How far you can see

The morning is crisp and clear, signs of the kind of autumn day I longed for back in October, the one I felt I was denied. The kind that conjures visions of walks in High Park, in midtown maybe, sipping on a cappuccino or a mug of peppermint tea, observing the leaves slip into brighter clothes, window shopping, whatever it is Torontonians do on Sundays. I’ve my apron on as early as 7:30am, moka pot heating on the stove, slicing a Spanish onion with a nearly dull knife.

I’ve been reading Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon and Love and Other Impossible Pursuits by Ayelet Waldman for a while, flipping back and forth. Both are great reads for different reasons. I love Chabon's failed heroes. And I love the manner with which Waldman treats the human condition. She writes the main character, a young woman who has recently lost her infant daughter, with great sensitivity; yet Emilia Greenleaf is deeply, beautifully flawed. There's no pretension here. I adore how the reader is absolutely compelled to sympathize with a character who isn't necessarily an easy person to care for, but who is intensely layered and interesting and really, by striking out against those closest to her, is simply asking to be loved. I was on the subway last night when I glancedat the author's biography on the back -- “[Ayelet Waldman] and her husband, the novelist Michael Chabon, live in Berkeley, California, with their four children.” I had no idea they even knew each other, but I've been falling asleep with both of them on my bedside table all along.

“It’s a really big city, William. It’s a huge city, and Collegiate is one tiny, little dot. It’s a tiny, little, meaningless dot. It’s a huge city, and you’re going to have a huge life, and I promise you, I promise you, Collegiate means nothing. No matter what happens, no matter how mad and sad anybody gets, you’ve just got to remember how big everything is, and how far you can see.” (Waldman, pg. 180.)

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Frittata with Fontina
Serves 4-8

2 tbsp unsalted butter
½ large Spanish onion, sliced
250g cremini mushrooms, sliced
8 large eggs
½ cup milk (I use 2%)
2oz grated fontina cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a cast iron or ovenproof skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook slowly until nicely caramelized, about 45 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue stirring until the mushrooms have browned slightly.

Heat oven to 350F.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk until well combined. Slowly add the milk. Season the egg mixture with salt and pepper, and pour into the skillet. Cook over the heat for about five minutes and then move the skillet into the hot oven.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until the eggs are mostly set. Remove from the oven. Sprinkle cheese over top and broil for an additional 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the top slightly browned. Serve immediately.


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