We’ve been collaboratively redecorating here at secret menu headquarters, and the best metaphor I can think of for that process is when you pluck a large piece of concrete out of the dirt in your yard (clearly I have always lived in cities, where random wedges of concrete outnumber naturally occurring mineral solids by something like three-to-one): if you know anything about anything, you cautiously toe that puppy until it flops over to one side, and about a hundred insects swarm out from underneath, many of them acting like you just woke them up from the best nap of their lives. “What the heck?!?” they shriek, in their little bug voices. “Who turned the light on?! Where am I?!?!”
For the purposes of this metaphor, imagine that the rock is a large framed photograph of a doll’s head, and the insects are your emotions. Emotions, like insects, come in many species: general feelings about cohabitation (ants), personal aesthetics (earwigs), baggage from past relationships (pill bugs), etc. You get the idea. So when JM and I started putting new art on the walls, and fixing up the garden, and moving (and then subsequently moving back) the furniture in the bedroom, it stirred up an emotional swarm in my head. “What the heck?” the emotions scream, in their little emotion voices. “Why did you wake us up? We were fine playing dead in the dirt!”
True to form, JM got the memo about the swarm well before I even realized what was happening in my own skull. On Wednesday night — AKA “date night,” AKA “the day I leave at 8am and come home 10 to 12 hours later” — he decided to cook up a special meal consisting of roasted eggplant and tomato soup, stewed chickpeas with spinach (we have dubbed this dish “hot chick”), and yam chips. Also true to form, he made enough of this comfort food to have as leftovers the next day.
I got right on the leftovers bandwagon first thing in the morning, frying up a chickpea omelet and one of the extra tomatoes left in the fruit basket. And I have to say, there’s really nothing like comfort food to turn an onslaught of feelings into a peaceful waterfall. I just watch the emotions go by and think, man, where did all that stuff come from? Where is it going? And are there any chickpeas left in the fridge?
Chickpea Omelet with Fried Tomatoes
Ingredients (per omelet):
-1/2 onion, diced
-1/2 cup of chickpeas (if using canned chickpeas, rinse them really well)
-2-3 tbs olive oil
-1-2 tbs grated hard cheese
-fresh herbs (optional)
-salt and freshly ground pepper
-1 medium tomato, sliced into four wedges
You’ll need two pans for this, one medium/large (with a lid) and one small. Crack your eggs and beat them in a mixing bowl, adding a few pinches of salt and pepper. Put the larger pan on medium-low heat and pour in 1/2 tablespoons’ worth of olive oil. When it’s hot, swirl the pan around a little to coat the bottom, and add your onions. Fry them until brown, and then add the leftover chickpeas (it just occurred to me that channa masala would also work really nicely in this — and you could grate paneer over the top!). Fry for another minute or two until they’ve warmed through, and then use a spatula to spread the onions and chickpeas evenly around the pan. Turn the heat to low, and put the smaller pan over medium-high heat on another burner. Put a few more tablespoons of oil in the smaller pan to let it warm up while you get the omelet going.
Now carefully pour your eggs over the top of the chickpeas and onions, shimmying the pan a little when they’re all in there to make sure the egg has evenly coated the bottom. Add your herbs while the eggs are still wet, and then cover with a lid and let the omelet cook through, about 5-7 minutes. While it’s cooking, tend to your tomatoes. The oil in the smaller pan should be piping hot by now, and you can just toss those suckers in there. Warning: they will pop and sizzle and possibly burn you, so watch out. I always put these things on the back burner.
Each wedge should be fried for about 1-3 minutes on each side (depending on how crispy you like them), which happens to work well with the timing of the omelet. When the omelet is done, sprinkle your grated cheese over the top and let it melt. Yum. Also, a four-egg omelet is pretty big, so you might want to share it with a friend — especially if that friend has been framing and hanging pictures all day.