I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Showing posts with label Eggs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eggs. Show all posts

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Eggs in Purgatory

In my younger days my life goals included skydiving. The thrill of jumping out of a plane and falling through the air invigorated me. Yet as I edged closer to my 30s and still hadn't checked it off my list, I found the idea less and less captivating. A fear of the prospect settled in that hadn't been present before. I started doubting whether I'd ever have the courage to actually step foot out a plane door so far above the earth's floor.

Fear is a funny thing sometimes. It truly is incredible to me to look back on my early 20s and see how carefree and how fearless I could be. Living it you can't see it, the clarity of self truly only comes with age, along with the knowledge and understanding of your own mortality. So often now I am thankful for this comprehension when I make smart decisions, yet there are other times where I miss the spontaneity and the dive-head-first-into-anything approach of my youth. 

Right now is one of those times. I am staring over the edge at a new career direction. I believe in it, yet doubt and fear are making me step back and rethink the leap that I must take to get there. It feels almost impossible, especially when turning back just means returning to the comfortable life I currently have around me. Why risk shaking that up? Why put myself through the hassle of change? 

Yet the rewards offered by making the jump are enormous. A career I can feel proud of. A job I look forward to everyday--even kind-of enjoying the bad parts. Being my own boss and my own employee--because I know no one will work harder. Expressing my creative side through my work, yet also having an opportunity to exercise the left side of my brain through the business aspects.  

I'm channeling my 20 year old self as I step to the door of this plane. My (almost) 32 year old self is double checking every strap and lever before I go, ensuring safety measures are in place, but my toes hover over the edge, I take a deep breath, and I get ready to let go.

Eggs in Purgatory
Far from being scary, eggs in purgatory is an easy dish that is nice for brunch, but I find to be a perfect simple weeknight dinner. Vary the flavors simply by changing the herbs you use, but I personally would never leave out the chili flakes since the heat is what gives the dish its kick. If you can find good quality canned tomatoes, it really does make a difference in the flavors, but even I sometimes make it with the store brand if that's all I have on hand. Diced or whole stewed both work--if you have larger tomato chunks just break them up with a wooden spoon as you cook the sauce.

serves 2
2 TB olive oil
2 TB chopped shallot or onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (14 oz) cans San Marzano tomatoes 
2 TB fresh oregano (or 2 t. dried oregano)
1/4 t. crushed red chili flakes (or more to taste)
salt and pepper
4 eggs
crusty bread for serving

Heat the olive oil in a 12" pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the tomatoes, oregano, and chili flakes, breaking up any large tomato chunks with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper as necessary.

Break the eggs into the sauce. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until the egg whites are set and the yolks are runny, about 2-4 minutes. Serve immediately, with toasted bread for dipping. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fava Bean and Shitake Saute

Growing up in small-town Kansas I knew all of my neighbors. They all knew me. They all knew all of my business (and weren't afraid to tell my parents that business even when I thought it should be private, such as when they saw me kissing a boy who dropped me off after school). I always imagined that part of the draw of moving to New York City would be not knowing the neighbors. Being able to live in a private bubble of sorts without gossip-catching eyes following me around. Being able to come and go without stopping for long bouts of small talk.

Imagine my surprise then, when last week I ran into some of my neighbors who were finishing loading the moving truck to head back to the Midwest to be near family and open a restaurant and my heart cracked a little, feeling pain at the loss of those familiar faces down the hall.

I'm not sure where the change started, perhaps it is a little bit growing older, a little bit about the fact that we've lived in the same apartment for more than four years and feel a deep love for our neighborhood and the community that is building around it. Over the years we constantly bump into the same people over and over again. You learn the names of those on a similar schedule as you or who shop at the same stores. With Lindsay and Derek (and their two cute sons), the ones who just moved away, we met on Thanksgiving a few years ago when they were moving into their apartment on our floor during the holiday so I couldn't resist inviting them to join our gathering.

