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Weekend brunch is often done in restaurants (and perhaps with a bit of a headache from the night before), but we really must work on bringing it back home. I know I don’t do it often enough, but it is such a shame … case in point.
Last weekend, some friends were in town for Outside Lands, and we had plans to meet Saturday morning for brunch before heading to the park. But a quick glance in my fridge revealed some things that needed to be put to use, so we changed the arrangements for brunch at home.
A perennial favorite (that also made use of the arugula and spinach that were some of the must-be-used culprits) are the baked eggs with rocket, chili & yogurt from Yotem Ottolenghi’s Plenty. The original recipe calls for arugula, I have made it before with spinach, and this time I used a combo. I doubled the recipe, which gave us 8 eggs (also, # of eggs in fridge) and was perfect for 5 people. I am sure no one would have complained with 2 eggs a piece, but I was fine with one … plus all the other goodies.
To supplement the fridge basics, I did a quick run for bacon (roasted in the oven – my favorite – less work & less mess), orange juice and bread. The bread became pan con tomate, with fresh from the vine tomatoes that Audra brought straight from the farm, and the orange juice met up with bubbly for brunch-required mimosas.
A few more beverages (flat + sparkling, bloody marys and coffee) as brunch calls for LOTS of drink options, some fruit and a bit more yogurt, and well, I may just give up my standing brunch at Nopa.
Baked Eggs with Yogurt and Chili
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In truth, I actually made this a few weeks ago, but I didn’t get a post up before the weather turned sunny and warm, when shepherd’s pie was the furthest thing from my mind. But today, the rain is back, so here some perfect comfort food, that is actually a bit lighter than you would think.
My friend Catie first made it and raved, so I figured it was worth a try. Good grass fed beef and thick cut bacon really make it in my mind, as does the cauliflower-for-potato swap. This wasn’t something I grew up with, but will definitely come into my cold-weather rotation. I recommend getting in on the table before the sun is here to stay!
Catie’s Shepherd’s Pie
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It happens to everyone, and some of us more often than others.
It is dinner time, with no real plan in sight and a hodge-podge of half used vegetables beginning to languish in the crisper. In our house, these mis-matched bits often end up in a frittata, soup or a big grain salad. But last night as the rain came down and the wind whipped at the windows, I wanted something else. Something comforting, warm and truthfully, gooey. Something that satisfies your heart like macaroni and cheese, but is a bit more mindful of my hips.
I took the amalgam of vegetables I had on hand and roasted them – squash, carrots and sweet potato together for about 30 minutes, and broccoli thrown in for the last 10. At the same time I sautéed a few strips of bacon with garlic and chilies, and then decided to cook the mushrooms the bacon grease. I mean, let’s not be wasteful, right?
As the spaghetti was just finished cooking, I poached a few eggs. To bring it all together, the pasta, veg and bacon were tossed together with a ladle of pasta water and generous shaving of parmigiano. And of course the egg, which gave it all that gooey-goodness that I was craving. Plus, what isn’t better with an egg on top?
I attempted to write up a some-what proper recipe for this, but as it was based 100% on what was lurking in my fridge – half a sweet potato, bits of a left-over acorn squash, 1 small head of broccoli, etc., I had no clue where to begin with measurements and amounts. But a meal like this is infinitely flexible – and that is the beauty of it.
So have at it, let me know what you think, and don’t forget the egg!
I know that in polite company, you don’t try out new recipes on unsuspecting guests. But since my dinner guests are often close friends, I figure they can handle the challenge of ‘sure hope this turns out okay.’ Plus, as good as roast chicken is, that can’t be the only thing I serve company.
But when I made these lentils with bacon early last week, I knew they would be perfect for our little dinner party come Sunday. Double win – know what to do & know it will be good!
On Monday, I made them without the fennel (per the recipe on Amateur Gourmet) and on Sunday I added it in (per the original Anne Burrell recipe). Sure, if you have one on hand it doesn’t hurt, but it is not worth an extra trip to the store. What makes these lentils shine are the bacon (obviously), the still crunchy veggies (unlike those found in lentil soup) and the perfectly bright and balanced finish of mustard and vinegar.
I thought these lentils matched perfectly with steelhead trout (Monday) and salmon (Sunday) which both received a pan-sear/oven-roast-finish treatment. (They were also great reheated for a little lunch the next day, which is always nice to know.)
Maybe I will get in the habit of trying things out before guests come over … or on second thought, maybe sometimes is a good place to start.