Shirred Eggs

A few weeks ago I ripped out a page from a cooking magazine that looked like something we would eat. I do this ALL the time and have SO many pages that I don’t really know how to deal with them. Or at least I haven’t actually done anything with all of them other than place them in “like” piles such as seafood, sandwiches, salads, side dishes etc. you get the picture. Not the most efficient if you are looking for something in a hurry but until I find some miracle way of organizing them; it’ll have to do.
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I find that when I start looking through these papers, I want to make 4 or 5 different things and then I spend the day or weekend cooking and baking; once you do this someone has to eat it all. I do share my food with whoever is interested and thankfully I have a pretty good reputation of making  yummy food so I tend to have a lot of takers.
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I had planned to go to the store last night for the week’s groceries and never got there. It’s Sunday and I sometimes make a clean the fridge frittata but I only had 3 eggs left; there were 3 peeps for breakfast. I remembered the shirred egg picture/recipe and thought I could try making something similar with what I had on hand thinking it was meant to be.
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I did google what shirr meant so here is a quick wikipedia definition for you. While the 3 of us were eating them I also shared this info with my fam.  They both LOVED them and were both coming up with what they would put in theirs.
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Shirred eggs are eggs that have been baked in a gratin dish with a flat bottom. Traditionally they have been cooked in a dish called a shirrer, from which the dish gets its name, but the name now applies regardless of the type of dish in which they are baked
img_4993img_4995Shirred Eggs

Breakfast sausage, crumbled and browned
½ onion, diced
Roasted tomatoes
Asparagus, sliced
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Parmesan cheese, grated
Scallions, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
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In a small saute pan brown the sausage along with the onion, add the tomatoes and asparagus for 1 to 2 minutes. Spray your small dishes with nonstick cooking spray. Fill with sausage mixture, cover with cheddar cheese, crack an egg in each dish. Sprinkle with parmesan and scallions. Salt and pepper then bake at 375’F for 12 minutes or until the whites are set.  They look adorable and special plus super easy.

Easy Homemade Ramen Noodle Bowl

For those of you who know how a traditional ramen bowl is made the title might scare you away from trying or even reading this post but I hope you can bring yourself to keep going and I promise you that the recipe alone is worth the couple of minutes it will take you to listen to my little spiel and be rewarded with not only a delicious broth bowl of noodles, it was so easy I will be making it again very soon!

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So my husband has been on a “we need to find a noodle restaurant” kick of late. I’m fairly certain he hasn’t done any research on the subject, and I know I haven’t but I am not opposed to making a noodle bowl. However making a traditional ramen bowl can take many days to make the perfect broth and while I have done it once, yeah only once. I am kind of a instant gratification kind of person and while I have made my fair share of crazy long tedious recipes. They are usually a one and done kind of thing for me. I can appreciate why there are such recipes out there, and again I might even try them, but I much prefer to eat what I am making sometime that day.

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This is also a great way to use up some of those packages of ramen noodles that have been lying around in the pantry, or at least my pantry; minus the salt packet that is included with them of course. But the noodles are wonderful, easy to use and oh so cheap to buy.

 

Dinner for two

2 chicken breasts boneless skinless or whatever kind you have on hand
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Olive Oil or 1 Tbs unsalted butter for browning the chicken

2 tsp sesame oil or vegetable oil
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
3 tsp fresh garlic, minced
3 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs mirin
4 cups chicken stock
1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms or ½ cup fresh

2 large eggs
½ cup scallions, sliced
2 – 3 oz packs dried ramen noodles

Chicken – preheat your oven to 375’ F. season generously both sides of the breast with salt and pepper. Either melt your butter over medium heat or if you are using oil; once hot place chicken skin (unless using skinless) and leave for 3-4 minutes or until it releases from the pan and is nice and browned. Cook on the other side for the same 3-4 minutes and then transfer to the oven to finish cooking through.

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Broth – heat the sesame oil in a large pot over medium heat, until shimmering. Add the garlic and ginger cooking till soft; without burning. Add the soy sauce, mirin and stir to combine. Cook for another minute or so. Add the stock, cover and bring to a boil. Remove the lid and let it simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. If using dried mushrooms add them now and gently simmer for another 10 minutes. Check for seasonings and add salt to taste.

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Eggs – soft-boiled eggs start with leaving them in the fridge and in a medium sized pot put enough water to cover the eggs; noting that you can reuse the water for the noodles in a bit. Once the water is boiling gently drop the eggs in and boil for 7 minutes, removing to a ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Once you can touch the eggs gentle peel and slice in half

Noodles – in the same pot you used to cook the eggs drop the noodles a boil just till soft; 2-3 minutes. Drain set aside.

