Sunday, June 25, 2017

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Swiss Chard, Green Onion, and Cheese Tart

Our local Whole Foods decided to close their old store and open up a huge, brand-spanking new, double-the-size store right down the road at an upscale shopping center. Now between you and me, I much prefer the older and smaller store, finding it much easier to to get in and out of, but I realize that everything is all about being out with the old and in with the new lately, so, so be it. Focus on the positive, right? The new store, which is double the size, will obviously have double the merchandise and I'm sure I'll like that. Also, big bonus, the old store had a MAJOR sale before they closed, marking everything down to 50% so they could clean their shelves before closing!

Fifty percent off at Whole Foods is exciting news for me so I ready and waiting. When I got there the shelves were already starting to thin out. I was able to find some beautiful Swiss chard, fresh cherries, and grapes. Racing through the hoards of people I made my way to the freezer section to score some gluten free goodies for my son and I found lots of Dufour puff pastry, and since puff pastry can be pricey and Dufour is known to be the best, I grabbed several boxes.  Puff pastry stores well in the freezer and is fabulous to have on hand!

I've always been in awe of Whole Foods artisan chocolate aisle and they did have quite a bit of chocolate left to chose from. I will confess I spent most of my time in the chocolate aisle, looking over all the choices and I must say I ended up with about 15 bars of artisan chocolate in my cart. I mean how can you pass it up when it's 50% off. That's not likely to happen again! At the checkout I scored big on a few $15 cooking magazines, which were also half off, and cheered with delight when my total, which was $250, quickly became $125. Never has my cart at Whole Foods been that full and I was more than pleased with my haul.

On my way home I was brainstorming a way to use both my Swiss Chard and puff pastry and when I came across Hugh's Lettuce, Green Onion, and Cheese Tart I was inspired. I decided to swap his pastry dough for puff pastry (I can't be bothered to make pastry anyway) and also swap the lettuce for the Swiss Chard, and this tart was born.

Flaky puff pastry, colorful Swiss Chard, artisan English Cheddar, a layer of green onions, together with a pinch and a dash of salt and pepper, and this made for one delectable meal. I see many more puff pastry tarts in my future!

Swiss Chard, Green Onion, and Cheese Tart
Adapted from River Cottage Veg
Serves 4-6

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 tablespoon canola/olive oil
1 bunch Swiss Chard, rinsed and chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon butter
4 or 5 green onions, rinsed and sliced
4 ozs. or 1/2 cup English Cheddar, grated
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out thawed puff pastry to 1/8 inch so that it fills a 10" tart pan.  Place it into the tart pan, cut off the excess, and reserve the excess for topping the tart later.  Place the tart pan with the puff pastry, and any excess puff pastry, in the freezer for 10 minutes.
 In the meantime, you will need a sheet of parchment paper and some beans to make a pie weight so that you can place them in the tart pan and keep the pastry from raising while baking. Place the tart, with the pie weight into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Then remove the pie weight and bake for another 5, or until puff pastry is golden brown.  Set aside to cool.

Make the filling.  In a large pan, add 1 tablespoon of canola or olive oil to the pan, along with the Swiss Chard, and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until wilted and tender. Add 1 tablespoon of butter, for flavor. Using a slotted spoon, arrange the Swiss Chard into the tart shell.

Add the sliced green onions to the hot pan and saute for a minute or so.  Layer the green onions over the Swiss Chard, then top the tart with the grated cheese.  

In a medium bowl, beat two eggs, one egg yolk, and the cream and milk.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Carefully pour this mixture into the tart shell (you may not need all of it). Decorate the top of the tart with the remaining puff pastry dough. I cut mine into squares and just arranged them on top, but feel free to make whatever design you like. Bake for about 30-35 minutes until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Theme: A Pinch Of This, A Dash Of That

Sunday, June 18, 2017

My Top Five Asian Dishes!

Over at I Heart Cooking Clubs we are celebrating Asian Dishes this week. This past week my family and I have been gone on family vacation. While we had an absolutely fantastic time visiting both Gettysburg and Hershey, PA we did come home to bad news regarding my mom's health so I wasn't really up to making a new dish this week.  However, I didn't want this week's theme to go by unnoticed because Asian Dishes are some of my family's absolute favorites (plus I needed a distraction)! So, below is a roundup of my family's Top Five Asian Dishes!

