Saturday, July 31, 2010

Red Velvet Cake with Butter Cream Icing

I've posted a red velvet recipe before. I'm not exactly sure what to do with it now. It was good, but it wasn't exactly right - a little too chocolately and missing something. I suppose I'll leave it up for people who are less concerned about authenticity. I think this recipe is the one I've been looking for (finally!).

I cut down the red food colouring, so the colour wasn't exactly right. If you also cut back on it, be sure to add water to compensate. I failed to do the compensation right (ounces confuse me!) and the cake wasn't quite as ridiculously moist as it should've been. The original recipe calls for crisco in the batter, but I used butter. I may try the crisco at some point, but I think the butter is still an acceptable and authentic substitution.

This recipe uses the traditional butter cream icing (which requires more than a little patience!). The thread linked below discusses cream cheese briefly. Cream cheese frosting would definitely be easier, but is a newer adaptation (and I blame the usage of cream cheese frosting for my long grudge against cream cheese that I've only recently let go of!).

Red Velvet Cake with Butter Cream Icing (happily found on chowhound!)

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup red food colouring (or a reduced amount with water)
2 heaping tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer.
3. Add eggs one at a time and beat for 30 seconds.
4. Add cocoa and red food colouring, mix.
5. Add flour, salt and buttermilk, mix (I whisked together the flour and salt first, the slowly mixed in 1/3 of flour, 1/2 of buttermilk, 1/3 flour, 1/2 milk, 1/3 flour). Remove batter from mixer.
6. Sprinkle with baking soda, pour vinegar over batter and add vanilla. Stir. DO NOT BEAT - (don't over stir - it can make the cake tough).
7. Pour batter into 2 - 9 inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min.

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup whole milk
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Mix cornstarch with milk in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until thick, whisking the entire time. (Be patient it takes a while to thicken!) Set aside to cool.
2. In a stand mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
3. Add vanilla and cooked cornstarch mixture slowly. Beat until it feels like whipped cream (about 10 minutes. Don't worry. It will look like the mixture will never come together and taste grainy. Just keep beating. The transformation is quite amazing.)

Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Pancetta and Oven Roasted Tomatoes

As much as I love going out for brunch on the weekend, making breakfast at home is also a fun experiment time for me. This week, I couldn't resist buying some yellow cherry tomatoes from Quebec in the store. They've been delicious in simple salads, but by the end of the week, I realized I needed to do something before they went bad, so into the oven they went for a slow roast (cut in half, place on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs, cook for hours at 250F until nice and shriveled). This morning, I knew I had to do something with these tiny candy-like tomatoes. These eggs could easily stand alone without the tomatoes, but I think the tomatoes push the taste over the top. If you don't have pancetta, regular bacon should also be delicious. This is roughly for one person.

Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Pancetta and Oven Roasted Tomatoes

2 eggs
1/2 tsp mustard powder
2 tbsp cream cheese
2 small slices pancetta, cut into thin strips
8 oven roasted cherry tomato halves
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, mustard powder, and cream cheese.
2. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and fry until crispy.
3. Reduce heat to low. Pour in egg mixture. Let eggs set and then stir until desired level of scrambled. Be careful not to overcook the eggs as the skillet is likely hotter than it normally would be for scrambled eggs thanks to making the pancetta!
4. Serve with tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken Curry with Tomatoes, Potatoes, and Spinach

One of the advantages of keeping a cooking blog is it's easy for me to track my cooking trends. I knew it had been a while since I bought chicken, but I was slightly surprised to see that the last time I bought chicken was October. I suppose it's time for poultry again! I wasn't quite ready to do a completely meat-centered meal though, so I cut the amount of chicken in the recipe in half and replaced it (roughly) with potatoes. To add some colour to the dish, I included some baby spinach (doesn't it look pretty with the red and green?).

The key to this recipe is a good spice blend. I used a Arvinda's madras masala mix that smells amazing. I also doubled the sauce for the recipe because 1/4 cup coconut milk just didn't seem like enough. Doubling the curry powder as well made it a tad bit spicy, so feel free to scale that back a bit depending on the spiciness of what you're using. I skipped the step where you remove the chicken and let the sauce thicken more, but feel free to do so!

Chicken Curry with Tomatoes, Potatoes, and Spinach (adapted from 660 Curries)

2 tbsps ghee or canola oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 medium cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsps ginger, grated
350g chicken breast, cut into 1" pieces
4 small potatoes, diced (even smaller than the picture above!)
4 tsps Madras curry powder (see notes above)
1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1 package baby spinach
cooked rice for serving

1. Preheat large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle oil. Add onion, garlic, and ginger and cook until light brown, 3 - 5 minutes.
2. Add chicken, potatoes, and curry powder. Cook until meat is seared on all sides, 5 minutes.
3. Sprinkle salt over chicken and pour in coconut milk. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked, 5 - 7 minutes.
4. Stir in tomatoes and add baby spinach.
5. Cover for a few minutes, allowing the spinach time to wilt.
6. Stir until sauce is as thick as you want it. Serve over cooked rice.

