baked eggs in mushrooms with zucchini ragout

zucchini ragout 5

When Cara asked me to guest post and offered the suggestion of focusing on a vacation that I’m excited about, I jumped at the chance to chatter to a new audience about my upcoming trip to Italy. Italy! Venice! The Cinque Terre! Tuscany! Rome! And then there’s the stuff that I’m really excited about – wine and espresso and cheese and pesto and bread and seafood. Also wine. Check out Cara’s blog to read about the Baked Eggs in Mushrooms with Zucchini Ragout I made, which involves no wine or espresso or pesto or bread or seafood. At least there’s cheese.

caesar salad

I didn’t always get Caesar salad. It seemed like it was just salad that was all lettuce and no goodies. Where’s the tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, carrots, or cured meats?

I understand now that that’s the point of it – that even without a range of colors, a salad can have a range of textures and flavors. Crisp lettuce, crunchy croutons, creamy dressing; salty parmesan, lightly bitter romaine, and most importantly, stinky garlic and wonderful savory anchovies.

Not everyone thinks anchovies are wonderful, I know. Some people – people who are otherwise not picky at all despite their reticence toward brownies – think they’re actually quite disgusting. Those people were not implicitly told about the anchovies in this recipe, and even when the amount was accidentally doubled one time, those people (or the one of those people I regularly cook for) still raved about the salad. Do not fear the anchovy.

But if you want to fear the raw egg (which I do not, as we all know from my cookie dough habit), you may, because I tested this out with mayonnaise instead of the yolks, and it was nearly as good as the original. With the addition of some leftover shredded chicken, this salad becomes a simple (if surprisingly unhealthy) meal.

One year ago: Cherry Tomato Salad
Two years ago: Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles
Three years ago: Sushi Rolls

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Caesar Salad (from Cooks Illustrated)

Serves 4

I confess that I did not care for this method of toasting the croutons. I was not able to achieve evenly browned croutons on the stovetop, probably because I wasn’t willing to use the full amount of oil. I’ll reproduce the original recipe below, but in the future, I’ll toast the lightly oiled croutons the oven and then toss them with the oil/garlic mixture.

If you don’t want to work with raw egg, substitute 1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise for the yolks.  This will result in a slightly thicker dressing, but not a bad one.

Croutons:
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, pressed through a garlic press (or pureed on the tines of a fork)
5 cups (¾-inch) ciabatta bread cubes
¼ cup water
¼ teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan

Salad:
1 large garlic clove, pressed through a garlic press (or pureed on the tines of a fork)
2-3 tablespoons juice from 1 to 2 lemons
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
6 anchovy fillets, mashed to a paste with a fork (1 tablespoon)
2 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons canola oil
5 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1½ ounces (¾ cup) finely grated Parmesan
Ground black pepper
2-3 romaine hearts, cut crosswise into ¾-inch-thick slices, rinsed, and dried very well (8-9 lightly pressed cups)

1. For the croutons: Combine 1 tablespoon oil and garlic paste in small bowl; set aside. Place bread cubes in large bowl. Sprinkle with water and salt. Toss, squeezing gently so bread absorbs water. Place remaining 4 tablespoons oil and soaked bread cubes in 12-inch nonstick skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until browned and crisp, 7 to 10 minutes.

2. Remove skillet from heat, push croutons to sides of skillet to clear center; add garlic/oil mixture to clearing and cook with residual heat of pan, 10 seconds. Sprinkle with Parmesan; toss until garlic and Parmesan are evenly distributed. Transfer croutons to bowl; set aside.

3. For the salad: Whisk garlic paste and 2 tablespoons lemon juice together in large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes.

4. Whisk Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, and egg yolks into garlic/lemon juice mixture. While whisking constantly, drizzle canola oil and extra virgin olive oil into bowl in slow, steady stream until fully emulsified. Add ½ cup Parmesan and pepper to taste; whisk until incorporated.

