Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Confession about eggs

Turkey bacon, spinach, tomato, mozzarella scramble

As a child I loved eggs- but I feared mushy scrambled eggs. I hated those scrambled eggs in the metal server trays at breakfast buffets that seem bland, soft, and mushy. That's why I never really ate scrambled eggs for breakfast, opting instead for omelets, poached eggs, or fried eggs. At home, I would sometimes make scrambled eggs, but I would always make them a little golden-brown. This is especially good in Chinese dishes, like eggs with tomatoes, which would be just plain weird to me with soft scrambled eggs.

Then, when I watched a season of Top Chef during college, I realized this was considered quite sacrilegious. Anthony Bourdain would declare a contestant's breakfast dish inedible, because overcooking eggs is "unacceptable." Hmm... was my way of cooking scrambled eggs a foodie faux pas?

Everyone has guilty pleasures in food- food we know should not be cooked a certain way technically, but it tastes good to us. My mom likes her noodles on the softer side, and her steak well-done. Both are things that horrify my food sensibilities. But is there really a right way or a wrong way? If I enjoy it, then does the rest of the world's opinion matter? I've decided to embrace my own way of enjoying food.

Even so, I remain open to new suggestions. I got over my dislike of softer scrambled eggs after stumbling upon a recipe on my friend's fabulous blog, Winner Celebration Party. I followed her recipe to a T (coincidentally, I had all the ingredients on hand.) They turned out soft, fluffy, and delicious. It is a super addictive combination- I have also tried adding some sun-dried tomatoes to the recipe- divine! Props go to WCB to changing my mind about scrambled :)

I will never embrace those buffet eggs, but these have become a weekend staple for me!

Parmesan pesto scrambled eggs- great brunch idea

Parmesan and Pesto Scrambled Eggs

3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper, to taste
generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese
(Optional: sun-dried tomatoes)
dollop of pesto

1. In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Whisk.
2. Heat some oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add eggs, allow to solidify somewhat. Move the eggs around. Add parmesan cheese while still runny, fold. (Can add sun-dried tomatoes at this point if desired.)
3. Plate the eggs and top with pesto. Serve!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Matcha green tea macarons

I absolutely love green tea. So after learning how to make macarons the right way, I decided to try my hand at green tea macarons. This was not a simple task... matcha green tea powder is somewhat hard to come by, and it tends to be pretty expensive. Nevertheless, I bought a can with my Amazon Prime account (such an enabler for impulse buys).

These turned out really well!! The matcha lends a delicate, herbal flavor to the cookie. There is matcha powder in both the shell and the ganache. The ganache I made with white chocolate, heavy cream, and matcha powder. A little on the sweet side, I think I might prefer a buttercream macaron which may be lighter. Next time!

cross-section! there are air pockets in some.. sigh.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Getting your greens

Kale is gaining popularity as an amazing superfood. It has been featured in NY Times countless times. It has antioxidants and vitamins in spades, including vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta carotene. Some people claim it can even help cure cancer. Regardless of the truth of that statement, one thing is clear- kale is good for you. Luckily, it is also quite tasty as well!

For my first time trying kale, I decided to get a bunch at the local farmer's market. I bought a lovely bunch of kale with ruby red stems and veins. I ended up trying two recipes- soup and pasta. They both had essentially the same ingredients and flavor profiles.

First, I made traditional Portugese kale, potato, and sausage soup. This was a hearty, flavorful soup. It's not something I would make on a regular basis though. The kale is very substantial and has a strong, almost spicy taste. However, I found that the soup itself was lacking. Perhaps it was because I used boxed broth and not fresh. You can find the recipe here, i followed it to a T.

Next, I decided to use the same combinations in a penne pasta. This turned out to be really amazing! Kale works really well with sausage- the sausage brings out the spice in the kale. The mushrooms were a great choice as well- the dish was earthy, spicy, and flavorful.

Here's an approximated recipe for the pasta:

Kale, sausage and mushroom pasta

  • 2 servings of penne pasta
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 handful kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 6 or 7 cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Italian chicken sausages, casing removed (uncooked preferably)
  • 1 small handful of fresh parmesan cheese
  • red pepper flakes
  1. Cook pasta al dente. While pasta is cooking, heat tsp of oil in a large pan.
  2. When oil is hot, fry the shallots until lightly browned. Add the chicken sausage, stir fry it and crumble the sausage.
  3. When the sausage is brown, add cremini mushrooms and kale. Stir fry for a few more minutes until kale is wilted.
  4. Add pasta to the pan. (I like to add a little pasta water for moisture, but don't overdo this step.)
  5. Season with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. Serve hot.

Amazing meal for a cool, sunny Sunday noon