Tag Archives: eggs

Another Great Dinner with Eggs as the Star!(serves 4)

Sometimes I wish I was one of those women I see in the supermarket (sometimes men, but truly not very often) pushing those giant shopping carts overflowing with a week’s worth of groceries. They usually have a big list and a pen and industrially check off whatever it is they tip into the basket as they go. Why can’t I plan ahead like that?

This is not me!

Well I just can’t because it is not me.  And now I know that it is ok and that my spontaneity when it comes to cooking a dish is why it is good. If I did plan a week ahead, would I lose that excitement about cooking? I don’t know for sure, but this particular dish would not have been made if my cupboard was overflowing with ingredients for my set menu plan. And that would be a tragedy because, this delicious feast was born out of happy desperation and was amazing!

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My Lovely spontaneous Dinner

The desperation was that I only had protein in the form of eggs and three thin slices of bacon, and cilantro was my green vegetable (actually the only vegetable, besides garlic, which I view more as a condiment so it is always on hand in my kitchen, much like salt). The only other thing I can safely bet on always having in my pantry is pasta of one kind or another. In this case it was spaghetti.

So, if you only have eggs in your fridge and you have to make dinner, try this, and breathe a sign of relief as you whizz by the supermarket on your way home!

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If you have Parmesan cheese, that is an added bonus!

You will need:

  • Extra-Virgin Olive oil (5-6 tablespoons)
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped(as much as you like really. If you adore garlic, use more!)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro OR Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped (the bundle you get in the supermarket is good but if you have less, use whatever you have on hand)
  • 3-4 slices bacon, cut into pieces (optional). If it is very fatty, trim it a little
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional, but amazing addition)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3/4 lb pasta..so not the entire box (spaghetti works best but penne or any other pasta you have will work)

Method:

boiling spaghetti

Put pasta on to cook first (see Instruction 1. below)

1.Put pasta water on to boil and cook pasta according to instructions while you continue with the rest of the dish (the pasta should be ready right when everything else is done if you time it right. So take into consideration how long the water takes to boil and how long the pasta will take to cook and use that to gauge when you think you will have completed the rest of the dish. This is ready in 20 mins from start to finish if you are efficient)DSC_0353

2. Put big saute pan on stove top on medium heat and let it warm up for a minute. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and after it warms add the and cook until it begins to get a little crispy. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and swirl everything together. Cook for about a  2 minutes before adding the chopped cilantro. Saute until the cilantro wilts into everything. Turn heat down to low and set aside.

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3. While the pasta is cooking and the rest of the dish is waiting in the big pan, start frying the eggs sunny side up in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to start (for two eggs) and add more as needed (it should be a generous amount  – look at photo above. My eggs are swimming in lovely oil!)

4. In the meantime, when the pasta is cooked, drain (do not rinse!) and toss directly into the saute pan with the garlic mixture. Toss everything together adding a little more extra-virgin olive oil if you like. Taste at this point for salt and pepper. Divide into bowls and as the eggs are done, place on top of the pasta and serve. If you have fresh Parmesan cheese: Splendid! You may drizzle with more oil or toss some fresh cilantro on top and a sprinkle of finishing salt

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Total Yumminess

 

 

To Say That He or She “Can’t Even Boil an Egg!” Is A Bit Unfair, since Boiling An Egg Correctly Can Be Quite A Difficult Thing To Do!

Saying somebody cannot cook because they “can’t even boil an egg” is not my definition of a culinary failure or a lousy cook. Try doing the same thing my brother did and I would have no problem saying you haven’t a clue when it comes to food preparation! 

not exactly what I wanted

Not exactly what I wanted (a matter of seconds can ruin your egg and turn your runny yolk hard – I still had to eat it!)

There were many disadvantages growing up female in our house in Ireland in the early 70’s and thank God, that has mostly changed, (yes, only mostly). The girls in our house had to do things for our brothers that they were never expected to do for us. We made them tea for breakfast, and whenever tea was requested, we girls had to make it. Tea always came with a sandwich, or toast (or a biscuit) and we had to make that too. That was just tea, we also dressed their bed, polished their shoes and did anything else for them that remotely whiffed of domesticity. I  thought this was the norm, but when I got a little older and wiser and questioned “why?” I was made feel like an upstart.

