Archive | Food RSS feed for this section

Baked Eggs with Mushrooms & Greens

21 Feb

One weekend last month, we had a lazy Sunday at home, reading books, watching movies, and relaxing. The only time I left the house was to take a pleasant walk to Starbucks in the suddenly mild, sunny weather with the BF. It was glorious. It also reminds me of how much I miss nice weather, now that we’re setting record low temps here in North Carolina: 7° yesterday!

Since I was ignoring the dirty bathrooms and the Christmas tree still standing in the corner (un-decorated, at least – I did manage to get the lights and ornaments put away only a couple weeks after Christmas), I thought I could at least cook a decent meal for us. I was enjoying my book and tea too much to get off the couch at breakfast time, so I made this for lunch.

My friend Emily made this for brunch a few weeks ago, and I’ve been wanting to re-create it since then. Mine wasn’t as good as hers, but it was still pretty tasty. I’m sure I’ll make it again and see what I can do to improve it – I’m thinking of adding cheese into the mix, maybe something deliciously creamy like gruyere.

It’s pretty simple: cook up the greens, onions, and mushrooms. Pour that into a baking dish. Then crack the eggs right on top.

eewwww

Looks kinda gross, doesn’t it? But it turns out pretty delicious in the end.

egg bake 1

With a side of toast and bacon, this became a substantial and delicious lunch. I think it would be great for any meal of the day, actually, but I’m weird like that. I used half kale and half spinach, which I really liked, though the original recipe called for just spinach. Use what you like!

egg breakfast 2

Baked Eggs with Mushrooms & Greens, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3 oz (about 2 handfuls) kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
3 oz (about 1 handful) spinach
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 T unsalted butter
5 oz (about 1 cups) mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup half and half
salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
4 large eggs
1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Bring 1/2″ of water to a boil in a large skillet. Add the kale and cook, covered, until it begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook over medium-high heat, covered, until all the greens are wilted, about 1-2 minutes. If there’s any water left in the pan, drain in a colander, then transfer to an 8×8 baking dish.

Wipe the skillet dry, then add the butter and melt over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until mushrooms are soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in half and half; a dash each of salt, pepper, and nutmeg; and bring to a simmer. Add the mushroom mixture to the baking pan and stir well to incorporate greens.

Make 4 indentations in the greens-and-mushroom mixture. Break an egg into each indentation and bake, uncovered, until eggs are set as desired. (7-10 minutes will have set egg whites with runny yolks; I cooked it 12-15 minutes so the yolks were also set.)

Lightly season with salt and pepper; sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Advertisements

Turnip & Sweet Potato Soup

12 May

Oh, the joys trials joys of a late winter/early spring CSA. So many root vegetables in March and April! Pounds of sweet potatoes, turnips, or rutabagas each week. Though now that it’s a bit warmer and there’s just greens greens and more greens, I kind of miss sweet potatoes. If you told me a month ago that I’d be saying that now, I would have said you were crazy, but there it is.

Actually, I don’t mind having a million sweet potatoes. I love ’em. I figured out how to cook them in the microwave, which makes for quick, last-minute meals. My favorite has been sweet potato & black bean quesadillas. Muy delicioso.

Rutabagas and turnips, on the other hand… Honestly, if I don’t see another rutabaga or turnip for a decade, I’d be okay with that.

At any rate, I had to figure out something to do with these veggies. I actually made this soup a couple months ago and forgot to post it, so here it is! If you get any last root veggies from your garden, try this out. It’s not incredibly flavorful, so you really taste the fresh vegetables. And I think that makes the walnuts necessary. The kale I could have done without, to be honest, but that was a healthy addition, so whatevs. It’s not very substantial, so serve this as an appetizer or side dish.

IMG_3134

Turnip and Sweet Potato Soup adapted from The New York Times

1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound turnips, peeled and diced
1/4 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups water or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
6 oz curly kale, stemmed and washed (optional)
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional)

Heat the oil over medium in a large soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the turnips, potatoes, water/stock, bay leaf, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45-60 minutes, until the turnips are very tender. Remove the bay leaf.

Optional: While the soup is simmering, blanch the kale in boiling salted water just until tender, 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, drain, and squeeze out excess water. Slice into thin strips.

