Breakfast Tostada with Kale, Eggs, and Lemon

This took less than five minutes to make. I heated two pans on the stove, one set at about 4/10 and the other at 6/10 on the heat dial, a low and a high medium. In the low medium, I added no oil at all. I put about 1/4 of a small onion cut in thin slices and about 1 cup of chopped kale, chopped up. I added a bit of salt and pepper and a few red pepper flakes. I squeezed the juice from half a lemon on it and let it cook. I did not want it to get overly cooked, just warmed.

When the kale was about half done, I melted 1/4 tsp of butter in the other pan and cracked an egg in the melted butter. I added salt and pepper, and let it cook for a minute.

I put the tostada on a plate, spooned the kale and onions on the tostada, then I flipped the egg for a few seconds and placed the egg on top of the kale. When eating, I broke the yolk right away so it blended with the kale and onions. The kale alone tastes too strongly of the lemon juice until you mix the egg yolk…and then it’s a perfect lemony sauce .

This is a pleasant mix of textures, soft creamy eggs, crunchy tostada and soft, but still toothsome veggies. The egg yolk and lemon are a light and creamy sauce for the salty tostada and the sharp onions and slightly bitter kale. It’s fast, easy, and delicious.

Breakfast Smörgås – Open-Faced Breakfast Sandwich


I really love a good open-faced sandwich, I suppose it’s my Swedish heritage and the tradition of smörgås. Two slices usually seems like too much bread, unless I use so much filling it’s unwieldy. I also have the Swedish yen for rye bread over all others. WinCo had fresh rye bread on sale for just $1.78 a loaf the other day. Who could resist?

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of rye bread with butter
  • Havarti Cheese sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp of reserved bacon fat
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 oz breakfast sausage
  • 2 TBSP yellow onion
  • 1 mushroom
  • 8 grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • red pepper flakes
  • 2 TBSP fresh fennel tops
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice

So, I put 1 tsp of saved bacon fat but you could use butter or olive oil in a small skillet on medium heat and added 2 TBSP of chopped onion, salt, and pepper and cooked until tender.

Meanwhile I removed the casing from 3 breakfast sausage links, but you could just measure out 3 ounces of breakfast sausage if you don’t buy it in links. I added the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces with a fork.

While the sausage was cooking, I sliced one mushroom in very thin slices.

I put a griddle on and started heating it to medium.

I put a small sauce pan on and heated to medium high with 2 tsp of olive oil. I added one clove of garlic (minced), shook in a few red pepper flakes and tossed in 8 whole grape tomatoes. I want the tomatoes to blacken a bit, so I shake them only to keep them from burning.

On the griddle, I laid down two slices of rye bread, buttered on one side and placed buttered side down. I sliced very thin slices of Havarti cheese and placed on both slices to melt while the bread toasted.

I chopped 2 TBSP of fresh fennel fronds and tossed into the sausage and mushrooms.  I cooked some fennel the other night and saved the tops knowing they are a delicious addition to anything with tomatoes.

I cut the top fifth off a fresh lemon and squeezed about 1 TBSP of lemon juice into the tomatoes, stirred and added the tomato sauce to the pan with the sausage, mushrooms and fennel.

Meanwhile, I poached 2 eggs in the microwave, breaking each into a tbsp of water in a plastic egg poacher. Poaching takes about 40 seconds for 2 eggs.

Everything should be ready together. I spread the sausage, mushroom, and tomato blend on top of both slices of bread. Then placed one egg on each slice.

 

Sandwich Slaw

I love slaw on my sandwiches. I love the freshness it brings, the crunch, the tang of vinegar. It is what really makes a sandwich. I generally just throw a few things together without hard and fast rules. There is no wrong way to make a slaw, but this slaw is kind of perfect. I use seasoned rice vinegar which is one of my favorite things.

I cut about 1/3 of a small head of cabbage into thin strips and then chopped the opposite direction for a finely shredded chop. This gave me four cups of cabbage that I put in a big colander. I sprinkled with a teaspoon of salt and let it sit, the salt bringing out the liquid, for several hours. (Actually, I left it overnight.)

The next day, I squeezed the liquid out of the cabbage, put it in a bowl and added

  • 1 cup of chopped yellow onions
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 cups of chopped cilantro
  • zest from 1 lemon

I mixed these together. Then I squeezed the lemon and added the juice with an equal amount of seasoned rice vinegar, some pepper, and 1 TBSP of olive oil. It should have enough salt from the salting the night before. Season it to your taste.

