Friday, June 24, 2011

Scrambled Egg Breakfast Tacos

This is a simple dish but such a great flavor combo that I feel compelled to post it.  We usually have these for dinner instead of breakfast :-)

Scrambled Egg Breakfast Tacos

4-5 eggs
splash of milk or cream
2-3 T chopped green onion
1 T chopped fresh cilantro
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1-2 T clarified butter
6 corn tortillas
1/4 c crumbled feta
hot sauce

1) In a small bowl, lightly beat eggs and cream; mix in green onion, cilantro, salt and pepper.
2) Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add eggs and scramble.
3) Place two tortillas at a time between wet paper towels and microwave for 30-40 seconds, until soft.
4) Spoon eggs onto tortillas; top with feta and a dash of hot sauce.

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

As I started to type this, I realized that our eggplant parmesan does not actually contain any parmesan.  Oops - we'll have to add it next time.  J was very resistant to the idea of this dish until we saw Alex Guarnaschelli make her Eggplant Parmigiana on Alex's Day Off.  We loved her recipe, but it was a lot of work, used too much cheese (and I love cheese) and yielded way too much food.  We scaled things back and started making this easy version.  You can used store bought sauce to make it even easier. 

Since we made this up as we went along, all of these measurements are just guidelines.  Depending on the size of the eggplant, you might need a little more egg/flour/breacrumbs or a little less.  You can add a little water to the egg to extend it.

Eggplant Parmesan


1 large eggplant
kosher salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c breadcrumbs
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
paprika, taste
garlic powder, to taste
onion powder, to taste
dried basil, to taste
dried oregano, taste


1 T butter
28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes (whole or diced)
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T brown sugar
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
fresh basil, chopped, to taste
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

oil for frying
fresh mozzeralla, sliced
cooked pasta

1) Slice eggplant into 1/2" rounds.
2) Arrange eggplant in a single layer in a large baking dish; sprinkle with kosher salt on both sides and allow to rest for an hour.
3) In the meantime, melt butter in a medium saucepan; add onion, carrot, celery and saute until translucent and tender.
4) Add garlic; saute for 1 minute.
5) Add tomatoes, sugar, red pepper flakes, basil, salt and pepper; mix well.
6) Simmer over med-low heat for at least 45-60 mins (longer is fine); if using whole tomatoes, break up with wooden spoon as they begin to break down.
7) Rinse eggplant with cool water; pat dry.
8) Place breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl; season with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, and dried oregano to taste.
9) Place beaten egg and flour in individual small bowls.
10) Dip each eggplant round in flour, then egg, then breadcrumb mixture.
11) Heat 1/2" of oil in large skillet over medium heat.
12) Fry eggplant 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown; drain on paper towels.
13) To serve, layer pasta, eggplant, mozzarella and sauce.

Batter Fried Chicken

Last night we decided to try to recreate Sweet Water Tavern's Monterrey Salad.  As a first step, we needed to make crispy fried chicken strips, and this recipe exceeded our expectations.  The batter was light, crispy and perfectly seasoned, and the meat stayed moist despite my tendency to overcook chicken.

To create the salad we used an assortment of lettuce from Papa K's garden and added chopped avocado, green pepper strips, tomato wedges, chopped green onions, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped cucumber, black beans, candied pecans, fried tortilla strips and chopped chicken.  We topped it all off with Buttermilk Ranch dressing.

Batter Fried Chicken
Adapted from Slim Shoppin


2 c cold water
2 T salt
2 T sugar


1/2 c flour
1/2 c cornstarch
2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
dash of cayenne pepper
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c cold water

1 lb chicken tenders
oil for frying

1) In a large bowl or baking dish, combine all brine ingredients; stir until the sugar and salt dissolve.
2) Add chicken; allow to marinate for at least 30 mins.
3) In another large bowl, combine all batter ingredients; whisk until well blended.
4) In a large skillet, heat 1/2" of oil over medium heat.
5) Remove chicken from brine; pat dry.
6) Using tongs, dip chicken pieces into batter, allowing the excess to drip off; place in hot oil.
7) Fry on each side until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

We made this dressing to top our Monterrey salads last night.  Awesome -- this dressing puts Hidden Valley Ranch, my old stand-by, to shame.  We used fresh chives and dill from our garden.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Inspired by Simply Recipes

1/2 c cultured buttermilk
1/4 c mayonnaise
1/2 tsp lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp chopped fresh chives
2 tsp chopped fresh dill
dash of paprika
dash of pepper

1) In a small bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well.
2) Refrigerate until needed.

Potato Pancakes

The key to these potato pancakes is to let them cook long enough to get good and crispy.  The best time to make these is right after you've finished frying up some bacon.  Frying the potato pancakes in the leftover bacon grease adds a ton of flavor.

