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eG Foodblog: SobaAddict70 (2013) -- La Cuisine du Marché

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#61 SobaAddict70

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 04:22 PM

PERFECT omelet Soba. No unsightly brown on the outside - it could have been made in France. Rare to see.

 

ty Patrick.  that's high praise indeed.  thanks again.  :wink:



#62 SobaAddict70

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 04:30 PM

so it turned out that Prune was closed -- I'll probably mosey on down there for lunch sometime this week or maybe Mission Chinese Food.  and I still wanna try Torrisi Italian Specialties for dinner. 

 

in the meantime, brunch was some Japanese izakaya on St. Mark's Place.

 

there is a reason why I don't do restaurant food photography, because I'm using a camera held together by tissue paper and glue from 2006.

 

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miso soup

 

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broiled chicken bento box -- clockwise from bottom left:  broiled chicken in ponzu sauce, salad with carrot-ginger dressing, california roll, shumai, fried chicken

 

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shrimp and vegetable tempura, steamed rice

 

lunch for two people, for $27.95, including tax and tip.  very reasonable for cheap eats.


Edited by SobaAddict70, 27 May 2013 - 04:31 PM.


#63 Keith_W

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 04:33 PM

Indeed a one egg omelette would be quite a challenge. Would it help if you had a smaller pan?

As per huiray I grew up eating SE Asian omelettes which had lots of browning, so I was confused when people said that a true test of a chef's skill is how well he can make an omelette. Simplest thing in the world, how can it be? Well, that was what I thought until a friend made me an omelette - blonde on the outside, gooey and eggy in the center. It needs nothing else but a sprinkling of herbs and some salt. I tried it at home and my omelette resembles scrambled eggs more than an omelette - and I use three eggs! I don't think I will be posting my efforts at a 1 egg omelette any time soon.

Would you be able to show us some pics of your kitchen and your kitchen toys? That is, if you don't mind. It would be nice to see where all this lovely food is made.
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#64 SobaAddict70

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 04:35 PM

I was describing to Mom dinner last night as we were walking to the train station.

 

The funny part is that she thinks my dinner is "gourmet".  It's interesting to me, because I consider what I do to be "simple".  A reminder that perception is truly in the eye of the beholder.



#65 SobaAddict70

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 04:37 PM

Indeed a one egg omelette would be quite a challenge. Would it help if you had a smaller pan?

As per huiray I grew up eating SE Asian omelettes which had lots of browning, so I was confused when people said that a true test of a chef's skill is how well he can make an omelette. Simplest thing in the world, how can it be? Well, that was what I thought until a friend made me an omelette - blonde on the outside, gooey and eggy in the center. It needs nothing else but a sprinkling of herbs and some salt. I tried it at home and my omelette resembles scrambled eggs more than an omelette - and I use three eggs! I don't think I will be posting my efforts at a 1 egg omelette any time soon.

Would you be able to show us some pics of your kitchen and your kitchen toys? That is, if you don't mind. It would be nice to see where all this lovely food is made.


 
I don't think the size of the pan is so much a factor as being quick and having everything ready -- a good reason why mise en place is so important.  Even in my hobbit-sized kitchen, I still try to have things within easy reach so that I'm not looking for things at a critical juncture.  There is literally a 15-second window before the eggs go from "perfect" to "overdone".

 

Here's a pic of my kitchen.

 

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Note the extreme lack of counter space.  The top of the garbage can sometimes serves as one.  :wink:


Edited by SobaAddict70, 27 May 2013 - 05:13 PM.


#66 SobaAddict70

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 05:04 PM

So I might do a demo for tomorrow's lunch (not breakfast as I have a doctor's appt. at 9:45 am) on how to make a one-egg omelette.  Would people be interested in that?  These will be filled with asparagus and ricotta cheese.

