Like NYC, but with Half the Calories

One of the magical things about the old NYC of my day (10-20 years ago) is that you could get a good egg sandwich everywhere, on almost every corner, from either an old diner or a bodega. None of this phony biscuit/English Muffin with American cheese fast-food crap either. Default bread was Kaiser Roll. (BTW, there is something kind of gross about the Starbucks fancified version of the McMuffin too… I can’t put my finger on it exactly but I think it has to do with the oversized English Muffin they use. Definitely not right. And the cheese too. IIRC it is too slimey).

Well, swimming–as reported on below–may seem like an effort at being healthy, but the flip side is that we just might come back from the pool hungry and feel like we’ve “earned” a hearty breakfast.

The other day just this happened and Laura and I began reminiscing about the old ubiquitous NYC Egg sandwich. We almost instantly realized that we could throw together a decent simulation right there in our kitchen.

We lacked for real breakfast meat, but we settled pretty happily for Morningstar fake bacon. This stuff has “only” half the fat etc of real bacon, which seems like an awful lot of fat for very flat tofu strips. Manolis, if you are reading, this is the stuff I made for you the other day that you didn’t like much. Problem? I followed the directions on the back. If you instead fry the stuff in a decent amount of olive oil, it is really, really good. Note the bacon-like grease under those yummy fried strips. It is in fact pure olive oil. Despite being surprisingly high in fat, the thing that actually makes these fake bacon strips good is their very intense smokiness. And, when fried, they are very satisfyingly crisp.

Laura did the eggs while I worked on defrosting and toasting the buns. Turns out see always ordered her Egg Sandwich scrambled in the city. I had no idea–I always got fried.

I assembled the layers of the sandwiches. Our buns were actually Organic Whole Wheat Hamburger buns from our Co-Op. Sounds lame, but they got the job done. Started with Cheese–supermarket extra sharp cheddar.

I covered the eggs with salt and pepper; a dash of Habanero for me, none for Laura. Perhaps the key ingedient is the salt: super-cheap and delicious Korean sea-salt. People often ask me what brand it is. Honestly, I have no idea. Consult the photo and tell me if you can figure it out. The stuff is delish and costs less than two bucks for a good-sized bag.

So I’ll end this photo essay with a picture of the salt and the habanero sauce, both from that miracle, Carbondale’s own Monah’s International Market, known locally as “international.” This shop deserves an essay of its own, and probably will get one soon. But suffice it to say that it makes Carbondale a much better place to live.

Oh, and the sandwiches were damn good.


6 responses to “Like NYC, but with Half the Calories

  1. I hate to say it, but swimming for 30 minutes + egg and bacon sandwich = net calorie gain. But you probably feel really good afterwards.

    How about an action shot of you in the pool, btw?

  2. Like son, like father: your dad figured out the olive oil cooking method, too, but your brother didn’t go for it? Come on, Manoli, join the family–your sister is at Trader Joe’s right now buying our “bacon”. I love BLTs with canola mayonaisse. After a while you FORGET what the real thing tastes like and all these healthy substitutes become the real thing, but never, ever taste a real one…

  3. Excellent post, buddy–you captured an oft overlooked delicacy. I had one in your honor!

  4. YUM YUM. Gosh, the eggs look so lofty, the extra sharp cheddar sounds just right, and the salt accenting the flavors even further–wow. I don’t think it’s that bad to be eating fake bacon, as opposed to real bacon. The earlier in the day you eat “naughty” food, the better. Plus, if you keep it up with the swimming–hard core–you can probably eat whatever you want more often. That’s what I tell myself.

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