Baked Eggs + Cream + Herbs

In continuing the egg theme, I recently made an all-time favorite: baked eggs in cream with herbs.  It is simple and quick for one eater and easily ratcheted up for a larger crowd.  Each person receives his or her own dish of a baked egg. No sharing, no dividing between plates. 

Fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or oregano work well in this dish as they can withstand the baking; a sprinkle of chives or parsley would be a nice touch once the eggs come out of the oven.

PS: my ratio per person is 1 egg : 1 tablespoon heavy cream : 1 dish

Baked Eggs + Cream + Herbs
yield: one egg per person

1 egg
1 tablespoon heavy cream or half & half
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Turn on the oven to 375 degrees.

Crack the egg into a small ramekin or flat dish that is oven-proof.

Pour the heavy cream over the egg and add the thyme, salt, and pepper.

Place the ramekin or dish on a baking sheet for easy retrieval from the oven.  The baking sheet should be placed in the middle of the oven.

Watch the egg carefully as it should cook between 6-9 minutes, depending on the oven.  The egg white should be set, but not too firm.  Once removed from the oven, the egg will continue to cook a bit.

Serve with wine, bread, and a salad.

Chorizo + Yukon Gold Hash

This hash was supposed to have a sweet potato.  Alas, that sweet potato "expired", and luckily a Yukon Gold potato was the understudy.  Can't complain though.  The Yukon caramelized nicely and played sidekick to the pork chorizo; we all know that chorizo, potatoes, and eggs go well together.  And just add a flour or corn tortilla to wrap everything together.

What is not captured in the photo is the addition of the fried egg and spoonful of Greek yogurt (full fat, please.  No non-fat stuff). 

Hot eggs right out of the pan don't smile for the camera very well, so it has a separate beauty shot.

Chorizo + Yukon Gold Hash
adapted from Food52
yield: one

Olive oil
1/4 pound chorizo, casings removed
1 medium sized shallot or small yellow onion, finely diced
1 medium Yukon Gold potato, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper

Put a teaspoon of oil in a heavy pan and set over medium-high heat. When the oils starts to shimmer, add the chorizo and break it up with a wooden spoon. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the chorizo is evenly browned, about 5 minutes.

Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set it aside in a bowl. Add enough oil to the pan so that you have about 1 tablespoon of fat.

Add the onion/shallot and potato to the pan, along with a pinch of salt. Fry the onions and potatoes, turning gently every once in a while.

After the onion and potato are softened and brown, add the thyme and a few grinds of pepper, stir gently and cook for another minute or two.

Stir in the chorizo, and cook for another minute until hot.

Serve immediately, topped with a fried egg and/or a dollop of sour cream, Greek yogurt or creme fraiche.

Deconstructed Egg Salad Sandwich

The egg salad sandwich has many iterations, but after recently trying a version made with Greek yogurt, I had an idea to layer the components rather than mix them together.

Like mustard? Great! Don't like mayo? Leave it out.  Add some capers or sprinkle smoked paprika on top (totally forgot this ingredient and might have to make another sandwich just to try it...all in the name of research). 

Deconstructed Egg Salad Sandwich
yield: one open faced sandwich

1 hard boiled egg (see steps below)
garlic clove (optional)
bread cut into a 1/2" slice, toasted (optional)
grainy mustard
spinach, chopped
herbs like parsley, dill, mint, or cilantro, chopped
black pepper & flaky sea salt, to taste

How to boil an egg:

In a small sauce pan, cover egg with cold water and bring to a boil.  Neither a poach nor a simmer, but a full on boil.

Turn off the heat and cover pan with a lid or small sheet pan.  Let eggs sit in the water for 12 minutes. 

Pour out hot water and cover eggs with cold water to stop the cooking.  Peel and slice.

To assemble sandwich:

Rub a small clove of garlic over the toast (this step is optional, but it ups the flavor factor).

To taste, smear some of the grainy mustard and mayo on the bread.  Top the bread with chopped spinach and herbs.  Lay the sliced hard boiled egg on top of the greens and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and black pepper.

Enjoy and then plot when to make the sandwich again.

Short Rib Ragu

Short rib season seems to be coming to a close with asparagus, ramps, and morels making their presence known.

And its about time. 

This ragu is has an unctuous texture due to the immersion blender; it also has the right proportions of herbs to wine to vegetables.  No additional seasoning of salt & pepper required. 

When the gremolata hits the hot pasta and ragu, the aroma is out-of-this-world.  Hard to deny anything with lemon zest/parsley/garlic.

Short Rib Ragu
adapted from Food52
serves 1-2 (plus leftover ragu)

1-2 pounds bone-in short ribs
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 anchovy filet, finely chopped (or use 1 tablespoon anchovy paste)
1 1/2 cups red wine (think Merlot or Cabernet)
14 ounces whole tomatoes and juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1-2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or substitute dried, but dial it down a bit)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large sprig rosemary, leaves chopped
1 bay leaf
beef or chicken stock or water

gremolata, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If using, soak dried mushrooms in 2 cups boiling water.