Sea-salt flakes (Maldon & freshly ground black pepper

Sea-salt flakes (Maldon) & freshly ground black pepper)

Anyway, that is in the past, and looking back on my childhood experience (in this regard at least) there were many advantages to being a female. For one I became very self-sufficient, learning to do all things we humans have to do on a daily basis until the day we die: cook, clean, grocery shop, organise a living space. Yes, all those years of domestic training have paid off and I must say that mastering the art of boiling an egg took a lot more practice and patience than you would think. And, the funny part is that it was my father, not my mother who taught me this skilful art. Boiling an egg where the yolk remains soft, is all in the timing, and my father had it down pat. Every time he made me an egg it turned out perfectly and when I tried using a timed method (he just guessed correctly every single time!) would get it wrong more often than right, and end up having to eat an egg that was jelly-like, or as hard as a bullet. The way I learned was by timing him every time he made one for breakfast and eventually I got it down.

kug

The best accompaniment to a soft boil egg: Hot buttered Toast!

What did my brother do to prove his ineptitude in the kitchen all those years ago? He boiled a pot of potatoes, something he ate every day from the cradle to adulthood, without adding a single drop of water to the pot! Even the smell of burnt potatoes wafting through the house did not give him cause to wonder if perhaps he had done something wrong. My sides ached with laughter when I found out what he did and I’m laughing right now just thinking about it. To his credit he has since become quite competent in the kitchen, but he still calls me for advice on things that I learned how to do in-between making tea and polishing shoes!

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*This is a Blood Type A Diet Recipe (eggs are neutral). Eat alone or with a sprouted bread with a little extra-virgin oil & sea-salt (no butter or black pepper)*

You will need:

1 large fresh egg

1 slice fresh bread

unsalted butter

sea-salt

freshly ground black pepper

Method:

1 – Place egg in small pot and cover with cold water. Place on high heat.

put egg in cold water

Put egg in cold water

2 – The moment the water begins to boil, put timer on for 2 minutes 50 seconds. While egg is boiling, toasted bread and slather with butter.

*for a slightly runny yolk remove the egg after 2 minutes 45 seconds*

bring water to a boil

Bring water to a boil

3 – Remove egg from water with a large spoon and place in egg cup fat side down. Tap a knife or a small spoon (I use the spoon I will egg my egg with) evenly just under the top of the egg, working your way all around in a circle. Do this immediately as the egg will continue to cook.

,ug

The perfect egg for me: runny in the middle and beginning to slightly harden around the edge of the yolk

4 – Place tip of your spoon all the way through the crack to the other side and lift up on the spoon and the top with come off.

the piece de resistance

The piece de resistance. I eat the top first as it gets hard fast!

Eat directly from the shell, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go and enjoy with lovely warm buttery toast

Good-Bye Brunch At My Place In Cortona, Italy (and Fabulous Frittata Recipe for 10)

Road above the UGA Art School in Cortona on a misty Spring morning.

When I wanted to say goodbye to a group of six students I had become fond of in Cortona, Italy this Spring, I immediately felt the urge to say it with food. There is a reason why people gather over food to celebrate or for that matter commiserate with each other.

The School Yard

Almost always when people want to connect they arrange a meal of some sort. It can be a lavish or intimate affair. There is something about food (and in my case, with a little wine) that allows strangers to become easier with each other, and old friends to become closer.

Pathway at the Severini building winding towards outside altar

I remember when my mother died I found a piece of lamb she had been de-frosting to have for dinner possibly the next day. When the droves of people came to our house to pay their last respects all I wanted to do was hide away in the kitchen and cook. I wanted to feed people, while consoling myself, cutting with her knives, and stirring with her spoons. I used the lamb to make a rich, sumptuous stew, using fresh rosemary from her giant bush of it outside the kitchen door. The smell of the flavors wafted through the house, and as sad as people were, the smell gave them a modicum of happiness. As friends and relatives came into the kitchen to say goodbye, I told them about the lamb and everyone wanted a taste. The big pot of stew was never dished into bowls, but eaten spoonful by spoonful by everyone passing through.

Frothy mimosas

When I wanted to say my farewells to six beautiful women who had studied at the school in Cortona for 3 months, I wanted to do it from my kitchen. I wanted to invite them to something special, a kind of meal that is usually a special occasion sort of moment, so I asked them to Brunch & Mimosas on our last Sunday.

View from school

We arranged for the ladies to provide the prosecco and blood oranges for the mimosa, and the food would be taken care of by me. It was the end of the semester, and our time in Cortona was coming to a close, so I was up to my eyes with all sorts of other things. When the Saturday before the brunch descended upon me, the last thing I wanted to do was trek around town with my grocery bags to shop for dozens of eggs and a multitude of fillings for frittatas!