After removing the bay leaf from your soup, puree with a hand blender or in batches in a regular blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve in bowls topped with greens and toasted walnuts.

Turnip Soup

 

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Hungry Happenings
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Life of the Party from The Grant Life
City of Links Party from City of Creative Dreams

Pimento Cheese

7 Apr

I was sitting at my kitchen table with the BF and friends staying the night with us, all working on our laptops and sharing a bottle of wine. I was struggling with what to write for this post, so I said, “Finish this sentence: Pimento cheese is as Southern as…”

I got a lot of inappropriate answers that are probably best not to share here. Let’s just say that the bottle of wine really had the jokes flowing.

IMG_3139

I actually thought I hated pimento cheese. I am a North Carolina native, a Tar Heel born and bred, but my family isn’t particularly Southern, more just a typical suburban American family. And I grew up in a part of North Carolina where I went to school mostly with transplant kids, from places like New York, New Hampshire, India, and China.

So pimento cheese… This was not a thing my mom made. I’d only ever had store-bought stuff, which is super nasty. The pre-shredded “cheese product” tastes more like wax than cheddar, and there’s always wayyy too much mayonnaise. Nasty. But I tasted a gourmet pimento cheese at a friend’s a few months ago, and I started to reconsider. It wasn’t perfect, and it still had too much mayo, but it was good enough that it got me thinking. So I decided to make my own.

IMG_3144

I researched recipes for a long time, trying to figure out what I would like. I ended up going off on my own thing because I couldn’t find anything that sounded good.

But after trying some of this… goodness, it was so delicious! I mean, I ate so much cheese. So much cheese. You can’t really tell scale from that first picture, but that’s a HUGE bowl.

For book club, we’d read I Capture the Castle, a lovely coming-of-age story about a teenage girl living in genteel poverty in England. So to keep with the theme, we made tea party food: tea sandwiches, quiche, fruit salad, scones. I made three varieties of tea sandwiches: cucumber and cream cheese, peanut butter and raspberry jelly, and — the club favorite — pimento cheese. It was a lovely English/Southern fusion, and I highly recommend it. The pimento cheese was so popular that after we polished off all the little sandwiches, I set out the bowl of leftovers and some crackers, and we went to town on that too!

IMG_3104

A little note on the recipe: the cheddar is my favorite part, and if that’s yours too, you might consider changing your cheese ratio to 1 lb cheddar and 1/2 lb colby jack. The cheddar is definitely a requirement, but you also might consider swapping out the colby jack for another favorite cheese — maybe a pepper jack for a bit more kick, or maybe a creamy monterey jack. Oh! Another requirement: take the time to grate fresh cheese yourself. Waxy, flavorless, pre-shredded cheese is NOT allowed in my house.

Pimento Cheese

3/4 lb extra sharp cheddar, grated
3/4 lb colby jack, grated
1 (4 oz) jar pimentos, drained
1/2 tsp powdered garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
pinch cayenne
3 T mayo

In a small bowl, stir together the mayo and spices. Add the pimentos.

In a large bowl, add the grated cheese. Carefully stir the mayo and pimento mixture into the cheese.

 

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Hungry Happenings
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderfully Creative Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Life of the Party from The Grant Life
All Things Pretty from My Fashion Foward Blog
City of Links Party from City of Creative Dreams

(Vegan) Banana Bread Muffins

10 Mar

Last weekend I had some black bananas and needed breakfast, so I thought, why not muffins? But I checked the fridge and realized I was out of eggs. So after texting my egg supplier to place my order for the next day (my friend Rachel has some backyard chickens), I did some quick internet research for an egg-free muffin.

Luckily, or perhaps fore-sightedly, I keep flax seed on hand for this very reason. I’m forever running out of eggs, but flax seed serves is an eggs-cellent egg replacer (ha) and it keeps for months sealed airtight in the fridge. Even if you’re not vegan, I recommend this strategy if you’re also not so good at inventory and grocery shopping.

IMG_3087

The flax seed completely fulfills the eggs’ role as a binder, but not so much as a riser. So it will hold your muffins together, but you won’t get that light, airy, cake-y texture. But all the more perfect for banana muffins — these come up super dense and moist, like banana bread. Two-bite banana bread! What more could you ask for?

