Garden Salad with Poached Egg

Garden Salad

This year I proudly joined the CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture. How it works, is the CSA members pay the farmer a one time fee before crops are grown in order to help the farmers pay for all their initial costs involved in growing crops. Then throughout the season they deliver family shares or single shares of produce to a community pickup area weekly. This reduces the waste involved in blindly growing crops for an undetermined number of people! This is an excellent opportunity to not only receive freshly picked farm-raised food, but to support local farms, the community and the environment.

As you can tell I am quite excited about this, every week is a new surprise and I was thrilled with my first pickup which was a couple weeks ago now. I meant to post about this sooner but was having technical difficulties with my site. Now I am up and running and wanted to share what I made with just my first pickup from the CSA program. Even though this package was a little smaller than what is to come, since it is the beginning of the season, they did make up for that by giving us a dozen free-run eggs and organic honey.

CSA

I always like to challenge myself by working with what I have and using up everything in the fridge. In this case I didn’t have much in the fridge and the farmers share was a great excuse to see what I could make from it. I got a beautiful assortment of green lettuce, colourful carrots, fresh strawberries, eggs, honey and garlic scapes. Not sure what garlic scapes are? I didn’t know at first so I gave my mom a quick call 🙂 They are the flower part of a garlic bulb and they usually are out earlier in the season. They are then cut off the garlic to help it grow – so they need to be used up too! They taste like garlic but not as intense and a little sweeter. Sort of like a mixture of a green onion and garlic and can be used anyway you would use either of those.

I used them to make the dressing in this salad, blended it with olive oil, lemon, and garlic scapes, with honey! Then simply roasted my carrots on the side, poached my eggs, drizzled on the dressing et voila! Simple, healthy, nutritious and delicious!

Here’s the recipe, I hope you enjoy 🙂

Serves one

Ingredients

2 eggs

1 bunch of green lettuce

about 5 carrots

about 10 strawberries

sprig of thyme

1 tbsp of white vinegar (for the poach egg water)

salt and pepper

For the dressing

2 garlic scapes

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp of honey

Method

Heat oven to 475°

For the dressing, in a small blender, blend the garlic scapes, then add the olive oil, honey and lemon juice.

Prepare your produce, rinse and rip apart your lettuce. Cut the strawberries in half and drizzle the carrots with half of the dressing.

Spread the carrots out on a baking dish, sprinkle with salt, pepper and a sprig of thyme and roast them in the oven for about 30-45 minutes. Carrots

Time to poach some eggs! Bring a shallow pot of water to almost a boil, more like an aggressive simmer, then add about a tablespoon of white vinegar to it. This helps keep the egg whites all together.

Gently crack 2 eggs into the water. Be sure to get your timing right by roasting the carrots 30 minutes already before you start your eggs, these won’t take long.

Cook the eggs until they are white all over, about 3-4 minutes, then gently take them out with a slotted spoon. I like to place them on paper towel when I am putting them on a salad to soak up any excess water. Poached Egg Salad

When slicing into the egg they should be perfectly cooked and hard all around, then runny in the middle. This is something that takes practice! One thing I notice about free run eggs verses eggs by the volume in a grocery store is the yellow yolk. Largely produced eggs, with the chickens in their small spaces I don’t even want to think about, have a much paler yolk because they lack the nutrients free run chickens have. This honestly makes an egg so much better and how it should be!

Once everything is ready assemble it all together! I like to toss my dressing on the lettuce well before I put it on the plate, then add the eggs, strawberries, your carrots on the side and the extra garlic scape was purely for decoration :).

 

Healthy Blueberry Crisp

Blueberry_CrispThis Healthy Blueberry Crisp is made with oatmeal, almonds, blueberries, coconut oil, and agave nectar. I was craving a late night snack last night, while wanting something healthy, but sweet and satisfying. Sometimes when I am ambitious I will whip up some late night muffins or cookies, but I didn’t even have eggs and I am not a huge fan of the vegan substitute for eggs, I have done it before and I just don’t think it’s the same.

