Open Faced Egg Sandwich

egg complete

I woke up this morning to a very strong but delicious smell coming from my kitchen. I think my roommate made herself an omelette and the smell got me thinking about breakfast before I was even out of bed. I had bought three different kinds of mushrooms at the coop the other day, and had yet to find a place to use them, and so this open faced egg sandwich was born.

I started by chopping the oyster, shitake, and crimini mushrooms, fresh baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, and a small shallot.egg prep

Then I fried the eggs until they were almost done, leaving them slightly undercooked as I wanted to reheat them right before serving. I am an over easy/over medium kind of lady, so I always do a flip. Not so keene on any runny white but loving the runny yolk, it is a hard balance to master, but with patience you will get it! I try not to use cooking spray very often, but in this case I find it works better then regular oil in keeping the eggs intact. eggs frying

 

Next, the veg! I added the mushrooms and shallots first, allowed them to cook for about a minute, and then added the spinach and the tomato. Both have a high water content so it is best to wait until after the mushrooms and shallots have some color before adding them to the pan.egg veg

At this point, I threw my gluten free Udi’s whole grain toast into the toaster, and made a space for my eggs to go back in the pan to warm up while the toast was toasting. At this point I turned off the burner, as I did not want to overcook the eggs and the residual heat would do just fine.egg staying warm

Next, the assembly. Topped with aged goat cheese and basil, this was a hearty, yet healthy breakfast that I will certainly make again. It really didn’t even need the bread, in fact next time I may substitute sauteed potatoes, to make a mushroom and potato hash.

I have also been experimenting with “vine” videos- hearty breakfast

egg 2egg 3egg 4

Mac and Cheese

broc cheese 1 I was craving mac and cheese while my mom was visiting, and so both of us got a frozen Amy’s brand single portion. We had been walking around all day and didn’t feel like cooking. She of course went with the regular cheese and pasta, and I opted for the one that is gluten and dairy free. I have had it a few times, with some roasted broccoli and it is pretty good. They use Daiya brand cheese, which has a buttery taste which really goes well with broccoli. Anyway, I got home, popped them both in the oven and had a strange urge to check the packages again. To my dismay, I found that I had purchased the gluten free package and not the gluten AND dairy free. So disappointed, we went to the local natural store hoping they would have it. They did not, but they had the Daiya cheese and so began my quest of making my own recipe. I have to say, it turned out really well! A creamy consistency and it only took me about half an hour to make. I used goat butter and Bob’s gf all purpose flour to make the béchamel and then added almond milk, salt, pepper, a little nutmeg and the cheese.bechmel cheese I stirred in some broccoli and baked it in a casserole dish, and voila. broc cheese almost done

broc cheese 2

Comfort Pasta- Shrimp and Pancetta Spaghetti

 

I had a pasta with shrimp a few weeks ago and I can not seem to forget it. You know those dishes that you just can’t seem to forget- that you wish you could just sit back down and have the same experience again? I just worked a quad at my restaurant. That’s like smushing a normal work week into 2 days with a few half hour breaks to scarf down some food that will sustain you for your shift. Needless to say, I was still thinking of this shrimp and pasta dish. Perfectly cooked shrimp with bacon or pancetta, a sprinkle of capers, and just a touch of tomato sauce is incredible. So tonight, after a brief nap, I had a nice bowl of comforting pasta that only took me about half an hour to make. Here is the recipe, and I think you will enjoy it as much as I did tonight! Shrimp and Pancetta Spaghetti

Now here are some more photos of deliciousness.

 

 

Gorgeous Local Eggs

Look at these gorgeous local Maine eggs! The yolks were bright orange and fantastic. Eggs are my go-to when I need a quick meal filled with protein. Lately I have been frying them over-easy with a side of chicken apple sausage that I caramelize with maple syrup off the heat. I then usually serve with broccoli (no oil, just salt, pepper, and a little goat cheddar melted over the top). It is a wonderful hearty breakfast or lunch.

Local chicken at my home away from home

On my recent trip to the adirondacks I had the luxury of eating an abundance of produce and a fresh chicken from the farm down the street. Rivermead Farms is a small farm in the heart of Keene Valley, NY and I believe the farmer Rob won best small farmer of the year. And let me tell you, it shows. His chickens are free range, organic, hormone free and they produce the best eggs I have ever had. A bright orange yolk is so full of flavor, the I feel the only way to cook them is by poaching or frying.

This trip I was very disappointed because they killed almost all of their chickens the day before we arrived and so there were no eggs. However, that meant there were chickens!  So my sister and I embarked on making a recipe that would be full of flavor but would still be simple enough to pay homage to this fresh and beautiful bird. We did a maple thyme roasted chicken and it turned out fantastic. We took the backbone out of the chicken and flattened it so that it would cook evenly. It takes away the risk of dry breast meat as you have to cook the legs to 170 degrees. By flattening the chicken, the legs are higher and get a more even distribution of heat. Here is a link of a how to: www.seriouseats.com/2010/05/how-to-roast-a-chicken-butterflied-tips.html. I highly recommend this recipe for a change from the classic roast chicken. When I think of eating local, produce is what first pops into my mind, but if you can get your hands on some local chicken, what a treat!

