meet in your kitchen | Molly Yeh’s Ricotta, Bacon & Egg Birthday Sandwich
by eat in my kitchen
Molly lives in North Dakota and I live in Berlin, there are more than 7000km (4000 miles) between us and this would be reason enough to accept that there’s no way to meet her in her kitchen for a spontaneous kitchen chat, as this is the idea behind my meet in your kitchen features. But the way this girl cooks and bakes is irresistible! Her inspiring recipes, which she has shared on her gorgeous blog my name is yeh for 6 years and the way she talks about her life on a farm after years of living in New York made me rethink the importance of a physical meeting in real life.
Every time I read one of Molly’s posts, when I see the pictures of such innocent creations as her Funfetti Cake, the cutest Pony Cake (a rosemary vanilla cake with blackberries and mascarpone) or her Pumpkin Cake and Semifreddo Push Pops, I feel like someone has put me right into another world. I turn into a little girl, pressing my face against the window of a candy store to get a glimpse of all the magic that happens on the other side – in Molly’s kitchen. Just look at her Gingerbread Farm, a replica of the actual farm where she lives with her husband, there’s no way one can’t be touched by this masterpiece! Her husband called her a lunatic during the process, but I love her for her determination when it comes to her unique creations – sweet and savory. There’s an unabashed ease in her recipes, infectious fun in her language and a pure honesty in her photography which makes her one of my favourite women in the blog world.
Molly studied percussion at The Juillard School in New York and is on tour with David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s opera Dog Days at the moment. She’ll perform in LA in June, so if you happen to be in California, don’t miss the chance to see her playing live (you can find the dates on her blog)!
After chatting via email, reading her interview and seeing the images of her delicious ricotta, bacon and egg sandwich which she made for eat in my kitchen, I know that we’ll definitely have to meet in the real world one day, either in Berlin, North Dakota or in Malta!
It’s Molly’s birthday this Friday and it became a tradition to eat a great (she says fatty) sandwich on her special day and I’m sure that there’s also a special Molly Yeh cake to go with it, have a great one Molly!
Ricotta, bacon, and egg sandwich
It’s my birthday week! And every year on my birthday, I eat a fatty breakfast sandwich. This one gets a nice creaminess from ricotta, and while it’s a fairly simple recipe, it is absolutely next-level when it’s made with the freshest, best ingredients.
For each sandwich, you will need
thick cut bacon 2 slices
large egg 1
fresh whole grain bread 2 thick slices
coarse salt and black pepper
a smear of ricotta
In a skillet, cook your bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon but keep the fat in the pan. Crack your egg in and cook it to desired doneness in the bacon fat. Set it aside. Grill the bread in the bacon fat (if the skillet dries up, add a little butter to the pan), salt and pepper both sides of the bread. Remove it from heat. Spread the ricotta on one slice of bread, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, top it with the bacon, place the egg on top, season the egg a bit with salt and pepper, and then place the other slice of bread on top. Enjoy!
You started sharing your life and recipes on your blog my name is yeh in 2009. Did the way you document parts of your life change over the past 6 years?
Oooh yeah, there are some really horrific and embarrassing posts. Don’t look in my archives, just don’t.
Your father is a musician at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and you often travelled with him when he was on tour. Was he your biggest inspiration to study percussion at The Juillard School in New York?
He was definitely one of the biggest inspirations! Both of my parents really encouraged me to follow my love of hitting things (usually my mom’s pots and pans) and channel it into music. I think I really fell hard for classical music when I joined a youth orchestra near my hometown, and then going to Juilliard was my goal throughout high school. I loved training with the musicians there, being in New York, and having the same legendary ear training teacher that my dad had when he was a student there. She once called me by his name because we sat in the same spot, just 30 years apart.
At the moment you’re on tour with David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s opera Dog Days. What fascinates you about being on tour?