This recipe calls for coconut oil to make them truly vegan. I had butter on hand, so I used that. But I recently purchased a jar of coconut oil, so I look forward to experimenting with it.

This made about 9 small muffins. Keep in mind that because there are no eggs, the batter won’t really rise during the baking process, so however high you fill your cupcake holders, that’s about how big your cupcakes will be.

I thought they were delicious! And apparently so did my coworkers, seeing as the leftovers vanished pretty quickly. Enjoy!

IMG_3089

Banana Bread Muffins from Kitchen Treaty

1 T flax seed meal + 3 T water
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 overripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup applesauce (about one of the individual cups)
2 1/2 T coconut oil or vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease or line a muffin tin.

In a small bowl, stir together the flax and water. Set aside for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl, mash the bananas. Add the brown sugar, applesauce, oil, vanilla, and flax/water. Mix well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until just incorporated.

Spoon batter into muffin tins. Keep in mind that it won’t rise, so fill tins as big as you’d like your muffins.

Bake 18-22 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Yield: About 9 small muffins, or about 6 jumbo muffins with domed tops.

Banana Bread Muffins

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Hungry Happenings
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderfully Creative Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove

Spinach Artichoke Quiche

3 Mar

I love me a good quiche. Generally people give me a hard time about eating things at inappropriate times, like pasta for breakfast and whatnot. And while I generally feel like those people can build a bridge and get over it (what is this, Alyson, 1998?), it’s also nice sometimes to just not have my culinary choices questioned. (But I mean, really people, why are you limiting yourselves!?)

The thing about quiche is that it’s totally an anytime food. Breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner — no one cares. Eat it whenever! I guess most people would put it in a breakfast or brunch category by default, and I’m even okay with that, because quiche doesn’t taste like a breakfast food. It’s not too sweet like waffles and it’s not too heavy like eggs and sausage. It’s just perfect, breakfast or not.

Spinach Artichoke Quiche

And it’s customizable! You can put anything you want in a quiche! Everyone wins! And it’s really hard to mess up a quiche, y’all. Like, grab a recipe, dump a bunch of cheese in there, and you’re good. Take it to any sort of potluck and it’s great to share, no matter what time of day and no matter how fancy the event. People will be so impressed with a quiche.

Okay, I might have just convinced myself in the process of writing this that quiche is the best dish ever. This may not look like the best thing ever, but I assure you, this spinach artichoke quiche is amazing. Cheesy, spinachy, artichokey. Yum. And I used the same crust as the one for my super amazing to-die-for tomato pie. Next potluck, try this one. You won’t regret it.

IMG_3097

Spinach Artichoke Quiche

Crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/4″ cubes
3 tablespoons cold water

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands, kind of like kneading, until all ingredients are incorporated. Shape dough into a ball.

Flour your working surface and turn out dough with a floured rolling pin, making a large circle. Transfer crust to a pie pan and press evenly into the dish.

Bake the pie crust for about 8-10 minutes.

Quiche: 

1 tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
6 ounces (1 bag) fresh spinach
7 ounces (a little more than 1/2 the can) canned artichoke hearts, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups half & half
3/4 cup cheese of your choice, grated (I used colby jack. Mozzarella, asiago, or white cheddar would be delicious!)
1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pan. Add garlic and onion. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add the spinach and sauté until wilted.

Add chopped artichokes and seasonings. Stir well and remove from heat. Pour into a large bowl to cool.

In a large bowl, scramble the eggs. Add the half & half and cheese, and mix well. Once cooled, add the spinach and artichoke mixture, and mix well.

Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until set.

IMG_3092

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Hungry Happenings
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderfully Creative Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

17 Feb

Alright, y’all. I have totally hopped on the sweet & salty train. It actually worked out really well for me because the salted caramel trend hit right at a time when I discovered I actually like sweet/salty combos. See, as a kid, I hated that. I didn’t like desserts that had nuts or peanut butter in it, because those things are supposed to be salty, and desserts should not have salt in it. My older sister always got all the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups out of my Halloween haul.

But maybe my adult palate is becoming more adventurous. Whatever it is, I’ve been excited to experiment with salt on desserts. Last month I tried the salt-on-top method with my Salted Nutella & Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies. AMAZING. This time I tried the salt-baked-in method by adding pretzel pieces to chocolate chip cookies.