 

A comment on how I devise menus:

 

I know what I am capable of in terms of skill set and equipment.  I have not much in the way of the latter -- one frying pan/heavy skillet, one Dutch oven, one medium-sized pot, one small saucepot, one 6 quart stock pot, three Pyrex baking/roasting dishes, one cookie sheet.  No microwaves, blenders or food processors.  I'll probably get a mortar and pestle soon.  Maybe an immersion blender for cream soups and stuff.  A mandoline for turnip or potato galettes.  This is an extremely low-tech kitchen.

 

My kitchen skills are somewhere between ambitious intermediate home cook and advanced.  Yes, I know how to make the French mother sauces, how to do stocks and some other classic elements of haute cuisine.  I don't know pastry or baking -- you can all laugh later this week at my effort to bake bread.  :wink:  but that's slowly changing.  recently discovered how to make homemade pasta. 

 

So I devise menus knowing what I can do and what I can't.  sometimes something will work, sometimes not, but I document everything and show the results, failures or no.  that's important.  the key thing is that I tried, not whether it succeeded or failed.  and if it failed, I use that knowledge for next time.

 

I don't think as to whether it will be all vegetarian or vegan or whatever.  I usually have a mental inventory of what's in my pantry, then devise accordingly.  I look for inspiration from cookbooks, restaurant menus (like the ones at Chez Panisse or Gramercy Tavern), newspaper articles, food blogs, Facebook posts, books on food, or forums like eGullet.  Another key lesson is something my writing professor once mentioned -- "Keep your eyes open and be observant, because you never know when the next thing you see will be what sparks the urge to create, to write."  And so it goes, as far as cooking is concerned.

 

And some things, like the baked eggs with asparagus salad, have personal meaning that go far beyond a mere meal.  I draw from experiences in my personal life which serve as material for future use.

 

Dinner menu for May 27, 2013:

 

Insalata di funghi (this version will have roasted shiitake mushrooms)

Asparagus, with pistachios, coconut and Indian spices

"Potatoes and turnips"

Leftover pearl barley biryani

 

More later.



#67 huiray

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 05:44 PM

for huiray, here's a one-egg omelette from a few days ago ... I forget what the filling was, but I think it might have been cheese and something else.

 

you'll notice the brown spots.  this omelette had 1 tablespoon cold water and no cream.  personally I prefer a French omelette in the same way as how Julia demonstrated on her show, but as the saying goes, à chacun son goût.

 

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Thank you.

 

This looks much nicer to me than the un-browned one. :-) 



#68 SobaAddict70

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 05:53 PM

but according to Julia, not as perfect.  she's one of my kitchen goddesses.  :wink:

 



#69 Keith_W

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 05:55 PM

Wow, that is a pretty small kitchen! Real credit that you can turn out such lovely looking food from there!

Bit of a bodybuilder are we? Are those protein shakes on the floor? :)
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#70 huiray

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 05:56 PM

Heh.  I like to see some browning on my omelets.  I don't personally care for the ultra-French type of omelets.  I for one thought that Top Chef episode in the last season with Wolfgang Puck asking his gang of cheftestapants-to-be candidates to "make him an omelet" (without any other qualifications) to be both laughable and eyebrow-raising.  I WISH someone had made a SE-Asian type omelet for him, or a bubbly-browned-flat omelet for him, or even something like Oh Chien (oyster omelet) for him, rather than defaulting to some approximation of a FRENCHIFIED omelet.

 

I guess you can show everyone those when you do a blog.

 

Looks like you may have never seen one of those things.  Possible also that you can't conceive of an omelet which does not look like the pale French type and might be upset that there could be such a thing as a browned omelet or a non-neatly-folded one which is tasty.  I've provided links for "Oh Chien", did you look at them?  As for a food blog myself, perhaps one day - but in a sense I already do sort-of one on a regular basis on the "Lunch" thread where I explain in detail what I do and what I use in my meals.  You might want to take a look. 

