September – Eggs for Dinner or Emergency Dinner

September – Eggs for Dinner or Emergency Dinner

I call this my back pocket or emergency dinner. It relies on items that are always in my fridge or pantry…eggs, some sort of white liquid, bread and some sort of cheese. I’ve added some asparagus here but a simple green salad would be welcome as well.

But, it’s also the perfect Sunday night dinner after a busy weekend or a long afternoon walk. It’s a cozy dinner. Something that will sit lightly on your tummy for a good nights sleep. Start a fire and sit in front of it to eat, or watch the rain (or snow) outside your window and be thankful for your own dry snug home.

Eggs in a hole

Eggs in a hole

A dense country style loaf is best, sliced thickly. But if you, like me, only have a pre-sliced sourdough loaf on hand, it will work just fine. In that case, don’t leave the bread soaking in the egg for too long or it will dissolve.

For the eggy/milk soaking use anything you have on hand. Cow, goat, nut, oak milk all work. Only have half and half? Go for it. Coconut creamer…sounds good to me.

This a ‘toad-in-the-hole’ idea with eggs. If you are not familiar with ‘toad-in-the-hole’, it’s usually made with sausages and a popover (or Yorkshire pudding) batter. The sausages peek out of the batter which puffs up around them. Personally I don’t think they look much like toads.

Toad in the hole from Delish

Toad in the hole from Delish

This would be a great brunch dish as well as dinner, it’s quick to assemble and is mostly hands off.

Eggs in a hole

Eggs in a hole

This will serve 2 people with 2 eggs each, 4 if you only want 1 egg. Choose bread slices from the middle of the loaf. With larger slices you may be able to put 2 eggs in each bread slice.

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 4 slices of country style bread such as sourdough from the middle of the loaf
  • 5 eggs, 1 for the soaking and 4 to bake
  • 1/3 cup of milk of some kind
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan or some other grated cheese, I used cheddar
  • 1 tablespoon of melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cheese for topping
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 scallion (optional for garnish), sliced

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and grease it lightly with olive oil
  3. In a large shallow dish, whisk together the egg, 1/3 cup milk, melted butter, and 1/4 cup parmesan with a large pinch of salt and a grind of pepper
  4. Soak the bread in the mixture, soaking each side. The bread should be soft and soaked through but not falling apart. The length of time will depend on the thickness of your slices and the type of bread.
  5. Arrange the soaked bread on the baking sheet, pouring any remaining soaking liquid over them. Using a small juice glass or cookie cutter, carefully cut 1 or 2 (2 1/2 inch) holes in each slice of soaked bread. Place the cut out rounds on the cookie sheet beside the bread slices.
  6. Place the sheet in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes until the bread is starting to turn golden on top.
  7. Remove from the oven and flip the bread slices and hole lids.
  8. Crack an egg into each hole and sprinkle with cheese. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  9. Bake another 5 to 7 minutes until the eggs are barely set (they will continue to cook on the hot pan). If the egg whites are still translucent, bake them for another minute or two.
  10. To serve, place the egg toasts on places, top each toast with its lid and garnish with the scallion.
Eggs in a hole

Eggs in a hole

You can roast asparagus on the other end of the sheet pan as I did. It does somewhat defeat the empty larder concept though.

To do so simply trim enough for 2 people, toss with a little olive oil, and place the stalks on the other end of the sheet pan when the bread slices go into the oven. Sprinkle with salt. If the stalks are cooked after the first 10 minutes you can remove them to a warm plate until the eggs are cooked.

Broccolini could be cooked in the same way. Or a bunch of scallions, trimmed but left whole.

A lovely glass of wine elevates this even further.

I think I am going to mosey over to Fiesta Friday #450. I think Angie and the gang might like to have this in their back pocket as well.

Two Easy Sheet Pan Riced Cauliflower Dishes – September

Two Easy Sheet Pan Riced Cauliflower Dishes – September

Here are two delicious and easy sheet pan ideas for roasting riced cauliflower. The first with chopped sweet peppers and baby spinach, the second with garlic and mushrooms.

