Monday, May 31, 2010

Fried Eggs + Shallot-Thyme-Chili Crispy Potatoes

If you ask me, eggs couldn't be happier than when they're sitting beside shallot, thyme and chili. For that reason, I've made about a million variations on breakfast using these few ingredients (example 1, example 2). As much as I do love a couple of scrambled eggs cooked with caramelized shallots and spicy chilis, I chose to jumble up the equation yet again yesterday morning.

Fried is my number one favorite way to cook eggs. I like them cooked on super high heat in olive oil until the edges get crispy, over-medium in the center and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Nothing could be better. Except for maybe the eggs with a side of crispy potatoes that have been smothered in my favorite egg accompaniments.

To begin, I par-boiled the potatoes in some salted water until they were about 10 minutes away from being perfectly cooked. I drained the potatoes and sliced them in half lengthwise. In a big frying pan that could fit the halved potatoes in one layer, I briefly fried a smashed clove of garlic and a few sprigs of thyme in some butter and olive oil. After the oil had become fragrant from the garlic and thyme, I spread out the potatoes in the pan with the cut side facing down. This next step is an important one - don't touch the potatoes for about 5 minutes so they can start building a golden crust. Around 5 minutes into the cooking, I added in a sliced shallot and some sliced chili (as much as you think you can handle!). Season with salt. Flip the potatoes so they can get a little crispy all over. In the last few minutes of cooking, throw in a little more butter and sprinkle in some extra fresh thyme leaves.

On the side, I made the same radish and arugula salad as my last post. It was so delicious with a big bite of the potatoes and egg.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Amsterdam: Pasta alla Norma + Radish and Arugula Salad

(Recipe for two)

Lucas and I spent the morning at Amsterdam's Noordermarkt in Jordaan. I got there with a craving for pasta but I still wasn't entirely sure what kind of sauce to make. When I saw some eggplant at one of the stalls, the answer became obvious. I looooove eggplant and I looooove pasta alla norma. This dish is almost as simple as making tomato sauce, but it includes one extra step - either frying or roasting some eggplant. I usually roast the eggplant, but since we don't have an oven in our apartment here in Amsterdam, I fried up a small-medium sized eggplant (diced) in a little bit of olive oil instead. When the eggplant had softened after about 10-15 minutes, I remove it from the pan. Next, in the same pan, I added in a little more olive oil and 3-4 chopped up garlic cloves along with some chili (as much as you'd like, it really depends on how spicy the chili is to begin with because they can be veeerrry unpredictable).

Before the garlic turns brown, add in either a can of tomatoes or about 8 medium sized diced fresh tomatoes (you can remove the skins if you want by blanching them for about a minute. After blanching, the skins should peel off easily). I used fresh tomatoes but I did not remove the skins because I was lazy and I was not trying to impress anyone. We were drinking some red wine so I poured in about a glass full and let that boil off. I also had a little bit of thyme in the fridge so I threw in a sprig or two. Make sure to season with salt along the way. I let the sauce simmer for about 30-40 minutes and adjusted the acidity with some sugar when it was needed (depends on the tomatoes). When the sauce had reduced to a much thicker consistency, I added in the cooked eggplant and simmered the sauce for another 5-10 minutes. At this point, I removed the thyme stems and added in some fresh basil. I cooked the pasta until al dente and then mixed it in with the sauce.

For the salad - I haven't bought any vinegar here so I've been making salad dressings with lemon and olive oil. This time, I added in a little honey too. I sliced up a few radishes and tossed the salad together with a few handfuls of arugula at the last minute.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Breakfast/Lunch In Paris

Greetings from Paris!! After 5 days in here, Lucas and I still hadn't had a chance to get to one of the farmer's markets, so this morning, we took a little walk over to the Marché des Enfants Rouge around the corner from where we're staying to gather some ingredients for a breakfast/lunch at home. We bought some baguette, a soft and very stinky cheese whose name I cannot remember, a perfect cantaloupe and some fennel, sucrine and lemon for a little salad.

Sucrine lettuce is one of my favorite things in the world. It's essentially baby lettuce heads but it has a perfectly sweet and slightly bitter taste to it. I love it served with oeuf mayonnaise (boiled eggs with fresh mayonnaise). Unfortunately, I've never been able to find sucrine back home so I try to eat it as much as I can while I'm visiting here.

