Tag Archives: Eggs

Collard Greens, Mushroom and Cheddar Bread Pudding #SundaySupper

collard greens, mushroom and cheddar bread pudding

Alright, alright, alright – Sunday Supper is back, y’all! Channeling my inner Matthew McConaughey for a second. Don’t worry though, I’m fully clothed and not stoned, so I suppose I’m not channeling him too much…

Collard Greens, Mushroom and Cheddar Bread Pudding

collards and cheddar bread pudding

Anywho… our theme this week is Eat Your Greens! Because this month is St. Patrick’s Day…. Which features the color green…. Get it? I thought it was rather clever, whoever came up with this one! I mean, the obvious choice would have been to do a St. Patty’s Day themed #SS, which would have been delicious, no doubt, but this is a very cute and healthy spin on things.

Collard greens, mushroom and cheddar bread pudding

So now which greens to choose? I went with collard greens. I love ‘em. Actually, I remembered a recipe I’d filed away in my “must-try-soon” folder, this savory bread pudding which originally called for kale. But I can’t use kale in my house; Matt says he is allergic to it. (Now, whether he’s actually allergic or whether he just doesn’t like it – well, that’s between him and his god, I suppose. Just kidding, sweetie!) But, seriously, I don’t cook with kale for his sake; no one wants the one we love to ever be miserable. So I simply made the substitution and neither of us minded one bit. It was incredibly delicious! I would highly urge you to try this one, using whichever dark greens you and yours prefer the most. Enjoy!

Collard Greens, Mushroom and Cheddar bread pudding

And don’t forget to check out the rest of the fabulous recipes from my #SS crew!

{One year ago: Classic Caesar Salad, Chocolate Pistachio Fudge, and Lemon Risotto}

Source: adapted from Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo

Ingredients:
Olive oil
½ a bunch of collard greens, leaves stripped from the stems and rough chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
5 oz. Cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
About ½ a loaf of round white bread, such as ciabatta or rustic white round loaf, cut into cubes
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups whole milk
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease an 8×8”baking pan and set aside.
Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the collards and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly wilted, 2-3 minutes. Add the mushroom and onion, and more oil if it looks dry. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion softens and the mushrooms lightly brown, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and let cool 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs and milk together with a fork or whisk in a medium bowl.
Add the bread cubes to a large bowl. Add the collard green mixture, plus 2/3 of your shredded cheese. Stir together until combined. Spoon the mixture into your prepared baking dish and smooth the top. Pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture in the baking dish. Press the mixture with a spatula to make sure the bread is submerged in the custard. Sprinkle the last 1/3 of cheese on top.
Let the casserole sit at least 15 minutes, or up to overnight (covered with foil in the refrigerator, of course).
Cover with foil, if not already done, and bake 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 25-30 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Let the casserole sit 5 minutes before cutting into portions and serving. Leftovers work beautifully!

Green Light Appetizers and Sides

Getting Greens Through Salads

Entreés That Will Leave You Green With Envy

Desserts and Beverages That Will Make Others Turn Green

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Anchovy Pasta Carbonara

Anchovy Pasta Carbonara

So this Seafood with Pasta dish came about in an effort to use up a box of linguine languishing in the pantry, and I also needed a good excuse to use some Sicilian anchovies I picked up at Fairway. Non-cheap Sicilian anchovies, I might add…

Sicilian anchovies

Now, I am an anchovy fiend. I love them. I’m constantly looking for excuses to cook with them, and if I don’t have one, I’ve even taken to eating them on toast. I just adore them! Matt is…. not as much of a fiend, we’ll put it that way. I have to sneak around with them sometimes. So the night we had this dish, when he asked what was for dinner, I simply said, “carbonara.” Little omission there, I admit.

anchovy pasta carbonara

Well he loved it. I mean, LOVED IT. He even said it was, and I quote, “the best carbonara I’ve ever eaten.” And yes, at some point he did figure out the anchovies. Well, his assessment of the dish was quite accurate. This carbonara is incredible. As is probably obvious, the anchovies replace the bacon/pancetta as the salty component. And it really does work, I promise!

anchovies and linguine for carbonara

This pasta dish is delicious, simple and kinda sexy. Perfect to make for your other half tomorrow! So even if you think you’re squicked out by anchovies, take a hint from Matt and give this one a go. I think you’ll love it!

