Eric’s Curry Hummus Devilled Eggs

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12 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cooled
1 cup Baby Zach’s Smoked Thai Curry Hummus*
2 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
2 Tbsp paprika, halved
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
a few dashes of Cholula sauce, to taste

1. On a clean surface, cut the eggs in half lengthwise.

2.Gently scoop out the yolks with a spoon and place in a medium sized mixing bowl.

3. Add all of the dry ingredients and the Cholula, reserving 1 tablespoon of paprika. Mix thoroughly but gently with a fork.

4. Refill the sliced eggs with the mixture and dust with paprika to garnish.

5. Refrigerate for at least half an hour, then serve.

As you can see, Eric likes to over-stuff his eggs. And they’re delicious. Try it!

*We pick ours up on Sunday mornings at the Mueller Farmers Market.

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Southwestern Chicken Salad with Homemade Mayo

Southwestern Chicken Salad

I’ve been thinking about making homemade mayonnaise for a long time.  But I hadn’t gotten past thinking about it until I used my Barnes and Noble Christmas giftcard to buy Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain.  Not only do I highly recommend the latest cookery book (as they say in the UK) from the good-natured Essex maverick, but I also insist that you make this mayo immediately!

Other food-obsessed friends had been telling me for years.  But I don’t eat that much mayo, and figured it wasn’t worth the trouble.

I was wrong.

Not only was it quick and easy, the result was so rich that Eric and I were desperately trying to think of things to use mayo on or in!  We ended up making a huge bowl of chicken salad, and it was so good, I had to share the recipe (see below).

I also used Eric as a food taster, making him do a blind test.  It was quite simple to tell the difference between the mass produced, processed mayo in our fridge and this stuff.  I was afraid the olive oil would be too overpowering (you can cut it with half rapeseed oil for a less robust flavor), but we really liked it.  I’m going to make some of Jamie’s variations soon: basil, garlic, and curry!  Mmm, curry.

Somehow, I didn’t take any pictures of the process; but it’s so straightforward (really, stop worrying and just whisk!).  Here it is.

Stella’s Homemade Mayonnaise
adapted from Jamie Oliver
3 egg yolks
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1.5 cups extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
juice of one lemon
salt, to taste

1. In a medium mixing bowl, lightly whisk egg yolks and Dijon mustard. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, only a little bit at a time, while continuing to stir. It’s best if you take up to ten minutes to do this, so the ingredients won’t separate.

2. As the mayo begins to thicken, add the vinegar and lemon juice while continuing to whisk. Continue until it is well mixed and smoothly textured.

3. Add salt to taste; scoop mayo out into a Mason jar or other sealable, refrigerator-safe container.

Yields approximately two cups of mayonnaise. Will keep for two weeks in the fridge.
 

Southwestern Chicken Salad
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup homemade mayo (see above)
1/4 white onion, finely diced
handful cilantro, roughly chopped
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp Cholula hot sauce
dash of balsamic vinegar
2 tsp chili powder, plus more to garnish
4 Tbsp crushed pecans
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Meanwhile, prep other ingredients.

2. Bake chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet for approximately 30 minutes, or until fully cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about five minutes.

Southwestern Chicken Salad3. Chop or shred chicken to desired consistency. Sometimes, I pull it by hand; for this dish, I cubed it on a cutting board with a knife. Place cubed chicken in large mixing bowl.

4. Add mayo, onion, cilantro, and lemon juice, and mix thoroughly. Then add hot sauce, vinegar, and paprika, and stir again. Taste, then add salt and pepper as desired.

5. Spoon out chicken salad onto serving plates and garnish with a dusting of chili powder, crushed pecans, and additional cilantro sprigs. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6. Refrigerates well; eat within a couple of days.

Southwestern Chicken Salad

Pan-Fried Chicken Thighs with Garlic-Sour Cream Sauce

Pan-fried chicken thighs

This is another fairly straightforward recipe that created with some of my usual, simple ingredients (grits, butter, Brussels sprouts, fresh spinach), this time with chicken!

I’m posting it in honor of my Twitter friend and fellow medievalist David Works, by special request. Enjoy!

4 boneless and skinless chicken thighs*
2 Tbsp butter
~1/2 tsp salt
~1/2 tsp black pepper
4 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
~1 cup Brussels sprouts, washed and roughly shredded
~1 cup fresh spinach, washed and roughly shredded
1/2 cup sour cream
1 portion of my Horseradish Cheese Grits, precooked

1. In a large, cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium high heat. Add chicken thighs and sauté for about three minutes. Turn over carefully with a non-scratch spatula. Sauté each piece on the other side for an additional three minutes or so, so that both sides are nicely browned.

2. Using the spatula, gently butterfly each thigh in the pan. At this point in the cooking, this should be easy to achieve. The pieces may break in half; this is fine. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook for an additional ten minutes or so, or until each piece is thoroughly cooked through (grey, not pink).

Chicken thighs

3. Remove chicken with a slotted spatula or spoon, draining off as much of the pan juices a possible, and place in a large piece of aluminum foil. Close the foil around the chicken to retain its heat, and set aside (I put mine on an adjacent, cool burner).