We were never especially close: we always talked about making time for drinks or exchanging batches of homemade ice cream.  Life and work ate up time and left months slipping away without a meet-up, but it was always reassuring knowing that if we were in need of something there were friends down the hall. The little boys' laughter floating through our front door as they scooted towards the elevator never failed to bring a smile to my face. Lindsay always seemed happy to see me when we crossed on my way to work and her way home. These neighborly pleasantries will be missed.

Of course we know other families and individuals on the floor and in our building and we even met the new tenant moving into Derek and Lindsay's place just days after they left. Our little community will shift and change as time edges on, but now I appreciate and look forward to being part of my building mates' lives and having them as part of mine.

This fava bean and shitake saute would welcome any neighbor for a friendly meal. You could share the labor of shelling the fava beans and trimming the mushrooms. By using the plastic wrap method of poaching eggs there's no need to spend too much time by the stove, cooking them all at once instead of one at a time, leaving more time to get to know one another.

Fava Bean and Shitake Saute
serves 3-4
2 lbs. fresh fava bean pods
1 lb. shitake mushrooms
1 TB baking powder
2 TB butter
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
4 eggs, poached*

Shell the fava beans. Then peel the skins from the individual beans. A simple way to do this is to bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 TB baking soda. Add the shelled fava beans and boil until the skins split, about 2 minutes. Then drain the beans and place into an ice bath for a couple of minutes. You should now be able to just squeeze the beans quickly and easily out of their shells.

Remove the stems from the shitake mushrooms and discard. If the caps are large, cut into half inch slices. Heat a large, heavy bottomed skillet over high, add the butter and once melted toss in the shitake caps. Once slightly browned and cooked through add the fava beans to toss for about 30 seconds. Stir in the salt and pepper. Place on a platter and top with the poached eggs to serve.

*The plastic wrap method of poaching eggs is a great one when you need multiple eggs at one time. Here' a video how-to from Chow.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Green Garlic Toasts with Soft Scrambled Eggs

Every once in a while I pull off a dish that, as I set it on the table, I think, "I wouldn't be ashamed to serve this in a restaurant." It's that combination of attractive plating and flavors that combine to sing to the taste buds, having that special little something that feels a little fancier than your own home kitchen.

This simply prepared spring meal was one of those times. It isn't a fancy, charge $30 for an entree kind of restaurant meal, but one of those that you imagine being served over the lunch hour at a locally driven, homey neighborhood place. The eggs (of course from my local greenmarket) are cooked slowly, possibly in too much butter, but in a way that makes them oh-so-creamy and then mixed with tomatoes to lend a bit of acidity to cut the richness. These get topped with a flavorful cheese and green garlic stems that have also been cooked slowly to a tender perfection. Served on top of toasted country bread the whole shebang becomes a satisfying lunch or light dinner, combining lots of simple flavors into one complex dish.

If you can't find green garlic or it is out of season use small leeks instead, but they may need a bit more cooking time to achieve tenderness.

Green Garlic Toasts with Soft Scrambled Eggs
serves 4
5-6 stalks green garlic (the light green and white stems only--reserve the bulb and the dark green leaves for other uses)
2 TB olive oil
salt and pepper
5 large eggs
1/2 c. heavy cream
5 TB butter
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
3/4 c. grated gruyere or raclette cheese
4 large,thick slices of country bread (or 8 smaller pieces), toasted

Slice the green garlic stems as you would a leek: slice in half lengthwise then chop into half inch semicircles. Place the stems into a fine colander and then place the colander into a large bowl. Fill with water and use your fingers to rub the green garlic to help remove some of the grit. Drain, empty the bowl of water, and then repeat about 3 more times to be sure the garlic is clean. Pat dry.

Heat 2 TB olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the green garlic and stir constantly until it reaches a soft, creamy texture, about 15 or so minutes. If the garlic begins to brown too quickly, lower the heat. Taste and season with a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Beat the eggs with the heavy cream in a small bowl. Add about 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper. Heat 2 TB of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the eggs to the pan and stir constantly with a spatula, scraping the sides often. Slowly add the remaining butter, 1 pat at a time, continuing to stir until the eggs reach a soft-curd consistency, about 10-12 minutes or so. Right at the last minute stir in the tomatoes so they have just a moment to heat through.

