Friday, February 28, 2014

Egg Quesadilla

Most mornings I wake up feeling like this little guy (but decidedly less cute).  Like I would rather be asleep, like the best way to express my emotions is through whiny tears and high pitched shrieks, and like I would rather rub cheerios on my face than attempt to eat.  Alas, the rest of the day beckons, and I've successfully convinced several hundred people that I'm an adult.  Thus, while the coffee brews, I always try to pull together breakfast.

I need breakfast to stick with me, primarily because I need something to absorb the heavy caffeine hit from the coffee (even ten years after drinking coffee every day, I still get coffee shakes if I don't eat first).

While I love sugary breakfast cereals, sweets, muffins etc, I avoid those for breakfast since one of my major goals in life is to go more than 3 hours in between eating.

The Egg Quesadilla is an easy way for me to mix up my breakfast and to use up those Avocados (is it just me or do avocados only stay ripe not rotten for exactly 15 hours at your house too?)

I would say that this breakfast qualifies as the fanciest breakfast that I can manage on a weekday.  It's one step above scrambled eggs and toast because it requires opening up the fridge and potentially preparing some condiments.  Total prep and cook time is about 5 minutes if you have a gas stove.  Maybe six if you've got electric.

Egg Quesadilla

2 Eggs
1/2 oz shredded cheese
8" Flour Tortilla (Whole wheat if you're feeling healthy)

1. Scramble Eggs
2. Place Scrambled Eggs and Cheese into Tortilla
3. Place Tortilla in same pan you used to scramble the eggs cook on medium heat 1 minute
4. Flip Quesadilla and cook for 1 more minute
5. Serve with avocado, sour cream, salsa and cilantro
Continue Reading »

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Everyday Egg Bake

These ladies only encourage ridiculous behavior.

In early high school, my friends and I loved to make personality tests (much like the tests in Seventeen): What's your panty personality (boxer briefs- with moderately fun designs), what's your inner opposite gender name (Tad), what's your inner warrior (Power Ranger) etc.  

A long time has passed since I have made those tests, but I promise you, not a day goes by when I don't have an idea for a new personality test.  What type of computer error are you (PBKAC)? What's your inner drink? Desk disorder or personality disorder? etc.  

After perusing one of my favorite websites of all time (Pinterest Fail), I thought of another great personality test.  What's your inner Pinterest fail?  Because let's be honest, nothing comes out nearly as great as it does on Pinterest (exception- anything my Mom makes), and its primarily driven by a personality issue.  My Pinterest fail personality? Failure to have necessary ingredients on hand.

That's why I love this recipe, practically everything has easy and obvious substitutes, so even my failure to plan doesn't negatively affect the end product.  The original recipe for Egg Bake comes from my mom, and she always served it for any brunch event.  This version is standard weekday far, since it requires practically no planning

Everyday Egg Bake

3 Cups Cubed Bread (I used 6 hamburger buns, its best if this is old but not too stale)
12 Eggs
1C Milk (An alternative ratio is 8 eggs to 2 cups of milk)
4oz Shredded Cheese (Cheddar)
8oz Cooked meat (Sausage is my favorite)
1t Salt
1T Seasoning Mix (I like Penzey's spice Arizona Dreaming, or Cajun Seasoning)
4T Melted Butter or Margarine

1. Pre-heat over to 375 and spray 9x13 baking pan with cooking oil
2. Mix Eggs, Milk, Salt and Seasoning set aside
3. Layer half of bread, followed by half of cheese, followed by all of meat, followed by the remaining bread (The order is surprisingly important)
4. Pour Egg mixture over bread
5. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top
6. Evenly pour melted butter over the top of everything
7. Bake uncovered for 60 minutes

PS As a result of the Seventeen Quiz link that I intended only for those who were curious about what I meant by personality quizzes, I have taken approximately 6 quizzes, and I have found out the most wonderful insights about myself.  Such as... My One Direction Life Theme Song is Best Song Ever!!!!
Continue Reading »

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ground Beef Stroganoff

Did anyone else find the winter Olympics to be a bit of letdown?  After about 6 days, I began to feel like, "I waited 4 years for this?"  Note- If I were better at emoticon grammar, I would have somehow inserted this face to the previous comment :\

To be clear, I don't blame it Russia.  After all they provided us with #SochiProblems which is a the cool younger sister to #firstworldproblems, but more hilarious as it involves a shirtless President Putin wrestling bears, bizarre communal toilets, and Bob Costas bravely fighting pinkeye.  Russia also proved nothing beats Eastern European humor when they  the Russian Police choir bravely took on Daft Punk and the entire country showed that they have the ability to take a joke. Those were meant to be jokes, right?

