7.27.2012

A reliable sign of greatness

They say old habits die hard, but for me, it’s the new ones that dig in and don’t let go. 

Stone fruit.  I can’t stop baking it.


I bake apricots because it makes sense.  It’s what you’re supposed to do.  That’s how you get them to sing.  Peaches, though, are a different story, one that typically begins once upon a time in a paper sack on my counter, and ends – happily, drippily – over the sink, where I eat them out of hand.  Last year, intent on baking my favorite pie (which, coincidentally, is also Tim’s favorite pie!), I bought peaches by the half-dozen, week after week.  I’d leave them to ripen, stock up on butter. But the aroma of a perfectly ripe peach is like a search and destroy signal to my brain, and inevitably there I’d be, over by the sink again.  I didn’t bake a pie until September.  September!  It was the season’s last gasp, and it made one hell of a finale.  This year, I’m determined not to wait that long. 

Determined, I tell you, despite a new roadblock that’s plopped itself down in my path.  This:  Nigel Slater’s baked peaches with an almond crust.


When I sat down today to tell you about these peaches, I hesitated.  They’re from Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard, and I’ve already written about so many recipes from it here.  Only I haven’t.  That’s what I realized when I clicked back through my last few entries and discovered that, while Nigel Slater has inspired me left and right and all around town with this beautiful, beautiful volume, I’ve yet to share a single recipe directly from its pages.  There’s been a rhubarb polenta crumble based, in part, on one of Nigel Slater’s cakes, and a pinch of cardamom in with these thanks to a hint on page 105, but that’s all.  This is the sign of a truly great cookbook, I think, when it gets you reading, and thinking, and cooking differently before you take a single recipe for a spin.  Of course, when you do finally move on a proper recipe, if it turns out anything like these peaches, you’ve got a reliable sign of greatness there, too. 


The transformation of peaches in the oven is not as dramatic as it is with apricots, but it’s there. Their flesh goes from sweet and slippery to sweeter and slipperier; they get peachier, somehow, if you know what I mean.  These particular baked peaches also get a crust made of butter and sugar and almond crumbs – that’s all, though you would never believe it.  I hardly believe it, and I’m the one who made them.  (Twice.)  The butter tastes like butter and the almonds taste like almonds. No surprises, there.  But there’s also a faint booziness to these suckers that comes from I don’t know where, as if a shot of amaretto sneaked into the baking dish when you weren’t looking.  It fits, actually, since amaretto is a grown-up thing to taste in a dessert – or to think you taste, whatever the case may be – and I imagine these peaches are what crumble looks like when it’s all grown up:  peach crumble in neat little packages, each halved piece of fruit capped with its own personal crust.  It’s a peach crumble all-in-one, like what deviled eggs are to egg salad. 

“I can see every reason for cream here,” Nigel Slater says, and I agree.  I whipped mine, loosely, with vanilla sugar.  I see every reason for that, too.

Baked Peaches with an Almond Crust
Adapted from Nigel Slater’s Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard

This recipe calls for golden baker’s sugar, which can be expensive and hard to find in the United States.  Nigel Slater recommends raw sugar (demerara or turbinado) whirred in a food processor as a substitute.  I didn’t have any of that on hand, either, so I used plain old white sugar with very nice results. 

4 ripe peaches (or nectarines)
1/3 cup (50 grams) almonds
¼ cup (50 grams) sugar (see note, above)
3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, cubed

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Gently wash and dry the peaches, cut them in half, and remove the pits.  Place the fruit cut side up in a baking dish.

Put the almonds and the sugar in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are coarsely ground.  You want them still pebbly enough to crunch.  Add the butter, and pulse until just blended.

Spoon the almond mixture on top of the peaches and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is brown and crisp, and you could slice through the fruit with a spoon.

Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled with loosely whipped, lightly sweetened cream.

