Showing posts with label eggs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eggs. Show all posts

Cheesy Scrambled Eggs

I promised to share some of the recipes I used to cook with my various kids' classes this summer. Here's one that's so simple it's hard to even call it a recipe!
Scramble up 2 eggs per person with a splash of milk or cream for fluffiness and some salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring to lift the cooked eggs from the bottom of the pan as they cook. When the eggs are just about cooked, toss in a good handful of jack cheese for every two servings and cook for about 1-2 minutes more just to melt the cheese. Serve as is, over toast, or in a tortilla. Best scrambled eggs you'll have - I promise!

Swiss Chard Scramble

When I ate brunch at Black Pearl Restaurant on Sunday, I noticed they had a number of dishes called "scrambles". While they included eggs in the scramble, they were less about the eggs, and more about the combined other ingredients. I decided to make my own for lunch the other day in an effort to begin using some of the Swiss chard I had harvested from my garden.
My version of a scramble had just a few ingredients - Swiss chard, red onion, eggs (from my CSA farm), and a little Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. The reason I have 3 eggs for a single serving is that I like to combine one whole egg with 2 more egg whites for a slightly healthier mix - but feel free to use whichever parts of the eggs in whatever quantity makes you happy!
I did a rough chop on the Swiss chard......and then sauteed it with the red onion in a nonstick skillet for a couple of minutes until it was wilted down, then added the eggs and cooked everything together until the eggs were just barely cooked. Finally, I sprinkled it with just a little Parmigiano for some cheesy flavor. Voila - not bad for a quick lunch or breakfast!

Entertaining with Brunch

Brunch is often overlooked as an opportunity to entertain guests. I think most people overthink it or are worried they won't be able to pull something together quickly enough in the morning. I think just the opposite. With just a few (relatively inexpensive) ingredients and about 60-90 minutes, you can make a great breakfast or brunch meal. Here's what I pulled together:
Oranges, Apples, Bananas and Strawberries for a Fruit Salad
Farm Fresh Local All Natural Bacon
Two Tarts - Leek and Gruyere, and Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese
Throw in some coffee, orange juice, and perhaps a Mimosa (which I did!) and you've got a satisfying feast for a crowd in just about an hour or so. Let's start with the bacon. Forget stinking your house up and creating a grease bomb on your stove. Lay the pieces flat on a nonstick Silpat liner or aluminum foil and bake it in the oven along with the tarts (or on its own) until the desired level of crispness. This bacon filled the pan when I first put it in - you can see how much fat melted off as it cooked!
Drain it on paper towels then serve it on a pretty platter. And bacon doesn't need to be smoking hot. This batch was devoured at room temperature!
Next, the tarts. I won't run through the recipes here, but check back for a post with some savory tart ideas. The bottom line is they are easy to make, can bake while you shower, and are always a hit.
Finally, the fruit salad. I start by segmenting oranges, because they look prettier in the bowl. Lop off both ends deep enough that you can see the segments, then use a knife to cut away the peel from the side, making sure to get rid of the pith but not take too much of the flesh.
When you have all the peels removed, hold the orange in your hand and wiht a small paring knife, but along each segment on each side in a V-shape to sut the segment away from the membrane holding it.
Toss together with your favorite other fruits diced up and you have a simple fruit salad in minutes. Put it all out on the counter along with plates and silverware and let the gang dig in. They'll think you slaved for days yet you'll be rested and ready to enjoy the meal with the others!

Savory Tarts (aka Quiche!)

Everyone who cooks with me knows I'm not a baker. But the one thing I latched onto in pastry school was tarts. It all starts with a great flaky crust, and for me that also means an all-butter crust. I was once told making crust was a 3-day process: the first day you make the dough, the second day you roll the dough, and the third day you bake the crust. While you don't need to spend 3 days doing it, the point is that the dough does need to rest a bit between mixing it, rolling it, and baking it or you'll have excess shrinkage of your tart crust.

The other secret to a great flaky crust is to not overwork the dough. It should still have pea-sized chunks of butter that you can see in the flour - when the crust heats up in the oven this butter melts, letting off steam from the water in the butter, and that's what creates the flaky layers in a crust. The dough should also not be too wet - as soon as the dough starts to come together, stop adding water, even if you've only added half the amount.

You can use a wide variety of ingredients to fill a savory tart - thing quiche from the old days. Some of my favorites are Swiss chard and pancetta with Parmigiano Reggiano, roasted red pepper and feta, bacon and caramelized onions with Gruyere, and andouille sausage with cheddar. You can also skip the cheese and make it fully vegetarian if you prefer.
Basic Flaky Crust
Yields 2 Eleven-Inch Crusts

12 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
8 ounces cold unsalted butter, cubed (16 tablespoons)
4 ounces cold water (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Blend flour, salt and butter in an electric mixing bowl on medium low until roughly combined; small lumps of butter should still be visible. Combine water and vinegar. With the mixer on medium low, add liquid slowly just until the dough comes together. When it begins to form a ball, stop adding liquid even if you have some left.

Remove dough, pat into a ball and cut in half. Flatten each half in plastic wrap into a thick disk, about 5 inches wide. Wrap well and refrigerate one crust for 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Wrap second crust well and freeze for another use.

To prepare crust, remove dough and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before rolling on a light floured surface into a 1/8 inch thick crust. Transfer to the tart pan and gently press the crust into the edges of the pan, trimming away any excess crust. Wrap crust (in tart pan) in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Tart
Serves 6-8

2 red peppers, cleaned and halved
1 frozen spinach, 10 ounce box
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
8 whole eggs
2 cups half and half
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Roast red peppers, skin side up, under the broiler and until the skin is fully blackened (10-15 minutes). Remove from oven and place peppers in a sealed plastic bag to cool. Meanwhile, line tart crust with foil and add pie weights. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Remove pie weights, discard foil and set crust aside.

Remove the charred skin from the peppers and discard. Chop peppers. In a large bowl, beat eggs together lightly, then add half and half, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix well with a whisk.

Place tart pan on a baking sheet. Spread peppers, spinach and feta cheese evenly over the bottom of the tart crust. Gently pour egg mixture on top, being careful not to overfill. Return tart to oven and bake until lightly golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean, about an hour. Let cool slightly before removing outer rim from tart pan and serving.

Easy Peeling for Hard Boiled Eggs

I love hard boiled eggs - I just hate peeling them. And despite 40 years of cooking, I've never found a foolproof way to easily peel them without tearing off chunks of the egg white with the peel. Until today, that is. My friend Jude sent me this link, and I tested the technique out on five eggs. Voila! Success every time!

Here are some great ideas for using hard boiled eggs:
  • quick grab and go breakfast (you'll manage to finish it before you even back out of the garage)
  • sliced in salads (perfect for classic spinach salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette)
  • insert a couple into the center of a meatloaf (kids love a surprise)
  • sliced on pizza (I know it sounds strange but they serve it this way in Italy often)
  • sliced on a sandwich with bacon and tomato (or wrapped in a tortilla with your favorite breakfast burrito additions)
  • mixed into potato salad
  • egg salad (serve traditionally on a soft white bread or be creative and use your favorite nutty, grainy bread)
  • deviled eggs (the variations on seasonings are unlimited!)