Monday, October 15, 2012

Egg-Filled Bread Bowl

If only every brunch dish was this delicious... it would be my only meal. I discovered something called a baked egg boat on pinterest a few weeks ago and it looked beautiful. Of course, as a breakfast food, it was made with bacon, and bread that's hard to find heckshered, so off I went to develop my own incarnation.  I served it at a post simchat torah brunch - but whether you're serving it as a hangover cure or beside bottomless mimosas, this is top rate.

Yes, that's on a "Got Milk?" plate. Oreo Cookie!


6 Par-baked french rolls (Trader joe's has these, and I love them. If they're hard to find, french or italian demi baguettes is what was suggested .)
8 Eggs
6 Scallions (or garlic chives)
2/3 cup half and half
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
Colby Jack Cheese - 2-4 ozs
Mozzarella cheese 3 ozs
Optional: Mushrooms (I used baby bellas/creminis), Smoked salmon (we were also having bagels and lox so I'll add this next time)

Also, an FYI: For the half & half, I used the fat free kind from Trader Joe's, I'm no expert when it comes to this version of dairy though, so I suggest that you use what you like or whatever you have on hand. Some recipes recommend creme, that's just too rich for me. Also, I didn't calorie/ingredient compare to see what they do to make the fat free tasty, but it is, so I really enjoyed. Only questioning that choice now, clearly.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Hollow out bread. To do this on the rolls, I cut a V into the tops of each for access with the most remaining bread. (Save breadcrumbs - I baked mine into a fritata, also pictured, but use for whatever you use breadcrumbs for... or if you've been super adept at the cutting process, add it back as a top to the bowl.)
Place the bread on a cookie sheet (or in a roaster pan. I used the latter) and take out a large bowl to break eggs in to (I always break eggs individually into a cup or small bowl first so that you can spot blood or shell) - Every 3 or 4 eggs I whisked together the eggs and the half and half, cayenne pepper, and then chopped scallions and added them in. Whisk a bit more, just so eggs are fluffy like you'd do for an omelet.
Take that small bowl and used it as a ladle to transfer egg mixture into rolls. Allow to sit for a bit (and absorb) as you slice cheeses, then add a bit more egg in, if there's room. Top with chopped defrosted frozen spinach and sliced cremini mushrooms. The pictured one I made w/out mushrooms because, you know, so many picky eaters, so little time.
Bake for 12-15 minutes (until the eggs aren't jiggly) and serve!

Enjoy!!  Tell me if you made a variation and how it came out! The one pictured is from the next day, and it withstood the journey. Also, I would have added salt and pepper but my kitchen wasn't back in one piece yet from the floor being redone, so I just went with what was on hand. It didn't feel like any flavor was missing though.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Beer Braised Kale with Pastrami

So first of all there's the Pastrami. Here's the thing. I had  Pastrami from Grow and Behold just screaming at me to take it out of the freezer and eat it. I could tell it was going to be ten kinds of delicious, but it was still frozen ... so the solution was obviously to loosen it a smidge under hot water and put it straight into a frying pan.

Then I went to open the bag of Trader Joe's kale a little too gingerly to pour on top of this great pastrami, and an explosion happened onto my kitchen floor. I only lost 1/3 of the bag, but man, that's a lot of chopped kale I just swept up.

Anyway, on to the goodness:

Kale (10 oz, though I wound up with less)
Pastrami (4 oz)
1/3 cup Beer (I used corona, + 1 tbsp to deglaze at the end)
1.5 tsp meat tenderizer
1 tsp chili spice rub (or a garlic-onion-chili blend, whatever you have on hand and like)
squeeze of a lemon wedge

Add the pastrami to a non-stick pan on medium-high heat, when it starts to brown at the edges (about 2 minutes) add in the kale and about 1/3 a cup of beer... just enough to coat the bottom of the pan so that the kale can steam. (You could use any other liquid; veggie broth, sherry, wine. I really just needed to drink a beer after the kale cleanup.)  Once the kale wilts a little bit, add in the spices and a bit of lemon juice. Let it cook until it wilts down enough for you to enjoy (4-5 minutes, or just taste). Taste to see if it needs any seasoning adjustment. Enjoy! Let em know if there are any other spices I should be using when making this. I didn't want anything to mask the rich pastrami flavor, so kept it super simple... but I don't have to next time!