Place the toasted country bread onto 4 plates, top with the soft-scrambled eggs, sprinkle with gruyere or raclette cheese and then top with the green garlic to serve.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Yellow Squash Tart

Once the summer produce starts hitting the markets I struggle to come up with creative ways to use it. Oftentimes I want to just showcase the flavors with straightforward presentations: a simple blanch and saute or a quick toss in vinaigrette. Other days I crave something more. Like last week when I took a few of the new market arrivals to create a dinner tart that was hearty and filling without weighing us down. I love how beautiful summer tarts turn out--I feel like I should be hosting garden parties for ladies who lunch when I pull them out of the oven. Instead the husband and I chowed down on this one on the couch while catching up on Game of Thrones. Classy.

Yellow Squash Tart
4 servings
1 recipe flaky butter crust
3/4 c. chopped garlic scapes (or chopped green onions)
2 zucchini, sliced into rounds about 1/4" thick
2 eggs
1 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 TB fresh lemon thyme, chopped
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
4 oz. crumbled goat cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a skillet with a little olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chopped garlic scapes and saute until slightly tender, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and drain the oil.
Place the prepared tart dough into a 9" tart pan and trim any extra hanging over the edges. Spread the sauteed garlic scapes on the bottom of the crust. Layer the yellow squash slices evenly on top of the scapes until you have filled the tart shell.
In a small bowl beat together the eggs, heavy cream, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over top of the squash in the tart shell so it fills in all the gaps in between. Next sprinkle the goat cheese all over the top of the tart.
Place the tart into the oven. Bake until the edges of the crust turn just barely brown and the tart filling has barely set, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Zucchini Flower Tart

I think fall has finally hit for good. Despite my grumbling about hanging onto the summer in the last post, this does make me happy. I love the crisp air and bundling up in the light layers and scarves and that perfect smell that autumn has.

Every year around this time, I vow to pull out my knitting needles. It seems like the ideal way to pass a cool afternoon: knitting while sipping on a warm beverage, perhaps sitting side-by-side with a good friend. Here's my big secret, though: I have never even finished the first scarf I started knitting, so haven't been able to move onto subsequent projects. I love the idea of knitting, but then never can bring myself to actually sit down and work on it for a significant amount of time. There's so much else to be done! I think I feel bad just lounging around (even though it's much more productive than my obsessive checking of the Internet: Facebook, Serious Eats, other blogs, Runner's World. And repeat). Then the next thing I know it's spring and I feel like "knitting season" has passed and my knitting needles rot away in my nightstand drawer.

Perhaps this year will be different. I will grasp the season by the horns and become a knitting fool. I will finish my scarf and the one I promised the husband a couple of years ago. And perhaps even move onto the really cool projects in the fun knitting book I have. I will become a knitter extraordinaire--knitting on the train on the way to work and while standing on line at the movies. I will knit while watching TV and knit while my stews are bubbling away on the stove top and the bread is rising on the counter.

Perhaps finishing my knitting projects will help push me to finish the other things I am working on...the life things that I keep procrastinating on. This winter (my 30th...) will be the one where I finally put the pedal to the metal and stop making excuses and focus on what I want to be doing. Time to stop wasting so much energy on things I am not passionate about.

What does all this have to do with this tart? Not a lot. But, you do need to jump now to grab the last of the zucchini flowers before they disappear until next year. And perhaps while it is baking you can grab some knitting needles and begin a project of your own.

Zucchini Flower Tart
2-3 servings

3 eggs
1/2 c. cream
1 TB fresh chopped thyme
1/2 c. grated aged cheese (Gruyere, Gouda, etc)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
8-10 zucchini flowers

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Form the crust into a 9" tart pan.
In a medium bowl beat the eggs and then add the cream, thyme, cheese, salt and pepper. 
Place the zucchini flowers into the tart shell. Carefully pour in the egg mixture. 
Bake the tart for around 25 minutes or until the egg is set. Allow to cool for around 8-10 minutes before slicing and serving. This tart can be eaten for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or snacks. A great all-day meal.