7.15.2012

Summer

If summer, real summer, is the three month period that runs from June 1st through the end of August – not by the calendar, of course, but by the way we feel it – then today, July 15th, is the halfway point.  I like to think that we’ve been doing it up right so far, what with picnics, and ceiling fans, and flip-flops, and barbecues.  On Friday afternoon, we met some friends by the river, and someone brought a rhubarb cake with creamy, cooked polenta baked right into it.  We ate it from paper cups, and Mia tasted her first blueberries, and when we walked home around seven, there was a breeze off the water, and also the feeling that we still had the whole night ahead of us.  We’ve even had a few decent thunderstorms, the kind that explode out of nowhere and soak you to the core in your tank top and canvas shoes.  We were out walking, the three of us, a few weekends ago when the skies opened up, and we ducked beneath some scaffolding to watch the storm and wait for it to pass.  We had seen the sky darkening in the distance, but there’s a new bakeshop in town and we were already on our way, and inside there was a chocolate walnut cookie that the man behind the counter insisted I try.  If only I had skipped that cookie, we might have made it back before the rains came, so technically I guess it’s my fault that we were trapped out there, not three blocks from home.  Mine or the cookie’s, that is.  But we got to count the seconds between the lightning and the thunder, and see Mia’s eyes go wide when the sky would light up, then rumble and crash.  Thank you, chocolate walnut cookie.  Also, you were delicious.

Today, we spent the morning on a beach.  It seemed a proper way to mark summer’s midpoint, but I must say, we were fools to wait this long.  We live about an hour from the North Shore, and we left early enough to get to the water when the beach opened at 8am.  My sister came along, and the roads were practically empty, and so was the sand when we arrived.  The water was a brisk 62 degrees, but by 9:00am it was hot enough that I flung myself out into it and happily let it swallow me, whole.  We sat Mia down on the packed wet sand, and when the first wave came in and lapped at her feet, she looked concerned.  Really, though, she was just checking, – she likes to check these days – looking up at me to make sure that this was what the ocean was supposed to do.  I gave the all clear. Then, she couldn’t get enough.

It’s summer, and every other Tuesday night, when Carolyn is at the market selling her husband’s fish, we eat haddock for dinner.  I prepare it the way Carolyn suggested once last year, brushed with olive oil, seasoned, and baked beneath a mantle of tomatoes and lemon.  It’s everything you’d expect from the recipe I’ve just described, light and fresh, nice with bread and a bit of cheese, my kind of summer meal. 


p.s. -- This photo's worth clicking for a bigger, better view.

Baked Haddock
Carolyn’s recipe

A note about the herbs in this recipe:  Last year I made it with parsley most of the time, and this year I'm on a basil kick.  Tarragon is always lovely with fish, so you might try that, and I think cilantro would also be nice.  I made it once with thyme and, instead of scattering the chopped leaves over the fish at the last possible moment, I stuck a few stems in and around the tomatoes and lemons before baking.  Be careful if you go the thyme route.  I find that it can taste kind of mossy when you have too much of it.

2 half-pound haddock fillets
1 tomato
1 lemon
Olive oil
Kosher salt or Maldon salt flakes
Black pepper
Fresh herbs (see note, above)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper to prevent sticking. 

Slice the tomato into ¼-inch rounds and the lemon more thinly than that. 

Lay the fish fillets on the prepared pan and brush them with olive oil.  Layer the tomato and lemon slices on top – I like 2-3 thin lemon slices per fillet and a lot more tomato – and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the fish is cooked through and flakes when you nudge it with a fork. 

While the fish is baking, wash, dry, and chop your herbs, and sprinkle over the fish, together with a pinch more salt and pepper, just before serving.

Serves 2.

7.11.2012

A nice touch

The chicken or the egg question does not usually bear on salad.  You make a salad, you make the dressing.  It’s the natural order of things.  Sometimes, though, the dressing comes first.  I know a citrus-sesame number that practically chops your cabbage for you and, given the right circumstances, carrots are for Ranch dressing, not the other way around.  Yes, sometimes the dressing inspires the salad.  And sometimes, it becomes one.


This salad, before it was a salad, was a dressing called sauce gribiche.  I first discovered it in The Zuni Café Cookbook by Judy Rodgers, a book I’ve mentioned here before, and though I flagged the recipe with a sticky tab, I forgot about it until Molly reminded me a few years later.  Then, I forgot about it again.  I think I need a sticky tab for my brain.  

Texturally, sauce gribiche is somewhere between a dressing and a dip.  It’s chunky with capers and shallots and bits of chopped egg, but still liquid enough to drizzle.  You start with a soft-boiled egg, mash it together with mustard and salt, then, little by little, whisk in a cup and a quarter of olive oil.  The yolk acts as an emulsifier, which is a fancy way of saying that it gets everything in the bowl to join together in a velvety sauce.  Next come the shallots, the herbs, the capers, the vinegar, the licking of the spoon.  You know how it goes.  