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

I had decided not to bother posting this recipe, because it was too simple to merit posting when someone commented on it in the kitchen at work. The original includes a layer of onions, but I'm not such a big fan of the texture of onions, so I skipped it. If you want to add them, thinly slice an onion and cook with 2 tbsps of oil in a skillet until golden brown, 15 - 20 minutes. Skipping this step makes the recipe ridiculously quick if you're using a pre-made tart. There might be more flavourful tomato and goat cheese tarts, but this one is simple and allows good goat cheese and tomatoes to shine.

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart (adapted from Gourmet Today)

1 9" tart shell
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
170g soft goat cheese (I used 125g of fine herbs and then the leftovers from plain)
340g tomatoes (about 3 medium)
baby arugula (optional, but it makes everything better)

1. Preheat oven to 375F and thaw tart shell according to directions.
2. Thinly slice the tomatoes.
3. Spread all but 1/3 cup goat cheese in the tart.
4. Arrange tomatoes slightly overlapping over the cheese.
5. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle with olive oil.
6. Bake until cheese begins to brown, 10 - 15 minutes.
7. Top with arugula to taste.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Spaghetti Carbonara

One word to describe this: yum! It's not healthy and it's not cheap, but it's delicious and quick and easy for a weeknight meal. I scaled this down rather haphazardly because I certainly didn't want leftovers with a raw egg sauce! The original is included below. According to the book, it serves 6.

Spaghetti Carbonara (from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking)

225g pancetta
4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 large eggs
1/4 cup freshly grated romano cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
black pepper
salt (for the pasta water)
2 tbsp chopped parsley
450g spaghetti

1. Cut the pancetta into 1/4" wide strips.
2. Lightly mash the garlic and discard the skin.
3. Put the garlic and olive oil in a small saute pan and turn heat to medium high. Saute garlic until a deep gold, remove and discard.
4. Add pancetta to the pan and cook until it begins to crisp.
5. Add wine and let bubble for 1 - 2 minutes, then turn off heat.
6. Break the eggs into a serving bowl. Beat lightly with a fork and add the grated cheeses, a liberal grinding of pepper, and the parsley. Mix thoroughly.
7. Cook spaghetti according to the package. Drain. Add to bowl and toss rapidly until well coated.
8. Reheat the pancetta if needed and pour over spaghetti. Serve immediately.

Braided Raspberry Bread

I stumbled upon this recipe again recently and realized it would be an excellent way to use up some of the raspberry curd sitting in my fridge (and I had all of the other ingredients on hand!). The original calls for lemon curd. Feel free to use whatever you have on hand. This isn't a quick recipe. It requires a fair amount of dough resting ... the perfect amount of time to do one yoga workout and find some time to do a little surfing online or read a novel.

I don't normally take photos of what I cook. Mostly because I don't have the patience to deal with the poor lighting in my apartment for photographing food and I have a bad habit of manipulating images until they look good, which delays posts. These pictures, however, are not pretty, but I promised a friend I would take pictures if I made this. In the first picture, before it goes in the oven, you can see I need to work on my rolling skills.
I seem to be incapable of rolling things out thinly (I'm going to blame my rolling pin), so the filling was too much for the bread. As I braided, filling came spilling out the sides (you'll also note my braids didn't exactly reach the other side at the beginning). This problem is easily corrected, however, with a spoon. Mmmm, cream cheese and raspberry curd.

Thanks to my sub-par braiding, some of the braids came apart while baking, resulting in a less than attractive bread as seen below:
Oddly enough, the part that I thought looked the worst prior to going in the oven, held its shape the best after baking. Regardless, of the looks, this was delicious. I think it's certainly worth trying again and hopefully the next time around, it will look a little better. Practice makes perfect, right?

Braided Raspberry Bread (adapted from SmittenKitchen)

6 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup (1 ounce) unbleached all-purpose flour

Sponge (above)
6 tablespoons sour cream or yogurt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, 1 beaten for dough, 1 beaten with 1 teaspoon water for brushing bread
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Raspberry cream cheese filling
1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup raspberry curd

