Saturday Scrambled Eggs With Parsley & Garlic Mushrooms
For the mushrooms:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup mushrooms of your choice (we like shitake or chanterelles, but any earthy mushroom will do), chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
For the eggs:
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons crème fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon olive oil or butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh or toasted bread
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the mushrooms, with the garlic, until the mushrooms are just beginning to soften. Remove from heat, add the parsley and toss with a wooden spoon. Make sure not to burn the garlic or it will become really bitter.
Crack the eggs over a medium bowl and scramble them a few times with a fork. Mix in the crème fraiche (or sour cream). Season with salt and pepper. In a smaller sauté pan, heat the olive oil (or butter) over medium heat, add the scrambled eggs and gently stir them with a wooden spoon as they cook. You can decide to cook them until dry but we like them a bit soft and runny.
Serve the scrambled eggs over fresh or toasted bread and spoon a generous amount of sautéed mushrooms over each toast. Enjoy!
I just absolutely love this time of year. The temperatures may be higher than Spring feels like in other part of the world but we are still (and I insist on still) a few weeks away from scorching 100F (minimum) and 100% humidity (also a minimum). That means I can meander the farmers market without melting or rushing to get home once the milk and eggs find their way to my basket.
Every Saturday that I am in town, from April to December you will find me right at opening hour at the market. I like to be able to talk to the vendors who have now become friends. Instead of "hey we’re back!" when the market opened again this season, it was hugs and stories shared all around. We had months to catch up on and lots of good news to share. New breeds for Jason at Meathouse. New lasagna and fresh pasta flavors for Brian at Rio Bertolini, new farmland for Ken and his crew. So proud to see so many young talents share their craft and passion with produce- intense people like me.
They know my habits. I am not special. They know the habits of all their regulars. I am grateful for their enthusiasm and little extras they put in my basket once in a while. I love that they never mind my taking pictures as if they were about to disappear with their next breath. Charleston is lucky to have caring farmers and individuals. We are lucky to have this amount of gorgeousness so many months out of the year. I do my weekly shopping there and right now I am all about the greens, mushrooms and radishes. In a few weeks it will be heirloom tomatoes and squash that will be prominent.
Going with the rythm of the season is a treat. I am aware of it. If you have access to a farmers market or to a farm, make a trip there. There are fantastic passionate people working to get you the best produce possible. I like to honor them with photographs and still life shots. They make my work so much easy. Clients are always thrilled to see ingredients as fresh as these!
It makes getting home after a long shoot and staring at the content of the fridge with a hungry stomach that much easier. I can look at the chalkboard pantry door and see what I can combine from both dry and fresh goods to make dinner. (Side note: when we built the house back in 2005, I took the pantry door off its hinges and painted it with a coat of chalkboard paint. It makes tracking one’s fridge and pantry content that much more efficient). Lately, I have renewed a love affair with soft and creamy polenta, topped with lots of greens and once in while with an egg or a few grilled shrimp. (season kick off here was a few weeks ago)
Fresh, easy, quick and completely satisfying. I have to thank my mother for reminding me of the wonders of polenta. When they visited last and she was so sick the whole time, it was the only thing she could eat without being bothered much afterwards. Instead of making different meals for everyone, we would just make one big batch and partake. Months after, I still reach for the tin of polenta whenever I want something light, yet comforting.
Here is my favorite way to serve it at the moment: topped with sauteed Russian kale and shitake mushrooms, plenty of garlic and parsley and with a poached egg on top.
What is your favorite easy dinner to make?
Creamy Polenta with Russian Kale Shitake Mushrooms (with option to be topped with a poached egg):
For the kale and mushroom mix:
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 cups cleaned and roughly chopped Russian kale
1/2 pound fresh shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup water or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
For the polenta:
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup fine grain yellow polenta
dash of freshly ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon heavy cream
For the poached egg (optional) (but oh so tasty!)
I find that Elise’s post about poached eggs is the best one to date. You can check it out here.
Start by preparing the kale and mushroom mix.
Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium high. Add the kale and mushrooms and sauteed for about 5 minutes. Add the parsley and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock (or water), salt and pepper, cook for another minute and remove from the heat. Let cool while you prepare the polenta.
In large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and polenta at once and stir quickly with a whisk or wooden spoon to prevent the polenta from clumping. Add the nutmeg. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the polenta cook, uncovered for about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the heavy cream. Check the seasoning once again.
