Posts Tagged ‘Eggs’

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Carolina Chicken Salad

February 18, 2015

I’m still alive! My new job (well, I’ve been at it for 6 months now, so I guess I can’t really call it “new” anymore) is awesome. However… there are always a lot of different projects going at once, and I have to juggle many different problem solving possibilities in my head at a time, so it’s much more work mentally than my old job ever was. Which means my brain starts to feel pretty “used up” by the end of the day and I really don’t feel like blogging or doing much of anything else that takes mental energy. I love the work though! I’m really glad I took the leap – my unique IT/pharmacy skill set is perfect for this position.

Another thing that been keeping the blog way down on the priority list is… pregnancy! Yes, my husband and I finally decided in the fall that it would be a good time to start trying to have our first child, and we were one of those lucky couples for whom it didn’t take much time at all! I’m currently 21 weeks along, and our daughter is expected to arrive end of June/beginning of July. So far everything has been going really well – I barely got any morning sickness (just a slight touch if I got hungry, but having a snack took care of that right away), and no weird cravings or food/smell aversions. The one symptom I did experience during the first 3 months was a lot of tiredness. Not really the “I can barely keep my eyes open and I’m going to take a 3 hour nap” type, but more the “I sat down and I don’t have the motivation/energy to ever get up” type. Very similar feeling to when I had mono in the fall of 2013, just without the fever and strep throat on top of it. :) I guess having mono was actually good preparation for first trimester of pregnancy!

Because of the pregnancy, I decided it wouldn’t be prudent to give up anything food-related for Lent this year. Instead, I’m giving up Facebook and reading fanfiction. Those are currently my two biggest time-sucking activities online, so I’m trying to put what energy I do have into things that are more productive, like finally updating this blog, for example!

So this recipe is a yummy one from my childhood. I would guess that my dad probably got it out of Gourmet magazine or Bon Appetit however many years ago. It’s a great weeknight all-in-one dinner salad, since it’s got plenty of veggies and protein, and doesn’t take too long to put together. The dressing is both tangy and sweet, and the olives add a nice briny touch. My parents would usually use leftover cooked chicken, but I’ve picked up a rotisserie chicken on the way home specifically to use for this recipe… fast and easy. It’s supposed to be garnished with tomato wedges too, but I didn’t have any on hand the day I took this photo and my husband doesn’t really like big chunks of tomato anyway. Enjoy!

Carolina chicken salad

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Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Feta

January 24, 2014

When I was growing up, my parents frequently made huevos rancheros for a quick vegetarian supper. If you’ve never heard of it, huevos rancheros is a Mexican breakfast dish: the basic idea is eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce/salsa, served over tortillas and sprinkled with cheese. Like many kids, I hated runny egg yolks and insisted that my parents cook my eggs until they were essentially hard boiled. But now my taste in eggs (and my appreciation of food textures) is a little more developed. :)

I was looking for a quick dinner idea a few weeks ago, preferably something I could make with what I had in the pantry, and I found this recipe in the December 2011 issue of Bon Appetit. It sounded very similar to huevos rancheros, but when I read further, it turned out that this version is actually a north African dish! I didn’t have any pita bread to serve with it, but we had naan bread left over in the freezer, and that worked just as well as an accompaniment.

The inclusion of chickpeas in the sauce gave the dish some body, and the tangy feta went perfectly with the spicy tomato flavor. I loved the way this dish turned out; my husband was a little bit more ambivalent about it. He’s never really cared for mixing the flavors of eggs and tomatoes though, so I wasn’t expecting it to be a favorite. I think it grew on him though because I made it again the following week and he didn’t complain! :)

Eggs poached in tomato sauce with chickpeas and feta

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Breakfast Strata with Spinach and Gruyère

October 16, 2012

Strata is one of those amazing foods that somehow I only end up making about once a year. One of my absolute favorites, but it requires a bit more planning ahead that the usual breakfast food and an hour of baking time in the morning (not to mention it’s quite rich and heavy), so it’s best for a special occasion. In the past I’ve always brought along the ingredients to make it on the last day of the youth group winter weekend retreat, but sadly there was no retreat this past year. Using any occasion for an excuse, Boss’s Day seemed like a good enough reason. My manager is actually out of town this week, so my coworkers and I shared the strata this morning and all she got was a picture, haha!

The reduced wine, Gruyère cheese, and shallots give this breakfast dish a slightly more sophisticated flavor than the typical combination of pork products (bacon, sausage, ham) with eggs and American or cheddar cheese (although strata made with sausage and cheddar is also excellent). I prefer savory breakfast foods to sweet ones, and I love complex combinations of flavors, so you can imagine that this would easily make it into my top ten list. :)

This recipe, from the ATK Family Baking Book, has been my standby strata recipe for several years. While it initially looks like a lot of steps that will take a long time, you can get the bread in the oven right away to start drying out, prep the rest of the ingredients, and do everything but the final assembly during that 30-40 minutes. Weighting the strata down before baking is an important step that you don’t want to skip; it helps to eliminate dry pockets in the bread. The recipe can easily be doubled to feed a large group: assemble in a 13-by-9-inch pan and increase the baking time to 60-70 minutes.

