Egg & Pepper Sandwich

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Egg & Pepper Open Faced Sandwich
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The girls…

Sunday morning.  What could be better?  I finally have time!  Time to make a real comfort breakfast, sip coffee and dream of Springtime.

I snuck out on this chilly morning to visit “The girls” and see how many eggs I could get.  My kids wanted me to make them French toast.  I had something else in mind for me.  There was left over sourdough loaf from dinner last night that I was thinking would be lovely this morning… all toasty with eggs on top.

There were seven eggs.  The big dark brown egg I recognized as being from Fuzzy Slippers.  She is the white chicken in the picture above.  Her name was given to her because she has feathers that grow down her legs and onto the top of her feet.  I wanted to name her “Chaps”.  I was overruled.  That happens when you have kids.  The other eggs were light brown, blue and green.  If you ever get the chance to have backyard or farm fresh eggs, then you know that they are out of this world.  They are well worth the $5 or so a dozen and if they eat like mine do, they are worth it.

This is a photo taken a week ago of their home, with their run, alongside my garden, in the orchard.  The girls are spoiled.  Spoiled rotten.  I can’t help it.

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On this day, I did make French toast.  I also made this lovely breakfast sandwich just for me.  It’s quick and delicious and the bit of red pepper added just the right flavor.

Directions

2 eggs

1 slice of sourdough or other rustic bread

1 T of butter

Red pepper cut in 1/4 inch slices to form rings

Salt & Pepper

Parsley, chopped

Instructions  – Makes 2.

If you have left over rolls or bread from dinner or just using regular loaf bread, you can toast them in the toaster or oven.  I put butter on both sides of the bread and put it in the oven on broil, watching them until they were golden on top and then I flipped them and took them out when they were perfect.  Let me tell you a little something about “butter and broil”.  Watch it closely.  The notion that you are going to get something else done in the kitchen and come back to it rarely works out in your favor.  Just sayin’.

Turn the stove on medium and set up your non-stick griddle.  When its hot, place the slices  of red pepper on the griddle.  After 1 minute, gently crack one egg in the center of each of the pepper rings.   Let cook for about 2 1/2 minutes.  Using a spatula, flip the egg and pepper over quickly and cook on this side for about 3 more minutes.  Vary time depending on how you like your eggs.

Place the eggs on top of your toasty bread.  Sprinkle salt, pepper and parsley over the top.  Enjoy alongside your hot coffee goodness!  Happy Sunday.

Potato and Spring Greens Rustic Pie

This recipe was inspired by the Irish baked pies.  I wasn’t too sure how this was going to turn out, but my family loved it and wanted me to add it to the Easter menu next Sunday.  I’m having the whole crew over for Easter dinner so I’m calling this a head start. Remember, this is “rustic”, so quantities are not exact and it doesn’t have to look perfect.  It will, however, taste great.  Make it as a side for ham, pork roast or flat iron steak.  I had it for breakfast!  The pastry is very light, it cuts easy and it is all around quite impressive.

Pastry Dough Ingredients

2 C. flour

12 T. very cold butter (no substitutes), cubed

1 t. salt

2 egg yolks

2 t. cold water

Directions for Pastry

Prepare the pastry dough by adding the flour, butter and salt to your food processor and pulse until pebbles form.  Add egg yolks and water and pulse again until combined.  Remove dough from the food processor and place on a sheet of wax paper.  Place a sheet of wax paper over the top of the dough and using a rolling pin, roll out until ¼ inch thin.  Turn it out into a pie dish and keep the ends hanging over so when you wrap it up, they come over part of the top of your pie.  If you want to make individual or “personal” pies, just separate the dough into equal portions before you roll it.  You can turn it out over ramekins or other cute little oven safe dishes.

Note:  This dough is also great for desserts so keep it on hand.

Ingredients for Filling

5 medium potatoes, any kind, cubed

1/4 C. milk

¼ C. cheese (gruyere, parmigiano reggiano, fontina)

1 T. Butter

1 T. Olive Oil

½ red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 hand sized bunches of chopped assorted greens, stems removed (spinach, broccoli raab, kale raab, swiss chard, mustard greens), also try some herbs!

Salt and pepper

1 egg, whisked

Directions for Filling

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Wash and cube your potatoes.  Heat a pot of enough water to cover potatoes to a boil.  Place potatoes in the pot with about 1 t. salt.  Cook until tender and remove from heat.  Drain water and place potatoes into a bowl suitable for mashing and mash them.  Add the milk and cheese(s) and stir until combined.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

In a skillet, heat the butter and the olive oil together.  Add onion and cook for three minutes.  Add the minced garlic and sauté for one more minute.  Stir in greens and cover for about five minutes stirring occasionally.  Finish with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

When the greens and onions are done, add them to the potato mixture and stir gently until combined.   Add all the contents to the pie plate and smooth to the sides.  Gently wrap the pastry up over the sides of the greens mixture.  Baste pastry with egg wash.  Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until crust is golden brown.

Note: You can make this a day ahead and refrigerate.  It’s also great as leftovers.

Enjoy!

 

Banana Cream Coconut Muffins

Banana Cream Coconut Muffins

Once upon a time there lived a little princess who would not eat slightly over ripe bananas so her mother had to come up with a recipe in order to not have them go to waste.  The little princess loved to bake and use the ice cream scoop.  Her mother’s recipe was the answer to the question of what to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  The little princess, the little prince and their father happily ate the banana cream coconut muffins while their mother enjoyed a few silent moments on her own.  

Ingredients
1 3/4 C flour
1/3 C sugar
2 t baking powder
1 small pkg Banana Cream Instant Pudding mix
1 C shredded, sweetened coconut, divided

1 C milk
1 egg, beaten
1/4 C cooking oil
1 t coconut extract
1 overripe banana, mashed
3 T sugar

Preparation
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a bowl, add flour, sugar baking powder, pudding mix and 1/2 C. coconut.  In a large mixing bowl, add milk, egg, oil, and extract.  Mix.  Stir in mashed banana.  Using rubber spatula, add flour mixture and fold in.
Using an icecream scoop, drop dough into prepared muffin tin.  The dough should come a little more than half way up the muffin cup.  Sprinkle with coconut and sugar.
Place muffin tins in hot oven and cover loosely with a large piece of foil.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes or until coconut on top is lightly golden brown.
Remove muffins from the oven and let cool slightly before turning them out onto cooling rack.
Makes 12 standard muffins or 8 large.
Enjoy!

Breakfast Parfait

Breakfast Parfait
Spring is on the way my friends!  This week I saw budding fruit trees and rainbows.  What a cheerful way to start the season. 
I made this breakfast parfait last weekend and it tasted so good I thought I would share it with you.  Now is the time for getting in shape and doing something nice for yourself.  Treat your body right by eating healthy foods that do your body good.  Cut the sugar and carbs.  Drink lots of water too as it keeps you hydrated and helps regulate your metabolism.  Get good sleep too.  This is really important as sleep helps your body heal itself.  It really is the best way to keep your body in good condition, along with eating right.  By doing these little things, you can stay healthy, look younger and feel better.  C’mon…naps aren’t just for kids anymore!
Breakfast Parfait
Ingredients
1 banana
1 cup yogurt of choice
1 handful walnuts
1 T. honey
Directions
Get out your sundae dishes and get ready to make breakfast parfaits!  Slice the banana and alternately layer the sliced bananas and yogurt until the sundae cup is filled.  Top with bananas and walnuts and drizzle with honey.  Serve cold.
You can also use blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, currents, sliced almonds, granola, even cereal.  Mix it up!

Maple Oatmeal Scones

Maple Oatmeal Scones
I made these scones late one evening this week.  Everyone had gone to bed already and I was up trying to get work off my mind.  Before too long, the sweet aroma of maple was drifting though the house. 

