Small Kitchen Cooking: Poached Eggs Aren’t Terrifying [Recipe]

I made poached eggs on Sunday morning because I was tired of seeing so many gosh-darn delightful looking recipes and me being to scared to try them. I don’t know about you, but I’ve stayed away from attempting to make poached eggs because I’ve heard how intimidating it can be.

But this morning, I cracked open one of my cookbook essentials, Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything,” and got to work. And it wasn’t terrifying. I used a 1 cup measuring cup and cracked each egg in there, using the cup to place the eggs into the water, one at a time. And then I turned on the timer and waited for 5 minutes.

But that was it.

Nothing to it.

The result? Well, I will admit, I don’t think I added enough water to my saucepan, because the eggs had no white tops! It was kind of cute, actually. Despite their missing tops, the poached eggs were everything I’ve heard they are: silky, smooth, and light. Gorgeous to look at, and delicate to eat. I savored every moment. And now I don’t think I’ll ever look at fried or scrambled eggs the same way again. I’ll always be left with this sinking feeling of “if only I had poached eggs.”

Believe me, they’re worth trying. They’re not terrifying. Just go out there and try it.

Next on my list of intimidating foods I’ve avoided making? Souffle. I have no plans to make it anytime soon.

Happy Tuesday! What’s your favorite way to have poached eggs? I had mine over hashbrowns, sauteed bell peppers, and sharp cheddar cheese.

Here’s another way I want to try them:

Arugula, Asparagus, and Poached Eggs

Monday Night Pasta Sauce

Last week I wanted a bright and very tomato-y pasta sauce. Mark Bittman, in his cookbook “How to Cook Everything,” has several variations on tomato pasta sauce. I combined the spiced, garlicky, and spicy versions together to make this very simple and delicious pasta sauce. It doesn’t take very long to prep or cook, making it a great and quick weeknight meal. Try it and let me know how you like it!

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes (or diced), in their liquid
1 small can of tomato sauce
8 leaves fresh basil, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt, pepper, oregano, to taste
2 servings spaghetti noodles, cooked according to package instruction
shredded Parmesan or pecorino Romano, for garnish

1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.
2. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 2 minutes, or until the garlic starts to brown slightly. (I’ve learned that if you can smell the garlic, it’s ready.)
3. If you’re using whole tomatoes, chop them first before adding them. Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce, and season with the oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the minced basil.
4. Let everything simmer over medium heat for 10-20 minutes.
5. While the sauce is simmering, boil water and cook pasta according to package directions.
6. Strain the pasta and add into the sauce. Turn off the heat to the pasta sauce. Top each individual serving with the rest of the fresh basil and cheese.
7. Enjoy!

Greek Pizza

On Friday evening I had a craving for pizza, but not just any pizza: a Greek pizza.

I looked up the menu to a restaurant where I’ve had a Greek pizza once or twice, and then decided to save my money and make my own.

I already had feta cheese and pepperoncini peppers in the fridge, so I went off to the store to find sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, basil pesto, and since it was too late to make my favorite pizza dough (recipe here) I decided to try my first store-bought fresh pizza dough. (By the way, Raley’s pizza dough is delicious, and cheap.)

This pizza was delicious. I’m sorry if I can’t describe it any better than that, but every ingredient melted together perfectly. Except, of course, for the burned olives. Thankfully, we couldn’t even tell they were burned.

On to the recipe!
pizza

Greek Pizza
1 recipe pizza dough or store bought fresh pizza dough ( I bought mine at Raley’s, but I’ve heard Whole Foods’ is great, and I think Trader Joe’s has one too?)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
basil pesto (about 4 tablespoons)
mozzarella cheese ( about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (either canned or the dried, bagged kind, which is what I had)
Pepperocini peppers (I had canned and sliced in my fridge)
Kalamata olives (I bought the pitted, sliced kind)
feta cheese ( about 2 tablespoons)
Parmesan cheese (about 2 tablespoons)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2.. Place oil in skillet over medium heat. Wait about a minute or so until oil is hot, then place garlic in the pan and cook for about a minute, just as it’s beginning to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Follow directions for pizza dough. Once you have the dough rolled and in the pan, spread on the basil pesto. Sprinkle mozzarella, then top with veggies and garlic. Sprinkle on the feta and Parmesan cheeses, then bake in the oven for about 8 to 9 minutes.*

*CAUTION: I would check on these throughout the cooking period. As you’ll see from the photograph, we left ours in for a minute too long and some of the olives burned. To avoid this, check on the pizza about 4 minutes into cooking and again at 8 minutes.

