Creamy Soft Scrambled Eggs

Do you really need a recipe for scrambled eggs? Probably not (or maybe you do – no judgement), but hear me out. With my (everybody’s) crazy schedule in December, I’ve been cooking less big recipes and more quick, on-the-fly meals. One of my favorite standbys is eggs. Scrambled is my favorite, but I don’t normally keep milk in the house, and every good scramble requires at least a splash of milk. So I improvise. And since I’ve been doing this for quite some time – I have a few tips for making my favorite, perfect scrambled egg.

First, only buy eggs with an orange (or at least bright yellow) yolk. It really makes a big difference in flavor. Also, by cooking the eggs slowly over low heat and stirring the whole time, you get a very creamy, just barely set scramble. And finally, since I never can find a splash of milk when I need it, I substitute some creme fraiche – which I always have around.

When I have the time, I like to serve these babies with some yukon golds roasted with herbs de provence. Just cut the taters into chunks, mix with olive oil, salt and a shower of herbs, spread on a baking sheet and roast on 425 until they are soft and browned, giving them a flip on occasion. If you don’t have time for that – toast works too!

Creamy Soft Scrambled Eggs

a small knob of butter
2 good quality eggs
1-2 T. creme fraiche
pinch of salt
a few grinds on the pepper grinder
some chopped herbs for garnish (optional)

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium low. While you’re waiting, crack the eggs into a small bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and whisk. I use a fork. It’s ok if there are still big pieces of creme fraiche in there, just make sure the egg yolks are broken up.

Pour the eggs into the skillet and let them sit for about 30 seconds or a minute, until the bottom just starts to set. Using a wooden spoon, scrape along the bottom of the skillet to loosen the cooked eggs. Keep stirring and scraping the bottom until the eggs have just a tiny bit of liquid left, then turn off the heat.

Sprinkle with herbs if using, and serve with potatoes, toast, or whatever else you like for breakfast.

serves 1

p.s. – If you’re cooking for more people, just use this amount per person and mix everything together in the same bowl. You can cook it all at the same time, just be very diligent about getting everything up from the bottom of the pan as quick as you can.

 

Spiced Blueberry Galette

You may think by the contents of this blog that I’m not much of a dessert girl. You’d be wrong. It’s just that if I’m going to go to all that effort to make something in the kitchen – there’d better be dinner at the end of it. Or ya know, breakfast or lunch. Thankfully, this galette has enough goodness in it to make it breakfast worthy. Or dessert. Or snack.

A galette, as I informed my sister last night, is a kind of rustic tart. A free form pie if you will. It is a rustic, free-form pie tart. It’s all the flaky dough and sweet fruit of a pie, but without the hassle. No tart pans or latticing necessary. The rustic part means all the rough edges are supposed to be there.

The filling here is thick jammy blueberry, spiced with cinnamon and ginger. And the crust is vegan! I used spelt flour, but any whole grain flour you’ve got hanging around will be equally delicious.  I served it with a dollop of creme fraiche (sorry, not vegan…) but use whatever you’ve got. Greek yogurt, vanilla ice cream, you get the idea. Make sure you plan ahead and slip your jar of coconut oil in the fridge now, if it’s not already there. And while you’re at it, you’ll get a better result if everything is cold, so get to it.

Spiced Blueberry Galette

1 1/2 c. whole grain flour
scant 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. very cold coconut oil
2 T. maple syrup
1/4 c. (or less) ice water

1 pint fresh blueberries
2 T. maple syrup
2 T. flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Place the flour and salt in the bowl of your food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the coconut oil and pulse until it beads up into tiny peas. Pulse in the maple syrup, then the water, a tablespoon at a time, until everything is damp and crumbly. You may not use all the water, I only used 3 tablespoons.

Transfer it all to a piece of plastic wrap laid out on your work surface. Knead it a few times until it comes together into a dough. Wrap the whole thing up in the plastic wrap and move to the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Now you can make the filling by stirring everything else, from the blueberries down, together in a bowl.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Lay a sheet of parchment paper on your work surface. Transfer your dough onto the parchment and roll out into approximately an 1/8 thick circle. I rolled, then pinched the edges a little, then rotated and rolled again. When you’ve got a nice round, thin piece of dough, pour in the blueberry mixture. Spread it evenly, leaving about 2 inches around the outside. Fold the edges up around the filling.

Slide the galette, parchment and all, onto a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the crust starts to brown. Let sit for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve as is, or with a dollop of yogurt, creme fraiche, ricotta, ice cream, etc.

serves 4-6

adapted from My New Roots Plum Yummy Galette

Breakfast Salad: A Guest Post

My sister and I are pretty close. Always have been. While other sisters fought over toys, clothes and boys, my sis and I were busy playing dress up and taking pictures (yes, even in high school…). Which is why I am thankful that we still live so close (seeing that we are from western Ohio, and we now both live in the same Brooklyn Neighborhood, that’s pretty rare). We still play dress up sometimes, but other times we like to eat and cook – and drink – together.

You might not know it to look at her, but my sis is quite the cook. At our 4th of July b-b-q, she brought the house down with her salad. Mixed greens, dried cherries, diced apples, candied pecans and a citrus dressing. So I asked her to do a guest post, and luckily she agreed. We were going to have dinner, and she’d make the salad. But, dinner didn’t happen. Instead, a brunch was planned. Lots of brunchy ideas were thrown around (I’d love to tell you what they were, but they are top secret, maybe a future guest post…) and finally she landed on a Breakfast salad. A delicious experiment with peaches, goat cheese, those famous candied pecans, and french toast croutons, all drizzled with a maple-based dressing.

There are a few things that make my sis the best salad-maker around. She is meticulous with the details. And she does her research. When prepping the lettuce, she pulls out all of the big veins, leaving just the soft lettuce leaves.

And the batter for her french toast uses only egg yolks for richness. Her tips for separating yolk from white are: 1. always use a separate bowl, and 2. If the egg white is thick, you can use the shell to cut through it.

 

 

Breakfast Salad

French Toast Croutons:
4 cups of cubed bread (I used focaccia, you can use any crusty bread you’d like)
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons half & half
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-2 T. butter

Candied pecans:
1 cup pecans
1 T. butter
2-3 T. brown sugar

Maple lemon dressing:
3 T. maple syrup (the real stuff)
3 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

big batch of leafy greens
2 peaches, sliced
2 oz. goat cheese

First make the croutons. Combine egg yolks, half and half, zest,cinnamon, vanilla and salt in a bowl and stir until smooth. Add bread, toss to coat thoroughly, then let sit about 10-15 min. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter until bubbly and just brown. Add croutons and let brown on 1 side for about 5 min, then flip and do the same for another 5 min. Cook and flip until they are all golden brown and tasty.

Meanwhile, candy the pecans. In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter and sugar together.  Add pecans and toss to coat. Cook for about 5-10 min, stirring often. Keep your eye on them, as they can burn before you know it.  When they’re done, transfer to a plate to cool. If you’d like, crush them a little after they are done to make them more bite size. This recipe makes more than you’ll use for the salad, but you can save the leftovers in the fridge to add to salad and other things throughout the week.

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake.

To assemble salad, toss greens, peaches, cheese, and pecans together in a large bowl. Drizzle in about half the dressing. Top with the croutons, then with a bit more dressing.

serves 2

Cherry Chocolate Cake & Brunch with Harriet

This weekend I had a really lovely brunch with my boy Darren, friend Betty, and cat Harriet. Harriet used be free to roam the countryside, but since we moved to Brooklyn she’s become strictly an indoor cat. So as a treat for her (and us!) we took a trip to Betty’s garden apartment and let her run wild. Meanwhile, the humans had omelets, beermosas (hoegaarden and o.j. – mmm) and this cherry chocolate brunch cake.

