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Verses from my Kitchen: Apple & Sweet Potato Cakes with Poached Egg and Sweet Mustard Sauce

April 19, 2011

Apple & Sweet Potato Cakes with Poached Egg and Sweet Mustard Sauce

The weekend's last hurrah. Sunday. Usually my favourite day of the week. Normally. This day was different than all those other ones, masking a truth I didn't want to face. Instead of the routines I've grown to love and expect, I was faced with change. And sadness. 

Sunday shows all her beauty up front, no pretense whatsoever. It is what it always is. The dark black-blue sky doesn't greet me because I sleep with the night a bit longer on this day. The coffee machine isn't set to auto the night before, because I don't know when I'll rise and greet the day. The one consistent part about Sunday is her attitude. Care-free and unhurried. Vulnerable.


I woke up late on this day, my wife staring at me in the way only she does. It's the greatest wake up call, trust me. She smiles. I suggest making breakfast for us, ignoring the fact that she leaves in a day. Pretending it away. Separated for the first time in our life together, I plan on carrying on like nothing is different. But there is something different.   

So I carry on the only way I know how. My poetry and my food. Two things that help me escape and express myself. The two things that helped me win over my wife. I decided to make three meals that we could enjoy at our table together. Food. It's how I say I love you. And it's how I stretch out a good thing.

Breakfast is such a great way to start off the day with your partner, sharing food and drinks and stories. And more stories. Losing track of time, almost wishing it away. Maybe I felt deep inside that if we lost track of enough time the day would come and go and she'd still be here. Wishful thinking. Wishful wishing really.

It's silly, right? In almost four years I haven't been away from her for consecutive days. She's gone for a week now but that might as well be an eternity for me. Longer than that, if that's possible. To say she's my everything would be to downplay the significance of everything. She's more than that. So a week without her is like putting the greatest aspect of your life on hold. Think about it. Now imagine something greater. That's my dilemma. 

With breakfast being the first of those meals, I sat down and thought about a spin on something I've made a few times before. Maybe more. I love crispy breakfast cakes. All kinds, actually. So this would be another twist and alternative. Apple & Sweet Potato Cakes that were crispy, sweet and savoury altogether. The gorgeous plump poached egg nestled on top with a sweet mustard sauce that brought everything together. It's delicate and beautiful. The antidote for a sad day. 

This is a perfect Sunday morning. Well, except for that one small detail. So we sat down and drank coffee and ate this. And I pretty much stared at her, like I did when we first met. I was going to enjoy this and drag it out. Only it didn't feel like it was dragged out. It was a long exhalation. It was peace inside the storm. 

We sat at the table until the morning threatened to become afternoon. Now it was perfect. I could take a small break while my wife packed and plan out lunch. Another excuse to sit down and talk. Another reason to be together. Another attempt to hold on. Like I need another reason. 

I don't.

The day went on like this. One sit down meal after another. One more chance to feel blessed. The day that normally skips along gingerly went full speed ahead. Go figure. And I tried every trick in the book to keep the page on the calendar from turning. Every one. 

She left today. Having the time of her life, I hope. I know, what's seven days, right? Well, I have the memories of this meal and more to hold me over until I pick her up. And I'll be hoping for the same fast-charging Sunday next week. Maybe faster. If I sleep it away, did it even exist?

From my kitchen to yours, happy eating!

Apple & Sweet Potato Cakes with Sweet Mustard Dressing

The Goods:
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 sweet onion, peeled and grated
  • 1 large green apple, peeled and cored and grated
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard (dressing)
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar (dressing)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar (dressing)
  • pinch of salt (dressing)
  1. To make the cakes: grate the onion first (the acidity helps prevent the apple from changing colour) and then the apple and sweet potato. Place the three ingredients in a bowl and season with salt. Wait for a minute to allow some of the moisture to be drawn out. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
  2. Once squeezed, pat dry with a tea towel and put in a small mixing bowl. Add the egg, flour, baking powder and cinnamon and stir to combine. Season.
  3. Using a non-stick pan over medium to medium-high heat, add the oil and allow it to heat up. Place a 1/4 cup mixture into the pan and press down and shape into a circle with a spoon. Leave it to cook. It's fragile. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown, and then flip over and repeat. 
  4. Meanwhile, add the dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until fully combined. 
  5. Make your poached eggs in another pot and drain when finished.
  6. To serve, stack two cakes on top of one another and place the poached egg on top. Finish with a drizzle of your mustard dressing.