They were so tasty, and I really enjoyed them. My preference is for cookies to be slightly undercooked so that they’re super gooey and chewy. And with lots of extra chocolate. And straight out of the oven so it melts in your mouth.

These were really not that hard if I were making a normal batch. But I was making them for our local Meals on Wheels, and I needed SIX DOZEN, so it became a bit more of a project than I realized.

IMG_3080

A couple tips I learned while baking these:

  • The dough needs to be chilled when it goes in the oven. If it’s too warm, the cookies will spread a lot more while they bake, and you’ll end up with a thin cookie. So if you’re making a large amount of cookies and it’s taking a while to scoop them all out and rotate them in and out of the oven, periodically pop the dough back into the fridge to chill a bit.
  • Don’t drop an entire baking sheet of cookies on the floor because that is very frustrating when you need a certain amount of cookies and you’re almost out of flour.
  • Don’t turn off the oven when you meant to turn off the timer because then the cookies won’t bake enough and in your attempts to not waste that batch you might cook them a lot longer because you can’t tell when they’re done and then end up baking them to a crisp.

If you can find caramel chips in the store (I couldn’t, and I was in a hurry, so I didn’t look elsewhere) you should definitely consider adding them in, like the original recipe called for. I bet that’s tasty.

Cookies

These were really good, but I won’t lie, they would probably be better with even more mix-ins — more chocolate chips, more pretzels, and those caramel chips. Feel free to play around with the mix-ins with your batch. This recipe should yield about 2 dozen cookies.

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies adapted from By Stephanie Lynn

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup crushed pretzel pieces

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well.

Slowly add the flour mixture and beat just until there are no streaks of flour showing. Stir in the chocolate chips, caramel chips and pretzel pieces.

Cover and chill the batter in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Using a cookie scoop drop rounded tablespoon portions of the dough, about 2 inches apart, onto an un-greased baking sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute prior to moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Wonderfully Creative Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove

Easy Shrimp & Green Bean Stir Fry

3 Feb

I rarely eat seafood, and I even more rarely cook it myself. But I was inspired the other night to try something new, so I stopped by Whole Foods and picked up some shrimp. And after reading the grossly-named but helpful book Gutbliss, I have been making efforts toward “clean eating.” According to the book, this means no dairy, gluten, sugar, artificial sweetener, soy, or alcohol. I did a 10-day cleanse and since then have been at least trying to consider clean food for a good portion of my meals. (It’s really hard for me to keep away from cheese and chocolate though!)

All this to say that in searching for a recipe for dinner, I wanted something that fit the bill for both clean eating and a quick weeknight meal. I’ve found that Asian-inspired stir fries are the best bet here.

stir fry 1

The BF and I both enjoyed this stir fry and agreed we should add it to our weeknight repertoire. It was not extremely flavorful, though I’m sure if you wanted it to be more so, you could easily add more garlic, ginger, and/or oyster/fish sauce. But I personally liked that there was enough of those flavors to be noticeable but not so much that you couldn’t still taste the natural flavor of the shrimp and vegetables.

Stir fries are the best because they’re so easily customizable, so if you’d rather have all broccoli and no green beans, or if you want to leave out the ginger, then just do your thing, you know?

FYI, this recipe made about 3 large portions for us — one dinner for the two of us and one leftover lunch portion for me.

IMG_3070

Easy Shrimp & Green Bean Stir Fry adapted from Food & Wine

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1″ piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 green onion, chopped small
1/2 pound shrimp
1/2 pound green beans
1/2 head of broccoli, chopped
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

Chop vegetables and prepare all ingredients before you begin cooking.

Heat a saute pan until very hot. Add the vegetable oil, and heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 10 seconds.

Add the shrimp and a pinch of salt. Stir-fry until the shrimp are just beginning to turn pink, about 30 seconds. Add the green beans and 2 tablespoons of the stock and stir-fry until the beans soften slightly, about 3 minutes.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of stock along with the oyster sauce and a generous pinch of pepper. Stir-fry until the shrimp are cooked through and the beans are crisp-tender, about 3 more minutes. Serve immediately.

IMG_3073

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderfully Creative Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove