A Simple Breakfast – Pesto Eggs + Spinach

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I had really big plans for this pesto. Made from scratch last summer and frozen in small batches I pulled it out of the freezer last night to be the star in a beautiful summer meal. The weather, however, had other plans. It is stormy, grey skies, lots of thunder and lightning and rain. Storms in big city always make me feel a bit uneasy, the two don’t mix well – crazy hurricane like conditions in Manhattan? No thank you. This resulted in a less extravagant and easy meal. Something comforting and simple.

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Pesto Eggs + Spinach

This recipe is a meal for one, though very easy to make for a larger party.

1 large egg

pesto

fresh spinach – about 1-2 cups

1 clove minced garlic

parmesan cheese

olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a frying pan heat the olive oil (1/2 a tbsp or so) and garlic for a minute or until the garlic browns. Add the fresh spinach a little at a time, stirring often. Once the spinach is warm and wilted remove from the pan onto a plate and set aside. Add the egg to the pan with a little bit of pesto and scramble however you like to scramble. Season with a little salt and ground black pepper. Once your egg is cooked add to the plate with the spinach. Top with small pieces of parmesan cheese and a little drizzle of pesto. Enjoy in a cozy place!

Tomato, Mozzarella, & Farro Salad + Basil

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This salad is a perfect dish to whip up right now as farmers markets and grocery stores alike are overflowing with tomatoes. It shows off the tomatoes fresh taste with the tried and true compliments of mozzarella and basil. Combined with the chewy farro this is a healthy dish fit for any lunch + dinner + or picnic table! Serve on top of salad, or with grilled chicken. I ended up doubling the amount of basil, olives, and tomatoes shown below, I would definitely recommend doing so as well.

Tomato, Mozzarella, & Farro Salad + Basil ~ from Extra Virgin

1 pound farro

10 ounces cherry tomatoes, quartered

large handful of fresh basil leaves

1 (5-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small chunks

2 ounces pitted kalamata olives

extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook farro according to package directions, you want your farro to be cooked but still have a nice chew (usually just under 20 minutes). Drain and rinse the farro in cold water. In a large bowl mix the farro with the tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and olives. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve right away or keep in the fridge.

Asparagus with Lemon, Chile + Mint

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~ Recipe Below ~

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Asparagus is here. Flooding local markets everywhere. It looks so fresh, bright, green and crisp that you can hardly look away! So when thinking of how to prepare mine I thought this recipe would be perfect. Half way through cooking I realized a grill pan was needed, If only I could read the recipe through before diving in. Being grill pan-less I roasted mine in the oven instead. It was still delicious and I may even dare say a bit too lemony. If you are in possession of a grill pan you should definitely give it a go. Grilling always ads a nice flavor to vegetables and I have a feeling mellows out the tartness of the lemon a bit.

Once you have finished eating a lunch solely consisting of spicy, lemony asparagus keep the leftovers in the fridge. I chopped up the rest later on for a fabulous pasta dinner. Mix the chopped asparagus with a cooked pasta of choice and add in a splash of olive oil and grated parmesan. Grill, or roast, and enjoy! ~

Asparagus with Lemon, Chile + Mint ~ Adapted from the What Katie Ate cookbook

Fine salt

10 oz Asparagus spears, ends trimmed

Small bunch fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

zest and juice of 1 lemon, recommended in thin strips (I did a few then used a grater on the rest)

A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil

Grated parmesan and lemon wedges to serve

Half fill a pot with cold water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Add in the asparagus and cook for two minutes. Remove and drain, then place the asparagus to a bowl of ice cold water for five minutes. Drain again and pat dry. In a small bowl mix the mint, lemon zest and juice, red pepper flakes and a little salt and freshly grated black pepper. Remember that the parmesan is salty so you will only need a very small pinch of salt.

For the grill pan-less:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the asparagus in an oven safe dish and pour the mint mixture over. Toss to coat. Then roast in the oven for 12 to 18 minutes. Maybe less time depending on your oven. Until the asparagus is warm. I’m sure placing them on a lined baking sheet would also work well.

For the grill pan-ers:

Heat your grill pan over high heat until smoking. Spray with a little oil then add the asparagus. Turn the heat down to medium and add half of the mint mixture. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the asparagus is lightly charred, then turn over the asparagus and add the remaining mint mixture. Once the other side is cooked transfer the asparagus to a serving dish and add any mint mixture left on the grill pan.

