Wrangling Recipes: The Best Scrambled Eggs

Wrangling Recipes: The Best Scrambled Eggs

It’s taken me almost 40 years to learn how to make the best scrambled eggs. That ubiquitous breakfast food, the food that most tender tummies can handle, the very first comfort food I remember shouldn’t be so difficult to make.

In my 20s, I went through phases of adding – milk, heavy cream, sour cream, cream cheese. I tried them one at a time, but none of these really made the eggs taste better. So then I thought, it must be the pan I’m using – and promptly absconded with the small copper-bottomed skillet that my mom used to use. Nope. Not the flavor I was looking for, sad to say.

Mom’s small skillet. Probably bought in the mid-1960’s. Purloined from her house in the mid 1980’s.

In my teens, I spent one memorable Spring Vacation at a friend’s beach house in Laguna Beach while my parents were in Oregon, and my friend’s older really cute brother made us scrambled eggs and he put everything in them. Cut up pieces of salami, cheese, onions, bell pepper, mushrooms, worcestershire sauce, and a little bit of mustard were stirred into a whole dozen eggs before they ever hit the hot, sizzling pan. That is still my second favorite way to have scrambled eggs.

In our first house, my husband found a small skillet in the dumpster behind our condo complex, a perfectly good pan that looked like it would be perfect for omelets. So for years, I made my eggs in that pan, and it served. And slowly, I forgot about my quest for the perfect scrambled eggs.

Pan rescued from Dumpster, late 1980’s early 1990’s.

Then, this year I was talking with one of the geologists in my office about cooking, and he said to me, you know the secret to good scrambled eggs? My whole body sprang to alertness, like a hound dog on a scent. I begged him to tell me.

Fat. A good solid pat of butter or tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of the pan, melted over high heat. Then once the eggs go in, cook them as fast as you can. The less time on the heat, the better.

I took his words to heart and went back to looking for the perfect scrambled eggs. But it wasn’t until, in desperation, I ended up using a cast-iron skillet about six inches across that I got closer to perfection. And once I just kept stirring the egg, dragging the fork through it again and again and never lifting that fork from the pan, that I got it even closer.

Small cast-iron skillet with bits of breakfast egg still inside. Added to the kitchen late 1990’s, during our camping/cast iron love affair.

The last bit that sent the eggs to perfection? Taking them off the heat when they were still just a little bit shiny. I’d been so used to cooking them until they were dull that it never occurred to me that I was over-cooking them. The first time I served the eggs that way, my oldest son and I had an epiphany over them.

“Good eggs,” he muttered.

“Oh yeah,” I answered back. (Our epiphanies aren’t very eloquent.)

They were very slightly buttery, light, creamy and perfect.  To recap – Good pat of butter + cast iron pan + high heat + quick cooking and lots of stirring = Nirvana Scrambled Eggs.

I discovered how to make the perfect scrambled eggs…and it only took me 40 years to do so.  The lesson to be learned? In the words of Winston Churchill…”nevah, nevah, nevah give up”.

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?


People Watching – Santa Monica, California

People Watching – Santa Monica, California

So, the hubby and I were at a restaurant last week, in Santa Monica, on a weeknight. And while it was wonderful to spend some alone time together, we had a ton ‘o fun people watching.

Not Santa Monica. This is Laguna Beach, taken by me this past February.

The couple in the booth next to us didn’t seriously come to our attention until, as we were chatting with our waiter, we hear this querulous voice.

“Waiter, is my entree ready? Because we really have to go.”

Our waiter apologized to us, appeased the woman, and disappeared. About 2 minutes later the manager appeared, bearing a steaming hot dish (which looked delish!) to the woman who complained. She complains at once – shrilly – at “all the heavy sauces” (we’re in an Asian Fusion restaurant) and since “nothing suited me, just charge us for what we ate and leave it at that”. The manager, in a calm, low-voiced manner, thanks her and goes off to prepare her check, the steaming dish still in his hand.

She tells her husband, in piercing tones we cannot avoid, “the dishes were all right, tasted good, but the sauces were just so thick.” Um, seriousWhen they get up to leave, her husband has an embarrassed air about him and she has that discontented look about her eyes and mouth that tell me nothing, ever, will be good enough for her to accept. It makes me pity her husband. They were close in age to me and hubby, but I really just wanted to smack her.

After they are well gone, our waiter comes back. Apparently that couple is the talk of the staff – she had sent back four – FOUR – kobe beef dishes. And didn’t pay for a single one. That’s beef down the drain since it hit a customer’s table. That made me want to doubly smack that woman.

And here’s a flower from my back yard, around Mother’s Day. Epithilium.

A much more humorous (and oddly sad) attraction at dinner was the couple at the bar. He was in his early 50’s; thick, curly gray hair, slightly portly but well within attractive, nice gray suit. She was blonde, tanned, young – mid-late 20’s – in a figure-hugging black strapless dress, shirred front, back and both sides.

We first noticed them because he was fondling her hand, which she had hanging from the back of the bar stool. But her hand was limp – she was not returning his affectionate caresses. For the hour or so we were there, it was an interesting interplay – his eyes would light up, he’d speak, fondle, she’d turn away pick up her drink, turn back, say something.

He was slugging back glasses of red wine. She was sipping what looked like Cosmopolitans. We couldn’t tell if they were conducting a clandestine affair, if they were co-workers, or if she were trying to sell him something (get your mind out of the gutter!).

For awhile, he stood at her side, pressing kisses to her hair, before gazing down into her eyes. He tried to kiss her mouth but she kept ducking him, once even putting her hand over his mouth. He finally did land one, and sat down in triumph. Then she started showing photos to him from her cell phone (which made me think she was selling something) because she was talking non-stop while he was drinking.

I caught a look at her when she went to the ladies’ room. Creamy skin, big tits, smallish waist, big hips all wrapped in a come-get-me package including CFM pumps in a beige that just didn’t go but whatever. The jarring note was the ever-so-slightly pissed off look in her eyes, the tight way she held her mouth.

While she was gone, he ordered new drinks for them. Then when he went to the bathroom? He took his wine with him. Um, REALLY??? People are weird.

Soon after that, she became much more affectionate, leaning her hand on his thigh, touching his face. He chugged his wine down and most of her last drink while she put on more lipstick, then they got up to go. As they walked away, her left hand was in his left hand while his right hand was firmly planted on her ample bottom. What a fascinating peek into other people’s lives…the stories I could make up!

And about our waiter? He’s a new stunt guy in town trying to break into showbiz. We are now Facebook friends, and will help him as much as we can with our limited stunt people knowledge, lol.

We left the restaurant thoroughly entertained and very happy to be together. When was the last time you did some people watching?


Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?

Luxuries, Big and Small

Luxuries, Big and Small

This past weekend, the Hubby and I spent a few hours at Laguna Beach. We visited Vladimir Kush’s art gallery – he does lovely surrealistic glicee´s that all cost way too much for my wallet, but are lovely to look at (one of the little luxuries), so do please go look!  We wandered around other galleries, too, and enjoyed the sun, the scent of the sea, and the joy of a beach town on a warm winter day.

At lunch, we hit up Ocean Avenue Brewery and had some craft beers and a fantastic lunch. Thus fortified, we went on to the boardwalk to take photos – of the sand, the beachgoers, the paddle boarders, and the ever-present pelicans. Needless to say, my pelican shots didn’t come out too good. The day was beautiful – warm, sunny, not a cloud in the sky. We walked, giggled, held hands, took photos and had a wonderful time, feeling it must be July and not January. After about three hours, we were ready to continue our journey south.

Our final destination was the Pelican Cove Inn Bed and Breakfast, in the village of Carlsbad. A lovely place, it’s more like an exclusive hotel than a typical B&B – private entrances to all the rooms; ours had a bath (SPA TUB!!! WOO!!!) and a shower, a queen-sized FEATHER bed with a net canopy overhead, a fireplace, a sitting area, a small dining area. I could easily see myself living there while frantically trying to finish up my 100th novel, lol…very much a big luxury. But – considering that the last time we were there to celebrate our life together just six days before I had brain surgery, well…lets just say, this time around we were relaxed, happy, and ready to enjoy the weekend.

When we got to our room, the same one we had the first time, it felt like home. Stretching out on that bed and realizing I didn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to – little luxury. Taking a spa tub before dinner, then again at six in the morning – little luxury. Stirring coffee over breakfast at the B&B (artichoke quiche, fresh melon, fresh croissant, boysenberry jam, orange juice…), another small luxury. (Usually we don’t have time to stir our cream into the coffee, it’s splash, pour, shove the travel lid on and go.)

Saturday night, we went back to Vigilucci’s Cucina, a fabulous Italian restaurant on State Street in Carlsbad. We had a lovely wine (which I’ll talk about later) with dinner – I had a fabulous ribeye steak in a gorgonzola-mushroom cream sauce…totally a big luxury! Hubby had wide egg noodles and seared scallops in a multi-mushroom medley sauce. Both dishes were fantastic – the night magical, as we sat outside and enjoyed the fresh air.

Dessert capped the night – three baby cannoli that we split. Oh my – truly a luxury!

Sunday after breakfast (already described, above) we went back to our room and lolled. I curled up in the feather bed and read some, hubby took a nap, played guitar, and finally encouraged me to get going. Even though our hostess Nancy said we didn’t have to leave at noon, we did end up checking out about then – which meant it was time for wine tasting at the Witch’s Winery (I think…I didn’t buy anything. What I liked was over priced…) and then finally, brunch at Vigilucci’s. Because we could, I guess…

At any rate, the eggs benedict was wonderful, the Bellini (usually champagne and chambord unless its a Peach Bellini) was just so so (champagne quality not the best) but the coffee and the ambiance, magnifico.  We dawdled over breakfast, another little luxury, until finally it was time to leave. After a long, barefoot beach walk (another luxury!) and perusing some antique shops, and Hubby finding the washboard of his dreams, we finally loaded up the car and headed out of town, back to home and to the young men who didn’t even miss us – and the cat who did.

So we came back after our weekend of big and small luxuries physically tired but emotionally refreshed and relaxed. I didn’t read email, or write. Instead, I refilled my creative well at the hands of others’ creativity, truly a treat.

What are some of your favorite luxuries, big or small?