I made sauce gribiche for the first time back in March and I haven’t been able to stop.  The recipe's output is more appropriate to a small batch of soup than to a sauce rich with oil and yolk, but we never seem to have any trouble finding the bottom of the bowl.  In order of appearance, because it turns out I do actually remember things from time to time – weird things, like precisely when I put sauce on food and ate it, but things, nonetheless – I bring you a record of our sauce gribiche consumption since then:  sauce gribiche on broccoli and potatoes (separate bowls), on broccoli and potatoes (one bowl), on brisket (hot), leftover brisket (cold), on a leftover-leftover brisket sandwich (also cold), on asparagus, on artichokes, on lettuce, on salmon, and coming soon, on tomatoes.  I can’t wait.    

I was perfectly content to carry on this way, eating food, putting sauce on it, until one day at the end of April when our friends Eitan and Julia came over for dinner.  (More accurately, they came over for cinnamon rolls, but I thought dinner would be a nice touch.)  Julia is pregnant, and she’s avoiding undercooked – by which I mean perfectly cooked – eggs, so sauce gribiche was out.  But I had mentioned it to her over the phone, just for her information, since I know that an un-pregnant Julia will want to swim in it.  I immediately realized that this was perhaps unnecessarily cruel, and so I offered to make it up to her by coming over to her place in early September with a crusty loaf, a ripe tomato, and a vat of sauce gribiche, and by holding her baby so that she can assemble a proper sandwich and eat it with both hands.  Also, I made her this salad.


It has all the ingredients of sauce gribiche, plus a few of its favorite landing pads, only the egg is kicked out of the dressing, boiled hard, and nestled in among the potatoes and greens.  I keep the capers salad-side, too, scattered and stuck between stalks and leaves, and call the whole thing salad gribiche.  It’s a gribiche you can sink your teeth into, a meal of a gribiche that you eat with a fork and knife.  Exciting times for a spoon-licker like me.  Gribiche by the mouthful.  Dig right in.

Salad gribiche

Inspired by Judy Rodgers’s Four-Minute Egg Gribiche in The Zuni Café Cookbook

When I’m not cooking for cautious pregnant ladies, I only medium boil my eggs, so that the yolks are set, but still fudgy.  The morning that I made the eggs you see here, I forgot about them while they were cooking, so they’re rather well-done.  Still good, nonetheless.  One of the things that’s nice about this salad is that it’s an easy do-ahead meal.  You can steam the broccoli, cook the potatoes (wait to slice them, though), boil and peel the eggs, wash and dry the lettuce, and store everything in the fridge.  Then, when you’re ready to eat, all that’s left to do is assemble.  I like to serve this salad on a large platter, but you could also plate it individually.  I don’t recommend tossing it together in a big bowl, since the hardware (eggs, broccoli, potatoes) are heavy, and you don’t want to bruise the lettuce.  Oh, and the recipe makes more dressing than you need, but I think you’ll be happy to have it around.

For the dressing:
6 tablespoons olive oil (plus a bit more, to taste)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ a large shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs, any combination of parsley, chervil, chives, tarragon, and dill

For the salad:
1 head of lettuce (I like to use butter or bibb lettuce.) 
2 pounds baby potatoes of various shades (I love that brilliant purple!)
2 medium heads of broccoli, cut or snapped into florets (I keep 2-3 inches of stalk attached.)
8 eggs, medium- or hard-boiled, peeled
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and dried
Salt flakes
Freshly ground pepper

Make the dressing:
Put all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well.  Taste.  If the vinegar's too kicky, you can add another tablespoon or so of oil.

Prepare the salad:
Wash the potatoes, put them in a pot, and cover them with water.  Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.  Cook until fork-tender which, depending on the size of your potatoes, will take between 10 and 20 minutes.  Drain and set aside to cool.  Steam the broccoli until just tender, and set it aside, too.

While the potatoes and broccoli are cooking, wash the lettuce in cold water, spin it dry, then roll it loosely in towels to absorb any remaining droplets of water.

Slice the potatoes and hard boiled eggs in half. 

