there’s a separate pantry I can use for storing canned goods, beans, Mason jars, coffeepots and such.


One of my favorite parts of arranging the kitchen was putting up the block prints my daughter Aviva made in her Country Cookin’ series. It’s a great inspiration for me to look over from the stove at Aviva’s “How about cooking something up with me?” rendition of Hank Williams with a spatula.


Another pleasure was putting up one of my lovely vintage aprons on the wall — useful pockets too!

passthruThe kitchen is kind of isolated from the rest of the place except for a little pass-through to the dining room. It’s an old fashioned idea….and I wasn’t too fond of it until I found the cow-bell that my mom used to summon us to dinner. Now I ring the bell and Steve takes the food and dishes and silverware to the table.  Sometimes I pretend it’s a diner by ringing the bell and yelling “Order up!”

I'm feeling happy in this kitchen

I’m feeling happy in this kitchen

So, after all this arranging — what have I been cooking?

Well, as today is the last day of the eight-day holiday of Passover (and it was very appropriate to clean up and move just before), I’ve been making food without bread or leavening. No pasta, rice, beans, polenta, pizza or most of the other things I usually eat. We’ve had potatoes many different ways, asparagus and eggs, a roast chicken… For treats I made a chocolate walnut torte (flourless, of course) that I wrote about in a post last year and meringue cookies.

And this morning, I made some matzo brei for breakfast, with almost-the-last of the Passover matzo.


Matzo brei is easy. For two people, take three matzo and break them up into chunks in a colander. Run tap water over them for half a minute just to moisten. Beat three eggs in a bowl, add the moistened matzo, crumbs and all, and a dash of salt, and mix it all up with a fork. Melt a couple tablespoons of butter in your frying pan and when it sizzles, tip in the matzo-egg mixture and scramble it up, breaking up the pieces, and adding more butter for crispier pieces if you wish.

If you are two hungrier people, use four matzos and four eggs (and more butter). You get the idea.


We always served it with some generous squeezes of lemon juice, topped by a shower of cinnamon sugar. You can have it with jam too. Some fruit and yogurt on the side would be quite welcome to round out the breakfast.

I apologize for waiting until the end of the holiday to put up a Passover recipe, but some people eat it during the rest of the year — Ruth Reichl says her family eats matzo brei on Christmas morning!

For me, matzo is the very taste of this great celebration of freedom,  and I never eat it except on Passover, waiting till that first day of the holiday, just as in my childhood, to taste the once-a-year specialty.

But if you know someone who’s been observing Passover and has half a box of matzo left over that they’d like to get rid of, well, matzo brei may be just the ticket.  Most of us are tired of matzo by the end of eight days, and you don’t have to be Jewish to love matzo brei!



Filed under dessert, musings, spring

2 responses to “Whatcha got cookin’?

  1. Joan

    Good morning Toby, I loved your blog today, particularly the pictures of your kitchen pantry with the evidence of many ways to enjoy coffee in your house. You expound a love of lemons, but there in the pictures is the proof that you are also a coffee-lovin gal! I feel a caffeinated, northwest bond with you! I am also thinking your need a forties-inspired waitress uniform to match your persona in your new kitchen. Think how adorable you could look with a hankie in your cuffed short-sleeved uniform….Cooking is important, but having the correct costume to accompany your short order role is not to be lightly dismissed…..Blessings in your new home. giovanna

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