I have no remaining physical evidence of the miracle which took place in my apartment on Easter Sunday. No image appearing on a slice of toast, no time lapse photography showing a glass of wine disappeared by an elusive Elijiah (see what I did there?), no, not even a single blurry cell phone photo in which one can barely make out the outline of a figure backlit in a halo of warm afternoon sunlight.
Oh wait, there is a blurry photo:
Can you see it? Glowing, ever so slightly? There, next to the brown smudge? No, the other one?
But you can kind of feel the power, right?
Well, you'll just have to take my word for it. Actually, you won't, since you were there and bore witness to the sacred event, but for the benefit of posterity, I am putting this down in print so that, like the gospels, future generations can hear tell of a time when inspiration led to magic and tired mothers could be geniuses.
It was Easter Sunday. Some of us wore frills.
Some didn't. All were hungry. Most were sleepy.
I planned a simple menu which could be executed easily and quickly during morning naptime. It included: Shakshuka, bacon, roasted potatoes, with delicious asparagus vinaigrette provided by the Boo, and fresh fruit and a fruit crisp from The Mother.
We all know, I hope, that when making bacon in large quantities, and especially for guests, one should always make it in the oven. Standing over a splattering pan of bacon grease, flipping and burning yourself and ruining your clothes and generally smoking up the place, when you should be drinking mimosas on the couch, is just dumb. As such, I planned to stick a package on a sheet tray and throw it in the oven a few minutes before your arrival. But there were also the potatoes that I planned to cut up and roast on a pan with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little paprika, which would also take up oven space and time. Then I realized they both would cook at the same temperature, and could therefore go into the oven together (if not for the same duration). And Then--THEN--it hit me. Here's how my thinking went, if you can call pure inspiration, pure TRUTH and LIGHT and GOODNESS beamed directly into your soul, beyond words, beyond rational thought, beyond emotion and petty distractions of human life, "thinking."
I often roast chicken on top of chunked up root vegetables (like potatoes) in the same pan. Classic, right? This serves multiple purposes: 1: makes a delicious one-pot meal with meat and sides, 2: Seasons the vegetables with herbs and juices from the chicken, and keeps them moist, and 3: makes a sort of 'rack' for the chicken which allows air to flow on all sides, so the chicken is moist and the skin crispy, rather than having it sit in the bottom of the pan, stewing in the juices.
I've seen recipes for oven-cooked bacon which have you lay it on a rack in the pan so the grease drips down to the bottom and the bacon gets nice and crispy. And I've surely seen recipes for potatoes cooked in various fats--duck fat, chicken fat (see above)...
And most of all, a voice inside me seemed to speak, why do two dishes when you can do just one! And thou shalt line it with aluminum foil and not ask questions about the potential toxicity of this and ye shall peel it and throw it away and drink another mimosa instead of getting a cramp in thy arm scrubbing off crusted bits and it will be good.
I chopped and tossed the potatoes with just a touch of oil (the bacon would provide the rest of the fat), and seasonings. Spread them on a lined pan, and then carefully draped some nice applewood smoked bacon over the top. Popped the pan into a pre-heated oven at 400 and sat back while the incomparable smell of smoky salty pork overtook the apartment. Flipping the potatoes took a bit of finagling what with the bacon in the way, but it was worth it. When the bacon looked just about perfect, I pulled it out and onto a waiting paper towel. Left the potatoes in a bit longer until they were golden and crispy with fluffy interiors, and then scattered some chopped scallions over the top with a dash of more salt.
Result: I am genius, obvi. But this isn't about me. It was never about me. This is about the future. About sharing this revelation with our children, and our children's children. Its a new day, and this day tastes like perfectly cooked potatoes bathed in essence of bacon, with skins that shatter sonorously against the tooth and bacon that is even and crisp and smoky with nary a smidgen burnt or undercooked and slimy. It's beautiful.
And the shakshuka was pretty rapturous as well.