Archive for the ‘Breakfast and Brunch’ Category

Scrambled Egg Breakfast Wraps

July 25, 2009

Garden Salsa:
½ small tomato
¼ cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot sauce to taste

Wrap:
1 or 2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tablespoon butter
1 flour tortilla
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream to taste

Combine all the salsa ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl until frothy. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a small nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Pour in the eggs and cook over medium to medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the eggs begin to form large curds but are still very moist. Spoon the eggs down the center of the tortilla.

Sprinkle the eggs with the cheese. Top with the sour cream and a couple of spoonfuls of salsa; roll up.

Serves 1

Toad in the Hole

July 25, 2009

1 tablespoon butter
1 slice bread
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste

Butter both sides of the bread. Cut out a circle in the middle of the bread using a glass. Place the bread, along with the cut out piece, in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Break an egg into the center hole of the bread and season the egg with salt and pepper.

Cook the bread and egg 2 to 3 minutes or until the bread is toasted and the egg is set on the bottom. Very carefully turn the bread with the egg and the cut out piece of bread over, and cook until the bread is lightly toasted.

Serves 1

Goat Cheese Stuffed Eggs with Fresh Herbs

April 07, 2009

(photo taken by Stafford Photography)

Goat Cheese Stuffed Eggs with Fresh Herbs

This recipe of mine was first featured in the April/May 2008 issue of Cooking Pleasures magazine. Goat cheese adds creaminess and a slight tang to these deviled eggs.

6 hard-cooked eggs, halved, separated
2 ounces soft goat cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons mayonnaise (I prefer Hellmann’s)
2 teaspoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon, chives, chervil, dill and/or basil
⅛ teaspoon salt
pinch freshly ground pepper

Mash egg yolks in a medium bowl with a pastry blender or a fork until well-crumbled. Add the cheese and continue to mash until blended. Blend in the mayonnaise until smooth. Stir in the shallots, herbs, salt and pepper.

Pipe the yolk mixture into the egg whites using a pastry bag and star tip or spoon the mixture into the whites.

Makes 12 deviled eggs

The Perfect Egg

March 04, 2009

The value of eggs is rising like a soufflé.

The pair of cardinals that mate every spring in our yard are back singing love songs. I know this because the lusty singing starts very early in the morning and wakes up the chicks before it’s barely light. By the time I trudge out to the coop the girls already are cackling at top volume telling me the day is half gone.

The girls must also feel spring is on its way because they’ve been nesting. Not sitting over eggs in their nest, but rather creating nests wherever they feel like it. Lulu is developing quite a skill. In spite of having a clean nest box every morning, she has lately decided to play “Find the Egg” with me. She’s laid eggs in the straw at the end of the run where I can’t reach them. She’s laid eggs under the evergreen tree next to the coop and she’s laid eggs in the snow to crate a frozen variation. I almost stepped on one the other night because it was dark and I had no idea it was there.


Nesting Under the Evergreen

Maybe the girls are trying to hide their precious eggs. The latest news shows that the value of eggs is rising like a soufflé. New studies point to evidence that eggs not only lower blood pressure but are good for the heart. Even dieticians are recommending one egg a day as a great way to add protein to your diet at little cost. (On a side note, with the economy sinking, the value of backyard chickens appears to be rising. There was a local theft of five hens this past weekend causing all of us to rethink our coop security.)

When I want to truly savor the fresh taste of these precious eggs I opt for something simple. Lately I’ve been on a quest to find the best soft-cooked eggs. Perfecting the soft-cooked egg is a bit of an art form. The whites should be firm but still very tender. The yolk should be creamy on the outside and soft and runny in the center. Unlike other egg dishes, there is no way to tell if you’ve got it right until you slice off the top and slide your spoon in—then it’s too late to make any changes.

I’ve tested numerous methods by chefs and home cooks alike and have had success with two very different methods. Choose your favorite.


Perfection

Perfect Soft-Cooked Eggs

Tips: Start with cold large eggs.
Choose the smallest saucepan that will fit the number of eggs in one layer.
Use gentle heat, never boil the eggs rapidly.