Anchovy pasta carbonara

{One year ago: Pimento Cheese Spread}

Source: lightly adapted from Food and Wine

Ingredients:
1 lb. long-cut pasta (I used linguine)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
One 2-oz. can flat anchovies, drained
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbs chopped oregano
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 extra-large egg yolks
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the past until al dente, according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil with the garlic and anchovies and cook over moderately high heat until the anchovies have dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add the red pepper, zest, oregano and parsley, then add the pasta and toss to coat. Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, whisk the yolks with the reserved cooking water and add to the pasta. Cook over low heat, tossing until the pasta is coated in a creamy sauce, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

Today will conclude the first Week Of… blog series, where I walked you through my efforts to like broccoli better. Last but certainly not least, we have the classic broccoli-cheddar combo, this time in quiche form. And yes, real men will eat it. Because it’s good. Real good.

making broccoli cheddar quiche

My plan for my Fridays when doing the Week Of… series is to accompany the recipe with a Recipe Round-Up of sorts. I’ll recap the week, plus post some other links, from my blog and others’, of recipes germane to the week’s theme.

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

So without further ado, here is the week’s recap!

First, we pureed the broccoli in this delicious Broccoli Basil Soup, so that Julie cannot complain about the texture.

broccoli basil soup

 

 

 

 

 

Secondly, we (quickly!) deep-fried the broccoli florets to make this unbelievably amazing appetizer, Bang Bang Broccoli. Undoubtedly the least healthy broccoli on the menu this week, but it’s so delicious that you kind of forget about that.

bang bang broccoli

 

 

 

 

 

And yesterday we gave props to oft-forgotten broccoli stalks with Roasted Broccoli Stem Dip with Parmesan-Black Pepper Pita Chips. A light, healthy, lemony dip to satisfy dip cravings without expanding your waistline.

roasted broccoli stem dip with parmesan black pepper pita chips

 

 

 

 

 

And here are some more broccoli recipes for your perusal and enjoyment!

broccoli cheddar quiche

Broccoli Cheese Soup from The Texan New Yorker
Roasted Bagna Cauda Broccoli from Food 52
Broccoli Parmesan Fritters from Smitten Kitchen
Southwest Broccoli Queso Chowder from SoupAddict
Broccoli, Bacon, Mushroom and Red Onion Pizza from Farm Fresh Feasts
Cheesy Broccoli Orzo from See Aimee Cook
Roasted Broccoli with Lemon, Chili-Garlic Oil, and Parmesan from Simply Scratch

Broccoli cheddar quiche

Stay tuned for next week’s theme: WINTER STEW!!

{One year ago: Adobo Salmon Salad Tartines}

Source: adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English

Ingredients:
PASTRY CRUST:
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter, very cold
6 tbs ice water

QUICHE:
4 thick-cut slices bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium head of broccoli, florets only, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
7 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half
Kosher salt and black pepper
8 oz. sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
First, make the crust. Add the flour and salt to a large bowl. Working quickly, cut the butter into small pats and add to the flour. Using a pastry cutter or two butter knives, work the butter into the flour until it resembles the size of small peas. Add the water and mix to combine with a rubber spatula until it has mostly come together. Knead lightly with your hands to get those last few scraggly crumbs. Shape the dough into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.
Unwrap the chilled pie dough disc and place it on a lightly floured work surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a circle to fit your pie plate. Roll the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to the prepared plate. Press the dough into the plate, then trim any overhang and crimp the edges decoratively. Stick the pie plate in the fridge while you prep the filling.
While the pie shell is chilling in the fridge, make the quiche filling. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and sauté until the fat has rendered and the bacon is nice and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
Pour out all but 1 tbs bacon fat. Return the skillet to medium heat. Add the onion and broccoli floret pieces; sauté until softened and the onions are translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed pepper flakes and cook 1 minute more. Shut off the heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and half-and-half. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble the quiche: spoon the broccoli mixture over the bottom of the pie crust. Add half the cheese and spread in an even layer. Now pour the egg mixture carefully over the filling. Add the rest of the cheese on the top.
Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Carefully slide into the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a knife inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean with no runny egg clinging to it.
Let rest about 10-15 minutes, then slice into wedges and serve hot.

