Saturday, May 14, 2011

Breakfast for one.

I woke up this morning and did not feel so good. My mind went to that yummy egg sandwich place it's gone to on so many mornings like these. The paper-and-foil wrapped roll filled with sliced cheddar cheese that melts on contact with hot scrambled good... But eating an egg sandwich would require me to like, get out of bed? or change out of pajamas? feel less groggy? All alternatives that just were not.

So i forgot about that idea. I dozed. And then, I up and created.

A baked egg-broccoli-cheddar puff. Kind of loosely based on the idea of a strata, but no overnight soaking required. Very satisfying. And then I had a bowl of vanilla gelato. What can I say, that's just my mood on this permacloud hazy day.

Puffy Baked Egg with Broccoli and Cheese (for one)
2 eggs, beaten
pinch salt, pepper
1/8 t yellow mustard powder
handful broccoli florets, cut into little tiny pieces
1 slice whole wheat bread, crust removed, cut into 16+ squares
1 oz cheddar cheese, in cubes

In bowl, beat egg with salt, pepper, mustard powder. Gently toss in broccoli, bread, and half of the cheese. Pour into lightly greased ramekin or ovenproof dish, and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350, covered, for 15-20 minutes.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dear Broccoli, when did you become so enchanting?

The Enchanted Broccoli Forest is not only the title of a brilliant book (or a recipe in the book). For me, it is the equivalent of your favorite childhood story book. A flip through its tattered pages, a glance at the hand-drawn illustrations and text, without even reading the recipes yet, makes me feel good. Late last night, I was getting ready for bed, and I saw this cookbook on the floor. It was already past midnight, but I just had to have a peek.

It had been a while, maybe a year? since I had browsed its pages, but honestly, it brought me a feeling of warmth.

Today I brought a bad lunch to work with me. I held out till this evening, and made Confetti Spaghetti from the Enchanted Broccoli Forest. Yes, I was feeling sort of starving, but I think even if I wasn't famished, this pasta dish would have been amazing. Like a healthier macaroni and cheese, this veggie-packed pasta is comforting and satisfying in color and taste. Amazing. Will make again.

3 T butter
2 T olive oil
2 minced onions
4 cloves garlic minced
2 broccoli stalks, diced
1 head cauliflower (I used the yellow kind), chopped
1 red pepper, diced
2 c frozen peas
dash soy sauce
1 lb whole wheat spaghetti
2 c shredded cheddar cheese

In a big saute pan, melt butter and oil. Add onions and garlic and cook until fragrant, and onions are translucent. Add broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 min. Add pepper. Cook until soft. Add peas and cook only heated through. Remove from heat, stir in soy. Cover. Cook spaghetti, drain, and return to pot. Add veggies to pasta, and then stir in the cheddar. SO GOOD.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I know it's not winter but this soup rocks.

Look guys, "It's not winter!" is not a good response to "I'm making soup."
Soup is a year-round food. Maybe not what you want to eat when it's a million degrees out, but we've been in a crisp, cool, lull. The heat hasn't hit us yet. And even when it does, who's to say I won't still be making soup?
I was food blog searching the other day, just seeing what my sites were posting. I like to stop by Cathy Erway's Not Eating Out in New York site, just because, well, you know, I live in New York, and I like to not eat out. She's pretty inspirational (I'm a tad envious of her book deal, but also wanna say You go, girl! as if she were my sister...). Anyway, she had this roast potato leek soup up there, and it sounded like a great idea. I came home tonight and made it with baby kale I bought in bulk at the coop the other day.
The roast potatoes and onions have such a deep flavor, having caramelized for about thirty minutes before having chicken stock added. The baby kale leaves are crisp though cooked through, and have a slightly lemony flavor, standing out it this rustic potato puree as a beacon of brightness.

Super easy to make, doesn't take a lot of ingredients or attention, this one is a sure bet.

2 T olive oil
6 red-skinned potatoes, cut into wedges
2 onions, sliced
6 c chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
2 big handfuls of chopped kale or other hearty green

In a dutch oven or big oven-proof saute pan, toss potatoes and onions in olive oil. Cover and cook in oven on 400 degrees for 30 min. Remove from oven, place on stove top over medium heat. Add stock, salt, and pepper. Cook for another 30 minutes. Puree with hand blender and then add kale. Adjust seasoning and serve!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A hankering for

What's a yankee like me doing craving biscuits, anyway? Dunno. All I know is I went for a beer at 7, came home and ate a salad, and then didn't quite want dessert but wanted more! I would have settled for a slice of good, crusty bread, but I didn't have any. So I went for a short order of whole wheat biscuits with raspberry jam. Crumbly but warm and tender inside. Flaky. Wow. Perfect, I might say! They're even crispy on the outside when I bite! And tender inside! Yes, I'm excited. Thank you, Homesick Texan, for being so inspiring when it comes to whipping up a batch of biscuits.

For a small order, of about 6-8 biscuits, follow below. For more, double recipe.

1 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
pinch sugar
pinch salt
3 T non-hydrogenated shortening or butter
1/3 c buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450. In medium bowl, mix dry ingredients. Cut in shortening with a fork or your fingertips. Mix until mixture is cornmealy or crumbly. Do not over mix! Add buttermilk and stir to form a dough. Pat into a disk about 1/2" thick and cut into circles. Bake 10-15 min, until lightly browned on top. Eat warm, right out of the oven. Now.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Earthy Lasagna

Hopefully this post makes up for my recent lack of writing anything about food. On a whim, inspired by a previous mushroom lasagna recipe on this blog, I attacked in the kitchen tonight. Without a real plan in mind, just a loose idea of lasagna noodles, something green, earthy portabello mushrooms, and a sweet, bright flavor, I whipped up this earthy lasagna dish. The mushrooms and spinach keep the flavors deep and grounded; the oven-carmelized carrots and onions add a sweet brightness. And the dill... I have to admit... makes it taste Jewish! I swear! It is a must-try.

Carrot Puree
olive oil
3 big carrots, cut into 1/2" thick coins
1 onion, sliced
1 shallot, cut into wedges
red wine vinegar
3/4 c milk simmered with 1/2 T butter

1 T butter
Four portabello mushrooms, sliced into 1/4" thick pieces
salt to taste
1/4 c white wine

1 bunch spinach, cleaned and steamed
1 box lasagna noodles, cooked according to package
1 1/2 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 oz taleggio cheese, pulled into pieces
2 T chopped dill

Preheat oven to 425. On an oiled baking sheet, spread carrot coins, onions, and shallots in one layer. Drizzle with 1 T olive oil and 1/2 T red wine vinegar. Sprinkle generously with salt. Roast 20 minutes, then stir and roast for another 20 min. Remove from oven and put everything in a food processor, along with milk cooked with butter. Puree until smooth.

In a large saute pan, melt butter. Add mushrooms and cook until greatly reduced in size. Add wine when pan looks dry, and add salt to taste.

Lightly oil a casserole dish. Place one layer of noodles in bottom. Spread with carrot puree, then top with spinach, mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese. Top with second layer of noodles, and repeat layering until four layers of noodles are in place. On top layer of noodles, spoon carrot puree and top with remaining mozzarella and taleggio cheese. Sprinkle with chopped dill. Cover with lid or foil and bake at 425 for 15 min. Uncover and cook for another 20 min.