Working with what I had – lots of frozen blueberries, oatmeal and almonds, this crisp was the perfect idea! It was very quick to make and required minimal ingredients which made it an attractive dessert. Usually crisps would be made with butter to help keep it together and something sweet like brown sugar, but to make this a little healthier I opted for coconut oil to replace the butter and agave nectar for the sugar. If you don’t have agave nectar you could use maple syrup or honey, both great natural options.Crisp

This recipe can easily be adjusted, I had frozen blueberries but fresh berries, or other types like strawberries, black berries, raspberries, even a medley would all be delicious options. I am not much of a baker because I have troubles following recipes exactly, which is why this is the perfect recipe for the non-baker. No flour, baking power, and baking soda to fuss over, and if you added a little bit more or less of an ingredient it won’t ruin the dish – that’s my kind of baking!

The Healthy Blueberry Crisp is a must try, so simple, crunchy, delicious and packed with antioxidants from the blueberries, vitamins and good fats from the almonds, and fiber from the oats. A healthy crisp like this one could easily be served warm, or cold, for breakfast or for dessert. Enjoy!!

Ingredients

1 cup steel-cut oats

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups of frozen blueberries

1/3 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup chopped crummy almonds

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp lemon zest

Method

Heat oven to °350

In a large bowl mix together the oats, agave, coconut oil, salt and almonds. For the almonds slice the first 1/4 with a chopping knife, and with the second 1/4 blend in a chopping machine so it turns into large crumbs. Oatmeal Crisp

In a rectangle baking dish, no need to oil the dish, add the blueberries, the lemon juice and zest. Add the oatmeal mixture on top, et voila! Heat in the oven for 40 minutes until you see the blueberries bubbling.Blueberry_Crisp

Once it’s ready, take it out and let it cool 10 minutes. Serve with ice cream or Greek yogurt!

Huevos Rancheros and Refried Black Beans

Huevos_RancherosFeliz Cinco De Mayo! When the Mexican army prevailed over the French in 1862 – or in other words, when us non Mexican’s make it a thing  to eat Mexican food! Both great reasons to celebrate, because Mexican food is some of the most delicious, well liked food in the world – wouldn’t you agree? I mean, wrapping anything in a tortilla, with spicy flavourful sauces automatically makes food delicious and they have been doing it since the beginning of time.

There are so many Mexican dishes I was thinking of making in preparation for this post. I was trying to be more authentic with a dish suggested by my friend called Cochinita Pibil, which is similar to a pulled pork, but marinated and cooked with citrus orange flavours, topped with pickled red onions, wrapped in a tortilla. This seriously will be a delicious dish when I make it, but I just didn’t have pork in my freezer, and I was trying to use what I already had in my fridge.

I had recently made Mexican Salad and I already have Enchilada’s and a Salsa Verde post. So in the end I went with a classic, simple Mexican breakfast – Huevos Rancheros! Since this was my last night dinner, I wanted more than just that, so I added refried black beans to the side to make it more filling and hardy.

Hope you enjoy this breakfast (which could be a dinner!) as much as I did last night 🙂

Huevos Rancheros

Serves 2

Ingredients

For the Refried Black Beans 

1 can, or about 1 1/2 cup black beans

1/2 yellow onion diced

1 clove of garlic diced

2 tbsp oil (olive, canola, or coconut)

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 cup water, or more as needed

For the Huevos Rancheros 

3-4 eggs as you would like

1 can diced tomatoes

1/2 yellow onion diced

2 cloves garlic diced

1 tsp diced jalapeño

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili flakes

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp brown sugar

salt and pepper

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Method

Start with the refried beans because they will take some time to simmer. Prepare your beans, if you have dried ones, either soak for 12 hours, or boil for 2, as the package reads. If you have canned, drain and rinse. Chop your onion and garlic (leaving enough for the Huevos Rancheros).

Refried Black Beans

Heat a medium sized pot on the stove and add the oil, onion, garlic and spices. Cook till the onion is soft, about 5 minutes, add the beans and the water so it just covers the beans. Put the lid on, turn the heat to low and let sit about an hour stirring occasionally.

