Huevos Rancheros Uno

Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like a brunchy plate of spicy eggs!  I found this recipe in All You as part of a tip on how to use up leftover canned chipotle chiles.  I made it twice, because (surprise!) I forgot to take a picture of our plates before we devoured them.

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/huevos-rancheros-7

Canola oil, for frying
4 6-inch corn tortillas
1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced chipotle in adobo sauce
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup canned low-sodium refried beans
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco or Cotija
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced

Preparation

1. Place a baking sheet in oven; preheat to 250°F. Add 1/4 inch of oil to a skillet; turn to medium-high. Once oil shimmers, fry tortillas individually until golden, turning once. Transfer tortillas to pan in oven.

2. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp. oil from skillet. Reduce heat to medium; add onion. Sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add tomatoes, chipotle and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; puree in a blender until smooth. Return to pan.

3. In a bowl, microwave beans until hot, about 1 1/2 minutes. Melt butter in a second skillet over medium heat. Add eggs; season with salt and pepper. Fry until whites are set, about 3 minutes. Spread beans on tortillas; top with eggs, sauce, cheese, cilantro and avocado.

Calories 350      Fat 22 g       Sat fat 6 g       Protein 12 g       Carbohydrate 26 g
Fiber 8 g      Cholesterol 231 mg             Sodium 936 mg
I didn’t deep fry the tortillas. A) I have no patience for that. B) If I’m deep-frying anything, it’s going to be Chicken and Waffles or some other worthy dish.  I threw my tortillas in the oven for a few minutes.  You could probably also just toast them in your skillet before cooking the eggs.  I’m not sure how much skipping the deep fry affects the overall calorie/fat count, but you know it will be lower than listed with the original recipe.
I also didn’t puree the tomato mixture.  I love a chunky sauce, and leaving the mixture as is saved me even more time.  The beans and the tomato mixture are mostly hidden under the egg in the photo.  The first time we made these we actually picked them up and ate them like tacos.  Of course, this was possible because Husband insisted on fully cooked yolks.  When I made them for the photo-op, I left my yolks slightly soft, so it was fork eating all the way.
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Verdict:  Very good!  I would make these again but probably just eyeball all the quantities instead of following the exact recipe.  All the components were great but I don’t think that much precision was necessary.  Coincidentally, there was another huevos recipe in a subsequent issue, so I’ll be trying that one soon.

Sweet and Savory BBQ…Veggies?

When I pulled this recipe from the pile last week, I thought it would reduce the giant bag of sweet potatoes in my basement to a simple side dish.  I had clipped the two recipes from the Chicago Tribune Food section who knows when, and the results from my google search turned up the same recipes dated July 3, 2014, in JeanMarie Brownson’s “Dinner at Home” Column.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/recipes/sc-food-0704-dinner-grilled-veggies-20140705-column.html

Barbecue sweet potato slices

Prep: 15 minutes                     Cook: 20 minutes                    Makes: 4 to 6 servings

2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon sugar
4 to 6 large sweet potatoes (3 to 4 pounds total), peeled if desired
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse (kosher) salt

1. Prepare a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium heat. Mix chili powder and sugar together in a small dish.

2. Cut potatoes lengthwise into slabs about 1/2 inch thick. Place in a single layer on 1 large or 2 smaller well-oiled baking sheet(s). Turn potatoes to coat with the oil.

3. Sprinkle the potatoes generously on all sides with the chili mixture; sprinkle lightly with salt.

4. Arrange potatoes on the grill in a single uncrowded layer. Cover grill; cook, 10 minutes. Use a pancake flipper to carefully turn potato slices over. Grill the second side until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork and edges are slightly charred, 8-10 minutes. Serve hot.

Nutrition information per serving: 219 calories, 10 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 32 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 174 mg sodium, 5 g fiber

I cut my sweet potato planks a little thinner than 1/2 inch.  It snowed here all day yesterday with 50 mph wind gusts, and while next to nothing stuck, I was not about to drag out the grill for these potatoes.  I lay them out on a cookie sheet lined with foil and returned to step 3.  I baked the sweet potatoes at 400° for 20 minutes, turning the pans halfway through the cooking time.

I have to also confess that I was measuring out the spices for the sweet potatoes at the same time I was prepping a chili.  I accidentally threw a 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika into the prep bowl for the potatoes which should have gone in the chili.  I can’t say I really noticed the paprika against the chili powder, or maybe it was such a natural addition that it seemed perfect!

