I had a busy day of errands last Friday. On these kinds of days, I take the opportunity to buzz into one of Durham’s delicious lunch spots. This last week, I went into Scratch bakery. Scratch is owned and operated by pastry chef, Phoebe Lawless. It is one of my favorite places in town! Her food communicates comfort, artisanship, and seasonality. Her food speaks to my soul.
I have the most difficult time choosing what to eat there. I simply want one of everything!!! She serves breakfast and lunch, along with incredibly stunning sweet and savory pies and cakes. Talk about the burden of too many good choices!
Phoebe’s skills have drawn lots of local, regional, and national attention. She was recently on the list of 2014 nominees by the James Beard Association for Outstanding Pastry Chef. Around these parts (Durham, NC), Phoebe is well known for her pies. You will find her fresh baked breads, sorghum granola, sweet and savory crostadas, fresh squeezed lemonade, and much more at her storefront, Scratch, and at the Durham Farmers Market.
Back to my lunch – since I was torn between 3 or 4 items, I asked for some advice from the cheerful young lady working the counter. She recommended the pickled egg salad sandwich, which I had on my list. I was smitten with my sandwich! Fresh egg salad made with pickled eggs was a first for me, though it will certainly not be the last! I was awestruck by the textures and flavors of my sandwich. I loved the way the bright green lettuce laid against the egg salad and created a subtly crisp layer between the smear of mayonnaise and fresh baked sourdough bread. As always, I was completely satisfied with my Scratch experience.
As the day went on, I could not stop thinking about that egg salad. A few more days passed, and I was still thinking about that egg salad. This is the way that I am often inspired to create and re-create in the kitchen.
I picked up a loaf of sourdough bread from Scratch. I made sure that I had plenty of eggs. I would finally be eating delicious egg salad again. Yesterday was the day!
I did not have time to pickle the eggs. Though it is at the top of my “to do” list – to research some pickled egg recipes. I like using briny or pickled ingredients like capers, olives, and cornichons. I have never really followed a strict recipe for making egg salad. I follow the “little bit of this, little bit of that” method. It can really depend on what I am in the mood to eat as to what will make its way into my egg salad.
Sometimes I get inspiration from unexpected places. With some quick research I discovered that Deb Perlman, the author of Smitten Kitchen, had posted a blog about… you guessed it, egg salad. Deb had a lovely addition of pickled celery to her egg salad recipe. I was “on a roll.” I had a pickled element to add to my egg salad. It was time for me to dig in the fridge and get my egg salad going!
Lesson: I feel so lucky to have access to such skilled artisans and chefs where I live and work. I have inspiration and experience to draw upon from these wonderful resources in humanity. I am ever so grateful for the inspiration. What are you grateful for today?