My dad would rise before the sun, brew his bitter greek coffee, turn on the radio to the classical music station and read the New York Times. Hours later I would rise, wild haired, face puffy with sleep and stagger into the kitchen. He would quietly fix me a cup of Swiss Miss cocoa with tiny marshmallows as I gazed into space.
“Can’t make an omelette without killing a few people.”
-Neil Gaimon, Neverwhere
I would hear the crack of eggs, the soft puddling sound of cream being poured into a white stoneware bowl, the rough grate of the pepper mill and the the soft crunches as he broke slices of matzah into uneven pieces and dunked them into the waiting eggy liquid.
“Richard wondered how the marquis managed to make being pushed around in a wheelchair look like a romantic and swashbuckling thing to do.”
-Neil Gaimon, Neverwhere
He left the bowl to soak while his pan heated. Golden butter skittered and spat across the cast iron. Unceremoniously the whole kit and caboodle was dumped into the pan and tossed and tumbled with the spatula for a couple of minutes and then disgorged to a waiting platter. More salt and pepper were scattered over the top and we’d scoop small mountains of the stuff onto our plates. Each forkful was a combination of soft eggy edged matzah, dry crisp pieces that shattered to dust, and overly soft custardy bits, peppery, salty, plain. A mish-mash of flavors and textures.
He would hand me the funnies (comics) and not a word was spoken as we sat together reading the paper, sipping our drinks, eating our breakfast.
“All’s well that ends”
I got the call at the crack of dawn on the 16th of April. Matter-of-factly the nurse on the other end told me he was dying. In the car, as my husband drove, I tried vainly to get my hair into the style my dad had most loved. My fingers were clumsy. I raced to his side and suddenly time slowed. The room was dim and so we opened the windows to let in the fine spring sunlight. My hand grasped his warm upper arm beneath the covers and I counted the moments between breaths.
This year on his 4th death day I plan to celebrate with Matzo Brei and cocoa. Someone pass me the comics please, they are still my favorite.
“Well, this Halloween will be my five hundredth deathday,” said Nearly Headless Nick, drawing himself up and looking dignified.
“Oh,” said Harry, not sure whether he should look sorry or happy about this. “Right.”
“I’m holding a party down in one of the roomier dungeons. Friends will be coming from all over the country. It would be such an honor if you would attend. ”
-JK Rowling, Harry Potter
I like my Matzo Brei savory and peppery. I will give you three methods depending on if you want a softer, crunchier or somewhere in the middle result.
- 1 tbsp hummus
- 1/3 cup silken tofu for the blender
- 1/4 cup silken tofu to be mashed for texture
- 3/4 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp black salt (kala Namak) it gives an eggy taste
- 1 1/2 tsp corn starch
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp maple syrup or agave
- 3-4 matzos
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 2 tsp high heat oil
- 1 tsp non dairy "butter"
Sauté your diced onion in a medium sized pan with 1 tsp of oil on a very low heat until it is golden about 10 minute.
Meanwhile combine in blender your 1 tablespoon hummus, 1/3 cup silken tofu, 3/4 cup non-dairy milk, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon black salt, 1 1/2 teaspoon corn starch, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon maple syrup. Blend until smooth.
Now pour the liquid into a wide bowl. If you like a soft and yielding matzo brei then crumble your matzos into the batter, stir and let soak for 5 minutes.
If you like a crisper matzo brei soak only for 2-3 minute.
I stand in the middle and so I soak 2 1/2 matzos for the full 5 minutes and then crumble in the last one just before I cook it.
While you matzo is soaking take that last 1/4 cup of silken tofu and mash it with a fork. You don't want a smooth paste as this will help approximate the curds that are formed when you cook eggs. Now stir this tofu into the soaking matzo and batter and you are ready.
Now your onions should be ready. Remove them from the pan. Add your other teaspoon of oil to the pan and heat on medium high until your pan sizzles when you sprinkle some water over it.
Slip your butter into the pan and swirl to coat the bottom. Now pour in you matzo mixture and spread it gently with a spatula until it cover the bottom of the pan. Allow the mixture to sit on medium heat for 2 minutes. Now using a firm spatula scrape the bottom of the pan and turn the cooked parts over like you are turning earth with a spade. Now the uncooked "raw" batter should be on the bottom. Allow the mixture to set another 2 minutes and turn again in a sweeping motion. Cook for 7-8 minute total until the mixture is set and you have a golden pile of yumminess. Stir in your onions. Top with salt and pepper.