Peach and Cherry Frittata

Peach and Cherry Frittata

This dish… doesn’t make any sense. In a perfectly rational and logical world, this flavor combination would not work. For reasons fortunate and unfortunate, the world is not perfectly rational and logical. Today, that is a fortunate fact, because it means we can enjoy this paradoxical breakfast dish.

peaches and cherries

peaches and cherries

So yeah, I totally wasn’t expecting that I could put sweet fruit into eggs, top it with tangy goat cheese, bake it off, drizzle it with maple syrup, and then eat it and enjoy it. But that’s kind of exactly what happened. Everything came together on the fork and it just… worked. It was flavorful and balanced and I really don’t know completely why. So tasty though!

before baking: peach cherry frittata

This is the last peach recipe for the season for me, but I’ve got two more scrumptious cherry desserts to share with you next week. So stay tuned for that!

Peach Cherry Frittata

And give this one a try very soon – it sounds odd, but it really is delicious and so perfect for a summer brunch. And on that note, I shall sign off and wish you a wonderful weekend!

Peach and Cherry Frittata

Other Peach recipe you might enjoy: Peach Cobbler, Salmon with Tamarind-Peach Barbecue Sauce, Peaches and Cream Crumble Topped Pie, Peach Sour Cream Pancakes

{One year ago: Spicy Coleslaw and Pulled Pork Sliders}

Source: adapted from Weeknights with Giada by Giada de Laurentiis

Ingredients:
6 large eggs
¼ cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbs chopped fresh thyme leaves
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tbs canola oil
1 large peach, pitted and cut into chunks
8 oz. fresh sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted
4 oz. goat cheese
Maple syrup, for serving

Directions:
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, sugar, thyme and salt until smooth.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch cast-iron or otherwise oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Pour in the egg mixture and, working quickly, evenly distribute the peaches and cherries in a single layer over top of the eggs. Crumble the goat cheese into chunks with your fingers and sprinkle it over the eggs and fruit. Cook without stirring for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to set. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the frittata is slightly puffed and the egg mixture has set, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.
Cut into wedges and serve with maple syrup for drizzling.

Huevos Rancheros Divorciados

huevos rancheros divorciados

Yesterday was Matt’s birthday, so of course I spent the day cooking up a feast for him. For dinner we had decadent burgers, grilled salad with homemade ranch dressing (one of his faves) and he requested this ice cream, surprisingly not this ice cream, for dessert.

making Salsa Asada

making green tomatillo salsa

Since it was Sunday, and we usually have brunch on Sunday, I wanted to make him a birthday brunch. When I asked him what he wanted, he thought for awhile, then said “Huevos rancheros!” As that is one of my favorite dishes of all time, I was quite happy to oblige.

Huevos Rancheros Divorciados

And since this was birthday Huevos rancheros, for a very special person no less, I thought I would jazz it up a bit and make it very special Huevos rancheros! The divorciados in the title refers to two different sauces – a red, tomato-based (typical) and a green tomatillo-based (unusual). It was quite scrumptious! The two different sauces added a lovely depth of flavor and the contrast looked very pretty on the plate. Most importantly, Matt loved it. A wonderful dish for a wonderful person! Happy birthday Matt!!!

