Sunday, March 3, 2013

Eggs in Purgatory

I love eggs.
Seriously, I love eggs in all forms- poached, fried, scrambled, hard-boiled, whites only, all of it.
I especially love an egg with a runny yolk that comes pouring out like some magnificent rich creamy sauce. The eggs in that recipe totally do that. And it's super fast and easy. And it rocks.

-Diced tomatoes- for a full meal (I usually have this for dinner), I will make this for myself with 3 eggs, and I use about 1/3 can of tomatoes.
-Fresh basil, chopped- if you have a can of those awesome tomatoes with basil and garlic already added, just do that. Or even add more basil. If you're into  that kind of thing (I am).
-A clove of garlic, minced (not necessary if already in tomatoes, but you can always add more. You can also just use some garlic powder if you want.)
- Eggs
-Polenta, about 1/3 c dry/person
-Maybe some melty cheese such as fontina for the polenta
-Some fresh grated parm

Ok-if you're using fresh garlic, put just a bit of EVOO in your saute pan and let the garlic cook for a minute. Add the tomatoes and basil or whatever seasonings you're feeling that day. Add some salt and pepper and let everything just hang out and get friendly on low heat for a bit.

While that's happening, get a pan going with water for the polenta. You want a 4:1 water to polenta ratio. I use Bob's Red Mill polenta which says it is the slow cook kind, but it always cooks in about 3 minutes. I would make sure you know which kind you have before you get started or you will have very cold eggs....

Bring the water to a boil. Once it starts to boil, you will whisk in the polenta and lower the heat to a simmer. It will start to thicken very quickly and probably be done in about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, and this is when you can toss in a handful of cheese if you're feeling frisky. I like fontina here, but do whatever you want.Go crazy.

Once you have the polenta in the pan, make some little indents in your sauce and crack the eggs into your pan. Toss some S&P on top of the eggs. Cover the pan and let them cook over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. You want the yolks runny and the whites firm. Covering the pan allows the steam to cook the tops of the eggs.

Once the whites are cooked through, slide the eggs and sauce on top of the polenta.

Top with a sprinkle of fresh grated parm and enjoy. It's hearty and flavorful, and the gooey yolk feels like you're eating a creamy cheese sauce- you don't have to remind yourself that you're actually eating healthy.

**If you're in a rush, this whole thing can be made even faster- cook the eggs separately either sunny side up or over easy while you're making the 3 minute polenta. Use the basil and garlic canned tomatoes, warm them up in a pan or in the microwave. Plate the polenta, top with tomatoes, and slide the eggs on top. Add some parm and bam- dinner. You just crushed it.

Moroccan Veggie Stew

  I love love love this stew. I stumbled upon it in the fall and it is chock full of veggies and bold spices. I was fairly ambivalent about raisins, but in  this recipe, they get all plump and add a great little pop of sweetness in this flavorful concoction. It makes a giant pot and freezes fairly well- the sweet potatoes can get a little mealy when defrosted, but it holds up well overall. I got the original recipe here.

I have adjusted the spice levels and some of the veggie ratios. This recipe will need to be adjusted based on your personal tastes- I like it with a good hit of spice and just about a medium level of heat.

1 large onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 sweet potatoes, cut into cubes
1 butternut squash (about 3 lbs), cut into cubes
3 carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 cup vegetable broth
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes (do not drain- and you may need a 2nd can, see below)
About 1/2 cup golden raisins

S&P to taste

Pour a round of EVOO in the pan, sauteeing onions and garlic until soft and onions are slightly browned. Add the spices, cook for a few minutes. Add the potatoes, squash, carrots, and broth.

 Bring everything to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chick peas, tomatoes, and raisins. At this point, you may want to add a little extra liquid if you want a saucier stew. You can add either a cup of broth or a can of tomatoes- up to you. I like mine more tomato-y, so I usually toss in a second can of tomatoes (the fire-roasted tomatoes are pretty tasty here, too.) If you like a thicker stew, leave as-is. Simmer for about 30 minutes, covered, until the veggies are soft.