CHANGES:

This pizza was amazing but had very bold flavors. The peso seemed to be a bit much, so next time I’d try to find a jarred pesto made with spinach and with less basil.

Also, I think I’d skip the mozzarella cheese. Not because it wasn’t delicious; it just didn’t need the extra cheese.

What are you favorite pizza toppings?

Ashley

Recipe: Spinach Salad with Feta, Slivered Almonds, and Pickled Beets

Hello and happy Friday to all of you! I hope you’ve had a beautiful week. All week, I’ve been eating the same spinach salad for lunch, and let me tell you: it has the near-perfect blend of sweet, sour, and crunch.

Now, I cannot take credit for this recipe. Earlier this week I had lunch with a wonderful lady who made this salad for the two of us, and said the recipe itself came from this small coffee shop in town. So credit where it’s due. 🙂

It’s incredibly easy to make, and you can make it in less than 5 minutes. Now that’s what I call a great lunch!

Here’s the recipe:

Spinach Salad with Feta, Slivered Almonds, and Pickled Beets
A gorgeous summer salad with barely any preparation but major flavor; balancing sweet and sour, with an added crunch from slivered almonds. Recipe adapted from Sweet Corner Cafe.

1 handful fresh baby spinach
sliced pickled beets
crumbled Feta cheese
slivered almonds
2 tbsp or less balsamic viniagrette

Add all ingredients (to taste) into a bowl and pour viniagrette around the edge. Toss to combine. (Though I admit, I haven’t done this yet. I make the salad on a plate.)

Side note: Until Tuesday, I hadn’t ever had a pickled beet! Now I’m completely in love. Dwight Shrute would approve, I’m sure.

Enjoy!

What’s your favorite summer salad?

30-minute Black Bean Quesadillas

Happy Friday everyone! 🙂

Tonight’s dinner was a quick fix. I had everything in my fridge and in my cupboards, and only an inkling of what I wanted to eat. The initial idea was to make this black bean burrito recipe, from Epicurean Mom.

When I realized it was five p.m. I didn’t feel like waiting for the quinoa, even though it would have only taken fifteen minutes to cook. I wasn’t feeling it.

Black Bean Quesadillas

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 2-4

1 15 ounce can black beans, drained
1 15 ounce can of corn, drained
1.2 tablespoon canola oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 cups Mexican blend cheese
2-8 medium tortillas
Seasonings:

1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 cumin

1. Open and drain black beans and corn. Dump into bowl and combine. Set aside.
2. In a medium skillet place oil, and heat on medium heat.
3. Chop vegetables.
4. Place vegetables in skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Take out bell pepper mix and place in bowl. Set aside.
5. Keeping the skillet on the medium heat, pour in bean mix. Cook until heated through, about 3-4 minutes. Take out mix and place back into bowl. Set aside.
6. Lower heat to medium-low. Spray pan with nonstick spray.
*7. Place one tortilla in bottom of skillet. Fill with peppers, black bean mix, and cheese. How much you fill it up depends on how much you want. Remember: you will have to flip it. Place second tortilla on top.
8. Once browned, remove from skillet onto cutting board. Let cool 2 minutes, then cut into slice (like a pizza). Serve hot with sour cream, tortilla chips, and salsa.

*If you don’t want to use 2 tortillas (yes, they can get messy when flipping if you have a small spatula) you can use one tortilla, fill and fold in half and cook that way.

This was a filling dinner full of color and flavor. Chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin are my favorite seasonings for black beans. They create a subtle spicy and smoky flavor without being overbearing.

Other modifications:

– You could use white beans or even kidney beans.
– You can use shredded cheddar cheese or even non-dairy cheese (if someone uses non-dairy cheese, I’d love to know how it works out, since I’ve never used the stuff.)
– You can do this in the microwave, by filling the tortillas and cooking on high for 1-2 minutes. The vegetables may not be as tender, but it should still taste delicious.

Also…

Happy National S’mores Day! 🙂 Here’s a collection of recipes I’ve noticed today:

S’mores Bars from LaurenConrad.com
S’mores-filled pretzels from Tumblr
Everything I Learned, I Learned from “The Sandlot” from HelloGiggles.com (OK, I know this isn’t a recipe, but it’s one of the first things I think about when I hear the word “s’mores”? )

Have a great weekend!

~Ashley