And for those of you vegetarians out there (or those preparing for a dairy meal) feel free to try your favorite meat substitute; veggie bacon, veggie sausage or the like... it might be just lovely. Report back!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Polenta Lasagna

Polenta purists will probably damn me for using this super easy packaged stuff, but Trader Joe's sells prepped polenta so cheap, it's hard to resist just keeping in stock in my own pantry. And for this recipe, the alternative is just unnecessary work.

1 package Polenta, sliced thinly (I use Trader Joe's organic precooked)
1 jar Roasted garlic tomato sauce (TJs had a great sale, otherwise I use brad's organic)
Dried Oregano, dried basil & some extra garlic
1-2 cups frozen chopped spinach (Trader Joe's has one that's pesticide free which is about .50 cheaper than organic)
3-5 oz various cheeses: I used fresh (soft) pecorino romano (made by the cheese guy), millers' parmesan and  sliced Colby jack (le petit femmes).

4-5 dashes franks hot sauce
I did also add my secret ingredient which is a dried chili beer rub made by Jaimie Gwen. It's good on everything... you can add some of whatever your favorite spice rub is, or just a few sips of wine or beer. Whatever makes you happy.

Preheat oven to 375(ish) - you're going to want to finish it for the last minute on 400-425.
Cook time: 20 minutes
Prep Time: 8-10 minutes
Serves: 6

Layering: Adding in spinach

Layer the bottom of a baking dish (I used a square 9x9 baker. I mean, I think it was 9x9. Please don't ask me to measure it!) with a small amount of sauce then place thinly sliced layers of polenta. Cover in sauce (1/3 bottle) top w/a Dash basil, oregano, (spinach*,) and parm then another layer of polenta. Repeat (possibly twice, depending on how thin the Polenta is or wide your dish is). Top with slices or shredded cheese.

*The Messy Way:
If the spinach is already defrosted or in small chunks you can smatter it about in each layer as you go. I happened to think of the spinach when I took ice out of my freezer and had actually baked the polenta originally without, and decided to add it. So I kinda stirred it in and ruined the layers, adding the Colby jack on top. No one was pretty easy to even out, and it gave me a chance to make a lunch portion. The neater way, by the by, would also just have you add in the extra herbs, spices and hot sauce directly into the bottle of tomato sauce. Probably. I mean, I don't typically do things the neat way.

The "Single Serving" or Lunch portion:

As I added in the spinach I literally spooned a "slice" worth into my little mini baker so that we could have something delish for lunch the next day. Added the spinach there too, and cheese on top. Glad that I did, since there wasn't an ounce left of the tray I brought over to my friend's for dinner

Other suggestions: Consider including dried or fresh mushrooms, broccoli, dried onions, black olives, or the like. Whatever you enjoy in lasagna, even ricotta would work. This was just my first attempt at this dish, I'm sure to be experimenting more, but the simplicity is clearly one of the reasons I loved it so much. If you use a bigger pan, it doubles easily. Beceause the polenta is precooked this is really about melding flavors an melting cheese.

Also, this would taste almost as good without the dairy, so feel free to make it vegan friendly if you have friends who are inclined that way. The flavor really delivers.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Edamame Salad with Miso Vinaigrette

A refreshing, healthy treat!

This is a great go to dish for a big potluck meal when you want promise of flavor and protein. I love the bright colors and flavors, and this has already inspired friends to make similar versions. I don't usually make this with lettuce but realized it would go a lot farther if I put in crispy romaine hearts... glad I did, after I left the meal ran into more friends on the way home sitting by the fountain on 100th and Riverside drive, so I shared it again there.  Another tip is that it's a great make ahead dish. Extra tasty when the veggies get to marinate, so give it a try that way too!

