Thursday, August 2, 2012

Gordon Ramsay's Perfect Scrambled Eggs

I love eggs for breakfast, but on the weekdays, the most I ever have time for is a couple of quick plain scrambled eggs. Weekends however, are a different story. These eggs are great for when you have more time or want to make it a bit more special. Joe made them for me to celebrate my first ever Mother's Day; I even got to have them in bed! 

Since then we've made them several more times, including just the other night for dinner. We've never tried doubling the recipe for the eggs, we just make the first batch and keep it in a warm oven while we cook the second batch. Or in this case, I took my photos of the first batch while he cooked his. 

We learned about this recipe by stumbling upon a video of him making it:

My eggs are a little more cooked than his. That's partly because I'm not eating under-cooked eggs these days since I'm pregnant, and also because that's just how I prefer my eggs. I grew up eating what would be considered very over-done eggs. Over the years I've grown accustomed to softer eggs but by culinary standards they are probably still over-cooked. I still thought mine were very creamy and delicious though, especially with the addition of the creme fraiche at the end. 

Gordon Ramsay's Perfect Scrambled Eggs
adapted from Gordon Ramsay
makes 1 generous portion (or enough for two small portions)

1 generous tablespoon unsalted butter
3 eggs
1/2 tablespoon creme fraiche
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Thick slice of crusty sourdough bread
Olive oil
4-5 small tomatoes, on the vine if possible, cherry tomatoes would work as well
2-4 flat-capped or cremini mushrooms
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a small skillet over medium/low heat. Drizzle with some olive oil, about 1/2 tablespoon or so, and when hot, add the mushrooms and tomatoes to the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let the vegetables cook while you make the eggs, shaking the pan once or twice. 

Toast the bread, set aside. 

Crack the eggs into a small pot, add the butter. Set the pot over medium heat and immediately begin stirring the eggs together with a spatula. Once the eggs just start to come together, move the pot off the heat, for 20-30 seconds, then move it back onto the heat, but don't stop stirring. Continue moving the pot off the heat and back on the heat, stirring constantly, until the eggs are cooked enough for you. He likes them on the creamier side. 

To stop the cooking process, off the heat, stir in the creme fraiche. Season with salt, pepper, and fold in the chives. 

To serve, drizzle the toast with a little olive oil (we almost always forget this step!) and pile the eggs on top. Arrange the mushrooms and tomatoes next to the eggs. 

Best when someone else makes it for you and "gives it to you in bed"!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes

Whether you are trying to buy less meat in general or you have some leftover ground beef and are wondering what to do with it, this is a great recipe for you. It's a full 4 servings of sloppy joes but it only uses about 1/2 pound ground beef. Shredded carrots and kidney beans add bulk to the mixture, saving you both money and calories without sacrificing flavor.

In other news, I really am trying to post more often, but there has been a ton going on! My sister is getting married soon, I am now 6 1/2 months pregnant, and now we're MOVING to the Seattle area in August! Big changes and lots to do. We've found a place to rent up there and we've started purging and selling tons of stuff we've accumulated over the years in anticipation of the move. It's a nesting pregnant woman's dream, seriously.

We've been cooking a lot of easy meals lately, including a few that involved Tasty Bites. Have you ever heard of these? They are two-serving packets of pre-cooked Indian food for quick, easy meals. I tried them because they were on sale at the Co-op. You can also just buy sauce packets, where you provide the meat and veggies and cook them in the sauce. For the entrees/side dish packets, you can cook them in the microwave or in a pot of boiling water on the stove. What I like about these products is that the ingredient list is very short, and it's all real food and spices, no weird additives or preservatives. These would be great to take on a camping trip too.

Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes
adapted from Cooking Light / Mark Bittman - May 2010 issue
serves 4

Note: The recipe calls for 6 ounces of ground sirloin, but whenever I make it, I'm trying to finish up the other half of a 1 pound package, so I use 8 ounces in my version. You could definitely go to the meat counter at your grocery store and just buy 6 ounces though.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6-8 ounces ground sirloin
1/2 cup grated carrot (press out moisture with paper towels if freshly grating it yourself)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted if available
1 (15.5-ounce) can low sodium red kidney beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
4 (2-ounce) whole wheat sandwich rolls, split and toasted
Thinly sliced red onions, separated into rings

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and beef to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the beef, until the meat is browned and onion is tender (if using a ground beef that is not as lean as sirloin, you might want to start with less oil).

Add the carrot, and the remaining spices and cook for another two minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrot is tender and the mixture has thickened.

Partially mash 1 cup of the beans in a bowl with a fork. Add the mashed beans plus the remaining whole beans to the pan and cook for another minute or two to heat through. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

Pile a big scoop of the meat mixture onto the bottom half of a toasted roll, add some onion slices, then finish with the top half of the roll. Serve immediately. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Sister's Bridal Shower

This past weekend I got to throw a bridal shower for my sister!

I was super nervous about how it all would turn out, seeing as I've never hosted anything like that before. I planned for weeks and made lots and lots of lists to keep myself organized.

Of course, since it was me, I was most concerned about the food, since that is the focal point of any event as far as I'm concerned. Thanks to a number of great food blogs and recipes from my mom and my friend Amy, the food turned out amazing. A lot of it could be prepared in advance too which is always a plus.

The menu:

Chicken salad sandwiches on croissants: my mom's recipe. I don't know the proportions of anything, but it's mayo-based with pineapple, sliced almonds, and dried cranberries. It's so delicious I could eat it every day, and this coming from a girl who doesn't usually care for mayonnaise!

Vegetarian Asian noodle salad: I've blogged about it here, but it's originally from VeganYumYum. This time, however, I used peanut butter instead of tahini and brown rice pasta.

Cocktail meatballsI used the frozen meatballs from Costco, and the crockpot made this so easy.

Rainbow fruit skewers

Mini caprese bites: these were a huge hit! We used Zoom Yummy's version.

Mango chutney over cream cheese with assorted crackers: recipe from Simply Gluten Free. I used thawed, frozen mango, chopped into smaller pieces. It calls for coconut palm sugar, something I hadn't ever used before but I was able to buy it in bulk so I didn't have to buy a whole lot. It's not too spicy, so if you wanted more heat, add more chilis or leave some seeds in.

Shrimp and cocktail sauce: prepared tray from Costco


Mini cupcakes with marionberry filling: my mom made these, so I'm not sure of the recipe.

Hazelnut truffles: from Vintage Kitchen Notes

I know this is supposed to be a food blog, but now for some crafty things:

The invitations: I bought some tulle already cut in circles from a craft store to use as the skirt.

The centerpieces:

One of the prizes:

I melted some odds and ends candles to make a new candle in an antique tea cup. Idea from Georgica Pond. I tied it with ribbon to hold it together and then wrapped it with tulle. I also had some store-bought lotions and soaps for prizes in case of ties, and there was one, so I'm glad I thought of that!

One of the games: homemade scratch-its! There is a great tutorial here. The losing cards had a cartoon picture of a frog with the word "sorry" written underneath.

Congratulations Jamie on your upcoming wedding! Love you! 
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