Divide into four portions, top with the kale and mushroom mix, adding a few tablespoons of the juice as you go along and top with a poached egg if desired.
I have a friend. Her name is Lorna. She writes The Cookbook Chronicles. She is drop dead gorgeous. Kindness and intelligence dance with every word she says. She is generous and humble. Humor and good disposition seem to like her. I have no idea if she is high or low maintenance but if she is the latter, I want to know how she does it. She’s got taste and she’s got gumption. And she wrote a book. A quirky, funky, well written, beautifully photographed cookbook, The Newlywed Kitchen. No wonder Henri asked her out and then asked for her hand in marriage. Smart man.
Lorna and Henri are newlyweds. They both love food. This is not a loose statement. They met on a food forum. In Lorna’s words "Our relationship was founded on our mutual love of food and our desire to nourish one another’s stomachs as well as our spirits." It could sound superficial and barely enough to hold a couple together but as she chronicled the making and writing of the book, you could tell that they were like the vast majority of couples. They love to share with others, spend time learning and give back what they know. Lorna did it with "The Newlywed Kitchen".
I am not a newlywed and yet I, we, thoroughly enjoyed the book. It does not pretend to be the "essential guide to cooking as a couple", instead it focuses on clean, simple recipes that can be at the foundation of any new couple repertoire. Narratives of other well known couples are dispersed throughout the book and add a charming and quaint little thing to it. I caught myself chuckling along as I was reading with that familiar feeling of "been there done that" of kitchen mishaps and victories. Pictures of newlyweds throughout the book are a little too quaint at times but they’re here to illustrate a point: there is plenty in this book to bring people together in many different ways.
Some of the recipes are kicked up classics like the "Four Cheese Mac-and-Cheese", the "Chicken Pot Pie with Cheddar Thyme Crust". Some are best saved for your first dinner cooking for the in-laws, "Holiday Rib Roast Wtih Thyme Gravy", "Chicken Piccata with Mushrooms and Leeks". Others are made for lazy Sunday mornings in newlywed Bliss like the "Topsy Turvy Apple French Toast", the "Smoked Salmon Frittata". And who would not want to cozy up with their better half with some "Chocolate Mudslide Cookies", "Nutella Doughnuts" or some "Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake"?
I just made myself hungry…
My better half does not cook. He barely boils water. We have shared custody of the grill. I don’t even know if he’s any good at it, he’s just not interested. And as he says "I married a chef, why would I even consider crossing the line? You don’t come in the garage and bleed the break of the MG now do you?". Touche. So you might wonder how this cookbook fared with us…
It did exactly what it was intended to do for a couple like us regarding food: I’d hold the book in one hand, pencil in the other and ask him whether "Grandma’s Italian Meatballs" sounded good for dinner or would he rather have the "Fall Apart Pot Roast"? Should I take the "Red Velvet Cake" or the "Strawberry Rhubarb Pie" to a dinner party with friends? My man may not cook or enjoy cooking but he loves to eat and knows his food, making it a pleasure and never a chore for me to cook everyday.
Finding a recipe to illustrate this review was a no brainer (I picked two actually and will write about the other one next week – with a little surprise you guys reading). The "Parmesan Roasted Asparagus, Tomatoes and Eggs" is exactly the kind of dish I like to fix us for lunch on Saturdays when we come back from the market or on Sundays when we set out to "not have a schedule". It’s simple, it’s fresh, it comes together fast and needs nothing but maybe a glass of wine and a piece of bread.
It’s the kind of meal we enjoy as a couple. It fits us and it felt even more special when we sat down to ingredients we had just picked up at the market from people who loved food as much as we do.
Let’s make lunch this week "French Word A Week" feature: "dejeuner". One of our favorite activity and time of the day. (click on the word to hear the pronunciation).
Parmesan Roasted Asparagus, Tomatoes and Eggs, courtesy and copyright Lorna Yee for "The Newlywed Kitchen"
1 pound asparagus
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino (I used shredded)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grounded black pepper
2 large eggs
3 spoonfuls pesto (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Wash the asparagus. Break the bottom stems off and discard. Toss the asparagus spears and tomatoes in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then place them on a parchment paper or Silpat lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for 12=14 minutes, or until tender and cooked through..
Meanwhile, fry the two eggs in the remaining oil, seasoning them with salt and pepper to taste. Place an egg in each portion of the cooked vegetable and top with a dab of pesto if desired.
Disclosure: I received a free copy from The Newlywed Kitchen from Sasquatch Books.