I know the usual ratio in dressing is 2:1 oil to vinegar and this is the opposite, but this makes it tangy. It doesn’t exactly pickle the slaw, but it gives it a light, bright, zing that I want.

This makes enough for six sandwiches, more or less, depending on how much you like to use. I use this with bacon, sausage, or in this example, pulled pork. It makes a perfect sandwich or on a tostada shell, a delightful, fresh tostada.

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English Muffin Breakfast Sandwiches

One of my favorite things about English Muffins is that they are the perfect size to hold one egg in a sandwich. An easy breakfast can be made by toasting an English Muffin and cooking an egg your favorite way. For me, I like a fried egg best, so that’s what I make. But what about adding a little extra to your sandwich. In the sandwich I made yesterday, I put some butter down on a medium cast iron skillet. I cooked my egg in the center, on one side, I cooked a small handful of spinach. On the other side, I toasted the English muffin, melting some thinly sliced Havarti cheese on it. Put the muffins on first, then the egg, then the spinach. To keep the egg from spreading out too far, I put it in a metal one cup measuring cup and  flip it on the griddle, leaving the cup in place. It holds the egg in place pretty well. You can also cut both ends off a can of tuna or cat food, and use it as a shaper to keep the size right.  The creamy Havarti is a perfect complement to the umami of the spinach.

This morning I made another sandwich. I started with the tomatoes first. I put 8 grape tomatoes in a small pan on medium. I did not add oil at first because I wanted a bit of char….it deepens the flavor and I always like a little char anyway. Meanwhile I heated my skillet for the egg, melting some butter in the center where I would cook it. When the first tomato burst, I put the egg on to cook with a dash of salt and pepper, put the English muffin in the toaster. Then I started to finish the tomato sauce. I added 2 tsp of olive oil, 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and then zested some lemon on top. When the muffin was done, I flipped the egg to cook the other side slightly, put it on the muffin. I then squeezed about 1 TBSP of lemon juice on the tomatoes and stirred. I spooned the cooked tomatoes on the other side of the muffin. It was delicious. The tomato sauce is rich in flavor, sweet with some heat and tartness and of course, the over easy egg added a creamy richness. Yum!

Roasted Radishes and Carrots with Lemon Dill Sauce

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I had far too many radishes from the food bank, so I decided to try roasting them. As you can see they are huge radishes so are relatively mild.

I scrubbed them with a wire brush because the dirt was ground in. It took a lot of work to clean them, but it was worth it. I cut them into halves or quarters depending on their size. I wanted to get them all about 1.5 inches or so. I peeled and cut the carrots to the same size.

This is about eight radishes and 4 carrots cleaned and cut to size.

Preheat oven to 450°. I use paella pan for roasting vegetables. You can use a cookie sheet, bar pan, anything that is on the shallow side. I tossed the radishes and carrots in olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt. I roasted them until they began to caramelize.

To make the sauce, I heated 1 TBSP butter and 1 TBSP of flour in a sauce pan, stirring over medium low heat for about four minutes until the flour is completely cooked, but not browned. I then added 1 cup of milk. I had low fat milk on hand, so that’s what I used. I stirred until smooth, adding the zest and juice from one lemon and a bit of dill weed. I used a bit more dill weed than I intended because the bag slipped. It was still delicious.

The contrast between the piquant radishes and the sweet carrots with the creamy sauce was delicious. This made four servings.

 

 

Fruit Fusion Gumbo

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I asked friends to suggest names for this one. It’s a delicious fruit salad made with plums and cucumber which are botanically a fruit.

So I cut up a cucumber and 3 plums. There were two different kinds of plums, hence the different colors. I chopped up about 2 TBSP of yellow onion. Dumped them all in a plastic container and then made a dressing.

Dressing: Mix together. Buckwheat honey takes a long time to mix in but keep at it, it will dissolve. You can add more vinegar if you like. There is no olive oil or anything so it’s not a vinaigrette. It just seems to me that the juices in the fruit really do not need oil. Pour the dressing on the fruit. Put the lid on the bowl and shake it up. Refrigerate  for an hour or so and it will be delicious.

  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp of chile powder
  • 2 tsp of mustard
  • 2 tsp of buckwheat honey and
  • rice vinegar, about 1/4 cup

 

This made 6 servings. There are things that get better and better the longer they sit, so making a single serving would be silly.

Fresh Asparagus Salad 2.0

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I thought it might be interesting to remake my favorite salad with Tajín instead of salt and pepper. It was a brilliant move, making an old and frequentI w favorite new again.

