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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Baked Eggs Nested in Greens

Brunch was never that important in my early adult years and not until I shacked up with my current beau did the necessity of diversifying my weekend breakfasts become an item of interest for me.

But it's so easy, you may exclaim, there are a million ways to make eggs!

Yes, true, but I only like to eat them scrambled or in a frittata (or hidden in things like quiche or gougers). So things are not as varied as I would like them to be. Until I came upon Smitten Kitchen's post baked eggs with spinach and mushrooms. Of course she loves eggs all ways, but spying this picture I realized I could scramble my portion and make a baked (somewhat poached) egg for my beau. Which is exactly what I did! And all were happy in the land of brunch...

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Wild Mushroom Pate

We can't get enough of the funghi in our family, which is why when Smitten Kitchen's wild mushroom pate cross my path, I knew it would make an appearance at our table in the very near future!

Sure, that looks like a thick chocolatey paste on that rice cracker, but think umami rather than sweetness, and you have the right kind of delicious heaven in mind. Adding some cream probably wasn't necessary, but since there happened to be some in the kitchen, I indulged. It truly was wonderful without it, so you can leave it out and know you're not missing a secret ingredient.

Do serve it at room temperature since when it is cold straight from the frig, it loses some of its nuances!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

South Indian Sauteed Swiss Chard (Palakoora Vepadu)


Sauteed greens is such a bland phrase in comparison to reality of the dish pictured above. It's like calling  caviar fish eggs or truffles fungus. It almost insults it with such a minimalist term. This is food for the gods!

I happened to be browsing Saveur's website looking for a good naan recipe and happened upon the motherlode of authentic Indian cooking. The magazine had devoted an entire issue to exploring the country top to bottom and this greens dish is from Andhra, a state on the south east coast of the Indian Ocean. I will definitely be on the lookout for more dishes from that state to be sure!

Prior to finding this recipe my meal plan included a urad dal makhani dish (look for that next) from the Punjab, and unknown to me both dishes used similar spices so they made the perfect compliment.

While the list of ingredients is comparatively long it is sooooo worth it!! This will be going into our regular rotation, and what a great way to get some good greens in your meal!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Cilantro Grilled Shrimp with Polenta

Shrimp or prawns as the large shrimpies are called, are a favorite on our table. I'm always searching for new ways to prepare them. This version is similar to something we ate last Christmas Eve at a seven fishes Sicilian dinner and I've been wanting to duplicate it ever since.

If you don't have preserved lemons, make some soon! If that fails, just use the juice of half a lemon and the zest of 1 and 1/2 lemons. it's the zest that is important.

All my life I have referred to large shrimp as prawns, but for some reason here on the North Coast they are really particular about calling them prawns (the correct term for sure). So let's acquiesce and be agreeable!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Quick Ricotta Dumplings with Garlic Tomato Sauce

Ever since I spied Mark Bittman's "easy recipe" for ricotta dumplings I knew I had to try it out with my family. We are cheese lovers to the hilt and anything with tomato sauce is a sure fire winner with the youngest of the family. Sure enough, these were simple, quick and delicious!

It's one of those dishes that you do not want to embellish in any way and using a very simple tomato sauce is the way to go. I used Marcella Hazan's famous butter, onion, tomatoes (throw it all in a pan, simmer for an hour and presto, gorgeous sauce!) And don't even think about adding extra grated cheese, that's gilding the lily in a most undelightful way!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Curried Latkes with Sour Cream and Pear Chutney

Potatoes are probably one of my most favorite ingredients in the world. Humble, versatile, comforting yet capable of transporting one to exotic lands since they are such great vehicles of flavor. The latke is the perfect example. Shred potatoes, squeeze out excess moisture and add eggs and flour and you have the age old peasant food that has sustained families for generations. Add some curry and chutney and you leave the Russian steppes and float away to a Bengali street vendor. All in the time it takes to make weekend brunch!

I will admit that not all of my latke experiments turn out as well as this one. Maybe it's the preponderance of Indian food that has been my favorite cuisine to explore but I seemed to have gotten this one right on the head.

Of course it would have been so much more exciting (and apropos to this blog) if the pear chutney was homemade, but alas it was a gift. But such a wonderful one that homemade pear chutney is high on my list of DIY items when pears are again in season!