I was going for “healthy brunch cake” with this recipe. But don’t be scared off – it’s also really delicious. I took one of Deb’s genius cakes and subbed spelt flour for the all purpose, and sucanat (evaporated cane juice) for the sugar.  If you’ve never used sucanat you should start. It’s a tad bit more expensive than regular sugar, but it’s got a deep, caramel-y, complex flavor that you just don’t get from sugar. It’s just sweet enough, and doesn’t give you that sickly sweet stomachache. And it’s one of the few healthy sweeteners that is granulated (as opposed to liquid, like honey, maple syrup, etc.) so it behaves just like sugar in baked goods recipes. I used the spelt flour cause that’s what I had. It makes for a dark, but moist crumb. White whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour would both be great here. I don’t recommend regular whole wheat, it’ll give you a heavy, wheat-y tasting cake – not really what I was after here. Also, feel free to experiment with whatever fruit you find in season.

The cherries and chocolate combo was inspired by this weeks Food Matters Project. You can find the original recipe here.

Cherry Chocolate Brunch Cake

6 T. unsalted butter
scant 1 c. sucanat
1 large egg
1/2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. hazelnut or almond extract (or more vanilla)
1 1/2 c. spelt or other whole grain flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3.5 – 4 oz. of the darkest chocolate bar you can find, cut into chunks
1 pint cherries, stemmed, hulled and halved

Preheat oven to 350. Beat butter and sucanat with an electric mixer in a large bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, milk and extracts and beat until just combined. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until just smooth. Stir in the chocolate by hand.

Pour into a 9 or 10 inch cake pan (or deep dish pie pan) and spread to an even layer. Press the cherry halves into the top of the cake batter. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 325 and bake for another 50-60 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Let cool in pan. Cut into wedges and serve.

makes 8 wedges

Fingerling Frittata

I used to think that fingerling potatoes were just small, overpriced, cute potatoes. I refused to pay so much more money for a potato, just because it was small. But when I found them in bulk at the farmers market, I decided to pick up just a few, so I could see what all the fuss was about. Well, I am here today to tell you that fingerlings are no small potatoes! (well, technically they are small potatoes – but just go with it) They are so smooth and creamy; I would go so far as to say they are buttery. I highly recommend you pick some up the next time you see them. However, if you can’t find them, you can sub any waxy potato (red and yukon gold would both be good).  Slice them thin enough and you can skip the steaming step. Just sauté them until they are soft. Likewise, feel free to throw in any other vegetables that inspire you. 

A frittata is kinda like a crustless quiche, a baked omelet, or a spanish tortilla. But it’s a frittata! Cook the fillings in an ovenproof skillet, pour in the beaten eggs and finish in the oven. Frittatas are pretty versatile. I made this for my favorite nostalgic treat, “Breakfast for Dinner”, but you can have it for actual breakfast. These guys also travel well, just wrap a chunk in parchment and have it for lunch or a snack.

Fingerling Frittata

1 lb. fingerling potatoes, halved (or other waxy potato, sliced thin)
1 T. unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced
1 bunch of spinach or other greens, finely chopped
6 large eggs
1/4 c. whole milk
3/4 tsp. sea salt
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
handful of chives, sliced thin

Preheat the oven to 425.

Set up a steamer, pour in about 1/2 inch of water and bring to a boil. Steam the potatoes, covered, until tender, 10-15 minutes.

Melt the butter in an ovenproof skillet (cast iron or stainless steel work well), over medium low heat. Add the onion and cook until just starting to turn translucent, 3 minutes. Add the steamed potatoes and cook until everything has turned the slightest brown. Stir in the spinach.

While the onions and potatoes are cooking, prepare the royale (fancy chef speak for mixture of eggs and dairy). Combine the eggs, milk and salt in a large bowl and beat well. About 30 seconds after adding the spinach to the skillet, pour the egg mixture.

Swirl the eggs around in the pan to distribute evenly, then pop into the oven for 5 minutes, or until the eggs are just starting to set. Scatter the goat cheese across the surface of the frittata, and slide it back into the oven for another 5 minutes. Finally, to get a great brown on top, turn the oven to broil, and stick the skillet under the broiler for about 30 seconds or so. Keep an eye on it, it can go from yellow to black in the blink of an eye.

