Eggs in Spicy Minted Tomato Sauce

Eggs simmered in spicy mint tomato sauce with toast.

One of our favorite things to do on weekends is to sleep in late, then get up and cook something delicious, make a pot of coffee, and have a nice, relaxed mid-day before we do anything serious. This weekend we were looking through recipes we wanted to try, and this just happened to only include ingredients we had already in the apartment, so we decided to give it a try. That was a good choice.

This dish is bright and spicy, with some smokiness from the smoked paprika, richness from the eggs, and goes perfectly with dense, toasted bread. Pile it on the toast and eat it like an open-faced sandwich, or serve it beside and dip the bread in. We basically followed this recipe from Food52.com, with the addition of smoked paprika. Serves 2 people with a nice, hearty breakfast – and if you only like a moderate amount of the tomato sauce, you may have enough left over to cook another egg or two in the next day.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • One 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • Spicy pepper sauce such as sriracha or tobasco
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Smoked paprika to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • Bread for serving

Directions

  1. In a deep-sided skillet or frying pan with a lid, heat butter and olive oil together over medium heat until hot.
  2. Sauté onions for about 5 minutes until they turn translucent and start to brown and caramelize a bit.
  3.  Add garlic and jalapeño and sauté for about another minute.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes, hot sauce, bay leaf, and smoked paprika.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a steady simmer and let simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes until sauce thickens.
  6. Stir in the mint.
  7. Using a spoon or spatula, make four small depressions in the sauce, and crack your eggs right into those depressions.
  8. Season the eggs with salt and pepper and then cover the pan to cook the eggs until the whites are solid and the yolks are however you like them.
  9. Once the eggs are done, serve them up with sauce and bread, and dig in!

Spring Green Niçoise Salad

Niçoise salad with green beans, fresh peas, olives, tomatoes, boiled potatoes, boiled egg, capers and parsley. Mustard vinaigrette.

It’s not too often you find a meal as well balanced, or a salad so hearty and satisfying as a Niçoise Salad. It’s got leafy greens and beans, it’s got olives and tuna for some healthy fats, ascorbic acid (vitamin c) in the tomatoes, protein from the tuna and eggs, and a variety of good vitamins and minerals in the potatoes.

This is one hearty salad – we often eat salads as side-dishes in the U.S., but this one is easily a full meal by itself. Satisfying, with a variety of textures and flavors; some salty, some tangy, some savory, some fresh green – it is delicious and will fill you up.

You can vary the ingredients some – it often calls for anchovies, and sometimes just has a standard vinaigrette dressing, for instance. In this case, we used canned tuna, as our neighborhood fish market was out of tuna, but you could also get a small albacore tuna steak and pan-fry it until just done through. You can vary the dressing as well, adding more vinegar if you like it tart, less mustard if you want a lighter dressing, more sugar or even some honey if you want it a bit sweeter.

As always, play around with it and make it just how you like it.

Ingredients

  • Butter lettuce
  • Tuna
  • Eggs (1 per person)
  • Potatoes (2 small or 1 large per person)
  • Green beans
  • Fresh peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Olives (we used castelvetrano, traditional would be niçoise olives)
  • Capers
  • Parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 big pinch dry dill
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar

Directions

  • Wash and dry your lettuce, and arrange on serving plates or in bowls.
  • Trim your green beans.
  • Put a shallow pot of water on to boil, and fill a bowl with cold water and (preferably) ice cubes.
  • Once the water boils, blanch your green beans and peas (separately) for just about 1 minute, until they brighten in color, but don’t soften.
  • Scoop them out and place them in the bowl of cold water to chill and stop the cooking.
  • Pit the olives if you need to, and also cook the tuna if you need to.
  • Slice the tomatoes in half if using cherry tomatoes, or in chunks if using large tomatoes.
  • Arrange all the ingredients on top of the lettuce.
  • In a small jar with a lid, combine the olive oil, vinegar (3 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar), mustard, shallot, garlic, dill, salt, pepper and sugar. Put on the lid and shake well until all ingredients combine.
  • Taste the dressing and adjust ratios or seasoning as needed.
  • Pour dressing over the salads, and serve!

Šaltibarščiai (Cold Borscht)

When we went to make this for dinner the other night, I was flabbergasted that we hadn’t posted it here yet. This is one of our very favorite summer meals, a Lithuanian cold beet soup, usually served with boiled potatoes and/or pickled herring. It’s a pretty simple recipe, and very tasty, though the color is a bit shocking to people who aren’t used to it :) This recipe probably serves about 4-6 people.