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At April 19, 2011 at 7:43 AM , Blogger Inga´s Haven said...

I love the way you write - it´s so honest and sweet :D
i´ll be trying this recipe for sure - looks yummie

At April 19, 2011 at 7:53 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Oh my goodness what a precious post. You and your wife are so blessed to be best friends. And great recipe! Mmm!

At April 19, 2011 at 9:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my favourite kind of food, crispy fried potato cakes with a soft poached egg oozing down the side. Yours looks perfect I'm sure it will make her miss you more!!;D

At April 19, 2011 at 9:58 AM , Anonymous Ken│hungry rabbit said...

A beautifully written bittersweet story. The good news is, she'll be back in your arms before you know. Until then, we'll keep you company on Twitter.

At April 19, 2011 at 10:02 AM , Anonymous SMITH BITES said...

such a nice, sweet post!! The Professor and I hate being apart as well and I'm due to travel alone for a couple of days in May . . . not looking forward to it . . . i hope the time passes quickly for you Michael . . . beautiful egg dish btw

At April 19, 2011 at 11:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm here in Punta Cana and missing you with my heart and soul......xoxoxo

At April 19, 2011 at 2:47 PM , Anonymous Kate@Diethood said...

Awww you are so sweet!! And so is "anonymous" right above me!

At April 19, 2011 at 2:56 PM , Anonymous Franklin from Dine Delish said...

Oh. I absolutely love runny eggs. I am a sucker for them! Picture look amazing by the way.

At April 19, 2011 at 3:15 PM , Blogger Isabelle said...

What a sweet and genuine post. For the first three years of our relationship, The Boy and I never spent more than a single night apart. I can still remember how hard it was when I left on my first two-week business trip, but what I remember even better is how wonderful it was to be home again.
Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. :)
(and this brunch dish makes my hips grow wider... but oh my goodness, does it ever look divine!)

At April 19, 2011 at 3:41 PM , Blogger Michael Lewicki said...

Thank you Inga! I truly appreciate that. Let me know how you like it!

We are blessed, indeed. Thanks Katrina!

FBATD. Thanks. Runny yolks are lovely.

Thank you so much Ken. Bittersweeet it is. But the time is already moving and before I know it...

Thanks Debra!! It's hard sometimes. You know. And thank you.

Aww. Thanks Kate!

Thanks Franklin. I love them too.

Thank you for the comment Isabelle! I'm in the same boat you were in. Almost four years and it feels like more. I can't wait to experience the ending part :)

At April 19, 2011 at 7:14 PM , Blogger Rosemary said...

love the sounds of the sweet potato cakes with poached eggs have to give them a try as I love the combination ..if only I could just reach through your picture and take a bite...
by the way before you know it Michael, your wife and my dil will be home!!

At April 19, 2011 at 8:28 PM , Blogger Savoring Italy said...

I love this breakfast and love your post even more. I feel same way when my hubs travels for work sometimes. I hope the way flies by for you:)

At April 19, 2011 at 9:18 PM , Blogger Carolyn said...

Hang in there, my friend. She will be back soon and you will be all the more glad to see her. And she will be looking forward to some more of your wonderful food, I am sure! Lucky woman.

At April 19, 2011 at 9:25 PM , Anonymous Barbara | VinoLuciStyle said...

The dish looks fabulous; just had a poached egg for dinner and now this makes it look a bit bare.

