This dude (like most of us) may be the furthest thing from a morning person, but I do have a passion for breakfast.
I usually wake up in the morning after five smartphone alarms and an angry growl of acceptance. The only exceptions to this are the mornings in which I happened to wake up next to someone special, in which case I'd wake up happy and she would most likely be waking up to breakfast in bed.
It was on one such occasion in the dead of winter that I awoke to the cutest snoring (if indeed snoring can be considered cute) I ever heard.
I smiled instead of growled and after checking the time and seeing it was only 7 a.m.(ish), I stretched, got up, got dressed, washed up and hurried to the kitchen to make my standard morning surprise before Sleeping Beauty arose.
By then I knew her basic breakfast favourites. She liked her bacon cooked crispy and her eggs over-easy. She loved a piece of fruit with her breakfast, especially oranges slices with yogurt on the side to dip them in.
She also had to have a mug of hot Red Rose tea with two sugars and three milk swirls in lieu of the black coffee, which was my essential morning jumpstart.
More than any of these though, she loved my omelettes.
Creatively, omelettes are amazing. They can be stuffed with an innumerable variety of ingredients and therefore provide a cornucopia of unique combinations that allow the inventive mind of the breakfast cook a landscape of creative free range to frolic in.
While many people do consider omelettes to be tricky to make, when done properly they can be surprisingly easy. With time, your skill at making them can only increase. Mastering them can be incredibly rewarding as they are (in my humble foodie opinion) the second tastiest western breakfast food that exists (the first being waffles, because yum).
Each time I made an omelette for Sleeping Beauty, it was a unique surprise that she was eager to unveil. She used to refer to them as her “adult Kinder Surprises” because, while they always appeared the same on the outside, on the inside she never knew what culinary combination she was going to get.
Some mornings I would sneak to the fridge to scavenge for completely off-the-wall ingredients (more out of necessity than creative bravery) such as green beans, rice, snow peas, nappa, prosciutto, or beef and broccoli from our Chinese food leftovers. Once I even made a covert expedition to McDonald's to get a couple of bunless Big Macs to use as omelette filling ... and of course, a cup of the largest, strongest black coffee that they had.
All these fillings (despite their inherent weirdness) went over very well with Sleeping Beauty, but I was beginning to wonder if there was indeed a filling combination that would make all the ones prior seem drab and mundane by comparison.
I decided that one day I would make her an omelette to eclipse all the others in her eyes; an omelette that would become her absolute favourite.
That morning, I stuffed my earbuds into my ears to blare Metallica's cover of “Whisky in the Jar” from my iPhone library. Fueled by hard music (and a pot of freshly brewed perk) I threw open the fridge door and began digging out my ingredients with enthusiasm, bent on making my then-girlfriend a new and unique omelette to shake things up.
As I spotted a sirloin steak I had thawing the night before, I remembered her favourite thing to eat in the world was a juicy, medium-rare steak. If I could incorporate that into an omelette it would be a pleasant surprise for her to discover inside along with some red, yellow and green pepper slivers, bacon, some mushrooms, diced cucumber and a generous handful of shredded mozzarella cheese.
It could even be – dare I say – the ultimate omelette to blow Sleeping Beauty's mind, heart and tastebuds. With a crack of my fingers, neck, wrists and back (yeah, I'm one of those, sorry) I set to work creating ...
Sleeping Beauty's Omelette
3 large eggs
1/6 of a cucumber, diced
1/2 an 8-oz sirloin steak, cut into ½-inch-thick strips
3 strips maple bacon, diced
3 slivers each of green, yellow and red peppers, 1-cm thick.
2 white mushrooms, fresh
1 handful shredded mozzarella cheese or to taste
1 pinch each salt and pepper or to taste
1 pinch dried parsley
1 dollop sour cream
On medium heat, preheat pan with diced bacon.
Carefully remove cooked bacon from grease and add mushrooms, cucumber and peppers, stirring occasionally.
After three minutes, add uncooked steak strips and continue to cook and stir until the meat reaches desired doneness. For well-done steak strips, add the steak to the pan along with mushrooms, cucumber and peppers.
Turn off burner and set the contents of the pan aside.
Next, heat a medium, non-stick pan on medium heat and add a generous splash of olive oil.
Whisk eggs in a small bowl until evenly blended.
Carefully pour beaten eggs into the pan, swirling pan much as a gold prospector would to ensure the pan is evenly coated with the egg.
When the egg appears solid enough to flip, take a large dinner plate and place over top of pan and flip the whole thing over. Now, you can very easily slide it back into the pan so the other side can cook evenly without the risk of breaking the egg apart.
Next, quickly add – in order – shredded cheese, bacon, cucumber, peppers and mushrooms and steak to the left or right half of the egg bed.
Now comes the tricky part – carefully fold the other side of the egg bed over the other half so the entire thing looks like your standard half-moon omelette shape.
Once you accomplish this (good job, by the way) let it continue to cook to melt cheese and give some heat to the other ingredients for about another minute.
Then, carefully slide the entire omelette onto a clean plate.
Top it with a smear of sour cream and sprinkle it with salt, pepper and parsley to make it look pretty and taste even more wonderful.
Voila! Your omelette is now complete! Any great breakfast item can go marvelously with this omelette but I highly recommend a few hash browns, some fruit and/or yogurt as a delicious addition to this breakfast beast.
Toast and a few beans are also a tantalizing side for any omelette and go well with this one as I just found out (I made one and got so excited and hungry that I devoured it and forgot to take a photo of it, so here's another one).
With my omelette and the desired sides complete and Sleeping Beauty's mug of tea perfectly made, I set them on the breakfast tray, making it as glorious as the tableau of a savant.
As expected, she was still snoring like a mother bear in the dead of winter, stone to the world. I set the tray beside her and playfully poked, rocked, bit and finally kissed her awake so that she could take in the masterpiece that I set before her.
She should have expected it really, but was still genuinely surprised and delighted when she took in the breakfast tray. Indeed, she admitted it was by far the tastiest omelette yet.
“The benefits of dating a chef far outweigh the drawbacks,” I remember her saying as she tore into the omelette.
“Drawbacks?” I demanded, aghast.
“You snore,” she replied with a full-mouthed smile.