(Please click on the recipe name to be directed to the original post)

Madhur Jaffrey's Delicious Chicken Bits is hands down the BIGGEST hit I've ever made on my blog. I have been asked by my family to make these chicken bits over and over again. In fact, if I ask them what they want on the menu they always request this dish. The chicken is spicy and flavorful and perfect with rice and veggies. We lovingly refer to it as Indian Chicken due to all the delicious spices.  I've made this dish more than any other dish on my blog!

These dip-worthy chicken patties are a lot of fun as an appetizer or as part of a main dish.  Loads of fun to eat they are a great hit with anyone!

If the name Most Delicious Meat Cubes doesn't get your attention then think about a crispy flavor-packed exterior and a tender meaty interior. These Most Delicious Meat Cubes are similar to carnitas, but with Indian spices are they are delectable! I urge anyone to try them!

This Chicken with Garlic and Black Pepper reminds me of the Delicious Chicken Bits above, just with a different flavor profile. In fact, while my family enjoys the spicier Indian flavors of the Delicious Chicken Bits the most, I prefer this garlic and black pepper version. Both chicken dishes pack a flavor punch and are quick easy weeknight meals that go well with rice and veggies.

And these babies...well, I didn't mean to post a carnivorous meaty roundup, but sometimes it is all about the meat, especially when it is packed with flavor like these bad boys.  You can actually see all the flavor running through these meatballs like little pieces of confetti. I think the picture is all the convincing you need to whip up a batch. They are dunkalicious!

These are my favorite Asian Dishes. 

I'd love for you to share some of yours!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Two-Cheese Quesadillas with Chorizo and Poblano

Tortillas keep well in the fridge and I almost always have them on hand.  In fact, it's far more likely for me to have tortillas on hand than actual sliced bread. We use them for wrapping up breakfast burritos, lunch wraps, burritos, tacos, and last but not least, endless varieties of quesadillas.

If you have a tortilla, odds are you have some bits and bobs and some leftover cheese to make a quesadilla with.  I've made plain cheese quesadillas, veggie quesadillas, bean quesadillas, chicken, beef, pork... you name it. I had never made a chorizo quesadilla until today...and I must tell you it was one of our favorites!

These Two-Cheese Quesadillas with Chorizo and Poblano were a hit with the whole family!  Of course, if you've had chorizo before than you know that anytime chorizo is involved, it is a flavor explosion! Pair that with two kinds of creamy ooey-gooey cheese, and a slight kick from the poblano and you have a pairing that is notches above the rest!

Two-Cheese Quesadillas with Chorizo and Poblano Chile
Adapted from What's For Dinner?
by Curtis Stone
Serves 4

canola oil
12 ounces fresh Mexican-style chorizo, casings removed
1 poblano chile, seeded and cut lengthwise into long thin strips
salt and pepper, to taste
2-1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups Mozzarella cheese
Four 9 inch flour tortillas

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of canola oil, then add the chorizo and cook, breaking it up into bite-size pieces with a wooden spoon, for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to a bowl, Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the skillet (mine had pretty much zero fat - add canola oil if needed).

Add the chile to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for around 5-8 minutes, or tender and slightly charred.  Remove from heat.

Meanwhile heat a large griddle or skillet over medium-low heat. Mix the Jack cheese and Mozzarella cheese together. Brush one side of each tortilla with oil (or butter). Turn the tortillas oil side down on the work surface.

For each quesadilla, sprinkle a heaping 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture over the bottom half of a tortilla and top with one-fourth each of the chorizo and chiles, then another heaping 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture. Fold the top half of the tortilla over the filling and press lightly to compact.

Working in batches, place the quesadillas on the griddle and cook, turning halfway through cooking, for a total of about 6 minutes, or until golden brown and the cheese is melted.  Transfer to a cutting board, cut into wedges, and serve hot.

Theme: May Potluck!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Cavatappi with Kale Ragu

Stirring the Pot is 9 years old this year, and the last time I checked, I had shared almost 900 recipes over the years! Now, from time to time my husband will many more recipes can you try? Haven't you run out yet?  The answer is always the same: NO!

In fact, from time to time I have been known to have one recurring dream. It's always the same. In my dream I'm running from someone who is trying to kill me and my one request is "No. No. You can't kill me yet. I have way too many recipes left to cook."  Now I've shared this dream with regular everyday people and they look at me like I have two heads, but I know my fellow cooks and food lovers will totally understand. My recipe list is never-ending! My Pinterest boards are exploding and it is quite realistic, even if I live to be 100, that I will never get to all the recipes on my list! 

