Egg Quickie

A couple of weeks ago I was procrastinating on the internet and I found a food blogger who discussed how after getting her husband and son off to work and school in the morning there was little time for her to find a nutritious breakfast (I wish now I had bookmarked the page).  Her solution was to take an egg to work and cook it there in the microwave.  We all know that eggs are the ultimate superfood, and a nice hot breakfast is a great way to start your day.

Before I was allowed to use the stove as a child, I used to make scrambled eggs in the microwave.  It’s easy, painless, and nearly instantaneous.

All you need is an egg.  Or two.  A fork.  And a coffee mug or very small microwaveable bowl.  The benefit of the mug is that the handle is cool enough to hold onto, while the bowl tends to get a little toasty.

Take the eggs and crack ’em in your container.  Scramble with fork.  You don’t have to worry about cooking spray.  The eggs will naturally peel away from the edges of the mug when they cook.

Feel free to stir in things, like cheese, or parsley, or Tabasco sauce (I did).  Or basil, or avocado, or red peppers.  Or whatever floats your boat.  Bacon, maybe?

Nuke it for about a minute, depending on your microwave.  Wash your fork while you wait.

BING!  Eat yer egg(s).

A good quick breakfast or lunch or snack with minimal dishes to do and a whole heap of nutritional goodness.

Jerusalem Artichoke and Carrot Jalapeno Soup

Here we’ve reached the last of our Jerusalem artichokes.  Have you had enough?  I think I have.

This is kind of a garbage soup, but only sorta.

Chop up a large onion.  Or in my case, half an onion and two shallots.  Chuck those in a pot with some olive oil and garlic.

I still had some eggplant leftover from that lasagna I made a little while back.  You can leave that as an option at your discretion.

Chop up three jalapeños and chuck them in as well.

Sauté them for a little bit.

Chop up two carrots and plop those in.

Chop up two pounds of jerusalem artichokes.  Those go in too.

Pour in enough chicken stock (about a litre) to almost cover and bring the liquid to a boil.  Simmer on medium-low for an hour or so, until all the vegetables are tender and you can squish the carrots with a spoon.

Take an immersion blender to it and give ‘er until it’s smooth.

Now take some romano and grate it up.  About three tablespoons.

Put it in a bowl and sprinkle it liberally with black pepper.

Pour in about half a cup whipping cream.  Whip it up good.

When stiff peaks form you’re set.

Plop a dollop of that on your soup with some Italian parsley.

Serve it up!

Jerusalem Artichoke Chowder

It’s a cold, cold day today.  They say it’s going to snow tomorrow.  Need some warming chowder.

“IT’S CHOWDAH!”

Or something like that.  We’re nearing the end of our Jerusalem artichoke harvest.  Time for some soup.  I got this recipe from Laura Werlin and changed it around a little bit.  And, having made it, I think I would do it a bit differently next time.  But we can talk about that later.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan, and add in 1 large onion, chopped.  Stir that around for a minute or so. 

Slice up 2 pounds Jerusalem artichokes and 1 pound carrots.

Chuck both of those things in the pot and stir it around for a little bit.  Add in a little less than half a cup of flour and mix well.

Gradually add 5 cups chicken stock.

Stir, then cover and let simmer for about 45 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat and blend with an immersion blender or food processor.  I like to leave a few chunks in.  It is chowder, of course.

Grate 2 cups cheese.  The original calls for gruyère, but I only had bergeron and gouda, so I used those.

Pour in 2 1/2 cups milk, the cheese, and a teaspoon dry mustard. Blend it again.

Pour the soup carefully into a clean pot and gently reheat it without allowing it to boil.

Chop up some parsley and serve it over top.  Maybe a dash of chili or paprika if you like, for colour.

Next time I think I would leave the flour out until the vegetables were fully simmered and tender all the way through.  Then I would make a slurry with the broth and the flour and then bring it to a boil so it will thicken.  That way the vegetables would be nice and soft.

Jerusalem Artichoke Gratin

Here’s an easy peasy comfort food recipe for you. I think I prefer this one to gratins made out of potatoes.

Preheat your oven to 350°F and butter a large casserole dish.

Take about 1-2 pounds of Jerusalem artichokes and shave them into thin little slices.

Chop up as well about 2 cups Italian parsley.  Regular parsley will also do.

Grate about 1 cup cheddar cheese as well.

In the bottom of the casserole, lay your ‘choke slices, overlapping them slightly.  Sprinkle with minced garlic and season with salt and pepper.

Repeat with additional layers of artichoke until you run out.  Drizzle 1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream over the top.

Sprinkle grated cheddar evenly over the top as well.

Bake uncovered until creamy and bubbly, about half an hour.

Serve and enjoy.  We had it with sausages, green Dijon mustard, and some carrots that also came from my parents’ garden.  Mmmm.

 

 

Jerusalem Artichoke and Potato Mash

Have you been introduced to the Jerusalem artichoke?  No?

How do you do? 

I know it doesn’t look like much.  In fact, it’s neither an artichoke nor is it from Jerusalem.  They’re a tuber at the base of a variety of sunflower, but don’t let their knobby texture fool you into thinking they’re tough and tasteless: the Jerusalem artichoke (or “sunchoke”) is a tender tuber that (I think) tastes like nuts would, if nuts were vegetables.

My parents plant Jerusalem artichokes in their driveway, because the tall leafy greens provide a nice screen between their house and the garbage-strewn front lawn of our hoarding neighbour.  Plus you don’t have to harvest them until mid-fall, so the screen stays up extra long.

This is what they look like after they’ve been pulled from the ground and separated from their stems.

First you separate all the little tiny ones and store them in your garage to replant in the spring.

Then you take the ones you want to eat and scrub them silly.  We’re going to do a little feature on Jerusalem artichokes this week, so we have plenty to go through.  Many recipes call for peeling these things, but I never bother.  The skin is where all the vitamins are, after all, and I can only imagine that peeling them is an exercise in insanity.

For today’s recipe, take a pound of the ‘chokes, and a pound of your potato of choice.

Remove all the roots and knobby bits from the artichokes.  Chop them and the potatoes up into 1″ pieces and chuck them in a pot.

Boil them until very tender.  Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid.

Mash them up with a little butter and some of the reserved cooking liquid until they are thick and moist.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.  TADA.

Warm Brussels Sprout Salad with Goat Cheese and Pecans


The Pie doesn’t particularly like Brussels sprouts, but the rest of us adore them.  To find a compromise this past Thanksgiving I pulled inspiration from a number of different recipes, and also from a salad I’d eaten at The Black Tomato two nights before, and came up with something that we all loved.

I’m not going to give you measurements for this recipe, because to be honest I didn’t measure anything, just kind of threw it in when the inspiration struck me.  Besides, everyone has their own preferences as to amounts and proportions in a salad.  Just estimate and you’ll be fine.  This version served ten people with tons of leftovers.

First, you cut up your Brussels sprouts.  We tried them first with a mandolin, but then found it was easier just to slice them thinly with a stupid sharp knife.  Cut off the tough stem part at the bottom and discard any bruised or torn outer leaves, then carefully shave those suckers down.We ended up with a medium-sized bowl full of bits of mini-cabbage.Because this was sort of a do-at-the-last-second kind of salad, and because Thanksgiving at the last second gets a little hectic as things come out of the oven and the turkey needs to be carved, I wanted to set up a mise en place for this so everything would be ready to go when I needed it.  Accordingly, I prepared the rest of my ingredients ahead of time.

Three finely chopped green onions.

Two finely sliced shallots.

Two handfuls dried, sweetened cranberries.

A handful each finely chopped radicchio and Boston lettuce.

Goat cheese, or chèvre.

Pecans, ground in my food processor.

Pecan pieces, for garnish.

Mix together the goat cheese, cranberries, and ground pecans.

Set that aside for now.

In a large frying pan or skillet melt about a third of a cup of butter at medium heat.  Toss in your green onions and shallots and sauté for a few minutes until softened.

Chuck in your massive amounts of Brussels sprouts and stir them around until they’re thoroughly coated in butter and start to wilt.

Add in the raddichio and the Boston lettuce and stir to mix.  Drizzle gently with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a healthy dash of real maple syrup.  Toss to coat and remove from heat.

Add in your goat cheese mixture and toss it well.

Sprinkle with pecan pieces and serve warm.

Slow Cooker Glazed Carrots

Dinner parties like the feast at Thanksgiving are all about timing and having all your different dishes be ready at exactly the same time.  It’s nice to be able to make things ahead of time, or at least to be able to chuck some of those things into a slow cooker or crock pot and ignore them while you do other things.

This recipe is adapted from Phyllis Pellman Good’s post at Fabulous Foods and is really easy.

