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More about nutmeg

December 3, 2010

Nutmeg is not just a funny name for the state of Connecticut.  It’s also a powerful secret ingredient that can transform an average dish into something spectacular.

In the month since I launched this blog, I have experienced two distinct reactions to its title.  One group of readers reacts, “What the heck does nutmeg have to do with anything?”  The other group doesn’t react (which I’ve taken to mean that they understand the nutmeg-Connecticut connection.)

As I explained in my first post, Connecticut is known as “the nutmeg state.”  Being Connecticut born and raised, I’ve heard this phrase repeated for my whole life.  Such is not the case for all nutmeggers, though.  Many of them do not know the origin or the existence of our quirky nickname.

Before I went to Italy for the first time in 2008, my experience of nutmeg was limited to gingerbread cookies and pumpkin pie.  In other words, that little jar with the red cap only left the cupboard around this time of year.

Then, in Italy, Dallas and I often asked our host mom how she had prepared the dishes we had for dinner.  We did our best on our two years of college Italian to follow her as she listed ingredients.  But when she came to something called noce moscato, we were totally stuck.

She offered us the jar to smell.

And we knew.

She put nutmeg in her frittata and in vegetables.  It was that secret ingredient. 

So not only does nutmeg represent me–it represents Italy, too.  And the way that a simple ingredient can have two wildly different lives on two different continents.

Well, when I returned to America, my nutmeg jar definitely saw a bit more action than it was used to.  In my blogging class on Monday Night, Adam Roberts of The Amateur Gourmet  (what an awesome, friendly guy) asked me if nutmeg and basil are good together.  The answer?  YES.

 

Here’s a recipe for my signature scrambled eggs with nutmeg and basil.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 tsp each dried basil, oregano, cilantro, and nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste

Scramble all ingredients together with a fork.  Stir constantly while cooking in a skillet if you want to get a fluffy, creamy cloud of eggs.

 

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Angelina permalink
    December 4, 2010 6:37 am

    I can only speak for German and French cuisine really, but we use nutmeg in all kinds of dishes, too, especially in sauces. So yummy! Maybe it’s a European thing? When I first came to the States, I was devastated because I couldn’t find “Muskat” (that’s what we call it). Then Christmas came around and I luckily discovered it as nutmeg in one of my house mate’s cookies.^^

    Love reading your blog, btw! Reminds me of all the great food you made for us in the Italian house. 🙂

    • December 4, 2010 5:46 pm

      I’m so glad you’re reading Angelina! I bet it is a European thing. You guys have mastered a lot of things that we Americans just haven’t quite figured out yet. Hope you’re baking some great things for the holidays!

  2. Angelina permalink
    December 7, 2010 5:04 pm

    I actually just returned from making sugar cookies with Amanda! The holidays are just so inviting for trying out new things to bake or cook. And the greyish-rainy weather in Germany definitely contributes to that! No need to go outside really. 😉

  3. December 12, 2010 4:37 pm

    I don’t know why but it seems like my comment didn’t appear here… I wanted to say that I had a blogger award for you, so if you wish to pick it up, please visit my site 🙂

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