Assemble:
Gently toss the lettuce in a large bowl with about three tablespoons of the dressing.  (You can use more or less, according to your taste.)  Lay the dressed leaves on a large platter and arrange the eggs, broccoli, and potatoes on top.  Drizzle with more of the dressing, and sprinkle a few flakes of salt on each of the eggs.  Scatter the capers over the plate, and serve with black pepper for grinding.

Serves 4.

7.06.2012

Bowls and spoons and stirring

I promised you a recipe for that honeyed tahini I mentioned on Sunday, and a reader held me to it. (Hi, Riv!)  So here you go, friends.  I aim to please.


This was a funny recipe to think about as a recipe at all, because usually I just wing it:  a puddle of sesame paste, a squirt of honey, a shake of cinnamon.  When I’m not in the mood for bowls and spoons and stirring (a more common occurrence than you might think), I simply apply all three directly to hot toast in the basic ratio of a lot of sesame paste to considerably less honey.  (Got that?  Are you writing this down?)  Then, I drag a knife across the surface, and call it a meal.  As a general rule, it works.  But since that’s not exactly the most precise way to explain it; and because honey sometimes shoots out of the bottle in more copious amounts than I intend; and also because, despite my having slathered sesame paste on toast for nine years now, I still can’t properly evaluate the surface area of a slice and translate that to an appropriate amount of sesame paste on a spoon; and finally, because honeyed tahini really does taste better stirred into a uniformly smooth and creamy spread, the method leaves something to be desired. 

I’m glad to have worked out a recipe for it now, and glad to share it with you. 

Honeyed Tahini
Inspired by breakfast at Café Shosh (the old one, on Rechov Ha-Palmach) in Jerusalem

½ cup tahini (sesame paste)
1 tablespoon honey
A dash of cinnamon

Put all of the ingredients in a bowl, and stir.

p.s. –

::  This stop-motion film of an engine being stripped down and reassembled has its hooks (its pistons? its cylinders?) in me.  Every time I watch it, I see something new. Check out the trickle of oil that flows into the jug at 0:45-6.  Beautiful. (Thanks, Garry.)

::  This excerpt from The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard, as printed in the February 2012 issue of Harper’s Magazine.  “And it’s as simple as this, what I want to tell you about:  if perhaps not much, everything.”

::  The fried egg Wiki.  (How is it that I am just discovering this?)  Complete with “regional adaptations or peculiarities” of fried egg preparation and consumption in 15+ countries.   It’s a treasure. 

7.04.2012

Hello-my-baby apricots

Give me your tired, your cottony, your flavorless apricots!  I will bake you a cake!


Then, apparently, I will deliver half of it to a friend, and spend the next couple of days hacking away at what’s left, fighting the urge to dig out the apricots and eat them straight.  I had forgotten about apricots, the way they brighten and bloom in the oven.  They’re the Clark Kent of summer stone fruits. (Minus the glasses and unfortunate side part.)  Pretty enough, but – unless you get your hands on a real winner – they don’t exactly get your heart pumping.  Until they duck into the nearest oven, that is.  When they come out, they’re super.


Apricots cooked are apricots revived.  Suddenly, they have a pulse.  They’re breathing, beating, hello-my-baby apricots.  And they don’t need cake, or much of anything, really, to make your day.  (The cake, for the record, was good, though I do prefer the apple version.)  So.  My next round of apricots I cut in half and dredged through some of the vanilla sugar that I had left over from that pound cake.  I lay them shoulder to shoulder in a casserole dish, and bathed them in a shallow pool of white wine, just deep enough to cover their bottoms.  Then, into the oven. 


They came out super, all right.  Rich and fragrant, buttery and bold, lounging in winey syrup flecked with vanilla seeds.  I’ve been on a pistachio kick lately, so I chopped some up to sprinkle on top and tossed them with a hefty pinch of cardamom.  I’d just been reading about the pairing of cardamom and apricot, and it seemed a wise move.  We ate them hot, straight from the oven, that first night, cold with yogurt the next morning for breakfast, and room temperature the following night when I made them for a dinner with friends.  My friend Megan took one bite and said, “This tastes like a baked good.”  I’ve never heard someone use the word “baked good” in normal conversation, least of all to describe a piece of fruit.  These apricots will surprise you.


