Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cooking Together: Bull's Eyes

When I was little, my mother would cook big weekend breakfasts--to order. Yeah, I was that spoiled. My sister usually wanted eggs or french toast. My father, bacon and toast or sometimes sausage. Me? I always ordered the same thing: a big bowl of Uncle Ben's converted rice with loads of butter and salt. Once and always a Carb Queen.

My mother never missed a beat; she fixed me my rice and I was happy, until my sister would look across the table at me and mouth the word Freakshow. I never told on her though, because deep down, I knew my breakfast of champions was, indeed, odd.

Three decades later, I'm still eating weird crap for breakfast. I don't do cereal, yogurt, waffles, pancakes or any sweet food, for that matter. My ideal breakfast usually looks like this.

Yeah, that is leftover hot and sour soup from 2 nights ago. But it's great at 6:30 in the morning, although my husband walks by and gags when he sees what I'm eating.

Most people who claim to hate breakfast food just hate breakfast period. They don't wake up hungry and the idea of eating first thing in the morning leaves them cold. But that's not me. I wake up ravenous. Always have. But I don't want any of that sugary dreck that passes for breakfast food.

And don't get me started on eggs. I used to eat them once in a while (usually in some cheesy Perkins or IHOP at 2am, in a stupor) but now I can't. I had morning sickness when pregnant with Miss D. and just the smell of a cooked egg sent me running to the toilet. To my credit, I still made eggs for my husband then (and I do still now) but not without a running commentary about my sacrifice and devotion and "damn, I'm a good wife" martyrdom. The smell of eggs, for some reason, is still unbearable.

Perhaps to spite me, both Miss D. and Miss M. adore scrambled eggs. Miss D. likes hers so runny that I know she's at risk for salmonella poisoning, but that's the way she eats 'em, so that's the way I make 'em. Miss M. puts enough salt on hers to kill a garden of slugs. They love eggs...but just scrambled. I've tried frittatas, quiches, soft-boiled, poached, coddled--you name it. Nope. Scrambled it is, and scrambled it has been about 3 or 4 days out of the week since the girls started solid food. I grin and make them and valiantly try not to inhale.

This weekend, Miss D. and I were looking through a cookbook for kids penned by Paula Deen and we stumbled upon the recipe for Bull's-Eyes. "Lets make this tomorrow morning, okay?" Minx said, and since she gets to pick sometimes (and boy was I glad to dodge the yeast bullet) I said okay.

Then I had the incredible savvy and brilliance to drink at least an entire bottle of wine by myself the night before the egg project. Granted, it was over a time period lasting from 4pm until midnight, but that's still a buttload of wine and I woke up feeling severe imbiber's remorse.

I lurched into the kitchen and Miss Perky was bright eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for the egg project! I needed a Bloody Mary like nobody's business and there wasn't a drop of Snap E Tom in the house. Shit.

So I feigned enthusiasm and we made Bull's Eyes for breakfast. I sort of knew what they were; I recall a scene in the movie Moonstruck where Olympia Dukakis does something similar , with the addition of sauteed roasted red bell peppers. We didn't do the peppers routine, but the method is pretty straightforward:

Melt a pat of butter in a small nonstick skillet over low heat. Using a knife or a cookie cutter, make a hole in the center of a piece of bread. Note: We added an element of challenge by using, Gasp! Wheat Bread. Which my kids will not touch, not ever, no way. Hello Mommy! It's brown! You expect us to ingest brown food? Well, I ask it of their father, so why not them?

Place the cut-out slice of bread in the skillet and crack an egg into the hole in the middle. Since this was a Miss D. and Mama cooking together enterprise, it took a little longer than planned, and the bread got pretty toasty, but that's okay. Cook until the white of the egg is beginning to set, about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the whole shebang over and cook 2 more minutes.

I don't know if it was my cast-iron skillet or my flipping technique or what, but our Bull's-Eyes drooled a little.

Luckily, the girls thought that was Supercool! and did not make me cook more eggs, which is a good thing, because I wanted to throw up in my mouth. Hangover+cooked egg smell? Mommy is NOT feelin' it this morning, let me tell you.

I gilded the lily and added a big shake of salt. Those little minxes ate it right up. Even the wheat bread, even the drooling yolk. They got to use their own plastic forks to cut it up and they felt all Rambo and grown up. Or as grown up as you can be when running around without underwear because potty training is not going well.

My Awesome Stepkid R likes to eat his like this.

Which sent me out the door, to the grocery store, in search of tomato juice.


  1. This sounds like it was definitely a success! Congratulations on powering through despite the groginess =).

  2. Love it! Hilarious! Poor you with your eggs - that is love for you truly! xxx

  3. Eggs made me ill with both of my pregnancies...

    Hangovers + eggs = I can't imagine how on earth you cooked breakfast for your kids.

    I'm also not a breakfast food eater. I love leftover Chinese for breakfast, cold pizza or chips and helavagood dip. But I could eat that kinda dip all day long...

  4. @ck: I must know what helavagood dip is. I. Must. Know. Dip=Good.

    Glad to see there are other freaks out there who eat weird breakfasts.

  5. You are so funny! I would have gagged, too. And is there anything better than a really good Bloody Mary? My fave breakfast food? Cold pepperoni, green pepper, and onion pizza. Since you asked.

    P.S. Helavagood dip is AWESOME!