1. Make sponge: In a small bowl, combine the sponge ingredients. Stir well to combine, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to proof for 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Make dough in a stand mixer: Combine the sponge, sour cream, butter, egg, sugar, salt and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add flour and mix with the paddle attachment until the dough is a rough, shaggy mass.
3. Switch to the dough hook and knead on until a soft, smooth dough forms, about 5 to 6 minutes.
4. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until quite puffy and nearly doubled.
5. Make the filling (while dough rises): Combine all the filling ingredients (except the raspberry curd) in a small bowl, mixing until smooth and lump-free. Reserve the filling and lemon curd until ready to fill the braids.
6. Prepare bread: Gently deflate the dough and roll it out on a very well floured counter to a 10″ x 15″ rectangle. Transfer rectangle to a large piece of parchment paper. (I rolled it out on the paper.)
7. With the side of your hand, lightly press two lines down the dough lengthwise, dividing it into three equal columns. Spread the cream cheese filling down the center section, leaving the top and bottom two inches free of filling.
8. Spread the lemon curd over the cream cheese filling.
9. To form the mock braid, cut crosswise strips one inch apart down the length of the outer columns of you dough (the parts without filling). Make sure you have an equal amount of 1-inch strips down the right and left sides. Be careful not to cut your parchment paper.
10. To “braid”, begin by folding top flap down and bottom flap up over the filling. Lift the top dough strip and gently bring it diagonally across the filling. Repeat on the right side, and continue down the entire braid, alternating strips until you are out. You can tuck the last couple that hang off decoratively under the end of the braid.
11. Carefully transfer the dough and the parchment paper to a baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic and set it aside to rise for 45 to 50 minutes, until quite puffy.
12. Bake bread: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the loaves with egg wash. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons

My plan for the week was to center meals around zucchini and corn. While searching for corn recipes, I decided on two that focused on corn and tomato combinations. The only problem? I ended up using all of the corn in the corn chowder (how could I forget to scale down?). I planned on returning to the store to buy more corn, but instead I stumbled upon this Smitten Kitchen recipe. It looked so simple and delicious (and would use up my 5 tomatoes!) that I was powerless to resist. I'm glad I gave in, because this was as tasty as the photos promised.

Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons (Adapted, only slightly, from Ina Garten)

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups bread from a French boule, in a 1/2-inch dice, crusts removed (I used most of a Premiere Moisson baguette and left the crust on)
2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice (I used 5 plum tomatoes ... not sure how much that is, but it worked)
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly slivered basil leaves, lightly packed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high. Add the bread cubes and stir so that they are evenly coated with oil. Cook cubes, tossing frequently, until toasty on all sides, about 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
4. When the bread cubes are toasted, add the tomato mixture to the sauté pan and cook them together, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
5. Remove from heat, and stir in the basil.
6. Pour into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish and top with Parmesan cheese.
7. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm with a big green salad, a bean salad and/or a poached egg.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Zucchini and Tomato Risotto

I bought two new cookbooks this week. This next recipe is inspired by one of them (Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking). I have a feeling this book will be getting a fair amount of use in the future, but for tonight, I was more concerned about using up some of the zucchini, tomatoes, and basil that I had, so I skipped on doing one of the actual recipes. One interesting comment she had on risottos is that you should use a meat broth that is actually rather weak and that the flavour of chicken broth is too strong for risotto. I still used chicken stock, but I did dilute it (1 cup stock + 1 cup water).

Measurements are approximate. This made 1 - 2 servings. I was going for one, but ended up with leftovers, although I wasn't very hungry. It's been a while since I made risotto though and I have definitely missed it!

Zucchini and Tomato Risotto

1 zucchini, cut in 1/2" thick slices
1 shallot, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 cups broth (see above)
1/2 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 tomato, diced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
6 large leaves basil, torn
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Saute shallot and garlic until soft.
2. Add in zucchini and saute over medium low heat until zucchini is sweating, softening (you may want to add a tiny bit of salt to help it out), and lightly golden, about 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, simmer the broth in a small sauce pan.
4. Melt 1 tbsp butter into the zucchini. Stir. Add in rice and coat with butter.
5. Add the wine and let it evaporate, stirring. Stir in the tomato.
6. Add in one ladle of broth, stirring. Let the broth absorb before adding another ladleful. Continue adding broth and stirring until the rice tastes done.
7. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 tbsp butter and Parmesan cheese. Stir until butter is melted.
8. Cover and let sit for a couple of minutes.
9. Top with torn basil and serve. Salt and pepper to taste.

Zucchini Curry

There are some cooking steps I'm just not ready for. At the moment, I can think of a big three:
1. Making homemade pasta.
2. Making stock/broth from scratch.
3. Using a mortar and pestle to make pastes (and let's also include hand-chopping garlic here).

I know I should try these things. I know they might be better, but I just can't bring myself to take that extra step, which is why I will say that this recipe is adapted. Technically, I should have roasted seeds and then pounded things together into a paste, but I didn't and it still worked out. This is a quick and easy weeknight meal that's done in the same amount of time (or less) as it takes to make rice. I kept the spices the same and halved the recipe for myself (and still ended up with enough for 3 meals), but the original is included below. It was a tiny bit more spicy than I would've liked (maybe I should've gone with 1 serrano pepper instead of 2?), but I think I would've found the unadjusted recipe too bland, so feel free to do with it as you please. Serve over cooked rice.