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Assembling the bowls – slice the chicken into thin strips. Slice scallions. Divide the noodles and broth between two bowls, place chicken slices and eggs on top of the noodles and sprinkle with fresh scallions.

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Spinach Cheddar Souffle

Today is supposed to be a nice sunny day here in NH it’s about time just saying!

Last week we had an epic fail in the kitchen I say we because my husband sort of kind of helped. This is not the first fail but this one was pretty pathetic and whilst in the middle of it my husband said and I quote “you should blog about this” my first thought was why what could I possibly share or talk about. He thought it would be good to show a failure, I am still laughing out loud.

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So the evening started out with hey do you want to go out or stay in? After a short conversation he was craving spaghetti & bread for dinner and he was going to make it. Fine with me, I was catching up on one of my taped shows. He went to take a shower and I thought I would help by browning the sausage and boiling the water. Then that turned into me starting the jar sauce and doctoring it up. That was our; yes I am still making him share in the blame; I really wanted to go out. I added some herbs as well as fresh basil from my windowsill. I also added some garlic powder and that was the downfall. So technically he had nothing to do with this I totally owned this fail but if we went out like I wanted it could have been avoided.

 

First bite he looks up and says is it salty? I take a bite and wow what the heck happened, it was actually inedible. It was so salty we couldn’t continue. OK now what; we had a little bit of spaghetti leftover but the sauce had to go. Now you’re going to laugh or at least my girlfriend did when I told her, I took the sauce and put it in a strainer yup a strainer. I did not use water like she thought, I just shook the sauce off the sausage and started over. Oh and did I mention that we burnt the garlic toast too – it happens! We both agreed the bolognese with handmade and cut pasta I made last night more than made up for the spaghetti fail earlier in the week.

I have always wanted to make a souffle but was always hesitant; they make it sound so difficult to have it come out right. I figured this would have to be a Sunday thing to try. When I usually have a little more time and I could pay a little more attention. Or so I thought! A quiet day for me ended with my in-laws stopping by and staying and a friend of my daughter coming over. Did I mention my daughter’s friend is a chef. I swear running with scissors is just how I operate in the kitchen. Thankfully it worked out and it really wasn’t too hard, however it is a process. I am looking forward to trying a sweet souffle in the near future.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day and Happy Easter!

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Note- before you want to make this be sure to take out 5 large eggs and the frozen chopped spinach so it has time to thaw

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Spinach and Cheddar Souffle

3 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing the dish
¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup warmed milk
¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 extra large egg yolks at room temperature
½ cup grated aged cheddar cheese, lightly packed
1 pack frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
5 extra large egg whites, at room temperature
⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven 400’ F. butter the inside of a 6-8 cup souffle dish and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.

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Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the hot milk, nutmeg cayenne, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly for 1 minute until smooth and thick

 

Off the heat, though still hot, whisk in the egg yolks one at a time. Stir in the Cheddar, ¼ cup of the parmesan and the spinach. Transfer to a large mixing bowl

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In the bowl to your electric mixer put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on low for a minute. Then on medium for another minute and finally on high speed until they are firm glossy peaks.

 

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Whisk in a quarter of the egg whites into the cheese sauce to lighten them up, then gently fold in the rest of the mixture. Pour into the prepared souffle dish. Draw a large circle on top with a spatula to help the souffle rise evenly. Place in the middle of the oven. Turn the temperature down to 375’F and bake for 30-35 minutes being careful not to peak until puffed and browned.  Serve immediately

 

Recipe by Ina Garten

Clean out the fridge frittata

I mostly blog the day my posts come out which is every Sunday. I am getting ready to leave for vacation and will be away for two Sundays and I was worried that I would not have Wifi where I am going so yesterday I wrote 3 blogs; just in case. Honestly I really want to be able to write while I am gone. How cool; for me anyway; to write while sitting on a beach or for one of the Sundays we are sailing with another couple on a 38’ catamaran which we are captaining ourselves. It sounds glorious and it might be, but I will admit I am a little nervous; we’ve never done anything like this before and only one of the four of us has ever sailed. Wish us luck!