I'm not cold, really, but when I was married, I enjoyed the time my husband was away. Seems the demands were less and my girls and I could do some girl stuff. Maybe it was harder before we had kids but after a period when he worked in Canada for three months a couple of days seemed like nothing!

At April 19, 2011 at 9:29 PM , Blogger rachel tsunami said...

We've been married 28 years now and being apart for a week (or even a weekend) is still agony. I'm so glad it is.

I love the love you are gifted to express. And I will love this recipe.

At April 19, 2011 at 9:34 PM , Blogger Brian Samuels Photography said...

There have been so few days that E and I have been a part... and, like you, when it's more than just 24 hours (even when it's 24 hours) my world is off. I feel heartbreak, like a piece of me is missing.

At the same time, it's a time to reflect on our relationship... as the saying goes, time makes the heart grow fonder. And when you have that time away from one another and you are brought back together... you will have experienced something you hadn't... and it will make your love for one another stronger.

Take this time to do something you wouldn't normally do. It may seem weird to do that while your wife is away, but I think it's important that we continue to explore this world of ours... with and without our significant others.

On a separate note, these potato pancakes look heavenly. The Jew in me is just loving every bit of this. Wonderful work, Mike!

At April 19, 2011 at 11:33 PM , Anonymous Jean said...

What a sweet, sweet post and I'm not just talking about the perfectly delicious looking potato cakes and mustard sauce. My husband has male bonding time away from home with his friends a couple of times a year. I admit that I'm usually happy for the first couple of days because it means I can enjoy some "me" time. However, I start getting pretty lonely after those two days and his return can't come soon enough. We're lucky to be able to spend a lot of time together most of the year w/out getting tired of the other's company but I'm sure he enjoys me being out of his hair from time-to-time, too. :-) And guess what? The week is half over, so your wife will be back before you know it! :-)

At April 19, 2011 at 11:50 PM , Blogger Michael Lewicki said...

Thank you all for the wonderful comments! It's really appreciated and gives me context. I'm glad I'm not alone.

Oh, and trust me when I say this. I'm the lucky one.

At April 20, 2011 at 1:27 PM , Anonymous Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday said...

So glad I found your blog. I look forward to reading more and to making this dish!

At April 20, 2011 at 7:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm betting your wife didn't want to leave your side. your food looks delicious! llhh

At April 20, 2011 at 11:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dang son! You got it bad! It is a good thing you can write poetry or you would blow up! Loved reading this post. Well done. I particularly love the part about Sunday. "The one consistent part about Sunday is her attitude. Care-free and unhurried. Vulnerable." Perfect. Just how I feel about her. Now go cook so more food to inspire us!

At April 21, 2011 at 8:48 AM , Anonymous Kate said...

Yum! Your pictures are fabulous and this looks so delicious. I love everything about this recipe. Sounds great for a weekend brunch!

At April 21, 2011 at 10:14 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Just stumbled onto your site via TastyKitchen. What a delight! You have a gift.
Cathy B.

At April 21, 2011 at 6:22 PM , Blogger Michael Lewicki said...

Thank you Samantha! I'm glad you found it too!

Thanks Danazia! Of course I have it bad, she's my wife. And thank you for the kind words.

Kate,thank you! It was fab and I'm sure you'll like it. Enjoy your weekend brunch!

Cathy, very kind words. They are really appreciated! Thank you.

At April 21, 2011 at 11:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this recipe -- just made it for an appetizer with a few spears of steamed asparagus piled on top. So delicious and appreciated by the whole table!

At April 22, 2011 at 12:24 AM , Blogger KonstantKraver said...

This looks like such a nice breakfast idea ! Thanks for posting such a great recipe!

At May 19, 2011 at 9:36 PM , Anonymous Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday said...

I finally got around to making these this week and they turned out amazing!

At June 13, 2011 at 12:18 AM , Blogger Brittney said...

This blog is so beyond marvelous. Thank you for sharing your wonderful writing style, lovely photos and fantastic recipes. Just went to the grocery store tonight, but I'm going back tomorrow just to get the ingredients to make this dish!


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