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As a Costco shopper, I recently noticed my 2nd auxiliary pantry is overflowing with chickpeas, and Client does not care for them.  So while I didn’t originally intend to make both of these recipes tonight, the opportunity to open a can of chickpeas for something other than hummus was quite appealing.

Barbecue sweet potatoes with chickpeas and arugula

Prep: 20 minutes            Cook: 5 minutes         Makes: 4 main-course servings

Roasted and salted, smoked or candied pecans make a great substitute for the toasted pecans here. I love to top each portion of this dish with a poached or over-easy egg and a generous sprinkle of black pepper. Crumbled goat cheese tastes great in place of the sour cream, too.

¼ cup pecan halves
2 tablespoons smoky barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon each: olive oil, red wine vinegar
½ cup drained canned chickpeas
5 ounces baby arugula or baby kale or 4 cups roughly chopped frisee leaves
Salt, optional
Half recipe cooked BBQ sweet potato slices
A few tablespoons thin sour cream or plain yogurt, optional
Chopped fresh chives or very thinly sliced green onions

1. Place pecans in a small nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 1-2 minutes. Cool, then chop roughly.

2. Mix barbecue sauce, oil and vinegar in a small bowl. Add chickpeas; toss to coat. Arrange greens on a large platter. Sprinkle lightly with salt if desired.

3. Cut potato slices into 1-inch chunks. Put into a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap vented at one corner. Microwave on high until potatoes are warm, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Add warm potatoes and chickpea mixture to salad greens. Toss lightly to coat everything with the dressing. Sprinkle with pecans. Drizzle with sour cream if using. Serve sprinkled with chives.

Nutrition information per serving: 304 calories, 16 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 37 g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 305 mg sodium, 5 g fiber

Instead of the greens listed here, I used spinach (because 5 pound Costco bag).  I skipped the dairy and green onions, and for the red wine vinegar, I used a turned bottle of cabernet (I NEVER let wine go bad, but, well, this one got away).  I had some hard boiled eggs in the fridge which saved me some time, but I wouldn’t hesitate to put a gorgeous poached or fried egg in its place the next time I make this salad.

Verdict:  Labor intensive on the potatoes, but worth it.  Not sure I’d ever go to the trouble of grilling them.  Salad:  100 times, yes!  The barbecue dressing was so odd, and I didn’t love how it tasted on its own.  But on the greens, it was perfect!  Smoky, sweet, and tangy.  I would definitely try goat cheese crumbles to up the wow factor.  Without the egg, the salad would be a great accompaniment to a simple burger night or a fancy steak dinner.  When we start getting bushels of arugula from the CSA come summer I’ll be trying those greens, too, but for now, the spinach will do just fine.

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Runny Eggs

On our 3rd date, my husband and I went out to brunch.  I am a sucker for a combo, and used to be able to eat a lot more than I can now, so I had the lumberjack breakfast (pancakes, sausage, potatoes, eggs, and lots of coffee!).  I always order my eggs over medium, and use whatever food is at hand to sop up the liquid yolk.  My then-date caught me cleaning the plate with a bite of pancake and went rather apoplectic.  I thought that was the last date, but he soldiered through his disgust and here we are, 6 years later.  The runny egg debate continues.  So you can imagine his hesitation when I suggested baked eggs for brunch one Sunday.

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/parmesan-baked-eggs-peppers

I promised I would bake his serving until the yolk was firm, and he agreed to give it a try.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Salt and pepper
12 large eggs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Mist 6 shallow (approximately 12-oz.) baking dishes with cooking spray. Place on a large baking sheet.

2. Warm oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and peppers; cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute longer. Stir in tomato paste and 1 Tbsp. water. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

3. Divide vegetable mixture among baking dishes. Crack two eggs into each dish; sprinkle with cheese and season with salt and pepper. Bake until egg whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving to allow yolks to firm up a little.

I actually stayed pretty close to the original recipe here, except that I made 1- egg servings for us and a 2-egg serving for Client. I used red onion, sliced vertically, and baked the eggs until they were hard-cooked (against my better judgment).  Husband said the dish was good and he would eat it again!  I would bake mine for less time and serve it with biscuits or baguette slices to mop up the runny goodness.

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Happy first date anniversary to my husband!  It’s been a great 6 years, and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it!