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Brunch at home

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.

Pan con tomate

Brunch at home - baked eggs and bacon

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.

Brunch-beverages

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.

Brunch at home

Baked Eggs with Yogurt and Chili
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tortilla espanola

Every year as the weather gets warmer and summer itches towards us, I get the fiercest craving for my favorite Spanish foods.  Paella, gazpacho, pan con tomate, the list goes on.  And just as often, I will jump the gun on at least one – when tomatoes start to pop up and look like the real thing, I can’t take it anymore.

And so here we were the Saturday of our little flower workshop.  It was decided we would need some sustenance before all that “work”, so I made a quick tortilla española, which then cooled a bit while we ran to the flower mart.

I used a combo of these recipes (here and here), keeping it simple, but did make a little pimenton sauce to have on the side.  It was the perfect little lunch with melon y jamon and {a wee bit early} pan con tomate.

This meal will definitely be in rotation all summer long – for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I’m afraid!

Making-tortilla-espanola

cauliflower spoon eggs

Cauliflower Spoon Eggs and Salad

I am infinitely curious about what people eat and make for dinner at home.  Not “magazine” weeknight dinners, or even blogs that showcase only one component or require endless time, but real dinners.  To be honest, if I make dinner 3-4 nights a week, I consider that a HUGE success.  I know there will be a dinner or two out, plus perhaps take-out and a ‘single gals’ dinner of popcorn or wine and cheese.  

So once a week, I thought it would be fun to showcase a real weeknight dinner.  Some of course will be more fun than others, but that’s life, right?

 –

These cauliflower spoon eggs were born from cauliflower that desperately needed to be cooked and wanting something more than my standard roast cauliflower.  Not to mention there were lots of eggs in the fridge and little else by way of protein on hand.  I did end up roasting the remaining veg (with a dusting of nutmeg, curry and cayenne to match the eggs) and thought the extra cauliflower perfect.  Plus I always favor additional vegetables.

We ate it with a super simple salad – butter lettuce with a shallot vinaigrette – which is perhaps my favorite counterpart to rich dishes.

This easy souffle definitely wins my heart in the breakfast for dinner category.

xx

xx

Baked Eggs with yogurt and chili

This weekend was one that dreams are made of:

Dinner and mezcal margaritas at Nopalita. A morning swim with a friend. Homemade brunch with the ladies. A stroll about town and some shopping. Dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Sushi Ran. And was just Friday night and Saturday.

And this brunch!! It was a last-minute idea and was not initially intended to make an appearance here (therefore few photos), but once it came out of the oven, we all quickly snapped a few iphone pics.  It  just needed to be documented.  And once we devoured it, I knew it had to be shared.

I have made baked eggs with spinach before and each time they fell a bit flat.  Not bad, but no wows. And so when we were looking at this recipe and truthfully a bit unsure about the yogurt, we decided to go for it, thinking it would add some needed pizzazz.  And boy did it!

The chili-sage butter and garlic yogurt took these spinach-baked eggs to another level.

The recipe is adapted from Plenty, a gorgeous cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi. It is a vegetarian cookbook with many of the recipes coming from his New Vegetarian column in the UK’s Guardian. And although I am a devoted carnivore, I want to make/eat/try every.single.recipe in the fantastically photographed, styled and written cookbook.

And this was a great place to start. Next time you are thinking about going out to breakfast with friends, invite them over and make this. It is easily adaptable to increase (or decrease) depending on your group size. My only recommendation is to make sure you have lots of good crusty bread on hand to sop up every last bit of this dish. It wouldn’t be bad with fruit salad and mimosas either, but the bread is a must.

This will definitely be repeated.  And soon I gather.

And yes – the food from the party is still coming, I just couldn’t wait to share this with you!!

Baked Eggs Brunch

Baked Eggs with Yogurt and Chili

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picnic in the park

Is there a word or phrase for once you see something it is everywhere?  You know what I mean – learn a new word, boom it’s in books, on billboards, in every.single.converstion.for.the.next.week, in movies, in songs… Is there a phrase for that?  If so, I need to learn it, so it too can show up everywhere, like egg salad for me lately.

I know it is spring and Easter and eggs, but seriously, I haven’t seen this much egg salad since 5th grade and all the mom’s tried to make their egg salad as good as Mrs. Killingsworth’s (sorry mom, ♥ ya, but her’s won).

chervil-milk-mayo

It started in San Francisco, with an afternoon lunch at Radius.  We tried lots of great things (excellent soups, salad, cookies) but what I loved was the egg salad on polenta bread.  It was a super simple version without any frills and I loved it.  Then Tamra Davis made it on her most recent cooking webisode.  And, well you get the point.  I have really been thinking about egg salad.

