- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 2, 2004

After Julia Child’s death in August, I began thinking about her influence. To list all of her contributions would take volumes, but her embrace of the commonplace affected me most.

Mrs. Child took foods any so-called gourmet would shun and made dishes that deserved a place in our culinary repertoires. Under her influence, I learned to appreciate eggs as something more than breakfast food.

Before reading “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” (Knopf) Mrs. Child’s groundbreaking book for home cooks, or watching her television shows, it never occurred to me to make an omelet for dinner. Maybe that’s because I hadn’t mastered the art. Mrs. Child devoted half a page in her book to beating eggs. No one had ever directed me to give eggs 30 to 40 vigorous strokes. And she knew that omelets didn’t always come out picture perfect.

In “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” Mrs. Child writes about omelet making: “Do one after another for groups of people every chance you get for several days, and even be willing to throw some away. You should soon develop the art, as well as your personal omelet style.” Thanks to Mrs. Child, I have developed my own personal omelet style. I hope you do, too. Here is a favorite that is delicious, even if not perfectly executed.

Broccoli and garlic

1 small head broccoli

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 dried chili, crumbled

Salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Trim off stalks and cut broccoli florets into bite-size pieces. Drop into boiling water for 1 minute to blanch. Remove and drain well.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add broccoli, garlic and chili.

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until broccoli is tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Do not let garlic burn. Season with salt to taste and pepper and sprinkle with lemon juice. Makes 2 servings.

Southwestern dinner omelet

2 tablespoons butter, divided

1 shallot, minced

1 small poblano chili, cored, seeded and chopped

1 cup sliced wild mushrooms

4 eggs

3/4 cup shredded jalapeno-flavored Monterey Jack cheese, divided

1 tablespoon sour cream

1/8 teaspoon crushed, dried thyme

Salt and pepper

1 small avocado, peeled and thinly sliced

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet. Add shallot, chili and wild mushrooms and saute 5 minutes or until tender. Remove. Beat eggs, cup shredded cheese and sour cream together in a bowl.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet over high heat until it foams. Pour in egg mixture and turn the pan so the eggs spread over the bottom and start to firm up. Stir together the vegetable mixture, thyme and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Quickly spoon over the eggs.

Cook eggs over medium heat until firm but still slightly creamy at the center. Loosen the omelet by running a fork around the edges. Let any uncooked egg from the center run to the bottom to cook. Sprinkle omelet with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and cook 1 minute or until the cheese melts. Roll and remove from the skillet. Cut omelet in half. Arrange half on each of 2 plates. Garnish with avocado slices. Serve hot. Makes 2 servings.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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