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I was going to use one of the blogs I already wrote but inspiration struck this morning and I just can’t help myself. I am making my grocery shopping list and taking fridge inventory. I pulled out both vegetable bins and put them on the island. There was a summer squash and zucchini on their way out, half an onion, one lonely clove of garlic; not sure how that happened, some fresh thyme and a few scallions. I also took out a few of the leftovers in containers and had some leftover ham and extra chopped up cooked bacon and a frittata was born. My daughter said “haven’t you written about frittata’s before” Yes but I just felt compelled to do it again. Sorry if I am repeating myself but these are a great way to use up some less desirable or not enough for a whole meal items from your fridge. 

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I chopped everything up and starting building flavors in my cast iron skillet. You can see by the pictures I left my wooden spatula in most all the pictures, that is kind of a nod to my son; he made it for me when he was in middle school. I’ll have to show him the pictures since he was not here this morning to see me using it. I was pretty proud of my creation this morning and the look on my daughter’s face confirmed it; plus she took a picture of her plate and posted or sent it somewhere!

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This mornings Frittata

1/2 onion diced small
1 clove of garlic smashed and chopped
1 small summer squash chopped – I also peeled mine because it wasn’t pretty
1 medium zucchini – I peeled this one too again it was on it’s way out
1 small broccoli chopped
4 small tomatoes chopped
3 scallions sliced
chunk of ham chopped
crisped chopped bacon
2-3 sprigs of thyme stemmed removed and chopped
6 eggs – I only had 5 so that is what I used
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup shredded cheese
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
I also put some siracha in a few spots just to add a little heat you can see it in the last picture, there’s not much but it adds a little love.

saute the onions just till softened, add heartier vegetables first and the tender ones last just so they don’t breakdown to nothing, the meat I used was already cooked so a quick toss around was fine for them, beat the eggs and milk together and and pour over the ingredients, add a little cheese and just a quick mix in. Top with scallions and a little more salt and pepper.  Cook on top for about 3-5 minutes and then place under the broiler with the rack a rung or two below the top to set the eggs and brown watch but it should take about 10 minutes.

Bon Voyage

Super Simple Potato Salad – just in time for summer

Sometimes impromptu BBQ’s just happen. It seems in my life; it happens more than it doesn’t; luckily I am pretty used to them; whether throwing or attending. I can pull together a side or two fairly effortlessly sometimes with the help from a few key ingredients. This happened to us just yesterday; friends invited us over for a BBQ dinner and a fire. I spent the day doing out of town errands so not a lot of time to make something entirely homemade. I love potato salad but I have never found a store made one that I could purchase that I liked.  Trust me I keep trying; just in case; it would make life a little easier when in a rush.

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Grocery shopping was the last stop on my day of errands. I knew I needed to make a potato salad to bring and I contemplated buying some from the store; I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  BUT I did notice they had a package of hard boiled eggs. I didn’t even hesitate to pick them up. I have mentioned a time or two before that while I can cook a perfect hard boiled egg, peeling them is just not in my wheelhouse. More than a few are literally only good for making a potato salad since you chopped them all up.

My husband was walking by while I was opening the bag of already cooked eggs. stopped in his tracks and asked; “what are those?” I said it was totally legal, he thinks he’s funny and continued walking say “I don’t know about that” He’s such a brat!

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Tomorrow being Memorial Day you never know if you’ll get a phone call inviting you over for a small BBQ. This version is really easy and you might just have what you need on hand.  It is only 8 ingredients and 4 of them are pretty much optional since the dressing has loads of spices.

3 hard boiled eggs

1-2 lb Small red bliss potatoes

½ cup Mayo

1-2 stalks of celery diced small (opt)

3 tbs Zesty Italian dressing such as Kens

1-2 scallions finely diced (opt)

Kosher salt (opt) let each person add it at the table

Fresh cracked black pepper (opt) let each person add it at the table

You can either cut up the potatoes before boiling or after. I was busy emptying my truck and putting things away so I left them whole.

Boil potatoes in cold salted water for about 20-25 minutes; till soft but not mushy

Cut into 1 inch pieces and place in a zip lock bag; add Italian dressing zip the bag closed and mix with the dressing being careful not to break up the potatoes and place in the fridge to cool.

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By adding the dressing while still warm the potatoes take on all the dressings’ flavors.

Once cooled, add the mayo and cut up hard boiled eggs a little salt and pepper; mix just till combined. Sprinkle with scallions or chives.

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It is that simple and has a great flavor

Spinach Bacon and Cheese Breakfast Skillet

This week I found a new found respect for my cast iron skillet. Don’t get me wrong I have used it many times for certain dishes, mainly something to do with chicken. I actually like to use it on my gas grill for beer can chicken, it is very sturdy and I don’t have to use my nice pans on the grill which tend to get quite dirty. I definitely do not use it as often as I probably could or should.

