Category Archives: Eggs

Breakfast Egg Cups…perfect for your commute!

Morning comes awfully early when one has a commute.  And I don’t know anyone who wants to sit down to a hearty breakfast the minute they open their sleepy little eyes.  It seems we all hit the floor running and don’t stop until we literally run out of gas.  My son, James, has never been a lover of the too-soon breakfast and we’ve tangled with this since he was in kindergarten.  At the tender age of five I struggled to offer him something healthful AND tasty.  While he was in school I drove way out on Powerline Road to a roadside stand and bought just picked produce.  Money was tight and I could little afford to waste a thin dime but I was determined that James would have the best I could give him.  I bought a little of this and little of that.  Zucchini, tomatoes, green beans and strawberries were staples.   Dawn broke and I would schlep to the kitchen trying to put together a breakfast that would interest James while, at the same time, hold him in good stead.  What a struggle!  “Mama, I can’t!”, was typically his response when he brought his plates to the kitchen.  We still laugh about this but one day I exploded.  Yes.  I popped.  I’ve been told, after the fact, that I’m a little scary when I get mad.  I ranted and raved and carried on, “What?  What is it I can fix for you that you’ll eat?  WHAT?”.  That sweet, little boy looked up at me and earnestly answered, “Coffee and a pretzel?”  Can you even?  Lord, I laughed so hard I probably tinkled in my pants.  And those strawberries I could ill afford?  They were found a long time later when I found the strength to move the sofa in order to clean.  Though we all know a good breakfast is crucial for a productive day the struggle continues.  I know my boy is NOT going to lose a precious five minutes of sleep in order to throw together a breakfast he can eat on the train or in his office.  And that’s where Mama comes in.  That boy is going to be moving out, and soon, but until then I can pack a pretty and healthful breakfast….one that will keep him fueled until 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon.

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These egg cups are easy, versatile, healthful and filling.  Paired with fresh fruit, your family will thank you.  Truly.  You’re going to start hearing, “Thanks, Mom!” more and more.  They can be made with fresh eggs, egg whites or Egg Beaters.  I use fresh eggs and always, always organic.  The recipe I’m posting calls for sausage and vegetables but any and all may be substituted for any other filling.  Cubed ham, chorizo, spinach, kale, chopped tomatoes, scallions, cheddar, parmesan and mozzarella are just a few ideas.  Leftover crab or shrimp are also tasty morsels.  So go crazy.  Your family will love them!

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Breakfast Egg Cups

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, in bulk or out of casings
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped, green tops included
  • 2 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh spinach leaves, chopped (optional)
  • 12 grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup 2% reduced fat cheddar cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Spray a non-stick spray all over the top of a 12-cup muffin tin and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350°.
  3. In a large, non-stick skillet brown the sausage, breaking up any large clumps with the back of a spoon.  You don’t want any large pieces as they’re too big for the muffin cups.  If you’re using pork sausage drain it well.
  4. To the turkey add the scallions, zucchini, basil and spinach.  Mix well and continue to cook until the vegetables have wilted.  Remove from heat to cool.
  5. While the sausage mixture cools pour the eggs evenly into the sprayed muffin cups.  I find using a 1/4 measuring cup makes this quick and simple.
  6. Taste the sausage/vegetable mixture for salt and pepper and adjust seasonings.  I find the sausage adds plenty of salt so I add only pepper.
  7. Divide the sausage mixture evenly between the muffin cups, gently pressing the filling down.
  8. Place one tomato in the center of each egg cup.
  9. If using cheese, sprinkle over each egg cup.
  10. Bake egg cups for 20-25 minutes or until puffy and golden on the edges.
  11. Allow to cool completely before refrigerating.  I store each one in individual plastic bags.  To re-heat I place as many egg cups as needed on a plate and zap in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.  If you’re heating just one for the road, 15 seconds on a plate is perfect then drop it back in the bag it lived in when in the refrigerator and you’re good to go.

http://www.theirreverent.kitchen.com

 

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Deviled Eggs…Classic Southern or Sriracha?