A tree line on my property. 
Picture taken in Fall 2009.
As a little girl, I remember being tucked in my bed upstairs for the night and my mother would be downstairs in the kitchen making wonderful things that filled up the house with warmth and dreamy memories.  Oh, my sweet reverie.  The reflection of my history carries me back to a time when my world was carefree, playful and free of responsibility.  I wonder if it is those memories coupled with the fragrance of days gone by that delivers us to that restful state of happiness and blissful relaxation and contentment.  That feeling of being at peace.  The feeling of home.
Barn and Mount Baker, 2009
Ingredients
1 3/4 C. flour
1/2 C. whole-wheat flour
3/4 C. quick cooking oats

3 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 sticks cold butter (1/2 lb), cubed
1/2 C. buttermilk
1/4 C. maple syrup
1 t. maple extract
2 eggs

Glaze
1 1/4 C. powdered sugar
1/2 C. maple syrup
1 t. maple extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Using your electric mixer, add the flours, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Blend together until mixed.  Add cubed butter and mix on low until the dough looks like small pieces.  Add the buttermilk, syrup, extract and eggs and blend until just combined.  Do not over-mix or your scones will be tough.  Remove dough carefully from mixing bowl onto floured surface.  Cover hands and rolling pin with flour and roll out dough to 1/2 inch thick.  Cut in circular shape using large round cookie cutter or in triangles.  Place on prepared cookie sheet.  Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until edges just start to brown.  When warm, but not hot, drizzle glaze over the tops and let them cool to set.  Makes 18.

Enjoy!

Best Breakfast Cookies

The best Breakfast Cookie has arrived.  This recipe has everything good in it.  Oats, wheat flour, honey, brown sugar, almonds, and dried fruit.  There is very little sugar and very little fat.  They are high in fiber and potassium and heart healthy.  I did a lot of research about breakfast cookies prior to putting one out here for all of you because it was important to me to load them up with the good stuff and minimize the junk while maintaining great texture and moistness.  They are an excellent way to start your day.  I encourage you to make them and see for yourself.  The proof is in the…..cookie.
Ingredients
1 C whole wheat flour
1/4 C all purpose flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
2 T butter
1/4 C canola oil
1/2 C brown sugar
2 T honey
1 egg
1 small jar banana baby food
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 C flax seed
3/4 C rolled oats
3/4 C dried fruit (raisins, craisins, plums, pineapple)
1/4 C. sliced almonds
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, mix together the flours, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Set aside.
In a mixing bowl with attachment, cream together butter, oil, sugar and honey.  Add egg, banana baby food and vanilla and mix thoroughly until batter is smooth.  Add flour mixture until combined.  At this time, you will need to add the healthy stuff; flax seed, oats, dried fruit and nuts and fold them into batter using a rubber spatula and scraping down sides of the bowl until thoroughly combined. 
You will need to resist the urge to add more flour.  This dough is going to be sticky.  Try wetting your hands before handling dough.  Prepare your baking sheets (I use two).  Roll dough into balls of desired shape, place on cookie sheet and flatten them with your hand.  Mine are usually 3 inches across and a 1/2 inch thick.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Depending on size, bigger cookies should bake for 14 and smaller for 10 minutes and should make 8 to 12 cookies.  I like to sprinkle some oats or dried fruit on the top prior to baking.  When cookies are done, remove from oven, let them cool and after about five minutes, transfer them to wire rack until completely cooled.  Store in an airtight container in the fridgerator until ready to use.  They are excellent with coffee or tea.  My two year old loves them with milk!
You can easily change the last few ingredients of this recipe and add some others if you are looking to change the flavor.  For example, make them Hawaiian by removing the flax seed, raisins and almonds and adding coconut, dried pineapple and macadamia nuts.  You can use any combination and any kind of dried fruit or nuts you can come up with.

