Egg Curry with Lentils

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Eggs really are a wonderful food.

I love to cook eggs many ways: scrambled, over easy, poached, and hard boiled to name a few. While I love a good runny yolk when I make eggs over easy or poached, when I am scrambling or hard boiled I love them well done.  I like to cook my eggs to death, and I love them that way. I like my scrambled eggs as dry as the dessert even though it is a serious violation of the foodie laws (which formally decree henceforth that scrambled eggs should be soft and runny- Ugh, nope).

Same for my hard boiled eggs- no soft boiled eggs for me here. I have loved hard boiled eggs since first trying them in my mom’s Spam salad (no shame). When I was younger, I used to eat around the yolks, just some salt on the hard boiled egg whites for me, but now I appreciate the richness of a good yolk.

This egg dish is a great dish for people who are looking to continue to eat healthy in the new year. The spicy curry and deep complex flavor of spices works really well with a creamy hard boiled egg.

EGG CURRY WITH LENTILS
From Cinnamon Freud

INGREDIENTS

4 eggs
2-3 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1-3 teaspoons curry powder, to taste
1 cup dried green lentils
2 1/2 cup vegetables stock
3-4 cups grape tomatoes, chopped
Extra vegetables, as desired*
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
Juice of one lemon
Cilantro, for topping

DIRECTIONS

Place eggs in a large saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover with lid and remove from heat. Let eggs sit in water for 20 minutes (or however long you normally do based on personal preferences). Let cool slightly, peel, and slice. Set aside.

In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until softened and translucent, 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until golden brown and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add cumin, paprika, turmeric, salt, and curry power. Toast 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Stir in lentils,vegetable stock, and tomatoes.

Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook until the vegetable stock is mostly evaporated. Stir in any additional vegetables and cook*. Stir in Greek yogurt and place hard boiled eggs on top. Spoon any remaining sauce on top of the eggs and cook for 3-5 minutes. Serve with freshly squeezed lemon juice and cilantro on top.

Serves 3-4

*I used cauliflower, which I like with more bite, so I added with the tomato and vegetable stock.  You can also add other vegetables when you are cooking the onions before you add the garlic (adjust olive oil as needed when adding more vegetables)

Asparagus Mimosa

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With the end of this past semester and May mini-summer break  I have learned that I no longer know how to do nothing.   I now get bored terribly easily- I think graduate school has made me live my life on the go too much. Gone are the days when I used to love to just literally sit around all day in my PJs and sleep past noon every day. Gone are the days when I was ignorant to the existence of two nine o’clocks in the day.  Now I know the 9 AM far too well.

I suppose I could get ahead on some work for the upcoming semesters, but let’s not resort to anything that drastic or crazy.

So while I am taking a little vacay back at home in Houston, I have been asking/forcing my family to get out and do stuff with me.  This has involved a little shopping, watching the new Stark Trek movie (and subsequently yelling “KHANNNNN!” any time I get the slightest bit frustrated for dramatic effect), and lots and lots of cooking.

Since most people will have having a mini vacation  with the upcoming three day weekend for Memorial Day and will be celebrating with some food, here is a a light side dish to go with your table full of red meat BBQ fixings.  Now I am not particularly fond of pasta salad, coleslaw, or potato salad, so I always am left with few side dishes to choose from at BBQs.  This grilled asparagus, onions mustard vinaigrette, and  hard boiled eggs is a surprisingly delicious combo that I love.

This is a great light option for any BBQ you will have this summer.  And I am in need of some lighter food options.  Too much free time leads me to cook and bake more, which leads to packing on some “winter warmth” as I lovingly call it.

But here is the problem: it’s no longer winter.  Summer brings bathing suits.

KHANNNNNNN!

ASPARAGUS MIMOSA
Adapted from Gourmet

INGREDIENTS

1 pound asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Layer asparagus on top in single layer. Drizzle olive oil on top. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, 8-14 minutes. Keep warm.

Grill alternative:  Heat grill to high or medium-high heat.  Toss asparagus with olive oil until lightly coated.  Season with salt and pepper.  Grill until tender and charred, about 4-5 minutes per side.  Keep Warm.

In a skillet melt butter. Add onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 4-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk mustard and vinegar together. Add onion mixture to mustard and vinegar.

Transfer asparagus to plates or serving platter. Divide hard boiled eggs on top. Season with salt and pepper. Pour mustard onion mixture on top.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

Crispy Gnocchi and Eggplant Carbonara: Improv Blog

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Everyone, it’s confession time.  Please don’t judge me, don’t shun me, don’t imprison me in a church tower and force me to ring the church bells for the rest of my days.