5. Add romaine to dressing and toss to coat. Add croutons and mix gently until evenly distributed. Taste and season with up to additional 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Serve immediately, passing remaining ¼ cup Parmesan separately.

bacon egg toast cups

I came face to face with my pickiness last weekend. I’ve been buying eggs from a coworker of Dave’s, which is great because I can finally feel confident that the chickens that hatched my eggs weren’t grossly mistreated, for far cheaper than the supposedly cage-free eggs at the grocery store. When he had duck eggs to sell, I figured it would be a fun new thing to try. Plus, I knew I was making these bacon-egg-toast cups soon, and I mistakingly believed that duck eggs were smaller than chicken eggs, so they would fit perfectly into the muffin cups with all the other goodies.

Not only are duck eggs usually larger, not smaller, than chicken eggs, but they’re different in other ways. For one, the shells are thicker, so it takes a bit of hammering the egg on the counter to break through it. The whites are whiter. Have you ever noticed that the white of a chicken egg is actually kind of yellow? Not so a duck egg.

Also, the white is extremely stretchy; it really never breaks. That means that if you crack an egg into a small bowl and then move it to your muffin cup, bits of white will stick to the bowl and stretch across the counter, and basically your whole kitchen will be coated in egg white by the time you’re done.

But once you’re eating – who cares? Who cares what color the white was when you broke the egg? Who cares if it was extra super freakily stretchy? Once the eggs were cooked, I wouldn’t have known I was eating duck eggs if I hadn’t cracked them open myself. Because I did know, I noticed that the white was firmer. But who cares?

I tried not to, but I have two more duck eggs left, and yet I hard-boiled chicken eggs to bring to work this week. It’s so stupid, because there’s nothing worse about duck eggs compared to chicken eggs; they’re just different. If I was used to duck eggs and someone gave me chicken eggs, I’d think the white was too watery and yellow. The lesson here is one I think we all need reminded of occasionally: Pickiness is all in your head. Still, I’m not sure I’ll be buying duck eggs again anytime soon.

One year ago: Croissants, Pumpkin Biscotti, African Pineapple Peanut Stew, Apple Tart, Vegatarian LasagnaCarne Adovada
Two years ago: Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin Ravioli, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffed Sandwich Rolls, Baked Eggs with Spinach and Mushrooms

Bacon-Egg-Toast Cups (adapted from The Noshery via Annie’s Eats)

I was making these for kids because I thought they’d have a good time with it, but instead they were all, “um, there’s egg on my toast; that’s where I put my jelly.” And then they ate nearly as much as the adults did.

I skipped the cheese and added green chile. Because I live in New Mexico, and that is what we do.

I realized after the fact that I arranged my toast a little differently than the original recipe, by lining just the bottom of the muffin cup with toast instead of the sides as well. I liked my way, so I’ll provide that in the recipe.

Serves 6

6 slices of bread
12 slices of bacon (about 1 pound)
12 eggs
½ cup of shredded cheese (or other flavoring)
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray.

2. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange the bacon in the skillet in a single layer and cooked until its fat is mostly rendered but it’s still pliable, 4-5 minutes.

3. Using a cookie cutter, cut two 2-inch circles out of each slice of bread. Place a bread circle in the bottom of each muffin cup. Wrap a slice of bacon around the edge of each muffin cup; sprinkle cheese or other flavorings onto the bread in the space lined by the bacon. One by one, crack the eggs into a small bowl and transfer the yolk and some of the white on top of the cheese. (Unless you’re using small eggs, using all of the white will cause the eggs to overflow the muffin cups.) Season with salt and pepper.

4. Bake until the egg white is set, 8 – 10 minutes (longer if you like your yolks firm). Using a thin knife or offset spatula, remove the bacon-toast-egg cups from the pan. Serve warm.

eggs in tomato sauce

Back in Dave’s bachelor days, “pasta and red” was one of his standard dinners. He’d cook and drain pasta, put the pasta back in the pot, dump jarred tomato sauce over it, and stir it all up until it was warmish. Pasta and red.

These days, I’m always insisting that ‘pasta and red’ is not a phrase that should be associated with actual home-cooked tomato sauce. Whether I’m quickly sautéing some garlic to make a simple sauce with canned diced tomatoes, mixing up vodka sauce, or simmering a slow-cooked bolognese, Dave wants to call them all pasta and red. No! A 5-hour bolognese should not be compared to oversweetened overcooked jarred sauce.

I like all types of tomato sauces, even jarred ‘red’, but when I smelled this simmering pan of tomatoes and garlic and realized that I was basically making spaghetti sauce to serve with eggs for breakfast, I started to worry – yes, I like tomato sauce with pasta, but would it translate to eggs and breakfast?