So for the salad, I quartered up a few sucrines, sliced up a head of baby fennel and dressed them with lemon, olive oil and salt. This was a really simple, but still a completely perfect meal. yuuummm. We're heading to Amsterdam tomorrow and planning on doing a lot of cooking there so stay tuned for more updates in the next few days!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wild Trout + Wilted Mustard Greens and Zucchini Panzanella

Please forgive me for the lack of updates - I've been terribly busy with finals and now that the semester is finally over, I have to pack up my apartment and put everything in storage before I leave for my trip on Wednesday! Lucas and I are going to spend 3 leisurely weeks in Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and Barcelona so expect lots of photos and food!

Back to tonight's meal: I started by cutting up some stale sourdough bread into bite sized chunks and spreading them out on a baking tray. In a small pan, I cooked up equal parts of olive oil and butter, threw in 3 minced garlic cloves, salt, pepper and some chili flakes. Once the butter had melted and the garlic had softened, I tossed the garlicky mixture with the bread and put the tray in a 450 degree oven until the bread started to turn brown.

Next, I sliced up 2 zucchinis and a bunch of mustard greens. I sautéed both vegetables together in a little bit of olive oil for about 6-7 minutes. Lucas picked up some wild trout at the market this afternoon and I simply cooked that on medium heat in the pan that I had cooked the olive oil/butter/garlic dressing for the bread in. I let the fish cook for a few minutes on each side and then put the pan in a 350 degree oven until the fish was just cooked.

When the vegetables were cooked, I poured in a little bit of balsamic vinegar, a little more olive oil and squeezed in the juice of about a third of a lemon. I then added in the toasted bread and some roughly chopped parsley and tossed everything together about 10 minutes before the fish was ready so the bread could soak up the juices from the vegetables and the dressing.

This turned out to be a very nice light spring meal! Now I must get back to packing up my apartment but here are the pictures -

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Love Brussel Sprouts

If you ask me, this is the only way to eat brussel sprouts. First, remove the outer leaves from the brussel sprouts. Cut each one in half and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees with the cut side facing down until cooked through but not mushy! If you're not into the slightly burned outer leaves like I am, feel free to lower the temperature of the oven. A little bit of vinegar at the end doesn't hurt. YUUUMMMM

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Scrambled Eggs with Shallots, Chili and Chives +Toast

This is a very delicious and easy breakfast to make. The recipe is for 2 people.


- 1 small/medium shallot, diced
- 1 small red or green chili (serrano, jalepeno, whatever you want) seeded and diced
- About 1/4 cup of chopped chives
- 5 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons of cream
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Olive oil + butter for cooking

In about a tablespoon of butter and a bit of olive oil, sautée the diced shallot and chili over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream and chives and season with salt and pepper. Once the chili and shallot have cooked for about 4-5 minutes,turn the heat very low and pour in the egg mixture. Stir frequently-ish until the eggs are done. Serve with buttered toast!

Feast: Warm Potato Salad w/ Chives, Shallots, Tarragon + Fried Okra + Spoon Bread + Swiss Chard

I had a few friends over last weekend and for some reason I felt like making a big old feast.

Potato Salad:
Cut potatoes into equal bite sized pieces and bring to a boil in salted water. Cook until tender. Make the dressing in the meantime - first, sautée a shallot in some olive oil for about 4 minutes. In a large bowl, mix together a teaspoon of dijon mustard, a handful of chopped chives and tarragon, any vinegar really besides maybe balsamic which might dominate the other flavors too much, olive oil, the shallots and of course salt and pepper. When the potatoes are ready, combine everything together! This can be served warm or at room temperature.

Swiss Chard:
Sautée a little garlic in some olive oil, add in the lightly torn up chard (the stems get tender so you don't have to get rid of those as you would with kale). This cooks down to almost nothing, so be sure to buy a lot more chard than you think you'll need! Cook until the bitterness of the greens is mild and finish with some lemon juice.

Spoon Bread:
This is an old family recipe that my great-grandmother serves with her AMAZING crab cakes. I've chosen not to publish the recipe on here, but if you really want to know how to make it just ask! It's incredibly simple to prepare and tastes like a corn custard or savory pudding.

I made fried okra again - I could really eat it every day. Here's the recipe from an earlier post.