When a Passion Project Becomes Work & Breakfast Veggie Hash with Eggs

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I can’t believe we’re well into 2016. I spent January spiffing up my home, ridding it of the piles of stuff I put down and never picked up last year. Now that we’re halfway through February, I’m most definitely back to work. The thing is, I don’t really know what “work” means for me just yet.

I visited the Boston neighborhood that played host to the Eat Boutique Holiday Market to speak with small business owners about creating that experience for thousands of food fans. Someone asked me, “What’s your biggest challenge right now?” And while I shared what felt like a rather odd answer in the moment, I was just being me: “Now that this passion for food [Eat Boutique] is my job, I struggle with making it my real job every day. I don’t mean business opportunities – there’s plenty of those. I mean, how do I spend my days, how do I want to spend my days.”

To be honest, however delicious all of this is (and it is), I don’t know what my work day is supposed to look like. In more established companies, I worked 8:00AM to 5:00PM, took a lunch break, and scattered meetings throughout the day. Nowadays, I spend a lot of time seeking the right sort of structure to make me most productive (and happy). When I started Eat Boutique almost nine years ago, I did a thousand things during my nights and weekends to make it all come to life. Now, I focus on the top two or three actions that make the most sense for the next phase of this food business, and I can do it all during weekdays (!!!), and that’s just an entirely different way of working for me.

Breakfast Hash - 1

To help figure this stuff out, I spend a lot of time working from bakeries, cafes, and restaurants. It sounds weird but it’s pretty reaffirming to hang out at places like Loyal Nine all day, watching how others spend their days. So many food businesses meet up there throughout the day to get stuff done. Last week, a group from another restaurant spent a few hours trying to resolve an employee conflict from the weekend. A nearby couple pounded away on their computer, working through business financials to open their own cafe. And freelancers and entrepreneurs file in and out at every hour, searching for some fuel in the form of coffee (a’course) and some quiet time away from roommates, or maybe just everything.

I’m generally there during breakfast hours (because their pour-over coffee is really good) and quiet time away from everyone to focus on a few things, which I don’t mind sharing with you now. My priorities are:

  1. Plans for the first year-round Eat Boutique retail space – yes, folks, you heard that right
  2. Plans for a couple pop-up style projects this year – because we miss you already
  3. Several cookbook projects – and that’s all I can say there, for now (!!!)

If I have any time above and beyond those three things, then I create recipes that are delicious and perfect to share (like this one) or I funnel that extra time into Instagram because I love it so, and it’s a great way to connect with you online.

Speaking of recipes…

Breakfast Hash 1 //eatboutique.com

I created this recipe for Breakfast Veggie Hash with Eggs as a way to use up any leftover veggies from the week, because there’s always something, right?!

On the weekend, I dice up random cooked veggies, sauté them with a fresh veggie or two, and simply break eggs into little wells I’ve poked into the top. With a quick finish in the broiler while I make coffee, this dish comes out steaming hot and ready for guests or a hungry husband.

Um, before he calls me out, I should correct myself: my husband makes the coffee (almost as good as Loyal Nine) and plays the music and I sprinkle the chopped herbs (chives!) on the final dish. It’s a nice collaboration and, in case anyone’s wondering, exactly how I want to spend my days.

Breakfast Hash - 2

Before I go…

I want to make sure to mention a few new things going on in Eat Boutique land:

* I want to send a big hug and thank you to the crew at Haven’s Kitchen for bringing me in to teach a Valentine’s confections class this past weekend. Our class was full of couples, kids and parents who were too eager to whip up chocolate truffles, smoky candied popcorn, granola and granola bark. You guys were the best, thank you!

* We’ve spiffed up all of our Eat Boutique Pinterest boards, and I can’t wait for you to take a peek. I’m most excited for curating the “All Things Food Gifts” board because it’s full of all the things (recipes, gift wrap, products, secret sources) for making and gifting food. I hope you’ll follow along.

* I’m way into breakfast these days so besides this Breakfast Veggie Hash with Eggs, consider these three fab recipes from friends I love: Katherine Hysmith’s Granola Yogurt Bowls with Chia Seed Jam, Joy Wilson’s Cinnamon Sugar Popovers, and Molly Yeh’s Shakshuka Pizza.

Breakfast Hash - 3 (1)

Breakfast Veggie Hash with Eggs

This Breakfast Veggie Hash is going to be as beautiful and delicious as the vegetables you have hanging around in your fridge. I like to use a starchy potato of some sort to add a little heft to the hash, but cauliflower, squash, and broccoli work nicely too. Sometimes, in a pinch, I use leftover rice or leftover Indian food (like Chana Masala) to help form the hash bed for the eggs. This recipe makes 4 servings, but if you eat 2 eggs, then it’s perfect for a couple. The final herb is up to you; I really like to add shredded basil or even cilantro sometimes.

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked vegetables (I used sweet potatoes and white potatoes, but you pick)
  • 3 cups fresh veggies (I used tiny tomatoes and broccoli, but you pick)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop all your veggies, cooked and fresh, to about 1/2-inch in size. Turn on your broiler and put the top rack about 5 or 6 inches away from the heat source.
  2. In a large pan set over medium-high heat, add oil and fresh vegetables. Sauté and toss around those fresh vegetables until they wilt and soften from the heat. Add in cooked vegetables and toss them around with the other veggies. Once nicely intermingled, pull the veggies together to form a tight circle or really large disc.
  3. Make 4 little wells or divots in the disc of cooked vegetables. Break an egg into each divot. Let sit on the heat for 1-2 minutes for the underside to whiten a bit.
  4. Place your pan, carefully, in the broiler, and broil for 4 to 5 minutes or until the yolks and whites are cooked as you like them. Remove from the broiler.
  5. Sprinkle with chives, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately with hot sauce and hot coffee.
Photos by Heidi Murphy/White Loft Studio

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