Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Morning Scramble Bake

'Tis the season for overnight guests.

Guests who will be expecting breakfast.

This delicious breakfast bake will keep both you and your company happy. It's tasty and filling but not a gutbuster like some breakfast bakes can be. And, the no-fuss recipe will free up your morning so you can concentrate on your friends and family instead of what's in the oven. Because while it's fun to entertain, it's also nice to get to talk to people without standing in front of the stove.

Morning Scramble Bake
2 TBS butter, softened
6 large eggs (cage-free if possible)
1/4 cup half and half
4 oz shredded aged cheddar
1 cup roasted tomatoes, diced
4 oz bacon, cooked and diced
1 TBS fresh parsley, minced
2 tsp fresh basil, minced
1 TBS fresh tarragon, minced
Kosher salt/ground black pepper

Minimal MESS/ingredients/clean-up: Category 2
To Do:
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half and 1 TBS of butter.
  • Stir in the cheese, tomatoes, bacon and herbs, and a pinch each of salt/pepper.
  • Grease a shallow baking pan with the remaining tablespoon of the butter, then pour in the egg mixture.
  • Bake until puffed and no longer jiggly in the center when you gently move the pan -- about 20-25 minutes.
  • This should serve 4-6 people. For more people, don't double the recipe. Instead, just make a second pan. (Otherwise, you'll just have really thick pieces, but still for 4-6 people.) Let cool and serve as is with fresh fruit and Greek yogurt on the side, or make an eggtastic sandwich by placing a piece of the bake, more roasted tomatoes, and a slice of cheese between toasted, buttered bread.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Who Wants Pie?

I know. I post about pie a lot. I'm sorry if you're tired of hearing about pie, but I'm not going to stop. I love pie. (And, this is my blog, after all, people.)

But seriously, who doesn't like pie? And not just a delicious fruit pie. I'm talking about flavorful meaty pies like Hunter's Pie, Tomato Pie, Venison Pie, and the King of all Savory Pies: Chicken Pot Pie.
I was visiting my little (younger, but taller) sister not too long ago and was asked to help with lunch, so I of course put Chicken Pot Pie on the menu. This pie is my standby. I never regret serving it. It's always delicious, and I can make it in my sleep. Chicken Pot Pie is comforting and classic, but served with a salad and a glass of crisp white wine, it becomes a sophisticated meal that everyone likes.

My sister made a perfect pie crust and I filled it with a mixture of peas, broccoli, carrots (lightly cooked), shredded chicken (pulled from a rotisserie bird), and my "gravy" -- garlic, onions, butter, flour, chicken stock, cream, salt/pepper, and tarragon. We overfilled the pan and topped it with another buttery, flaky crust, then baked until golden and bubbly.
When it had rested a bit, we served it up -- it was perfectly lovely. (Just like our day together.)
Three cheers for pie!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

Tomatoes rule.

From the briny, sun-dried kind to the beautifully plump Jerseys, and sweet, eat-them-by-the-handful cherry variety, this versatile fruit just makes everything better.

Let's face it -- there would be no BLT without the T. And, grilled cheese is just sad without a bowl of hot, creamy tomato soup beside it. Have you heard of Bloody Marys? A world without those is a world I do not want to be a part of, thank you. Plus, who could live without tomato pie, pizza pie, lasagna, or spaghetti with Sunday gravy? Not this lady. There are tomatoes in my kitchen 24/7.

Now that the sun-kissed, juicy tomatoes of Summer have left us, I'm using tomatoes in salads and sandwiches less often and baking, stuffing, roasting, and pureeing them instead.
One of the simplest, yet tastiest ways to enjoy a tomato this time of year is to roast them. Simply toss your tomatoes (whole or sliced, depending on what size/type you're using) with some olive oil and a bit of Kosher salt and roast at 450 degrees until browned and deflated. You can add some cloves of garlic, dried herbs, or some sliced red pepper to the pan if you want, too.

Once they're roasted, let the tomatoes cool and drain away the oil/juices into a separate container for dipping crusty bread, topping pizzas or tossing with pasta. Then, chop the tomatoes up (if they aren't sliced) and the possibilities are endless:
  • Pile them on sandwiches/burgers along with basil and mozzarella for a Caprese-style treat.
  • Blend them with fresh herbs and cream/stock for a tasty soup or sauce
  • Use as a pizza or crostini topping. (They are especially great with ricotta or goat cheese.)
  • Spoon a mixture of the tomatoes, lemon, olives and parsley over roasted fish.
  • Stuff chicken breasts with the tomatoes, some feta cheese and spinach and bake until cooked through and browned.
  • Cook until heated through with with tuna (in oil), chili pepper and olives, then toss with pasta.
  • Fold into scrambled eggs or fill an omelet with them.
  • Spoon them over a toasted bagel that's topped with cream cheese or ricotta.
Or, you can just scoop them into a bowl, sprinkle on some chopped basil and ground black pepper, put them on the table -- and watch them disappear!
Food like this is magic.