I was raised in a household of egg lovers.  Mama couldn’t cook, and didn’t, but she could scramble, poach, soft or hard boil an egg all day long.  My father had taught her when they were first married.  Eggs and hamburgers she had hands down.  But deviled eggs must have fallen into the cooking domain because she didn’t know the first thing about them.  Nor was this dish served in Puerto Rico.  Consequently, I didn’t have my first one until maybe late in grade school?  Junior high?  I don’t remember.  I do, however, remember where I was and with whom.  I was at my best friend’s house, Ann, and we were standing in the kitchen of her house.  Her mother, Mrs. A., had prepared classic southern style deviled eggs for the family.  It was summertime because Ann’s brothers, Trey and Steve, were home from college.  One went to Annapolis and the other the Citadel.  Both Ann’s parents were from South Carolina and being that Mrs. A. cooked…well, there were always homemade southern delicacies at her house.  I don’t mean to get off point but all morning I’ve had the hardest time writing this post.  I’ve been on Facebook, Instagram, texting, watching youtube videos…I even cleaned out the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator.  I’ve had an unsettling, somewhat resentful feeling while trying to write all this and I’ve figured out why.  Ann was my best friend growing up.  We went to kindergarten through high school together.  Adventures galore, we had sleep overs, dance contests and parties at her house when her parents were out-of-town.  I loved her.  She loved me.  But we drifted apart during the college years, her family retired to North Carolina and we lost touch.   I got along just fine with her parents.  They were friendly and fun and always included me in everything.  But about, I don’t know, maybe 10, 15 years ago my mother and I were talking about Ann and I mentioned to Mama how I’d love to see Ann again and how fond I was of her.  That’s when Mama said, “Yes, Ann was a lovely girl.  Her mother didn’t care very much for ME, though.”  “What?”, I asked.  “What do you mean? What happened?”  Mama answered that Mrs. A. had never liked her, avoided her at social functions.  When Mrs. A was forced to call our house she “talked down” to my mother.  All those years I never knew.  I knew Mama had faced plenty of discrimination here.  With her heavy Spanish accent she dealt with it almost on a daily basis.  But my BEST FRIEND’S MOTHER?  I was livid.  Livid with impotent rage.  I wanted to jump on my broom, fly to North Carolina and…well, never mind. I think you’ve got the picture.  Anyway, my first deviled egg was eaten in the A’s kitchen.   And it was fabulous.  Mrs. A. might have been uppity towards my mother but she could certainly cook.  Smooth and creamy with the sweet bite of relish, she had the classic down pat.  But I ain’t forgetting how she treated Mama.  She can keep her damn recipe because here’s mine.

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Deviled eggs.  The first to disappear at a cocktail party or cookout.  Some folks won’t admit it but deviled eggs are heaven on earth.  And these will do you proud.  A few years back I decided to add some heat to these little jewels.  Add more or less Sriracha as your taste dictates.  They are truly sublime!

Classic Southern Deviled Eggs and Sriracha Deviled Eggs

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 6 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise, I use only Duke’s
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Slice eggs in half lengthwise.
  2. Being careful the whites don’t tear, remove the yolks and place in a small bowl.  Set whites aside.
  3. Using a fork, mash the yolks well, completely breaking them up.
  4. Add the mayonnaise, relish, mustard, salt and pepper and stir well until there are no lumps of yolk and the mixture is creamy.
  5.  Taste for salt and pepper.
  6. Spoon the yolk mixture into the center of each egg white.
  7. Cover and store in the refrigerator until serving.
  8. Serve eggs well chilled.

If preparing Sriracha Deviled Eggs replace the relish and mustard with 1 tablespoon Sriracha, (or more if you wish), and 2 tablespoons freshly minced chives.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

The Queen of Spain’s Tapas…Tortilla Espanola

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Partially growing up in Puerto Rico, my siblings and I saw a side of entertaining that definitely gave a nod to mother Spain.  As I’ve mentioned before in earlier posts, my mother’s family has always been extremely formal as well as intellectually and culturally blessed.  Family gatherings were planned with the same attention as any other courtly affair.  Aunts, uncles and all cousins were summoned.  Men were in coat and tie or, at the very least, their dressiest linen “guayabera”, the favored lightweight shirt worn untucked by legions of Latin men.  Women were dressed in silk sheaths, dupioni and peau de soie heels, hair sprayed in place, the still air heavy with their French perfumes.  My grandparents house sang with the deep voices of my uncles weaving through the melody of my aunts’ muted murmurs of secrets and town gossip all the while their charm bracelets tinkled faintly and caught light as they raised their cocktails to their ruby-colored lips for a cool sip.

