Chilaquiles Verde


use this one landscape.jpg

This may have become my new favorite Christmas morning tradition. I have never made chilaquiles and I was having a serious craving Christmas morning. But where to go? My kitchen was the only option.

What I love about this is how easy it is and yet it feel so decadent. I mean, you want a yummy breakfast on Christmas morning… but who wants to spend the holiday in the kitchen? The most labor intensive thing was making my own tortilla chips. Totally worth it though!

Because it was a holiday and I literally had to use what I had in my kitchen – I used Beekman 1802 Boys Salsa Verde – which is amazing! It’s very spicy so be prepared. But if you’d rather make your own – go for it! The beauty of this dish is that other than the chips and the salsa you can really put whatever you want on it. Not all chilaquiles come with eggs. You can even use red salsa or mole. You can add avocado or pulled chicken. The main thing that makes it chilaquiles is that the chips are both soft and crunchy from being tossed in the warm salsa. This dish is from Mexico and goes back hundreds of years – it was originally created to use up leftover chips and salsa and is eaten for breakfast after a “big night” and is a standard hangover cure.  Ole!

Continue reading

Baked Eggs


I love eggs. I could create an entire blog about nothing but eggs. One of my new favorite ways to make them, and healthier than fried, is to bake them. It’s simple, no fuss and a thing of beauty.

And since this is January 1st, I thought it appropriate to post this recipe since it’s an excellent New Year’s morning remedy breakfast.

So just follow these simple steps and enjoy.

Ingredients
2 eggs
2 pinches of dried oregano (or your favorite herb)
salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of shredded Swiss cheese / divided

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Coat two small ramekins with non-stick spray (I prefer olive oil spray).
Crack and drop one egg in each ramekin.
Lightly dust salt, pepper and oregano on top of each egg, then sprinkle shredded Swiss on each.

Place ramekins on a cookie tray and put on middle rack in oven. Bake 10-14 minutes, depending on how “done” you like your yokes. I land mine somewhere around 12 minutes.

When done, immediately run a butter knife around the edges to loosen the egg. Slip the knife or a fork under egg and it should just pop out.

You can use a variety of combinations of herbs or cheeses. The above is just my favorite. But I’ve also used a cheddar with salsa, Gruyere with thyme, and so on. Get creative!

Savory Galettes


Spinach and Smoked Salmon Galette

Zucchini, Prosciutto and Basil Pesto Galette

The beauty of the galette is that it can come in any shape, size and flavor. It’s simply a free-form rustic tart and can be either sweet or savory, or both. My favorite, not pictured here because my friends ate it before I could snap a photo, is fresh fig and goat cheese drizzled with dark honey.

These galettes are made with a “cheater” crust – store bought rolled up in a box. But it worked in a pinch. But use whatever your favorite pie crust recipe is and I’m sure they’ll be delicious and even more rustic looking. Or cheat as I did… whatever works best for you.

On a side note: I just won an ebay auction scoring a 1967 edition of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. That deserves a blog entry all its own.. but I looked up galettes according to Julia and she made them as small individual appetizer tarts! About 2″ in diameter and often a chunk of (French) cheese served as the base, topped with ham, or an egg or both. Then wrapping the crust around and baking – things of perfection, I’m sure.

So there’s a few extra ideas for you. Listed below are the recipes for the two galettes pictured above. If you try your own version please come back and post it on this blog so we can all benefit from your culinary genius!

Each galette serves 3-6 people depending on whether you are serving it as an entree, a side or an appetizer. TIP:  You’ll notice that both galettes call for homemade ricotta. Please, please, please do me a favor and don’t buy that pasty store-bought stuff. Click on the link provided and you’ll see just how very easy it is to make your own. And once you do – you’ll never eat store-bought again – I promise! Try making the ricotta a day or two before and it won’t feel like such a big job all in one day.  One batch of ricotta should be enough to make roughly three galettes.