Zucchini Curry (adapted from Gourmet Today)

1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 - 2 serrano peppers, minced
2 tsps freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp Madras Masala (or other curry powder)
1/4 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, minced (or thinly sliced)
6 medium zucchinis cut into 1/2" thick slices
1 can coconut milk well stirred (I used lite because that's all they had)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup roasted cashews, chopped
cooked rice

1. Heat oil in a wide heavy pot over moderately high heat. Add onion, spices, pepper, and garlic. Cook until onion is golden, about 8 minutes.
2. Reduce heat to medium low, add zucchini and cook, stirring, until it begins to look moist, 3 - 5 minutes.
3. Add coconut milk and 1 tsp salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is just tender, 10 - 12 minutes.
4. Sprinkle with cilantro and cashews and serve with rice.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Apricot Blueberry Cobbler

I knew I had to make this as soon as I saw the photos on Smitten Kitchen (it's sad how many times a week that happens). I went to the store with every intention of buying peaches, but was somehow seduced by adorable looking apricots, so I substituted. I think I also put a bit too much lemon juice in my milk to make buttermilk (1 tbsp per 1 cup is the standard) because it showed more of a change than usual and imparted a lemony taste to the cornbread portion. I think the extra lemon was a wonderful accent. I have no idea how many apricots and blueberries I used, I think I was a little apricot heavy and blueberry light, but it's forgiving.

This was as delicious as the photos. I think I need to make a run to the store tomorrow to pick up some ice cream to go with it!

Apricot Blueberry Cobbler (adapted from Smitten Kitchen) (Adapted from The Lee Bros. delightful Simple Fresh Southern)

For the fruit:
4 cups apricots, pitted and cut into slices
2 cups blueberries, rinsed and dried
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 tbsps flour
2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
For the biscuit topping
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fine stone-ground cornmeal (I think this is corn flour in Mtl)
3 tbsps dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsps cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Toss apricots with blueberries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt in the bottom of a 2-quart ovenproof dish.
3. Make the biscuit dough: Stir together the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.
4. Cut the butter into the dry mixture with your fingertips, a fork or a pastry blender.
5. Stir in buttermilk with a rubber spatula until a wet, tacky dough comes together.
6. Plop spoonfuls of the biscuit dough over the filling; don’t worry about covering entire surface.
7. Bake until the cobbler’s syrup is bubbly and the biscuit tops are browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool slightly and scoop it into bowls.

Blueberry Cake Muffins

I debated whether or not to even post this recipe, because the other blueberry muffin recipe so clearly beats this one for me. This one is too much like eating a cake (yes, I was warned it was cake-like, but I didn't realized my strong anti-cake muffin feelings until trying it). That being said, I think it could be converted to a very lovely coffee cake ... and mainly for that reason, I don't want to lose this recipe (and since I found it on a chowhound thread, losing it permanently is a very likely possibility!).

I cut the recipe in half, but the original for 12 muffins is included below. If I were making it again, I might cut back a little on the nutmeg because I found it slightly overwhelming. I also skipped out on cake flour (yes, I know I need to buy some) and cheated on the buttermilk (why oh why can't I find it in the grocery store again? I can't make the red velvet cake recipe I want to make until I find the real thing!). Note also that the crumble makes a ridiculous amount and could probably be halved for the 12 muffins.

P.S. It's hard to type with a cat trying to sleep on your hand. What do you do with a super needy, shedding furball?

Blueberry Cake Muffins (from Fine Cooking July 2002)

For the crumble:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
Scant 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For the Muffins:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated or ground nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh blueberried, picked over

1. Heat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with liners.
2. Make the crumble by combining flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add butter and work in with fingertips or pastry blender until uniform and moist. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
3. Make Muffins: Sift together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl.
4. In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 mins.
5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after you add each one.
6. Scrape sides and add vanilla.
7. On low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating between buttermilk in two additions.
8. Gently fold in the berries with a spatula.
9. Spoon into the muffin cups until they are almost full.
10. Scatter a good amount of crumble over the batter in the muffin cups.
11. Bake until the tops are golden and springy to the touch. 20-25 minutes for regular muffins, 30 to 35 for large.
12. Cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Corn Chowder

Even though corn season hasn't reached its peak, I couldn't resist all of the bundles of corn on sale. After decided on a corn chowder, I decided to start with a simple recipe although Bittman has many variations in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian that sound more flavourful.

I made a few changes. I didn't peel the potatoes or seed the tomatoes. I also didn't chop anything very fine, opting for a smoother texture by blending everything before putting in the corn or milk. You could certainly leave it chunky though. I thought this was a tiny bit more watery than I would like, so next time I might cut down a little on the corn stock ... or else simmer longer or add cornstarch.

Corn Chowder (adapted from Epicurious)

4 to 6 ears corn
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium potatoes, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup milk

1. Shuck the corn and use a paring knife to strip the kernels into a bowl.
2. Put the cobs in a pot with 4 cups water; bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, put the butter in a saucepan and turn the heat to medium-high. When the butter melts, add the onion and potatoes, along with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
4. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes; add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for another minute or two.
5. After the corn cobs have cooked for at least 10 minutes, strain the liquid into the onion-potato mixture.
6. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down so the mixture simmers. When the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes, blend with an immersion blender if desired.
7. Add the corn kernels and milk and heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste (you'll likely end up using more salt than usual because the corn stock didn't have any added salt unlike the chicken or other stock usually used in soups).

