Posts Tagged ‘egg’

Kefta Tagine with Eggs and Roasted Cumin

January 16, 2012

After 2 weeks of not cooking, due to a lack of dishwasher (yes, we were actually so lazy we dirtied as few dishes as possible!), I wanted to try something lengthy, complicated, warm and comforting. Something that could go terribly wrong, but could also go terribly right. So, I broke out my Tagine cookbook, by Ghillie Basan, to find something spicy and filling to warm us on a cold winter night.

This dish caught my eye because even though it was comprised of the traditional lamb that is in many African dishes, it came together as meatballs, with sunny side up eggs, all cooked in the tagine.

The meatballs are called kefta, and they are filled with amazing spices, and are poached in water (which helps them keep their perfect shape), then cooked in spiced liquid that absorbs into the meatballs, and creates a hot, dry bottom of the tagine in which to cook the eggs.

Not only did the dish turn out perfectly, but the combination was nothing we had ever experienced. The spice, ras-el-hanout, is worth seeking out (I found mine at my local spice store, but you can also find it online).

My only caution is to be careful of the spice level. I will write this recipe with the spice level I used so hopefully it will do the trick (vs. the original recipe from the cookbook).

Trust me, it is worth the effort. And, ironically enough, at the end of the day there really weren’t many dishes to speak of – except the tagine itself (which doesn’t go in the dishwasher).

KEFTA TAGINE WITH EGGS AND ROASTED CUMIN
Serves 4

For the Kefta:
16 ounces ground lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried mint
3 teaspoons ras-el-hanout
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
a small bunch of fresh flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Rest of the Dish:
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6-8 eggs
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, dry-roasted and ground
a small bunch of fresh flatleaf parsley

To make the kefta, put the ground lamb, onion, mint, ras-el-hanout, cayenne and parsley in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and mix well together. Using your hands, knead the mixture and mold it into small balls.

Fill a tagine (or dutch oven) with water and bring it to a boil. Carefully drop in the kefta, a few at a time, and poach them for about 10 minutes, turning them so they cook on all sides. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels. Reserve roughly 2 1/2 cups of cooking liquid.

Add the butter to the tagine with the reserved cooking water and bring to a boil. Stir in the salt and cayenne and drop in the poached kefta. Cook over high heat until almost all of the liquid has evaporated (about 15 or so minutes). Carefully crack the eggs around the kefta, cover the tagine with the lid, and cook and steam until they are just set. Sprinkle the roasted cumin seeds and the chopped parsley over the top of the dish. Serve with pearl couscous and flat bread.

Maryland Crab Cakes

July 4, 2011

I recently finished a book called “I Loved, I Lost, I Make Spaghetti” by Giulia Melucci. The book was a quick read, and a wonderful mix between Sex in the City and Bon Appetit. The book takes you through Guilia’s dating life, along with the food she makes along the way. Recipes sneak into many of the pages, so the creations can be made by the reader.

When I read her crab cake recipe, made for her boyfriend at the time as an “all American dish,” I thought I could give it a try with the crab I had from a month ago (frozen) on this Fourth of July Weekend.

I have to admit I have tried crab cakes before and although they are always good, I could never get the texture just right. I am unsure if it was this particular recipe or my previous “practice,” but these cakes had the perfect crab cake texture. After reading more on the subject, I have a few tips for making crab cakes that don’t turn into crab scramble.
1. Make sure your recipe includes an egg as a binder.
2. Make sure your recipe includes some panko/bread crumbs as an additional binder.
3. Make sure to refrigerate for at least one hour to solidify before baking or frying.

Now that I have the basics down, I might get creative with this classic recipe – but for now, this is one of the best crab cakes I have ever had. I created a lemon mayo sauce to be served on the side.

Thanks to Giulia Melucci for her recipe, adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine.

MARYLAND COLONY CRAB CAKES
Serves 2

2 tablespoons celery, minced
2 tablespoons scallions, green parts only, minced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 pound crabmeat
1 1/2 cups panko
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 lemon, cut into wedges

In a medium bowl, mix together all but the olive oil, butter (and lemon wedges, of course). Shape into 4 patties. Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 1 hour.

Over medium heat, fry in olive oil and butter until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Serve with lemon wedges.Yields 4 small crab cakes (2 per person).

LEMON MAYO SAUCE
Add 2-3 tablepoons of mayo with lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Put a dollop on the crab cakes.

Spaghetti with Anchovy Carbonara

April 17, 2011

For those who have been reading this blog, there is no need to reiterate my love for carbonara. When you put pasta and bacon together, let’s face it, you just can’t go wrong.

