Who would guess that a diagnosis of celiac disease could bring joy into one’s life? Strangely enough, it did for me.
When 2008 began, I was exhausted. My belly had been swollen, achy, and problematic for decades without relief. I’d been to countless doctors who couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I suffered and figured this was the way things would always be for me. My life radically changed early summer that year when I was finally given the diagnosis of celiac disease (and a few months later my kids were diagnosed with gluten-intolerance). There was a collective sigh of “Of course… that makes perfect sense.” My general practitioner even apologized to me for missing such an obvious diagnosis.
Yes, I was relieved to finally know what had been making me so sick, and the fact that my medicine was the food I ate (or didn’t eat in this case) resonated with me. But mixed with this relief came confusion, isolation, and sorrow. I am a lifelong food-lover and passionate home cook – you could even say I’m food obsessed (but in a good way). Food has always meant joy, sharing, pleasure, fun and adventure. Never the slightest bit picky, I’ve always looked to food as a way to taste and experience life.
At first, my diagnosis left me feeling forlorn, afraid and confused. How could I eat in this new restricted way and still find personal pleasure, ease, and connection within my incredible food-centric community in Berkeley? I spent a year healing, trying to find my way in this new reality. Finally, my perspective and attitude shifted: I stopped reaching for “gluten-free” packaged foods at the market, which mostly tasted empty to me, and I returned to cooking whole foods from scratch. Luscious summer tomatoes, farm eggs, amaranth, almond flour, pasture-raised meats, olives, crab, a perfect juicy pear – the incredible beauty and flavor of such sumptuous raw ingredients all around me suddenly looked unendingly abundant and irresistibly delicious. My notion of a “dietary restriction” began to fade as I embraced the amazing array of naturally gluten-free foods. We even tore out of back lawn and filled our yard with veggies, herbs and seven little fruit trees – all safe for me and my family to eat!
My new excitement in the kitchen inspired me to start my blog Yummy Supper in July 2009. The blog became my corner of the web where I could share my experiences in the kitchen, recipes I loved, as well as huge doses of food photography. This little website I started on a whim to connect with other food-lovers became a happy beast that I wanted to tend to – and feed – all the time. I couldn’t wait to post a new recipe. Every tasty thing sprouting in our backyard became an opportunity for me to take out my camera and get snapping and cooking. Joy flowed into our kitchen and our bellies have never been happier.
When I was offered the opportunity by Rodale Books to write and shoot the Yummy Supper cookbook, I leapt at the chance, and I’ve spent the past two and a half years pouring every ounce of creativity I have into that book. I wanted to share the happiness I’d found by making a book filled with easy, seasonal, family-friendly recipes – delicious food for everyone to savor, gluten-free or not. I hope my recipes, stories, and images make people want to run to their own kitchens, pick up a pan, and share a yummy supper with their loved-ones.
Juicy hot cherry tomatoes pop in your mouth. There’s just a hint of basil for sweetness. When both mingle with creamy baked eggs, it’s an amazing combination of texture and flavor that makes for very happy tastebuds.
These baked eggs are a hearty meal—even one egg, with its tomato companions, is surprisingly filling. You can easily increase or decrease the recipe depending on how many people you want to serve: Think 1 egg to 3⁄4 cup tomatoes, and you’re good to go.
Of course, you can serve these eggs for breakfast or brunch, but I’d eat them for dinner any day. I highly recommend serving the eggs with a side of big buttery Croutons (page 263) or Polenta Fries (page 164) to soak up all the juicy goodness.
3 cups sweet cherry tomatoes, halved
1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon
chopped fresh basil leaves
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Scatter the tomato halves into a medium ceramic baking dish or cast-iron skillet. Bake the tomatoes in the hot oven for 12 minutes, then take the dish out. (If a lot of liquid has cooked out of the tomatoes, carefully pour off a little liquid now.) Top the tomatoes with the Parmesan, drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle on the 2 tablespoons basil and the salt and pepper. Then crack the eggs gently onto the bed of hot tomatoes. You want to keep the yolks intact, but don’t worry when the egg whites spill down around the sides of the tomatoes.
Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. You’ll know you’re done when the egg whites have set but the yolks are still soft. Sprinkle the cooked eggs with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and the remaining 1 teaspoon basil.
Serve right away in shallow bowls.
Reprinted from “Yummy Supper” by Erin Scott. Copyright (c) 2014 by Erin Scott. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.