Of course, saying that, from time to time I will share similar recipes, the same type of dish but by a different chef, or with another variation. I've shared endless versions of mac and cheese and I'm sure they'll be more. I've also shared a couple versions of pot roast, and of course, roast chicken.

I've also shared a very similar version of this Cavatappi with Kale Ragu before. Back in 2010, Mario Batali came out with his Molto Gusto cookbook and in it was the most delicious recipe for Pennette with Swiss Chard Ragu.  Having never had a swiss chard ragu before, I was curious and set out to make it straight away! It was love at first bite and when I posted it, I regaled it as one of the most delicious dishes I had made all year! So, when I noticed that Hugh had a similar version for a kale ragu in his River Cottage Veg cookbook, I knew it must be made.

And you know what? This Cavatappi with Kale Ragu was equally delicious!  The recipes were very much the same, with the major difference being just the difference between kale and swiss chard. So, if you're looking for a killer pasta dish, then I would highly suggest either one (click the link to be redirected to the swiss chard recipe). This pasta has texture, incredible flavor, is quite cheesy, and is ultimately comforting! Need more convincing...the whole pot should costs less than $5! A win-win all around! Make it. You won't be sorry!

Cavatappi with Kale Ragu
Adapted from River Cottage Veg
by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall
Serves 4-6

1 big bunch of kale
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 fresh red chile, or red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, finely slivered
salt and black pepper, to taste
10 ounces Cavatappi or other pasta
butter, to taste
Parmesan cheese, to taste
*1 cup pasta water, reserved from cooking pasta

Put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil so that you're ready to cook the pasta while the sauce is coming together. Remove the thick stems from the kale and slice into shreds.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over low heat. Add the onion and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until soft. Add the chile and garlic and some salt and pepper, and continue to cook for 3minutes, until the garlic is no longer raw.

When the onion is almost cooked, add the pasta to the pan of boiling water and cook until al dente, adding the greens to the pan about 3 minutes before the pasta is done cooking. At this point I used a 1 cup measure to ladle out some of the pasta cooking water. I added this water to the kale mixture, along with a good-sized knob of butter and a fair amount of Parmesan cheese to make a creamy mixture.

Drain the pasta and in the pan with the kale until thoroughly mixed. Check for seasoning, adding more pasta water to make it creamier, or perhaps more salt and pepper, and or cheese, if needed.  Serve immediately with lots of grated cheese!

Theme: Escape To River Cottage

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Welsh Rarebit {Two Ways + Endless Variations}

Oftentimes, when I'm out for drinks, I find myself craving a little something cheesy. Nothing too heavy, but something with a little bit of heft to it, and usually a little naughty. This Welsh Rarebit is just the thing. Cheese, glorious bubbly melted cheese, served over toasty hearty bread and maybe even some veggies. It's just a thing of beauty, really.

Hugh shares three ways to add veggies and change up your rarebit: tomatoes, celery, and kale or broccolini. All of these are good choice, but I'm willing to go out on a limb and say you could easily use about anything hanging out in your fridge. Eggs of any kind, cooked peppers (bell or jalapeno), bits of meat, slices of apple or pear, spinach, artichokes, and even olives would be lovely. The sky is really the limit! Always feel free to make it your own!

This time around I opted to follow two of Hugh's recipes, tomato and kale. While I do believe that tomato is the most common, and also the most well-liked; I'm willing to say that I love the combo of greens with cheese way more than the tomato version. Either way you simply cannot go wrong.

There a couple of things worth nothing. First, use a really good English Cheddar. I used an English Cheddar straight from Dorset.  Next, do not worry when the butter, flour, and milk mixture resembles glue, or straight up paste. This is exactly what you want! When you add the cheese to the mixture you will have to use a lot of muscle to stir it into the "sauce" and get it to melt. The cheese sauce isn't going to seem very saucy when you spread it on the bread and that is exactly the texture you're going for! Don't worry, this is a thick and luscious sauce that is so dreamy and satisfying!  Slather it on some good toasted bread and enjoy as is or with veggies, bits of meat, and/or egg. This Welsh Rarebit is a real treat!