Method #1: Gentle Simmer
Bring a small saucepan of water to a full boil over high heat.
Gently lower the eggs into the boiling water and immediately turn the heat down to medium-low keeping the eggs at a very soft gentle simmer.
Cook the eggs for 5 1/2 to 6 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary.
Run the eggs under cold water for about 30 seconds to stop the cooking and serve.

Method #2: Off the Heat
Place the eggs in a small saucepan and barely cover with cold water.
Bring the water to a full rapid boil over high heat.
Immediately remove the pan from the heat and let stand, uncovered, 4 minutes.
Run the eggs under cold water for about 30 seconds to stop the cooking and serve.

Brown-Buttered Eggs

January 15, 2009

With cooking, simpler is often better. It’s especially true with freshly laid eggs. Lulu is my prize-winning egg layer. In spite of her cranky disposition, she lays more eggs than either of the other two. Right now, she’s the only one laying in this cold spell we’re having.

With fewer eggs, every single egg is precious. We eat the eggs with little embellishment to truly appreciate their fresh flavor. This recipe is a great example: A simple fried egg topped with nutty-flavored brown butter and a splash of lemon over toasted artisan bread. Delightful!

Brown-Buttered Eggs

2 eggs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 slices artisan bread, toasted and lightly brushed with extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat just until the pan becomes warm. Add ½ tablespoon of the butter to the pan, letting it slowly melt while swirling the pan to evenly coat the bottom. Add the eggs and cover, lowering the heat to medium-low when the butter and eggs begin to bubble—a sign they’re cooking too fast. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until the whites are just set but the yolks are still runny.

Arrange the eggs over the toasted bread. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the remaining ½ tablespoon of butter. Melt the butter while swirling the pan and cook briefly, about 10 to 20 seconds, until the butter begins to smell toasted and turns a nutty-brown color. Watch carefully as the butter can over-brown very quickly. Pour in the lemon juice but stand back as it sizzles and spits. Immediately pour over the eggs and toast and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serves 2

The Best Fresh Raspberry Pancakes

January 04, 2009

In walking out to the coop these past couple of mornings my thoughts turned to pancakes. I don’t make pancakes often, but on the first weekend of fall they’re exactly what I crave. Fall raspberries are in abundance at the farmer’s market so I decided to make my favorite cornmeal pancakes sweetened with berries.

What makes these cornmeal cakes special, beyond adding a couple of freshly laid eggs to the batter, is the extra step of slightly cooking the cornmeal first. I’ve never been a fan of baked goods where the cornmeal adds particles of grit, like something the chickens would like. Instead, these cakes are thin, delicate and light, almost a cross between crepes and pancakes. For even smoother pancakes you can let the batter rest overnight, making them easier to make in the morning.

These cakes are perfect with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar and extra berries or better yet a light drizzle of superb real maple syrup like the Pure New York Maple Syrup made by the family of my friend Kathy.

FRESH RASPBERRY CORNMEAL PANCAKES

½ cup cornmeal, finely stone-ground if available
2 cups milk, low fat or skim milk is fine
¼ cup unsalted butter, cut up
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
dash of salt
2 eggs
canola oil for frying
2 cups fresh raspberries

Dump the cornmeal into a large glass measuring cup and slowly whisk in 1½ cups of the milk. Add the butter and heat in the microwave on high until the milk comes to a boil. This will take 1 to 2 minutes or more depending on your microwave; but watch carefully so it doesn’t boil over. Once the milk is hot, the cornmeal will begin to cook and thicken so immediately whisk until the butter is melted. Whisk in the remaining ½ cup milk and pour into a large bowl. Let the mixture cool slightly, stirring often.

Quickly whisk in the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk until the batter is smooth. The pancakes can be made immediately or the batter can be covered and refrigerated overnight for smoother pancakes. Either way is fine.

Heat a griddle to 350°F. or a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brush generously with oil. (No nonstick spray please, while perfect for many things, with pancakes it will bake onto your griddle or nonstick pan and you’ll never be able to get them clean.) Pour a scant ¼ cup of batter on the griddle and scatter a few raspberries over each pancake. Cook until the bubbles have formed and popped and the underside is golden brown. Carefully turn; the pancakes are delicate so use a large spatula to get underneath the entire cake. Cook until the underside is golden. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar and accompanied by maple syrup.

Makes about 20 pancakes

Copyright Janice Cole 2008