Vegetable Eggs Benedict

Vegetable Eggs Benedict

Vegetable Eggs Benedict

I think I’ve discussed before the fact that I rarely eat eggs, that is up until this past year when suddenly I discovered I liked them. This isn’t to say I crave eggs the way I do chocolate or even peaches, but at least now I like them and sometimes even order them in a restaurant for brunch. Yes, I was that person who used to order a chicken sandwich off the breakfast menu, sorry.

Surprisingly, I’ve found that I prefer eggs to be little raw, be it poached or fried I like a runny yolk. Also, if I’m going to eat eggs the dish needs to have more than just eggs to it. It needs vegetables at the very least, and maybe something starchy like toast.

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Earlier this summer I had lunch at Nookies, a casual neighborhood restaurant, and found “grilled vegetable eggs Benedict” on their summer menu. Essentially, it was grilled vegetables served on an English muffin, topped with a poached egg and salsa. And it was fantastic! This dish was light with bright and fresh summer flavors, and was one where I instantly thought I needed to make this myself.

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In my version of vegetable eggs Benedict, I like to saute the vegetables rather than grill them because, well, I don’t have a grill. Also, I use fewer types of vegetables because I like to be able to taste all of them. I use whole wheat English muffins and – please don’t judge me for this one – store-bought salsa. One of these days I’m going to make a big batch of salsa and freeze or can it, but for now I find that a chunky, mild store-bought salsa works just fine.

As for poaching eggs, I want to be clear that this is really easy to do and you don’t need any of those weird poaching gizmos. Remember to always use cold, fresh eggs and add 1 to 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar to the poaching liquid to ensure the eggs stay together. The rest is all technique which is described in the recipe below.

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Here’s the recipe:

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White Peach & Blueberry Buckle

White Peach & Blueberry Buckle

White Peach & Blueberry Buckle

It amazes me how something neither myself nor most of my friends had heard of could so quickly become a most requested recipe. Until a few weeks ago a buckle was known as something belonging on a belt or a cool pair of boots, certainly not something to eat, which was why the first time I announced I was going to make it the common response was “what’s a buckle?”

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It turns out a buckle is essentially a fruity coffee cake that gets its name because the top “buckles” as it bakes. But seriously, this buckle is so much better than any coffee cake I’d ever eaten. First of all, it’s extremely light and fluffy, not to mention moist. The crispy crumb topping adds a perfect touch of sugary goodness, and the peaches and blueberries throughout make you think you’re eating something healthy.

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In fact, as far as baked desserts go, this one is relatively healthy. The total amount of butter is just a bit more than one stick and I like to tell myself that the fruit cancels out all the sugar.

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As for feedback, this buckle was such a huge hit at the first dinner I brought it to that it was demanded for an overnight hiking trip just two weeks later where it was eaten as both dessert and breakfast. Sadly, I used up the last of my peaches on the second buckle so there won’t be another one this year, but the results were so worth it.

Here’s the recipe:

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Breakfast for Dinner: Balsamic Fried Egg

Balsamic Fried Egg

Balsamic Fried Egg

Hmmm… the egg. I’ve never been much of an egg person; my interest has been mostly philosophical in the context of “what came first.”

While essential for baking, I don’t often eat eggs on their own as an omelet, scrambled, poached, sunny-side up, etc. That is until recently when I discovered the balsamic fried egg.

Balsamic Fried Egg: saute mushrooms Balsamic Fried Egg: egg

Surprisingly, I’ve actually begun to crave this creation: it’s simple, quick, savory and a little sweet, and goes well with whatever vegetable I’ve got in the fridge (so far I like mushrooms best). Plus it’s an inexpensive protein. I should point out that this is always made for dinner, never breakfast. Not really sure why though.

Balsamic Fried Egg: add balsamic vinegar Balsamic Fried Egg: stir in cooked mushrooms

Also, a good quality balsamic vinegar is a must! Look for one that has been aged 18 years.

The egg (er, end).

Here’s the recipe:

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Strawberry-Rhubarb Scones Just in Time for Memorial Day

Strawberry-Rhubarb Scones

Strawberry-Rhubarb Scones

Sometimes I feel the need to bake, but the thought of walking across the street to the grocery store is just too much to handle. Yup, I can be very lazy, but that laziness can sometimes lead to something great.

Take these strawberry-rhubarb scones. They were born out of sheer laziness but quickly became a springy delight, perfect for Memorial day. I picked up a bunch of rhubarb at the farmer’s market on Wednesday without knowing what to do with it. By Thursday night I was in the mood for some baked goods, namely muffins. So I thought “how about using the rhubarb to make muffins?”

Scones: ingredients for strawberry-rhubarb compote Scones: add strawberries to compote Scones: chilled strawberry-rhubarb compote

Good thought, right? Well it would have been if I’d had eggs, an essential ingredient in muffins. That dilemma got me thinking about what else I could make with rhubarb using only ingredients I had on hand.

A search of Epicurious.com lead me to a recipe for rhubarb and raspberry jam roly-poly. I had no idea what a roly-poly was but quickly learned it’s similar to a scone. Hmmm… scones… interesting…

Scones: chilled diced butter Scones: dry ingredients with butter Scones: butter mixed into dry ingredients

The recipe you see here is based on the roly-poly recipe but tweaked quite a bit. For instance, I used half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose to make the scones a bit more nutritious (I cut the amount of butter a little for the same reason). I also added 1/2 cup of diced strawberries instead of raspberry jam to the compote, part of which is mixed in with the dry ingredients; the rest is saved for topping the cooked scones.

Scones: dough Scones: cut shapes Scones: just baked

There are quite a few more tweaks, but by this point I think you get the picture. Here’s the recipe:

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Passover Recipe: Fried Matzo with Cinnamon-Sugar (AKA Matzo Brei)

Fried Matzo with Cinnamon Sugar

Fried Matzo with Cinnamon-Sugar

It’s amazing how something that tastes so awful can so easily be doctored into something that tastes so good. That’s matzo for you.

Eaten plain, matzo tastes like cardboard – completely bland and dry – but smear on a little butter and suddenly it becomes a delicious snack.

Fried matzo: soak matzo Fried matzo: drain matzo

So, if butter can transform cardboard into something edible, just imagine what eggs and sugar could do to it? Now you’ve got a truly delectable meal: fried matzo (AKA matzo brei).

This traditional breakfast dish is a staple in most Jewish homes during Passover, and in deli’s year-round. I’ve always eaten it sweet but have recently heard about savory versions with lox and cream cheese. I guess I’ll just have to try that next…

Fried matzo: add vanilla to eggs Fried Matzo: whisk cinnamon with eggs and vanilla

My first reaction when I made fried matzo this year was that it was a little too eggy, but afterwards I changed my mind and decided I liked it this way. The recipe calls for a 1 to 1 ratio of eggs to matzo, but feel free to add a bit more matzo if you prefer.

Also, I like to top mine with cinnamon-sugar (leftover from the very mandelly mandel bread) or just plain sugar, although maple syrup and honey are popular alternatives.

Fried matzo: mix matzo with eggs Fried matzo: frying

Finally, I cook the fried matzo in butter because I avoid margarine at all costs (it’s a personal choice), but it’s okay to substitute margarine if you need to for religious reasons. Read more of this >>

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