They’re the kind of thing you might want to eat at the beginning of a hot summer day, or at the end of one, at a barbecue, say, beneath an exploding sky.  Happy Fourth, friends.  And Happy 236th birthday, America.  You don’t look a day over 235.  Really, you don’t.

Sugared Apricots with Cardamom Pistachios

You’ll notice that I’ve dotted the apricots with butter in one of the photos up there.  I did that the first couple of times I made them, but then I stopped, because I found that my favorite way to eat these is chilled.  They taste less sweet that way, which I like.  What I didn’t like was the bits of butter floating in the cold syrup.  If you’re going to eat them warm – also a pleasure, don’t get me wrong – then butter away!  But honestly, I didn’t miss it.   

I wish I could say something smart and informed about what kind of white wine is best, but I’m not very knowledgeable about these things.  If you have a strong feeling about what would be particularly good here, or even just a hunch, please speak up!  I used a Moscato d’Asti.  It’s very sweet, not something we would usually buy, but someone brought it over one time, so we had it around.  It worked beautifully, but I’d like to experiment with less sweet wines in the future.  I don’t think you can go wrong.

Finally, about the vanilla sugar:  Since making this pound cake, I’ve kept a sealed jar of scraped vanilla beans and sugar in the pantry.  It just gets more and more fragrant with time. To make your own, split a vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into a bowl of sugar.  I’ve seen instructions that say to use anywhere from 1 cup to 1 pound.  I use enough to fill a one-quart mason jar.  Rub the seeds into the sugar with your fingers, pour half of the sugar into a jar, bury the scraped seed, and add the rest of the sugar.  Seal, and let sit for at least a few days, preferably a couple of weeks or more.  If you don’t want to wait that long to make this recipe (and you shouldn’t), rub the seeds into a cup of sugar (you’ll only need a few tablespoons) and you can use it right away.  The vanilla flavor will be plenty strong.  I love the way the sugar melts and the vanilla seeds spill into the syrup, here.  It’s very pretty.     

6-8 apricots, halved, stones removed
3-4 tablespoons vanilla sugar (see note for how to make your own, above)
½ c. white wine
1/3 c. shelled, salted pistachios
1-2 pinches cardamom

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Measure the vanilla sugar into a shallow bowl or pie plate.  Press the apricot halves into the sugar to coat them (both sides), then place them skin side down in a casserole dish.  (Dot with butter, if using.  See header notes.)

Add the wine to the dish, taking care to pour it into a space between the apricots so that you don’t wash off the sugar.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the apricots have deepened in color, puckered around the edges, and barely resist the fork.  Meanwhile, coarsely chop the pistachios and toss them with a pinch or two of cardamom.

To serve, spoon a few warm apricots into each bowl, and a little of the syrup, too.  Top with a scant fistful of nuts.  I bet a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a pour of cold sweet cream would be grand, but they don’t need it.  I store the baked apricots in a jar in the fridge.  I love to eat them chilled over yogurt in the morning, or any time of day.

Serves 2-3. 

7.02.2012

What we do here

Back in January, I told you that we had some projects in the works around here.  I’m excited to be able to share one of those projects with you, today.  This one isn’t mine, it’s Eli’s.  And it’s not about food – not only about food, anyway.  But it does have a lot to do with what we do here, all of us, when we unfold a scribbled recipe and lay it on the counter, when we listen for the stories our kitchens tell us, pay attention, and maybe even write them down. 

In September, the week that Mia was born, Eli left his job.  (As all sane and normal people do when they have just become parents.)  He wanted to launch something of his own, a project about video and the way we tell our stories.  And so, together with his old friend Max, he got down to work on an app for your phones.  It’s called Directr, and it’s almost done.

Eli worked as a software developer for the last nine years, but in college, in addition to computer science, he majored in visual arts.  People used to hear that combination and say, “Oh, so graphic design!” but that wasn’t it.  Eli never gave much thought to finding a connection between programming and art because, for him, they’re the same thing.  It turns out that computer languages, like all languages, are not just about what you say, but how you say it.  Like in writing or music, there’s an eloquence, a rhythm.  The goal is also the same:  to bring something beautiful into the world that wasn’t there before.  Until I met Eli, I had never heard anyone talk about math and science and computers in this way, the way people talk about painting and poetry.  Directr is all of this in action, and I love that. 

