Eggs and Asparagus

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This is so easy and as good tasting as it is easy. It is important, though, that you make it with young asparagus, picked when the stalks are thin like a pencil and not as big as your fingers in circumference.

I heated 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet while I cleaned and trimmed the ends off the asparagus. I used 10 pieces of asparagus because I was very hungry. I put the asparagus in the oil to cook for about 3-4 minutes and then turned them spears. I cracked 3 eggs on top, added a few small pieces of cheese, some salt and pepper and covered so the eggs would cook with some steam. After a couple minutes, I took off the lid and served it all up on a plate.

The asparagus was tender and the eggs were a perfect complement. The bits of cheese added just a bit of rich creaminess to a bite. It was a delicious meal for an early lunch.

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Migas

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I bought a big stack of corn tortillas and was wondering what might be a good way to use them for breakfast. I decided to make migas – a popular dish across the Spanish-speaking world, though not always made with tortillas. In Spain they will uses bread and potatoes and lima beans while in Mexico, you are more likely to get migas with tortilla strips and a lot more heat. I have seen them made with the tortillas cooked with the eggs and with the tortillas cooked in advance and added to the eggs at the end. I decided to make it both ways, cooking them with the eggs yesterday and separately today. While they both tasted good, the second was by far the best – so that’s what I will show here.

So first I took 2 corn tortillas and sliced them into 1 inch strips and then cut those long strips in half. In a skillet, I melted 1 TBSP of butter and pan-fried the strips until browned and crisped. I removed them from the butter and set them aside.

I added 2 tbsp of chopped onion and one minced small clove of garlic and let them sauté in the butter. I chopped up 2 TBSP of bell peppers (red, yellow and green) and 1 thick slice of tomato (about 2 TBSP) and added them to the softening onions. I let them cook. Meanwhile I cracked two eggs in a bowl and stirred them for scrambled eggs. When scrambling eggs, I mix them just enough to mix the whites and yolks but do not beat them. I prefer creamy eggs and over-mixing them will make them dryer. Note I also add no salt while cooking. Salt will make the egg mixture separate and the eggs will not be as creamy and tender.

I added the eggs and let them cook, stirring frequently. When the eggs are just about done, toss in a small handful of grated cheese. Adding the cheese to early will make the eggs runny. I used Pepper Jack for a tiny bit of heat. Just before serving, I added salt and pepper and stirred in the tortillas I set aside.

Cooked this way, the tortillas are crispier and are more evenly browned. There’s not the slightest hint of sogginess. The eggs are rich and creamy and the flavors blend beautifully. Makes 1 serving.

Chickpea & Kale Salad with Tuna Melt

Kale-Chickpea Salad with Tuna Melt

I made the salad in the morning to let the flavors soak into the chickpeas. First I drained a can of chickpeas, rinsing the beans in a strainer and letting it sit to drain while in a bowl, I mixed 2 cloves of garlic (minced) with the juice of 2 limes, 2 TBSP of olive oil, salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp of cayenne. I then tossed in the chickpeas. Then I cleaned 5 pieces of kale, removing stems and mincing finely. I mixed it all together and put a lid on it, shaking it vigorously and put it in the fridge to marinate the flavors. This has a nice bit of heat that is beautifully balanced with the lime.

About 30 minutes before dinner, I diced 1/4 yellow onion and opened up a small can of sliced black salad olives and drained it. I tossed half the olives in with the onions, saving the rest for another day. Then I opened 1 can of tuna in water and drained the water off and rinsed the tuna lightly under water before adding to the onions and olives. I added salt, pepper, 2 tsp of Old Bay and a few TBSP of of mayo and a generous dollop of mustard. I mixed together, spread on a ciabatta buns cut in half to make 4 pieces. I added a thin slice of cheese on top and baked at 350 for about 20 minutes. The Old Bay really gives this a savory flavor. This makes 2 open-face sandwiches.. If you make a single serving, you can use half the olives and save the rest for a salad.

Romaine Salad with Raspberries, Pecans and Chevre

Summer Salad - Romaine, Raspberries and Chevre

Chevre was on sale at the grocery store and I bought a pound of it, looking forward to summer salads of fruit and lettuce with a bit of chevre and cheese. There really is no tastier cheese for a summer fruit and cheese salad. There also is almost no limit to the number of salads you can come up with, but for me, the tastiest is a mixture of raspberries, pecans and chevre with some romaine and raspberry vinaigrette.