I was set to make a fresh asparagus salad again when I recalled a friend’s recent Facebook post sharing 23 Things You’ll Definitely Find in Every Mexican Household.  I don’t have all that many of the items, but I do have Tajín, a delicious spice blend of dried limes, Mexican chiles and sea salt. It’s delicious on fresh jicama sticks, grapefruit and watermelon. I thought it might work on this and it did. Wonderfully.

How to make the salad.

  • 6 stalks of asparagus
  • 2 tbsp of chopped toasted almonds
  • Asiago cheese
  • 1/2 fresh lemon, squeezed
  • Tan

I used 6 slender stalks of asparagus. Using a vegetable peeler, just peel and peel and peel of thin strips of the asparagus. This salad is actually easier with older, later in the season asparagus that is bigger around and less tender because it’s easier to peel. I go from the head to the root because that makes it a little easier.

While I was slicing up the asparagus, I toasted a small handful of almonds. When they were toasted, I set them aside to cool, finishing the asparagus. I chopped up the almonds. Using the same vegetable peeler, I sliced off some asiago cheese and tossed on top of the salad. I then squeezed the juice of 1/2 a lemon on the salad and sprinkled the top of it with Tajín. I did not add salt and pepper like I usually do.

The salad was fresh and light with a tangy, spicy heat. Delicious! I never would have made this if not for you, Gloria! Thanks.

Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Tomatoes and Feta

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  • 12 grape tomatoes
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1 lemon, squeezed
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 dried red chili

Turn on the oven broiler. Cut a dozen grape tomatoes in half, sprinkle with a bit of olive oil and some kosher salt. Stick them under the broiler and let them cook until they are browned.

Meanwhile, put a little olive oil in a pan and toss a dried chili pepper in the oil and let the pepper heat and flavor the oil. You will smell the chili in the air. You can remove the pepper and the zucchini will be flavored by the oil without getting too spicy.

While the oil is heating, go ahead and spiralize two zucchinis. If you don’t have a spiralizer, just slice them as thin as possible. Spiraling is fun, though. Toss the zucchini in the oil, squeeze the juice of the lemon on the zucchini. Add some salt and pepper.

(If you are using an inexpensive hand-held spiralizer, do not cut off the zucchini stem since you cannot process the entire length of the zucchini. Instead, leave it on so you waste less of the vegetable.)

To serve it, put the zucchini on the plate, add the tomatoes on top, then sprinkle the feta on top, add some salt and pepper. Makes one dinner serving or two side dishes.

Green Bean Sandwich

Green Bean Sandwich

Last month, my best friend and I stopped at Meat Cheese Bread for lunch and we each ordered a sandwich and then shared half of our sandwiches with each other. She had a pulled pork sandwich and I ordered a green bean sandwich, mainly out of curiosity. I mean, it sounded good, but I still wondered how green beans would fare as the star in a sandwich.

Extremely well. As good as her pulled pork sandwich was, it was still just a pulled pork sandwich. On the other hand, the green bean sandwich was a revelation. My budget does not run to dining out more than a few times a year, so if I wanted to have this delicious sandwich again, I would have to learn to make it myself.

Make Ahead

Bacon Jam

The first thing was learning to make bacon jam or relish. I read a dozen or more recipes, decided that I was not going to splurge on bourbon or maple syrup in order to save on sandwiches and came up with my own recipe without those ingredients. It may not be an exact replica, but it is delicious and it works. I could possibly add a bit more vinegar and be a little closer to the Meat Cheese Bread bacon relish since their version is not quite so thick. I am not too worried, though, because this sandwich turned out amazing and everything I hoped it would be.

Aioli

I also made up some aioli in advance. I cheated and made it with mayonnaise. I peeled 6 cloves of garlic and smashed them with the side of a knife. I sprinkled salt on them and let them rest for five minutes, coming back to mince them into small pieces. I stirred the garlic into 1 cup of mayonnaise and added the the juice of half of a fresh lemon squeezed. I mixed it all together, added 2 tsps of olive oil and stirred it in and put it away in a plastic container with a good lid. It will keep just as well as plain mayonnaise and will be a good spread of sandwiches or tasty added to some potatoes.

There were no ciabatta rolls when I went to the grocery store, so I bought some large hard rolls instead. This sandwich requires a roll with substance, one that will hold up and not get soggy when the egg yolk runs into it. The rolls I used are WinCo’s specialty and very affordable at 19 cents each.

