Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Roasted Asparagus with Scrambled Eggs

This past father's day, baby Charlotte and I made Justin a yummy breakfast complete with fresh baked croissants, crispy bacon and grilled asparagus with scrambled eggs. The asparagus and eggs were an Ina Garten recipe - simple and delicious. It's a perfect dish for a small intimate breakfast or brunch.

Roasted Asparagus with Scrambled Eggs

3/4 pound fresh asparagus
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/8 cup freshly grated Parmesan
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons half-and-half
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Break off the tough ends of the asparagus and, if they're thick, peel them. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, then toss to coat the asparagus completely. Spread the asparagus in a single layer and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender but still crisp. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and return to the oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts.

3. While the asparagus is roasting, whisk the eggs in a bowl with the half-and-half, and salt and pepper, to taste. Melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet. Cook the eggs on the lowest heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, to the desired doneness. Remove from the heat, add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter, and stir until it melts. Check for seasoning, salt and pepper, if needed.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Breakfast Parfait

I've noticed that losing this "baby weight" (even though I was only 7.5 months pregnant when Charlotte was born) is proving more difficult than expected. So I downloaded a new app on my iPhone called Foodpics Log. Instead of writing down what I eat and trying to log the calories, I just take photos of everything I eat. I need to be accountable somehow. We'll see if it helps. But what it did make me realize is that so long as I take care in what I eat, making it pretty and delicious, my portion control is a bit better. (A basic rule in "Why French Women Don't Get Fat.") So, here is the first installment for today. My breakfast - a breakfast parfait made with fresh berries, honey vanilla yogurt and almond granola. Yum!


1 pint fresh blueberries
1 pint fresh raspberries
2 pints fresh strawberries, cut in half
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
Honey Vanilla Yogurt (recipe follows)
Almond Vanilla Granola (I purchase mine from the bulk bins at Henry's Market in San Diego)

1. Gently mix the berries, sugar and salt together.
2. Layer a footed glass with the fresh fruit. Then sprinkle a layer of granola. Then pour in some honey vanilla yogurt. Alternate layers until your fill the glass, ending with a yogurt layer.
3. Garnish with some fruit and a sprinkling of granola.

Honey Vanilla Yogurt
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style

2 cups plain yogurt
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
seeds scraped from a vanilla bean

Combine the yogurt, honey, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day....

I am the first to admit I have a strange life. My work and social hours are unpredictable to say the least. I leave for work as late as 10 or as early as 6; stumbling home at any hour. My doormen already recognize the weary look I have when a black car drops me off in the middle of the night. They also recognize when I leave at 11 pm on Saturday and know I won't return until close to (and in rare cases now) after dawn. Like I said, strange.

And I can go weeks where the only "meal" I have at home is a snack at 2 am as I catch up on tv before I crash. I take on the herculean task of grocery shopping once, maybe twice a month.

This week has lived up to the peculiarities of my life, busy on a bond offering that has taken over my life. I left my apartment at 8 am on Wednesday for the printers -think hotel conference room where you put together and edit a document for large scale securities printing; a place where all your needs are catered to by the printer's employees. Need an espresso, someone will get it for you. Want some vitamin water, just hit up the fridge. Late night pizza run, sure! Need to brush your teeth, there's a spare toothbrush in the bathroom. Decide that as you have to be there at 6:30 am for a conference call, there is no point in leaving at 5 am to go home and shower, you might as well have a beer from the fridge, why not! Ah breakfast of champions!

By the time I returned home I was well fed, full and tired Did I mention it was 11 am Thursday. When I emerged from my comatose sleep at 3, and worked a few more hours in my pj's, I was hungry again, and not for take out, rather something that I had produced. But in no way was I going to emerge from my apartment. So I scrounged in my cabinets, the depths of my freezer and the remnants of my fridge. The result? A risotto made from the frozen pumpkin that I had chopped up and bagged in individual portions in the fall, the last of my turkey bacon, frozen sage, dried mushrooms, chicken broth, a splash of wine, garlic, onion and the last of my fresh spinach. Even I was impressed with my results. Lesson learned? The freezer and non-perishables are a lawyer's friend.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I love Costco!

I had to share this video. I saw it on seriouseats and it spoke to my soul. The food critic from CG take Eric Ripet to Costco and they make a fabulous and elegant meal from their shopping trip. While Eric says that Costco lacks soul, he commends its high quality and value. Heck, who needs to cook for hours for Thanksgiving when you can just get everything from Costco?! Well, I at least bought most of my ingredients from there. :)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kitchen Sink Dinner Frittata

Dear ones. I'm so bad at visuals and at remembering to blog. You'll have to forgive me. But I thought I'd pass along my weeknight default dinner when I need to use up veggies that have kind of passed the point of being crisp enough for salad. It works perfectly well for guests or yourself. I wrote the recipe in terms of per-serving because you can make anywhere between 1 and like 6 servings using the same methodology. Just plan on a longer baking time for cooking six servings. The frittata can be served hot or at room temp. Left overs store well in the fridge for several days and are great for taking to work for lunch.