First wash and shred the romaine, making a bed for your salad. Add  a handful of raspberries, a few pecans and a generous bit of chevre. I just dig it out with the tines of a fork. It’s so soft and creamy that slicing it seems silly. Sometimes I add some apple or pear slices, but today I went for a simpler salad. It’s so delicious with the sweet creaminess of the cheese blending with the sweet tartness of the berries to contrast with the freshness of the lettuce and the salty crunch of the pecans. Add a tart salad dressing like raspberry vinaigrette or a balsamic dressing and you’re in business.

Chicken Wraps & Cheesy Sauteed Zucchini

You can make the chicken salad while the veggies cook. First chop up one clove of garlic and 3 thins slices off a large onion (about 3 TBSP) and soften in 1/2  TBSP of olive oil. Add 3 finely slice mushrooms and cook for a few minutes before adding 1 zucchini sliced fine. When it’s nearly done, add 1/4 of a Roma tomato chopped up, toss in 1 TBSP of dried dill weed and cover. Just before serving sprinkle 1 ounce of shredded or finely sliced cheddar cheese and cover for 30 seconds.

The salad is made with 2 ounces of cooked chicken (reserved from soup I made earlier) and 2 ounces of diced pink lady apples. I added 1/2 of a stalk of celery, 1 TBSP of sweet onion and about 2 tsp’s of diced red pepper and a sprig of cilantro. Then I squeeze 1/2 a lemon on it, some salt and pepper and 1 TBSP of plain yogurt.  I took 3 leaves of romaine and put them on the serving platter and heated them for 15 seconds in the microwave  so they would be flexible enough to be salad wraps, but still have fresh crunchiness in the texture.  I sliced wedges of the remaining apple and served on the side.

 

Slow Scrambled Eggs with Quesadilla

Normally, I like to make quick and easy dishes that are done in no time. One huge exception to that rule is my love of slow-scrambled eggs. Yes, you can scramble and egg in five minutes or less, but until you have spent 20 to 30 minutes coaxing eggs to a soft, creamy perfection, you have not really had scrambled eggs as they deserve to be served.

I was hungry this morning so I used three eggs. I took them out of the fridge and let them sit in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes while I melted a tbsp of butter on low heat. Cracking the eggs into a bowl and mixing them lightly, I made sure they were well-blended but not frothy. I didn’t want to beat air into them. I added pepper. If you want, you can use white pepper so you don’t see little dashes of black.

I poured them into my pan and began to stir in slow circles, scraping along the edges and turning the eggs again and again so that they never got to sit in place and begin to set. Depending on how done you like your eggs and how low the heat is, this can take 10 to 20 minutes. More eggs take longer to cook, obviously. The eggs are done when they start feeling sort of like porridge. Exactly how much longer you keep cooking after that depends on how dry you like them. I don’t like them very dry, so I stop a little sooner than you might. Add salt after you are done because salt ruins them if you add while cooking.

Meanwhile, in a skillet on medium heat, I placed 1 whole wheat tortilla to heat and added 1 ounce of pepper jack cheese to melt. You can easily serve this on plain toast or a plain tortilla because the eggs are very rich and creamy. I just happened to be wanting a little heat with my eggs this morning.

Certainly, most of the time you scramble eggs you won’t have the time to indulge in creating these delicious creamy slow-scrambled eggs. But when you have a slow morning and can take the time, try it. You might never settle for ordinary scrambled eggs again.

Beef & Bean Tacos with Watermelon

For a quick and easy taco, I fried 1/4 pound of ground beef, breaking it down to small pieces. After it browned I added 1/2 cup of refried beans from a can. I put the remaining refried beans in a plastic container for later. As it heated, I added 1 slice of pepper jack cheese and 2 tbsp of green salsa. When the cheese was nearly melted I put three white corn soft tacos on a plate in the microwave and heated for 15 seconds so they were soft and tender. I put a couple spoonfuls of the mix on each taco, added a thin slice of cheese and cilantro leaves. I used 1 stem of leaves for each taco. The recipe makes 6, so you can either have seconds or make a second meal of it.