This time I whipped up the dressing in a bowl with a top so I could easily shake it up and taste test w/celery before adding it in. Feel free to experiment and tell me what you're up to. I almost always make this by grabbing whatever on my asian shelf seems exciting, so it could be adjusted for a lot of different palates! Enjoy.

1 tbs White Mellow Miso Paste
2-3 tbs Warm Water (to melt miso in)
Sesame oil
3 tbs Citrus juice (orange, lime or lemon otherwise - if you're using fresh, throw in some zest too!)
2 tsp Lime liquor (mine is Bartenura, I used to use a ginger vodka, but I'm out!)
3 tbs Rice Vinegar (I used pesto rice vinegar in this version)
Ginger (fresh or ground, 1/2 tsp)
Garlic (usually 1tsp ground, this time I boiled 4 cloves w/the edamame)
Tamari or Soy sauce (I used shoyu this time, and try to keep it gluten free so everyone can enjoy)
Salt (to taste)
1 tsp Mustard powder
1-2 tbs mirin
2 tsp brown sugar
More options: allspice, chili flakes or chili oil, dried beer, sherry if you're out of mirin

Edamame (shelled frozen)
Red pepper
Celery (leaves included)
Pea Shoots
Romaine heart
Mushroom stems, crumbled
Scallions (chopped)
(past recipes I've used corn or baby corn, sliced mushrooms, water chestnuts, or radishes)

Chop veggies a consistent size, waiting to chop avocado until the rest of the ingredients are mixed (even dressed) and then add it in. I use the greens and whites of the scallions, but whatever you have on hand. I also tore the romaine and the pea shoots.

For the dressing, start by melting miso into warm water (I try to use as little warm water as needed for miso to melt) then add in oil, emulsify, spices, juice, liquor, soy, mirin and shake it up. Taste by dipping celery or lettuce into dressing and adjust accordingly, then pour over vegetables.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nacho Pizza!

TJ's Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Newmans Own Salsa (I used 2/3 a jar of mild, but whatever your pleasure)
4-6 oz Shredded Mexican Cheese mix
2 Tbs Cream Cheese (I use reduced fat)
Chili Powder
Garlic Powder
Oregano (I had fresh)
Optional: Black Olives, Crumbled mexican soy meat, mushrooms, peppers - whatever your favorite nacho toppings.

Preheat Oven to 425-450
I didn't precook the dough, but you probably should - relatively thick for pizza so that it can hold up to the moisture in the salsa - for 8 minutes and then top:

Dollops of cream cheese
Cover with Salsa
Add in oregano, garlic and spread around
Top with Cheese, then scallions or other toppings.
Bake for 15 minutes or so.

Enjoy! Let me know if you do pre-bake and how that comes out.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Protein Packed Ginger Carrot Slow Cooker Soup

This hearty treat evolved to serve a whole lot of vegetarians when I was making Brisket. It surely satisfied and even was enjoyed by meat eaters as well. I'm bound to make it again soon and will try to save leftovers for photographs...

6 peeled sliced carrots
1 ½ inches  of fresh ginger root
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups red lentils
2/3 cup Mirin
6-8 cups broth and/or water (I like Brad's organic vegetable broth)
Celery leaves
1 sweet onion
3 ribs chopped celery
Dash Emeril’s Asian seasoning
Dash Allspice
Scallions (Whites for cooking, greens for decorating on top)

Place ingredients into slow cooker on high for 2-3 hours until soft, then use a hand blender to mix all ingredients together, and if serving within 3 hours, keep on low, if serving the following day, keep on warm.  You may need to add more liquid depending on preferred consistency.

PS - I may have added a bit of the brisket gravy to the leftovers ... it was DELICIOUS ... so if you're not serving vegetarians feel free to add in some beef variant as well. If you are, either Sherry or Beer can be added to the liquids for more depth of flavor.