Yup. The rich egg balances the acidic tomato sauce, and the thick slice of whole wheat challah on the bottom soaked up every bit of flavor. Eggs and red – it works.

One year ago: Tofu Mu Shu
Two years ago: Crockpot Pulled Pork

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Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

If you just want to coarsely chop your tomatoes, stick a pair of scissors into the opened can of tomatoes and snip away.

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons red or white wine (optional)
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped or pureed
pinch sugar
½ teaspoon salt
ground black pepper
4 large eggs
4 slices toasted country bread
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a medium skillet, heat the oil, garlic, and pepper flakes over medium heat until the garlic and pepper is sizzling. Add the wine and let it simmer until it becomes syrupy, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, 12 to 15 minutes.

2. Break the eggs into individual small cups. Make wells or indentations in the sauce, and gently transfer the eggs from the cups to the wells; season the eggs with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the whites are set.

3. Spoon a portion of sauce with an egg over toasted bread. Top with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

masa pancakes with chipotle salsa and poached eggs

After buying four and a half pounds of masa harina for a recipe that used, oh, about a cup of it, I completely messed up the recipe I was making. While I learned quite a bit about the chemistry of cooking beans (hint: don’t add tomatoes at the beginning), I have a feeling I won’t be trying that recipe again. Yes, I know it would be much better if I tried that  following-the-directions idea, but the whole thing left me a bad taste in my mouth. Literally.

It also left me with about 4.45 pounds of masa harina. Fortunately, masa is seriously good stuff. It kind of reminds me of Dave’s jokes – intensely corny. Hey, speaking of intensely corny jokes! Anyway, my point is that it’s good, and I was hoping to find something easier than tamales to make with it. (Although I plan on making tamales as well.)

Fortunately, the internet exists, and epicurious had all sorts of fun masa recipes to choose from, like masa pancakes topped with homemade chipotle salsa, poached eggs, and fresh cheese. I thought the recipe had the potential to be complicated, but it’s really just pancakes, sauce, eggs, and some garnish.

The masa pancakes seemed more like pan-fried cornbread than pancakes, and if there’s anything that sounds better than masa pancakes, well, it’s pan-fried cornbread. No, it’s pan-fried cornbread topped with warm chipotle salsa, eggs, and cheese. Only, let’s see, about 4.40 pounds of masa left to use up! I better get to making more pancakes!

One year ago: Orange Berry Muffins
Two years ago: Rice Pudding

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Masa Pancakes Topped with Poached Eggs and Chipotle Ranchera Salsa (adapted from Bon Appétit via epicurious.com)

Serves 6

The poached egg directions that I’ve included here are pretty much directly from the original recipe, and they are…shall we say, vague (or I might just call them crap if I wasn’t trying to be diplomatic). I would offer my own set of instructions for poaching eggs, but I have lost my egg-poaching mojo lately. Instead, I will direct you here. Or I would just fry the damn eggs using my foolproof method (add a bit of water to the skillet after the eggs start to set and cover the pan; no flipping and you can get away with using less oil!). I’m also curious to try cooking the salsa in a skillet and then poaching the eggs right in the finished salsa.

¾ cup masa harina (corn tortilla mix)
½ cup (2.4 ounces) all purpose flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons corn oil, plus more for cooking the pancakes
12 large eggs + vinegar + salt
Chipotle Ranchera Salsa (recipe follows)
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup crumbled queso fresco or shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1. Adjust a rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°F. Spread masa harina on a heavy baking sheet and bake until fragrant and golden, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Cool completely. Place a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack in the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 200°F.

2. Whisk masa, flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, 2 eggs and 3 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl to blend. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk just until blended (the batter will be thick).

3. Lightly coat a griddle or 9-inch nonstick skillet with oil. Heat over medium heat. Working in batches, spoon scant ½ cup batter onto the griddle. Using a spoon, spread the batter to a make 4-inch-diameter pancake. Cook until the bottom is golden, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook until the second side is golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Repeat to make 6 pancakes total, brushing the griddle with oil as needed.