Potato Pancakes
Inspired by

2 c shredded potato (about 1 good sized russet)
1-2 T finely diced onion
2 eggs
1 T + 1 tsp flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
oil (preferably bacon grease)

1) Squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the potatoes.
2) In a large bowl, combine potatoes, onion, eggs, flour, salt and pepper; mix well.
3) Add enough oil to a large skillet to cover the bottom (3-4 T); heat over medium.
4) Plop 2-3 T of batter in skillet; use spoon to spread batter into a thin pancake.
5) Fry on each side until golden brown.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Oven Roasted Kale

I tried making kale chips a while back, but they didn't quite turn out.  I'm not sure what kind of kale I used, but it was really thin, and the chips stuck to the pan.  After picking up some kale at the farmer's market this past weekend, I decided to given kale chips another shot with the help of this recipe.

1 bunch kale
1-2 T olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
roasted sesame seeds

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Remove thick stems from kale and roughly chop leaves.
3) In a large bowl, toss kale, oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
4) Spread kale on a rimmed baking sheet; bake for 10-15 minutes, until the edges are crisp and lightly browned.
5) Remove from oven; sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Ghee (Clarified Butter)

Ghee is good for high heat cooking because the lack of milk solids prevents it from burning as quickly as butter.  I used this site and this site for inspiration.  Ghee is solid at room temperature and does not need to be refrigerated.  I used 3/4 lb of butter which yielded about 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 c ghee.

Milk solids skimmed off the top

Ghee (Clarified Butter)

butter (preferably organic and unsalted)

1) In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
2) Allow butter to come to a gentle boil; keep butter boiling steadily; do not stir.
3) You will notice a white foam on top of the butter and sediment settling to the bottom of the pot.
4) Continue boiling until the liquid is transparent, and you can clearly see the bottom of the pot.
5) Remove from heat; allow to cool for 15 minutes or so.
6) Skim off any foam; pour liquid through strainer into a clean jar allowing the sediment to remain in the pan.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Soaked Buttermilk Pancakes

Soaking grains prior to using them in recipes is supposed to aid in digestion, and I decided that this recipe would be a good starting point for my experiments.  Regardless of the potential health benefits, these are mighty tasty pancakes, especially given that I did not use any white flour or sugar. 

Soaked Buttermilk Pancakes

1 c whole wheat flour
1 - 1 1/2 c cultured buttermilk
1 egg
3 T butter, melted
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
blueberries, if desired

1) Combine flour and 1 c buttermilk in a medium-sized bowl; cover with a towel and let sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours or overnight.
2) Add remaining ingredients (except blueberries) and mix well.
3) If necessary, add additional buttermilk to achieve desired consistency.
4) Melt butter in a hot skillet; cook pancakes until golden brown on each side (if using, add blueberries immediately after pouring the batter into the skillet).
5) Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


This lemonade is perfectly tangy and sweet.  In the interests of our health, we will probably experiment with reducing the amount of sugar next time.


8 c water, divided
1 1/4 - 1 3/4 c sugar, to taste
1 1/2 c lemon juice (about 7 lemons)

1) In a small saucepan, heat 1 c water and sugar until dissolved.
2) In a large pitcher, combine the sugar water, additional 7 c water, and juice.
3) Chill and enjoy :-)

Rice Pilaf with Pine Nuts

This dish made its family debut at a recent Sunday dinner.  I'm not sure where Mama K found the recipe, but it's definitely a winner.

Rice Pilaf with Pine Nuts

2 tsp olive or coconut oil
1 c rice
1/4 c chopped onion
1/4 c chopped celery
1 1/2 c chicken broth
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 c pine nuts

1) Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet over med/med-low heat.
2) Add uncooked rice and saute until lightly browned, stirring frequently.
3) Add onion and celery to the skillet, saute until slightly softened; add salt and pepper.
4) Combine the rice mixture and broth in a rice cooker and cook as usual.
5) While the rice is cooking, brown the pine nuts in the skillet.
6) When the rice is finished, stir in the pine nuts and serve.


I foresee this recipe making frequent appearances on our menu in the next few weeks.  Given how hot it has been, we are trying to avoid the oven, and these tasty falafel require just a few minutes fry time.  We serve these on pita bread with tzatziki, feta, tomatoes and lettuce...a falafel gyro!  Making both the falafel and the tzatziki makes the meal a bit labor intensive, but luckily both can be prepped ahead of time if necessary.


1 can chickpeas, drained
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp baking soda
1 T olive oil
up to 1 c bread crumbs
oil for frying

1) Remove and discard chickpea skins (optional).
2) In a large bowl, mash chickpeas until thick and pasty.
3) Add remaining ingredients; mix well; batter should be thick and not too sticky.
4) Cover the bottom of a large skillet with oil; heat on medium/med-low.
5) Form batter into thin 2" patties (approximately 12); fry on each side until golden brown.