I celebrated the New Year in Michigan this year. It started snowing in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve and didn’t stop anytime before I left. White knuckle drive home, though shout out to Indiana, of the three states I drove through they were the only one with plowed roads. I arrived home to more snow, and again it hasn’t stopped. I’ve shoveled three times, you can’t much tell. We measured about 12″ of snow on our deck.
I tried to get where I needed to go, I got the car out of the garage but could not get much further. Luckily, I was able to get the car back in the garage without having to get a push (good thing since no one was around). Love an excuse to stay home. Bonus, an evening home alone. What to do? Simple meal to warm my belly and a movie of MY choosing of course!
Admittedly, eggs and tomato sauce did not sound like a good match when I first saw this dish. Though once I tried it I became a huge fan. It is so easy, works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is a great comfort meal on a snow chilly day.
Even better, I usually have all the ingredients I need on hand. Even better on a snowy day when you can’t get out. I made a quick tomato sauce, just cook up a sliced clove of garlic in oil olive for a minute, add a can of tomatoes. Crushed or diced, try fire roasted for even more flavor.
Use whatever cheese you have on hand. Fresh Parmesan would be great. I used goat cheese. Cook until heated and season to taste. Easy peasy. Cook the eggs to the desired doneness, I like them cooked like that of a poached egg which is just about when the egg white sets. Baguette slices, or really any bread slices, are necessary to get every last drop of tastiness.
No fuss, no mess, and so good that I had it for dinner last night and breakfast today. Oh, and I watched The Way Way Back, two thumbs up.
2013 was a spectacular year, I am a little sad to see it go. But I appreciate the time to reflect on the past, plan the future, and use the new year as a reset button. Besides, there are a lot of great things ahead in 2014. No specific resolutions for me, though I really love these combined approaches to New Year’s resolutions. First, assign a theme to your year. Next, define measurable goals to manage it. A good plan for making and keeping those resolutions. A few specific things I hope to tackle, breaking most of these bad tech habits, keeping up on my reading, and getting back to my regular postings here.
We had a very low-key weekend, it was soooo nice. I even found a few hours to park myself on the couch under a nice warm blanket and read my book uninterrupted. It has been months since I finished a book, such a rare treat.
This time I gave the caramelized garlic tart a try. Easy enough recipe, though peeling all the garlic cloves was a pain in the ass, and I reeked of garlic. Quick wipe of my hands on the stainless steel faucet and I was good as new.
Roll puff pastry, and place in pie pan. Bake 20 minutes.
Place garlic cloves in small pan, cover with water, bring to a simmer, and blanch for three minutes. Drain.
Warm olive oil over high heat, add garlic, and fry for 2 minutes.
Add vinegar and water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add sugar, herbs, a pinch of salt, and continue to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and liquid becomes syrupy, about 10 minutes.
Set garlic aside, discard rosemary sprig.
Break the cheeses into big bite-sized pieces and scatter into the partially baked crust.
Add the garlic and syrupy sauce.
Whisk together the eggs, cream, and sour cream, ½ teaspoon of salt, and generous pinch of pepper. Pour over everything.
Bake 45-55 minutes, until the filling has set and the top is golden brown.
I could have stopped at making the garlic, and just spread that on bread. Syrupy sauce not pictured, I removed the garlic and cooked it down to thicken some more.
My finished product is not purty, but it sure was tasty! The garlic flavor is not harsh at all. It is similar to flavor as roasted garlic, however the cloves have a more solid texture, it is not as spreadable (if that makes sense). No matter, it was delicious! It is rich, so best served with a nice crisp refreshing salad.
Onto a crazy fun week, glad I was able to get some r&r to prepare.
Our family loves to spend a Sunday watching the Bears. The schedule this year has not coordinated with our family schedule. Lacrosse took most of our Sundays, and the Monday and Thursday night games are too late for school nights. Last weekend my husband was lucky enough to get to see the game, his two favorite teams, the Bears and Lions. This weekend is our first chance to watch and enjoy the Bears as a family. What goes better with football than, football food!