4. Meanwhile, bring a large skillet of salted vinegary water to a simmer. Working in batches, crack 12 eggs into the skillet. Simmer until the eggs are softly poached, about 3 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water; drain.

5. Divide the pancakes among plates. Top each pancake with salsa and 2 poached eggs and sprinkle with cilantro and cheese. Serve immediately.

Chipotle Ranchera Salsa (adapted from Bon Appétit via epicurious.com)

2 tablespoons corn oil
1 onion, chopped course
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
¼ teaspoon salt
1 chipotle chili in adobo, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat the oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook, stirring continuously, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the salt, and the chipotle. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes to blend the flavors, stirring occasionally.

2. Puree 1 cup of the salsa in a blender (or blend with an immersion blender). Return to the saucepan and stir in the cilantro. Adjust the salt if necessary. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm over medium heat.)

pork chops loco moco

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I feel a little guilty when Dave and I spend most of the weekend sleeping in, watching football, reading books, and, in my case, cooking. We are booooring.

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But then I figure that someday, if everything goes as planned, we’ll have kids and then we won’t be able to spend all weekend being lazy. I don’t think I’ll be cooking from Cooks Illustrated’s Restaurant Favorites at Home very often when we have kids, which is a shame, because it’s a fun cookbook and I haven’t used it as much as I should. I better take advantage while I can.

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Although really, this meal didn’t take nearly as long to prepare as I thought it would based on the length of the recipe. It’s true that there are five parts – rice, pork chops, scrambled eggs, mushroom gravy, and fried onions. Fortunately, the rice, meat and eggs are as simple as they could get, and the sauce is pretty quick as well. That means that only the onions take some time.

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Loco moco is a Hawaiian dish that, as its most basic, is rice, a hamburger patty, gravy, and a fried egg. For their cookbook, Cooks Illustrated adapted the recipe from Sam Choy’s, who replace the hamburger with a pork chop, the fried egg with scrambled, and the brown gravy with a mushroom cream sauce, in addition to adding the fried onions.

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Hoo boy, I like this kind of meal anyway, where a bunch of different stuff all meshes together, but this in particular was fantastic. So many textures – the meat, the rice, soft eggs, crunchy onions. So many flavors – nutty white rice, sweet fried onions, savory pork, all coated in a rich mushroom sauce. Even if it had taken most of a day to make, which it didn’t, it would have been worth it. Especially since I would have just been lounging around in my pajamas anyway.

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One year ago: Pumpkin Pancakes

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Pork Chops with Rice, Eggs, Onions, and Gravy
(from Cooks Illustrated’s Restaurant Favorites at Home)

This is the recipe straight from the cookbook. However, next time I plan to use a boneless pork chop. I think it will brown better in the pan, plus it was a little hard to see where the bone was versus the meat once the pork was covered in sauce and other goodies.

Also, I think it makes more sense to cook the pork chop before the eggs. And, in step 3, I don’t see why you’d want to dirty an extra dish by transferring the sauce to a measuring cup; just cover the pan you cooked it in. Finally, the recipe calls for both the eggs and the pork chops to be cooked on high heat, but I’ve had better luck with medium-high heat for both.

Fried Onions:
3 cups vegetable oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon ground black pepper
1 small yellow onion, halved and sliced thin

Rice:
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
½ teaspoon salt

Sauce:
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
salt and ground black pepper

Eggs:
4 large eggs
¼ cup whole milk
pinch ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Pork chops:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 thin bone-in center-cut loin pork chops, about ½ inch thick
salt and ground black pepper

1. For the fried onions: Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it reached 350 degrees. (Use an instant-read thermometer that registers high temperatures or clip a candy/deep-fat thermometer onto the side of the pan before turning on the heat.) Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Add the onion to the flour mixture and toss thoroughly to coat. Transfer the floured onion to a large strainer (or colander) set over another bowl (or the sink) and shake vigorously to remove the excess flour. Add the onion to the oil and fry until golden brown, 2 to 2½ minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain the cooking temperature. Remove the onion from the oil using a spider or slotted spoon, tapping the handle several times on the rim of the pot to drain any excess oil, then transfer to a large plate lined with several layers of paper towels. Set aside.

