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eat local challenge: bacon-baked eggs

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By foodorleans · June 14, 2013 · 0 Comments ·

For this week's local-food recipes, I've gone back to basics and made some really simple things. There are a lot of reasons for this! Including the fact that today is my students' final music recital of the year, summer session just started at the studios where I teach, Paul and I are planning our honeymoon, and today is also mah birthday! In other words, I haven't had much time to plan meals, shop, or cook lately. Luckily, when you've got oodles of local products to choose from, you really can still make some simple, local meals.

First off, today, is a super-simple breakfast of bacon-baked eggs; that is, baked eggs with a little bacon in the bottom (and bacon grease if you must). Baked eggs are an easy way to cook eggs for a crowd and just as easy to cook for one or two. While they're baking, you can make toast, drink your coffee, water the plants, and just lounge around being fabulous.  Local eggs are easy to score at the Crescent City Farmer's Markets, Hollygrove Market, and Cleaver & Co., and you can get some yummy local bacon at Cleaver as well.  And if you're into this sort of thing, grease the ramekins with a little rendered bacon grease (it just takes a smidge) for a local cooking fat and extra flavor! Dang, you're local!

bacon-baked eggs

per egg:

  • 1 slice bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • a smidge of bacon grease or butter or other oil, for greasing
  • 1 fresh egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon half and half, milk, or cream
  • 1 tablespoon grated cheddar or other cheese (optional)
  • snipped chives, green onions, or other herbs, for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and put a small kettle of water on to boil (for the water bath).
  2. Lightly grease a small, oven-proof ramekin with bacon grease or butter.  Sprinkle the bacon into the bottom of the ramekin.
  3. Crack the egg into a small bowl and gently pour it over the bacon. Top with a sprinkle of salt and a grind or two of pepper, to taste. Pour a tablespoon of half and half over the egg, and top with cheese if using.
  4. Gently place the ramekin(s) into a baking dish with sides at least as high as the ramekin tops.  When the water comes to a boil, carefully pour it into the baking dish so it comes 3/4 of the way up the sides of the ramekins.
  5. Carefully place the baking dish in the oven.  Bake for 9 to 13 minutes, according to desired degree of doneness. 9 minutes will give you a very runny egg.  I went 12 minutes for medium-hard.
  6. Remove ramekin(s) carefully, top with chives or other herbs, and serve with toast or on its own. Yum!

serves 1 egg per person (or 2 per person if very hungry)

eat local challenge: brave new breakfast

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By foodorleans · June 7, 2013 · 0 Comments ·

Ever wake up and feel like you needed some extra color in your life? Try these organic purple potatoes from Inglewood Farm via Hollygrove Market! They're cute, yummy, and break up your normal, everyday, potato-breakfast routine.  If you have a potato-breakfast routine, that is.  I like to use up extra potatoes I've got lying around sometimes in a kind of roasted homefry/hash kind of thing, which is really easy to do. It takes a bit of time, but you can pop them in the oven, take your shower and drink your coffee, and then finish the eggs in the last few minutes of roasting. 

I'm calling this little number "Two Potato Hash with Poached Eggs," but you can use any vegetables you have to supplement the potatoes. Carrots, turnips, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, and green beans are all good choices. Add smaller things, like green beans and tomatoes, to the roasting pan when you have about 25 minutes left to go.  When it comes to poaching eggs, by all means, use the method you like best.  I sometimes use my little saucepan with the egg-poaching inserts; it works well enough, though it's not fancy, and it generally relieves all my stress about the little poachers coming out right. But if you'd like to try the in-the-water method of poaching, I've included my method below.  It's different from what you'll usually see--there's no vinegar and no water-swirling--but this is the only way I've gotten them to come out.

red onions and purple potatoes from Hollygrove; red potatoes from Mid-City Thursday market

Eggs immediately after adding them to the water. Notice I have a bit of shell stuck to the lower egg. If that happens, just wait till the egg is finished cooking and draining on the paper towels, and you'll be able to easily pick the shell off.