I hate bacon.

There.  I’ve said it.  The secret is out.

I want to like bacon (eh, not really), and in fact in the past I used to like bacon.  But  I just don’t like it  anymore.  It’s not even that I just don’t care for it, it is I actively dislike it and avoid it at all costs.  Like if I see a dish with bacon on it at a restaurant, I will tell them to keep that bacon away from my plate.  And restaurants put bacon on everything nowadays.  Discrimination to my non-bacon liking people.  But let’s not get political today.

Really, you all should be happy that I don’t eat bacon since it means more bacon for the rest of you.  But my dislike of bacon presented a problem for this month’s Improv Challenge.  We were tasked with making a dish with a classic ingredient pairing: bacon and eggs.  I could not bring myself to buy an entire package bacon, so I figured instead I would choose a recipe that could easily include bacon  but could also easily exclude bacon.

But then I got a craving for carbonara (even though I have never really eaten it before).  Often if a recipe includes bacon, I just leave it out.  Easy enough.  But then there are dishes like carbonara, where bacon is such a crucial, defining ingredient.  After a little brainstorming, I decided to be a rebel and make a carbonara without bacon.  A vegetarain (if you still eat eggs) no less!  And I used gnocchi and eggplant instead of the traditional pasta.  Really, I changed enough from the traditional carbonara recipe, I’m not sure if you should even call this dish carbonara.  But I am anway, so there we are.

This dish is delicious and nontraditional.  Gnocchi are lightly fried so that they are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  And of course coating them in butter never hurt anyone.  Then they are coated in a rich, cheesy, eggy sauce. Eggplant is roasted and added to the gnocchi so that it breaks down slightly to contribute even more to the richness of the sauce.  This dish tastes decadent but won’t do horrible damage to your waistline.  Perfection.  And completely worth burning your tongue eating straight from the pan.

And sometimes really good tasting food just doesn’t look pretty.  Eat it anyway.

Thanks to Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for hosting the Improv Blog Challenge.  Make sure to check out the rest of this month’s entries.

CRISPY GNOCCHI AND EGGPLANT CARBONARA
From Cinnamon Freud
INGREDIENTS
1 large eggplant, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided*
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups dried gnocchi
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cottage cheese
For serving: freshly cracked black pepper, grated Parmesan

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Spread eggplant in a single layer on top of paper towels.  Sprinkle with salt.  Let stand at least 20 minutes.  Pat dry.  Toss eggplant with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Season with salt. Spread in single layer on baking sheet.  Roast for 20-25 minutes, until tender.  Set aside.

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add 1/2 tablespoon butter and onions.  Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until softened.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.  Remove from pan.  Add 1 tablespoon of butter to pan and let melt.  Add gnocchi and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Flip and cook an additional 4-5 minutes, making sure they are cooked through.  Add eggplant and onion mixture to pan.  Remove from heat.

In a small bowl whisk egg and cottage cheese together.  Add to pan and quickly toss to coat pasta mixture.  Stir until cheese melts and egg cooks through.  Top with freshly cracked black pepper or grated Parmesan if desired.

Serves 3-4.

*If you want to use bacon, I would fry up 4-5 pieces before cooking the onion.  Cool and crumble the bacon and set aside.  Cook the onions, garlic, and gnocchi in the bacon grease in the place of butter.  Stir in bacon bits at the end of the recipe.



Tamagoyaki: Secret Recipe Club

I have been having several weeks where I am just craving certain foods.  Last week it was sugar in any form I could get it, which lead to a baking extravaganza.  The past few days it was meat (I am still yearning to go grab a perfect hamburger somewhere) and sushi.  Odd mix, but I don’t question what my stomach tells me.

I have always wanted to make sushi at home, but this past week I was too busy with school and then my mini-vacation back in Houston for spring break (an advantage of still being a student at my age), so I knew real sushi wasn’t in the cards.  When I was browsing My Catholic Kitchen, for the Secret Recipe Club, I came across a recipe for Tamagoyaki, or egg sushi, that caught my interest.  Basically, it is eggs flavored with soy, mirin, sugar, and salt that are cooked and rolled tight like sushi.  I was hooked!

While Veronica’s looked very beautiful and authentic,  I had some sushi rolling problems.  My first attempt was a little sloppy, and my second attempt ended up half on my counter-top due to some overzealous pan swirling.  My third attempt was much more successful, and I think I am getting the hang of the rolling technique.  Even if the rolling doesn’t turn out completely right, the egg sushi is still delicious (as evidenced by the fact that I have eaten this three times).  It’s a little sweet and salty sushi omelette.  I love the different flavor of the eggs, and I am definitely going to have to make these again.  It will help me perfect my rolling technique, right?