Huevos Rancheros Divorciados

Huevos Rancheros Divorciados

A few recipe notes: Huevos rancheros is very easy to scale up or down. As written, there’s easily enough sauce for 4 servings. Or you can do as I did, make only two servings, and have delicious leftover salsa. Enjoy!

clean plates after breakfast

Source: heavily adapted from Mexican Made Easy by Marcella Villadolid

Ingredients:

RED SALSA (Salsa Asada):
4 plum tomatoes
1 medium shallot, peeled
1 serrano chile, stemmed
1 garlic clove, unpeeled
1/3 cup chicken stock
Kosher salt and black pepper

GREEN SALSA (Roasted Tomatillo Salsa):
1 tbs olive oil
4 large tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 small shallot, peeled
1 garlic clove, unpeeled
1 jalapeno, stemmed
1 tbs fresh cilantro
½ cup water
Kosher salt and black pepper

HUEVOS RANCHEROS:
Canola oil
Corn tortillas: 2 per person
Sour cream: 2 tbs per tortilla
1 (15 oz.) can refried beans, warmed in the microwave until stirrable
Shredded Monterey jack cheese
2 eggs per person

Directions:
First make the RED SALSA. Heat a 10” cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, shallot, serrano, and garlic to the dry skillet and roast until charred on all sides, about 7 minutes. Don’t worry if the veggies are not cooked all the way through.
Transfer the tomatoes, shallot, and serrano to the blender. Peel the garlic carefully (it’s hot!) and then add it to the blender, along with the chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste. Puree until smooth. Pour the salsa into a small stockpot over medium-low heat. Simmer gently and let it thicken for about 10 minutes, or until desired consistency. This will also help cook out the veggies. Wipe out the cast-iron skillet and rinse the blender under running water.
Now make the GREEN SALSA. Place the same 10” cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then the tomatillos, shallot, garlic and jalapenos. Cook about 7 minutes, until the tomatillos are browned and the other veggies are charred.
Transfer the tomatillos, shallot, and jalapenos to the blender. Peel the garlic carefully (it’s hot!) then add it to the blender, along with the cilantro, water, salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.
Pour the salsa back into the cast-iron skillet and simmer gently over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or until thickened to your desired consistency.
Keep both salsas warm until needed.
Pour about an inch of canola oil into a large non-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When the oil is ready, fry the tortillas until crispy, about 2-3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
Pour most of the oil out of the skillet, then fry up the desired number of eggs, sunny-side up, or over easy, however you desire.
To assemble: smear about a tablespoon of sour cream on a dinner plate where each tortilla will be placed. Anchor a tortilla atop each smear of sour cream. Dollop some refried beans on each tortilla and spread it to the edges. Place a fried egg on each tortilla. Top with shredded cheese, then spoon some red salsa on one and some green salsa on the other. Eat!

Chipotle Chilaquiles

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No one can do brunch like the Mexicans. Well, maybe the French. But I seriously adore Mexican morning food. It’s just utterly amazing. Every time we’re on vacation in Mexico (which is not anywhere near frequently enough, if you ask me), I wake up bright and early each morning to make sure I do not miss breakfast.

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One of my favorite brunch dishes is chilaquiles (pronounced chee-la-key-lace). Chilaquiles, at its most basic, is stale fried tortilla chips tossed in salsa. Most of the time it’s jazzed up a bit – garnished with cheese, or sour cream, or avocado, or accompanied with a fried egg.

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I’ve made this dish many times over the years, and my favorite way is topped with grated Monterey jack cheese, broiled until melted and browned, then each individual serving is topped with a fried egg with a runny yolk. The yolk runs all over the cheese and chips and makes everything luscious.

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Chilaquiles is a great option if you’re hosting a small brunch gathering – maybe four to six people. The salsa can be made ahead of time, as can the fried tortillas. Then you assemble it in a casserole dish and cook up eggs while it broils. Serve with garnishes and of course a great brunch beverage, and you’ll have yourself a very festive Sunday morning!

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Tip: I do not toss my chips in the salsa until right before I’m putting it in the oven. And I serve it immediately when it comes out of the oven, because I like a little crunch remaining on my chips. But you can certainly have them be softer and chewier if you please. Just let the chips sit in the salsa for a few minutes if this is more your texture. And of course the fried egg is simply my personal preference. Poached eggs or scrambled eggs will work beautifully too. And you really don’t even have to have an egg at all, if they’re not your thing.

