Tomato and Parmesan Benedict

Seriously, this post was meant to go up like, a month ago. But no one told me it was September so I just totally missed it. I mean…it was August for a minute and then I wake up and suddenly it’s the middle of October. Ummm…is there someone I can blame for this? Shouldn’t a memo have gone out or something??

Thank goodness this recipe is just as good in October as it was in August. Roasting the tomatoes means that this will taste good year round since it develops the flavors of even the most bland grocery store tomato. And honestly, anything tastes good if it’s drowning in a cheese sauce, am I right?

I’ve been hesitant of making a benedict due to the fact that recipes with more than 3 steps often overwhelm me. However, this dish might seem complicated, but it looks much scarier than it actually is. Let’s do this, shall we?

First we’ll discuss the one step I don’t have a picture of since I just spaced out on the whole “photos/camera” thing: roasting the tomatoes. I would do this first since it takes the longest and the tomatoes can be set aside until you’re ready to use them.

Slice a tomato into 1/4 inch slices. Lay flat on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 450˚F for about 25-30 minutes, or until they have cooked down and are beginning to caramelize. Set aside until you’re ready to use them.

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Kimchi Fried Rice

Each week, through the course of internet browsing and obsessive Food Network watching, I will bookmark or “pin” recipes that sound intriguing. Normally, those recipes sit untouched for months before I decide to actually get around to making them, but this recipe called to me immediately and whispered in my ear until I decided to make it only a few short days after seeing it on Barefoot Contessa. I’m not sure if it was the simplicity, or the use of kimchi, or the simple fact that it was a fried rice recipe, which is one of my favorite meals to make when Chase isn’t around.* Either way, I’m glad I didn’t wait.

*Every few months of the last 5 years of our relationship, I will try to casually suggest to Chase that I make fried rice for dinner. Every single time, he starts to moan and complain like a kid who’s being asked if he wants brussels sprouts for dessert, and so I’ve never made it. When he **shocker** admitted to liking this kimchi fried rice, I demanded that explain why he’s been so opposed in the past, and his response was, “Oh, I guess that by fried rice, I thought you meant just plain white rice.”

A) The fact that Chase really thinks I would serve a bowl of plain rice and call it “dinner,” is perhaps the most insulting thing he’s ever said to me.

B) People aren’t lying: communication is key (clearly we still have to work on ours)

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Blueberry Frittata with Vanilla Creme Fraiche

You guys, I am writing from Galveston, Texas from a trip that first began with me and Chase flying from Los Angeles to Kansas to see my sister-in-law graduate college (go K-State!). Side note: did you know that most colleges don’t know the final grades of students when they walk across the podium to get their degrees? Which means there’s a chance that in a month or so my sister-in-law could get a letter that says “haha, you didn’t really graduate, you still have to pay us more money to take some other classes. Bet all those family photos you took with your cap and gown feel really awkward right now.” I’m assuming that isn’t what the actual letter would say, unless the people working at universities have a better sense of humor than what I imagine. Or unless they’re hoping to get fired.

This pseudo-graduation was immediately followed by a 13 hour drive to Galveston with 7 people in the car so that we could all have a beach vacation and not waste money on gas by taking 2 cars. However, when we got here we found out that the beach outside our hotel isn’t so much a beach as it is a pile of rocks next to the ocean, which seemed like an awfully cruel joke for the property manager and/or God to play on us. But then we found out our hotel has it’s own lazy river so we got over it.

Note to self: next time just drive to nearest hotel with lazy river.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with my recipe, and the answer is absolutely nothing. Except that the only thing I can tell you about this recipe is that it is insanely easy to make and tastes 100% better than I thought it would. (honestly – I really low expectations about how eggs and fresh fruit would taste together, and now this might be my new favorite breakfast) However after writing that one sentence my post felt a little short so I figured I would throw in a little something else since you took time out of your day to come read this. I’m sure you found the time well spent.

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Curry Egg Salad

Let’s pretend for a second that the egg salad sandwich is the star of its own movie (please, go with me on this). It would enter the film as a sweet but rather plain girl who always takes a back seat to her much more exciting friends, like Tuna Melt and Reuben. Then she meets a mysterious stranger who whisks her away for the make-over of a lifetime. But instead of eye-brow waxes and mascara, our star is transformed into a sexy leading lady with lime juice, Granny Smith apples and curry powder. Step aside, Tuna Melt.

(I sort of think that the Tuna Melt deserves it’s own movie, but it would be more along the lines of all these tuna melt sandwiches wanting to be the same until they realize that being different is soooo much cooler and that they taste way better when you add things like hard boiled eggs or Gruyere cheese or arugula. But I’ll save that for another post)

(Actually,  I’m gonna try and stop now with the food-as-movie-star metaphors. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused)

I’m re-posting this recipe from my days back at A Cozy Kitchen.  I like the idea of re-posting because writing a food blog often results in cooking a lot of recipes that you never go back to again. Not that I’ve ever posted anything I didn’t think was truly worth your attention. Seriously – that would just be lame. Unless of course it was just so awful that I found it amusing and then I would need to have people share in the experience with me. But there are plenty of things I’ve made that no matter how tasty the finished product ended up being, I’ve never felt the urge to make it a 2nd time. Maybe the recipe was too complicated, maybe it requires ingredients I don’t normally have on hand, or maybe my tastes have changed just enough so that it no longer holds appeal for me anymore.

The point is: this sandwich is not one of those recipes. I LOVE it. More than I did the first time I ate it. If we were in a movie together we would sing this duet. Except, instead of being a man and another man in drag we would be a woman and another woman dressed in drag. Or food. Whichever is less weird.

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Beans on Toast Egg Bake

Okay, just give me a chance with this one. Even I was completely unsure as to whether this was going to work out, but let me tell you – this dish is GOOD. So good that I thought Chase and I would have leftovers but somehow we polished off the whole skillet in one breakfast. No leftovers + satisfied bellies = winning dish. Fact.

I came up with this when I saw Giada make an Italian sausage and egg bake, which sounded awesome except I don’t each sausage, but if that’s your thing you should totally give it a try cause it looked way yummy. So then I thought, “What about beans or something? Is that weird? Don’t people in the UK eat beans on toast for breakfast? If they can do it, so can I.” Aren’t you amazed by my reasoning skills?

I wanted to use a recipe for baked beans that I’ve made before, except the full recipe has a bit of a spicy kick to it, which is great at a barbeque but more than I want to deal with first thing in the morning. I need “mellow” in the morning, not Sriracha. After omitting the chili paste and most of the ginger I felt I had the perfect accompaniment for eggs and toast.

VERY IMPORTANT – You MUST make the beans ahead of time. Otherwise you’ll get up in the morning and realize your breakfast might be ready in time for dinner. But if you have these beans chilling in the fridge (they should last for a week) this comes together in a snap and is comforting start to the day.

Also – in case anyone is keeping track this is the first recipe for my resolution to cook at least one dish a month with dried beans. And yes, I KNOW it’s February but I made this a week ago and was then knocked out by a cold so I’m a little late getting it up on the web. But IT STILL COUNTS.

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Smoked Salmon Breakfast Stacks

It’s Resolutions time people! Now, some of you out there (Chase) might be against New Year’s Resolutions because you believe that they are never achieved and are therefore a waste of time. I think that you just don’t know how to make the right kinds of resolutions. There are a couple of things to consider:

1) It needs to be something that is totally within your control (yeah, I would totally love to land a job as Ryan Gosling’s sex slave assistant but damn if he won’t return my phone calls)

2) It needs to be something you kinda sorta actually want to do. See, if all you say is “I want to eat healthier” that is first of all really obvious and also gives the impression that you are going to have make some crazy changes to your diet, which can sound scary and induce ice cream cravings. But if you say, “I want to eat fruit at least once a day” then all you have to do is focus on the fact that you just need to eat some strawberries or maybe a mango, which is totally not scary at all. And what do you know, suddenly you’re eating healthier and you didn’t even see it coming.

Also – a lot of this is a mental game so it’s more important that you succeed at small goals than fail at large ones. If you want to start going to the gym, give yourself the goal of going at least 1-2 times a week. Then when you go 4 times, you’ll feel like a total badass, and being a badass can really up your motivation to keep it going. And when you have a crazy schedule and only make it once you won’t feel like a total failure. Cause failure is what makes me decide to stay on the couch and watch Sister Wives marathons instead of putting on my sneakers.

That all being said, here’s my list of goals for 2012:

1) Read at least 1 non-fiction book a month. This was also my resolution last year and I totally kept it. It gave me an awesome excuse to chill on the couch during the weekends, and I am way smarter now. Fo shizzle.

2) Cook with dried beans once a month. Sorry if this seems uber random, but cooking dried beans is just not my thing. Until I actually eat beans that did not come from a can, and then suddenly dried beans seem super awesome. This year I’m determined to make cooking them not-scary.

3) Go hiking every weekend, weather and travel schedule permitting. Basically, if I’m in LA and it’s not actively raining, I’m doing this. Runyon Canyon – we’re about to be BFFs.

4) Cook more varieties of breakfast foods. Cause I have made scrambled eggs and grits one too many times. And breakfast has so many delicious possibilities.

Take  this smoked salmon stack as an example. When I first ate this in a restaurant it had poached eggs on top, which is probably prettier, but I am a huge fried egg fan and still haven’t gotten the guts to take on poached eggs. This would really work with any style of eggs you prefer, and this couldn’t be any simpler to assemble. Seriously, you just grate some potato, fry them in a pan, top with smoked salmon and then some eggs. Voila! See – my resolutions are off to a fabulous start!

What are your resolutions for the year?

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Vanilla Spiced Eggnog -No Raw Eggs!

I’m finally home for Xmas. “Home” being Asheville, North Carolina where I grew up. It’s cold and cloudy, the tree is up and decorated, and my stepfather and I are arguing about the absurd lack of heat in his house. And about whether or not organic produce is worth the cost. We’re tiptoeing around the subject of politics. In other words, it’s the exact same as when I was a growing up, only now I live in California so he probably feels like I’ve been brainwashed and obviously have even less reason to validate my opinion.

That all being said, I love being home for the holidays. I can catch up with family and friends that seem a billion miles away during most of the year, and I can gorge myself on fattening food and not feel one speck of guilt for it. Eggnog is on my must-have list for this year. Although it is one of my favorite Christmas treats, I am highly weirded out by recipes that have raw eggs. Sorry, I understand that people have been eating it for years and it’s perfectly fine to eat, but I’m just not going to do it. I also refuse to drink the stuff you buy in cartons at the supermarket. You might as well suggest that I buy cartons of “egg product” for my omelets as opposed to actual eggs. In that case I would prefer to go without, thankyouverymuch.

This recipe is DA BOMB. And as my gift for this year you will kindly not make fun of me for using that phrase. Please and thank you. But seriously, this takes just a few minutes to make, it’s doesn’t have any raw eggs, and tastes like the most delicious, creamy alcoholic (optionally non-alcoholic) beverage you have ever had. And if anyone manages to calculate the calorie count for this, you will kindly NOT share that info. With anyone. Ever.

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Amazing Deviled Eggs

This post is sort of a photo fail for me. I could give you a million excuses – the sun was too low, I was distracted, in a hurry, the egg shells didn’t peel right, blah, blah, blah. Basically, I didn’t take good photos, which I didn’t realize until I came to post this a couple days later and realized I was totally screwed.

Normally, this would mean that I would have to just make the recipe over again and not be a dumbass with the camera. Which would have been fine cause I will use any excuse to make these eggs. Except…I REALLY wanted to post this recipe before this coming weekend. Cause it’s Labor Day weekend, also known as possibly-the-last-time-most-people-are-going-to-a-barbecue-or-picnic-this-year weekend. And these eggs cannot wait until 2012 to be posted – they’re that good. So yes, I posted these really crappy photos so that you all could have this awesome deviled egg recipe. I  care about you, for reals.

Please don’t let my embarrassment be in vain. Make these eggs ASAP. For your own sake, as well as mine.

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