Welsh Rarebit
Adapted from River Cottage Veg
by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Serves 4

1-1/4 cups whole milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 onion
salt and black pepper, to taste
3-1/2 tablespoons butter
7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 ounces fairly strong English cheddar, grated
1/2 teaspoon English mustard, or to taste
dash of Worcestershire sauce
4 slices of good bread or 4 small flat breads

Put the milk in a saucepan, with the bay leaf and onion if you have them on hand, along with a grinding of black pepper. Bring the milk to just below a simmer, then turn off the heat.

Melt the butter in another saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour to make a smooth roux and let it bubble and seethe for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat. If you've infused the milk with bay and onion, strain them out. Add the milk to the roux in three or four batches, beating well after each addition to create a smooth sauce.

Return the thick sauce to low heat and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in in the cheese until melted, then add the mustard and season with salt and pepper to taste, adding a dash of Worcestershire sauce if you like.

Preheat the broiler and toast the bread. If you're serving rarebit just as it comes, then spread the cheese sauce thickly on the toast. Alternatively, add your veggie extras before spreading on the toast.  Either way, broil the rarebit reasonably slowly, not too close to the heat, so the thick sauce is bubbling hot all the way through before the top gets too brown. Serve right away.

Tomato Rarebit: Top the cheese sauce with a few thick slices of tomato and sprinkle with pepper before placing under the broiler

Celery Rarebit: Thinly slice 4 celery stalks and saute them in a tablespoon of butter for 5 minutes, until tender but still a bit crunchy.  Season and stir into the rarebit mixture before spreading on toast and broiling.

Broccolini or Kale Rarebit: Lay some lightly cooked broccolini or kale across your toast before smothering with cheese sauce and broiling.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

My Favorite Bready Things!

This week over at I Heart Cooking Clubs we are featuring all Bready Things! It just so happens that in my home we are carb-obsessed and so Bready Things are right up our alley! I didn't get around to making a dish this week, but I do want to shout out some of my FAVORITE BREADY THINGS!

Every single one of these recipes have seen repeated visits in my kitchen. They are tried and true favorites. Click on the recipe link to be directed to the original post, which includes the recipe!

A pizza dough crust with a creamy and dreamy sweet Mascarpone base topped with an array of fresh berries makes for a wonderful breakfast or dessert. In fact, this dish is so pretty it is perfect for bridal showers, baby showers, or any other kind of celebration where you need to take a dish!

You wouldn't think an English-born chef would be your go-to for one killer Chicken Po'Boy, but Nigel Slater really delivered on this sandwich. It is quite simple, just a few ingredients, but it is total perfection.  Just looking at that hot and juicy sandwich gets my mouth watering every single time!

Rick Bayless is well represented in this Bready Things roundup and these enchiladas are absolutely amazing!  Do a quick search on Cafe Tacuba-Style Creamy Chicken Enchiladas and you'll see that they were quite popular with several food bloggers. This is more of a casserole-style enchilada in that the corn tortillas aren't rolled, but layered.  A sauce is made from poblano peppers and spinach and layered in with corn tortillas, chicken, and Monterey cheese. This is an incredible dish!

Don't let the look of this one fool you! It isn't much to look at, but it is one of my favorites in this entire roundup. Just imagine a crusty telera roll smeared with black beans, chorizo, feta cheese, and slices of avocado. Some of my very favorite ingredients all coming together in one sandwich. It is absolutely crave-worthy!


Again, Rick Bayless comes through with another amazing torta. My mom loves this sandwich so much she asks for it for her birthday every year.  Now, this sandwich is a lot of work. You'll need a breading station for the crispy chicken and you'll also need to prepare the garlicky black bean smash, but once you've completed that you have one crazy-good sandwich that will have everyone asking for it again and again.

These corn muffins called my name for the entire six months that we cooked with Curtis Stone. The reason why: one of my favorite bready things is any type of corn muffin.  I just tend to gravitate to them and I knew, without a doubt, that these corn muffins filled with white cheddar cheese, corn, and bacon would be a huge hit in my home! We scarfed these down with some chive butter in record time. Now they've become a staple!

Sometimes I just crave bacon and Jamie Oliver's Bacon Sarnie is a fantastic, and easy way, to satisfy that craving. If you haven't made a Bacon Sarnie, then you need to!

Last, but not least, is my very favorite Banana Bread! Tessa's recipe for banana bread is a little different than other recipes I've tried. There are two different things about this banana bread recipe. The first is that this recipe only uses brown sugar, no white sugar whatsoever, and the brown sugar really shines. Not only can you taste the difference with the brown sugar, but you can also smell the difference and it is so much more complimentary to the banana bread. Secondly, Tessa has you add the baking soda to warm milk, which is a step I've never taken with banana bread, and I swear it makes a difference in both the texture and the overall rising power of the bread.  This banana bread rises so much faster and higher than any other loaf and the overall texture is so much better than others. If you're a banana bread lover, then this recipe is a must try!

Those are some of my favorite bready things! 

What are some of your favorites?

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Baked Gruyere and Sausage Omelet

Today I'm bringing you a hearty and satisfying baked omelet with some of my very favorite ingredients: Gruyere, eggs, and sausage! I first discovered real cave-aged Gruyere cheese while I was cooking the recipes of Jacques Pepin and let me just tell was love at first bite! The nutty robust flavor combined with the ooey-gooey melt factor... there is no other cheese quite like it!

Nowadays, I am never without a wedge of Gruyere. It comes in handy for making one incredible French Onion Soup, is delicious grated over pasta, and is a star ingredient in many egg dishes, such as this recipe. 

I happened to have all the ingredients on hand to make this flavor-filled baked omelet, although I will say that you could just as easily cater this dish to whatever you have on hand, just keeping the ratios in tact.  Of course I highly recommend using a good Gruyere no matter what, but this is a perfect recipe to make your own and is well-suited for entertaining. We enjoyed this straight out of the oven for breakfast and it was also just as good leftover the next day. A staple recipe for any cook to keep in their arsenal!

Baked Gruyere and Sausage Omelet
Adapted from Food Network
Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 4-6

Butter, for greasing baking dish
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 pound mild sausage, casings removed
8 large eggs
1/3 cup milk (whole preferably)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 red bell pepper, diced
1-1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup plus a few tablespoons freshly chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly butter an 8 by 8-inch baking dish.Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Set the pan aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper, to taste, until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add the red bell pepper, 1 cup of Gruyere cheese and 1/4 cup of parsley. Stir in the onion mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cut the baked omelet into wedges and sprinkle with remaining parsley before serving.

Cook's Note: To make individual servings, divide the batter between 4 buttered 8-ounce ramekins. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Upside-Down Onion Tart

This Upside-Down Onion Tart is something you can throw together with "bare-bones" ingredients. You only need two essential ingredients: puff pastry and onions!

Now, if you do not consider puff pastry a pantry, or rather a freezer essential, then you should.  Having a couple sheets of puff pastry around is like having an insurance always comes in handy.  It's not only perfect for throwing together a quick and fruity dessert, like this gorgeous Winter Citrus Tart with Rosemary Whipped Cream, but it's also a lifesaver if you want to whip appetizers, or top a soup or stew, like this Irish Beef Stew with Puff Pastry Dippers, or even use as a make shift pie crust, like I did when I made these Mini Corned Beef Pot Pies. I am simply never without a box (or two) in my freezer!

And hopefully, we all have onions in our pantry! Not only are they the base of so many dishes, but they are even better when they are allowed to shine as the featured ingredient, such as in this absolutely incredible Onion Soup Lyonnaise-Style. Trust me when I say that soup has become such a staple, and I am never without the ingredients to make it.

This tart is another way for the humble onion to play center stage.  Pair this with a green salad, or even on the side of any beef dish, and you're in for a true caramelized onion delight!

Upside-Down Onion Tart
Adapted from River Cottage Veg
by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Serves 4-6

About 7 ounces/200g all butter, ready made puff pastry
3 or 4 onions (about 12 ounces/350g)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
salt and ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Optional: Sprinkling of thyme leaves and/or cheese of your choice. I used opted for a few crumbles of blue cheese

Preheat the oven to 375F. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 1/8 inch thickness and cut out an 8-inch circle. Wrap the pastry disk and place it in the fridge.

Peel the onions and slice each one into 6 or 8 wedges, keeping the root end attached. Heat the butter and oil in an 8-inch tarte tatin pan or ovenproof frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions, arranging them roughly in a pinwheel pattern. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once or twice, until they are fairly tender and starting to caramelize around the edges.

Trickle the balsamic vinegar over the onions and cook for a couple of minutes more, so the vinegar reduces a little.  Remove from the heat and make sure the onions are fairly evenly spread around the pan.