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Source: adapted from Mexican Made Easy, by Marcella Valladolid

Ingredients:
8 corn tortillas, each cut into wedges of 4
1 1/2 tbs canola oil, plus more for deep frying
5 plum tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 small white onion, cut into 8 wedges
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 chipotle in adobo
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 oz. Monterey jack cheese, grated
2-6 large eggs, optional
1/4 cup crumbled Cotija or queso fresco

Directions:
Heat canola oil in your deep fryer according to manufacturer’s instructions. Working in batches, fry the tortilla wedges until crispy, about 1 minute per side. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate and salt them. When all tortilla wedges have been fried, drained and seasoned, place them in a shallow casserole dish, one that holds about 1 1/2 quarts.
Heat the 1 1/2 tbs canola oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, onion wedges, and garlic cloves. Cook, turning frequently, until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes and garlic to a blender. Remove the onions to a cutting board, snip off the root ends and then add them to the blender as well. Add the chipotle, plus salt and pepper to taste. Puree until very smooth.
Return the sauce to the skillet and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Shut off the heat and keep warm if you’re not ready to use it yet.
Preheat your broiler.
Take the warm salsa and pour or spoon it over the tortilla chips. Give the casserole dish a few shakes on a flat counter surface to get the salsa to the bottom of the dish. Top with the shredded jack cheese and broil for 5 to 8 minutes, until melted, browned and bubbly.
Meanwhile, if using, make the eggs however you desire, allotting 1 to 2 eggs per person.
Remove the casserole from the oven and serve individual portions immediately. Top each portion with the eggs, and sprinkle each with the crumbled Cotija. Serve immediately.

Huevos Rancheros

A couple of weeks ago it was another thirty-something birthday for me, and Matt offered to make me whatever I wanted for dinner.  I thought about it for a while, and realized it would have to be something either Mexican or Tex-Mex, those being my all-time favorite types of cuisine.  And since Matt is amazing at cooking eggs, Huevos Rancheros became an easy decision.

I don’t know if it’s entirely true, but I heard one time that the way many chefs and restaurateurs test the chefs/cooks applying for jobs is to make them cook an egg.  They reason that an egg is very difficult to cook perfectly, so if he/she can flawlessly execute an egg, then they can probably cook whatever else is needed.  I once joked to Matt that he could easily secure a job at a fancy, fine dining restaurant based on that test.  Sure, he would go in, serve up a delicious and perfect egg, any style, and be hired on the spot.  Then the head chef or owner would discover he wasn’t the least bit qualified and didn’t know what he was doing at all.  But, man, he can cook eggs.

Huevos Rancheros is a very popular Mexican breakfast dish, with as many variations on a theme as there are home cooks in the country.  I’ve seen recipes with fried eggs, poached eggs, and scrambled eggs; there is a somewhat spirited debate about whether or not beans should be included in the finished product; and some people go with two sauces (green and red) whereas others only use red salsa.  Some versions are cheesier than others, some include avocado in some form, and some do not; and some include bacon or chorizo, whereas others are meat-free.

But the agreed-upon basics include: a fried tortilla, ranchero sauce, which is a tomato-based chile “restaurant style” salsa (meaning not a pico de gallo), and eggs.  I prefer mine with beans, so I always include them regardless of recipe instructions.  And for my birthday, I opted for a fried egg, though the dish is also quite delicious with other egg preparations.  The egg was absolutely perfect, and the dish was as amazing as it always is.  I was once again reminded that I could happily eat some version of this dish once a week and never tire of it.  Happy birthday to me, indeed.  Thank you, sweetie!

Source: adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine, February/March 2006

Ingredients:
6 plum tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
8 slices bacon
Vegetable or canola oil
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, with some of their juices
8 (6 inch) corn tortillas
2 tbs unsalted butter
4-8 large eggs, depending upon how many eggs per serving you want
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
Sour cream
1 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)