I really like serving this over a small scoop of quinoa, with a hit of fresh lemon juice and a bit of lemon zest. The acid of the lemon, the sweet pop of the raisins, and the flavorful spice of the stew make for a perfectly balanced combination.

Tuscan Kale and Squash Minestra

I found this recipe  on Food & Wine's site here and it is pure fall  in a bowl. Super tasty, super satisfying, and super healthy. The soup trifecta.

1 large onion, finely chopped
One ~2-pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes 
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1 pound Tuscan kale, chopped (make sure to remove the stems! They are chewy and can make your soup taste like dirt...)
4 cups chicken stock (I used my usual Better than Bouillon)
1 cup canned navy beans, drained

Give the pan a good go-round with a couple of glugs of EVOO, somewhere between 1-2 tbsp. Cook the onions over medium heat until soft and just slightly browned. Add the squash and cook for about 5 minutes  until it is also slightly browned. Give the pan a couple go-rounds of salt. If you are not using a low-sodium broth, you may want to go easy on the salt in this step, and wait until you taste everything all together later.

If you're using a good heavy-bottomed pan, don't be afraid to let some brown bits start accumulating on the bottom of the pan- you'll get those back up into the broth in a bit. Add the garlic and rosemary and let it cook for a minute. Add the kale. It will look huge, but let it cook for a few minutes and it will wilt.

Add the chicken stock. You should get a nice sizzle- take a second to make sure you scrape up any of those brown bits and get them working together with the broth. You don't want to miss those flavor bits.... Cover and simmer the mixture until the kale and squash are tender- it shouldn't take long, approx 10 minutes.  Add the beans and cook for 5 more minutes, uncovered. Taste and add S&P as needed (depending on what stock you use, you may not need any salt at all).

At this point, you could add a small pasta such as ditalini, tortellini, or any other cute mini pastas Barilla has on the market these days. I'm more of a quinoa fan- it's tasty and chock full of protein. I serve the soup over a small scoop for a complete meal, topped with a fair bit of freshly shaved parm. Yum. 

Healthy, Hearty, and Kinda Creamy Mushroom Soup

I recently discovered's soup recipes. I had some dental work done and was only able to eat very soft foods for a loooooong time. Once I got tired of scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes, I decided I was going on a mission for actual tasty soft food recipes. 
 I have now tried quite a few of the Skinnytaste soup recipes. This mushroom soup and the Curried Squash soup (to be posted shortly) have been my favorites.

This soup clocks in with a meager 65 cals/ serving (1 1/4 cup). I ended up reducing some of it down even further and using it as a nice low-cal gravy for my fluffy mashed potatoes (use a food mill/ricer!!)

3 tbsp flour (white or wheat)
4 cups water
4 tsp Better than Bouillon Chicken dissolved in 1 cup water
5 oz shiitake mushrooms (the meatiness of these mushrooms makes the splurge worth it)
8 oz baby bellas
1 celery stalk, cut in half

Chop up your mushrooms- do not throw away your shiitake stems! Gather them in a little bundle and toss them in with the rest of the 'shrooms:

They add a valuable earthy flavor to the broth- you will remove them at the end when the soup is done cooking.
 Blend the flour and water in a blender until completely mixed. I  used a whole wheat flour with no problems. Pour the mixture into a soup pot over medium heat. Add the broth, mushrooms, and celery, and a fair amount of salt (based on your personal preferences).  Cook until the veggies are soft- about 20 mins.

Place the celery stalk and two ladles of soup in the blender. Blend until smooth and add back into  the soup as a thickener, add S&P to taste. If you want it a bit thicker, you can add cornstarch mixed with cold water while the soup is still hot. You can also continue to cook it over low-medium heat, uncovered for an additional 20-30 minutes. When I reduced it down to a gravy-like consistency, I only used about 1 1/2 cups that I had added a bit of cornstarch to. This recipe doesn't make a giant pot, maybe enough for 4-5 servings.

I somehow managed to not take a pic of the finished product- do not expect a white, creamy mushroom soup. This is more of a meaty, slightly creamy broth soup- but it is richer and thicker, so you will still get the satisfaction of the full texture and flavor.