Eggs after 2 minutes.

two potato hash with poached eggs

  • 1 1/2 pounds purple potatoes
  • 1/2 pound red potatoes
  • 2 small red onions
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, pecan oil, or other oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs (thyme and rosemary are nice if you have them)
  • 1 to 6 eggs (1 to 2 eggs per person, depending on appetites)
  • snipped chives or other fresh herbs, for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 400.  Wash the potatoes and cut them into roughly 3/4" chunks. Cut the onions into 3/4" chunks and combine the potatoes and onions in a large shallow roasting pan.
  2. Drizzle all the oil over the potato mixture. Toss with your hands to evenly distribute the oil and make sure all the pieces get coated. Season generously with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs, and toss again.  Place in the oven and roast for about an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes or so.
  3. When the potatoes have about 15 minutes left to roast, fill a deep saute pan or a medium saucepan with 2" of water (I used a 9" saute pan with 2 1/2" tall sides).  Bring the water to a boil, almost--the pan will have those tiny bubbles that are starting to barely trail up to the surface of the water--then turn the heat off.  Break each egg into a small bowl and gently tip the egg into the water.  Let sit undisturbed for a minute, then take two spoons and gently bring the ragged egg whites back around their yolks.  You can keep them in the water off the heat for 4 minutes (total) and get a nicely done egg with runny yolk, or if you're cooking several eggs in the pan and you think the water temperature needs a little boost, turn the flame back on after two minutes of cooking.  Gently lift each egg out with a spatula and drain it on paper towels.
  4. When the potatoes are done, give them a nice stir and taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Serve poached eggs on beds of roasted potatoes and onions.  Sprinkle fresh herbs over the top.

serves 3

andouillin' it: spinach, mushroom, and andouille omelet

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By foodorleans · January 3, 2013 · 0 Comments ·

Happy 2013! Let's get cooking! 

You might have read this post last year when I talked about a resolution I'd made for 2012, to eat breakfast every day.  For the most part, I kept it up--at least I did MUCH better in 2012 than I had in 2011. It's also a habit I plan to keep for 2013, with even more variety and vegetables in every breakfast.  One of my favorite ways to sneak in extra vegetables is in an omelet, which makes it easy to use small amounts of meats, veggies, or cheese that you have sitting around in your fridge, patiently waiting to be adopted into some interesting concoction.

Omelets themselves can be kind of tricky, but I'm making a "country style" omelet here, which is much easier (in my opinion) than the traditional French style.  If you want to try a French omelette, study this Julia Child video first. Just watch the first 30 seconds, and you'll see how easy it can be. That kind of omelet making is kind of like winning an olympic gold, so if you've got the guts, go for it! Or do it like I do below, which will give you an omelet big enough for two.

It takes a non-stick skillet or omelet pan to make an omelet, and I always use the same pan to pre-cook the filling first. After sauteeing the vegetables, just wipe the pan out really well; no need to wash it.

The filling, sauteed and ready to be tucked into the omelet.  I have to tell you that this melange is really good on its own, and would make a nice dinner tossed with rice or pasta.  

In an 8"- to 10"-skillet, melt the butter over medium heat (closer to medium-high) until the foaming subsides.

Pour in the eggs!

Start dragging eggs from the outside edge toward the center with a rubber spatula. It will seem like you're making too many lumps in the middle, but all the rest of the liquid egg will become the same thickness as those first lumps, so don't worry.

Keep repeating this dragging motion, letting the uncooked egg run under the cooked edges, 

until the top of the omelet has only...

a little runny egg left on top. It should take about a minute and a half to get to this point.

Turn the heat to low and cover the top for a minute, to help set the runny egg whites.

Place two-thirds of the filling on one half of the circle, topped with the cheese.

And carefully, very gently, coax the empty half over the filled half with the rubber spatula. I spy a crack in my omelet!

Yep, that's a pretty big crack! But I'm not worried, because that's what I saved the rest of the filling for:

to help cover mistakes.

spinach, mushroom, and andouille omelet

  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup diced andouille (remove the casing before you chop)
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup (packed) baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Tabasco or other pepper sauce, to taste
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3 cup shredded swiss cheese (or use 1 big slice, torn into pieces)