Refried Blackbeans

While the refried black beans are simmering, prepare for the Huevos Rancheros. I used a cast iron pan, something I could put in the oven, but if you don’t have that option, choose a wide pan with deep edges and a lid.

Preheat the oven to 400° if you are using the cast iron pan.

Your onions and garlic should already be chopped for you, if you were thinking ahead from the refried black beans. Chop your jalapeño, if you don’t like it too spicy, just add a bit, if you like it real spicy, add more!

Add oil to the pan on medium high heat. Once hot, add the onions, spices and jalapeño. When it comes to cast iron pans, I like to wait on the garlic so it doesn’t burn. Cook the onions until they are brown, once they are brown you can add the garlic.

Onions_Jalapeño_Garlic

Pour in the can of tomatoes, tsp of sugar, and salt and pepper. Let this sit for about 20 minutes so the sauce thickens. Meanwhile check on your beans. They should be really soft now, and the water should be gone. If it looks very dry don’t be shy to add more water, the beans will soak it up quickly. Now mash the beans with a fork, or potato masher and they are done – keep them warm with the lid on.

Once the tomato sauce is nicely reduced, make little holes for the eggs, crack them in quickly – so they cook at the same time and either throw the pan in the oven for 7 minutes or put a lid on for 3-5 minutes.

That’s it that’s all! The eggs should be runny and delicious, serve on a plate with cilantro, cheese or avocados. Usually these would be put in a corn tortilla, but I skipped that step since I thought they were great on their own.

The Portobello Benedict

Portobello Benedict
The Portobello Benedict is a hearty, gourmet, vegetarian meal that can be served for breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner.

Portobello mushrooms are a brilliant substitute for meat and a great option for vegetarians. With a dense structure, and a meaty filling, they can easily replace hamburger meat, chicken in fajitas, beef in lasagna, and believe it or not a Portobello mushroom could be grilled and eaten just like a steak! With more mushrooms, and sauteed onions on top, paired with a robust glass of red wine – mmm mmm mmmmmmm, you won’t even know it’s a mushroom.

I was very excited to serve these to my newly vegetarian friend, Becca! A girl who can appreciate eggs Benedict just as much as me and also be open to anything you feed her, such as a giant mushroom! The meal was a success, and I think she will bring home the idea of meaty Portobello Benedict, to add to her vegetarian lifestyle.

I followed my Heavenly Hollandaise recipe for lemony hollandaise sauce, perfectly poached the eggs, and roasted the mushrooms in the oven 10 minutes each side. A key to getting great flavour and moisture from the mushrooms is to marinate them in olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs for about an hour before roasting.

Experience the wonders of Portobello Mushrooms with this beautifully gourmet meal!

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 portobello mushrooms

2 eggs (to poach)

1 tbsp white vinegar

4 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

2 tsp oregano

For the Hollandaise Sauce click here

Method

Start by rinsing off the mushrooms, pat them dry and marinate them in the olive oil, oregano, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Let that sit about an hour.

Portobello Mushrooms

Heat the oven to 400°F. 

Start preparing the hollandaise sauce, if you follow my recipe to the T it will turn out perfectly!

Once the hollandaise is almost done, put the mushrooms on a baking pan and into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip to the next side. Once they are on their second side, this is when you will start the poached eggs- remember timing is everything! Also make sure to periodically whisk your hollandaise, and keep it at a low temperature so it doesn’t thicken too much.

Bring a pot of water to a simmer, not a boil. Add the white vinegar – this helps keeps the eggs together. Give the water a stir to make it rotate, then gently crack your eggs in to the simmering, twirling water.

They don’t take too long, about 7 minutes, which should be perfect timing for your mushrooms. Portobello Egg

Place the portobello mushroom on a plate, spoon out the eggs to place on top of the mushroom, then add your hollandaise. Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper, and garnish with something green.

