The sky threatened to rain all day yesterday, and around 5 am the storm we were promised finally arrived with a magnificent display of thunder and lightening.
I can be a bit hard on the midwest sometimes. For much the year, it is intensely hot and humid or dangerously cold. But, nothing compares to a midwestern summer storm, the exhilarating feeling of a hot night and heat lightening, or the surprising beauty of a farm field lighting up with lightening bugs at dusk.
This will be my first summer away from Chicago in several years. While there are many things I will miss -- like the Hoyle Brothers at the Empty Bottle, Veggie Bingo at the Hideout, and the hop-fringed patio at Small Bar -- I suddenly feel quite comfortable here in Champaign. I never thought I would live in a town this small again, and while I am certain it is temporary, it is growing on me.
Last summer's routine of waiting for the Western bus on scorching hot asphalt in exhaust heavy air, to head to a job that slowly crushed my will to work for good in the nonprofit sector, seems long ago now. I feel lucky. While I look forward to the next transition when I graduate, for these last few months, I'm happy.
This dish, while appropriate for any meal, makes a great weekend breakfast for chilly mornings.
Zuppa alla Pavese Adapted from Ciao Italia Serves 2
2 thick slices of rustic bread, toasted and buttered
2 fresh eggs
2 Tbl grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 C hot broth (beef or vegetable)
Fresh thyme leaves, optional
Preheat the oven to 375F. Place each slice of bread in a large oven-safe serving bowl. Crack an egg on top of each slice, carefully ensuring it doesn't slip under the bread. Top the egg with a tablespoon of cheese and carefully pour a cup of broth down the side of each bowl. Place the bowls on a baking sheet and bake for 7 to 10 minutes. The dish is ready when egg whites have set and the bread is golden brown. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and fresh thyme leaves.