It isn’t surprising that when we spent a few weeks in Italy last spring, this was the dish I was seeking out most. It is more common in the Umbria and Rome area (although you can find it many other places). So I knew when we arrived in that region, I wouldn’t need to look at menus very long.

We had spent a few days in our Villa by Spoleto and had decided to take a side trip to the religious mecca of Assisi (45 minutes away). It is a beautiful town, filled with amazing stone buildings, commanding views, and a spiritual aura. We had just visited Minerva and someone must have been scouring down on me because (I am convinced), because it was the one time on the whole trip that I didn’t cover my shoulders in the church. As we exited the building and went down the marble steps my clumsy feet just couldn’t get it together – and I slipped down the stairs. O Madon! No matter what country you are in – when you fall onto marble, it hurts like nobody’s business. So, after going to the pharmacia and showing the clerk, who got us appropriate bandages and some neosporin looking stuff (at least we think that is what it was), I needed a pick me up.

My husband joked that for me, carbonara, a glass of wine and a scoop of gelato will make anything better! (the truth is, he is right!) So we set out down some less traveled paths to find the perfect resting place. We saw a little restaurant, unassuming and filled with locals, and knew we had found the place.

The carbonara in Assisi, Italy

This was my first official carbonara of the trip and I barely needed to look at a menu to know what I would have. I took one bite and knew it was the best carbonara I had ever tasted in my whole life. The sauce wasn’t overly creamy, it had an amazing saltiness, and was filled with pancetta. There was something intangible in that dish – something that set it apart. Not sure if it was the state of shock I was in from my fall, the glass of wine I had to wash down lunch or the food itself.

So, when I started seeking out the perfect carbonara recipe upon my return, I did lots of research on the traditional way Italians make it. Much to my surprise, a common ingredient is anchovies – and I knew at that moment that it was the little fish that had made it into my dish that day.

Now, my husband claims to not like anchovies, yet I knew when you cook them in olive oil they actually disintegrate so you don’t bite into them, yet they infuse your sauce. So, I gave it a whirl.

Hands down it was the best carbonara I have had outside of Italy. I made my own tagliatelle (my new favorite past time) but you could surely use any spaghetti or fettuccine you would like. I also added a bit of pancetta – because let’s face it, everything is better with pancetta.

So nothing can quite compare to the throbbing pain in my knee, the refreshing wine out of a jug, the views of St Francis and the Italian language surrounding me. But, this dish at least transports me, just a little bit, to the land that invented carbonara.

Thanks to Food and Wine for this amazing rendition of an Italian classic. If you don’t like anchovies, still give it a whirl – just cut back on the amount a bit. They might just surprise you!

SPAGHETTI WITH ANCHOVY CARBONARA
Serves4

12 ounces spaghetti
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
One 2-ounce can flat anchovies, drained and chopped
Pinch of Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
Pancetta (optional)
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 large egg yolks
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil with the garlic and anchovies and cook over moderately high heat until the anchovies have dissolved, about 2 minutes. (If using pancetta, add and cook until cooked through.) Add the red pepper, zest, oregano and parsley, then add the pasta and toss to coat. Remove from the heat.

In a small bowl, whisk the yolks with the reserved cooking water and add to the pasta. Cook over low heat, tossing until the pasta is coated in a creamy sauce, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Oatmeal Cookes

March 28, 2011

I have to admit that when I was a child, I wasn’t always the biggest oatmeal cookie fan. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them, necessarily, but when faced with a choice of something people called “healthy” vs. something studded with the terrible-for-you chocolate. Well. You know who won.

But the very reason I avoided oatmeal cookies growing up, seems to be the reason I am starting to become a fan. When eating a cookie, knowing I am getting healthy oats and fruity raisins seems to make me in denial of the plentiful sugar and butter components. And when I made this recipe, the chewiness (due to the brown sugar) and flavorful dough (did someone say butter?) made me wonder if faced with the oatmeal vs. chocolate question, would I still pick chocolate? Jury is still out, but I now add these oatmeal cookies to the “things I crave” list. So, if you need one stand-by oatmeal cookie recipe this is the one. Thanks to Bon Appetit’s Just Desserts cookbook for this perfect oatmeal cookie recipe!

OATMEAL COOKIES
Makes about 2 dozen

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 2/3 cups old- fashioned oats
1 cup raisins

Position 2 rack in the top third and 1 rack in the bottom third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Live 2 heavy large rimmed baking sheets (or cookie sheets) with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar and butter in large bowl until very well blended. Beat in egg and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture, then stir in oats and raisins.

Using trigger cookie scoop and about 2 tablespoons dough per cookie, arrange mounds of dough on prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies until golden brown, reversing baking sheets halfway through baking, about 14 minutes total. Transfer cookies to rack and cool completely.