  1. Heat a medium (8" to 10") nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and melt 1 tablespoon of butter in it.  Add the onion and andouille and saute for five minutes, until they start to brown. Add the mushrooms and thyme, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and saute another 3 to 4 minutes, until the mushrooms give up their liquid and turn soft.  Add the spinach, stir until it wilts (about 30 seconds), and remove the filling to a bowl or plate.
  2. Wipe out the skillet well so there are no stuck-on parts of anything left.
  3. Beat the eggs in a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste, and a few shots of Tabasco if you like it (I do!).
  4. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the nonstick skillet over medium heat (leaning toward medium-high, but not too high).  Swirl the pan to completely coat the bottom with butter--add more butter if you need it. When the butter starts to lightly brown and most of the foam is gone, pour in the eggs.  With a rubber spatula, start pulling the cooked egg from the edge of the pan toward the center, forming large curds of egg.  Do this for a minute, dragging eggs and letting the runny parts cook at the edges, until you have just a little bit of wet egg on the omelet top.
  5. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan with a lid, and let the top cook for about 30 seconds, until it's just set (it will still be a little wet, but that's totally fine).
  6. Place 2/3 of the filling over one half of the omelet circle and top with the cheese. Carefully, and with a great deal of faith in yourself, use the rubber spatula to lift the empty half of the omelet over the filled half. Keep loving yourself even if there's a crack!
  7. Leave the folded omelet in the pan for a few more seconds, to help the cheese melt. Carefully slide or lift it onto a plate and top with the remaining 1/3 of the filling.

serves 2

in the beantime: red bean huevos rancheros

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By foodorleans · August 17, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

The beantime is, I've decided, that stretch of days after making a giant pot of red beans during which this debate is always on your mind: Do I freeze them? Keep eating bowls of beans and rice? Or think of some interesting things to do with them?  Usually, in our house, we freeze a portion and keep eating red beans at every meal, in some form.  Burritos made from red beans, rice, and cheese, or a quesadilla with red beans, cilantro, and pepper jack are two common things we use them for, but huevos rancheros is undoubtedly my favorite. Plus you can eat it any old time of day!  It's a super-easy dish to make, and I've got a couple lil' twists to share.

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shakshuka, or a saucy way to start the day

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By foodorleans · May 21, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

Earlier this year, when I began an obsession with poaching the perfect egg, I started replacing the water I'd normally used to poach eggs in with tomato sauce.  Magically, those eggs turned out perfect.  Then I started poaching eggs in salsa for huevos rancheros, and it dawned on me that I might never need to poach an egg in water again.  Why would I, when they're so easy and so delicious in a tomatoey, spicy sauce?

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Tagged with: shakshuka, tomato, brunch, Eggs

the leftover's leftovers, or the cajun frittata

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By foodorleans · November 28, 2011 · 0 Comments ·

We didn't even cook a Thanksgiving dinner at our house, and we still have mountains of leftover bits and pieces in the fridge! Part of the reason is turkey gumbo, or what I like to call the best leftover turkey invention EVER (here's Paul's recipe from my hibernating soup blog).  But after the gumbo's been cooked, eaten, and frozen in Tupperware, there's a good chance you still have some veggies and sausage (or turkey or ham) lying around, looking forlorn.  It's frittata time.

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blueberry lemon cake of great happiness

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By foodorleans · August 21, 2011 · 0 Comments ·

Meet my favorite blueberry cake.  It's got a great texture thanks to chopped almonds scattered throughout, it's not overly sweet, and it's really easy to make--you don't even need a mixer.  If you like blueberry muffins in the morning, this cake makes a great substitution, but it can also be tonight's dessert thanks to its pretty sugar-sprinkled top.  And I'll go ahead and tell you that it works beautifully with vanilla ice cream, although you probably already guessed that.

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riz jaune to the riz-scue

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By foodorleans · February 6, 2010 · 0 Comments ·


Riz jaune has appeared in my life right when I really needed a new "dinner magic" kind of recipe--something cheap, on-hand, and easy to adapt to all sorts of quick dinner fixes. Riz jaune (say "ree zhahn") is basically a Cajun version of fried rice. You make a sort of trinity-plus-Pope concoction (that's onion/celery/bell pepper + garlic), add veggie bits or leftovers you have around the kitchen, ditto with meats (sausage is especially nice), and then you stir in cold cooked rice and eggs. Mix everything up, cook till the egg is firm and scattered all throughout, then eat it as-is or in dozens of other ways that I haven't even thought of yet. Here's what we have had: Riz-jaune-and-red-bean burrito, and gumbo served over riz jaune instead of plain rice. Good stuff. I can also see this being a great stuffing for vegetables or an interesting bed for some gravied chicken or pork.

