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The Last-Minute Lunch


Some of the best meals I've made were unexpected, those put together at the last minute with no special shopping or planning. Just the other day a friend dropped by around noon and stayed for lunch. I didn't have anything exciting in the refrigerator except some asparagus, along with the standard staples. Our little lunch turned out to be amazingly good. We had scrambled eggs with a sauce made of Cheddar cheese and sour cream, asparagus with brown butter, toast, and for dessert, iced coffee with vanilla ice cream.

It was the sauce over the eggs that made it a lunch worth repeating. I scrambled the eggs until they were softly set, pushed most of them aside, added a little sour cream and cheese to the remainder and stirred a minute until I got a smooth, creamy sauce. Making brown butter is just as easy and does wonders for asparagus, broccoli and fish. It is no more than melting butter in a saucepan until it turns caramel-colored. It adds a wonderful nutty flavor and you don't need a lot--a little brown butter sauce goes a long way.

SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH CREAMY SAUCE 4 eggs 1 1/2 tablespoons water 2 tablespoons butter Salt, pepper 3 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese 2 tablespoons light sour cream 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion

Break eggs into bowl and add water. Briskly stir mixture with fork or whisk until well blended.

Melt butter in 10-inch skillet over low heat, swirling pan to film bottom of skillet.

Pour egg mixture into skillet and gently stir egg mixture to set. Do not overcook. Push 2/3 of eggs to 1 side of skillet. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir cheese and sour cream into 1/3 of eggs left in middle of skillet, constantly stirring to blend eggs, sour cream and cheese to sauce consistency.

Serve scrambled eggs on warm plates. Spoon sauce over each serving. Sprinkle green onion over each portion and serve. Makes 2 servings.

Each serving contains about: 303 calories; 466 mg sodium; 467 mg cholesterol; 25 grams fat; 3 grams carbohydrates; 16 grams protein; 0.04 grams fiber.

ASPARAGUS WITH BROWN BUTTER 1 pound asparagus, coarse part of stem removed Salt Brown Butter

Put asparagus into large pan. Cover with cold water and salt liberally. Cook over medium-high heat, covered, about 5 to 7 minutes, depending on how thick stalks are. Asparagus is done when stalks are easily pierced with tip of knife. Do not overcook. Stalks should retain bright-green color; if they are dark green they have been overcooked. Drain, spoon Brown Butter over and serve. Makes 2 servings.

Each serving contains about: 202 calories; 328 mg sodium; 46 mg cholesterol; 18 grams fat; 8 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein; 1.84 grams fiber.

Brown Butter 3 tablespoons butter

Melt butter in small skillet over medium heat. Heat until butter foams and turns rich caramel color. Remove from heat. Spoon butter over asparagus.

ICE COFFEE WITH VANILLA ICE CREAM 1 1/3 cups strong hot coffee, regular, decaf or espresso 4 tablespoons sugar 2 scoops vanilla ice cream 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped and lightly sweetened to taste Hard coffee candies, crushed, optional

Mix coffee and sugar to taste while hot. Chill coffee until ready to serve.

To serve, put 1 scoop vanilla ice cream into bottom of parfait glass, attractive drinking glass or large wine glass. Pour 1/2 of chilled coffee over ice cream. Add 3 tablespoons whipped cream. Repeat for second serving. Sprinkle both servings with candy to taste. Makes 2 servings.

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