21 December, 2010

Savory Cilantro French Toast

Say what? It sounds so taboo. A french toast that is savory? Oh yes, my friends, not taboo at all. According to the author on Food 52  this is South Asia’s version of french toast. Rock on Asia!

I like finding and trying a dish that I have never heard of before; I love when a dish meets or exceeds my expectations; and I prefer that the process doesn't cause me to swear. Yes, I admit, it is not just baking that causes me to use dirty words. (Don't you even think about it, my mom reads this blog!) The kitchen is a place where I curse quite often and I would like to believe that if I cut out cooking then the cursing would go away. But that is not an experiment that I am willing to conduct.

This toast kept me company one Saturday when I was having "breakfast for one". On a separate night, it was a big hit as tomato soup dippers when I was enjoying “dinner for two”.

2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
4 pieces of wheat bread cut into diagonals
1-2 Tbsp Butter
Hot sauce (optional)

Beat eggs with milk and stir in salt, pepper and cilantro. Heat a medium skillet or griddle on medium-high heat and add a 1 tbsp of butter to the skillet. Dip the triangles into the batter, drain excess liquid and lay toast in the skillet until browned on one side (2-3 minutes). You will want the toast to be a little darker and crispier than your average french toast. Flip and do the same on the opposite side.  Serve with hot sauce on the side for those who want to take it up a notch. Or serve on the side of a bowl of tomato soup.

14 December, 2010

Chipotle White Bean Casserole and Kale Crisps

I now return to my regularly scheduled program. The “shutdown” is over. What does that mean? It means no more 4am wake up call, no more 8pm bedtime, no more 1 drink maximum and no more carnivorous dinner requirement. And while there are several athletes and hard workers who survive and thrive on a vegetarian diet, I am not one to argue with a man who is waking up at 4am.

Wahooo! I will celebrate by sharing my favorite vegetarian dish and a bottle of wine. (well I likely won’t share the wine). This dish comes from 101 Cookbooks. The author has several vegetarian cookbooks with a focus on all natural ingredients. I serve this dish as a meal but it could prove successful as a holiday side dish or an appetizer served on top a sliced crusty baguette.

Serves 5-6 as a meal
2 tbsp olive oil
2 pinches red pepper flakes
2 pinches garlic salt or salt
1-2 large cloves of garlic minced
1-28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1-2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1-2 tablespoons of adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers*
3-15oz cans of white beans
1 block of feta cheese
1 bunch of kale **(see bonus recipe for leftovers)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Make a tomato sauce by adding olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and minced garlic to a cold saucepan. Heat on medium heat until garlic is fragrant then add tomatoes, oregano and adobo sauce*. While sauce is simmering, rinse 1/2 bunch of kale, de-stem and finely chop. Drain and rinse white beans. Add beans and kale to the tomato sauce. Pour into a casserole dish and top with feta cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

*The Adobo sauce is intense but adds a very appealing smokiness to this dish. Although optional its worth searching for and usually found in the Mexican food aisle.
** You can use any green in place of kale but I urge you to try it. It is packed with vitamins and nutritional benefits. With the remainder of the kale I BEG you to try the following delicious and addicting snack.

In a bowl, combine a tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Rub the liquid into the leaves and set on a pan. Sprinkle salt on the kale and bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes or until the leaves start turning brown and crispy. Munch on these right away or save for later. The picture shows dinosaur kale but curly kale works great also.

05 December, 2010

Pecan Cinnamon Scones

I say again, I am not a baker. I don't like baking and I am not good at baking. And with my Mom as my witness last week (sorry Mom), when I do try to bake,  words that Mom didn't teach me fly out of my mouth. However, every now and then I find a recipe that is worth trying. While visiting family for Thanksgiving I found a basic scone recipe in Southern Living magazine. I like this recipe because there are variations for sweet and savory and because I was able to tweak it which tickles my chef's hat. The result was what I would imagine would happen if a cinnamon roll and a biscuit had a baby. They would be blessed with a yummy pecan cinnamon scone that has now been added to my bag of "rainy weekend breakfast treats". Yes, I have one of those bags. You don't?

Makes 8 scones or 16 mini scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Icing: 1 cup powdered sugar, 1-2 tbsp milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using your hands combine cubes of butter into flour mixture until large chunks disappear and it resembles a sandy consistency. Set the bowl in the freezer for about five minutes. Add pecans and then add 3/4 cup of milk a bit at a time until ingredients are moistened. Turn dough onto floured wax paper and gently press or pat into a round about 3/4 of inch thick. Cut into 8 wedges and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes. While scones are baking, mix 1 cup powdered sugar with 1 tbsp of milk at a time and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Use to drizzle on top of scones before serving.

Savory Scone: omit sugar and add 3/4 cup shredded cheese and 3/4 cup bacon or ham