Directions:
Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Char the tomatoes, turning several times with tongs, until their skin blisters and starts to peel. Transfer to a plate. When cool enough to handle, peel their skins off. If you don’t get every little piece of skin off, it’s definitely okay.
Place the tomatoes, one-third of the garlic, half the onion, and the jalapeno in a blender or food processor. Pulse about 6 times, until thoroughly chopped but not pureed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Wipe out the cast-iron skillet and return to the pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until it’s crisped and has rendered its fat. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.
Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the tomato mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and set aside. Tent with foil to keep it warm.
Wipe out the skillet and add a drizzle of vegetable oil if needed, then add the remaining onion and garlic. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
Raise the heat and add half the beans to the skillet. Mash with a potato masher, then add the rest of the beans and keep mashing. Cook for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl, tent with foil, and set aside.
Fill a large skillet with an inch of vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat until it ripples. Fry the tortillas, in batches as is necessary, turning once with tongs, until crisped and golden brown. Remove to paper towel lined plates.
In a large, nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium to medium-high heat, then crack in the eggs. Fry until the whites are set (just opaque), about 2-3 minutes.
Assemble the Huevos Rancheros: on each dinner plate, spread two scant tablespoons of sour cream in two separate places on the plates. Place a fried tortilla over each. The sour cream anchors the tortilla on the plate. Spread each tortilla with beans, then top with 2 slices of bacon, then 1-2 eggs, then sprinkle with cheese and top with ranchero sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired.

As written this will serve 4-8 people, depending on whether people want 1 or 2 tortillas.

Hot and Sour Soup

Growing up I never liked or remotely appreciated Chinese food.  Since take-out isn’t particularly healthy and is deemed an occasional greasy and guilty pleasure by most people, including my parents, they didn’t push the issue at all.  I think I once tried a wanton and begrudgingly said it was okay.

But, yes, I did manage to make it to my mid-twenties having never really tried much in the way of Asian food.  When Matt and I started dating, he offered to take me to a nice Chinese restaurant once, and I informed him I didn’t really like Chinese.  He told me later he wondered then if this was going to work out.  Instead of breaking up with me, he decided to try and persuade me to at least try it.  I’m glad he did, for two reasons:

1)      I’m glad we’re still together, and
2)      I really, really like most Asian food!

I have now come to appreciate so many Asian dishes and cuisines.  I love sushi (something I previously wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole), I’m obsessed with Thai food, and I think Korean barbecue is delicious.  I now find Vietnamese food wonderful, noodle bowls delightful, and my bucket list includes going to Singapore and eating at a noodle shop.  While at one point this would never have appealed to me, now Matt and I love exploring a city’s Chinatown, or other Asian neighborhood, like K-Town in New York or Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. And frankly, those are some of the best meals I’ve ever eaten.

I must confess though, that I’ve never completely warmed to hot and sour soup.  I’ve always thought it was okay, but not great.  However, as it is one of Matt’s favorites, I did want to make it for him at least once.  This soup really grew on me as I ate it.  At first I thought the vinegar was too strong, and I would probably recommend cutting back on the stated amount, then adding more as you feel is desired.  However, the soup had really mellowed after a few bites, and I really enjoyed it.  The heat was just the right amount.  All in all, a very nice dish!

So… what is your favorite Asian neighborhood?  What city is it in?  Is it a Chinatown or something different?  What do you love about it?

Source: Global Kitchen, by Jeffrey Saad

Ingredients:
1 tbs cornstarch
1 tbs cool water
1 tbs toasted sesame oil
4 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp finely chopped fresh garlic
1/4 to 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs soy sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp Sriracha
1 quart chicken stock
2 large eggs
1/2 cup firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Directions:
In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and water and set aside.
In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, add the sesame oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes until soft. Add the scallions, ginger, and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, salt and Sriracha. Cook for 2 minutes to infuse all the flavors.
Add the stock and bring to a boil. While whisking the soup, slowly pour in the cornstarch mixture. Whisk until combined and the soup starts to thicken. Shut off the heat.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs until just mixed. Slowly pour the eggs into the pot, stirring continuously in a circular motion. Continue to stir for 30 seconds. You will see the egg cook in long strands and the soup will take on a creamy look, though it will still have a broth consistency.
Taste the soup to test the vinegar amount at this time. Add more, up to another 1/4 cup, if you think it is lacking. Now add the tofu and cilantro, and serve immediately.