The problem with this Olympics is that the NBC story line failed, at least if you are a huge fan of America (insert pickup truck and Eagle tattoo here).  Pretty much every single athlete highlight that I saw was for an American who didn't medal.  In NBC's defense, I will admit that I averaged about 45 minutes of coverage before falling asleep.

Anyhow, inspired by the recent close of the Winter Olympics, I am posting a recipe for ground beef stroganoff.  I can't decide if the use of the word Stroganoff is complete butchery of the term or only mild abuse.  Here's a Wikipedia article, you can decide for yourself.

I started to use ground beef rather than the more traditional beef cubes when I promised beef Stroganoff to Rob only to realize that I had only ground beef in the freezer.  I actually like it more.

The rest of the recipe started as the recipe that came from my mom.  We always ate stroganoff with egg noodles.  The salad is not a traditional side, but this food is so incredibly unphotogenic (I'm not a good photographer anyhow) that I had to do something to help out the plate.

To help out the post, I'm including a picture of my son. He's adorable, even with snot dripping down his face.

And onto the recipe.

Ground Beef Stroganoff

1lb Ground beef (80/20 is best)
2T Butter
2T Ketchup
1C Beef Broth (I use bullion)
3 Cloves Garlic Minced
1 Medium Onion Chopped
8oz Fresh Mushrooms sliced
3T Flour
1C Sour Cream

1. Melt Butter and garlic and onions. Cook until add onions are transluscent
2. Add mushrooms in batches (as Julia Child says, "don't crowd the mushrooms")
3. Add beef and ketchup and allow beef to brown
4. Slowly add Beef Broth and flour and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes (stir as frequently or as infrequently as you prefer)
5. Stir in Sour cream, and heat through
6. Serve with Egg Noodles

Continue Reading »

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tomato, Ham and Poached Egg Toast

Watching TV is bad for you.  Watching reality TV? Well let me put it this way; if you asked your doctor or your financial adviser whether you should bang your head against the wall several times or watch reality TV to relieve your stress they would both agree that banging your head on a wall is the better option.  You lose less brain function that way.

This recipe is my feeble attempt to justify the volume of reality TV that I've been consuming. As a new mom, when Kenny was first born last July, I felt justified in watching an entire season of MasterChef over a week and a half while I learned to nurse him (Thanks Hulu!).  Do you want to know what I learned from watching MasterChef? I needed to learn to poach an egg.

Being a big picture thinker, I quickly laid plans for the recipes I could try, the foods I could create.  I daresay, poaching eggs quickly became the linchpin in my master plan to becoming a professional Food Network competitor.  Was I delirious from lack of sleep and too much TV? Probably.

If anyone is wondering, I am a little behind schedule on my master plan.  See Exhibit A:

I've never poached an egg for a guest, and I typically ask Rob, "You want scrambled eggs, right?" even when I am going to poach eggs for myself.

Every once in a while, I can manage to poach an egg just right, and when I do, its delicious, and I typically eat the poached egg with leftover ham, grilled or fried tomatoes and wheat toast. 