Spiced Beef Empanadas with Lime Sour Cream

September 26, 2010

Do you ever get into a food rut? You know, when you keep finding new ways to dress up a chicken breast, and keep brainstorming new veggies and nuts to put in your couscous for a different flavor. We have just finished (or are finishing) months of great grilled meats and kebabs and are a bit too early for stews. So, as I put together the menu for last week, I was feeling some culinary restlessness. So, on the menu I put items I have never made before. And not “I have never put those spices on a pork loin before,” but “I have never made that type of food or attempted that culinary technique before.”

It is liberating to throw out what you know and venture into a land of unknown and savory promise. And with my motto being “we can always get take out” I truly figured I had nothing to lose. They all seemed like easy enough recipes, just different. It was exactly what I needed.

So, the first “new” meal was empanadas. It isn’t surprising that other countries have their version of a meat pie. I have made Kibbeh from Lebanon, we have pot pies, there are Russian meat pies, and the Spanish have empanadas. Then, adapted by Latin American countries, they shrunk it a bit and established the same technique.

I got this recipe out of Real Simple, thinking it couldn’t be overly difficult. Like any food where you have to mold each bite, it does take a bit of time, but it isn’t terribly complicated. And, with a store-bought pie crust, the effort is significantly decreased.

The spices in the meat are amazing, but I will note this – the recipe calls for 80/20 meat and I did find it to be a bit greasy. Next time I will be opting for a leaner choice. Also, my biscuit cutter was a bit small, so next time I will be purchasing one that is the size they recommend – providing a better meat to crust ratio. Might even jazz up the sauce a bit with some creme fraiche.

But all and all my culinary experiment was a success. Not only was dinner amazing, but I learned I could do something new, and I expanded my skill set. I suggest you all do the same!

SPICED BEEF EMPANADAS WITH LIME SOUR CREAM

Makes 24

1 tablespoon olive oil
small onion, chopped
1/2 pound ground beef (80 to 85 percent lean)
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
kosher salt and black pepper
2 store-bought refrigerated rolled piecrusts
large egg, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon lime zest

Heat oven to 375º F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the raisins, ketchup, cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Using a 2½-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles from the piecrusts. Divide the beef mixture among the circles, brush the edges with water, fold in half, and press with a fork to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet and brush with the egg. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Put the sour cream in a small bowl and sprinkle with the lime zest. Serve with the empanadas.

Chicken Milanese with Spring Greens and Parmesan-Browned Butter Orzo

May 4, 2010

So I have yet to find a person who doesn’t like something that is “chicken-fried.” Chicken-friend steak, chicken-fried pork, chicken-fried chicken. Because, let’s face it, anything that is fried is pretty darn good.

So it isn’t surprising that I love chicken milanese (or milanesa). It sounds fancier, but is basically a Latin-American version – same concept as wiener schnitzel or chicken fried chicken. You beat the chicken, dip it in egg, then in breadcrumb mixture, and then fry or bake until golden brown.

This is a good simple milanese recipe I got from Cooking Light. I figure if Cooking Light says I can have something fried, then it can’t be SO bad. I am sure there is a better recipe out there that has more butter, more oil, etc., but for a healthy recipe, this is a clear winner. I also suggest making the salad and orzo with it. The orzo is rich and creamy compared to the crunchy and juicy chicken, then the salad has a bit of tang and lightness to finish off the meal.

Enjoy!

CHICKEN MILANESE WITH SPRING GREENS
2 Servings

3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon minced shallots
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
Dash of sugar
2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs (I recommend Panko)
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 cups packed spring mix salad greens
2 lemon wedges

Combine juice, vinegar, shallots, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and sugar; let stand 15 minutes.

Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet.

Combine breadcrumbs and cheese in a shallow dish. Place flour in a shallow dish. Place egg white in a shallow dish. Sprinkle chicken with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Dredge chicken in flour; dip in egg white. Dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place chicken on a wire rack; let stand 5 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes. Turn chicken over; cook 2 minutes or until browned and done.

Add 2 teaspoons oil and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to shallot mixture; stir with a whisk. Add greens; toss gently. Place 1 chicken breast half and 1 cup salad on each of 2 plates. Serve with lemon wedges.

PARMESAN-BROWNED BUTTER ORZO
Serves 2

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup orzo
2 tablespoons white wine
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon chopped chives

Cook 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat 4 minutes or until browned. Add 1/2 cup orzo; cook 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons white wine; cook over medium-high heat 1 minute. Add 1 1/4 cups chicken broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 13 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chives.


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