Monday, April 21, 2014

Cutest Little Kale

Look what I came across this morning....


Instagrammer @Adelinemt said it best "The Cutest Vegetable Ever" 

They call it the Flower Sprout.
Awwww, a cute name, too.

I read about this new hybrid vegetable on the Dailymail UK first, then trolled IG to see if it was out in the streets. Not really, only 44 posts. But, it's oh so adorable, I am surprised we aren't seeing it EVERYWHERE. It's marketed as a "Superfood" and we are in the heat of health craze, ya'll, so you'd think it be hook, line, sinker. Some things take longer to catch, I suppose. 

Maybe it's the lineage, little Flower Sprout is the love child of Kale and Brussel Sprouts. While that sounds like SUPERFOOD to me, Super Steven would say that's his worst nightmare incarnate. Soooo, maybe I won't be seeing it in my local grocery store anytime soon, buuuut if I can just get this garden going. Then, turn this black thumb, green....then, maybe then, I can sprout my own Flower Sprouts...I know, I know but cheesy was too easy there. 


That's all I've got today; hope everyone's Easter was all you'd hoped it would be...I'm exhausted :)


Happy Cooking!




XoXo

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Arugula Spring Salad: Strawberry Vinaigrette, Pickled Shallots &BrieCroutons


Alright, so to start, this recipe may sound out there. Pickled shallots? Strawberries? WHAT?! No, seriously, it is good. Really good. I liken it to the salad that they sometimes bring to the table in Japanese Steakhouse. Kind of a citrus-ginger dressing over the top. It's tangy, sweet, salty; it's got a lot going on.

Brie Croutons might sound bonkers. I know. But try them with the strawberry Vinaigrette. It's dangerously good for a lover of anything brie.

It's a salad that just tastes like Spring. The recipes for heavy stews, soups & roasts of winter are tucked away...here in Las Vegas they are tucked away for the next 6 months! Kind of sad about that. There's a magic about winter. Of course, we don't get snow and our winter was in the 70's more than 30's this year. It was a mild winter. But winter brings the holidays, family comes together and the recipes are deep, hot, flavorful, & nourishing.

Now we enter the hibernation season in the desert. It's backwards in our neck of the woods. Pretty soon, people will hide inside tucked away from the 100+ degree weather and here at my house, we eat loads of Popsicle and watermelon, and not much of anything else. Now this salad will be on rotation.


Strawberry Vinaigrette, Pickled Shallots & Brie Croutons

over Arugula & Red Leaf Salad


Arugula, rinsed
Red Leaf Lettuce, rinsed and cut
1 Whole Shallot (1/3 for dressing & 2/3 for pickling)
Pack of Strawberries
Radishes
Dried Cranberries
Shelled Walnuts
Pickled Shallots (recipe below)
Strawberry Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Brie Croutons (recipe below)


Strawberry Vinaigrette


1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/3 Medium Shallot
4 Strawberries
2 Tbsp Feta
8 Walnuts
1 Wedge Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp each salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika

Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend to smooth. Add salt and pepper to your tastes.











Spicy Pickled Shallots


Red Wine Vinegar (about 1/2 cup- enough to cover shallots)
Shallot (use the rest of the shallot from dressing)
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
Good pinch of red pepper

Slice shallots into thin strips.
Whisk the marinade. Microwave the liquid for 30 seconds.


Cover the shallots and refrigerate for an hour.


Drain shallots before adding over salad.



Brie Croutons


2 Slices French Bread
Soft Butter for spreading
Wedge of Brie


Spread butter over one side of the bread, just like if you were making a grilled cheese.


Slice the brie into thin slices.

Heat a pan and put butter side down of the first slice of bread.

Add a thick layer of cheese to the side facing up.



Finish exactly as a grilled cheese; add the second slice, butter side up. 


Flip to get the cheese melted through and both sides nice and toasted.



Remove from heat; let it cool until the cheese isn't gooey. 




Finish by cutting into cubes. Put the cubes back on low heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.



Let them toast for 30 minutes, giving them a stir every so often. Serve warm over top of the salad.



Assemble the Salad


Mix equal parts of cut red leaf lettuce and arugula. Top greens with a handful of dried cranberries and walnuts. Crunch the walnuts into smaller pieces first. Add sliced radish over the top. I found these great "Easter Egg" radishes at Glaziers Market.