Bollos Salados Mexicano

Bollos Salados Mexicano
Bollos Salados Mexicano!  Otherwise known as Savory Mexican Scones.  Ole’!  My sister woke up one morning and asked, “Did you make coffee? Want to make some scones?”  I wasn’t thinking savory at all.  I’de made a left turn after coffee and was off-roading somewhere in the distant reality.  I’de been up with my son who has decided that daybreak is as good a time as any to announce to the household that he’s done sleeping, ready to have breakfast and play with toy cars.  Coffee?  Yes.  Scones?  Yes, go down the street to the corner coffee shop and buy me one for now and one for later.  Staring at her over my coffee cup, I relented.  What else is there to do at 5:30 in the morning? “I’m game.”
The scones were a miracle because we threw this recipe together after researching two or three of them on the internet.  They are so good and versatile that we decided they were worthy of making over and over again. I admit, we sort of turned them mexican because it was the only cheese flavor I had other than some gourmet stuff that seemed too expensive to be part of a scone.  I invite you to try the “base recipe”* (that means, add the ingredients right up to the mexican part) and put your own savory ingredients: thyme, rosemary, sage, sausage, ham, grated parmesan, grated fontina, etc.  C’mon.  You know you want to. 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3 C. Flour
1 T. Baking Powder
1 t. Salt
1 t. Freshly Ground Pepper
1/4 C. Butter, cubed and refridgerated
2 C. Grated Mexican Cheese
3 or 4 Green Onions, sliced thin and sauteed or a small can of Green Chilies
4 Slices of Bacon
2 T. Sour Cream
1 1/4 C. Heavy Cream
1/4 C. Flour
1 Egg
2 t. water
In a standing mixer with paddle attachment, combine flour, baking powder salt and pepper.  Blend ingredients together.  While mixer is running on low, slowly add in the butter cubes one at a time.  The butter and flour mixture should look like course meal with some bigger lumps.
*At this time, you can add any ingredients you want to as I mentioned above.*  If you are going to continue with this recipe, add the cheese, onions and bacon.  Mix until just combined.  Be careful not to over mix as these are scones and they will be tough if you are heavy handed.  Nice and easy.  Add in the sour cream and heavy cream and lightly mix until dough starts forming and you can shape it.  Remove from bowl onto floured surface and shape into flat square, about an inch high.  Cut into wedges.  In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water to form glaze and brush over wedges.  Place wedges on prepared cookie sheet and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until firm.  These scones are good served warm.  I have taken them to work with me the next day, but remember to  refridgerate them if they contain a meat product.
Enjoy!

Black Bee Banana Crunch Breakfast Muffins



All recipes come from something great!  This recipe was inspired by the grandmother of a friend of mine.  She is gone now, but her family put together a cookbook of all her favorite and famous family recipes. Her grandmother made excellent Bran muffins and the “healthy” part of this recipe pays a tribute to her and her famous Bran muffins.

Now, why Black Bee?  We live out in the country and are blessed with an abundance of blackberries during the late summer months of August and into September.  I keep thinking of hosting a blackberry party!  Wouldn’t that be something?  I will one day, but I have to wait until my new kitchen patio is in…….still dreaming.  The name, ‘Black Bee’ comes from my daughter, Reese, who I would pull in the wagon along with the buckets of blackberries.  She would be eating them and I would be doing all the work.  She and her purple face were cute as can be and she would say in between mouthfuls, “I love black bees”.  Therefore, these muffins are appropriately titled, “Black Bee” for blackberries.


Needless to say, I used frozen blackberries for this recipe as we usually harvest too many to eat during the season.  They are simple to freeze. After picking them, gently roll them on to a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer.  Make sure they all have their own space and are not over crowded and be sure not to rinse them prior to freezing.  This way they will keep their shape and hold up in the freezer.  After freezing on the tray, place in airtight container or use FoodSaver bags and seal.  Excellent!


Black Bee Banana Crunch Breakfast Muffins


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


1/2 C. shortening
1 1/4 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 over ripe banana
1 pint buttermilk
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 1/2 C.  whole wheat flour
3 C. Post Banana Nut Crunch cereal*
2 C. black berries


In a standing mixer, add shortening and sugar and mix until smooth.  Add eggs, banana, and buttermilk and blend.  Add dry ingredients and cereal and stir until incorporated.  Gently stir in black berries.  Using ice cream scoop, scoop level portions into greased muffin cups and bake at 375 degrees for 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Enjoy in the morning with your favorite cup of Joe!


*You can use any type of cereal.  For healthy muffins, stick with a low sugar, bran or wheat cereal.  You can also use oatmeal, but reduce the quantity to 1 1/2 cups.


Makes 24.

Quiche Me!