Ingredients
Galette #1
1 roll of store-bought pie crust
1 cup homemade ricotta
1 large egg
1 half small sweet onion – finely diced
1.5 cup baby spinach leaves (washed w/stems removed)
3/4 cup smoked sockeye salmon (or whatever your favorite smoked salmon is)
1/4 pine nuts
pinch of fine sea salt
pinch of ground pepper
egg whites for brushing on crust

Galette #2
1 roll of store-bought pie crust
1 cup homemade ricotta
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese – divided
1 large egg
1 tsp of garlic paste or very finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon of pesto
1/2 cup of red bell pepper – julienne
1/2 zucchini slices (roughly 8-10 dials)
1 sheet of prosciutto – sliced into strips lengthwise
pinch of fine sea salt
pinch of ground pepper
egg whites for brushing on crust

Preparation
Galette #1
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray. Parchment paper is best because it will help to transfer the galette to a plate later.

Roll out a pie crust onto your work board and use your rolling pin to stretch and smooth it out. This should give you an extra inch of pie crust. Place the crust onto the cookie tin.

In either a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, blend together the ricotta, the egg and diced onion.  Add the salt and pepper. Don’t over-beat… it should look like cottage cheese when you’re done.

Place 1/2 of your spinach leaves in a single layer, forming  circle in the center of your pie crust. You should leave at least 2″ of crust edge showing.  Spoon your blended ricotta and egg mixture on top of the spinach leaves. Spread around with a spatula making an even layer, not exceeding the spinach leaves (as in, still leave 2″ of pie crust available).  Now put another single layer of your remaining spinach leaves on top of the mixture. Then your final layer is the Smoked salmon and pine nuts. Peel salmon into small thin strips and scatter evenly on top of the spinach leaves. Scatter pine nuts across the top.

Gently fold the 2″ crust up and over the layered smoked salmon. It will not cover the whole thing and will leave roughly a 3-4″ whole in the center uncovered (see photo above).  The finished shape will be rustic and rarely the same. Sometimes they’re very round, sometimes more triangle or square. It doesn’t matter… I think the more non-uniform the better.

Brush the outside of the pastry with the egg whites. You can also use melted butter if you prefer.

Galette #2
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray. Parchment paper is best because it will help to transfer the galette to a plate later.

Roll out a pie crust onto your work board and use your rolling pin to stretch and smooth it out. This should give you an extra inch of pie crust. Place the crust onto the cookie tin.

In either a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, blend together the ricotta, the egg, garlic, pesto and 1/2 of your Parmesan cheese. Add the salt and pepper. Don’t over-beat… it should look like cottage cheese when you’re done.

Spoon your blended ricotta, pesto and egg mixture forming a circle in the center of your pie crust. You should leave at least 2″ of crust edge showing. Spread around with a spatula making an even layer. Now put a single layer of of the prosciutto strips on top of the mixture. Then scatter the red bell pepper strips as the next layer. You can be neat or haphazard it’s up to you. Then layer your thin zucchini slices, starting from the outside and working your way to the middle in a circular pattern. Sprinkle the top with the remaining Parmesan cheese.

Gently fold the 2″ crust up and over the layered zucchini. As mentioned before, it will not cover the whole thing and will leave roughly a 3-4″ whole in the center uncovered (see photo above). It’s okay of the hole is larger, as long as there’s a good lip of crust to keep in the ingredients.

Brush the outside of the pastry with the egg whites or use melted butter if you prefer.

Ready to Cook?
Place galette in a 375 degree preheated oven, on the middle rack for 25 minutes or until your pie crust is golden brown. On galette #1 the pine nuts should be lightly toasted. If they blacken, your oven rack it too high. On galette #2 the zucchini should be lightly browned and caramelized. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving, but serve warm.

The Perfect Bite
Cut the galette in triangles and eat just like a pizza. Take a nice big bite to be sure and get a taste of all the ingredients!

The Perfect Pairing
Serve by itself or with a lightly dressed side salad. If serving as brunch they go great with mimosas. To make mimosas simply mix 1-2-1 pulp-free orange juice with a sparkling wine such as Barefoot Pinot Grigio Champagne.

The Perfect Health
Did you know that smoked salmon is recommended By The American Heart Association? Smoked salmon is also high in Vitamin E, which is also a great antioxidant. Vitamin E can reduce or lower the risk of heart disease and has also been shown to play a protective role against cancer as well. Read more HERE.