These are perfect side dishes for anything grilled or roasted. By themselves they are vegan and paleo, gluten and dairy free.

Sheet Pan Riced Cauliflower

Sheet Pan Riced Cauliflower with Sweet Peppers and Spinach

 

Sheet Pan Riced Cauliflower with Garlic and Mushrooms

Sheet Pan Riced Cauliflower with Garlic and Mushrooms

 

Sheet Pan Riced Cauliflower with Sweet Peppers and Spinach

Ingredients:

  • I package of pre-riced cauliflower or 1 small cauliflower, trimmed and riced in your food processor to rice like consistancy
  • 1 lemon, zested – save the juice for the end
  • 1 whole red pepper or 5 baby peppers of various colors
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large handful of baby spinach

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine the riced cauliflower, lemon zest, sweet peppers, garlic and 2 tablespoons of oil. Mix well.
  3. Spread the vegetables out on the sheet pan and place it on the bottom shelf of the oven.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes then take out of the oven and mix in the baby spinach, stir and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes or so until the spinach is wilted and the cauliflower is browning on the edges of the sheet pan.
  5. Let cool a bit, then use the parchment to turn into a serving bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Add a squeeze of lemon.
Sheet Pan Riced Cauliflower with Sweet Peppers and Spinach

Sheet Pan Riced Cauliflower with Sweet Peppers and Spinach

 

Sheet Pan Riced Cauliflower with Garlic and Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • I package of pre-riced cauliflower or 1 small cauliflower, trimmed and riced in your food processor to rice like consistancy
  • 2 cups of mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
  • 4 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large handful of something green to garnish…microgreens, chopped arugula, parsley, chives, etc.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine the riced cauliflower, mushrooms, garlic and 2 tablespoons of oil. Mix well.
  3. Spread the vegetables out on the sheet pan and place it on the bottom shelf of the oven.
  4. Cook for 20 minutes until the cauliflower has browned on the edges of the sheet pan.
  5. Let cool a bit, then use the parchment to turn into a serving bowl. Salt and pepper to taste and add something green. Mix a final time.
Sheet Pan Riced Cauliflower with Garlic and Mushrooms

Sheet Pan Riced Cauliflower with Garlic and Mushrooms

I wonder if the folks over at Fiesta Friday would enjoy this? It is Fiesta Friday #449, a virtual blogging party hosted by Angie. Click on the link to read posts with wonderful recipes, craft or decorating ideas.

Riced Cauliflower Herb Salad – September

Riced Cauliflower Herb Salad – September

This is an update to a recipe that was originally posted in May of 2019 called Middle Eastern Herb and Cauliflower Salad. I’ve added a drained can of chickpeas, capers and some chopped dates for a sweet note. This is a valuable salad recipe to have in your back pocket. It’s gluten free, dairy free, vegan and it can be made several hours ahead. I took it to a bookclub potluck lunch to share. Leftovers were still good a couple of days later and made a great lunch with a bit of canned tuna.

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas

 

I can find riced cauliflower in the grocery store, both Trader Joe’s and Safeway carry it. But it is easy to make at home in your food processor if you need to start from scratch (or have cauliflower growing in your garden…lucky you). I don’t recommend using the packaged already riced cauliflower if you are making mock mashed potatoes I think it has a high percentage of stem. It won’t result in a creamy rich amazing mashed potato substitute. You need to have mostly florets for that recipe. But, it is perfect for use in this recipe. The kernels hold their shape and crunch once cooked.

I roasted the cauliflower for extra flavor before mixing it with the other ingredients.

If you are starting with a head of cauliflower, slice the head in half and remove the tough core. Roughly chop the florets. Working in batches, add the cauliflower to your food processor and pulse until the consistency of ‘rice’. Transfer to a large bowl.

