22 April 2010

First BBQ of 2010

Sunday afternoon in Portland was so beautiful and warm (you can tell it's spring when I think 67 degrees is warm), we had no choice but to BBQ our dinner. I bought bratwurst from New Seasons since they were on sale, but needed a good BBQ side dish.

I went to my Best Light Recipes for a French potato salad recipe. It's a very simple dressing of dijon mustard, a little olive oil, herbs (chives, parsley, tarragon...there was no chervil at the store), and  shallots over red potatoes.

Since squash is still mostly from Mexico and expensive, I decided to try barbequeing broccoli. I prepared it the way I normally would when broiling it, just coated with some olive oil. I forgot the sugar, which I normally add a tiny bit of when doing a quick roast like that to caramelize it a bit. It really didn't need it--it was seriously the best part of the meal. When broccoli is charred in areas and just cooked, squeeze a bit of lemon juice over it as well as fresh-ground pepper and salt.

So ready for summer to get here, just for meals like this..

11 April 2010

Sunday Breakfast

Tonight I'm not able to make Sunday dinner due to some plans we have this afternoon. I decided I would document our Sunday breakfast instead. Due to my workout schedule, usually my only morning available for making a nice, big breakfast is Sunday. It's been a tradition since Shawn and I first started dating to make breakfast and listen to KMHD or jazz records on Sunday mornings. Over five years later and the tradition still stands strong.

This morning, I made poached eggs over a chilaquiles-type dish. It's not really authentic chilaquiles, but a close rendition of them. Here's how I did it...

5 corn tortillas cut into small squares (about 3/4 inch)
1/2 lb. Mexican pork chorizo
onion (optional)
Bacon fat (or vegetable oil)
Salsa (my mom uses the verde, but I just had a little bit of Emerald Valley salsa left)
Avocado, if desired

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Cook the chorizo over medium-high heat until cooked thoroughly. Remove chorizo from pan and place onto a paper-towel lined plate, leaving some of the drippings in the pan. Place the plate in the oven to keep warm while finishing the dish.

Add the bacon fat, or oil, to the pan. When the fat has melted, add your tortillas and fry until slightly golden and starting to harden. Add the onion and continue to cook until the tortillas are pretty firm, but not fried through, and the onion is translucent. Add the salsa and coat tortilla thoroughly. At this point, I added a little water, too, since I was low on salsa. It doesn't take much to coat, though.

While tortilla is cooking, cook your eggs as desired. I poached mine since I had some farm fresh eggs from a friend again. To poach, bring a pan of water to a boil with 2 T white vinegar and 1 t salt. Reduce to a simmer. Add your eggs (recommended to crack them into teacups or small container that can be placed into the simmering water to reduce breakage), remove pan from heat, and cover for 5 minutes, less if you like it runnier.

When tortilla is ready and eggs are cooking, add chorizo from the oven to the tortillas and keep in the oven to stay warm.

Serve tortilla mixture with a sprinkle of cheese, such as queso fresco or I used some grated parmaggiano-reggiano, place eggs on top and serve with a side of avocado, as desired.

Buen provecho!

04 April 2010

Easter Dinner: White Bean Soup

Since Easter dinner's guest list just included me and Shawn, I went a little simpler than I normally would. We had a lovely brunch with my friends this afternoon, so a light and easy supper was just what the evening called for. Being Easter, though, we had to have some ham!

I had a leftover ham bone that still had a lot of meat left on it from Christmas. I threw it in the freezer once I knew we couldn't eat any more and needed to use it up soon. I found a recipe on Epicurious.com that sounded perfect and helped me use up a few ingredients that were lingering in my fridge and cupboards.

Fast White-Bean Soup (adapted from Gourmet magazine)

4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 (14- to 15-ounce) can stewed tomatoes (chop up tomatoes to bite-sized pieces)
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup dried Great Northern Beans
1 ham bone* and about 2 cups of meat cubed
Black pepper
1 bunch of kale
Baguette, sliced on the bias
Parmesan (optional)

If using dried beans, sort and soak beans overnight. Cook beans as directed until tender.

Remove as much meat from the ham bone as possible, then throw leftover bone into a large pot with about 3 cups of water, or enough to cover most of the bone. Boil until flavorful (about 30 minutes). Defat the broth and set aside.

While ham is boiling, preheat broiler. Prepare kale by  removing stems and center ribs, toss with a little bit of olive oil, until just covered. Put kale under broiler until just starting to char and crisp. Remove from oven (ok if it gets cold). Leave broiler going and brush tops of baguette slices with olive oil and throw under the broiler until crisp (flipping once during cooking).

In same pot used for broth, heat olive oil over med-high heat until warm and throw in garlic. Cook garlic until fragrant (about 1 minute) being careful not to over brown. Add tomatoes with their juices to oil/garlic mixture. Mix together, then add broth, ham, and beans. Let stew for about 10 minutes. If available, throw in a parmesan rind for extra flavor. After 10 minutes, add the kale and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve with baguette slices and additional slices of parmesan and black pepper.

*If you don't have a ham bone, double the chicken stock.

I chose kale in lieu of arugula or romaine for its heartier flavor and texture. I also chose to use dried beans since they are cheaper and I can control the sodium content better, but if in a hurry, feel free to use canned.