Zucchini and Goat Cheese Galette

Pie crusts and pizza dough give me so much trouble. I don't know why, but I can never get them to spread as much as they should ... until now. I don't know if it's because I finally invested the $10 on a pastry blender or if it's simply that this recipe is amazing. Either way, it was a pleasant change! Of course, the only problem with making your own crust is that letting the dough rest does get a bit time intensive, so if you plan on making this, give yourself some extra time.

I made one major change to this recipe. The original called for ricotta. While ricotta is good, it's not one of my favourites, so I opted for some herbed goat cheese instead and skipped topping with basil as there were already herbs in the cheese. It does overpower the zucchini slightly, but I think that's okay! If I were to make this again, I'd probably also add a squirt of lemon juice or maybe some zest over the top.

Zucchini and Goat Cheese Galette (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
(Crust adapted from Williams-Sonoma, filling adapted from a Cook’s Illustrated tart)

For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water
1 large or 2 small zucchinis
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
125g goat cheese (I used with fine herbs)
1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water

1. Place the flour in a large bowl and put in the freezer for 30 minutes. Cut the butter into cubes and put back in the fridge. If you don't have access to cold water, stick 1/4 cup water in a small bowl and put in the freezer as well (not long enough for it to freeze though!).
2. Whisk together the flour and salt.
3. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture.
5. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
6. Cut the zucchini into 1/4 inch slices. Spread the zucchini out over several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain for 30 minutes; gently blot the tops of the zucchini dry with paper towels before using.
7. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside.
8. In a separate bowl, mix the goat cheese, Parmesan, and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil together and season with salt and pepper to taste.
9. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
10. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round (I did this on parchment paper and then just transferred the parchment paper to the baking dish once everything was on it).
11. Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border.
12. Shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the cheese in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge (I started in the middle, it worked as well).
13. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of the garlic and olive oil mixture evenly over the zucchini.
14. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze.
15. Bake the galette until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
16. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with basil or lemon if desired, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mini Chocolate Pavolvas with Raspberry Curd

A series of posts on foodbuzz and foodgawker had planted in my mind the idea of making little cups of meringue and filling it with some kind of fruit curd. A white meringue seemed a bit boring though, so inspired by last month's daring baker's challenge of chocolate pavlovas, I settled on a chocolate meringue. The fruit choice was simple ... raspberries, of course. They're plentiful and delicious right now.

Sadly, my piping skills leave something to be desired, so instead of being cups or nests of meringue, these turned into round blobs of meringue with curd piled on top. Thankfully, they taste so good that I don't care.

I made a full batch of raspberry curd using the method from desserts for breakfast. The version I'm linking to has lime in it which sounds even more amazing, but I didn't think would mesh particularly well with chocolate. You'll have plenty of raspberry curd left over, but you could use it as a tart filling, between layers of cake, spread of biscuits, or just off the spoon. It should keep for about a month in an air-tight jar.

Mini Chocolate Pavlovas with Raspberry Curd (meringue from B More Sweet)

3 large egg whites
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp white granulated sugar
1/4 cup confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
raspberry curd (see below)

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 300F. Line two baking sheet with silpat or parchment and set aside.
2. Put the egg whites in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form.
3. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar about 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form. (The whites should be firm but moist.)
4. Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold the dry ingredients into the white. (This looks like it will not happen. Fold gently and it will eventually come together.)
5. If you're ambitious, you could try forming these into little cups using a piping bag. If not, you can just form little meringue cakes on the baking sheet. I made about 5.
6. Place in oven and immediately lower temperature to 250F. Bake for 1 hour or until outside appears to be dry (don't open the oven!). Turn off oven and allow to cool inside without opening the door.
7. When cooled, top with raspberry curd.

Raspberry Curd (method from Desserts for Breakfast)

1 1/2 cups raspberries
1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp corn starch
1/4 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 1/3 cup boiling water

1. In a food processor or blender, puree the raspberries until smooth.
2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually blend in the raspberry puree.
3. Add the egg yolks and butter, blending until smooth.
4. Gradually add in the boiling water, stirring constantly.
5. Place the saucepan on medium high heat and bring to a full boil, stirring gently with a spatula and scraping the bottom (to prevent burning). Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for one minute.
6. Remove the curd from heat and let cool.

Very Blueberry Muffins

Thanks to chowhound, I found two recipes that are contenders for my ultimate blueberry muffin recipe. This is the first one. Thanks to the quick blueberry jam, it has a rich blueberry flavour. While I adore the lemon sugar topping, the original also has suggestions for a streusel topping and an orange glaze topping that both sound amazing. Is this the best blueberry muffin recipe? I don't know, I need to try the other one soon! Will I be making it again? Almost certainly!