Finally read to make sandwiches, I started by button a pot of water on the stove to boil, I filled it quite deeply with water because it needed to cover the eggs when I boiled them. While the water was heating up, I turned the broiler on the oven.

I snapped the vine end off 12 green beans and sliced a roll in half. I placed the halves of the roll on the top rack in the oven facing up toward the broiler coils.

One thing I thought I could improve on was the texture of the green beans. I thought they were just a bit too crisp and not quite done. I wanted crisp and crunchy but I wanted the flavor to taste done, not raw. To do that, I decided to blanch the green beans first. To save on pots and pans and time, I blanched them in the water for the soft-boiled eggs.

I dropped the green beans in the boiling water and counted out 60 seconds. I could have watched the clock, but 60 seconds is just long enough to get distracted and overcook the green beans. I didn’t want them cooked, just heated through so they lost their rawness. I pulled them out with tongs and set them aside and put 2 eggs in the boiling water, checking the clock. They needed to boil exactly five minutes for a perfect soft boil.

While they were boiling, I removed the now perfectly toasted buns from the oven and put them on a plate. I spread some aioli and bacon jam on one side and shaved off a few slices of parmesan.

After five minutes, I removed the pot of water from the burner and poured out the water, running cold water in the pot to cool the eggs so I could peel them. Meanwhile, I did not turn off the burner, instead I turned my stovetop fan up on high and used my electric coils to “grill” the green beans. I placed them directly on the coils and used my tongs to turn them and remove them  once they had a nice char. This worked very well and the beans were nice and crispy but not the least bit raw.

I placed them on the other half of the roll, laying down a bed of green beans. Then I peeled and sliced the soft-boiled eggs. They were perfect which meant the yolks were a bit runny which meant it was messy but that’s okay. I don’t know how you neatly slice soft-boiled eggs.  Using the side of the knife, I picked them off the cutting board and placed them on top of the green beans. I put a few shavings of parmesan on top and added just a bit of salt and pepper to the eggs.

They are photographed open, but I put the two halves together and pushed down just a bit. The yolk kind of held everything together and the flavors blended perfectly. There was the sweet and savory vinegary bacon jam, the creamy garlicky aioli, the fresh crispy green beans and the creamy, lush soft-boiled eggs with just a hint of the nutty parmesan all with a good, solid bread to absorb everything and hold it all together.

It was not identical to the restaurant sandwich, but the minor differences made it even better.

Mushrooms and Red Chard with Barley

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I cooked up some barley for breakfast and decided to make some extra to cook up something for lunch. Of course, barley and mushrooms go together perfectly and were my first thought. I had some red chard that really needed to get used and soon, so I decided to go for it. My favorite spice with mushrooms is paprika, so I thought I would give it a whirl. This made four servings. I figure that if I am going to cook something for 45 minutes (the barley) I am going to make more than one meal out of it. When I cooked the barley, I strained it and saved all the barley water to use in this dish.

I started with eight mushrooms that I cleaned and sliced. I patted them dry with a clean towel. I heated up a sauté pan and tossed them in and let them cook on medium high for about 8 minutes. This dry sauté evaporates out a lot of the fluid and enriches the mushroom flavor. Now when I cook them with the other ingredients, they will not get mushy.

While it was sautéing, I would shake the pan every once in a while to keep them from sticking. Meanwhile I thoroughly cleaned a bunch of red chard, separating the leaves from the stems. Red chard requires several rinses and careful attention to be sure you get all the dirt off it. I hold it under the water and run my finger up and down the stem a few times to make sure all the dirt is gone. No one wants to bite down on some sand or dirt in their lunch.

I chopped the stems into 1 inch long pieces. I also chopped 1/4 of white onions. Chopping up the leaves, I kept two cups and saved the rest for a salad. I set the red chard leaves aside for later.

I added 1 tbsp of olive oil and swirled it around the pan. I added the red chard stems and onions. I added 2 tsp of paprika and salt and pepper. I sautéed everything until the onions were transparent. I then added the barley water I had saved from this morning. I added the red chard leaves and the 2 cups of cooked barley I had reserved. I let this simmer until the chard was done (3 to 5 minutes) and tasted tested it. It was good, but a bit one-dimensional – very umami, but the brightness of the chard stems was missing. So I squeezed the juice of one lemon at the end and that lifted up the chard flavor – giving a multi-layered flavor profile that begins with the heart umami of the mushrooms and barley and ending with a bright, fresh chard tartness. It was delicious.