Bird made by Thib from prosecco bottle closure (see; beauty in most everything)

Anything that is worthwhile requires an effort, demands work. There would be no such thing as appreciation if that were not the case. So the effort it took to pull myself together on Sunday in preparation for brunch was nothing compared to the genuine gratitude I received in return. When you say things like this out loud, it can sound trite and sentimental, but that doesn’t stop me from saying it. I am passed being stoic about my emotions when it comes to people I care about.

Arrington deftly getting the maximum amount of juice from each orange.

The girls arrived all dressed up and ready to squeeze oranges for their morning cocktails. They had been living for the past several months in a dormitory with a common kitchen, so it was a treat to be in a more homey place with someone like their mother in the kitchen cooking especially for them.

Stacked rocks in Severini garden

They sat around our big kitchen table with my two children (who had formed lovely friendships with them also), and, while I cooked and doled out triangular pieces of frittata, we all ate while enjoying our delicious prosecco-spiked orange juice.  The chatter was warm and familiar, and I was very happy that over the past three months I had been giving the chance to meet new people and found friends among them.

Spring in Cortona

I now am sitting here miles away from them, but wishing them well, and looking forward to keeping in touch. Thank you Thib, Arrington, Brittany, Natalie, Elizabeth and Ellen for the pleasure of your company at Sunday Brunch.

see you again

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You will need: 24 large eggs, and some or all of the following toppings; 4 celery stalks with leaves, finely chopped, 3 yellow onions, finely diced, 2 carrots, cut into thing match sticks, 6 cups sliced white or crimini mushrooms, 2 zucchini, diced, 2 peppers (red or green or combo of both), diced, 1 lb bacon (1/2 kg), cut into pieces. Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper flakes (optional), grated strong cheese (optional), extra virgin olive oil for frying veggies and cooking eggs.

* These are just suggestions. feel free to add your favorite ingredients to the list*

Prep all ingredients before you begin actual cooking

1 – Prep all topping ingredients as instructed above before you begin.

2 – Crack eggs into a big bowl, adding 1 tsp salt, several grinds of pepper and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes into the bowl and whisk briskly for a minute or two, until well incorporated.

3 – Put saute pan on medium heat and add about 2 tbs of oil and add the onions. Cook until soft (about 10 minutes). Remove to a bowl and continue to fry all of the rest of the ingredients until cooked, placing in different little bowls as you proceed, (including the bacon). You will need to add more oil as needed.

4 – When everything is cooked, put an oven rack close to the grill and turn it on. Put clean saute pan on medium to high heat and add 1 tbs of oil. When the oil is hot add about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of the egg mixture to the pan and immediately sprinkle on the toppings of your choice. Try to distribute evenly.

add toppings to eggs

5 – After about 3 minutes of undisturbed cooking (in other words; no touching the eggs with a spatula or spoons), place pan under the grill. Check after 1 minute, and when the top is beginning to turn a golden brown, and the sides pull away and become fluffy, remove the pan and slide the frittata onto a plate or wooden board. After 1 minutes it is ready to be cut into wedges and served.

place under hot grill to brown and become fluffy

Serve alone, with a green salad or potato wedges. Make sure you have condiments on hand such as hot sauce, sweet chilli sauce, tabasco, and salsa.



Fabulous Breakfast Burrito for Dinner (serves 4)

What do you make for dinner when everyone wants to eat in under 30 minutes? Luckily for me I had some homemade flour tortillas leftover from the other night and I decided to make them the backbone of the meal. If you haven’t tried your hand at making these delicious floury envelopes, you should make a stab at it soon!

more peppers - help!

Also, my pepper harvest won’t go away!!! I know I will long for just one beautiful piece of fresh produce in the dead of winter, but right now, I feel like I am being tortured by peppers – -aaaggghhhh!

Breakfast for dinner

I made dinner in 20 minutes and there were no complaints whatsoever! My flour tortillas win them over every time. I could fill it with grass and fish eyes and they would be satisfied (hint, hint; make the tortillas!)

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You will Need: 2 to 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 tbs unsalted butter, 4 eggs, 2 tbs milk, 1/2 tsp sea-salt, freshly ground pepper, 1 red pepper, diced, 1 green pepper, diced, 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced, 4 fresh Roma tomatoes, diced or sliced, 4 cups fresh spinach leaves, 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated, 4 pieces of bacon, 4 tbs sour cream, hot sauce (I used Tapatio brand), 4 flour tortillas (homemade or store-bought)

1 – If you are going to make the tortillas, do it first thing. Type flour tortilla in my search box to the right for great recipe and method).