The basic idea behind the project is that home movies are broken.  They’re too long, they’re poorly shot, they have no story.  Even when we do get the footage we’re after, we have to go in and edit the darn thing.  In other words, creating beautiful, watchable films about our everyday lives is a royal pain.  Directr seeks to change all that.  It exists because there are stories all around us.  When we walk to work, or paint the bedroom, sit alone at our tables with bad hair and cold cereal, or open our doors and make room for one more, we feel something happening there, something we want to hold on to.  I have a feeling you know what I mean.  With Directr, capturing this stuff doesn’t feel hard anymore.  That’s amazing to me.  And even more so that we’ll be able to do it all, from shooting to editing to sharing, on our phones.  (Well, not on my phone which, because I am a weirdo, doesn’t have e-mail or internet or much of a camera at all.  But I’m planning on joining the rest of you in the 21st century soon.)

Because of the way these things work, I’m not yet able to tell you the nitty-gritties.  Soon, though!  I can’t wait.  For now, Eli and his team have set up a taste of what’s to come over at Directr.co.  You’ll find a couple of films there like the ones you’ll be able to create when the app goes live.  They were both shot at our place, so you’ll get a tour of our home, too!  Though the launch is still a few weeks off, you can reserve your username now by signing up through the site.  You can also follow Directr on Twitter and Facebook so that you’ll know when things get rolling.  There’s still much work to be done and deep breaths to be taken all around.  The first half of 2012 has been kind of insane, in the best possible ways.  Something tells me that the second half is going to be even crazier.  Thank you for being here to be a part of it all.

7.01.2012

The yogurt on the plate

After college, I lived in Jerusalem for a while.  About a block from my apartment was a tiny café, and I’d go there for their signature breakfast as often as my budget would allow.  On a single plate you’d get eggs made to order, chopped cucumber and tomato salad, yogurt, toast, jam, and a honeyed tahini spread that, actually, I can’t believe I’ve never mentioned here.  I’ll have to take care of that.  Today, though, I want to talk about another corner of that plate, the one with the eggs, the yogurt, and the salad.


Made-to-order eggs, for me, mean sunny side up.  It’s those last luscious mouthfuls I'm after, when I slice into my carefully guarded yolks and chase them around my plate with the toast I’ve been saving for precisely that moment.  A joy, as any lover of fried eggs will tell you, here amplified to earsplitting levels by the yogurt on the plate.  The yolk spills down into it, and suddenly you have more stuff for swiping and sopping than you ever could have hoped for in a yolk alone.  Warm and buttery, cold and creamy; some bites, it’s hard to tell where the yolk ends and the yogurt begins.  The olive oil and the juices from the tomatoes deserve a mention here, too, the way they run into the yolk and yogurt and brighten them up.  Lately, I’ve been breaking the yolks right away so that they seep down in and around the tomatoes, mingle with the oil to form a rich, perfect sauce.  You'll want some extra toast.

Yogurt and Eggs

I’ve replaced the chopped cucumber and tomato salad from that Jerusalem café with a few thick slices of tomato alone.  As for the yogurt, I suggest the plain, full-fat kind, but not Greek, which is thicker and won’t be as saucy.  I use Stonyfield Farm whole milk yogurt, here.

2 large eggs
A medium scoop - say, half a cup? - of plain, full-fat yogurt
3 thick slices of tomato
2-3 basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
A glug of olive oil for frying
A teaspoon or so of extra virgin olive oil for drizzling (Using one you really like makes a difference here.)
Sea salt (I use Maldon flakes)

Fry up your eggs however you like to do it.  Here’s my approach for eggs that are crisp and brown around the edges, with a cooked-through white and a runny yolk:  Heat some olive oil over a strong medium flame in a non-stick or cast iron pan.  Add the eggs, wait about 15-20 seconds (you're letting the bottoms of the eggs really fry over the higher flame), then cover the pan and turn down the heat slightly.  The eggs will continue to fry from the bottom up, while the tops of the eggs firm up nicely in the steam.  They’re done after about 2-2½ minutes, when the whites no longer jiggle, but the yolks are still plenty soft.

While the eggs are cooking, spoon the yogurt onto the plate, top with the tomato slices, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  Sprinkle a pinch of salt and some of the sliced basil over top.  When the eggs are ready, slide them on top of the tomatoes and top with freshly ground black pepper, the rest of the basil, and another pinch of salt.  Serve with toast.