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Those evenings were always incredibly steamy making it impossible for me to stay looking fresh.  Many of those nights I remember sitting in a corner trying desperately to look sophisticated as I dabbed the perspiration running down my face and neck in rivulets.  Still too young for contact lenses, my bland and boring cat classes routinely slid down my nose.  The only other moisture seen were the water droplets trickling  down the sides of the grownups’ cocktails into damp cotton napkins held loosely in their hands. Due to the humidity, Cynthia’s hair took a decidedly unattractive turn as uninvited waves and feral curls sprang wildly to life; MY hair, on the other hand, chose the equally unfortunate opposite end of the beauty spectrum and fell limp and flat, lank and lifeless.  Oh, that damned muggy heat.  Not a pretty picture.  The grownups didn’t care…heck, they didn’t even notice!  Unsurprisingly my uncles lit up cigarettes, one off of another, leaning in and drawing in deeply to then blow it all out in a big cloud of smoke.  God bless.  You couldn’t even breathe.  I prayed for a breeze.  But did I ever get up, walk out to one of the balconies and pull up my hair?  Not a chance.  I might miss something.  The men drank their rum neat and sipped it.  If whiskey, or “whee-kee”, was their chosen nip of the night then maybe, MAYBE, one or two ice cubes would be casually tossed into the glass.  My sister and I were given exquisite flutes filled with iced water.  We held those glasses as though we were enjoying champagne.  Close friends of the family dropped by as did invited neighbors.  And our beautiful mama flit about like an exotic butterfly from conversation to conversation.  She bloomed in Puerto Rico; she always went back to her island with the faint aura of celebrity.  She didn’t just study in the States…she LIVED there.  Such an adventurous woman.  AND she played tennis!

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No one ever really ate, except maybe Cynthia and me, but there was always a beautifully laid table well stocked with hors d’oeuvre from the delicate finger sandwich or small chip of cheese topped with a rosy mound of guava paste all the way to garlicky fried cod and culantro fritters alongside platters of cold and creamy tortilla Espanola, cut into bite sized squares, the soft potatoes just melted in your mouth.  Late into the night music could be heard as one uncle, or two or three, would softly strum their guitar, their rich baritones melding together perfectly as they played and sang classic Latin songs and madrigals.  There was no dancing at these get-togethers, just close friends and family connecting and catching up.  At some point Cynthia and I would wander off to bed gradually falling asleep to the enchanting sounds of faint farewells at our grandparent’s heavy front gate.  Sheltered and loved there were only sweet dreams that night!

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This dish, Tortilla Espanola, is absolutely beautiful.  Perfect cut into squares and served with cocktails this torta will also segue easily into brunch as well as a hastily cut slice eaten on the run.  It is the traditional tapas served throughout Spain and other Latin locales.  I don’t consider the American equivalent of the tortilla as being an omelette because I find omelettes are more egg than any other ingredient.  In a torta the egg is more of a binder.  Also the tortilla is cooked slowly rendering the potatoes soft and almost gooey in texture; the onions melt into the mixture but their flavor remains smooth and sweet.  The following recipe is the classic Spanish version of just four ingredients; potatoes, onions, olive oil and eggs.  But feel free to add peppers, mushrooms, sausage or herbs.  Every recipe is different and individual so there really is no right or wrong way.  Please don’t be put off by the “flipping” or inverting procedure of the torta from pan to plate and back.  Just use a large, flat platter that feels good in your hand, take your time and invert the tortilla over your sink.  Cook the tortilla slowly and resist the temptation to jack up the heat.  Medium-low is the ideal temperature throughout the cooking process.  If time allows, prepare the dish the day before you plan to serve it to give it sufficient time for the flavors to marry and also to get good and cold.  If you decide to prepare this recipe again, strain the olive oil, pour it into a glass jar fitted with a tight lid  and store it in the refrigerator.  This oil can be used again and again for tortas and the flavor of the oil will make your tortilla taste better and better with each use.  Finally, and I can’t stress this enough, definitely use a nonstick pan otherwise your beautiful torta will stick to the pan and fall apart.  Buen Provecho!