I cut the recipe in half so I wouldn't be overwhelmed with blueberry muffins (and would have enough blueberries leftover to make the other batch of muffins), but the original is included below. I also cheated with the buttermilk (I haven't seen it in the Metro lately!) and made it by combining 1 cup milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice and letting it sit for 10 minutes or so. The original suggests substituting 3/4 cup plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk, which sounds even better, but I went with what I had and have used before.

Very Blueberry Muffins (from the Bitten Word) (from Cook's Illustrated (May/June 2009))

Lemon-Sugar Topping
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp finely grated zest from 1 lemon
2 cups fresh blueberries, picked over
1 1/8 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp table salt
2 large eggs
4 tbsps unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. FOR THE TOPPING: Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.
2. FOR THE MUFFINS: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or line with 12 muffin cups.
3. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl.
5. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds.
6. Slowly whisk in butter and oil with eggs until combined.
7. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla with eggs until combined.
8. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.)
9. Use ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly).
10. Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter.
11. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over muffins.
12. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

Watermelon Cooler

I saw a picture of this recipe on foodgawker and thought it looked refreshing and delicious, but when was I going to have watermelon on hand? Then while at the Val-Mont buying raspberries and blueberries, I noticed a large container of watermelon on sale for $1.50. I took it as a sign from the universe that I needed to try the recipe given that I had leftover vodka sitting in my freezer (little did I know it also called for triple sec that I also had leftover from the margaritas we made for one of the many Tex-Mex gatherings).

I have no idea what the weight was on the watermelon I bought (I thought it was close to 3lbs, but who knows), but the alcohol seemed like a bit much, so I cut it in half. Original is included below for people who like a stronger drink.

Watermelon Cooler (from Dine and Dish)

3 lbs watermelon, rind and seeds discarded and the flesh cut into pieces
1/2 cup vodka
1/4 cup Triple Sec
3 tbsps fresh lime juice

1. In a blender purée the watermelon pieces and strain the purée through a very fine sieve set over a pitcher, discarding the solids. (There should be about 2-1/3 cups juice).
2. Stir in the vodka, the Triple Sec, and the lime juice, pour the cooler into long-stemmed glasses filled with ice cubes.

Black Lentils and Yellow Split Peas

I wasn't too impressed with this when I first tried it. It was certainly very spicy, but it was missing something, which could perhaps be blamed on my cardamom or cilantro omissions, but I wasn't convinced. Then I realized what it was missing ... cheese! A little feta made all the difference. The best part of this recipe is it can be made using ingredients I almost always have on hand (I keep pickled serrano peppers around for Tex-Mex). It is a bit spicy, so if you don't like things too hot, cut back on the peppers. Note the original suggest using a food processor to chop everything, but I just did it by hand.

Black Lentils and Yellow Split Peas (adapted from 660 Curries)

3/4 cup split black lentils, rinsed
1/4 cup yellow split peas
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 large red onion, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
3 serrano chiles (or green Thai or cayenne), minced
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher or sea salt
feta to taste

1. Place lentils and split peas in a medium saucepan. Add 3 cups water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Skim off any foam that forms.
2. Stir in turmeric, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, but still firm and most of the water has evaporated, 30 - 35 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin, chopped onion, chiles, garlic, and ginger. Stir-fry until onion is lightly browned, 8 - 10 minutes.
4. Add salt to onion mixture. Pour in 1 cup water. Set aside until lentils are ready.
5. When lentils are tender, pour onion mixture into lentils stirring once or twice. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils absorb the flavours and further soften, 15 - 20 minutes.
6. Serve, topping with feta as desired.

Lime-Flavoured Rice with Yellow Split Peas

This recipe surprised me a bit with extra soaking time. Why can't people put instructions like that in the instructions instead of the ingredient list (or alternatively why can't I remember what I saw skimming from one day to the next)? In the end, this rice exceeded my expectations. I did make a few changes. I substituted ground mustard for mustard seeds and omitted entirely 12 fresh curry leaves and 2 fresh chiles. I also didn't take the rinsing process quite as seriously as the original. If you have time to soak and rinse the rice 3 or 4 times, let me know if you can tell a difference ... it's just a little too much for me.

Lime-Flavoured Rice with Yellow Split Peas (adapted from 660 Curries)

1 cup basmati rice
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp ground mustard (or seeds)
1/4 cup yellow split peas
2 dried red Thai chiles
1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher or sea salt
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp ground tumeric

1. Soak the rice in a medium bowl with cold water for 20 - 30 minutes. Drain.
2. At the same time, soak the yellow split peas in a separate bowl with hot water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
3. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mustard, split peas, and dried chiles. Stir-fry until the peas are reddish brown and the chiles have blackened, 2 - 4 minutes.
4. Stir in rice. Pour in 1 1/2 cups cold water and salt. Stir once to incorporate.
5. Boil without stirring until water has evaporated from the surface and craters are starting to appear in the rice, 5 - 8 minutes.
6. Stir once. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce heat to low, and cook for another 8 - 10 minutes.
7. Turn off heat, but keep the pan on the burner and the lid on for 10 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, combine the lime and tumeric in a small dish.
9. Fluff rice with fork and pour lime mixture on top, stirring to combine.