Ingredients

  • 1 32oz bottle plain kefir (you can use buttermilk if necessary, but kefir is much better)
  • Beets (you can use raw or canned, this recipe uses raw)
  • Green Onion
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 large cucumber
  • Dill (fresh if possible, but dried is fine, too)
  • Salt

Directions

  1. If you’re using canned beets, skip the steps about cooking them and just chop them up in either a dice or a julienne – otherwise, continue as written :)
  2. Peel the beets, and chop them into small-ish pieces. Boil them in water until soft all the way through.
  3. While beets are boiling, hard-boil your eggs.
  4. Chop your green onion, cucumber and dill and set aside.
  5. Once beets are soft, drain them, but keep the cooking liquid as you will add some of it to the soup later. Let beets cool.
  6. Once the beets have cooled, cut them up. You can either dice them or julienne them.
  7. Add the beets to a large mixing bowl (over 32 oz).
  8. Add cucumber, dill and green onion to bowl.
  9. Peel and chop your eggs, and add to the bowl.
  10. Pour in full bottle of kefir.
  11. Pour some of the cooking liquid from the beets into the kefir bottle and shake it around to make sure you get all the kefir out, then pour into soup.
  12. Mix everything together well, and add more cooking liquid from the beets to taste.
  13. Salt to taste.
  14. Serve with boiled potatoes sprinkled with dill, or pickled herring and onions (or both).

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Chocolate Lava Cake

Last night being Halloween, we decided some sweets were in order, but seeing as nobody comes to our door anyway, we’re more interested in making them for ourselves, so we decided to make this recipe from Lulu at BikeyFace. It’s a very simple recipe, it turned out deliciously, and it’s perfect for two people (or one, if you *really* like chocolate).  

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Bittersweet or Semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 full egg, plus one yolk
  • 3 tbsp flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F (218 C).
  2. Butter two 7-8 oz. ramekins, and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan over low to medium heat, or in a bowl in the microwave, melt the butter and chocolate, whisking until it is smooth with no lumps.
  4. Mix chocolate/butter mixture together with powdered sugar, and whisk until well-blended.
  5. In a small bowl, beat the egg + yolk, then mix it into the sugar/chocolate/butter mixture. Whisk until well-blended.
  6. Add flour to the mixture, and again, whisk until batter is smooth.
  7. Divide the batter between the two ramekins, and place in the oven for about 13-14 minutes, until the outside is solid, but the inside is still very liquidy – look for the center to be slightly depressed, and looking like it has just formed a thin crust over it. Exact times will vary based on a gazillion factors, so just watch it and remove when you feel it’s done (in our oven, it was perfect after 13 minutes on the middle rack).
  8. Let sit for a minute or two, and then dig in (carefully, as the middle will still be piping hot – and gooey and delicious!). Goes perfectly with ice-cream, or just a cold glass of milk.

Chocolate Lava Cake

Chocolate Lava Cake

Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies

This comes from this recipe, with very few modifications – and is really our perfect ideal chocolate chip cookie. Easy too. This recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups (12 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. smallish-medium coarse sea salt (if you only have table salt, use about 3/4 tsp)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 150 grams baking chocolate, smashed to bits

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 360 F (182 C).
  2. With a hand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until somewhat fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat for another minute or two.
  4. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour, and incorporate with a fork (it’s easier with a fork, as the mixer will tend to fling powder all over the place).
  5. Once the dry ingredients are fully absorbed into the dough, add the bits of chocolate, and mix them by hand into the dough so they are well-distributed.
  6. The dough should be fairly thick at this point.
  7. Take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper, or a silpat mat
  8. Make 1 1/2-2 inch balls of dough, placing them about 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheet.
  9. Pop the cookies in the oven, and let them bake about 12 minutes, until just starting to brown, then remove from oven and let them sit on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
  10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 until the dough is all used up.
  11. Make sure to have some good milk on hand :)

13

Maple Cinnamon French Toast

This weekend we made the now annual feast for my birthday (more on that later). And as per usual for us we had tons of leftovers. One thing we had to use right away was the beautiful fresh french baguette.

Maple Cinnamon French Toast
Maple Cinnamon French Toast

day old french baguette, cut in 1 1/2 inch thick slices
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Maple Cinnamon French Toast
Preheat oven to 375 F

~beat eggs till just scrambled but not frothy
~add in milk and maple syrup and combine
~add sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and mix completely

Maple Cinnamon French Toast
~Place the baguette slices in a baking dish and pour egg mixture over the bread.
~Let sit for 15 min, turning occasionally to coat and soak up all the egg-y goodness.
~Remove the bread slices and cook each side in a hot buttered skillet or griddle till just golden brown, careful not to burn.
~While the bread slices are browning throw away any left over egg mixture from your baking pan and wipe it out.
~Once your french toast has browned place the slices in the baking dish and finish cooking in the oven for about 10 min.
~The middle of the french toast will finish cooking through and puff slightly.

Maple Cinnamon French Toast
Serve with maple syrup and butter.