The method that I use to poach an egg comes from one of my favorite food blogs Framed Cooks.  The step by step is so straight forward that you would think poaching an egg is easy, but for me it is not. The only change I've made to her step by step is adding 1T of Vinegar.  This seems to be standard elsewhere on the interwebs.   Maybe someday, I will get this poaching thing down.  In the meantime here's a recipe that serves one

Tomato Ham and Poached Egg Toast

1 Slice of Ham (or a few slices of deli Ham)
2 Slices of Tomato
1 Slice of Hearty Wheat Bread
1 Egg

1. Heat about 3 inches of water to simmering
2. While water is heating, melt butter and quickly fry ham and tomatoes with just a bit of salt and pepper.  Set aside.
2. Add some vinegar to the water
3. Gently crack Egg into a ramekin and then add to simmering water
4. Leave the Eggs alone for 3-4 minutes
5. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and blot dry with a paper towel
6. Toast Bread and butter generously
7. Layer ham, tomato and egg (add more salt and pepper)
8. Show off food to anybody who will listen and Enjoy!
Continue Reading »

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lentil and Tomato Curry

My junior year of college, I experienced lentils for the first time. I met a few friends for Indian food at a restaurant that I assume is now closed or has very poor search engine optimization. 

I remember walking through a strangely desolate parking lot into a dizzying array of gaudy decorations: gold elephants, red velvet curtains, fake mahogany pillars and Hindu Gods and Goddesses inexplicably situated next to Indian pop culture artifacts.  While Bollywood blasted and flashed on a huge screen situated in the waiting area, a pungent cloak of turmeric, coriander, and other unidentified spices enveloped me.

This is why I rarely travel, friends.  I was overwhelmed by a cultural experience at an Indian restaurant in Greenville, South Carolina.   You know that you were raised on suburban Protestant white bread when you experience culture shock upon entering a restaurant on American soil, but I digress.

In spite of my shock, the food was glorious and I ate dal or lentils for the first time.  I wanted to recreate the dish as soon as I got home, but I forgot the name of the food I had ordered (those one syllable dishes get me every time).  After an evening of unsuccessful searching with increasingly obscure and esoteric descriptions of this dish of dreams, I concluded that whatever I ate was not a food that mere mortals might make in their home kitchens.

Fast forward a few years, a co-worker from India came to Minneapolis and as is the tradition, we went to Bombay Bistro, an Indian Buffet.  Sitting next to her,  I pointed to the dal, and I said, “This is the best food in the whole universe.”  

Unsure of how to respond to my tendency toward hyperbole she dismissed me, “Bombay Bistro is the best food in the universe? I don’t think so.”

“No, dal is the best food in the whole world.  I wish I could make it at home,” I insisted

“Maybe you should Google a recipe; lentils are very easy to cook,” she said.

And my eyes were opened, a light came down from heaven.  How had I never connected that lentils and dal were the same food?  Why had I never Googled dal once I did learn the name?  A few months and a few recipes later, lentil curry is a household staple. 

This is one of my favorite recipes.  My version is inspired by this Spicy Red Lentil & Tomato Curry from Dramatic Pancake.  I’m sure that hers is better but I’ve never had the patience to follow the recipe from beginning to end, so here’s my version.

Red Lentil and Tomato Curry

3C Stock (Vegetable or Chicken bonus points for homemade)
1.5T Red Curry Powder
1T Cumin
1T Coriander
1t Cinnamon
½ t Nutmeg
1/2t Paprika
1t Salt
1-2t Red Pepper Flakes

3T Butter
3 Medium Carrots
4 Cloves Garlic
1 Large Onion
2T.Fresh grated ginger
3 Fresh tomatoes diced or one can diced tomatoes
1C Dry rinsed Lentils

Bring stock  to a low boil then add all the spices (Do this before you start chopping vegetables, and if you are really fast at chopping vegetables take a little break right now)

Peel and dice carrots and onion and set aside.  Mince garlic and grate ginger.

Heat butter and add ginger and garlic until it smells like you are an amazing cook and the garlic is a little brown; add carrots and onion and cook over low heat until onions are translucent.

Chop tomatoes (or open can) and add to vegetable mixture, let vegetables cook for at least ten more minutes.

In the meantime, rinse lentils and pick out the small stones. I don't bother soaking lentils, but if you're about that then you should have done that before step one, sorry.

Add vegetables and lentils to stock, cook over low heat until lentils are mushy and have absorbed all the stock (about 35 minutes)

Serve with basmati rice and cilantro.

Continue Reading »