4. Drain all but about one tablespoon of the chicken fat juices from the pan and discard (or save for later use). Add garlic and Brussels sprouts and continue to cook for about five minutes, until garlic is fragrant and sprouts have brightened.

sprouts

5. Add spinach and stir thoroughly. Cook for an additional couple of minutes.

6. Reduce heat to a simmer. Spoon in the sour cream, stir thoroughly, and allow the mixture to cook for another couple of minutes. A nice, savory-smelling and creamy sauce will arise. Sample the sauce, adding more salt or pepper as desired.

spinach

7. Uncover and plate the chicken on a bed of my warm Horseradish Cheese Grits, spooning out generous amounts of sauce to drizzle over the whole dish. Serve immediately.

Pan-Fried Chicken Thighs with Garlic-Sour Cream Sauce

Serves 2-4.

*You could of course use thighs with skin, if you like them (and I do!), as the pan-frying process will result in some nice, fatty, crispy pieces. You could also use bone-in chicken; just skip the butterflying step and cook a bit longer, until they’re grey all the way through (and/or use a meat thermometer). I used these pieces because I already had them on hand. And they were excellent.

Sunday Morning Migas

I throw some migas together at least once a week, usually for a weekend brunch.  Since I don’t like tomatoes, I usually don’t have any on hand, but you might want to include some diced tomatoes for a more standard result.  Instead, I focus on an assortment of peppers and making the scrambled eggs perfect.

Traditional Tex-Mex migas not only include diced tomatoes, but also strips of corn tortilla, diced chiles, onion, cheese, and salsa.  They’re usually served with refried beans and warm tortillas on the side.  Sometimes, they’re served with fried potatoes.

I serve mine with whatever I have on hand. I try to make my Frijoles Negros Refritos at least twice a month, and they’re a perfect complement. If you eat meat, you can also throw in some sausage, bacon, or chorizo!

Without further ado, here’s the easy recipe!

1 heaping tsp bacon fat (or butter)
4 regular-sized corn tortillas, cut intro 1/4″ strips
6 large eggs
1/4 cup cream
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
2 finely diced chiles (hot or sweet or a mix, to taste!)
1/2 white onion, finely diced (sometimes I use red)
1/2 tomato, seeded and diced (optional)
1 cup grated cheese (Monterey Jack is best, or try Pepper Jack)
jar of salsa, to garnish
sour cream (optional)

1. Melt bacon fat in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortilla strips and fry until just crispy, stirring occasionally (about 8 minutes). Remove strips to a paper towel to drain. Turn stovetop heat to low.

2. Meanwhile, crack eggs into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk lightly until yolks are broken, then drizzle in cream, continuing to whisk. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cumin, and whisk lightly to mix. Then add chiles, onions, and tomatoes (if using). Stir lightly and set aside.

3. Using the leftover bacon grease still in the pan, you will now scramble the eggs. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Allow to sit for just about one minute, then begin to stir. The mixture will quickly begin to firm up. Continue to lightly fold the eggs over repeatedly until they reach the perfect consistency (about three minutes).

4. Here, you can either add the tortilla strips back into the pan and mix them in with the eggs (traditional), or you can plate the strips and serve the eggs on top (deconstructed). I usually do the latter, because I like really crispy tortilla strips, but you may prefer them mixed. Try both and see!

5. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top of the eggs. Then add a generous dollop of salsa to the top of the migas (and sour cream, if using). Serve immediately, while still hot.

Serves 2.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you these migas are also great for dinner.

Stella’s Perfect Scrambled Eggs

I eat a lot of eggs.  I have two or three eggs for breakfast at least five days a week.  Most of the time, I have a couple of rashers of crispy bacon; sometimes I have salsa, herbs, migas, cheese, and/or breakfast sausage.  Over the past few months, I’ve really perfected my scrambled eggs recipe.  They turn out light, fluffy, rich, and delicious.  The secret is in the pre-scrambling, and to cook over low heat.

Next time you’re hungry for some eggs—for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—give these a try!  This recipe is for a single serving.  Double for two people, etc.

Ingredients:
Three large eggs
1 Tbsp softened butter, halved
2 Tbsp heavy cream (or milk)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Equipment:
Medium mixing bowl
Whisk
Small to medium skillet
Flat spatula

1. Crack the eggs into the mixing bowl.

2. Using the end of the whisk, break up the yolks with light pressure.

3. Lightly whisk the eggs until just well mixed.

4. Add salt and pepper; slowly pour in cream while continuing to whisk lightly.

5. Let eggs sit for a few minutes at room temperature.

6. Meanwhile, melt butter in the skillet over low heat.

7. Pour eggs into skillet, and stir lightly with spatula.

8. Allow to cook over low heat for a couple of minutes, until the eggs are partially set, then stir, using the spatula to scrape up the cooked egg from the bottom of the pan. Stir well and allow to cook for another minute or two.

8. Increase heat to medium low. Turn eggs over constantly, but gently, with the spatula until well done and fully firm. Fold, don’t stir.

9. Slide eggs out of skillet and onto a plate using the spatula. Garnish with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.

Serves one.

Scrambled eggs with deconstructed pesto

Scrambled eggs with deconstructed pesto

To jazz up these basic scrambled eggs, consider:

  • adding some minced garlic to the melting butter (or garlic powder to the egg mix);
  • folding in some grated cheese at the end of the cooking;
  • including finely diced onions or chile peppers;
  • garnishing with fresh herbs or salsa.