Being on tour is one of my favorite ways to travel because I’m not in full-time vacation mode, but I’m still on an adventure and I can explore when I’m not working. Being in full-time vacation mode makes me go a little bonkers after a few days (is that weird?), but on tour I can work a little, play a little, and just live my regular life but in a different city. I call it a work-cation. It’s so much fun.
You’re from Chicago, you’ve lived in New York and now your life takes place on a farm in North Dakota. What do you miss the most about city life, what do you prefer about your life now?
I miss the food, my friends, and the music scenes, but the quality of life on the farm is what’s going to keep me from ever moving back. It’s so energizing that I feel like I can get every piece of work done that I want to, and the small town community here is really wonderful. If I had moved here in an age when we didn’t have the internet—to Facetime with my friends, live stream concerts, lookup copycat recipes for my favorite dishes from New York restaurants—it might have been a slightly different story. Just slightly.
You made Norwegian Lefse flatbread together with The New York Times food critic Sam Sifton in your kitchen, a traditional recipe from your husband’s family. How did your partner’s Norwegian roots influence your cooking?
It’s SO FASCINATING! There are so many Norwegian and Upper Midwest dishes that I’m learning about that are so great. Lefse is one of them. Hotdish is another. A lot of the new dishes that I’m learning are hearty, comforting meals that are perfect for the long winters here, and that type of food has always been my favorite. There is not a single unit of spiciness in sight, so my tolerance for spicy food has plummeted, but other than that, I’m so excited to be learning about all of these new dishes, and I love putting my spins on them, whether it’s adding flavors inspired by my roots or subbing in newer trendier ingredients like kale and ramps.
How did living on a farm change your kitchen activities?
I have a much bigger kitchen now, and more time. So I just do a lot more in the kitchen. And we also live outside of the range for delivery men, so there’s a lot more planning in advance to be done. We also have a garden and a rhubarb patch and an apple tree and we’ll be getting chickens soon, and all that jazz.
You combine Jewish and Chinese roots which your unique recipe creations often bring to light. What do you like about bringing these two culinary styles together?
They go really well together! Both cuisines pack a lot of carbs and comfort, and I grew up on both of them equally, so there’s a lot of nostalgia mixed in as well.
Who is your biggest inspiration in the kitchen?
My mom! Also all of my blogger friends.
How do you develop new recipes?
Sometimes I just figure out what I like and do it. Other times, if it’s a newer-to-me food or technique, I read everything that I can about that food and talk to people about it. I examine a lot of different recipes for that particular food, make notes of which aspects of certain recipes I like best, and then I start testing. I test a bunch and make sure every step and ingredient is as logical and as simplified as it can be, while still trying to maintain a delicious outcome.
What was the first dish you cooked on your own, what is your first cooking memory?
Probably microwaving hot dogs with cheese on them.
What are your favourite places to buy and enjoy food in New York and around your farm in North Dakota?
Whenever I go to New York, I must go to Hummus Place, Breads Bakery, Brooklyn Larder, and pretty much any pizza place. In North Dakota, there are a few great local places, like our town bakery, Dakota Harvest, and our town natural food market, Amazing Grains. I also love our pizza place, where you can order any pizza as nachos.
You share a sandwich recipe on eat in my kitchen. What was the best sandwich you ever ate and where?
Every time I eat a good bagel and lox, my eyes roll to the back of my head and it’s the greatest thing ever.
If you could choose one person to cook a meal for you, who and what would it be?
Josh Scherer, probably. It would be whatever his lunatic mind came up with at the moment.
You’re going to have ten friends over for a spontaneous dinner, what will be on the table?
Mac and cheese.
What was your childhood’s culinary favourite and what is it now?
Mac and cheese.
Do you prefer to cook on your own or together with others?
Which meals do you prefer, improvised or planned?
Planned. I LOVE planning meals.
Which meal would you never cook again?
I ruined a batch of mini frittatas last weekend, so that.
Thank you Molly!