A Gluten Free Birthday Celebration

 I was approached by a friend who was catering a birthday party for about 50 people, where the client’s son had celiac disease. All she asked for was a gluten free cheesecake and a flourless chocolate cake, but I was consumed with the idea of catering a whole event gluten free. We got to work, planning the menu, offering choices and in the end having the client select what she wanted us to serve her and her guests. There was an hour and a half of passed hors d’oeuvres and then a room temperature buffet, followed by dessert. I have to say, this was a real challenge but also a real treat; On the sixth floor in a penthouse in Tribecca, with live jazz playing in the background and a rooftop deck for the guests to enjoy their wine, it was a pleasure to be able to serve my food. In the end, everything was gluten free and cows milk free (except the cheesecake) and I really hope to do something similar again soon. The menu was as follows:

 ~Passed Hors d’oeuvres~

 Shrimp Tempura with Thai Chili Sauce

Seared Filet Mignion with Goat Blue Cheese

Caprese Skewers with Basil Pesto

Fennel Crusted Seared Tuna with Wasabi Aioli

Truffled Mushroom Risotto Balls with Scallion Aioli

 *Also served with a crudite accompanied by spicy red pepper hummus

and a creamy dill dip.

 ~Buffett~

 Grilled Spice Rubbed Chicken with Corn and Pepper Salad

Dressed with a Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette

Slow Roasted Barbecue Pulled Pork

Roasted Root Vegetables with a Thyme Dijon Vinaigrette

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Goats Milk Feta

Mint, Parsley and Lemon

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with toasted Walnuts

and a Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

 ~Dessert~

 Mascarpone Cheesecake with a Coconut Crust

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Macerated Berries in Elderflower Liquor

Vanilla and Key Lime Gelato

Mango Sorbet

 

 

Rainy day brings bowls of goodness.

With the past few days being rainy and cold, I can’t help but notice people in my life feeling down. It reminded me of a few things, the first being the union square market and how recently I took some pictures of the amazing produce that they have to offer. The market always reminds me of spring.

I finally took a picture of my favorite goat cheese purveyor, Ardith Mae. They just switched from being there friday mornings to Saturday. Seriously people, this cheese is amazing

and ranges from sweet grassy chevre, to hard aged salty cheese, to smooth wash rind cheese that emulates camembert. Go get some and tell him I sent you. They also sell goat meat if you are feeling adventurous!

So what did I want to eat on this cold rainy afternoon, the second one after a long stretch of gorgeous days? Chili! I didn’t have all the ingredients to make a fresh batch and so I created one with what I had, not wanting to venture out in the rain. Refried black beans layered with shredded poached chicken, sprinkled with southwest seasoning, warmed up with fresh chopped raw heirloom cherry tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, vegan sour cream, pickled jalapenos, and freshly chopped romaine lettuce. As a kid my dad would always make us a big bowl of rice, topped with the chili, cheese, sour cream and then tons of shaved lettuce. It is almost hard for me to eat chili plain now, without the starch and the lettuce. So although it is somewhat sacrilegious to call what I made last night “chili” to me it sort of was (missing the rice of course). Nothing like nostalgia to warm you up on a cold evening.

Plus, I am pretty much always in the mood for mexican cuisine and on cold days, I go to chili and stews over soups and broth (I have never been a big soup person). Anyway, I hope the sun comes back out soon, but for now, I am warming up with a warm bowl of something good.

Spring means artichokes..

Gorgeous, large artichokes appeared at the coop in the past couple of weeks to my excitement. Artichokes have always been one of my favorite foods, a staple at every person in my family’s birthday dinner. Simply steamed with a side of olive oil and lemon or traditionally butter, is divine. There is almost no other food in which the motion of eating, pulling each leaf, dipping in the butter and scraping your teeth along the flesh, that has a more nostalgic feeling for me. Although I have a bias, they are one of the most delicious and healthy vegetables out there. Full of antioxidants, good for your liver and digestion, (I have even read people use them as a hangover cure- not sure who…) they are delicious, and simple to make.

Just rinse, cut off about 3/4 of an inch to an inch off of the top. Trim the ends of the leaves if any are sharp with kitchen scissors. I cut mine a little too low tonight but it still turned out great. Put them in a pot fitted with a steamer and steam for 25-40 min or until fok tender in the top of the stem at the base of the heart. I promise you you will not be disappointed.

 

Emily’s Birthday Brunch

It was my sister Emily’s birthday and her girlfriend and I wanted to do something special, so we decided to throw her a birthday brunch at my apartment. I asked everyone to bring a beverage as well as something to eat but of course my mind went into full gear about things to make. Brunch, one of New Yorkers’ favorite meals, and one of the least favorite for the waiters of the world, I have found to be much more enjoyable at home. The only problem is, how to make the foods that we all love; french toast, eggs, bacon, home fries, etc.. able to be enjoyed at a party and not at a table with myself being parked in the kitchen as a short order cook. I came up with some fun recipes to make any brunch get together an easy and affordable way to entertain, and of course gluten and dairy free. The menu for Emily’s Birthday Brunch is as follows:

Breakfast

~Baked Potato Frittata Bites with Chive Sour Cream~

~Vegetable Frittata Bites with Goat Cheese~

~Pecan Caramel French Toast Casserole~

 ~Deviled Eggs~

~Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts~

 Drinks

~Lemon Thyme Mimosa~

~Bloody Marys~

~Fresh Grapefruit and Orange Juice~

 Making the frittata in mini muffin pans and the french toast in one big casserole made everything so much easier to enjoy and it looked gorgeous. Deviled eggs are one of Emily’s favorite so I had to bring that into the mix. The sweet and spicy nuts add a nice flair to the average cocktail nuts, especially in a brunch setting, where sweet and savory come together so well. Lastly the cocktails. I made my own bloody mary mix but you could certainly buy it to make things easier. Having good quality orange and grapefruit juice with prosecco allowed everyone to make drinks just the way they liked them. I also took the idea from my sister for a lemon thyme mimosa by making a thyme simple syrup and adding some fresh lemon juice. That created a really refreshing brunch cocktail I would sip any afternoon. See servers of the world (myself included) brunch can be easy and enjoyable!