Portobello Benedict

I had made this recipe a second time around, I didn’t have a salad on the side so I decided to add some veggies to the ensemble. I put arugula and sliced cherry tomatoes on the portobello mushrooms while they were roasting with top side down. This turned out wonderfully, and added a little more oomph to this already sophisticated meal!

Heavenly Hollandaise

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Hands down, eggs benedict is my favourite breakfast in the whole entire world!  It’s guaranteed to be a good day if it starts out with hollandaise sauce 🙂 I don’t care what it might do to my thighs, you can’t deny yourself from the most delicious things in this universe!

When I want a quick eggs benny, I have in the past used the powdered packaged ones, and I must say they do a fine job. But I also think it’s important to know how to make most food from scratch.

Hollandaise sauce takes a bit of skill, timing, patience, and the right temperatures to get it right. Lets talk about a few tips to avoid any troubles.

  1. Curdling – when sauces start to get clumpy from the protein in eggs if too much heat or acid is added. To prevent, heat the sauce slowly and don’t let it get too high. If it starts to curdle move to another clean pot and add a bit of cool water.  Also mix the lemon in last when the sauce is warm not hot.
  2. Salt can cause the yolk to break down, so best to season with salt and pepper at the end.
  3. I heat the butter covered in the microwave. Make sure it doesn’t get too hot and add it slowly, just a bit at a time to the eggs when it is slightly cooler.
  4. Whisk vigorously! Whisking prevents the eggs from cooking too fast, and incorporates air to make them light and fluffy.

Ok, so we have the basics to prevent any disasters, now lets get started!

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

4 egg yolks

1 cup melted butter

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

3 tbsp lemon juice

1 teaspoon tarragon

salt and pepper

Method

Double BoilerStart  by simmering about 2 cups of water in a medium sized pot. Go “double boiler” style by putting a wide metal bowl good for whisking on top. Whisk together the 4 egg yolks in the bowl and add the teaspoon of white wine vinegar. Time to whisk vigorously until the mixture turns frothy or forms a foam. This is when you don’t want the eggs to get too hot, if you need to take the bowl off the pot and keep whisking, then put it back on to heat up.

Egg YolkHollandaise

Once the eggs are at the right texture, whisk in the not-too-hot butter a little bit at a time. Remove the bowl from the pan when you add the butter, and put it back on while you whisk. Once all of the butter is in, it should have a thick sauce texture.

Hollandaise

Finally whisk in the lemon juice, salt, pepper and dried tarragon. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little warm water from the pot.

Serve on top of a toasted English muffin, ham and a beautifully poached egg for the best breakfast ever! (In my opinion ;))

Or try The Portobello Benedict for something different!

Frittata Cupcakes


The most important meal of the day…that shouldn’t be forgotten. These frittatas are a great breakfast to make on Sunday’s to have left overs for the rest of the week when you are rushing out the door. Frittatas are like an omelette or crustless quiche, that really can be made however you like, with whatever veggie, meat or cheese you have in your fridge.

I made these frittata’s at my brother’s house using what was in his fridge, kale, peppers, onions, little sausages, tomatoes and mushrooms. They only had expensive cheese so I chose to opt out on that. But otherwise use up what you have at home – spinach, bacon, feta, or goat cheese, asparagus, or broccoli!   Just be sure to chop everything small enough.

Makes 12 cups

Ingredients

1/3  red onion

bunch of chopped kale

1/2 pepper – any colour!

1/4 cup mushrooms

1/4 cup cherry tomatoes

3 small sausage patties

8 eggs

1/3 cup milk

salt and pepper

Method

Heat your oven to 375. Chop all your ingredients into small pieces and throw them into a pan with olive oil on medium high heat. Meanwhile in a large measuring cup crack 8 eggs, add the milk, and whisk.  Once onions are soft and kale is slightly wilted distribute the veggies, and meat into a well oiled muffin tray. Add the whisked eggs to each and bake 20 minutes.

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IMG_0299 IMG_0301

Let the frittatas cool for a few minutes. You may want to use a knife to go around the edges if they are sticking, then pop them out gently with a spatula. Serve with hot sauce or salsa, even make them into an english muffin sandwich and enjoy!