April – Domestic Harmony in the Time of Covid-19

April – Domestic Harmony in the Time of Covid-19

What does domestic harmony look like in your household? In our house it looks like this:

Domestic Harmony

Equal Split of Margaret Fox’s Buttermilk Coffee Cake

Whatever it takes, eh?

Margaret Fox was the owner and chef at Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino, one of the early restaurants in the California cuisine trend in the style of Alice Waters. She now runs the deli and bakery at our local independent grocery store, Harvest Market. We are indeed lucky. Her buttermilk coffee cake is delicious. I am not a baker so we try to get one whenever they are available on our currently infrequent jaunts to the store. Sharing equally is a big deal.

What are you doing to maintain a tranquil environment in this time of social distancing and stay-at-home requirements? I know things can get testy. Long walks definitely help, and Zoom exercise classes, and gardening if you are lucky enough to have one.

It’s time to appreciate and notice small things small things. Spring is definitely here. In my yard the song sparrows are singing a chorus. This is the first year the song sparrows have found our clearing, although I’ve been feeding the birds for the last three years (the seed bill is growing). Redwood forests don’t have a lot of birds, there isn’t much food for them under the trees. So it took awhile for them to find us, it’s worth getting up early to hear the morning riot of song. I’m hoping that they nest nearby as the mourning doves have. Their population has gone from 2 to 7. I’m keeping a log of all the birds that visit the feeders, they are increasing in varieties and number. Every once in a while I see a new one to add to the list.

We now have two native Western grey squirrels raiding the feeders as well, until recently there was only one. I am expecting some little ones the summer.

Did you know there is a run on jigsaw puzzles?

Puzzle

Undersea jigsaw puzzle

We found this one in the garage, an old one we had never put together. Puzzles are very relaxing and something the entire family can enjoy. The NY Times had a fascinating article on how jigsaw puzzles are made, it takes weeks. And it seems that puzzle makers are having a hard time keeping up with current demand.

Board games are a good distraction.

Board Games

Board Games

We were introduced to Mexican Train Dominos by some friends a few months ago, it has become a favorite. The instructions that come with the game are terrible, we had to figure them out for ourselves from online research. I’m still not sure we are playing it ‘correctly’ but we are having fun.

There are currently three of us sheltering in place in our household. We each choose an activity for the evening in rotation…games or a movie or a TV series we are watching together or simply sit and talk about something from our day. There aren’t any small children so things are a little easier for us than some of you. All three of us enjoy science fiction so we have been watching the new Star Trek episodes together.

And in case you are wondering what to do with all those leftover hard boiled eggs…

  • deviled eggs, one of my favorites

    Deviled Eggs with Anchovies

    Deviled Eggs with Anchovies

  • Easter egg salad sandwiches

    Easter Egg Salad

    Easter Egg Salad

  • Eggs a la Goldenrod – an old recipe from Betty Crocker

    Eggs a La Goldenrod

    Eggs a La Goldenrod

  • sliced and put on top of avocado toast with a sprinkling of coarse salt

Deviled Eggs for Anchovy Lovers

Ingredients:

  • 1 hardboiled egg per person – see the note below
  • 1/2 anchovy per egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon capers per egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard per egg
  • 1 teaspoon mayo/egg, or more as needed
  • red pepper flakes as desired (optional)
  • Thinly sliced chives or green scallion tops

Method;

  1. Cook hardboiled eggs as noted below
  2. Cool and remove the shell carefully
  3. Slice in half, remove the yolks to a small bowl
  4. Mash with the anchovies, add mayonnaise to thin as necessary
  5. Add the capers and taste for salt (it probably won’t need any with the anchovies)
  6. Add the red pepper flakes if you want some heat
  7. Carefully fill the egg whites with the mixture
  8. Garnish with chives or scallions
Deviled Eggs with Anchovies

Deviled Eggs with Anchovies

Note on cooking hard boiled eggs:

  1. Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water by at least an inch.
  2. Bring the eggs and water to a rapid boil, then cover the pan and turn off the heat. Leave the pan on the burner. If you have a gas stove, turn the heat down to the lowest possible setting and leave for 1 minute before turning off the heat.
  3. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for 12 minutes.
  4. Drain and run cool water over the eggs.
  5. Peel when cool. Slightly older eggs are often easier to peel.

 

 

 

 

June – Eggs with Punch

June – Eggs with Punch

This simple and quick method of frying an egg elevates it to an entirely different plane, suitable for lunch or dinner. Why just delegate them to breakfast? It punches up the flavor profile and turns a simple egg into a special event.

