Thursday, April 12, 2012

French Scrambled Eggs

April showers have visited our small mountain town. A dreary, gray day made perfect by spending an hour in the kitchen! I made these muffins to go along with my french scrambled eggs! And yes, bacon!!

French Scrambled Eggs

serves 1 (multiply accordingly)

2 eggs
2 tbsp milk or cream (I compromised and used half & half)
pinch sea salt
few grinds fresh cracked black pepper
2 tsp butter
pinch dried dill weed*
1 scallion, chopped
~1 oz cream cheese, cut into small bits
chiffonade of spinach (3-6 leaves), optional 

Whisk eggs, half & half, sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper in a small bowl. Melt butter in a non-stick saute pan over medium heat. Add egg mixture to pan. Continuously stir egg mixture using using a heat proof spatula. Eggs are done when they are set, but still creamy. Remove pan from heat, add dill weed and the cut up bits of cream cheese. Residual heat from eggs will melt the cream cheese and spinach.

*A combination of chopped fresh herbs such as chives, chervil, marjoram, parsley & tarragon (fines herbs in francey-pants lingo!) are equally as delicious!

Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

The recipe for these muffins are a riff on a previous recipe I posted for Cranberry-Orange Muffins. Besides the obvious substitution of lemon and blueberries for the orange and cranberries, I adjusted the fat called for in the recipe by using a combination of organic butter, organic canola oil and ground golden flax seed.  The texture of the baked product was not comprimised...just as moist and tender as before. On my next attempt, I think I will completely omit the butter and use equal amounts of canola oil and ground flax seed. My reasoning for mixing up the fat is in an attempt to reduce my saturated fat intake since saturated fat creates an inflamation response in the body while plant based fats (olive, canola, etc) are considered unsaturated, thus creating an anti-inflamatory response in the body.  Play with this sometime...cut the saturated fats out of your daily diet for a month or so, then introduce back in if only for a day. I did and immediately felt a difference with my joints, particularly in my hands.

3 tablespoons of ground flax can be substituted for 1 tbsp oil.

Ground Flax seed can be used as an egg replacer as well.  For each egg to be replaced, blend in a blender/food processor 1 tablespoon flax seed with 3 tablespoons water until the mixture is thick and creamy. If this seems a bit messy (I thought so), grind your flax seed in a dedicated spice grinder (aka coffee grinder) then add to water that has already been measured and placed in a small bowl. Mix well.
Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

makes 12 muffins

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used Prairie Gold Wheat Montana brand)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 tbsp organic butter, melted & cooled

3 tbsp organic canola oil
3 tbsp ground golden flax
2/3 cup organic cane sugar
2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla
1 lemon, zested* & juiced (reserve juice--use for high alt. adjustments)
1 cup buttermilk (our store does not carry organic)

6 oz clam shell fresh bluewberries (approx 1 1/2 cups)
1 tbsp demerara sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or line muffin tins with paper liners.
Add first four ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
Whisk remaining ingredients, minus 1 tbsp demerara sugar and blueberries, in a medium mixing bowl.
Using wooden spoon, or spatula, add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; mixing just until combined. Fold in blueberries.
Fill muffin cups almost full. Sprinkle tops of muffins with demerara sugar.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until done when tested with a toothpick in the center.

High Altitude Adjustments:
 •baking powder-reduce by 1/4 tsp
 •sugar-reduce by 1 tbsp
 •liquid-add 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
 •oven temperature-increase 25 degrees
 •decrease baking time approx 5 minutes

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Huevos Rancheros with Frijoles Borrachos

The fact that I do not have to start thinking about my job until mid-day provides me the luxury of enjoying a morning meal, all at the leisurely pace of what feels like a quiet Sunday morning. This doesn't happen every morning, but when it does, I certainly feel like I'm making up for all those years of having to be out of the house for my morning commute long before the chickens were up! Only to be relegated to eating breakfast at my desk. The only thing I miss from those days are some great people I met along the way.

So on with the post of what I savored this morning....Huevos Rancheros...complete with a latte and mellow music playing. Would it be over-the-top to mention the gas fireplace flickering in the background? The morning would be perfect if kitchen fairies were washing the dishes!

I really don't have a recipe for the Huevos. I simply layered 2 sprouted corn tortillas with re fried beans, a few over-easy eggs speckled with fresh cracked pepper, my homemade salsa verde and a few drizzles of Sriracha because I like it hot! I happend to have an avocado so I added a few slices for garnish. You can serve them with black beans, chorizo, fresh cilantro, salsa, sour cream, scrambled eggs, etc....whatever you like and have on hand.

I am going to provide the recipe for the beans I made. This recipe makes quite a bit, so unless you're feeding a "thrashing crew" I'd suggest freezing the finished product into smaller portions for use at a later date.

Frijoles Borrachos

4 jalapeno chiles, stems and seeds removed, cut in half lengthwise
2 c pinto beans, cleaned and rinsed (1 pound bag)
12 oz beer (I go all out and use PBR)
1 onion, rough chopped
6 c water
kosher salt & fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a large stockpot (6-8qt) and soak overnight. The next morning, bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the beans are done. Add more water if necessary.  Everyone is different here, but I prefer the beans tender, but not cooked to mush. Mash the beans using the tool of your choice. I like to use my stick (immersion) blender & puree only a portion of the beans. You can use a hand held potato masher, a food processor, blender, etc. Season to taste with kosher salt & black pepper.

At this point, the beans are ready to be re-fried. Again this is a personal preference. I believe they're perfect now, but some folks like to fry the beans in oil, hence re-fried...could be vegetable, manteca (lard), even better yet, bacon grease. The smokiness from bacon grease imparts a sublime flavor choose.

This recipe originates from a book entitled The Whole Chile Pepper Book by Dave Dewitt and Nancy Gerlach. The famed editors of Chile Pepper Magazine. I own a few books by Dave...great inspiration for any chile-head!