The watermelon is cut into chunks. I always cut up my watermelon so I can put it in a sealing bowl because I don’t like the filmy edge watermelon gets if it’s exposed to air for long.

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts & Cheesy Black Beans

First you want to prep all the veggies. Take 6 baby carrots and slice in half lengthwise and then in half by width. Quarter 6 Brussels sprouts. Dice about 2 TBSP of onion and slice up 3 radishes (Yes, Radishes!!) and one garlic glove. Put a TBSP of olive oil in your saute pan and add the garlic and onions, when softened add carrots and cook for two minutes or so. Add the Brussels Sprouts and stir. Add the radishes and 3 TBSP of balsamic vinegar and put a lid on the pan to finish cooking with steam – about 10 – 15 minutes.

Meanwhile in a skillet, empty a can of black beans into the skillet and heat on medium heat. Just before serving add one slice of pepper jack cheese finely diced so it melts quickly. Stir into the beans so it thickens. If you’re not diabetic, you could add a second slice for even more cheesy goodness. However, one slice makes it tasty, too.

Three Egg Omelet

I like many-layered omelets and luckily I have a lefse griddle with a surface large enough to let me make them. I heat the griddle to 300° F and spray olive oil on the surface. While it’s heating I mix up my eggs.

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp mustard
  • 1 TBSP mayonnaise
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dill weed

I whisk these together until the eggs turns pale yellow, but not until it begins to loft. I know mayo sounds like an odd thing to use. Most people use milk. I used mayo once when I didn’t have any nonfat dry milk to mix up and loved the tang it added to the omelet. It has replaced milk ever since.

I pour it on the griddle and using the handles, turn the griddle to spread it out to the full 16 inch diameter of the griddle.  Then add the fixings. In this case, I added 3 thin slices of deli ham and 1 oz of cheese sliced super-thin.  As soon as the omelet is cooked through – about a minute, I start rolling it up. I first turn in the sides like a burrito. You can use a spatula for this, but I have a lefse turner and it was made for the job. Then I begin rolling it up from one end of the griddle to the other. It was too big to fit on my plate, so I had to cut it in half which made it a bit messy. I added a thin bagel to eat with the omelet, though you can see I over-toasted it just a bit. My toaster has quit popping up on its own and I have to watch it like a hawk.

Roasted Vegetables & Chicken Tacos

The trick to successful vegetable medleys is understanding size and density. You are putting a bunch of different vegetables together and want them done at the same time. So you want to cut the denser, solid veggies like potatoes and parsnips and carrots to approximately the same size.  Softer veggies like Brussels Sprouts, onions, garlic and cauliflower can be cut a little smaller. Tender elements like mushrooms, olives and herbs can be added later.

Sometimes you simply cannot make a single serving. Well, you could but it would be wasteful of cooking energy and vegetables. This recipe makes 6 servings. It reheats beautifully in the microwave. You also could reheat in a some broth for a quick vegetable soup with a nice smokey flavor. You can add to rice, pearl barley or pasta with a dash of melted butter, grated Parmesan cheese or a tablespoon of ranch dressing. You don’t have to bore yourself with leftovers. Just remix them.

So, start by cutting up the tougher veggies and tossing them on a baking pan. I use my paella pan for roasting vegetables. Sprinkle them with a TBSP olive oil and a teaspoon of kosher salt.

  • 1 potato, skin on cut in 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 parsnip, peeled, cut in 1/2 chunks
  • 1/4 onion cut in wedges
  • 1/2 whole garlic, peeled
  • 6 Brussels Sprouts
  • 6 Cauliflower Florets

Bake at 450° F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and add the tender veggies. Stir into the other veggies to get oil on them. You may have to sprinkle a teaspoon of olive oil on if it has been absorbed by the other veggies.

  • 6 mushrooms cut in half
  • 2 tbsp of sliced black olives or whole kalamata olives if you have them
  • 1 tsp of oregano

Return to oven and bake for 20 more minutes, turning occasionally. Remove when browned.

For the chicken tacos, I heated a half cup shredded chicken that I held back from the soup in 2 tbsp of green salsa. This way it gets the salsa flavor and I can reheat it without oil. I put it on a white corn soft tacos with some half a leaf of romaine shredded  and a finely chopped or shredded slice of cheese.