Chachouka

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Chachouka ~ adapted from River Cottage Veg

3 tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1 large onion, thinly sliced in strips

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp paprika (hot smoked if you have it on hand)

a pinch of saffron strands

1 14 ounce can plum tomatoes, chopped

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large eggs

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the cumin and onion and saute for a for about 8-10 minutes or until soft and golden in color. Add the garlic and peppers and continue to cook on low heat for around 20 minutes, stirring often, until the peppers are soft and wilted. Add in the paprika, a little salt and pepper, crumble in the saffron with your fingers, and add the tomatoes with any liquid from cutting. Cook, stirring from time to time, for about 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Taste the pepper mixture and adjust seasonings if needed then transfer to an oven-safe baking dish. Make two hollows in the pepper mixture and add an egg to each. sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for around 12 minutes depending on how you like your eggs cooked. If you like your eggs runny (the way this dish is meant to be served) then stop at around the 12 minute mark. Any longer and your eggs will be more set.

Enjoy ~

Eggplant Parmigiana

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I am trying to be present here more. I think it would be good for my well being to cook more and thus post more. Let’s see how this plan goes.

According to River Cottage Veg this is a lovely dish to make on a long rainy afternoon when you don’t have much to do. It is the first recipe in the book, perfect to start my new cooking-more adventure with. So after work on a Thursday at 7:30 pm I embarked on the eggplant parmigiana journey. It would be no problem I thought, You just layer everything and cook! Not realizing that the sliced eggplant should sit for an hour and the sauce needs to be prepped then cook for an hour and once assembled the dish itself needs to bake for an hour. Determined to see it through I didn’t take as much time as needed to let the sauce thicken and the eggplant drain but I did eat around 11 pm that night and it was worth it. Next time, though, I’m saving this for a lazy weekend day… This cooking new things after work will be learning process. ;)

Eggplant Parmigiana ~ Adapted from River Cottage Veg

4 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds)

4-5 tbsp of olive oil

2 balls of buffalo mozzarella (about 4 oz each)

finely grated parmesan cheese, or other hard cheese

For the sauce:

2 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 (14 oz cans plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (any stems and skin removed)

1 bay leaf

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

a pinch of sugar

*I ended up only using 2 (12 oz) cans of already chopped tomatoes. Maybe the ratio to the whole ones is different. Either way it isn’t a bad thing to end up with to much home-made sauce.

Trim the eggplants and slice lengthwise (thinly). Layer the slices in a colander and sprinkle with a little salt. Leave to drain for an hour or so. (I skipped this step but I think it is a useful one if you have the time).

Make the sauce: Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute   for about 10 minutes, stirring on and off, until soft and fragrant. Add the tomatoes and their juice and the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer then simmer briskly stirring often for around 30-45 minutes. The end result should be a nice thick sauce. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of sugar.

Rinse off the eggplant slices and pat dry. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot fry a batch of eggplant slices for about 2 minutes per side, until golden and tender. Remove and set aside. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices adding a little more oil before each batch.

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. In an oven proof dish (8 by 10 inches) layer a third of the eggplant slices. Cover with sauce (make sure to remove the bay leaf first). Then top with teared pieces of the mozzarella and sprinkles of the grated parmesan. Repeat this layering process until the dish is full, about 3 layers of each.

Bake for 30-45 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is golden on top. Great on its own but also perfect with a large salad to make a meal.

Enjoy!

Strawberry, Apple + Almond Breakfast Muffins

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* My only advice for these is serve warm and ENJOY!

Strawberry, Apple + Almond Breakfast Muffins ~ Adapted from the What Katie Ate Cookbook

1 1/4 cup self-rising flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup superfine sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Finely grated zest of 1/2 a lemon (I used a whole, you can’t ever have enough!)