Breakfast strata with spinach and gruyere

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Deviled Eggs

January 4, 2012

Deviled eggs are one of my all-time favorite appetizers. But too often they turn out bland and pasty, or else they have a dull and unattractive look from greenish-tinged yolks. When I discovered the America’s Test Kitchen version several years ago, I knew the recipe was a winner. I love that the filling in these eggs has more kick than usual: grainy mustard (rather than regular Dijon), Worcestershire sauce, and cider vinegar all contribute tartness to offset the sweetness of the mayo.

The method ATK uses for hard-boiling the eggs is very exacting: too little cooking time and the yolks won’t be fully cooked, but too much and the yolks’ edges turn green, discoloring the whites and the filling. Based on my own experiences with hard-boiling eggs, their directions work every time! The basic premise is to bring cold eggs and water to a boil and then immediately turn off the heat and let them rest for 10 minutes before dunking them in ice water. Don’t be tempted to fill the pan with hot water from the faucet to shorten the time to bring the eggs to a boil; the yolks won’t be fully cooked.

The one piece of the puzzle that I have yet to figure out is why some eggs peel so easily, while others have very stubborn shells that stick to the whites and easily tear them. I’ve heard that this is related to the age of the egg, but I haven’t had a chance to experiment. Anyone else have experience with this problem?

Deviled eggs

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Frittata Bites with Chard, Sausage, and Feta

August 8, 2011

With the rest of the chard left over from my CSA box, I made a second frittata very different from the summer vegetable frittata last week! When I found this recipe last year (in the June 2010 issue of Bon Appetit magazine), I made it as an appetizer to take to a church group meeting and everyone thought it was delicious. So I’ve been looking forward to more chard again this summer so I could try it again! I love the flavor combination of the greens with the mildly spicy sausage and the tangy feta cheese. It holds together very well as a finger food and would make a terrific passed appetizer at a dinner party.

Rather than being cooked in an ovenproof skillet on the stovetop initially and then transferred to the broiler to finish, this is baked entirely in the oven in a square pan, making it much thicker than a typical frittata. However, that means that it takes a bit longer to make because it has to bake for about 45 minutes, so you do have to plan ahead. The results are totally worth the time though!

Sausage and chard frittata bites

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Summer Vegetable Frittata

August 5, 2011

I’ve been turning to every single one of my cookbooks lately for more ideas on using zucchini and yellow squash. This recipe in Gourmet Today‘s breakfast section caught my eye, and since we frequently enjoy breakfast foods at suppertime, I figured why not! I had just gotten a bunch of chard and several spring onions in this week’s CSA box as well as more zucchini, so the only ingredient I needed to buy at the grocery store was the prosciutto! (The prosciutto could also be left out to make the recipe vegetarian, as it’s not really a main component of the dish.) I substituted my spring onions for the scallions and used half zucchini and half yellow squash rather than entirely zucchini. I’m definitely starting to get more comfortable making substitutions and adapting recipes to what I have on hand rather than following everything to the letter. Especially for veggies this time of year, I’m getting so much in my weekly bag from the farm that I feel a bit silly buying even more at the market or the store, so I’m trying to make do with what I have!

As with many breakfast recipes (and probably part of the reason we have breakfast-for-dinner so often), this frittata can be on the table in 30 minutes including prep time. It would make a great Sunday brunch dish, or (as we did) it can be served with a light summer soup or salad for supper.

Summer vegetable frittata

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Leek, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Frittata

June 21, 2011

In addition to leeks, this frittata contains fresh basil, and I’m looking forward to finding a lot more recipes this summer that showcase fresh herbs. I am so excited that it’s finally fresh herb season! Because we signed up for a CSA box again, we decided not to plant any vegetables this year and instead grow herbs in our small garden. Our parsley from last year actually survived the winter under all the snow, and the cilantro and dill must have dropped seeds in the fall because they appeared on their own! This year we planted extra basil, and we added spearmint, oregano, sage, tarragon, Thai basil, and thyme. Two rogue tomato plants have appeared in the corner of the plot, but we’ll let those go for now unless they get too big and start destroying the other herbs (or the neighbors).

We made this frittata as a light summer supper, and it would also be wonderful as a brunch dish. It didn’t take any longer than a half hour to make, even with prep time, and there is no lengthy resting time required. If you’re not a fan of goat cheese, gruyère or swiss would be excellent substitutions. The recipe is from the May/June 2005 issue of Cook’s Illustrated magazine.

Leek and prosciutto frittata

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