Torta Espanola

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

yield: 8-10 slices

  • 2 1/2 cups good quality olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 8 medium red skinned potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ rounds
  • 6 eggs, good quality and preferably organic
  • salt to taste
  1. In a 10 inch or 11-inch pan heat the olive oil over medium-low.
  2. Add the sliced onion and slowly cook until soft and translucent, about 20 minutes, taking care not to brown them.  You don’t want any color.
  3. Wipe the potato slices dry with a paper towel and carefully add to the hot olive oil.  Cook for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and cooked thoroughly.
  4. Place a colander in a large bowl and take the pan of potatoes off the heat.  Using a slotted spoon or spider transfer all the potatoes and onions to the colander.  Reserve the drained olive oil in the bottom of the bowl for later in the recipe.
  5. In a clean glass jar strain the olive oil remaining in the pan for some other time.  Refrigerate when completely cool.
  6. In a medium to large bowl lightly beat the eggs, season with salt and thoroughly mix in the drained potato-onion mixture.
  7. Using the same non-stick pan heat one tablespoon of olive oil that drained from the potatoes over medium-low heat.
  8. Pour the potato-egg mixture into the pan and allow to cook without moving the pan or mixture for 4-5 minutes.
  9. Gently shake the pan back and forth to loosen the mixture and, using a soft, rubber spatula, pull the edges of the torta away from the sides of the pan tucking the edges under.
  10. Cook another 4-5 minutes until the bottom is set.  The top of the torta will still be completely uncooked.
  11. Give the pan a quick shake, place a large plate or platter on top of the pan and, holding firmly, quickly turn the pan over and invert the torta onto the platter.  It feels better if this is done over the sink.  At least it gives ME a sense of security!
  12. Again wipe the pan clean, add another tablespoon of reserved olive oil and heat the pan over medium-low heat.
  13. Holding the plate as close to the pan as you can, gently slide the torta back into the pan.  Press the spatula on the sides of the tortilla tucking any edges in and under.  You should now have the “top” facing down and cooking and the “bottom” facing up.
  14. Cook for another 4-5 minutes, repeat the inverting process of the tortilla, clean the pan, add one tablespoon of olive oil and gently slide back into the pan.  Repeat 2 or three times until the tortilla no longer oozes and looks to be set, all pretty and golden.
  15. Serve warm in wedges or squares or allow to cool completely, cover with plastic wrap and maintain in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

Easy Poached Eggs… perfect for girl’s weekend

 

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Yes, it’s that time of year again.  When the three of us, Dana, Andrea and I head down to Hawks Cay for fun in the sun… a girl-cation.  We’ve been going for five or six years now and we have our weekend down pat.  When we first started going to the Keys we’d load the car up with our Vera Bradley bags almost bursting at the seams, stacks of pillows would take up most of the back seat and the stuffed trunk of the car barely closed crammed tightly with all our Publix provisions.  Well, I’m here to tell you we’ve got this thing down to a science.  We’ve streamlined and pared down to the essentials.  Cases of wine and champagne and handles of vodka and rum now take room in the trunk.  In small bags we each pack two bathing suits, (nobody likes to put on a wet one), two sarongs, (they can also double as towels), one loungy outfit, jammies and undergarments.  Our travel outfits include flip-flops and, in the unlikely event we go out, the travel outfit would also serve as our party wear.  But we never, EVER go out.  We’re always too ripped.  The three of us are early risers so by 8:00 a.m. we’ve had too much coffee, our suits and sarongs are on and the champagne has started flowing.  And that’s when Andrea’s breakfast magic begins.  The three of us love eggs, any way, any time.  Being proficient and well trained girly-girls we want and expect a clean and lovely breakfast and my girl Andrea delivers.  Poached organic eggs with nutty, toasted 7-grain bread to sop up the runny, velvety yolks and heirloom tomato slices to cut through the richness.  Heaven!  When one is going to be drinking in the sun, poolside, from say 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. one must have sustenance and a solid, healthful start.  Poached eggs are fast, easy and a ripping good way to round out your first meal of the day.

Our pool from the second story balcony. We were enjoying a splendid early A.M. sun shower when this was taken!
Our pool from the second story balcony. We were enjoying a splendid early A.M. sun shower when this photo was taken!

Here are a few tips to make the preparing of poached eggs seamless.  Use the freshest eggs you can.  The fresher the egg the more it will hold it’s shape in the poaching liquid.  The addition of a teaspoon of white vinegar to the simmering water is optional but I feel it makes all the difference in the world.  You won’t taste it at all but the egg will stay tighter and more close together thereby ending up with a much prettier poached egg.  Without vinegar it’s easy to end up with a pan full of wispy, cloudy streamers of egg whites.  Crack each egg into a small cup so that any bits of broken shell can easily be taken out.  The simplest way to nab any pieces of broken shell is to scoop them out with the empty half shell in your hand.  Good luck using your finger or a spoon…the errant shell will be repelled and you’ll be chasing that thing all morning.  But a large piece of egg shell is almost like a magnet to grab shell shards.  At a soft simmer, 3-4 minutes will yield an egg with a firm white but still runny yolk.  This next step is also optional but most people don’t care for their poached eggs sloshing about the bottom of a bowl in warm water.  So, after letting the water drain from the egg through a slotted spoon, hold a folded paper towel in your other hand, gently turn the egg onto the paper towel and from there slide it into your bowl, onto your toast or over your salad, (very French!).  If you are preparing breakfast for several people make certain to add an extra 20-30 seconds cooking time per egg.  Last of all, this is not the time to bypass salt.  Poached eggs sing when well-seasoned.  You don’t need much salt and pepper but the inclusion makes all the difference in the world.