Remove from oven, sprinkle chives on top and serve. I like to cut it into wedges and lift them out with a thin spatula.

 serves 2-3

Oats with Apricot Butter

I was 8 the first time I fainted. Totally unconscious, lips turned blue. It happened a few more times that year, for seemingly no reason. I was dragged from test to specialist to test to figure out what was wrong with me, and at the end of it all, we found out the answer was nothing. Just a little low blood pressure. In fact, I still have really low blood pressure (poor me!) and there’s nothing I can do about it. The only advice my doctors gave was to eat breakfast.

Fast forward 10 (cough) or so years, and I’m still eating a hearty breakfast every morning before I leave the house. My current incarnation is a bowl of steel cut oats, topped with a dollop of yogurt, a few toasted sliced almonds, homemade apricot butter, and a drizzle of honey (or a little bee pollen, pictured above). I know it sounds like a lot, but with a little planning, the whole thing comes together in about 3 minutes in the morning.

Now, I know some of you aren’t really breakfast people. You’re just not hungry in the morning. Or maybe you pick up a muffin on the way to work because you don’t don’t have time to cook and eat at home. And that’s really too bad, because there are a lot of advantages to eating a good breakfast, only one of which is not fainting. You see, our bodies are programmed to crave a similar amount of calories from day to day.  Yes, it might change a little if you go from a desk job to being a construction worker, but for the most part we’re all gonna eat the same, whether we eat most of our food in the mornings, or wait until later in the day.  So, it makes sense to eat a good healthy breakfast, because we’ll be able to nourish our bodies with what they need when we eat some fruit, nuts, yogurt and/or oatmeal. Eating just lunch and dinner can lead to the after dinner munchies, where we tend to eat more empty calories with chips, chocolate and ice cream. Another thing, eating more calories earlier in the day means you have more energy, and more time to burn off those calories.

As you can see, this meal has a few different components. Feel free to mix and match and switch it up to your liking. A little cream or soymilk for the yogurt, different nuts or seeds, use your favorite jam or preserves (check the label for added sugar), or use fresh in season fruit. If you’re not keen on making the oats the night before, but lack the 45 minutes in the morning, use rolled oats instead, they’ll only take about 10 minutes to cook. A note on the apricot butter: please, don’t leave out the whey. You need it for the lacto-fermentation. This fermentation, which happens when you leave it out on the counter for a few days, is the heart of the butter. It adds a great depth of flavor, probiotics that help with digestion, and it makes the nutrients more available to your body. This is one of the ways traditional people preserved the harvest before refrigeration. To make the whey, just strain your yogurt a bit – through a strainer lined with cheesecloth set on top of a bowl. It will only take 5-10 minutes to drain the 2 tablespoons you need for the recipe. You could also make labneh or homemade ricotta  and use the whey from that.

The oat recipe makes enough for me for a week, and the apricot butter makes enough for a month. If you’re feeding a crowd, go ahead and double everything. You can heat the leftover oats in a covered saucepan with a little water for a few minutes, then transfer to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.

Oats with Apricot Butter

2 c. dried, unsulphured apricots
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 T. whey 
2 T. raw honey

1 1/2 c. steel cut oats
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
3 c. water

whole fat, plain yogurt, preferably from grass-fed cows
sliced almonds, toasted
honey or bee pollen

You’ll have to start the butter a few days ahead of time. Place apricots in a saucepan, cover with water, and cook over medium heat for 5-15 minutes, or until soft. Drain and transfer to the food processor. Add 1 1/2 tsp. salt, whey and 2 T. honey and process until smooth. Scoop into a jar, close tightly, and set on the counter for 2 days. After that, it can be stored in the refrigerator.

The night before the butter is done, bring 3 c. water to boil in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Stir in salt and oats, turn off heat and cover. Let it sit overnight, and in the morning it will be done. If you’d rather do it the day of, instead of turning off the heat, turn it to low and simmer for 45 minutes.

To assemble, scoop about 1/2 c. (or however much you’re hungry for) oats into a bowl. Top with a tablespoon or two of yogurt, apricot butter and almonds. Drizzle with a little honey, or sprinkle about 1 tsp. bee pollen and serve.

(Apricot Butter recipe from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon)