I’d like to welcome the newest addition to my family. Weighing in at 10lbs, 3oz, she arrived at 4:16pm on Sunday April 25th. Here’s to many delicious years together, my most treasured possesion [Sorry, Ryder!]
What can’t you do with eggs? I mean, really. They are just so versatile.
Tonight’s ode to eggs is in pizza form. But I don’t really know what constitutes this as ‘pizza’ other than a pizza crust. Otherwise it’s almost like a flat bread egg sandwich or… something. Anyhow, who really cares about a specific definition so long as it looks beautiful and tastes even better. Right? Right. So glad we agree.
In keeping with my recent ‘so easy it’s laughable’ dishes, this one takes 10 minutes and 9 ingredients. If you want to get a little fancier, for lack of a more fitting word, you could make your own dough. I was just feeling like a slacker and the idea of getting flour all over myself, the counters, the floor and perhaps the dog was pretty unappealing to me at this point in my day.
Shall we being?
First, let me tell you what you’ll need.
1 pizza crust [If you live in Ottawa - Glebe Metro sells this bread by a company called Manoucher that is faaaaabulous] 1C Ricotta 1/4CishBasil, rough chopped 2tbsp Sriracha sauce [add more/less depending on how spicy you like it]
2-3 handfuls of your favourite herbs/green. I used tarragon and arugula. I highly recommend the tarragon… it pairs so nicely with eggs.
1/4C Parmesan, fresh grated Goat cheese, enough to crumble over the pizza.
3 Eggs - free run, organic if you’re into that sort of thing.
Preheat oven to 400. [if you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven prior to preheating]
In a small bowl, mix the ricotta, basil and Sriracha sauce until combined. Spread evenly over the pizza crust.
Spread the herbs/greens evenly over the ricotta mixture and crumble goat cheese and parmesan on top.
If you’re confident you won’t break the eggs yolks, break the eggs carefully over the pizza. Otherwise, break eggs, one at a time, into a small bowl and slowly pour one at a time onto the pizza.
Put the pizza in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until the egg whites are just starting to turn opaque. Turn oven off and leave in an additional 5 minutes. If the eggs are still too loose for your liking, let it sit for a few minutes and they will continue cooking.
Yesterday was dreary and miserable. Three/four consecutively rainy/cloudy days in a week is a surefire way to catch a case of the sads. I find I’m more effected by it as I get older. Strange how that works… or maybe it’s just me that’s strange.
Moving right along. I didn’t much feel like doing anything but bumming around in my pyjama suit last night. But I also didn’t exactly feel like eating Kraft Dinner [now don’t get me wrong, I am a girl who can get down with some KD… but sometimes you just need a good dinner, y’know?]. So I opted for a one-pot roasted chicken, potatoes and cauliflower dish. Easy, easy, easy. It’s embarrassingly easy, really. For those who say cooking is hard/time consuming/messy.. try this one on for size. One dish, 10 minutes of prep [if that] and it goes right into the over for about 45-60 minutes.
Roasted Chicken Legs with Fingerling Potatoes and Cauliflower
3-4 chicken legs, skin on Fingerling potatoes [I like the ruby ones with yellow flesh], enough to cover the bottom of your roasting pan 4 cloves crushed garlic 4 sprigs rosemary 3-4 tbsp bacon/duck fat [or if these aren’t handy, butter/olive oil combo will work fine..I suppose] 1 head of cauliflower, cut into slightly-bigger-than-bite-sized florets. Salt/Pepper
Preheat oven to 400.
In a large roasting pan, add your bacon fat, potatoes & crush garlic. Give it a little smoosh with your hands to get everyone well acquainted.
Dry your chicken legs off with a paper towel and rub each leg with a few good pinches of salt/pepper. this will help create a crisp skin. Place the chicken legs on the potatoes and sprinkle everything with the rosemary.
Roast at 400 for about 30-40 minutes. Take it out and give it a good shake every so often to loosen the potatoes form the bottom of the pan.
While everything is roasting, toss the cauliflower with 1tbsp of olive oil and two pinches each of salt and pepper. Around the 30 minute cooking mark, take the chicken/potatoes out and tuck the cauliflower around the top of the roasting pan and in between the chicken legs. Check every 10 minutes or so to make sure the florets aren’t burning.
Take out of the oven after about 50 minutes or when the chicken juices run clear.
I think it’s… dare I say… here for keepsies? Every morning I prepare myself to wake up to a sweater of snow covering the city. It hasn’t happened yet….so let’s go on assuming it’s here [despite my fears of a vengeful mother nature, just waiting to drop 30cm on Ottawa on the off chance that anyone should assume she’s kind and thoughtful lady].
I took one step into the Herb & Spice today, and immediately spied a lovely bunch of bright green, purple tipped asparagus. It looked so inviting I couldn’t help but snatch it up.
And as though she were telepathically reading my mind, Heidi Swanson, of http://www.101cookbooks.com, had a beautiful recipe for Quinoa with Aspparagus and Tabasco Butter. Tabasco butter, you say?! What an odd sounding concoction. I wouldn’t lie to you – it’s FANTASTIC. The vinegar in the hot sauce cuts the richness of the butter and the dijon/lemon just give it the perfect amount of bite. You’d be surprised at how little you taste the hot sauce… but what you can taste meshes so beautifully with the butter. And that’s WITHOUT the addition of pine nuts, quinoa, and blanched asparagus. It’s nutty, crunchy, soft, rich, a little spicy… the perfect dish. And it couldn’t be easier.
It’s great for dinner, lunch or as a side. Its great warm, at room temperature or cold. And it tastes even better the next day.
Is that enough information to pique your interest? Are you already rummaging your cupboards for that quinoa you KNOW is in there somewhere? It’s the right thing to do. Scouts honour.
Quinoa, Pine Nuts and Asparagus with Tabasco Butter I added a little more hot sauce to the butter than the recipe called for. If you have NO tolerance for heat, only add 25 drops.
2C dry quinoa 3C water pinch sea salt
1bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1.5inch pieces
3/4C pine nuts, lightly toasted
Tabasco Butter 1/2C unsalted butter, room temperature 2 tbsp Tabasco or your favourite vinegar based hot sauce 1tbsp Dijon mustard 1tbsp fresh lemon juice pinch sea salt.
In a blender, food processer or a hand blender, blend the butter until fluffly. Add the Tabasco, Dijon, lemon juice and salt. Blend until combined. Set aside.
To cook the quinoa:
Rinse the dry quinoa under cool water and add to a pot with the 3 cups of water. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and low the heat to a simmer. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until you can see the quinoa get curly.
Blanch the Asparagus
Add the pieces of asparagus to boiling water and cook for one minute until bright green. Strain and put in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
Put it Together
Add the cooked quinoa, toasted pine nuts, asparagus and 3tbsp [unless you’re shamefull human being like myself and then you’ll use 5-6 tbsp. sigh.] of the butter together. You will have leftover butter to use for something else.
Finish with a dollop of creme fraiche if you have it.
My boyfriend’s birthday was yesterday and, as with any special occasion, I took it as an opportunity to make him something delicious.
He has a few favourite meals that I do for him but this time it was chicken Parmesan. I can’t say I was disappointed with his choice as I was craving something hearty, heavy and full of flavour. And what better than lightly breaded chicken slathered in marinara and fresh mozzarella with baked pasta?? Let me answer for you – there are few things that are better than this meal.
Keep in mind - there are lighter, more elegant versions of this for the concious, health-concerned eater. But my boyfriend is non of the above. Esp not on his birthday. So this is the full out, dripping with cheese and sauce version.
Though it comes together quickly – it does require a little bit of multitasking. You’ll need to have everything ready to go before you start as it goes pretty quick. I suggest you make the marinara beforehand to save yourself some time [and stress]. It keeps well in the fridge for a few days and in the freezer for even longer. Though it may seem a little daunting based on the amount of steps, please know this is an EASY recipe and worth the work.
This is great for two but just as simple for a crowd.
Ally’s Chicken Parm
Pasta + Marinara 2 tbsp butter or olive oil 1 small onion, diced 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced two carrots, peeled chopped finely two large cans of peeled Italian plum tomatoes [San Marzano] 5-6 basil leaves, torn 1 bay leaf
900g pasta of your choice [I use spaghetti or penne]
Place sauce pot over medium/high heat and add the olive oil/butter. Once heated through, add onion. Let it sauteed for a minute or two or until translucent. Add the carrot and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant being careful not to let it brown or burn.
Place a fine mesh sieve over the pot and, a few at a time, pour the tins of tomatoes into it. Using a fork or whisk, mash and stir the tomatoes until you’re left with just pulp in the sieve. Add the bay leaf and torn basil. At this point, season to taste with salt and pepper.
Bring sauce to a boil and then lower the heat to medium/low and let simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.
Cook the pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Set aside.
Chicken 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast [or 4 small] 1C all purpose flour 1tsp each sea salt/pepper 3 eggs, lightly beaten 1C panko bread crumbs 1C fresh grated Parmesan cheese Handful of parsley, finely chopped 1tbsp olive oil 2.5C fresh mozzarella [you can grate it if you’d like but I just slice it thick and put the pieces over the chicken]
Special equipment: meat mallet/tenderizer
Grab two plates and 1 bowl and fill them like so: Plate 1: flour + salt/pepper Bowl: eggs Plate 2:breadcrumbs + Parmesan + parsley
Take one chicken breast and place between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using the meat mallet, pound down the chicken to about ½ inch thick. Do this for all the chicken. If you’re using big breasts [go ahead, get your giggles out now. I’ll wait……….] you can cut it in two before pounding.
For each piece of chicken:
Dredge the chicken in the flour and shake off excess. Dunk into the eggs making sure it’s well lubricated. Press each side of the chicken into the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a wire rack until you’re done with them all.
Add the olive oil to a large saute pan over medium/high heat. If you’re not sure if the pan is hot enough, throw in a few breadcrumbs. If they bubble, it’s ready.
Add two pieces of chicken to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Set aside.
Putting it all together
Preheat oven to 350.
Add the al dente pasta to a large baking dish and pour a good ladle-full of the marinara over the top. Stir into the pasta.
Place breaded chicken pieces evenly over the pasta. Generously spoon sauce over all the chicken pieces. Cover the saucy chicken in mozzarella.
Bake at 350 until the cheese is bubbly and the pasta around the edges of the dish are crispy.
Take one bite and tell me the thought of proposing to me hasn’t crossed your mind.