Exploding Egg & Veggie Breakfast Sandwich on Homemade Rosemary Focaccia

I’ve only been eating eggs for about two years and I’m still super picky about them. Growing up, eggs didn’t appeal to me, although neither did breakfast in general. I still can’t eat when I first get up and have to consciously remind myself to eat when I get to work or I’ll be hangry by 10:30.

Anyways, one of my recent favorite egg dishes is an egg sandwich on focaccia bread that I sometimes buy at the farmers’ market. It’s hot, fresh, and made using veggies and eggs found at the market that morning.

Flash forward to yesterday afternoon and another Chicago rainstorm. I decided to bake bread to pass the time and settled on rosemary focaccia bread using the olive oil dough recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and it was delicious (all you have to do is add fresh minced rosemary to the dough and bake on a cookie sheet at 425°F for 25 minutes). I’d already eaten about half of a loaf straight-up when I started thinking, I have got to find something else to do with this delicious bread. That was when I remembered the egg sandwich and got to work.

Between my CSA and a Saturday morning visit to Green City Market, I had a ton of veggies to choose from. I really just wanted a little bit of this and a little bit of that without it turning into something I’d have to eat everyday for the next week (you other single cooks out there know what I’m talking about), so that’s what I did! I used one piece of bacon, one fingerling potato, two mini bell peppers, two crimini mushrooms, 1 large leaf bok choy, and about half of a very small yellow squash.

I cooked up all those veggies in the bacon fat (I’m going through a bacon phase) and added a little salt and lemon juice, then removed half of the veggies to save for later – this recipe really made two servings.  All that was left was to add two eggs to the pan with the remaining veggies, scramble it all together until the eggs were cooked, and pile the mixture onto a piece of fresh rosemary focaccia sliced in half.

Simple. Delicious. No recipe required. Happy Sunday morning!


Mushroom Sherry Soup

Despite the recent heat wave, I’ve been craving nothing but mushroom soup. I can’t really explain why – maybe it’s a throwback to my French culinary training that I’ve somewhat abandoned in recent months, or it could just something I need to make every other summer, or it could even be a weird umami craving? Stranger things have happened – just sayin’!

I used a variety of mushrooms from River Valley Ranch for this delicious soup including oyster, shitake and crimini and – get this – a half stick of butter! For those of you still working in professional kitchens, please don’t laugh at me! I NEVER use that much fat in anything other than pastries these days. Although I do fondly remember dumping pounds of butter and quarts of cream in soups in the past. Those are happy memories…

Either way, the butter splurge was worth it in this soup, although I did restrain myself and not use any cream. The other highlight was the dry sherry added at the end for a little extra flavor along with a bit of fresh lemon juice. The soup was so delicious that the other half stick of butter and pint of cream weren’t missed at all!

Here’s the recipe:

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Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce

Not to be overly dramatic or anything, but today my life changed forever and it’s all thanks to a sauce. Or rather this specific oven-roasted tomato sauce, which is unspeakably good – so fresh, so vibrant, I’m convinced I will never be the same as no other tomato sauce could possibly live up to this one.

What makes it so good, you ask? I think it has to be the slow-roasted fresh tomatoes. Or maybe it’s the simplicity of the ingredients – there aren’t many (so unlike me, I know). Or maybe… I don’t know, just take my word that it’s damn good!

I made this version with striped Roma tomatoes I picked up at the farmers’ market, but regular Roma tomatoes would also be great.

I’ll admit I upped the ante a bit by making fresh pasta, but dried is fine, and is in fact what I’ll probably use next time. As much as I love fresh pasta and as simple as it is to make (see video), some nights I just don’t have the energy.

Try this recipe and let me know if it changes your life, too!

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Summer Succotash

I’ve been having a great time this summer visiting the nearby farmers’ market on Saturdays, taking in the fresh smells and vibrant colors of the most amazing fruits and vegetables. I swear, I bought blackberries last weekend that were the size of my thumb! Unbelievable!

The only problem has been that I’ve been hoarding these amazing vegetables with no time to actually do anything with them! That all changed tonight with a delicious clean-out-the-fridge summer succotash. I took all the vegetables that were on the verge of, I’ll say it nicely, becoming compost and sauteed them with butter, olive oil and thyme, then served the whole mixture over quinoa for a perfectly fresh and light summer dinner!

I used onions, garlic, green beans, mushrooms, corn and little heirloom tomatoes, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Although, according to the ever-reliable Google search, a succotash is made of corn and some sort of bean (usually lima), so I’m pretty sure this counts. Even if it doesn’t – I don’t care because it just tastes SO good!

Here’s the recipe for Summer Succotash:

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Fresh Pasta Ribbons with Spring Peas

From the lack of updates it probably looks like I haven’t been cooking much. While I have been cooking, although less frequently than I wish, it’s really just been not having the time to post.

Today, I finally got around to uploading my photos and discovered a bunch of shots from an amazing meal I made a few weeks back: fresh pasta with farmers’ market peas and spring onions. I know I jotted down the recipe on the back of an envelope or something that has since disappeared (shocking!), but the truth is that for something this fresh and delicious you don’t really need a recipe.

In fact, I’m not even sure what the highlight of the dish is: the fresh homemade pasta or the glorious peas and onions straight from local farms. But the best part of this weeknight meal is that it came together in less than hour!

I started with the homemade pasta by whipping up the dough and letting it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. I then rolled it into thin pieces using a pasta machine, but cut it by hand into wider pieces, which was a lot of fun.

While waiting for the pasta dough to rest, I prepped the other ingredients and began making the sauce: sauteed the chopped spring onions in equal parts butter and olive oil (be generous – this is the base of the pasta sauce!) until soft and caramelized, added minced garlic and cooked until fragrant, then removed the pan from the heat and stirred in about a cup of fresh shelled peas.

Next I cooked the pasta in batches of salted, boiling water and strained the noodles directly into the saute pan with the vegetables. Fresh pasta cooks really quickly – just two minutes. Finally, I stirred in ricotta cheese, fresh mint and basil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Save a bit of the pasta cooking water to thin out the consistency of the sauce if necessary.

And that’s it! Fresh, simple and incredibly delicious – quite possibly the best thing I’ve had all summer that didn’t contain chocolate!


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