Season ribs well with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large, heavy pot (I used a 5-qt. enameled cast iron dutch oven) over medium heat until shimmering. Brown ribs in batches for 2-3 minutes per side, then set aside. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of accumulated fat from pot, then sauté onion, carrots and celery until soft. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.

Push the vegetables to one side of the pot and leave a "hot spot". Add tomato paste and anchovy paste to the hot spot and stir until caramelized, then stir into the vegetables. Add red wine to deglaze and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add tomatoes, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, herbs, and (if using) mushrooms and soaking liquid.

Add ribs to pot and cover with stock or water until ribs are barely covered. Bring liquid to a boil, then cover tightly and braise in oven for at least 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until ribs are fall-apart tender. Check the ribs about 1 1/2 hours into the braise.

Remove ribs from liquid and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove bay leaf and discard. While ribs cool, purée the braising liquid with an immersion blender until thick. If needed, set pot over medium-low heat to reduce if the sauce seems thin. When ribs have cooled down, discard bones and large pieces of fat, shred the beef and return to the pot. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, skimming any large pools of fat from the surface.

Refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove additional fat from the surface before reheating. Serve over pasta, polenta, or risotto sprinkled with gremolata.

1 large clove garlic, minced
1 large lemon, zest only
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon olive oil

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Easy!

Ricotta Cake

As this cake baked, my kitchen smelled like orange zest.  That's how I knew this would be a good cake. Especially with the addition of a dollop of orange marmalade.

The addition of an apple initially threw me for a loop, but it brings texture and an "extra touch of something" to the mix.

Ricotta Cake
slightly adapted from Food52
yield: one 9-inch cake

9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 cup fresh ricotta
Zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 apple, peeled and grated (should yield about 1 cup)

Heat the oven to 400˚. Butter and flour a 9 inch spring form pan or tart pan with a removable base.  Use the wax paper from the butter to save a step.

Cream the butter and sugar using a hand mixer until light and fluffy, and on the lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time.

Slowly add the flour, salt, ricotta, orange zest, baking powder and apple.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and the sides start to pull away from the pan.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on the rack. Serve with your favorite seasonal fruit.

Reminds me of Miss Pacman.

Salmon + Spaetzle + Charmoula

Ever have a craving for two entirely different things yet putting them together on the same plate just makes sense?

That is what happened when I found two separate recipes from two web sites that I wanted to make.  My spaetzle craving was long over due mainly a result of a memorable meal almost a year ago at a Portland, OR restaurant called Gruner.  This would be my second time to make spaetzle (first being in culinary school three point five years ago) and without a suitable colander I used a food mill.  The trick is getting enough batter into the mill for the spaetzle to drop into the water.

Part two of this meal includes salmon and a pesto-like sauce called charmoula (other spelling chermoula).  It's origins are a bit of a mystery, but the flavor profile is similar to harissa, a sauce from Tunisia.

Salmon & Charmoula
yield: 1 -2 servings
adapted from Serious Eats

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 salmon steaks or fillets, skin removed

In a small food processor combine cilantro, parsley, garlic, and lemon juice. Process to thoroughly mince garlic and herbs. Add spices and olive oil and process until thoroughly combined into a paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Season salmon with salt and pepper, and spread half of the charmoula paste onto the fish. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 400°F.

On a baking sheet, lay salmon on aluminum foil. Cover with remaining charmoula and add a small amount of wine or water before folding fish up into a pouch. Roast in the oven for 8 minutes, then uncover and continue roasting until fish is cooked through, another 5-7 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. Serve with spaetzle.

yield: 1-2 servings
adapted from Gourmet Cookbook (2004) & Smitten Kitchen

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/8 cup (2 ounces) milk (whole or 2%)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer. 

Stir together the flour and salt in a medium size bowl.  Whisk together the egg and milk in a small bowl, then whisk into flour until batter is smooth.

With a rubber spatula, press batter through a colander or pour batter through a food mill into simmering water.  Cook spaetzle until firm, about 2-3 minutes.  Use a strainer to remove spaetzle and shock in a bowl of cold water.  Once cooled, drain and toss with a little bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high. Heat 1 tablespoon unsalted butter. Once butter is fully melted and beginning to turn golden, add the drained, cooled spaetzle and let it heat for a minute in the pan before starting to saute. 

Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and continue to cook it until each piece has toasty brown edges. Off the heat, toss with 1 tablespoon minced herbs (parsley, chives, and dill work well.) Eat immediately with the salmon.

Brown Eggs + Tiffany Blue

Ever notice the textures and colors of eggs?  Eggs fresh from the farm come in all shapes, sizes, and color variations.  Some are shiny, others are matte. 

I happen to really like the contrast of the blue egg tray against the gradations of brown.

Time for a fried egg sandwich.