2. For the rice: Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until transparent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1½ cups water and the salt. Bring to a boil, swirling the pan to blend the ingredients. Reduce the heat to low, cover tightly, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover the pan with a clean dish towel and then the lid. Let the rice stand, covered, to finish cooking, about 15 minutes longer. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

3. For the sauce: Mix the cornstarch and 1 teaspoon water together in a small bowl and set aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Stir in the shiitakes, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the mushrooms release their moisture and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream, soy sauce, and oyster sauce, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and return to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Remove the sauce from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the sauce to a liquid measuring cup, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside.

4. For the eggs: Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and add the milk, salt and pepper. Beat with a fork until the streaks are gone and the color is pure yellow; stop beating while the bubbles are still large. Melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until foaming, swirling it around and up the sides of the pan. Before the form completely subsides, pour in the beaten eggs. Using a heatproof spatula, push the eggs from one side of the pan to the other, slowly but deliberately lifting and folding the eggs as they form curds, until the eggs are nicely clumped into a single mound but remain shiny and set, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and cover to keep warm.

5. For the pork chops: Wipe the nonstick skillet clean with a wad of paper towels. Add the vegetable oil and heat over high heat until smoking. Season the pork chops generously with salt and pepper. Lay the pork chops in a single layer in the skillet and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and cook on the second side until lightly brown and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes longer.

6. To serve: Divide the rice among 4 individual plates. Lay a pork chop on top of the rice and top with equal portions of scrambled eggs. Pour about 3 tablespoons of the sauce over the egg and pork on each plate, and sprinkle with the fried onions. Serve immediately.

sweet potato hash

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While I can be, shall we say, particular about preparation, I think keeping an open mind is so important when it comes to both ingredients and certain dishes.

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For example, stuffing. There’s nothing unpleasant about bread, seasonings, aromatics, and broth baked until the flavors are blended and the top is crispy. When people say they don’t like stuffing, I really think they just didn’t like the stuffing they had when they were young. They just need to try a different recipe (add bacon!) to enjoy it more.

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As far as ingredients that often inspire pickiness, sweet potatoes have a bad name. For a lot of people, one of the only ways they’ve seen sweet potatoes prepared is in that sugary, marshmallow-topped weirdness at Thanksgiving. Hey! Let’s take something already sweet, cook it in sugar, top it with more sugar, and serve it with dinner! Blech.

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Because I don’t like those sweet potatoes and wasn’t exposed to them prepared other ways, I always assumed I didn’t like sweet potatoes at all. But now I know better! I like them quite a bit in more savory preparations.

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Take this dish. Salty bacon, flavorful slightly caramelized vegetables, and browned sweet potatoes. What is there not to like, especially when the whole thing is topped with an egg? It goes to prove that I could miss out on some great meals if I don’t remember that just because I don’t like an ingredient prepared one way doesn’t mean I won’t like it in other dishes.

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One year ago: Peter Reinhart’s Pizza Dough

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Sweet-Potato Hash with Bacon (adapted from epicurious/Gourmet)

Serves 4

These are the same ingredients in the same proportions as the original recipe, but I’ve tweaked the preparation a bit because a number of reviewers complained that the original was too greasy. Adding eggs on top is also my addition, but Dave and I tried it with and without the eggs, and while it was good without, it was even better with.

½ pound sliced bacon, cut into ¼-inch strips
2 medium onions, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
salt and pepper
2 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
4 eggs (optional)

1. Cook the bacon in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until it renders some fat and begins to brown. Drain off all of the fat except for a thin coating on the pan, then add the onions, red pepper, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 7-8 minutes.

2. Stir in the potatoes and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and starting to brown, 10 to 14 minutes. Stir in the thyme and season to taste.

3. If you’re adding the eggs, create four indentions in the hash and break an egg into each. Season the eggs and cover the pan. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook without removing the lid for at least 6 minutes, when you can start testing for doneness. I like my eggs without any runniness at all in the white but with gooey yolks, and it takes around 8 minutes.

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green chile huevos rancheros

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Do you have a food you love from your hometown that you can’t get anymore? For New Mexicans, that food will always be Hatch green chile. It’s ubiquitous in New Mexico, and you won’t just find it in enchiladas and chile rellenos and the like, but in more unexpected places, like eggs and burgers and pizza. New Mexicans are addicted.

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So what is a displaced New Mexican to do? Decent green chile simply isn’t available everywhere – the 4-ounce cans of chile that most stores do carry are, sadly, largely devoid of flavor. No, the only way to get good Hatch chile outside of the state it’s grown in is to know someone kind enough to send it to you.

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So every year during chile season (approximately right now), my mom sends me and my brother each a big box of fresh green chiles. She packs the chiles with newspaper to soak up moisture so they don’t rot (learned that the hard way), pokes holes in the boxes, and sends it 2-day mail. And once we have the chiles, they have to be roasted, peeled, and seeded. The whole process isn’t easy or cheap.

This year, Dave and I have decided that to skip the hassle, we’ll move to New Mexico.

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Well, no, that isn’t why we’re moving. Really, it just worked out with our job situation. But green chiles (and easier access to some squeezy nephew cheeks that are also in New Mexico) is definitely icing on the cake.

Green chile huevos rancheros is my favorite way to eat green chiles, as well as probably my favorite breakfast. The way I like it, there’s a flour tortilla base, then beans, eggs (over-medium for me) and home fries on the tortilla, all topped by green chile sauce. Definitely a meal worth moving across the country for.

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One year ago: Dimply Plum Cake

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Green Chile Huevos Rancheros

4 servings

If you already have favorite recipes for home fries, pinto beans, and eggs, by all means, use them.

Green chile sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tablespoon flour
½ cup chicken broth
4 ounces green chile, diced
pinch sugar
1 tablespoon chopped tomatoes (or tomato juice or sauce)
salt

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s just browned around the edges. Add the garlic and stir constantly for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Mix in the flour, and continue to stir, for about one minute. Slowly add the broth, still stirring, then the chile, tomatoes, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer, then adjust the heat to low, cover, and let cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If your sauce is thinner than you like, remove the lid while it simmers.) Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.

Home fries:
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ medium onion, thinly sliced
16 ounces Yukon gold potato, diced into ¼ inch cubes
½ teaspoon salt (kosher)

Heat the oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. (You can use a traditional skillet if you heat it well before adding the oil.) Add the potatoes, onions, and salt, and cover the pan. Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the cover and cook until the onions and potatoes are cooked through and nicely browned, another 5-10 minutes. Adjust the seasonings if necessary.

Refried beans:
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ medium onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt

Heat the oil over medium heat in a medium nonstick saucepan or skillet. Add the onions and cook until the edges start to brown. Meanwhile, using a potato masher, mash the beans until they’re mostly broken up. It’s fine if there are still some whole beans. (If you prefer your beans completely smooth, puree them in a food processor.) Stir the chicken broth into the beans. Add the garlic and cumin to the onions in the pan, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the bean mixture and salt and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to low to medium-low to maintain a bare simmer, and cook the beans until they’re your desired consistency, stirring often. It should only take a few minutes. Adjust the seasonings to taste. If they’re ready before everything else, just cover them.

Eggs:
1 teaspoon oil
4 eggs
salt

Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Crack each egg into a small dish. Carefully transfer the eggs to the skillet, then sprinkle them with salt. Add 2 tablespoons water and raise the heat to medium-high. Once the water simmers, cover the pan and lower the heat back to medium-low. Cook for about 3-6 minutes for over-medium eggs. Remove the lid and let the water evaporate.

Assembly:
Place a warmed 6-inch flour tortilla on each of four plates. Top each tortilla with one egg, a quarter of the beans, and a quarter of the potatoes. Divide the sauce evenly between each plate. (Alternatively, layer a tortilla, then beans, potatoes, an egg, and the sauce.)

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chanterelle salad with speck and poached eggs

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I don’t know if there could be a less appetizing name for a more delicious food than there is for Speck. When I hear Speck, I think of Star Trek or maybe dust particles – I do not think of spicy smoked ham.

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I almost dismissed the Speck in this recipe entirely. I figured that proscuitto or pancetta, both of which I can get at my regular grocery store, would make a convenient substitute. But then I was right near an Italian butcher, and it was no big thing to go in and grab some Speck. I’m glad I did, because I love the stuff. I wish I’d had some proscuitto to taste alongside it, because I feel like I liked the Speck more than I normally do proscuitto, but I haven’t eaten enough proscuitto to really remember.