 

Keith_W has chimed in above about SE Asian omelets having lots of browning, so I am not just the only one claiming such a thing.  I make them regularly too, such as for some of my fried rice dishes where I do the quick-fry omelet in a very hot pan with plenty of oil (NOT butter) to give that flat, browned (NOT burnt) omelet that one then cuts up into strips to scatter into the fried rice.  Perhaps you have even eaten it without knowing it in a Chinese-origin restaurant when you had some kinds of fried rice. ;-) 



#71 huiray

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 05:59 PM

but according to Julia, not as perfect.  she's one of my kitchen goddesses.  :wink:

 

 

Maybe it might be an idea to have other kitchen goddesses as well. :-)  

 

ETA: One of the issues here - to me - is that folks talk in the West/USA about "an omelet" as being only one kind of thing - that pale FRENCH omelet.  Even then the non-English speaking parts have frittatas, as an example, which may have browning and have a different shape than that pale, neatly folded French omelet.  Yet it is still an omelet.  So are all these other kinds of fried beaten-egg dishes in other parts of the world, which DO NOT follow the French model.  If one said that one was making a "French omelet", rather than just simply "an omelet" then the specifications for it become narrower.  (I'm not specifically referring to you, of course, I'm talking in general)

 

ETA2: Even Wikipedia lists all sorts of omelets/omelettes, amongst which a French omelet is just one kind and the ONLY one described as having "little to no colour" when properly done. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omelette


Edited by huiray, 27 May 2013 - 06:44 PM.


#72 huiray

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 06:00 PM

Gauntlet thrown!  :laugh:

 

See my response to Weinoo above.



#73 SobaAddict70

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 06:01 PM

Wow, that is a pretty small kitchen! Real credit that you can turn out such lovely looking food from there!

Bit of a bodybuilder are we? Are those protein shakes on the floor? :)

 

those are bottles of protein powder. 

 

and yes, I need to start lifting again.  those are old pix, from 2008.

 

ty for the compliment.



#74 SobaAddict70

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 06:02 PM

but according to Julia, not as perfect.  she's one of my kitchen goddesses.  :wink:

 

 

Maybe it might be an idea to have other kitchen goddesses as well. :-)  

 

I do, but with respect to specific things like omelettes, Julia is it for me.

 

*shrug*



#75 huiray

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 06:13 PM

 

but according to Julia, not as perfect.  she's one of my kitchen goddesses.  :wink:

 

 

Maybe it might be an idea to have other kitchen goddesses as well. :-)  

 

I do, but with respect to specific things like omelettes, Julia is it for me.

 

*shrug*

 

Heh.

 

I made an addition to my post above. :-) 



#76 SobaAddict70

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 06:20 PM

I understand the issues you have with respect to aesthetics and such, but really, the one-egg omelette thing was more a challenge to me, to see if I could do it.

 

I don't remember where I saw it, could have been a pic of something that TK did at Per Se (TK = Thomas Keller) or maybe it was some other "name" chef, but one-egg omelettes are all about deriving maximum flavor, particularly if there's a filling.  Since the omelette itself is as thin as a crepe, you have to be observant and quick in order to ensure that it comes out right.

 

FYI, I rarely make omelettes without brown spots on them, so this one was a triumph.  And in retrospect, there's just a hint of brown at the edges, but that's just me being a hobbit with perfectionist tendencies.  Must buy a One Ring from the local magical items vendor.  :raz:



#77 weinoo

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 06:40 PM

 

Heh.  I like to see some browning on my omelets.  I don't personally care for the ultra-French type of omelets.  I for one thought that Top Chef episode in the last season with Wolfgang Puck asking his gang of cheftestapants-to-be candidates to "make him an omelet" (without any other qualifications) to be both laughable and eyebrow-raising.  I WISH someone had made a SE-Asian type omelet for him, or a bubbly-browned-flat omelet for him, or even something like Oh Chien (oyster omelet) for him, rather than defaulting to some approximation of a FRENCHIFIED omelet.

 

I guess you can show everyone those when you do a blog.

 

Looks like you may have never seen one of those things.  Possible also that you can't conceive of an omelet which does not look like the pale French type and might be upset that there could be such a thing as a browned omelet or a non-neatly-folded one which is tasty.

 

Let's see - I've been on e G for over 11 years and been cooking and dining for well over 4 times that long.

 

Yes, I"ve seen them, conceived them, eaten them and cooked them.