2 – Fry bacon until just crispy. Set aside.

3 – Put saute pan on medium/high heat and add oil. When it is hot add the peppers and cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to bowl and keep warm.

Fry peppers

4 – immediately add the spinach to pan, (you may need to add more oil) and toss for 3 or so minutes. Remove to a plate and keep warm.

fry spinach

4 – Break eggs into a bowl and add the milk, salt and pepper. Mix vigorously with a fork for about 1 minute. Add the butter to the hot pan, followed by the eggs. Cook until scrambled. Turn heat off.

scramble eggs

5 – Warm the tortillas on the rack in your oven and put each one on a plate. (This will take less than a minute!)

fill flour tortilla

6 – Time to fill; first add the bacon, followed by eggs, peppers, spinach, sour cream and hot sauce.

Roll, and eat!

Roll your lovely tortilla and eat. Make as many as you like!

Midnight Frittata (serves 1)

Well yesterday, myself and the kids were away from home for 14 hours! We drove 130 miles to go to not 1 but 5 different birthday celebrations! Madness I know….but actually very practical! 3 children (my nieces), 1 father (my brother) and 1 uncle (sister-in-law’s brother), all coming together to do it under 1 roof. It was very easy for me, but it was a tremendous undertaking for the hosts. They made five different cakes and we sang Happy birthday 5 times. We just sort of rolled from one party theme to the next. I was planning on hitting the road at 5pm to drive home but was invited to go to my sister-in-law’s cousin’s engagement party! Off we went and had a fabulous dinner (which I was grateful for, as up to then I had only eaten cake!) where I met all sorts of great people. Then, back on the road for another 130 miles – what a day, we did not get home until Midnight!

My midnight feast..

The kids sleep-walked up to their beds and I decided I was hungry! When you want something fast I find eggs is one of the best options. I wanted something special however.  It was such a wonderful day I didn’t want to end it with a fried egg? The Frittata was the elegant solution. I am convinced that this dish was invented to use up tiny pieces of things? I used up sad little amounts of this and that and ended up with a feast.

The trick to making this dish work is to hold back. Stick to similar tasting things and then leave the eggs alone when you are cooking them! If you fiddle and stir and mix you will end up with scrambled eggs. I choose to go the Italian route, but I did add a small hot chili for a little contrast. I had a sumptuous meal in the quiet of my dimly lit kitchen – bliss.

You will need: 2 fresh eggs, 1 tbs light cream or whole milk, 1 tbs celery leaves, finely chopped, 1 tbs flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped, 5 black olives, chopped, 1 scallion, chopped (including green parts), 5 cherry tomatoes, sliced (I had some roasted ones leftover from a previous dish so I used those), 2 tbs freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper flakes/chili flakes OR 1 Thai chili, chopped, (optional)  1/2 tbs unsalted butter, salt and freshly ground pepper.

Ingredients prepped..

1 – Prep everything as described above.

2 – Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and add a pinch of salt and about 3 grinds of pepper. Add milk and whisk vigorously with a manual whisk for about 3 minutes. (I turn on heat under pan while I am doing this – see step 4). Eggs will start to get a little frothy.

Ready for pan..

3 – Add all prepped ingredients, except the butter and whisk again for about 20 seconds.

*Preheat broiler and set oven rack on about the second level from the top.

4 – Put small pan on low to medium heat and let it warm up for at least 3 minutes (don’t skip this step or you will risk your omelet sticking). Add butter to pan – it should sizzle and melt fast. Swirl the butter in pan so all pan surface is coated and immediately add the egg mixture. Let it cook untouched for 3 minutes. Left pan and shake and swirl quickly. The egg in the middle will cover the egg at the edges.

Don't touch while eggs are cooking in pan..

5 – Place under broiler for 1 minute to 1 1/2 minutes. Check after one minute. The top will look set when it is cooked and the edges will be beginning to brown a little. Take out. Wait about 30 seconds and then run a spatula around the edge  to pry the frittata loose and turn onto a warm plate.

A nice ending to a wonderful day..

I had this with a piece of toasted bread sprinkled with a little parsley and extra virgin olive oil. It can of course be eaten straight from the pan without ceremony!