Did you know that eggs are considered the perfect food? Want to know why? I am going to give you a snapshot, skip to the recipe if you don’t want a nutrition lesson.

  • Eggs contain high quality protein with the perfect mix of amino acids. Eggs contain all 21 amino acids that the body requires, including the 9 essential ones that we cannot make ourselves. As a food eggs are given a biological score of 100, which is perfect.
  • One egg contains (remember that all these nutrients with the exception of protein are contained in the yolk):
    • 9% of the RDA of B12
    • 15% of the RDA of B2
    • 6% of the RDA of Vitamin A
    • 7% of the RDA of B5
    • 22% of the RDA of Selenium
    • They also contain small amounts of almost every vitamin and mineral required by the human body, that includes calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, manganese, Vitamin E, and Folate.
    • A large egg contains 77 calories, with 6 grams of top quality protein, 5 grams of fat and trace amounts of carbohydrates.
    • One large egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol and it has given eggs a bad rap. However, eggs have not been implicated in raising your bad cholesterol. The liver produces cholesterol every day. Studies have shown that if you eat cholesterol, your liver produces less. Eggs may actually improve your cholesterol profile because they tend to raise HDL (the “good” cholesterol) and change the LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) to a subgroup with is not associated with an increased chance of heart disease.
    • Eggs contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect your eyes. Those antioxidants significantly reduce the risk of Macular Degeneration and Cataracts, which are among the leading causes of vision impairment and blindness in the elderly.
  • Eggs for breakfast can help you lose body fat. They have a high satiety index, which is the measure of how satisfied and full you feel after eating them. Studies show that those individuals who eat eggs compared to comparable calories from a bagel, lost 65% more weight.
  • Remember that not all eggs are the same. If you can afford them, it is preferable to buy pastured eggs or those that are Omega-3 enriched. Hens that are raised in small cages in factories are fed a grain-based diet which alters the final nutrient composition of the eggs. Besides the humane reasons, buy the best quality eggs you can find (or raise your own chickens). You as well as the chickens will be healthier.

Ok, enough with the lecture.

Really, punch up the flavor profile of your eggs with this simple technique.

Ingredients for 1 serving:

  • 2 large organic, pasture raised eggs
  • 1-2 teaspoons of sweet butter or olive oil
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika or calabrian chilis (to taste) – or zatar or curry powder or…

    Calabrian Chilis

    Calabrian Chilis

  • 2 tablespoons of half and half
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Method:

  1. Melt the butter or warm the olive oil in a small non-stick pan over medium high heat.
  2. Add your flavor choice and mix until the aroma begins to make you crazy.IMG_4522
  3. Add the half and half and briefly stir to mix everything together.

    Flavored Eggs

    Flavored Eggs

  4. Break 2 eggs into the pan, salt the tops of the eggs, cover and turn the heat down to medium.IMG_4524
  5. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, checking frequently. You want the yolk to be covered by a thin film of white while still staying runny.

    Perfectly Cooked Eggs

    Perfectly Cooked Eggs

  6. Serve with a grind of pepper if desired.

    Perfectly Fried Eggs

    Perfectly Fried Eggs

How do you like your eggs? I enjoy my own with a sliced tomato, the first of the season, for lunch.IMG_4529

I think I will take these to Angie’s for Fiesta Friday #122. The co-hosts this week are Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau and Aruna @ Aharam.

December – Leftover Stuffing Waffles

December – Leftover Stuffing Waffles

Having leftover stuffing is like having a gold mine. It might be worth making an extra casserole just for the leftovers. Use them in a breakfast strata for boxing day,

Leftover Stuffing Strata

Leftover Stuffing Strata

in sandwiches,

Panini with stuffing, mozzarella cheese, and cranberry sauce

Panini with stuffing, mozzarella cheese, and cranberry sauce

to thicken a soup, and now…waffles. Who would have thought that leftover stuffing would make such wonderful waffles? These could be made either savory or sweet. If you prefer them sweet, they would be wonderful with some of that pure maple syrup you received as a gift, or leftover cranberry sauce. In the savory camp, a poached egg made this a satisfying and delicious brunch dish. It would be equally delightful as a light supper.

Waffle Maker

Waffle Maker

My waffle iron makes “classic” waffles, which are thinner and crisp. If you are using a Belgian waffle iron (which has a deeper and larger grid pattern), beat the egg whites before adding them to the stuffing/egg yolk mix. That will result in a lighter waffle.