Turn your slow cooker to high and chuck in 2 pounds chopped carrots, 5 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Cover and cook for about three or four hours until the carrots are tender.

Put the carrots in a serving dish and keep them warm.  Take the cooking juices and bung them in a pot.  Bring it to a boil.Dissolve 2 tablespoons corn starch in 1/4 cup water and add that to the juices, boiling for another full minute until the glaze is thick.

Pour over top your carrots and serve.

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

This is pretty much the same recipe as the Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Rosemary and Sea Salt, but with lemon rind and herbes de provence instead of rosemary.  Easy peasy.

So you take your potatoes.  We used baby white ones.  A couple pounds’ worth.

Parboil them. 

Remove the rind from two lemons.  I used a zester designed to take off long threads of peel, for visual stimulus.  Also if you’re going to roast it for a while it’s going to shrink and get all black, so you might as well make sure that you have lots of it to start with.

Toss your parboiled potatoes with olive oil, then add the lemon rind and herbes du provence.  Add in a bit of sea salt as well.

Roast at 350°F for about 45 minutes until wrinkled and crispy.  You can also roast them at the same time as other things at lower temperatures (such as a Thanksgiving turkey) — just roast them for longer.

They’re also wicked good cold the next day, or sliced up and tossed into scrambled eggs.

Bashed Neeps with a little Sweet Potato

Behold the lowly, plebeian turnip.  If you were my Scottish great-grandfather you’d call them neeps.  The vegetable of the working class.  Nubbly root vegetables that overwinter remarkably well.  Tasty tubers.

You get the idea.

I’m fond of turnips.  Rutabaga as well.  They’re a little yellower, bigger, and stronger tasting than a turnip.

Thanksgiving is all about the harvest vegetables, and the turnip is a traditional addition.

I used 4 medium-sized turnips.  (And 2 large apples.  No picture of those sadly.)

Peel them with a sharp knife and cut them into cubes.

Chuck them in a pot with a pinch or two (or five) of cinnamon and enough water to cover.

Cover and simmer them until very tender, about an hour, maybe more.

Drain and mash with butter and a dash of maple syrup.

You can serve it as is, but this time we felt that the turnips were a little bland.

We peeled and cubed a single large sweet potato and boiled that up as well until it was tender.

Mash that sucker in with the turnip after you’re done your boiling.

Add a spoonful of ginger, as well as some nutmeg and a bit of brown sugar.  Garnish with fresh parsley and serve hot.

You can also freeze this stuff for thawing and reheating later.  It saves time on the big day.

Quick Chili

Fall is always a busy season for me.  Usually, school is ramping up and the hot weather has disappeared, leaving me with more energy to get out and be active.  Plus the hockey season starts in October, and that keeps me busy until June.

As the outside temperature cools, we start making hotter dishes to keep us warm.  But because the fall is so busy, we don’t always have the time to have some sort of comfort food simmering on the stove all day.

This chili recipe can be ready in half an hour, and tastes almost as good as its slow-cooker counterpart.

So you start, as always, with an onion and some garlic.  I of course use garlic-in-a-jar, but you can use whatever you like.

Chop up the onion.

This is where I like to use the new love of my life, the Onion Goggles.  I’ve tried knives dipped in lemon juice, and cutting onions next to an open flame, but these work wayyyyy better.

Of course, I look like a total dweeb when I wear them.

Anyway, chuck your onion in a saucepan with some garlic and olive oil and cook until the onions are translucent.

Chop up two red peppers and chuck them in as well, together with some chopped fresh basil.

Add in some cumin, chili powder, and tabasco sauce (hot sauce) to taste, together with whatever else you need to make it the kind of spicy you’re in the mood for.

Our hot sauce came from my brother’s wedding.  It’s pretty good.

Next you can add in your beans.  White beans, black beans, kidney beans, it really doesn’t matter (well, perhaps not broad beans).  They can come from a can or a bag, but make sure they’re cooked before you chuck them in.  This is a bean medley my mother cooked up a while ago and froze.

Pour in a can of diced tomatoes.

Add a handful or two of TVP if you wish.  If you think the chili is too liquidy, you can also add a can of tomato paste for thickening.

I like to pop in some frozen corn when it’s almost ready.

Let it simmer the whole time you’re adding stuff, then for about twenty minutes after you’ve added the last ingredient.

Serve hot, store in your refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze it for a quick dinner some time later on.