It's Tito time!
It’s Tito time!

 

Poached Eggs

  • Servings: allow 2 eggs per person
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • fresh eggs
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • freshly cracked pepper and ground salt to taste

He is NOT part of girl's weekend so scuttle yo' ass on up that palm 'cuz you can't sit with us!
He is NOT part of girl’s weekend so scuttle yo’ ass on up that palm ‘cuz you can’t sit with us!

Have ready your eggs.  Fill a skillet with 1 1/2 inches of water and bring to a rolling boil.  Add the vinegar to the boiling water and drop the heat to a quiet simmer.  Break an egg into a cup and gently slide it into the pan getting as close to the surface of water as you can.  Do this with each egg and simmer eggs 3-5 minutes or until the whites are firm and the yolks appear pink.  Using a slotted spoon remove eggs from skillet, drain and serve.  Season well with salt and pepper.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

Empties from Day 2. Sigh.
Empties from Day 2. Sigh.

 

The Perfect Autumn Breakfast, Soft Boiled Eggs in France

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On a cold and windy morning nothing gets me out of bed faster than the thought of my first cup of coffee. Before drifting off to sleep and upon waking in the morning I often find myself visualizing and dreaming about breakfast and, most importantly, that first cup of java.

Champagne and eggs?  I could do that.  I love champagne!
Champagne and eggs? I could do that. I love champagne!

I consider the cup it may be in, which is vitally important to me as I DO NOT appreciate anything about a mug unless we’re having a hurricane and then I tend to count my blessings.  I appreciate a proper cup, with its saucer.  And please toss it and pull out a fresh one if there are any chips.  Chips are depressing and completely unnecessary.  As I stretched in bed, my mind closed in on the full cup and focused on the minuscule flecks of coffee bathing right next to the tiny droplets of oil from just ground beans indicating a really fresh, deep brew.  And being in PARIS, I knew I would very soon be savoring a hot and frothy cafe au lait. Ready in a flash we went down to the bistro next door to our hotel and ordered.  It’s already cold here…and super windy.  Our table was next to one of the bistros many doors.  I shivered every time  a slim, elegant French person blew through the doors, unwinding  their long stylish scarves as they double kissed their waiting companions, each and every one swathed in black.  With chestnut-brown or olive as a blast of color.  Crazy.  I mean, what do these French people do when they come to Florida?  Because we rock color.  Buildings, skies, flowers… OUTFITS!  Never mind the sun.  I imagine they go back home with two black, burned out holes where their eyes used to be.  Anyway, the first coffee of the day was coming and I couldn’t wait.  Two seconds later and, voila!  Ambition in a cup.  For those of you who are unaware there is an unwritten coffee rule in France.  Cafe au lait is espresso or very strong coffee poured into the cup or bowl at the same time as steamed milk.  But in France, and I believe Italy as well, people drink coffee with milk only in the morning.  After that, it’s black.  But you can add sugar if you want.  Don’t get me wrong, you can order coffee with milk anytime but, say it’s 3:00p.m. and you want milk in your coffee.

Your afternoon coffee.
Your afternoon coffee.

You’ll get it right away but you can bet your bottom dollar that waiter is thinking, “Stoo-peed Ah-mer-ee-ken!!!”  I’m serious.  He is.

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But back to break-y.  As I savored my coffee and perused the menu my eyes fell on “Deux Oeufs a la Coque”, two soft-boiled eggs.  BINGO!  I knew what I was having!!  I LOVE a good soft-boiled egg, all runny and salty.  And that’s just what I ordered.  They came out perfect and, to my delight, with a hay stack of toasted french bread batons alongside, perfect for dipping into the sunny, yellow yolks.  The eggs were gorgeous; the yolks silky and almost buttery.  They were probably 3 and 1/2 minute eggs which are perfect.  The whites are cooked almost all the way through and the yolks are hot and luxurious.  I think the idea of taking the white, fluffy inside of the bread out, cutting the crusts into strips and toasting is positively brilliant.  So simple yet it never would have occurred to me.  Whack me on the head… it’s an “I could have had a V-8!” moment.  I think this is a fantastic way to make a leisure Sunday breakfast splendid and pretty without breaking your back or bank account.  And don’t you think it would be the perfect breakfast to serve to your favorite boy in bed when he’s home for Thanksgiving break?