Thai Shrimp and Spinach Curry

I felt like this dish was missing something ... maybe a little bit of spice? But the speed and ease in which you can make this more than makes up for any small disappointment in spiciness. The original calls for 2 carrots and 1 red bell pepper to be added, but after picking up kitty litter, I didn't feel like stopping at the Val-Mont as well (it was heavy!). If you do add the veggies, the recipe suggests removing the shrimp after it's cooked, then adding the sliced bell pepper and carrots and cooking before adding the spinach.

Serve over rice or something else to soak up some of the sauce.

Thai Shrimp and Spinach Curry (adapted from Gourmet Today)

1 can coconut milk (slightly chilled and not shaken to aid the separation)
2 tsp Thai green or red curry paste
450g medium shrimps, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp fish sauce
340g spinach
cooked rice

1. Spoon 1/3 cup thick coconut cream from the top of the can into a skillet. Cook over medium heat until thickened, 2 or 3 minutes.
2. Add curry paste and cook whisking for a minute or so..
3. Add shrimp and cook until they turn pink, 1 - 2 minutes.
4. Add remaining coconut milk and fish sauce and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally until shrimp are cooked through, about 1 minute.
5. Add spinach in batches stirring until each batch is wilted.
6. Serve over rice.

Pasta Pesto Salad

I'm a little behind on recipe posting, so please forgive the massive amount of same-day posts coming up.  I made this recipe during our heat wave when the last thing I wanted to do was turn on the oven or simmer something on the stove for a long period of time.  While my apartment stays relatively cool, it still doesn't have A/C and the oven can really heat it up!

I paired this with a garlic scape pesto because I couldn't resist trying the garlic scapes I saw at Val-Mont.  The only change would make to the recipe is maybe adding 1/4 cup pine nuts as it seemed like it was missing something. For more pesto ideas, see here.

Measurements on the salad are approximate for one person, but use your own judgement.

Pasta Pesto Salad

1 cup dried pasta (macaroni, penne, or other small cut)
2 handfuls of arugula
4 or 5 cherry tomatoes
2 - 3 tbsp of pesto (garlic scape pesto recipe below, but you can use any)

1. Cut pasta according to package directions.
2. Mix pesto with pasta.
3. Toss with arugula and cherry tomatoes.

Garlic Scape Pesto (from

1/2 cup (about 6) garlic scapes, flowers and tough ends removed
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt, fresh pepper to taste

1. Cut the garlic scapes into small pieces.
2. In a food processor or mini blender pulse scapes, basil, parmigiano, salt and pepper until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil while pulsing. Store in an air-tight jar for up to two weeks.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Raspberry Cheesecake Pots

I couldn't resist the Quebec raspberries that appeared this week at the Val-Mont.  After buying them, I wanted to make a dessert though that didn't require the oven and stumbled across a recipe for raspberry cheesecake pots.  It looked perfect and I had all of the ingredients on hand (the danger of a well-stocked kitchen!) except for the graham crackers.  I'm afraid I've become a bit ridiculous in my food buying habits because the idea of making graham crackers seemed wrong to me (of course, Smitten Kitchen does have a recipe for them).  Determined not to buy pre-made cookies, I asked a friend for suggestions on what to do instead ... and he suggested crushed Oreo cookies ... ack!  Even worse!  I was sure other people had encountered this dilemma before, so I started googling homemade oreo cookie crust recipes for pies.  I should've known better, but one of the first links to pop up was a recipe for homemade oreos from Smitten Kitchen.  After verifying that I had all of the ingredients on hand, I decided that cooking in the oven for 10 minutes or so wasn't too bad as I already had the oven on to make dinner.  The result?  Delicious.  I overbaked the cookies slightly so they'd be crispy.  The recipe for the oreos makes much more than you'll need for the cheesecake pots, so I just made 8 cookies and froze the extra dough for future uses (we'll see how that works out).

Raspberry Cheesecake Pots (adapted from goodlife eats) (adapted from Donna Hay as seen on Real Mom Kitchen)

8 oreo wafers (recipe below)
1 cup cream cheese
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
340 g fresh raspberries (reserve 4 for garnishing)
sweetened whipped cream for garnish (I forgot and was just as happy without the whipped cream ... next time!)