· 1 strip bacon or sliced poultry sausage per serving (optional)
· 2 eggs per serving
· 1/2 cup veggies per serving (onions, peppers, squash, broccoli, mushrooms, greens are great too, but if using greens that will wilt do like a cup per serving at least and make sure you cook the liquid out.
· 1 tsp chopped fresh or ¼ tsp dried herbs per serving
· 1/8 C dairy (milk, half-and-half, plain yogurt) per serving
· 1 tbs shredded or soft cheese per serving (optional)

Non-negotiable Tools:
Non-stick or cast iron pan with a lid (or foil)

1. Heat oven to 425
2. Over medium heat cook bacon. If using pre-cooked bacon strips, heat it up enough to crisp the bacon and get the fat out.
a. While bacon cooks, use a fork or whisk to combine eggs, dairy, herbs and salt/pepper
b. Chop all veggies to about the same size
3. Remove bacon strips from pan and lay on paper towels to drain.
4. Pour out and discard most of bacon fat, reserving enough in the pan to cook your pile of veggies. Use your judgment on how much you need.
5. Sauté veggies, beginning always with aromatics (onions, garlic, spicy peppers). Carmelize these first. Then add veggies in order of water content. (Mushrooms, greens, peppers, etc). It’s not the end of the world if you guess wrong on water content, but they’ll just flavor up better that way. If things start to burn, add a little water or chicken stock. (NB: If you’re not using bacon, cook veggies in a combination of equal parts butter and low-flavor oil like canola oil).
6. When veggies are cooked, add a little bit more fat to the pan (oil, butter, bacon fat – whatever). Pour in egg mixture and turn heat down to medium-low. Don’t touch the mixture. Cover with a lid and let cook 5 min.
7. After 5 or so min you will see the edges of the egg mixture start to look “dry” or “set.” Sprinkle crumbled bacon and cheese over the top of the mixture.
8. Cover and put in middle rack of oven for 15-30 min. Maybe longer for like 12 eggs. Probably closer to an hour for that one.
9. To test if the frittata is done, take pan out of the over and touch the middle of the omelet with your finger. It should kinda spring back.
10. Allow to cool 10 min. Then run a heat-safe spatula around the rim and invert the whole thing on a plate.
11. Serve in wedges.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti

Before I became obsessed with the food network, cookbooks, and all things culinary, Costco served as my "matchmaker" to a world of fabulous food. Case in point - biscotti. My first encounter with biscotti happened when Costco began selling Nonnis Biscotti - hard, nut-studded, chocolate covered spears of baked goodness individually packaged and sold in large plastic tubs. I would swirl my white chocolate covered biscotti into a Winnie-the-Pooh mug of hot chocolate before going to bed. Between my big sister and I (who LOVED them), my mother couldn't keep enough of these cookies around!

While my love affair with Costco continues, I haven't bought a tub of Nonni's Biscotti in ages - out of fear that I'll devour then all. I've read a gazillion biscotti recipes and always had intentions to make them. But for some reason or another, I never made them until last night.

This recipe is adapted from the Almond Biscotti recipe in the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. I substituted pistachios and added cranberries to the batter. The only thing I can think of making them better - dipping them in white chocolate. But I'll save that step from when my sister comes over. And may I also add, these are the perfect companion to your afternoon cappuccino (delightfully made in my Mukka Express).

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups (3 3/4 ounces) pistachios, chopped coarse
3/4 cups dried cranberries
2 tablespoons grated fresh orange zest
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla extract until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly mix in the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the pistachios, cranberries, and zest until just incorporated.
  4. Press the dough into two 13 by 2-inch loaves on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 3 inches apart. Bake the loaves until golden and just beginning to crack on top, about 35 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.
  5. Let the loaves cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  6. Transfer the loaves to a cutting board and slice each on the diagonal to 1/2 inch thick slices with a serrated knife. Lay the slices about 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet and bake until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes, flipping the slices over halfway through baking. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving, about 1 hour.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's a small world after all...

Especially in the Lower East Side.

Today is Ash Wednesday, and starting since 12:00 am, I have been and will be completely alcohol free until Easter. Last year I gave up all carbonated beverages and that was pretty hard. This year I decided that it would be interesting to give up alcohol...I would save money, calories and perhaps lower my ridiculous tolerance??

So of course I had to celebrate Fat Tuesday in honor of my impending sobriety. And what better way than going to the Clinton Street Baking Company, for dinner, where not only is every Tuesdays half-price wine night, but yesterday was also International Pancake Day of their Pancake month....and did I mention they are known for their incredible pancakes?

I went with my lovely co-worker Emily and had a ridiculously amazing meal where we split a bottle of wine and talked, and talked, and talked, and talked (did I mention we were catching up). Emily ordered the special creamy artichoke soup, which was incredibly decadent and creamy, and the fish and chips for her entree (which she stated were incredible, and which obviously I did not try being a hater of all things that live in the water).

Being squash obsessed, I on the other han, ordered the spicy butternut squash soup as my appetizer - it was perfectly seasoned and filled with butternut goodness, and unlike other butternut squash soups not cloyingly sweet. For my entree, I had their black angus burger with caramelized onions on a brioche bun. Heaven.

But where were the pancakes you say? Well being of like minded ladies, Emily and I agreed hours before we even left work that we would split the pancake of the day - roasted apples & pears with cinnamon sour cream - for dessert; we also decided to split (we did just split a bottle of wine....ok Emily was getting drunk, I wasn't even tipsy ) a Bourbon Apple Cobbler cocktail of apple cider, ginger ale, bourbon, on the rocks.

To say those pancakes were amazing is not enough. I believe the "O" word and "BTS" were uttered, multiple times. The pancakes themselves were light and airy, with perfectly cooked apples and pears inside. The syrup was a sugary delight. These pancakes were crack to an addict. I wanted to make love to these pancakes. And our Bourbon Apple Cobbler cocktail was the perfect um foreplay compliment to these discs of sin. Sigh.

And of course, lest I forget, who do I see walk in the middle of dinner but none other than fellow Morsel Stephanie B., er C. Being of like minded International Pancake knowledge, she was also there for dinner with her delightful husband.

Overall, not a bad way to start my dry 40 days.....