 

But this isn't about us; it's about Soba; so let's let him get back to what he does - cook and photograph, ok?


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#78 huiray

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 07:12 PM

I understand the issues you have with respect to aesthetics and such, but really, the one-egg omelette thing was more a challenge to me, to see if I could do it.

 

I don't remember where I saw it, could have been a pic of something that TK did at Per Se (TK = Thomas Keller) or maybe it was some other "name" chef, but one-egg omelettes are all about deriving maximum flavor, particularly if there's a filling.  Since the omelette itself is as thin as a crepe, you have to be observant and quick in order to ensure that it comes out right.

 

FYI, I rarely make omelettes without brown spots on them, so this one was a triumph.  And in retrospect, there's just a hint of brown at the edges, but that's just me being a hobbit with perfectionist tendencies.  Must buy a One Ring from the local magical items vendor.  :raz:

 

I see.  Well, in that regard you certainly succeeded with this rendition of a French omelet. :-) 



#79 SobaAddict70

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 07:20 PM

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Insalata di funghi (mushroom salad)

 

This is typically just lettuce or salad greens, mushrooms, cheese and a vinaigrette.

 

I've elected to omit the cheese, because I wanted the contrast of heavy (the meaty roasted shiitake mushrooms) to with the light (the salad greens and the vinaigrette).

 

Roasted shiitake mushrooms -- sliced mushrooms tossed with sea salt, black pepper and olive oil, then roasted at 350 F for 20 minutes.

 

Vinaigrette -- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons Belgian beer, 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.  Whisk all ingredients together, then taste for salt and pepper.

 

I love the technique of mixing wine with wine vinegar; I think it lends a fuller flavor that bottled wine vinegars in the U.S. sometimes don't have.


Edited by SobaAddict70, 27 May 2013 - 07:24 PM.


#80 C. sapidus

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 07:57 PM

Soba - always a joy to see what you cook, and to hear why you cook it. Food is good: thoughtful food even better.

 

Carry on!



#81 SobaAddict70

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 08:29 PM

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You don't need to peel the asparagus, but I like to do it for aesthetic purposes.
 
TIP:  If you eat a lot of asparagus, save the woody ends and make asparagus stock out of them.  Lovely as a vegetable stock; same thing can be done with corn cobs or mushroom trimmings for corn stock and mushroom stock respectively.
 
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Asparagus with pistachios, Indian spices and coconut.
 
Inspired by a similar dish by Chef Floyd Cardoz at his former restaurant, Tabla (pic below):
 
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1/2 lb. asparagus, peeled and cut into 1" length pieces
pinch of sea salt + more to taste
1 onion, trimmed, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons ghee
1 teaspoon panch phoron

2 dried curry leaves
3 green cardamom pods, crushed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon chopped crystallized ginger
3 tablespoons dried coconut
2 tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil, then add the asparagus. Simmer for 3 minutes, then blanch in ice water, then drain.

Melt ghee in a skillet over medium-high heat, add the panch phoron. When the seeds begin to "pop", add the cardamom pods, the crushed red pepper flakes, the ginger, the dried curry leaves and onion. Cook, stirring frequently or until the onion begins to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the coconut and pistachio nuts. Cook for 1-2 more minutes, then remove from heat. Taste for salt, then add the asparagus to the pan. Toss once or twice, then serve at once.


Edited by SobaAddict70, 27 May 2013 - 08:30 PM.


#82 SobaAddict70

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 08:39 PM

Soba - always a joy to see what you cook, and to hear why you cook it. Food is good: thoughtful food even better.

 

Carry on!

 

thanks luv.



#83 huiray

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 08:59 PM

Lovely dishes, Soba, as usual.

 

Interesting photos upstream of your kitchen, too.  You have even less counter space than I do! A further question - do you do your courses sequentially (eating them as each one is completed) or make them more-or-less all together, then? Since there is limited space to have many things/dishes all together I am wondering if it might be the former?

 

Interesting (Bengali five-spice) asparagus dish.