They were too pretty to pass up, so they ended up in the mix. Added a nice little spicy crunch. Don't forget the pickled shallots! You can even throw a couple of sliced strawberries over the top. Top it all of with the Strawberry Vinaigrette and add the Brie Croutons at the last minute before serving.











Here is my attempt at salad art. I was feeling inspired that day:



Then the everyday version for Super Steve who is not a Brie fan. Blasphemy, I know! I snuck some on for the photo though. Ha.


That's it for today.
Until next time....Happy Cooking! I'm not sure that I'll have my next recipe done before, so I'll wish you a Happy Easter, too!!!



XoXo


Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekend Brunch: The Perfect Egg Tops Crisp Red Potatoes & RoastedAsparagus


Whether as a weekend brunch for two or as brunch for the family (hint- Easter is coming up this weekend, oh my!) asparagus, crisp potatoes and a perfectly cooked egg come together to make a pretty, pretty simple, and pretty tasty way to entertain. 

Every once in a while my plus one and I get the night off from parent world. Our little guy will stay with his Gigi or Gram Gram (our loving names for grandmas) and we'll sleep in and make brunch together. This one is a recipe simple enough to do together and enjoy together. I suddenly have the urge to say, "These are the days of our lives." Enjoy!





3 Leftover Baked Red Potatoes
2-4 Eggs
1 Bundle Asparagus
1 Tbsp Olive Oil (or Grapeseed)
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil (or Grapeseed)
1 tsp Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper, to taste



Crisp Red Potatoes

Use leftover baked potatoes for the best result. 

Using precooked potatoes cuts down on the cooking time, and adds a different flavor/ texture especially if you have leftover baked potatoes. They have all the roasted goodness in the skins. They crisp up better, too!

If not available, you can puncture fresh red potatoes several times, then heat in the microwave for 5 minutes (3 medium potatoes) longer for more or for larger potatoes.

Dice potatoes, leave the skins on. I do a medium dice, and I don't make the perfect. It's the rustic look.





Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a pan. 




Once hot, add potatoes and bring the heat down to medium.




Add spices over the potatoes. 



Now your kitchen is smelling good enough to wake the neighbors!

Turn the potatoes every few minutes.

After 6 minute, they are starting to look good.



After 15 minute, they are look GREAT

Done!





Roasted Asparagus

You can start these while making the potatoes and eggs, so it all convenes together. Or separately and set each piece aside. Whichever works for you!

Trim tough bottoms off one bunch of asparagus.

Toss in olive oil, salt & pepper.

Lay out asparagus over a sheet pan evely.

Roast in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Don't forget to take them out....I'm not going to lie, I've forgotton to take them out, or get them started in the first place! :) It's okay, it's not too late.



Egg Over Easy

Add a layer of butter to a frying pan.




Get heat to an even medium over the pan.

Add egg. Moderate the stove at a medium heat so it doesn't cook too fast and toughen the egg. Cooking it on a little less heat makes for a softer egg, I think. 



Once the bottom is white across, time to flip, about 3 minutes. Lower heat a touch more. Leave on pan for 2 minutes on medium low heat. This gets the egg to my favorite place, in between Over Easy and not as firm as Over Medium.



On my stove settings, I start the butter at and "8" until melted, bring it down to a "6" for one minute! then down to a "4" for the last 2 minutes, then flip and turn down to a "2".



......and the final product






It doesn't get much better than a perfectly cooked egg, unless you pile it on top the crispy potatoes and asparagus. The gooey yolk breaks and drips, like this 



...oh man, that's good stuff! Reserve this recipe for a very special someone. 


...or if your someone is like mine, maybe some steak & egg action


Don't forget the Mimosa or a sparkling orange juice.


Until next time...Happy Cooking & Brunching! 


XoXo





Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dyed Deviled Eggs Win & Dyed Deviled Eggs Fail

Easter is coming, it'll be here before we know it. I have been trying a few new recipes lately in the spirit of Easter, the first being something found on Pinterest after my Grandma mentioned dying deviled eggs. After searching around a bit, I happened across Foodjimoto.com.
This is the picture that won my attention:

Lovely Photo Credit to Foodjimoto.com

http://www.foodjimoto.com/2011/04/easter-eggs.html

So I followed her very well done directions...no, I didn't. You know me better than that. 


"Hard" Boiling Eggs:

First, I used my handy dandy egg timer to time my eggs. Check this thing out:



I believe this beauty came from Bed, Bath & Beyond. I can do without a lot of gadgetry, but not this one.



