Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cookin’ up a storm

I’m in a cooking spell lately. For one thing, I keep finding recipes that I want to try. My “Entrees Not Tried” file includes several dishes in which eggs are poached in a tomato base, each a little different that the others. Today I chose one that had a mostly kale base with cherry tomatoes sprinkled over it.

Begins with three pieces of thick-cut bacon, diced and then crisped in a Tbsp. of butter. Add one medium onion sliced thin and sauté until soft. Add about a third cup of wine and washed, stemmed kale—I used one really large bunch. Salt and pepper the kale, cover the pan, and let it cook down. Then sprinkle with a generous pinch of nutmeg and a cup of cream (my conscience got me, and I used half and half—which meant it took longer to thicken). When thickened, remove from burner and scatter with cherry tomatoes halved.

I made it to that point in the morning and then refrigerated. Before serving I made pockets in the kale mixture and broke raw eggs into each pocket. Two eggs for men, one for me. (I was cooking for two good friends whose wives were out of town.) Sprinkled the whole thing with Parmesan. Baked for 25 minutes or until eggs were set. Actually, for me they were too set—I like my eggs runny. The guys liked them hard. Echoes a running battle in my family, as I’m the only one who likes easy-over, soft-scrambled, etc. Still this was a one-dish meal—protein (eggs and bacon), dairy (cream and cheese), vegetables—kale, onions, and tomatoes.

Served with crusty Parmesan bread and a fruit salad. Got raves and they ate the whole thing!

Another dish I made recently was pure self-indulgence—rich but so good. Calls for brushing melted butter on both side of Texas toast (I used a good deli rye). Top with crab salad—I used a can of flaked because it was so much cheaper (lump crab, while wonderful, is really expensive, even canned—and at the market you have to buy a lb. of frozen). I made the salad with not too much mayo, a touch of Dijon, and a bit of lemon juice—the Dijon really gave it a spark. Top with shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, stalks of asparagus and sliced Jack cheese. Run under the broiler. So good. And can be fixed for one, maybe two, in your toaster oven without heating up the whole kitchen.

Next on my agenda? Well, I have my eye on a mushroom stroganoff recipe I found. Jordan, ever conventional, said, “Well, if you add some beef.” I don’t think so. The mushrooms will be enough.

In late September friends from D.C. are coming for Sunday supper. Way back when I cooked for twenty or so on Sundays (was I really that young and energetic?) they were at the table every week. I think I’ll ask and see what dishes they remember particularly liking.

This morning as I tackled the laborious chore of dicing bacon and slicing onions, I was grateful for my back brace. Even so, had to sit after the bacon—hate that worse than the onion. Finished dish was worth it.

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