Tag Archives: onion

“Chardegg Cakes” Revisited

I’ve made several different sets of this since the first time I shared this recipe (click here for the first post on it), and both settled on a preferred base of ingredients, and eaten enough of them to stop making them for a while (what, about a month of eating them every weekday is not enough?) I have put in my additional updates in blue font below.

the last iteration of tasty egg cups (a.k.a. mini-quiche).
the last iteration of tasty egg cups (a.k.a. mini-quiche).

Chardegg Cakes for Breakf*st

*So fast you can eat it while you run out the door and skip the ‘a’.
Original inspiration from: Paleo Living Magazine‘s Paleo Kale and Chives Egg Muffins + I Breathe I’m Hungry’s Swiss Chard & Ricotta Pie.

Ingredients:
4 eggs
1/4 cup almond milk
1 cup chard, finely chopped (or whatever palatable veggie you have on hand such as kale, finely-diced broccoli, zucchini, etc).
1/4 c onions, finely chopped
1 roma tomato, sliced
1/2 tsp minced garlic (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
6 slices very thinly cut deli ham, or plus coconut oil to grease cupcake cups

Steps:
1. Sauté onions 4 minutes on medium, add garlic (optional), fry 1 minute more until garlic is golden.
2. Grease 6 cupcake molds with coconut oil, line thinly with half a ham slice in each cup.
3. Whisk together eggs, almond milk, chard, and onion-garlic mix.
4. Filled 6 cups with mixture, top with one tomato slice each.
5. Bake 30 minutes, then pop out egg cups to eat for the week.
Storage Note: if you make a double portion, these also freeze for a pretty decent breakfast later (defrost the day before you want to eat them). If you are a toaster oven devotee, you can pop them in to toast and it crisps them right up.

Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
 4 of 5 stars.
The is the second round, I may update if I find the ham was even better (or maybe tasted more virtuous to eat than turkey bacon, which may or may not be better for you than using prosciutto).
Likelihood of Repeat: 98%
This has been a household hit too, increasing the chances of repeat. It’s also so portable and satisfyingly filling!
Lesson Learned: Just always oil the pan, otherwise you’ll be scraping forever and ruining the finish on your cupcake mold. Also, they are so much prettier with tomato slices on top (and the egg rises through it when baked, neato).

I feel like using thinly sliced ham is both less fattening than prosciutto and less of a waste of prosciutto (and less tedious than pressing sausage into the molds).

 

Sunday Prep Day:
Chardegg Cakes for Breakf*st

Dear Readers,
I hope you enjoyed the guest blogs! Many thanks to both Alex and Kris for their generous contributions. In honor of the J_______ brothers’ penchant for delicious chicken dinners, check out HuffPo’s “8 Chicken Dinners that are Anything But Boring,” Relatedly, I may share a lettuce wrap combo in a later blog too.

New year, new plans!
This is a recipe I’ve been trying out in my efforts to build more muscle, to pack some protein into breakfast. I imagine my paleo friends will approve.
Breakfast is the most logical target for amping up nutrition to me. It has the highest chances of getting the fatty parts burned off in the day, and often follows a workout (timing recommended by fitness sources from the internets). My usual oatmeal (or quinoa) and fruit -or the under-nourishing half a grapefruit with sugar- were getting a little stale anyway. How to combat the morning time crunch? By cooking up a storm on Sundays for the next week!
You’ll laugh, but the first sign of minor minor success? Not having trouble opening sticky garlic jars from the fridge! …lately, at least..

Left: cups are prepped and ready for baking. Top right: sauteed onions. Bottom right: turkey bacon...still bacon.
Left: cups are prepped and ready for baking. Top right: sauteed onions. Bottom right: turkey bacon…still bacon.

Chardegg Cakes for Breakf*st
*So fast you can eat it while you run out the door and skip the ‘a’.
Original inspiration from: Paleo Living Magazine‘s Paleo Kale and Chives Egg Muffins + I Breathe I’m Hungry’s Swiss Chard & Ricotta Pie.

Ingredients:
4 eggs
1/4 cup almond milk
1 cup chard, finely chopped
1/4 c onions, finely chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped
1/2 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
6 slices turkey bacon, or coconut oil to grease cupcake cups

Steps:
1. Sauté onions 4 minutes on medium, add garlic, fry 1 minute more until garlic is golden.
2. Grease 6 cupcake molds with coconut oil or lay out turkey bacon in each cup.
3. Whisked together eggs, almond milk, chard, and onion-garlic mix.
4. Filled 6 cups with mixture, top with tomato bits.
5. Bake 30 minutes, then pop out egg cups to eat for the week.
Storage Note: if you make a double portion, these also freeze for a pretty decent breakfast later (defrost the day before you want to eat them). If you are a toaster oven devotee, you can pop them in to toast and it crisps them right up.

Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
 4 of 5 stars.
The is the second round, I may update if I find the ham was even better (or maybe tasted more virtuous to eat than turkey bacon, which may or may not be better for you than using prosciutto).
Likelihood of Repeat: 90%
This has been a household hit too, increasing the chances of repeat. It’s also so portable and satisfyingly filling.
Lesson Learned: Yes, there is such a thing as too much kale.
Also: you burn through a lot of eggs when you’re trying to eat more protein. See below for other variations I’ve tried. Check out the update on this recipe from March!

The finished product mid-bite.
The finished product mid-bite.

Other variations:
Italian sausage lining instead of turkey bacon – I tried this and found it too fatty-feeling. Plus, I am not a big fan of the fennel seeds in italian sausage mix.

Prosciutto lining – Ironically, this felt less fattening, since the prosciutto crisps up nicely, and makes the “muffins” easy to hold. However, I didn’t feel I could justify eating prosciutto for breakfast every single weekday.

Just egg, no liner – Boring, but functional if you don’t want to spend on more meat than egg protein.
Kale instead of chard – I tried this one, but accidentally put too much kale in. It is much better with tomato on top for a little variety in flavor. Chard seemed to bake a little softer.

Salsa or ketchup on the side – if you find whatever combo you’ve made a little bland, salsa can perk things up –or ketchup, if you are up for the added sugar. The American kid in me says, “ketchup makes everything better!”

Sunday Recipe: Chicken Pot Pie

As a child growing up in the Midwest with home-cooked Chinese food for dinner, microwave dinners were some kind of marvelous space food I’d get to eat on special occasions (see: babysitter). Among those dinners, the best option often seemed to be the chicken pot pie, which could be easily popped in the toaster oven for a satisfying belly-sticking meal in a tin pan. Years later I picked up a recipe magazine based purely on the delectable-looking chicken pot pie on the front. I think it was a Reader’s Digest. Anyway, it seemed like such a novel and miraculous opportunity to learn to make pot pie, it has found an honored place in my recipe Dropbox files, usually only brought out to make something even better out of Thanksgiving turkey leftovers.

Fast forward to Labor Day weekend, and some old friends are in town and have made a special request for chicken pot pie. When good friends you haven’t seen in a years ask for pot pie, then you make pot pie.
Good thing I ended up with three great sous chefs to keep things rolling that Sunday..

Chicken Pot Pie
Based originally on ..a Reader’s Digest recipe
Serves 4
Prep time: 50 min
Total time: ~.5 hrs prep + 1.5 hr + chilling (approx. 35 min chilling 2x)

Ingredients:
4 Tbs unsalted butter
1 medium onion, cut into medium dice
2-3 large carrots, cut into medium dice
1/2 c all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface (whole wheat flour works fine too)
coarse salt & pepper
4 c low-sodium chicken broth (or veggie stock)
3 c cooked chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces (1 lb total)
1 c frozen peas
1.5 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves (or .75 tsp dried thyme)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg yolk
Optional: garlic powder, random italian seasonings

Steps:
1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium. Add onion and carrot and cook until onion softens, about 6 minutes. Add flour and 1/2 tsp salt; cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is pale golden, has a slightly nutty aroma, and is the texture of cooked oatmeal, about 5 minutes.
2. Whisking constantly, add broth. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens, about 8 minutes. Reduce to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Stir in chicken, peas and thyme; season with salt and pepper (optional: garlic powder and italian seasoning). Divide mixture among four 12-ounce baking dishes; refrigerate until room temperature, about 20 minutes. Try to fill the dishes as full as possible to help support the dough on time so it gets a chance to rise. In the case of this last time I made pot pie, the baking dishes with filling were put in a cooler with ice and transported for the ~30 minutes to a friend’s house before continuing to the next step.

Thanks to sous chef K for speedy packing of baking dishes in a cooler to get on the road, and sous chefs A and J for all the chopping.
Saute, saute, stir, stir, chill. Thanks to sous chef K for speedy packing of baking dishes in a cooler to get on the road, and sous chefs A and J for all the chopping.

2.5 Optional step: get to your friend’s house and realize you forgot the puff pastry, half the group heads to the store to buy some more. :p
3. Preheat oven to 375 F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll pastry to an 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 4 equal squares, 1 inch larger than dishes; with the tip of a sharp knife, cut vents into pastry. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolk with 1 tsp water; top potpies with pastry and brush with egg wash.
4. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
Chill, top with dough and egg wash, chill more, and bake. Also shown: random ingredients in leftover puff pastry by sous chefs.
Chill, top with dough and egg wash, chill more, and bake. Also shown: random ingredients in leftover puff pastry by sous chefs.

5. Bake until pastry is deep golden and juices are bubbling, about 35-45 minutes. It can be useful to put a wide dish underneath to catch any accidental overflow.
6. When serving, be sure to warn people the pot pie is very hot.