1. Process the cream cheese, sugar, cream and vanilla in a food processor until smooth. Add the raspberries and process until just crushed.
2. Crumble one each chocolate wafer into four 1/2 cup-capacity dishes.
3. Divide cheesecake mixture evenly between the dishes and top with another crumbled chocolate wafer.
4. Garnish with whipped cream and raspberries if desired.  Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

Homemade oreo wafers (from Smitten Kitchen)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes (I overbaked to make sure they were crispy), rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

Sausage and Balsamic Tomatoes

It should be too hot to cook, but I couldn't resist.  I found this recipe last winter, back when tomatoes were ridiculously expensive.  I meant to make it, but it seemed like a waste without good tomatoes.  This week, I found myself with tomatoes on hand from an impulse buy (what's happened to me that I impulsively buy tomatoes?), extra basil from the pasta I had made, and delicious sausages sitting in the freezer.  Clearly, it was a sign that I needed to make this dish.

One caveat about this dish, it's good, but you need to have good sausages (I think) to make it good.  If you're trying to make this with Jimmy Dean's, please do yourself a favour and stop.  I went with deer and red wine sausage from William Walter (of course).  I also substituted garlic scape for the garlic, because I couldn't resist buying it at the Val-Mont.  The recipe below is scaled down, but really, I didn't measure anything, so it's all a guess.  I served this over a bed of polenta, but also like the idea of serving it with rice or couscous, but it certainly helps to have something to ladle the vinegar sauce onto.

Sausage and Balsamic Tomatoes (from Kayotic Kitchen)

4 sausages
2 small red onions (or 1 yellow)
250g cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 garlic cloves (or 3 - 4 garlic scapes)
2 tbsp oil
fresh basil, torn

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Peel and slice garlic or chop garlic scapes.
2. Cut onion into wedges.
3. Place sausages in a roasting dish.  Add garlic.  Pour olive oil on top and season with salt and pepper.  Turn the sausages to coat them and the bottom of the pan with oil.  Add onion slices.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
5. Add cherry tomatoes and pour on top balsamic vinegar.
6. Return to oven and cook for 15 more minutes.
7. Mix in fresh basil and serve over something to absorb some of the sauce.

Vodka Cream Pasta

I've been staring at this recipe since at least January, wanting to make it, but thinking it really needed to be a dinner for more than just me and then getting distracted by other recipes.  Finally, I had the chance to make it!  I may have hyped it up a bit too much in my head, but it is good.  I substituted whole San Marzano tomatoes, so I let the sauce cook longer and crushed the tomatoes with a spoon, but using crushed tomatoes would definitely make this dish a quick and relatively easy weeknight meal.

Vodka Cream Pasta (from Smitten Kitchen) (Adapted from Rachael Ray)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
Coarse salt and pepper
16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn 

1. Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness.
2. Add vodka to the pan, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes.
3. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
4. While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it).
5. Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta.
6. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves.

Arugula, Strawberry, and Caramelized Pear Salad

Sadly, I think we've hit the end of strawberry season.  The prices are starting to go back up and they no longer look as amazing, but at least I had one last salad to savour the strawberries.  This is simple, but delicious.  When I served it, the first comment I got (from someone who had recently returned from Las Vegas) was "this doesn't taste like a US salad" ... no, no it doesn't ... and thank you!

Arugula, Strawberry, and Caramelized Pear Salad (from Palachinka)

Ingredients (per person)
1/2 of a pear (the original suggests Williams, I used a reddish pear because it was from the US and the alternative was from China)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp brown sugar
1.5 tbsp olive ol
handful of arugula
2 strawberries, sliced
blue cheese (I used roquefort)
balsamic vinegar

1. Thinly slice the pear.  Coat in the sugars.
2. Heat oil in a small pan over low heat.  Add pear and saute until caramelized.
3. Toss together arugula, sliced strawberries, and pear.  Crumble blue cheese on top.  Pour balsamic vinegar to taste on salad.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Leftover Skillet Eggs

Happy Canada Day!  I'm not sure when July snuck up on me, but here it is.  I'm also not sure why it's cold, but the forecast says that should be corrected soon.  I wanted something hearty for breakfast this morning as I have plans of spending most of the day at the park reading ... with a sweater?  (Although, the window in my kitchen seems to show blue skies giving way to grey, so I'm not sure how well this is going to go!)  I was tired of scrambled and baked eggs, but remembered a recipe from The Dog's Breakfast that looked promising (a Montreal blog even!).  Instead of nesting the eggs in a tomato sauce though, I decided it made more sense to use up some of my leftover red lentil and chickpea stew.  Delicious, easy, and filling.  I would use this technique with almost any savoury leftovers that pair well with eggs.

Leftover Skillet Eggs

Leftover red lentil and chickpea stew/canned tomatoes with seasoning/other delicious leftovers
2 eggs per person
salt & pepper to taste

1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Cover with leftovers of your choice.  Heat for a few minutes.
2. Crack eggs one at a time into a small dish.  Form a little nest in your leftovers and pour into the pan.  (You could crack the egg directly into the pan, but do you really want to risk breaking the yolk and ruining the dish?)
3. Heat pan mixture until egg whites have set.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.