Make sure to check out the other reveals today for The Secret Recipe Club!

TAMAGOYAKI
Slightly Adapted from My Catholic Kitchen
INGREDIENTS

2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon mirin
Butter, for greasing the pan

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl, combine eggs, egg whites, soy sauce, sugar, mirin, and a pinch of salt.  Stir until combined but do not beat (we want this to be denser than how we typically make eggs).

Grease a small skillet over medium-high heat.  Pour in enough egg mixture to just cover the pan.  Tilt the pan so the egg mixture is evenly spread.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom.  Fold the top and bottom sides of your egg mixtures in about 1/2 inch.  Starting for the the edge, roll the egg mixture into a tight roll.  Leave in the pan.

Grease the pan again.  Pour in enough egg mixture to just cover the pan and repeat.  This time, fold the cooking egg mixture around your first roll.  Repeat with remaining egg mixture.  Remove from pan and cut into slices.

Serves 1-2.

Here is a helpful video on the rolling technique.

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Apple Omelette

Lately I have been craving breakfast foods all day long.  Since I don’t actually eat breakfast (unless a Diet Coke counts as breakfast), I like to eat this omelette as a light lunch or as new way to spice up breakfast for dinner, which is one of the world’s best inventions.  This isn’t a traditional omelette- it’s almost more like an eggy pancake.  Either way, it’s delicious.

Also, this omelette is a perfect way for me to use up a part of an egg. Since I eat alone most days and am bored by leftovers, I am always scaling down recipes.  This means lots of recipes only need half or a fourth of an egg.  It was always a pain to try and use up the remaining egg, and I can only eat scrambled eggs so much.  This omelette is an easy way to make a yummy dish using only part of an egg.  Or if you do not have an egg remains problem, you can always use a full egg.

For any of you who are afraid making the dreaded, finicky omelettes: fear not.  Many years ago, I once made an omelette.  And I did not like it- probably because I followed the recipe instructions and didn’t cook my eggs as much as I like.  So, this omelette is not hard- the flip is a little tricky- but just make sure to cook it according to how you like your eggs.  I definitely go against the rule and like my eggs very well done.

APPLE OMELETTE
INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Salt
1 small apple, chopped
1 teaspoon melted butter, divided
DIRECTIONS
In a small bowl, whisk milk and flour together.  Whisk in egg, granulated sugar, and salt.  Fold in chopped apple.
Heat small skillet over medium heat.  Brush the pan with half of the melted butter.  Pour in egg mixture and cook for 2-4 minutes.  Pour remaining butter into the pan and fllip (I do this by sliding it on to a plate which is sometimes easier).  Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.  Serve with additional apple slices or top with a pinch of cinnamon if desired.
Serves 1.

Open Face Egg Bagel

Sometimes I feel like eggs are under appreciated and often relegated to breakfast.  Eggs for breakfast are great, but I hear there are some people out there who never eat breakfast.  In fact, the last time I ate breakfast was probably back in college. For a few months back in college, I would eat a bowl of frozen peas for breakfast before heading out to my first class.  For the life of me, I don’t know how I got the idea of having peas for breakfast in the first place, but hey, it’s better than beer and cold pizza, right?

The basic lesson of this post: eggs and peas are good all day long.  This sandwich is perfect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I tastes light and fresh but leaves you feeling full and won’t leave you bogged down in a food coma after eating.  Plus, bagels are always delicious, so where can you go wrong?

I bet this would be great with a side of peas.

OPEN FACED EGG BAGEL
From Cinnamon Freud
INGREDIENTS
1 egg (preferably a few days old)
1 bagel
2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 leaf lettuce, roughly chopped
1/2 tablespoon capers
Salt and pepper
DIRECTIONS
Place egg in a small saucepan.  Cover with water.  Cover pan with lid and bring to a boil over high heat.  Turn off heat and let sit, covered, for 20 minutes.  Drain water and let egg cool.  Peel off shell.  Slice egg.
Cut bagel in half. Spread cream cheese on both sides.  Top with mushrooms, lettuce, and hard boiled egg. Sprinkle capers over top.  Season with salt and pepper.

Here are some idea for variations:
Mediterranean: Bagel, hummus, cream cheese & dill, cucumber slices, olives, tomato, egg
Southern: Bagel, pimento cheese, bacon, jalapenos, egg
Hot: Toast bagel, fried egg, spinach, Hollandaise sauce