Lay the pastry disk over the onions and put the pan into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, until the pastry is fully puffed up and golden.

Invert the tart onto a plate so the sticky caramelized onions are facing up, on top of the crispy pastry. Serve right away, ideally with a green leafy salad. You could also crumble or grate over a favorite cheese.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Mexican-Inspired Breakfast Bowl {Plus a Roundup of my Favorite Egg Dishes}

Okay friends, so this week we're celebrating the wonderful and versatile world of eggs over at I Heart Cooking Clubs. Since eggs are one of my favorite ingredients I knew that I wanted to come up with a special dish, something more original. After browsing through hundreds of egg recipes this week I ended up taking inspiration from Jamie Oliver's Mexican Fried Beans served with beautiful poached eggs on top.

Now, believe me, I use the term "inspiration" loosely. My inspiration comes in the form of being lazy. So there I am standing over the black beans in my cast iron pan and I'm thinking...I do not want to get out another pan and mess with the fussy poaching of these eggs SO...what can I do to get around that? A simple glance over at my cast iron casserole dishes gave me the answer. Bake it!

This solved two dilemmas. The first being the fussy poached eggs mentioned above. The second being the lack of cheese in Jamie's recipe. Problem solved! Baking this dish makes cooking the eggs and adding cheese a cinch!

So, it went like this. Add a diced jalapeno, clove of garlic, and handful of cilantro to a skillet with a touch of oil and butter and allow to soften.  Stir in the drained black beans until mixed with jalapeno mixture and warmed. Spoon mixture into ovenproof casserole dish, or dishes.  At this point I wanted cheese so I dolloped about a tablespoon of cream cheese evenly over both casserole dishes. You could use any cheese you like. Take a tip from me and use whatever cheese you see first or whatever cheese  is the easiest, because, you know...that's how it is. Then top with four eggs, or if making individual dishes, then two eggs each.  If you want to be all dainty then you can even make four servings.  Totally up to you. Bake at 350F according to how you like your eggs. In all, I think 10 minutes is a good jumping off point. Then garnish to your liking, but do not leave off green onions. I didn't add them to this dish and wish I had! They bring it all together. Serve immediately!

This comforting and satisfying dish would be perfect for so many occasions. Today it was the perfect consolation prize after my ten year old son woke up at 5:30 and couldn't go back to sleep. What can I say....nothing will wake a kid up faster than Easter candy!

Happy Easter!!

A Mexican-Inspired Breakfast Bowl
Inspired by this Jamie Oliver recipe
Serves 2

1 jalapeno pepper, cored, deseeded, and diced
1 large clove garlic, diced
1 large handful cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
a drizzle of oil and bit of butter
1 (15 oz. can) black beans, drained
2 tablespoons cream cheese, divided*
4 large eggs
tortillas, for serving
Optional: sliced green onions, diced red onion, avocado, hot sauce, cilantro, lime, salsa, and/or cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.

 In a skillet, add the oil and butter. Once butter is melted add in the diced jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until the jalapeno is softened, 1 to 2 minutes. 

Once softened, add the rinsed and drained black beans, mixing together the jalapeno mixture with the black beans until warmed through.  You can add the cheese at this point and mix it through the beans OR add the beans (dividing the beans) to your ovenproof casserole dish and add the cheese on top of the beans.  Your choice! At this point you could also add additional cilantro, salsa, red onion or green onion OR not. Again, this is your bowl and your choice. They can be customized to your liking! Add two eggs to the top of the beans and again, your choice....garnish the eggs to your liking if you chose. 

Bake the eggs to your liking.  Again, if you like your eggs over easy then bake for around 9-10 minutes. If you like them overhard, bake for around 12 minutes. Remember, depending on the size of your egg, the times will vary so carefully watch your eggs! I used 4 extra large eggs because it's what I had on hand and baked mine for 12 minutes.  Once the eggs are to your liking, quickly garnish the dish with whatever you chose. It's worth noting that green onions should be a must! Their flavor really rounds out the whole dish. Serve immediately, with warm tortillas.

If you've been with me awhile, you know I am absolutely crazy for eggs! In fact, eggs are my go to when all else fails. I always have them on hand and I can almost always put together an amazing egg dish with very little ingredients. Below are some of my current favorites, in order. If you make one, let it be Jacques Pepin's Egg and Onion Gratin. It is surprisingly delicious. Click on recipe names below to be directed to the original post.

