Archive | October, 2011

Eggs Over Easy

26 Oct

Hand-knit wool hats to keep boiled eggs warm before serving?  Completely unnecessary, but too cute to pass up!  I hope I get these for my birthday or Christmas this year.  Soft-boiled eggs were one of my favorite breakfast foods growing up and were so easy to make.  Check them out at Donna Hay.

Oregon Coast Fresh Vegetable Salad

24 Oct

After a relaxing but indulgent vacation in Napa, D and I hit the road driving up the California and Oregon coasts to spend Labor Day in Washington state. After a full day of driving, we watched the sun set in to the Pacific Ocean and then set about finding a place to eat. Not such an easy task when Oregon coast towns are spaced pretty far apart and most restaurants close by 8 pm – a far cry from restaurants in New York that don’t have a first seating until then! We were incredibly lucky to stumble upon Anna’s by the Sea, a charming restaurant in Gold Beach, Oregon that we found on Yelp and was willing to squeeze one last two-top in for the night, even if they had already sold out of their signature potato puffs! This place instantly reminded me Westville, one of my favorite NYC restaurants – simple recipes made with the freshest of fresh ingredients. Because of the open kitchen plan, we were able to watch the chef prepare our meals and chat with the host/waiter about Oregon wines (Anna’s is also a wine shop). While everything was excellent, our favorite dish was a raw vegetable salad made with a simple lemon and olive oil dressing and garnished with a LOT of dill. Since it’s unlikely that we will be back in Gold Beach anytime soon, I set about to recreate this recipe at home. Here is my version of their raw vegetable salad below. If you’re ever on an Oregon road trip, I highly recommend a stop by Anna’s. You won’t be disappointed!

veggie saladRaw Vegetable Salad
Serves 2
2 tomatoes
1 bunch asparagus
1 cucumber
1 head celery
1 sweet yellow or vidalia onion
Handful fresh dill
3 large lemons
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper
1. Roughly chop each of the vegetables into small bite-sized pieces.
2. Mix together in a large bowl.
3. Chop the dill in to small pieces.  Throw a heaping handful into the bowl of veggies.  You really can’t over do it on the dill here so go nuts! 🙂
4. Gradually add in equal parts lemon juice and olive oil until the vegetables are lightly coated with dressing.
5. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Anna’s by the Sea
29672 Stewart Street
Gold Beach, OR 97444
Phone: 541-247-2100

Brunch: Sweet Potato & Lardon Hash

20 Oct

There is nothing I love more than a hearty brunch on a fall day in New York.  However, what I DON’T love about brunch is the perpetually long wait one must endure and the need most New Yorkers have to get dressed up for this meal.  By making brunch at home, I can cut out both of my brunch complaints – eating in sweats and not passing out from starvation waiting for a table!  Last week, one of my favorite cooking blogs, A Cozy Kitchen, posted a recipe for Sweet Potato and Lardon Hash.  It looked so yummy that I had to give it a try.  You can find their recipe here and my recipe with adaptations below.  If you’ve never poached an egg before, I found a super helpful post on Smitten Kitchen on how to poach an egg.  Check it out here if you need a primer.  It worked perfectly on my first try.  Thanks SK!!

Sweet Potato and Lardon Hash

Serves 2

1/2 lb. slab bacon, sliced into 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch cubes
Olive oil (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large sweet potato, sliced into 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 yellow onion, loosely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, loosely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
4 large eggs, poached

1. In a medium-size skillet, over medium-high heat, cook the slab bacon for 4-5 minutes, until thoroughly cooked.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the lardons and transfer to a paper towel to drain.  Set aside.
2. In the same skillet (don’t rinse it out – you want to use that bacon grease!), add the sweet potatoes, cumin and paprika.  Stirring regularly, cook on medium-high heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are cooked (aka soft when you bite into them).  Be sure to give the largest cubes of sweet potato a taste to be sure they’re thoroughly cooked.  During the cooking, if you notice the sweet potato starting to dry out, add a little bit of olive oil to the skillet.  Don’t be too concerned if the sweet potatoes get a little charred – mine did and they still tasted awesome.
3. Add the yellow onion and red bell pepper to the skillet and cook for 2-3 more minutes on medium-high heat.  Once soft, add the garlic to the skillet and cook until it becomes fragrant (1-2 minutes).  Add salt and pepper (to taste) here.  A note on the onion and pepper: don’t chop them too small or they will burn in the skillet.  You want the pieces of onion and pepper to be slightly smaller than the sweet potato and slab bacon.
4. Add the slab bacon back to the skillet and place over low heat to keep warm while you poach the eggs.  A note on poaching eggs: you can poach the eggs while you are cooking the sweet potato and keep them on a paper towel until right before you want to eat.  Then put the eggs in hot water (not boiling) to warm them up again and serve.
5. Divide hash mixture into two plates and top each serving with two poached eggs.

Fried Red Tomatoes: Part 2

15 Oct

seersucker brooklynAs a follow-up to my post from last month where I tried my hand at making fried “red” tomatoes, D and I went to dinner at Seersucker in Brooklyn to test out their fried green tomatoes.  The chef must have known that I was coming to do a taste test between my fried red tomatoes and their speciality, because they weren’t offering fried green tomatoes on the menu that night!  Not to fear though – the trek to Brooklyn was more than worth it for the other savory, delicious Southern comfort foods we tried out.

seersucker brooklynSome of our favorites included deviled eggs, the box of biscuits, house-made potato chips with pimento cheese dip, and the fried chicken.  The deviled egg filling was the perfect creamy consistency and was topped with dill, which is a unique alternative to paprika, the normal deviled egg garnish.  The house-made potato chips were crispy and not too salty and went well with the pimento cheese dip, which was again the perfect consistency and had just the right kick to it.  (They must have an awesome food processor/blender in the kitchen – I wonder what brand it is…!)  The fried chicken was crispy and juicy and came with a generous serving of mashed potatoes.  The portion was HUGE (we split it) and we were stuffed!

In addition to our faves, we also tried the hoppin’ john, collard greens and mac ‘n’ cheese, which were all OK, but not worth a trip out of Manhattan.  Specifically, I should note that Seersucker’s hoppin’ john is not like traditional Southern preparations that I am accustomed to – it was very light on black eyed peas and also contained quite a bit of cheese.  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what I had in mind.

For dessert, they were sold out of the cobbler of the day, so we finished with a root beer float.  It was a light, refreshing end to our meal.  We will definitely be back!  Hopefully next time the chef will be serving fried green tomatoes so I can challenge him to a cook off! 🙂