parts of a whole

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By foodorleans · March 8, 2009 · 0 Comments ·


I wouldn't call myself a fan of green beans. There's something about them I just don't really care for--too much "green," too much "bean," too much of each of those combined. And green beans and potatoes? There seem to be many calls for these two items together, in curries, stews, or pasta dishes, and I just don't get excited. For whatever reason, though, I can abide them both in a good, solid niçoise. Perhaps it's the way, in a niçoise, they are two components among several others which are all considered important and equal. Perhaps it's the relentless individuality they retain when grouped this way, much like the way people on a team know, deep inside, that even though there's no "i" in "team," there's a "me."

A niçoise is a pretty forgiving square meal. It's meat (traditionally, tuna), veg (green beans), and potatoes, along with various accompaniments that kind of add up to a plate of hors d'oevres, and it's meant to be served at room temperature, which is always a comfort when you're not really up to finishing several different cooking times at once. There are some steps, but they're basic as basic can be: boiling, steaming, baking, and vinaigrette making. It can be served over greens or not, tossed or not, and made expensive or not (one of the perks of living in New Orleans is freshly caught catfish). It can even be seafoodless and still be very satisfying. There's hardly even a recipe to follow, once you've got the basic idea down.

A More Local Niçoise
  • 4 portions of seafood (something inexpensive and local, if possible): shrimp, scallops, catfish, crawfish, tuna, salmon, bass, etc.)
  • 12 small red boiling potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
  • 2 big handfuls green beans, trimmed
  • 1 large ripe tomato, or 1 pt. cherry tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup pitted olives (preferably niçoise, but kalamata are fine too)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • a few teaspoons of wine vinegar (white, red, or champagne)
  • 1-2 teaspoons Dijon or grainy mustard
  • salt & pepper
  • salad greens (optional)
  1. Make the vinaigrette first, which is the unifier of this dish: Mince the garlic and place in a bowl or measuring cup large enough for a whisk to move around in. Juice the lemons and add the juice to the garlic. Shake in a little wine vinegar and plop in the mustard. Start whisking this mixture with one hand, and with the other hand, slowly pour in the olive oil. This doesn't need to be perfectly emulsified; you'll keep whisking it every time you use it. Taste it, and add salt and pepper and additional vinegar until it tastes like a strong salad dressing. I like it slightly overseasoned, because the potatoes and beans are going to break it down a little.
  2. Potatoes: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and boil them whole until a knife will almost go into the center of one easily. Take them off the heat, drain, and return to the pot and add the lid. Let them steam in the pot (no fire underneath) for another 10 minutes to finish cooking. Let them cool for a bit, then quarter or halve them, depending on size. Toss them in a bowl with some of the vinaigrette and set aside.
  3. Green beans: Put about 1 cup water in a medium saucepan, salt it, and bring to a boil. Add the beans and cook them the way you like them: really crunchy, slightly crunchy, soft, or cafeteria-soft. Drain them, cool them for a long minute, then toss them in a separate bowl with some vinaigrette.
  4. Seafood: Decide how you want to cook it: bake, broil, grill, saute, poach, etc. Season it with salt, pepper, and anything else you like (I used catfish & some seafood grill seasoning I had on hand). Drizzle it with a bit of olive oil (or another kind of oil) and cook it the way you like it (I baked it at 400 for about 12 minutes) and let it rest for about five minutes for most of the heat to leave.
  5. Eggs: Hard-boil, cool, peel, and halve.
  6. Tomatoes: Cut into 8 wedges (if you have cherry tomatoes, you can halve them or leave them whole) (as you might notice in the photo, I forgot to buy tomatoes).
  7. Olives: Snack on a few and then just keep them at the ready.
  8. Greens (if using): Make these ready to use as a bed for the other ingredients: wash & tear the greens and toss them with some of the vinaigrette, as you would for any salad.
  9. Compose: On each plate, place greens, potatoes, green beans, two egg halves, two tomato wedges, several olives, and a portion of seafood. Drizzle a little more vinaigrette over the whole dish and serve.

Serves 4.


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