We always struggle to come up with new appetizer ideas. Always! Yet, most of the recent recipes I have posted are appetizers. Go figure. I decided to go old school and flip through my book or recipe cards for some ideas, and ran across a recipe for artichoke dip that caught my eye (and I had everything on hand)…
My friend Jill gave me this recipe. Jill and I worked together in NYC. Our office was on Park Ave in midtown, it was very shee-shee. It was the hey-day, breakfast was served every Monday morning, the kitchen was stocked with drinks and snacks, a show-shine came in once a week and shined the executive’s shoes at their desk, a masseuse came in once a week and setup shop in the conference room. An expensed lunch at a place like Le Cirque was standard practice. Good times! Of course, being the IT people in the office, we shared a counter for our desks in an inside space that was essentially the copy/server room.
The office occupied the entire floor of the building. The executives sat around the perimeter in the windowed offices. The admins around the inner perimeter outside the offices. Everyone in the office was so nice, especially considering I was an outsider and essentially squatting in their office while continuing to work for the folks back in Chicago. It was a very fortunate situation for me. Over time I came to realize the inner perimeters of admins had segregated each other around geographic origin. All the native Mid-westerners sat down one two walls, and the East Coasters down the other walls. The separation had happened naturally overtime, the two groups seemed to mix like oil and water. It was such an odd phenomenon to me.
That was over 15 years-ago. Jill and I are have both since moved back to the Midwest. We don’t get a chance to see each other often, but we keep in close touch. No one is better a host then she, no detail is ever overlooked. Her cooking is pretty fabulous too. She is always the first person I run to when I am in search of a recipe, or to get help with a party or dinner gathering, among other things. She gave me this recipe probably 13 years-ago after she came to stay with us in Chicago. What I really love about this recipe, is the flavor of the artichoke is not drowned in cream cheese or other overwhelming ingredients. While it is hearty, it is not too heavy.
Heat butter in a skillet. Saute onion about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and cook 1 more minute. Let cool.
Defrost spinach in strainer. Press water out.
In a large bowl mix all(except mozzarella) ingredients.
Transfer mix into greased casserole, top with mozzarella.
Back at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Serve with pita chips or thick tortilla chips and vegetables.
I changed the original recipe a little bit. I cut back on the mayo and added some sour cream. I like this new Greek yogurt and sour cream mixture from Breakstone’s. It is essentially light sour cream cut with plain Greek yogurt.
The chiles provide a good zip, but not too much heat. The curry adds great flavor, but no one would guess it was an ingredient. The lemon juice adds some brightness. While leftovers are rare, they make great pita nachos (pitas, topped with dip, mozzarella, back and then top with chopped tomatoes and green onion) or as a pizza topping.
This was a victory in the kitchen, I am 2-2 this weekend. Can’t win ‘em all! We got plenty of Bears time today, especially thankfully we escaped the worst of the storms. The pictures look devastating, heartbroken for those impacted.
I finally checked out Mariano’s, a new grocery chain that is all the rage in our area. There is not one in my neighborhood but on my way home from girls weekend a few weeks ago we passed one that was have it’s grand opening. The store definitely lived up to all the hype! Amazing amounts of gorgeous produce, and the cheese section – I could have just spent the whole time in that section. I ended up grabbing an aged Gouda and big block of sharp white cheddar.
The meat section is pretty amazing too, their homemade sausage was delicious. I got a red pepper Fontina Italian sausage, they were on sale for $1.99/lb. There is a huge meat selection, and a large section of seafood too. Glad it is not too far from our house, because it is cheaper than Whole Foods and has a better choices than the fish market we often go to. They also have a bakery with some incredible bread, I got a pepperoni cheese bread that we devoured for lunch.
They also had my favorite, honey crisp apples from Michigan! I missed the last few weeks of the farmers market so I was happy I could pick up these apples up, I eat one every day. Honey crisps have become my favorite fall food. And what goes better with apples than cheddar, sharp white cheddar to be exact. I made these scones for Blocktoberfest, and made them again recently from frozen. I love a fresh scone, day old scone not so much. They were just as delicious from frozen.
Beyond baking up and cooling the apples, these are really fast to throw together. They are more on the texture side of a biscuit, very light and airy. While I do prefer my scones a bit more dense and dry, these are delicious. Great for breakfast or as a dinner roll.