And so when the sun (finally) came out and at the same time David Lebovitz mentioned an eggless chervil mayonnaise, I was done. I knew that when I did set out to make an egg salad, it would be one of those simple ones – and up the “wowness” just with homemade mayo.  And this herb version would pack a nice punch and without raw eggs.  Double bonus as egg salad is best consumed when sitting on grass, in the sun, during a nice long picnic.

chervil mayo

This was my first attempt at homemade mayo – eggless or regular – and it was a breeze.  Maybe that is because I used the blender, but hey, that was in the instructions.  And while I would like to say it was so easy it worked on my first try, that would be a lie.  All instructions for mayonnaise require you to add the oil very very s l o w l y, starting just a drop at a time until it emulsifies.  Well I was nervous, and so I went a bit too slow.  I couldn’t see what was happening because whenever I tried to look in the blender, I would get garlic milk splashed in my face, so I kept at it, a drop at a time.  After too many minutes, I finally stopped the blender and had a look.  The motor got so hot that the milk was curdling and not at all emulsifying.  Blech. It was so gross I am honestly still proud that I gave it another go.

This time I did a few drops and then slowly switched to a thin drizzle (and the martini shaker I found in the cupboard worked great for this).  And you could feel it (or hear it rather) when it started to thicken.  I’m not going to lie, I felt a little amazing – although it is something people have been doing for years.  And now I could peek inside and see the magic happen.  And my mayo didn’t need all the oil it called for, so I should have stopped a bit shy (when I felt like it), but rather I added the whole amount.  It ended up a bit thick – which was fine for the egg salad – but when I make another batch for the artichokes in the fridge, I’ll go with my gut.

And since chances are you have a few extra eggs already hard-boiled right now, I think the time is just right for egg salad.

It is popping up everywhere.

(Pics of the picnic are on my Holga – when I get around to having the film developed, I’ll add them in.  The top pic is from an older picnic).

eggsalad

Recipes…

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roastedpotatohash with poachedegg and spinach

roastedpotatohashwithpoachedeggandspinach

Growing up, I was never much of a fan of breakfast for dinner.  I didn’t really like eggs or pancakes enough to have them again at night.  So we never really did that much at home, but at friends’ houses, I thought it was the strangest thing.  Why anyone would want silly waffles instead of a pork chop baffled me.  Hey, I was a “unique” kid.

And while I still haven’t totally lost that feeling, I finally get it.  Well, not the sweet breakfast treats (I’m still not much for waffles – unless they are ordered for the table as a side to my huevos rancheros), but a savory hash is welcome for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

This roasted hash is a bit of a conglomeration of different recipes, techniques and restaurant orders.  The basis of the hash comes from this recipe that I made for Thanksgiving.  It was beautiful – the bright, vivid colors were quite refreshing on what can often be a beige table, but it had a bit more steps and ingredients than I needed outside a day of feasting.  Add bonus however, was the leftovers were great for lunch with a quick egg, so I knew we were headed in the right direction.

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spinach souffle

Soufflés are often under-looked and seem overwhelming for all the wrong reasons. If you are using a good recipe and can actually not open the oven door while it cooks, they are pretty fool proof (even without the proper equipment).

The make weekday dinners seem special, a welcome change on the frittata brunch and are great for any kind of entertaining.

Can you think of any other meal that can get such “wows” for so little $$?

mushrooms, spinach, cheese - souffle prep

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DSC01104

How many times have you started in the fridge, STARVING wondering if there could possibly be anything in there to eat?  If you are anything like me, this happens more than you would like to admit.  You go to the store and two days later, nothing.  Or definitely nothing you want.  I dream of long interesting meals when at the store, and dream of delivery when staring at my fridge.  So this is not a recipe, just an inspiration that you can easily make something dreamy with all that “nothing.”

You want recipes, with lovely pictures and even better stories?  (I may *hope to* be there sometimes *someday*, but until then…).  I kindly suggest stopping by to say hi to Deb or Molly or Luisa or David or Matt or Adam or Heidi – all amazing and my favorites!!!  Watch out, you can stay there really too long.

But in the meantime, here is one of my “quick fixes.”  Also known as a frittata in many circles, but as my proportions are likely way off from Ina - heavy on the vegetables, light on eggs and done more on the stove than the oven – we will just call it brunch!

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ABOUT

Martha Stewart I am not -
I have no intention of
whittling my own table
and can handle a martini
like nobody's business -
but I do have lots of
great ideas on cooking,
entertaining, and living
that I want to share with you.

Together, perhaps we can find
ways to have a bit more fun!

Contact:
info{at}caitlindentino{dot}com

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