There seems to be this idea that just because you go to culinary school and write a food blog and think and talk incessantly about food that your table is graced with elaborate meals three times a day. I’d hate for you to see my breakfast program, which has been undergoing a reform lately. When I lived in Chicago, I headed off to work with an empty stomach most of the time. Then I went through a high-LDL-oatmeal-eating period (albeit brief) when that was all I ate every morning; the oatmeal is comforting in winter, especially with summer’s apricot jam on top to remind us that the seasons do change, since the gray winter sky certainly won’t. Then I’d fall off the wagon and start skipping breakfast again or dedicate myself to the power bar, the ones that taste, look, and really actually are, like a candy bar (if it tastes too sugary to be good for you, it is).
I’ve read and been told many times that exercise should be followed up with a small carb-protein meal within 30 minutes of working out. Missing this replenishment undoes the effort you just put in on the weights or running or slamming a big heavy ball against the wall, by about half. Glenn Stark, a trainer here at Bay Tennis and Fitness, has taught me some important things.
First, you can find a reason to smile no matter what. Here’s a remarkable man who shows up with a smile every day despite having lost not one, but two of his beloved children (as my dear one Patti says, if you put your troubles into a big pot with everyone else’s and had to choose, you’d pull your own back out. And Patti has known her share of pain).
Second, he told me you can forget all of the hoity-toity smoothies with supplements in them—good as those may be, one of the most ideal post work-out foods just might be chocolate milk, a great carb-protein balance. I took that (and the smile) to heart, making the chocolate skim milk a fine addition to my morning, and it’s a routine that is darn easy to implement. Plus it’s the only calcium I get besides my labne (kidney stone avoidance demands natural calcium only).
The best breakfasts I eat actually happen more often at dinner, in the form of eggs. There’s just something easy, cozy, even illicit about eating breakfast for dinner…as though you’re giving yourself a much-needed break, treating yourself to a special thing. Aunt Louise, like many a Lebanese lady, loves to make coosa and eggs for dinner especially during the summer, when the squash is at its height.
This is not just some use-up-your-excess-squash approach. Most of that coosa gets blessedly cored and stuffed and cooked with tomato, but there’s something to be said for those times when you give it a rest and take the coosa, especially the little ones that don’t want to be stuffed, in another direction. Coosa and eggs is a very Lebanese dish that is adored, a comfort food for its warmth and naturally sweet flavor. Not to mention its healthfulness. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what our Michigan hometown, USA Olympian gold medalist (with Lebanese roots) Jordyn Wieber has eaten on more than one occasion instead of those Corn Flakes or Wheaties. Perhaps sometime, instead of skipping or drinking my breakfast, I should eat my coosa and eggs. But then what would I have for dinner?
Coosa (Summer Squash) and Eggs
This dish is like ijee, asparagus and eggs, but it exchanges summer squash for the asparagus and includes onion, which goes so well with the coosa. Eggs cook up best in a non-stick skillet.
Coosa, cut in rounds crosswise, then in half
Eggs, beaten, with a pinch of salt
Onion, thinly sliced
Extra-Virgin Olive oil
Heat a non-stick skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the coosa and onions and sauté until cooked through and golden brown in spots. Reduce heat to low. Pour the eggs over the coosa and cook gently, stirring to combine, for less than a minute for soft scrambled, or longer if you like your eggs dry. Season with salt and pepper.
Find a PDF of this recipe here.