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After my first uncertain egg on salad experience, I seem to have become somewhat enamored with the idea. In this salad, I really enjoyed the warm savory egg on the tart dressed greens. The Speck, sautéed until crispy, was of course delicious. I wasn’t crazy about the cooked chanterelles in the salad – they seemed a little too chewy to fit in with the other ingredients. Dave really liked them though.

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I didn’t follow the recipe exactly – I had just made fresh bread, so I skipped the toasting step. I also made a different dressing. As if one hard-to-find ingredient in the recipe wasn’t enough, you’re also supposed to reduce Vin Santo, an Italian dessert wine, for the vinaigrette, and mix it with walnut oil. I made a simple balsamic vinaigrette and was happy with it.

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Notwithstanding the chewy mushrooms, this salad was very good. This was a nice, light meal that left me plenty of room to eat some of the chocolate chip cookies that I have coming out the wazoo.

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Warm Chanterelle Salad with Speck and Poached Eggs (from Bon Apetit December 2008 )

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 fresh thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, divided
1 pound fresh chanterelles, cleaned, cut into ⅓-inch thick slices
nonstick cooking spray
4 ounces ⅛-inch-thick slices Speck, rind trimmed
6 ¾-inch-thick slices ciabatta or pain rustique
½ teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
2 small heads butter lettuce, coarsely torn (about 11 cups)
6 cups mâche or arugula (3½ ounces)
Vinaigrette

Preheat oven to 500F. Combine 4 tablespoons oil and thyme in large bowl. Press 2 garlic cloves into oil with garlic press; whisk to blend. Add chanterelles and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Spray rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Spread mushroom mixture on sheet. Roast mushrooms until tender, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.

Cut Speck crosswise into ¼-inch-thick strips. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in small skillet over medium-high heat. Add Speck; sauté until crisp, 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Toast ciabatta slices until golden; rub with remaining garlic clove. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Halve each slice lengthwise.

Fill large skillet with water and bring to boil. Add ½ teaspoon salt. Crack eggs, 1 at a time, into custard cup, then slide egg from cup into water; reduce heat to low. Poach eggs until whites are set and yolks are softly set, 3 to 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss lettuce and mâche with enough vinaigrette to coat. Mound salad on 6 plates. Using slotted spoon, remove eggs from water, dab with paper towels to absorb excess liquid, and place atop salads. Garnish with mushrooms and Speck. Place ciabatta fingers around salad and serve immediately.

Balsamic Vinaigrette (from Cooks Illustrated)

Serves 4

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar , or wine vinegar
½ teaspoon table salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
⅔ cup olive oil

Whisk first 2 ingredients with salt and pepper in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil, so the vinaigrette emulsifies. Serve.

baked eggs with spinach and mushrooms

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There’s nothing not to like about this recipe. It’s eggs-on-stuff, and I love eggs-on-stuff, especially when the stuff is onions, mushrooms, and spinach. And then it’s sprinkled with parmesan. What a perfect flavor combination.

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You know the only thing this recipe is lacking? Carbs. Ah, starch. Carbs in any form would be good, but I’m thinking especially of either adding cubed parboiled potatoes with the onions, or serving the whole thing on top of toast. Or hash browns.

And that gives me an excuse to make this again…soon.

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Baked Eggs with Spinach and Mushrooms (from Gourmet June 2004 via Smitten Kitchen)

Serves 4

10 ounces baby spinach leaves
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced (2 cups)
⅓ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 450F.

Bring ½ inch water to a boil in a 10- to 12-inch ovenproof heavy skillet (not cast-iron), then add half of spinach and cook, turning with tongs, until wilted, about 30 seconds. Add remaining spinach and wilt in same manner, then cook, covered, over moderately high heat until spinach is tender, about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and cool under cold running water. Gently squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible, then coarsely chop.

Wipe skillet dry, then cook onion and garlic in butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and increase heat to moderate, then cook, stirring, until mushrooms are softened and have exuded liquid, about 3 minutes. Stir in cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and chopped spinach and bring to a simmer. Remove skillet from heat and make 4 large indentations in spinach mixture. Break an egg into each indentation and bake, uncovered, until egg whites are set but yolks are still runny, 7 to 10 minutes. Lightly season eggs with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with cheese.