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas

Ingredients:

Cauliflower:

  • I head of cauliflower or a package of pre-riced cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons of fruity olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Salad:

  • I can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 dates, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of capers, rinsed an drained
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup of coarsely chopped flat leaved parsley
  • 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped mint
  • 4 scallions white and light green, chopped
  • 1-2 lemons, juiced to make about 1/4 cup of juice
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated
  • 3/4 cup of sliced almonds, toasted
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper as needed

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the riced cauliflower in a large bowl and add the olive oil, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Spread the cauliflower on the baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes until tender and browning around the edges. You may need to leave it for a few additional minutes but check it so it doesn’t burn. Remove the sheet from the oven and let cool on the parchment paper.
  4. Spread the almonds on a small baking sheet and toast in the same oven for about 5 minutes, again check constantly as they will turn from nicely toasted to burnt in seconds. Remove and cool.
  5. While the cauliflower is cooking you can make the herb salad. Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a bowl and let the herbs and tomatoes marinate until the cauliflower is cool.
  6. Once cool, add the cauliflower to the bowl with the salad and mix well. The parchment paper works well as you can just lift it off the baking sheet. Taste to see if you need to add any additional lemon juice or salt or pepper.
  7. Chill until ready to serve, garnished with the toasted sliced almonds.

I had a small package of microgreens in the fridge and added them with the other herbs.

You could turn this into an entire meal by adding some sliced feta or leftover chicken to the salad. It would also be an excellent side with grilled lamb chops or kebobs.

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas

I wonder if the folks over at Fiesta Friday would enjoy this? It is Fiesta Friday #449, a virtual blogging party hosted by Angie. Click on the link to read posts with wonderful recipes, craft or decorating ideas.

In My Kitchen – September 2022

In My Kitchen – September 2022

It’s been a few months since my last In My Kitchen post and I am happy to rejoin the group. In My Kitchen is hosted by Sherry of Sherry’s Pickings. It’s a collection of posts from bloggers around the world, a fascinating look at what’s new in their kitchens. It’s not so much a collection of recipes, although you may find an occasional one, but more a diary of the past month’s events in the kitchen. In my case it will be several months. Click on the In My Kitchen link to read them all.

Here in my Northern California kitchen it is almost fall, my favorite season of the year. In the past few years it has also been the beginning of the dreaded fire season, which is not so good. We already have some big ones going in parts of the state. The coast is blessed with cool and foggy weather but winter rain fall has still been below normal. Our fingers are crossed that we have an early rainy season and escape the fires.

Food wise there hasn’t been much to write about these past few months. We eat a lot of very simple meals when the weather is warm, grills and simple salads are stars of the menu. We have been using our new Traeger Grill quite a lot for glorious smoked and grilled foods.

Smoked and Grilled Chicken Thighs

Smoked and Grilled Chicken Thighs

I do have an ode to cauliflower, which has been a star of the vegetable world for several years as well as a star in my own kitchen this past month. I find it amazingly versatile. Here are a few ways I have recently prepared it…

Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed Cauliflower

I think it’s even more flavorful than mashed potatoes.

Fried Riced Cauliflower

Stir Fried Riced Cauliflower with spinach and pine nuts

This was a quick and easy way to use the pre-riced cauliflower you find in many grocery stores.

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chick Peas, Dates, and Herbs

Riced Cauliflower Salad with Chick Peas, Dates, and Herbs

A perfect salad to take to a potluck. You can make it ahead, and it’s both dairy and gluten free (as well as vegetarian).

Lastly here is a simple side dish to toss in the oven when you are baking a chicken. Sheet pan roast riced cauliflower with peppers and spinach.

Sheet Pan Riced Cauliflower

Sheet Pan Riced Cauliflower

I have found that the packages of pre-riced cauliflower at Trader Joe’s and other stores are best for roasting as a riced vegetable. Since many stores sell the florets, the stems are used for the riced cauliflower. If you are making mashed cauliflower, the florets are best as they are tender. Or, purchase an entire head, use the florets for mashed cauliflower and pulse the stems in your food processor to the consistency of rice.