Kitchen Tip: When it comes to hard boiling, the name is kind of deceiving. I think Soft Simmered might be a better description. When left to hard boil, the eggs bump and crack. The whites seem tough, a little chewy or tough-skinned to the bite. The yolks are super dehydrated, and turn grey....which is the telltale sign they were cooked too long and hot. The difference is not HUGE, but you will notice how people just really like your deviled eggs, when not hard boiled. And they won't know why, and you'll know- it's the consistency. The perfectly cooked egg just works in any scenario.

So back to the eggs...

The timer goes in the water with the eggs and as the water simmers, the timer color turns black, so you know where the eggs are at. 

Second, I wait for the timer to get passed medium and then turn the heat off, let the eggs set in the hot water until the timer reads "hard" but the yolks are just done. At that point the whites are cooked to soft and creamy goodness. Makes for a really good deviled egg!

Next, run cold water through the pot for a few minutes to cool them quickly, and then into the freezer they go for about 10 minutes. 

Without fail, if I boil eggs and store them in the fridge for peeling later, the membrane attaches to the egg white and it becomes a nightmare to peel. When I tried the quick cooling in the freezer thing, it changed egg peeling for me, forever. Occasionally there is a tough one that just won't peel but overall it is much easier, quicker, less messy, prettier outcome. You get the picture. 

Last difference is I use sour cream, instead of mayo. I also sprinkle some Lawry's Seasoned Salt in the yolk/sour cream mix.


For hard boiled eggs, I use 

- 6 Eggs
- about 1/4 cup Sour Cream  
- 3 Tbsp Mustard, yellow
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
-  1/2 tsp of Lawry's Seasoned Salt, to your taste

Start with less and add as you go, if needed.

Here is my finished product:



I used finely shaved radish and parsley sprigs for color and freshness. 

To my surprise, you can dye the actual egg white! Seeing is believing. AND it was easy, too! 

For the coloring process, I followed Foodjimoto's process (mostly?), also described here:
http://www.foodjimoto.com/2011/04/easter-eggs.html

I tried it with one color, to start. 

It's as easy as:

Put 2-3 drops food color in a mug or glass. I used the Neon product, purple. 



Fill glass, half way with water. 

Slice your peeled eggs in half, lengthwise. Reserve yolks. Rinse eggs white halves in cool water and pat dry. 



Drop into the colored water and let sit for 5-8 minutes. I noticed the longer I left them in, the richer the color. I skipped the step of adding vinegar to the water, because I was worried it would alter the flavor of the eggs. Turns out, vinegar wasn't necesarry.



While your are waiting for the eggs to colour, make the filling using the recipe about


One tip, once they are dyed, handle gently. I think the oil on my finger displaced the dye from the surface of the egg ehite, the first time I took them out, so I dropped them back into the colored water for a few minutes. That fixed it. 

Have a paper towel ready, I patted off the excess water after putting them right onto the egg tray.

You can fill them from there. 
Whip together the cooked yolks, the sour cream & seasoned salt. 

To fill, this time I just used a spoon, but Fujimoto.com had a "Super Shooter" and I think I am going to invest in one more gadget. Even the good old snip-the-corner-from-a-plastic-bag trick look as pretty as the product of the Super Shooter!


The Wear-Ever Super Shooter


All is well and it was time to bring out those gorgeous little packages. I opened the fridge. 


Then for the kicker....




GIANT FAIL!

It was A Christmas Story moment! Though, we did not end up at a restaurant eating ostrich eggs. But still, the analogy was not lost on me.

So, what happened? 

I stored them under my cheese drawer, to keep chilled for dinner. The drawer had come off the tracks and dropped right on top of the tray of eggs.

I remembered my son saying he had grabbed a piece of cheese for a snack while I was getting ready... An "Oh NOOO" moment. Panic. Then bummed, seeing an hour of my day smushed all over the bottom of the cheese drawer. Doh! Shaking my head. Then just laughter. What else is left to do? 

Photo credit: www.belvajune.com They have a great Etsy store of Party Printables to round out your Easter Party!!!



We all had a laugh, and I learned a lesson or two. I can appreciate a good lesson. :)


Did I mention he had snuck two before the debacle...

Must have been gooood!




Until Next time... Happy Cooking! 




XoXo