This humble dish will surprise you. Hard-boiled eggs tossed in a creamy Gruyere cheese and onion me, this is heavenly! In fact, it is one of my hands down favorite dishes on my blog! Serve a little bit of of the gratin on a slice of toast and you will be in for a mind-blowing treat!

 Jacques Pepin sure does know how to write a tasty egg recipe and this one is certainly a favorite. Easy, healthy, and simple this is a breakfast I could wake up to each morning.  An egg baked into a softened poblano pepper and then topped with cheese. It really hits the spot!

 In my opinion, you simply will not find a tastier quiche or breakfast casserole than Giada's Breakfast Tart! This one packs a punch in the flavor department with a hefty dose of pancetta and green onions and it is extremely creamy and cheesy with both Mascarpone and Gruyere. Perfect for entertaining! It is hands down incredible. Definitely worth a little extra fuss in the morning.

 If you're suffering from the effects of a long night out, or simply in the mood for something light and healthy, Jamie Oliver's Nasi Goreng is a unique and tasty way to start your day! A fried egg sits atop a spicy fried rice mixture with some fresh pickles on the side. A bright and snazzy meal that will really wake you up and put some pep in your step!

 Donna Hay's Potato and Ham Fritters are a must make with your leftover Easter ham. Fluffy little cakes of mashed potato, peas, and bits of ham come together with a crispy crust to bring you all kinds of spring goodness on a plate. I love to dip these in a little Dijon mustard, but they are fabulous on their own. A must make this spring!

What's your favorite egg dish?

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall's Herby, Peanutty, Noodly Salad

Over at I Heart Cooking Clubs we are beginning a new adventure as we cook the recipes of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for the next six months! I didn't have any of Hugh's books in my cookbook collection, so I began my adventure by purchasing his River Cottage Veg cookbook, which happens to be chock-full of purely veggie recipes.

The first recipe that jumped off the page was Hugh's Herby, Peanutty, Noodly Salad.  This salad initially caught my eye because it was so very gorgeous! Long strands of noodles tossed in a fresh Asian-inspired dressing with lots of verdant green veggies and a sprinkling of crunchy peanuts. Who wouldn't enjoy something with all that color and texture? Of course it helped that I had all the ingredients on hand and I also knew the dish would keep extremely well.

So I got started by whisking together a bright and zingy dressing composed of lime juice, chile, garlic, rice vinegar, with a touch of brown sugar, oil, and soy sauce. Then I mixed the dressing with a couple handfuls of steamed snow peas and snap peas, noodles, thinly sliced cucumber, and topped it all off with crunchy roasted peanuts and a good hearty sprinkling of mint, basil, and cilantro for a very light and refreshing pasta salad that satisfies.

This is the type of thing that is even better the next day and is therefore great for packing up in mason jars and taking on the go. I plan on throwing it in my bag to enjoy for lunch throughout the week.

Herby, Peanutty, Noodly Salad
Adapted from River Cottage Veg
By Hugh Fearnley-Whittstall
Serves 4-6 generously

1/2 cup raw peanuts
 7 ounces noodles (spaghetti or similar)
5 ounces green beans or snow peas, or combo
1/2 English cucumber
6 green onions
12 basil leaves (Thai, if possible) coarsely torn
small bunch of mint, coarsely chopped
small batch cilantro, coarsely chopped 

2 tablespoons rice vinegar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lime (depends on how juicy)
small fresh red chile, finely chopped or hot pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoons soy sauce, plus extra to serve

Roast peanuts on a baking sheet in the oven at 350F for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. Leave to cool, then lightly bash the nuts to break them up a bit, or leave whole if preferred.

Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients in a large bowl.

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the package. Drain and rinse under cold water. Add to the dressing and toss until well coated. Leave to cool completely in the dressing.

Cook the beans and/or snow peas in a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water until just tender and still a bit crunchy, about 3 minutes. Drain and refresh in cold water, then drain well. 

Halve the cucumber lengthwise and slice thinly.  Finely slice the green onions on the diagonal.

Toss the cooled noodles with the peanuts, cucumber, green onions, beans and/or snow peas and herbs. Serve with soy sauce on the side, for everyone to help themselves.

Welcome Hugh to I Heart Cooking Clubs!
Every Sunday @ Kahakai Kitchen