It’s the middle of the week. There has been a loss of momentum. Or maybe you’ve just gained yours? Either way, you have no idea what to make for dinner and all you have are some leftover potatoes. Do you also have eggs? Everyone has eggs. Do you have an onion? Maybe some cheese? A bit of salt and pepper and olive oil? Then you’re set. And dinner will be marvelous. And filling. And comforting. You don’t have to make things complicated to make them delicious and I can’t count how many times I’ve declared, “There’s nothing to eat in this house!” only to be humbled by actually finding something, and not only something, but something truly delicious. How lazy I can be sometimes! This meal was inspired by a book called An Everlasting Meal, which is a sort of love-song to making the most out of everything you’re given. It saved my family from take out with this simple recipe and I will certainly make it again!
2 small potatoes (about 2 cups, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ slices)
1 small onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheeses (can be omitted without any damage done)
salt and pepper
3 eggs, beaten (four if you add the cheese, like I did)
Heat oven to 375F.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat about 1/3 cup of olive oil and add the potatoes and onions. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook, slightly covered, until the potatoes are soft. Strain the potatoes and onions out of the pan and put them in a bowl. Reserve the olive oil from the pan. Let the onions and potatoes cool and then add in the cheese, beaten eggs and more salt and pepper. In a 10″ non-stick skillet, add some of the oil from your other skillet and make sure all the sides and bottom are nicely coated. Pour the egg/potato mixture and cook over medium heat on the stove until the bottom looks set. Transfer the pan to the oven and let it finish cooking until the top is slightly puffy, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes, and then invert onto a serving plate. Serve with sour cream, chopped chives or scallions and hot sauce! This dish is great warm, room temp, or even cold. It would be a super easy lunch on the go or weekend breakfast.
I’m on a quest to serve up vegetables in a different way each week. It’s not a New Year’s resolution or anything like that, but just a general promise to be more dedicated to making vegetables enticing. So often I just rummage through my fridge or freezer and half heartedly throw a vegetable alongside whatever we’re having for dinner. And I cook them the same way every time. So every trip I make to the grocery store, now, I grab a would-be-boring vegetable and resolve to make it more interesting than my standard roast-everything method.
Last week I did this with green beans. I usually boil them in salted water until they are tender (not squeaky!) and then brown a little butter and toss them. It’s fine. It’s just what I always do! So this time, I boiled my green beans, set them aside and then tossed in some toasted pecans and blue cheese crumbles and a few dried cranberries and got everything all nice and warm and it was totally delicious. In fact, it was more exciting than the main course! The best part – it was quick and easy and shocked us out of the same ol’ routine. Not bad for a green bean.
In a large pot of adequately salted (that’s about 1/8 cup salt per stock pot. Or more. Tastes like the ocean, at least) boil green beans until tender. Your teeth should not squeak when you chew them! Strain the green beans and set aside. In a large skillet, toast the pecans until fragrant, and then toss in the green beans, blue cheese, cranberries and a dash of salt and pepper. Add a splash of olive oil if they seem too dry, but depending on your blue cheese, you may get enough oil from it to coat the beans nicely. Don’t let your cheese burn!
I’ve noticed a trend. Every time it’s freezing, lately, snowing in particular, I post a blog entry. I also bake something. Today I made a banana chocolate chip bread with Olive and after putting her down for her “quiet” time (hardly ever quiet, but at least she stays in there), I came to write right away before the littler one wakes up from her nap. Everything happens in thirty-minute windows, lately. Feedings, naps, playtimes, snacks, lunch, cleanup, laundry folding, getting dressed, errands – it all goes like clockwork.
I remember this feeling of monotony and spinning my wheels when Olive was a baby. I don’t know what it is about the infant phase – it is all at once sweet, boring, thrilling, gross, blissful and extremely isolating. I think the feelings of isolation come from the cabin fever. It’s hard to get a baby ready to go out and do something outside the home when you know you’ll have to do something baby related in another hour. I love this phase but I am always looking forward to getting out of the house more and feeling productive. January is the antithesis of productive as far as my photography business goes. No hustle and bustle of bridal and engagement shoots, yet. Everything is dead, gray and cold. And maybe that’s okay. It’s a big, gigantic pause button and one that I (usually) am glad to press each year. But I’m a people-person. And not just a little-people person. I love interacting with grown-ups and perhaps that’s the catharsis of this blog. It was born the year my first daughter was born and it kept me connected to all of you who love cooking just as much as I do. I hope one day to have a cooking class. How grand would that be?! But the time isn’t right, yet. For now, I’ll write about scones and look forward to hearing from you all. And go feed the baby in another thirty minutes…
I improvised this lovely recipe from Annie’s Eats because I had neither scallions or cheddar and only about half the bacon her recipe called for. I first made her original recipe when I went on a road trip and they were just wonderful. My altered version was also great and amazing as a little side treat with a cup of soup. Especially on a day like today, there’s nothing quite like the smell of bacon coming from the oven. And with a bit of cold butter melting on top of one of these babies, you’ll be set.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. ground black pepper
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
5 slices bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk (plus up to ½ cup extra, if needed)
For the egg wash:
1 large egg
2 tbsp. water
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper and then cut in the butter with a pastry blender or a fork until broken down and the butter resembles crumbly sand. Fold in the blue cheese and bacon and then stir in the buttermilk. Add a little extra to form a sticky dough if it seems too dry. Turn out onto a floured work space and form into a rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into squares or circles or daisies or whatever you prefer and place on a greased cookie sheet. Brush with egg wash. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Serve with cold butter.
This was undoubtedly a comfort food for many of you growing up, as it was for me. Creamy and cheesy with just a hint of something green, but mostly rice and cheese. So all in all, the perfect vegetable dish. 😉 My mom made it a lot and sometimes I crave it but I’ve never made it myself.
A lot of recipes you see online call for cans of stuff, velveeta and things that just don’t seem like…food. Now, I’m not saying that the from-scratch version is any better for you, BUT it has all real ingredients and gives you a good feeling and that’s what makes the indulgence worth it. I decided one day I would make this dish and since I don’t keep any cream-of-whatever on hand, I made a simple bechemel (white gravy base) and added in lots of extra sharp cheddar. Each ingredient cooked separately in chicken stock to give lots of added flavor and the results were fabulous!
We still have lots of snow on the ground and the roads are hard to travel, so warm, cheesy dishes are the perfect meal to stay inside and enjoy. Be warm and well fed! 🙂
2 cups chicken broth (although vegetable broth would enable the entire
dish to be vegetarian)
1 cup white rice
pinch of salt
4 TBS unsalted butter
4 TBS flour
1 cup whole milk (plus more to adjust consistency)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
salt and pepper to taste
breadcrumbs and extra cheese for topping (I used crushed Ritz crackers)
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large, deep skillet, bring the broth to a boil and throw in the broccoli. Steam it with a lid covering until the broccoli is starting to get tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and set aside in a large bowl. Add the rice to the broth and cook until tender (about 15-20 minutes). Dump rice into the bowl with the broccoli (it’s okay if there’s a little extra liquid).
Wipe the skillet clean and melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until it’s all coated and bubbling, but not turning brown. Whisk in the milk and let it come back up to a boil, adding more splashes of milk to maintain a gravy-like consistency. I’m sorry I don’t have exact amounts, but it’s really an add enough until it looks right kinda thing. Stir in the cheddar and whisk until melted. Add more milk if it seems too thick. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper until it tastes right and then stir in the broccoli and rice. Top with breadcrumbs and extra cheese and melt in the oven until bubbling.