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We do have the grill out and ready but have only been really able to use it only a couple of times so far, the weather has been unseasonably cold around here, just yesterday was the first day I didn’t have snow on my front lawn since last November, it’s got to turn around soon!!! We should be out cleaning the yard and gardens. Not sitting inside with the heat still on. Just this morning I made broccoli cheddar soup, chili and I am going to make a roasted chicken in a little bit. Those are all things I do in the Fall not in the Spring.

I had been craving a good burger for a couple of weeks now and I do make a mean burger so instead of going outside and freezing my butt off I decided to break out my cast iron and make a mess in the house. According to my guys “that was a great burger, thank you”.  I couldn’t agree more, the char on them was “AWESOME” I know that they wouldn’t have been as good if I used a different pan. Leaving the burger in place until the pan releases the meat is key to making the burgers delicious!!!!

This morning I brought the cast iron out again and it didn’t disappoint, I saw a Spinach & Cheese Breakfast Skillet recipe on Eating Well online. I did change mine up a little bit, I added chopped onions, I didn’t pre-cook my potato and I added more bacon and an extra egg than their original one listed. 

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Spinach & Cheese Breakfast Skillet

2 Medium sized potatoes peeled and diced in small cubes

1 small onion diced

2 Slices of bacon – I used 3 and it was too much – if that is even such a thing

3 cups fresh baby spinach

1/8 tsp salt

2 large eggs

2/3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Freshly cracked black pepper

2 Tbs water – for steam – helps cook the eggs quicker

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Peel and wash potatoes, slice in approx. 1/2” cubes. Cook bacon in skillet till crispy remove and set aside. Add potato to bacon grease cook till browned and tender, add diced onion. Cook until onions are slightly browned. Add spinach, stir till combined and barely wilted.  Make a couple of wells and crack an egg in each. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until the eggs are partially set, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, add water and cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the egg whites are completely set. Chop the bacon and sprinkle on top, garnish with generous grinding of pepper.

Wilted Spinach Salad

This last week there wasn’t a lot of cooking going at Clark Towers. It’s been quite some time since we ate out more than in; which is a little sad since I do love to cook and thankfully it doesn’t happen very often but I’m dealing, I did however make lunch yesterday for me and the guys just so I could actually make something well that and I needed to use up some fresh spinach that I bought before it went bad. Mind you this is not the first time I bought a big bag of spinach to make this dish, it usually just ended up in regular tossed salads.

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My husband remembers fondly of a wilted spinach salad that his mother made from his childhood. I on the other hand would not eat spinach (its green) to save my life when I was a kid. I’m am pretty happy I got over my no green food rule, I was missing out on some pretty fantastic options (I can see my mother smirking now). such as avocados – Guacamole is one of my absolute favorites and I make it all the time. Fresh spinach is also yummy I might just need to add this salad to my list of greens I like to eat now.

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I was definitely watching my husband take his first bite, I got nothing… (uhh deflated) he waited for his 3rd bite to finally speak – nodding his head he said he loved it! Phew I was a little worried, well not worried but curious if I pulled it off. My son on the other hand wasn’t in love with it, he is not a big egg fan so next time I would probably use 1 less egg, or not; he is old enough, he can fend for himself.

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The only problem is this is not a salad that will stay long; you really need to eat the whole thing at one sitting. I should have taken a picture of my husband coming back to the table and using the salad tongs to take one or two more bites.

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Wilted Spinach Salad

6 cups spinach, washed drained very well and torn into bite-sized pieces

¼ cup sliced green onion

2-3 hardboiled eggs, chopped

6 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and chopped

3 Tbs reserved bacon drippings

¼ cup vinegar

2 Tbs sugar

2 Tbs water

½ tsp kosher salt

¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper

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Place eggs in a sauce pan cover with cold water, bring to a boil, cover and turn off the heat. Let sit 13 minutes and then run under cold water, peel and roughly chop. Set aside.

Cook bacon in a skillet until crispy, transfer to paper towels to drain

Combine spinach, onions and eggs in a large bowl

In a small bowl add vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper, while bacon is draining on paper towels add vinegar mixture to 3 Tbs of the reserved bacon drippings, heat to boiling, stirring just to blend.

Pour hot mixture over spinach; gently toss and sprinkle with bacon

Serve immediately