Large pinch of fine sea salt

2 tsp natural vanilla extract

1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 apple, peeled, cored, and cut into small cubes

6 large strawberries, hulled and quartered

Handful of sliced blanched almonds

1-2 tbsp light brown sugar

Warm water (see below)

 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper baking cups or rounds of parchment paper. In a large bowl mix together the flour, almond meal, superfine sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, lemon zest, and salt. In a separate bowl combine the vanilla extract, melted butter, eggs, and 3/4 cup warm water. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well, then add the apple cubes and gently stir to combine. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup to about three quarters full. Place two strawberry quarters on top of each muffin, then sprinkle with the almonds and brown sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Blueberry Muffins with Lemon + Olive Oil

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It is fifty degrees here in New York City, and I thought this lovely temperature deserved some celebration! Plenty of winter still awaits, but for the moment, lets bring in the sunshine with these tasty treats! Great for a hearty breakfast on the go or with a mug of hot tea, the lemon gives off a nice little zest and there are so many blueberries in each and every bite you can’t help but smile. :)

~ Recipe below ~

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Blueberry Muffins with Lemon + Olive Oil ~ adapted from cannellevanille

1 cup oat flour*

3/4 cup millet flour

1/2 cup buckwheat flour*

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 tsp lemon zest (I made them heaping teaspoons)

1/2 cup natural cane sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries (I used frozen here)

*The original recipe calls for 1 cup brown rice flour and 1/2 cup almond flour. I used what I had on hand and thought they still came out very tasty but I would recommend trying these as well)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl combine the lemon zest and sugars and rub them together with your hands to release the oils, it smells wonderful! Add the 2 eggs and whisk until combined. Add the pure vanilla extract, olive oil and coconut milk and mix until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined as well, lastly mix in the blueberries.

Spoon the batter into your paper lined tin. I like to fold my parchment paper into cups, though you have to hold the paper in place until you fill it with the batter. Sprinkle a little bit of natural can sugar on top.

Bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. You may have to bake the muffins for longer depending on the size of your muffin molds.

Let them cool before eating and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. They taste great the next morning after being warmed up for 20 seconds in the microwave.

~ Enjoy ~

Baked Blackberry Oatmeal

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Greetings! I hope you are having a merry holiday. This time is one of my favorites, the in-between time right before New Years Eve. There may be some work involved but it is a time filled with laughter, parties, loved ones and food. This hearty breakfast bake fits in perfectly and brings a smile to your face on these chilly mornings. Resembling a fruit crumble more than oatmeal it is quite a treat! The blackberries are warm and syrupy, bursting with flavor. With a cake like oatmeal mixture in the middle and topped off with sweet crunchy sunflower and pumpkin seeds. YUM, I will start my mornings like this, please.

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Blackberry Oatmeal Bake ~ adapted from Vegetarian Everyday

14 oz fresh or frozen blackberries (thaw if frozen)

2 cups rolled oats

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger

a pinch of sea salt

2 large eggs

2 1/4 cups milk of choice

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup pure unsweetened honey, agave, or maple syrup

1 tbsp coconut oil + extra for greasing the pan

3/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds (original recipe uses toasted hazelnuts)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8 x 10 baking dish and spread the berries in an even layer on the bottom of the dish and set aside. In a mixing bowl combine the oats, baking powder, ginger and salt. In another bowl add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and whisk until combined. In a smaller bowl mix the honey/maple/agave syrup, 1 tbsp coconut oil and the nuts/seeds (use your fingers to make sure all of the seeds/nuts are well coated). Pour the dry oat mixture evenly over the berries then pour the egg mixture over evenly. Sprinkle the seed mixture on top and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the oatmeal is set (no liquid) and the seeds are lightly browned and crunchy. Cool slightly before serving.

Broccoli Pomegranate Yogurt Salad

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I’m back! And hopefully I will remain so. Life has been busy but I have missed being on here. This side dish is the perfect healthy accompaniment to all the holiday food surrounding you. Its vibrant colors of red and green make it a festive, crunchy, sweet, tasty treat!

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I am still trying to master the art of removing the seeds from a pomegranate. Do you have any tried and true tricks up your sleeve? The hitting with a wooden spoon method hasn’t been very successful yet. I still tear into it in chunks and remove all the seeds with my fingers…

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Broccoli Pomegranate Yogurt Salad – from Vegetarian Everyday

2 heads of broccoli

1 small red onion (or 1/2 of a large onion) finely minced

seeds of one pomegranate

1 and 1/4 cup of raisins

1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds

1 cup plain yogurt

sea salt and pepper

Wash your broccoli and chop into small, bite-sized, pieces. Finley slice the stalk pieces as well. Place in a large bowl along with the finely minced red onion, raisins, and sunflower seeds. Toss to combine (I used my hands to mix this, even with the yogurt) add the yogurt and toss again. Mix in the pomegranate seeds last to prevent any from bursting. Finish with salt and pepper to taste and serve! Yum!