Blueberry Rosemary Scones


Admittedly, I’m not much of a baker… but these are so simple and take no time at all.  I’m also not much of a “sweets” person…. but I think the savory rosemary and the tartness of the lemon drizzle combined with the sweetness of the blueberry preserves… just may be perfection on the taste-buds.

Adapted from several similar recipes I’ve seen online, I’ve made it my own . They’re technically not scones… but more a cross between scone, cookie and biscuit. Call them what you will…. but I call them delicious.

Try your favorite jam with your favorite fresh herb… maybe sage and orange marmalade; or thyme and apricot jam. And try orange or lime for the glaze. I think my next attempt will be fresh mint, with a chocolate ganache center and an orange glaze drizzle. Yum – I want that now!

Ingredients

Scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons cold  butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup full cold heavy cream
1/3 cup Wild Blueberry Preserves (I use Bonne Maman)

Glaze:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from 2-3 medium lemons
2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons water

For the scones: Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder, rosemary, salt and margarine until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Gradually stir in the cup of coconut cream and the non-dairy milk until the mixture forms a dough. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into until it’s a 1/2-inch thick. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter (I used a scalloped-edge rectangle shape), cut out pieces of dough and put on the prepared baking sheet. Gently knead together any leftover pieces of dough and roll out to additional 1/2-inch sheets. Continue cutting more 3 inch shapes until all dough is used. Makes roughly 12-16 scones.

For the glaze: In a medium bowl, mix together the lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Gradually add the water until the mixture is thin enough to spread. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the scones. Let the glaze set for about 30 minutes.

Ready to Cook?
Using your index finger or thumb, gently make an indentation in the center of each pastry. Spoon a 1/2 teaspoon of preserves into each indentation. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Transfer the cooked scones onto a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes, before glazing. Serve or store in an airtight plastic container for 2 days.

The Perfect Bite
Now, it’s important to let these cool enough to drizzle the glaze on them without it completely melting right into the scone. However, that said… they are best served fairly warm within at least 3o minutes of coming out of the oven. If you want them to look perfect wait the suggested time. If you want them to taste perfect… feel free to rush the wait time. It’s your prerogative!

The Perfect Pairing
If you’re feeling a little British after making these… enjoy them with a steamy hot cup of your favorite breakfast tea. I, on the other hand, was just given a bag of Kona coffee beans – sent straight from the Big Island. So I was feeling a little like a Euro Haole… or something like that.

The Perfect Health
Did you know that Rosemary Aids in Alzheimer’s Prevention? Read more here

Blueberry Oatmeal Bars


I love these blueberry oatmeal bars. They’re delicious as an afternoon snack, or even a midnight snack, or even for breakfast! They’re easy to make and are always a hit!

Ingredients
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup cold butter
1 cup blueberry preserves (I try to find low-sugar natural preserves)
Non-stick cooking spray

Preparation
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat an 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients plus the vanilla and mix well.

Add the cold butter and cut it into the dry mixture using two dinner knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal and is no longer powdery. Do not over-mix… bits of butter will still be visible.

Ready to Bake?
Set aside about half of the oat mixture; press firmly into the pan. Bake until lightly browned at the edges (but not completely baked)… roughly 13-15 minutes.

After you remove the pan from the oven, spread the blueberry preserves over the partially baked oat layer, then sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the preserves. It won’t be a solid layer, some blueberry will show. Bake until the topping is slightly browned, 20-25 minutes. Cool completely on a rack before cutting into bars. Should make 9 servings. *Hint – these are best served warm, however, they need to completely cool before cutting – so once you’ve cut your bars, briefly warm in the microwave or toaster oven and then serve.

The Perfect Bite
As mentioned above, these are best served warm. If eating as a dessert try scooping a bite of vanilla bean ice cream with a warm bite of blueberry bar. Delish!

The Perfect Pairing
Enjoy with a large glass of of cold milk with breakfast or a steamy cup of coffee with vanilla creamer. As dessert, pair with a vanilla bean ice cream and some coffee with Bailey’s Irish Cream. Mmmmm….

The Perfect Health
Did you know oats contain a large number of the antioxidants that may help protect cells from the process of oxidization? Scientists have recently begun to discover how oat antioxidants may benefit one’s health. Read more here.