Kiss me, out of the bearded barley
Nightly, beside the green, green grass
Swing, swing, swing the spinning step,
You wear those shoes and I will wear that dress.”
                              – Sixpence None The Richer
 
We have become so used to processed food that even the natural has become unnatural. Focus on freshness is exactly what we think when we are shopping in our neighborhood supermarkets. The difference between store bought and straight from the farm is apparent by size, shape and color.  This is also true when it comes to farm fresh eggs. 
One of my coworkers raises chickens and I get my weekly supply of farm fresh eggs from her.  They come in many different colors and each one is very special.  The color of the shell and the yolk is the best part.  After you have eaten a farm fresh egg, you will be spoiled for life because you will never want to go back to commercial eggs.  And by the way, size does matter when it comes to eggs!  A larger egg usually means a double yolk.  Double yolked eggs in my family meant that you will have luck the whole day through. Conversely, old egg folklore tells us that cracking open a double yolk indicates that there will be an imminent death in the family.  Folklore also tells us that the tenth egg in the batch is always the largest, whereas the smallest egg will bring misfortune.  An egg with no yolk is considered unlucky.  If you want to dream of that special person, remove the yolk of a hardboiled egg and put some salt in it’s place.  Eat only this for dinner and you will dream of your one true love!  Folklore aside, if you would like to “Quiche Me”, here is how you do it!


Quiche Me!


1 ready made pie crust
2 swirls olive oil
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 C. chopped mushrooms
1 C. chopped kale
1/2 C. water
6 farm fresh eggs
1/2 C. milk
Hot Sauce if desired
1 C. grated Fontina cheese
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 t. paprika

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


In a pie plate, unroll one package of ready made pie crust in the plate, centered.  Crimp edges if desired.  Refridgerate until needed.


In a saute pan, add a swirl of olive oil and heat over medium high.  Add onions and saute for 3 minutes.  Add mushrooms and saute until they are cooked through and starting to brown.  Remove.  Add another swirl of olive oil, chopped kale, salt and pepper to taste.  Mix and immediately add water and cover to steam for several minutes until bright green and limp.  Remove from pan and drain well.  Add cooked kale to onion and mushroom mixture.


In a medium bowl, beat eggs, milk and hot sauce together.  Add vegetables.  Give it one last mix and gently pour egg and vegetable mixture into prepared pie crust.  Top with fontina cheese and paprika.  Bake for 28 minutes or until top is bubbly and golden.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

*Special Note:  For hot sauce, you can use virtually any kind.  I have used Valentina for mild, Sriracha for medium and Matouks for very hot.  Matouks is made out of scotch bonnet peppers, which are the hottest pepper you can buy.  The flavor simply cannot be beat, but turning up the heat this high will cost you.  There are rules of engagement with this stuff.  It is nothing to fool around with.

Eggnog French Toast

We look to the new year to bestow upon us hope, prosperity and optimism.  The ‘beginning’ seems to imply that there is a lot of work to be done.  Winter has arrived and with so many dark hours ahead, it is easy to turn your back on one of the most peaceful times of the year.  Make a personal choice to savor the tranquility of the season and let go of eight to five.  For this is a trident moment!  It is quiet.  It is beautiful.  And it is fleeting.  It is true that there is life beneath the snow.  That spring does, in fact, arrive despite the frigid tundra in which we tread.  Take the time to listen to the winter clock and hear what he is telling you.  You’ve been making the hard decisions, doing what’s best, strategizing to get ahead and talking too much.  Take some time to appreciate the life and wonder around you and refocus on the things that bring you the most meaning.  If you can’t take time, steal it.  Use it to recharge, refocus and re-energize.  We learn the most and feel the deepest in times of quiet reflection.  Go on.  Sleep in.  Take yourself for a walk.  Lay in front of a blazing fire place.  Remember when.
After you have taken a long winter’s nap, what better to seduce you from the rapture of your sleep on this cold winter morning in the new year, than the temptingly sweet and familiar welcome of Eggnog French Toast. 
Eggnog French Toast
6 slices of Texas Toast (bread cut thick)
3/4 C. Eggnog
3 Eggs
pinch salt as desired
Turn your stove on medium heat and cover with a skillet or pancake pan.  Using a whisk, place eggs, eggnog and salt in a medium bowl and vigorously mix well.  Pour into bread size shallow baking dish.  Dredge bread through liquid and place bread onto skillet.  Wait about three to four minutes and flip over to brown the other side. Serve with maple syrup.
Tip:  Eggnog contains a lot of sugar. If you are cooking with it, be sure to keep the cooking termperature to medium.  A higher cooking temperature will burn the sugars and result in burnt french toast and the inside will be soggy and uncooked.  Using meduim heat provides the best results.
Happy New Year.