Sheet Pan Riced Cauliflower

Sheet Pan Riced Cauliflower with a roast chicken breast

Our friend Marylinn suggested this contraption for making scrambled eggs in the microwave. It’s from the Pampered Chef. Now there are no morning discussions in our house about how the eggs should be cooked. My husband can make his own preferred scrambled eggs (he isn’t a cook but has mastered the technique with the ceramic egg cooker) and I soft cook my own in the air fryer (11 minutes at 270 degrees F). We are both happy.

Pampered Chef

Pampered Chef – ceramic pot for scrambled eggs in the microwave

In My Kitchen I have flowers from the garden. It’s dahlia season and I planted some new varieties last spring.

dahlias

dahlias

I adore having cut flowers in the house.

Lastly I have, what looks like, a new dog in the house. Casey, our eldest, has a lot of fur with a think undercoat. She has been miserable in the warmer weather. So we had her trimmed. What looked like an overweight dog is now slim and trim. It was an amazing transformation.

Casey, puppy Shanna, and Quinn

Casey, puppy Shanna, and Quinn

Casey, after

Casey, after

I is difficult to believe she is the same dog. And she is so much happier and energetic. I know that trimming their fur is not good for it overall, but at almost 14 it seemed more important that she be comfortable.

Shanna is doing well, we’ve had a lot of company this summer…many of them with their own pups. Shanna has been in heaven.

Heather, Shanna, Casey and Quinn with the conductor

I hope you have enjoyed this quick look at what’s new in my kitchen.

 

In My Garden – August 2022

In My Garden – August 2022

If May and June are the season for rhododendrons, August and September are the season for dahlias here on the Northern California coast.

Above are a couple of pictures of the dahlias at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. The dahlia garden is a favorite site for weddings in August and September; they are are spectacular with an amazing variety of bloom shapes, colors and sizes. If you ever get to visit the area, the Gardens are a highlight and a must see.

In my own garden, I planted a dozen new ones this year in a sunny spot along the driveway. They are flourishing (unlike the bearded irises that were in the same spot before).

Above are a few examples from my own garden.

Although the dahlias are the stars (and the lawn is now mostly a brown field of dead grass and sand), there are some plants of note.

Red Hot Pokers

Kniphofia caulescens, a variety of red hot poker

We often see the pokers growing wild in abandoned fields. They need no summer water once established and come back each year.

Lily

Lilium regale “Regal Lily”

These lilies are scented and the stalks are about 10 feet tall!

Helenium autumnale ‘Red Shades’

Helenium autumnale ‘Red Shades’

I first saw Heleniums at the Botanical Gardens last fall during a nature watercolor painting class, it was love at first sight. It’s going to take a few years to get them established, the clumps form by offshoots ad should become larger each year. They bloom late in the season when everything else is starting to go to seed or become dormant.

Cuphea

Cuphea

Bees and hummingbirds adore Cupheas and they bloom almost non-stop all year. I have several varieties in the garden and they all seem to do well and are fairly drought tolerant after the first year. I think the one above is sometimes called candy corn plant.

Lavender

Lavender

The lavender is almost finished but a few weeks ago it was covered in both blooms and native bumblebees, much to my relief. The bumblebees were late this year for some reason and I was worried. But we had a relatively cool spring and perhaps it just took them a bit longer to start their colonies.

The pollinator garden is looking a little wild, lots of grasses right now, I cut back the Shasta daisies so it looks a little messy.

That’s my husband in the second picture putting in birdhouses. We had 4 in various places around the garden already and just put in 2 more. Of the 4, 3 were inhabited in the spring…2 with chickadees and 1 with tree swallows. We’d like to encourage the tree swallows since they eat insects, most specifically mosquitos. Since I don’t use any herbicides or pesticides, the birds are important to keep down the numbers of unwanted insects.

We’ve had lots of beloved visitors this summer, both human and of the canine variety. Here is our friend Marylinn conducting an orchestra of dogs.

 

I hope you all are enjoying the end of summer. I can’t believe it is already September.

What’s been happening in your garden?