#84 SobaAddict70

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 09:40 PM

Lovely dishes, Soba, as usual.

 

Interesting photos upstream of your kitchen, too.  You have even less counter space than I do! A further question - do you do your courses sequentially (eating them as each one is completed) or make them more-or-less all together, then? Since there is limited space to have many things/dishes all together I am wondering if it might be the former?

 

Interesting (Bengali five-spice) asparagus dish.

 

I make each course sequentially, but sometimes I'm able to do two things at the same time.  It kind of depends on whatever it is I'm making.  There's just not enough space in this apartment for me to do a dinner for more than two people -- well I could, but folks would have to sit on the floor.  LOL.



#85 SobaAddict70

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 09:47 PM

So, I think we have a problem in this country.

 

People tend to think of potatoes as a starch, not as a vegetable.  When you break out of that box, your options become more interesting.  Indian food does it well, with aloo gobi and similar dishes of that ilk.

 

This next thing that I'm making tonight -- which is vegan -- is an example of "slow food", because you can't rush it. It's also exceedingly simple. It totals five ingredients, including salt, and is extremely versatile. You can use it for all sorts of things, from spooning it on top of broiled fish, or tossing it with pan drippings from roast turkey or chicken, or on top of scrambled eggs, or folding some cooked chickpeas, roasted tomatoes and caramelized onion for a delicious vegan entrée.

 

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From left to right -- Magic Molly heirloom potatoes (blue/purple), Valdisa heirloom potatoes, Japanese turnips, scallions.

 

Recipe:  http://www.purplekal...spring-medleys/

 

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"Potatoes and turnips"


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#86 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 06:05 AM

This is so inspiring. Thinking outside the box, especially with vegetables, is not my forte. Will be trying some of these delicious looking things. Thanks for a beautiful and fascinating blog.

#87 rotuts

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 06:08 AM

just so.  you are helping those of us who shy away from just veg for lack of ideas and flavor.



#88 SobaAddict70

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 10:15 AM

Sylvia -- thanks.  I've always been a creative person and this is one way to give back to the community which has shown so much kindness to me.

 

rotuts -- thanks!  when you treat it as a vegetable, even as a starchy vegetable, you may begin to move away from preps that emphasize it as "filler" on a plate as so many people seem to do.  Same thing with corn, with certain beans and so forth.

 

Prep pix in a bit.



#89 rotuts

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 10:30 AM

I love veg properly cooked and seasoned.!  you are as I said helping me a lot.  Maybe Ill actually READ a few of the Veg cookbooks I have and start making a few things  its farmers market season so ...

 

thanks again for the inpirations!



#90 SobaAddict70

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 11:27 AM

So, I've made omelettes all my life -- from plain, to filled, to things like tortilla de patata.  I think one-egg omelettes are a nice three to four bite test of a cook's skill, that once you master it, you'll be able to turn them out blindfolded.
 
The key is a hot pan and timing, as usual.
 
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This is one farm egg, with a scant pinch of sea salt and black pepper, and 1 tablespoon heavy cream beaten together.  I think the addition of heavy cream provides for a slightly sturdier omelette and gives you a little bit more "breathing space" as opposed to just water.  Maybe there's a hint of dairy, but that's a small price to pay for an omelette with no brown spots as far as I'm concerned.  These are farm eggs, from Quattro's Game Farm at Union Square Greenmarket.  Can't really get much fresher than that, unless you have access to just laid eggs, so the "egg" taste comes bright and shining through, as pure as rain on a cool spring day.
 
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As Julia instructs in her video (linked upthread), you want a hot pan glazed with melted unsalted butter.  This is a poor pic, but you'll know it's the right moment when the butter begins to foam.  There is a brief (!!!) window before it begins to brown -- so pour in the eggs immediately.
 
Begin timing at this point by doing a slow count to 20, or if you have a kitchen timer, then start the clock.  Between 15-20 seconds is when you'll want to fold the omelette and slide it to a waiting plate, like so:
 
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Voilà.
 
My next trick will be a filled one-egg omelette.  Stay tuned.







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