IMG_3837 IMG_3838

I had a little over 2 cups of leftover “traditional sausage and raisin stuffing“. It had plenty of butter and fat from the sausage so I didn’t add anything but eggs to bind things together. If you are working with a leaner stuffing you may want to add a tablespoon of melted butter.

Leftover Stuffing Waffles

For each waffle:

  • 1 cup of leftover stuffing
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Mix together the stuffing and the egg, let it sit for 10-15 minutes so the bread absorbs the egg.
  2. Meanwhile preheat your waffle iron.
  3. Pour the batter into the iron and cook according to direction of your brand. The green light came on when mine was done. Cooked to perfection!

I added a poached duck egg, delicious.

Duck Eggs

Duck Eggs

Is that for us??

Is that for us??

Anyone have leftovers from Christmas? I’m taking mine to a two- week long special Fiesta Friday celebration, it’s number 100! Your host is Angie from the blog The Novice Gardener, it’s co-hosted by Judi, Mollie, Steffi, and Suzanne,  come party with us, we are looking forward to welcoming you.

December – Leftover Stuffing Strata

December – Leftover Stuffing Strata

Leftovers, I just love them. Here is a way to repurpose any leftover stuffing from Christmas. Any type will work although you might want to alter the type of cheese. I used goat cheese, parmesan would also be good. Toss in leftover greens to up the nutritional value.

I used leftovers from Kale and Caramelized Onion Stuffing in this strata but it would also have been delicious using my standard Sausage with Raisin Stuffing.

Leftover Stuffing Strata

  • Leftover stuffing – I had about 4 cups
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups half-and-half (or a mixture of cream and milk to make 2 cups)
  • 4 oz of soft goats cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Liberally butter a 2 quart baking dish
  3. In a large bowl combine the stuffing, eggs, milky mixture, and crumbled goats cheese
  4. Pour into the prepared baking dish and let sit for at least 20 minutes to overnight
    Leftover Stuffing Strata

    Leftover Stuffing Strata

    Stuffing Strata

    Stuffing Strata

  5. Bake until the custard is set, this took about 55 minutes. If it was refrigerated, allow a few more minutes baking time.
  6. Let sit for 10 minutes once cooked before serving.

    Leftover Stuffing Strata

    Leftover Stuffing Strata

If you have more or less stuffing, adjust the components. It should be 1 egg and 1/2 cup of milk to each cup of stuffing.

Leftover Stuffing Strata

Leftover Stuffing Strata

I’m taking this to Fiesta Friday #98, folks are thinking about their Christmas menu, better plan for leftovers. There are two new co-hosts to assist Angie from the Novice GardenerSadhna @ Herbs, Spices and Traditions and Natalie @ Kitchen, uncorked.

November – Rice and Grilled Veggie Bowls

November – Rice and Grilled Veggie Bowls

This dinner was inspired by a new cookbook “Bowl + Spoon” by Sara Forte from the blog Sprouted Kitchen. I enthusiastically recommend this book which is filled with wonderful photographs by Hugh Forte and delicious ideas for one bowl meals. The recipes are mostly vegetarian (some include fish), and many vegan. There is something very comforting about dinner in a single bowl you can hold it in your hand, and eat with a spoon. Don’t you think? Can you see yourself on a cold evening settled by the fire with a good book? Or, snuggled up against a pile of pillows under a down comforter in bed? And I love the simplicity of it, very minimalist.

This is a meal that will lend itself to many variations. All you need is a grain (I used brown rice), and some roast vegetables. If you would like to add a protein, a fried egg is good…the runny yolk creating a nice sauce. Add some “odd flavor sauce” for an extra punch.

If you need inspiration on roasting, I suggest taking a look at the 3 part series on roasting vegetables by Elaine from the blog Foodbod. You will find a link to her blog here. It’s the best comprehensive tutorial I’ve read on-line and she has some wonderful ideas.

You don’t need a recipe for this, so here are the informal directions. Steam some brown rice, roast some vegetables, fry an egg, eat. Oh, and if you have some Yum sauce on hand, it will definitely spice things up.

Rice bowl with roast butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and fried egg

Rice bowl with roast butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and fried egg

This type of meal lends itself to a Zen like simplicity. It’s a wonderful way to use up leftovers, especially if you have some leftover grilled veggies on hand. It’s one of my favorite lunches.

Rice bowl with a fried egg and Yum sauce

Rice bowl with a fried egg and Yum sauce