Careful, it's piping hot to the tongue!
Careful, it’s piping hot to the tongue!

7. Take a food coma nap.

Top: all done! This pie was split between two people and still plenty filling. Bottom: sous chef  posing with post-dinner asleep chef. Zzzz.
Top: all done! This pie was split between two people and still plenty filling. Bottom: sous chef posing with post-dinner asleep chef. Zzzz. I found this photo on my phone later after I woke up.

Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 1.5 of 5 stars.
As mentioned, I usually only make this about once a year after Thanksgiving, so on that note, it’s a bit novel.
Likelihood of Repeat: 100%
It’s quite a bit of work, which is partly why I use pre-made puff pastry instead of dough from scratch. However, all that care and attention only makes it more worth eating.

Lesson Learned: You will never have leftovers from this, unless you keep the filling separate from the dough and don’t bake it. Also, you can make whatever design you want when cutting slits in the top of the dough. Exercising the patience for full refrigeration time is pretty key to making sure the crust doesn’t get soggy and collapse, and having moderately shallow baking dishes gives you a good crust-to-filling ratio. Don’t be afraid to use more vegetables.
A variant to try later: putting crust underneath the filling too, per my friend S____________’s requests. Comment here if you’ve done this!

Heat Wave, Part II:
Gazpacho!

Mark Bitterman’s Gazpacho recipe and some tips from my friend K_______ got me to try making gazpacho about a year ago, and tonight’s continued hot humid weather in the Northwest called for a revisit of cooking without heating elements. Unfortunately, I failed at that last bit, since I like my onions and garlic sautéed instead of raw and heart burn-y. See modified recipe below. But you, my friend, could make it with raw garlic and onions if you so desired, and even without the bread if you wanted to go Paleo or gluten-free (although cave men didn’t have blenders).

The only heat required is from the motor in the blender.
The only heat required is from the motor in the blender.

Gazpacho, Fast and Simple

Makes: 4 servings
Time: About 25 minutes

Ingredients:
2 pounds tomatoes, roughly chopped, or one (today: fresh beefsteaks)
28-ounce can (include the juices)
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded if you like, and chopped
2 or 3 slices bread, a day or two old, crusts removed, torn into small pieces (today: a toasted leftover hamburger bun from July 4)
1 /4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, or more to taste
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 Tbs minced red onions
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Optional: sliced scallions for garnish, and/or dollop of greek yogurt (skipped the latter this time, but it would be tasty)

Steps
0. Lightly saute onions and garlic for a few minutes on stovetop with olive oil and butter.
1. Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, bread, oil, vinegar, onions and garlic with 1 cup water in a blender; process until smooth. If the gazpacho seems too thick, thin with additional water.
2. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately (or refrigerate and serve within a couple of hours), garnished with a drizzle of olive oil and scallions or greek yogurt if desired.

Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 2 of 5 stars.
Made this once before without the bread a year ago, I liked it better this time. I’m hoping the novelty will really kick in in the next few days when I am still eating delicious chilled gazpacho without turning on the stove on a hot day.
Likelihood of Repeat: 75%
I ended up with enough for 4 more individual meals, so I’m looking forward to finding out how it does frozen and defrosted later.
Lesson Learned: Less complicated than it feels to grab a ladder and retrieve the blender from the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet..

Cauliflower & Sausage Casserole

The Kitchn’s Cauliflower Sausage Casserole caught my eye since it did not for once call for loads of cheese, per your traditional Midwestern casserole (er, ‘hot dish’) style. While loads of cheese is delicious, it’s arguably not the healthiest for you, and definitely not the best for lactose-intolerant yours truly. The Kitchn’s version used chicken sausage, but I just went with standard italian sausage for flavor, especially as it wasn’t that big a proportion of the whole thing.

Ingredients marshalled:
CauliflowerSausageCasserole1

Procedure:
The Kitchn’s Cauliflower Sausage Casserole steps. I didn’t alter them at all. I served it atop quinoa. You could definitely make it without the parmesan entirely too.

blanch, saute, saute, saute, bake.
blanch, saute, saute, saute, bake.

Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
Looks so familiar and homey, but doesn’t make my stomach upset!
Likelihood of Repeat: 20%
There were too many partial-cook steps in this, part of the point of a casserole is that you put it all in the dish and bake the crap out of it (the other part of the point is that it may involve leftovers). If I’m going to be blanching cauliflower before baking it, then I might as well just directly roast it in the oven like I usually do (with butter, olive oil, and later lemon and mustard). This recipe was good, but just not remarkable enough for me to add it to the regular rotation.
Lesson Learned: Procedure and time spent ratio to delicious reviews from consumers can be way out of wack. Sigh.

Served over quinoa.
Served over quinoa.