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Entries in eggs (10)


NEW RECIPE! Smoky Black Bean & Bacon Stew with Avocado and Fried Egg

It's hard not to enjoy black bean soup. It's rich and dark, a perfect cold-weather recipe, and virtuous too--both calorically and financially. Black bean soup is a simple classic, and should therefore not be tweaked, added to, or substantially changed.

Or, instead, we could do all of those things! We could seek to improve black bean soup--nay, perfect it. 

"Perfect it?!?!" you gasp. "But how?"

"With bacon," I say. "With bacon."

Yes, dear friends, dear readers: We can make our black bean soup with bacon. Then, we can play off the rich bacon with smoky chipotle and sweet garlic and let the soup slowly cook down into a thick, hearty stew. We can load up the toppings: sour cream to offset the smoke and heat; fried egg for protein; avocado for healthy fats and texture. Finally we can serve the whole mess with the afterthought of some greenery: a little chopped scallion to make it look as though we went to trouble (we didn't, of course; the whole thing was quite easy).

Et voilà--a delicious, dark, filling meal, served in a single bowl. (Recipe after the jump!)

Click to read more ...


The Best Brunch in All of Atlanta

I have a favorite brunch place in several cities. Visiting Portland, ME? Bintliff's is the absolute bees knees (get the corned beef hash, made with huge chunks of house-made corned beef). Swinging by Rochester, NY? Hit up Simply Crepes (and order a crepe. Duh). In Washington, DC for the weekend? I do dearly love Busboys and Poets (pretty incredible crab benedict; they call it "The Neptune").

If you live in, are stopping by or just within a couple throusand miles of Atlanta, I'd like to recommend The Best Brunch in All of Atlanta: Murphy's.

Why Murphy's? There are the basics (great service; superb coffee and espresso drinks; shafts of brilliant sunlight which shine through the open french doors; the calm breeze which meanders through and around the restaurant). Oh, you want three really, AWESOME, food-related reasons? OK:


Oh my God. You might think you don't like grits. I betcha you'd like them if someone were to, say, cook them in cream and cheddar cheese, cover them in a piquant tomato and andouille sausage stew, toss on a handful of giant spice-rubbed grilled shrimp, and top it all off with a perfectly poached egg and scallions for good measure.

Seriously. I have dreams about this shrimp and grits. It's what brings me back to Murphy's every time I visit Atlanta (every two months to see Jen). They're so good, I'm salivating just writing about them.

Two more reasons and a Hungry Sam Housekeeping Note after the jump!

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Shakshuka? I Hardly Know Ya!

Wow -- what a terrible title. Consider it a working title until I can come up with something better. Nope, I'm keeping it.

A long time ago, in a kitchen about eight feet away, I made a delicious dish called Shakshuka. For the sadly uninitiated, Shakshuka looks a lot like this:


Actually it looks exactly like that! Shakshuka is an Israeli breakfast dish in which eggs are essentially poached in a thick, spicy tomato-based sauce, often with a little cheese melted in, and served with pita. Much like any stew or sauce, there are myriad combinations and tweaks that a chef might bring to shakshuka to make it his or her own, but for a change of pace and because this constituted a first attempt, I stuck to a recipe. I didn't even know I could still DO that.

Except for using baguette instead of pita.

Now, for anyone who thinks Smitten Kitchen has blogging monopoly on shakshuka -- you're right. So, I worked off her recipe! It's quite easy; in fact, shakshuka falls into an excellent category of recipes I call "Looks impressive, tastes awesome, costs nothing and is super easy."

This is a super dish for brunches, because although it requires that the chef pay some attention, it's unique and will leave a lasting impression on your guests. It's heavily spiced but not overly spicy; there's rich, smoky depth of flavor, and the texture of the silky homemade sauce jives well with the egg and cheese and is perfectly complemented by crusty bread or pita. 

All you need is:
olive oil
3 jalapeños, stemmed and seeded
1 small onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, halved
1 t. ground cumin
1 T. paprika
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
6 eggs
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley


To start, dice up the onion and jalapenos (wash your hands and don't touch your eyes, people). In a heavy-bottomed pot or deep pan, cook the veggies over medium-high in a few tablespoons of olive oil until the onions turn golden, about 5 minutes. Don't cook 'em too long; you don't want them to totally break down in the sauce.

Then, add the spices and halved garlic cloves and cook another two minutes or so, being sure to coat everything in the paprika and cumin.

As a quick aside, I know some people stress about ensuring absolutely correct measurements for spices. DON'T. Unless you go totally nuts and dump in handfuls of cumin or something, you can't screw it up. If you add too much, you've just created a new version; shakshuka a la YOU.

Ok, now here's the fun part -- it's the cooking equivalent of finger painting. Dump the tomatoes out from the can, with their juices into a bowl then SQUISH THEM ALL UP WITH YOUR HANDS. That's right. With your HANDS.

"But Hungry Sam, I don't wanna use my hands," someone might say. "Isn't there an alternative?"

"NO," I say. Go big or go home, right folks?

Anyways, throw the hand-crushed tomatoes in with the onions et al, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer 12-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes and adding up to a 1/2 cup of water if things start getting dry.

Looks like the shining orb of a star!

Once things are getting kind of saucy (wink wink nudge nudge), gently -- gently! -- add your eggs, trying to get as much distance as possible between them, like so:


I'd cover the pot at this point, if you can; I feel the eggs cook more cleanly that way. After about five minutes, the yolks will be semi-firm and good to go. At this point, turn off the stove, and carefully mix in the crumbled feta. Top with chopped parsley and dig in with some sliced bread!




Gratuitous Jokes about My Divorced Eggs

I'm not totally insane. I know that most of the foods and dishes I blog about wouldn't amuse a normal person as much as they amuse me.

However, the whole table at Mexican brunch (Don Jaime's in Mt. Pleasant) on Sunday found some humor in this dish:
It's called Huevos Divorciados. Yes, that's right, Spanglish speakers: I ate "divorced eggs" for breakfast.
Now, this might seem perplexing if you don't know the backstory to this sad yet delicious state of things. But I think I've pieced it together.


Warning: I'm about to take something moderately amusing way too far.

Click to read more ...


There Are Omelets I Remember

I don't have any excuses for this.
Well, three of them, at least. Also, how the heck do you spell "omelet"/"omelette"/"omelete"??? I'm going with "omelet," since I'm an American, dammit.

I've already discussed my recent predilection for omelet breakfasts. It's mostly a protein thing (25+ grams before 9 AM!), and I make 'em healthy by using mostly egg whites, Canadian bacon (very lean breakfast meat), and using onions, peppers, garlic, and dill.

The other day, though, I changed my omeletting process a little to great reviews from my taste buds. I started mixing a little cottage cheese into the eggs before starting to cook, which has made the dish fluffier and lighter, and cooked everything in less time by swirling uncooked egg under the cooked edges more aggressively. Really, very fluffy, almost delicate omelets going on all up in this business.

So, just to leap back into the blogging swing, here are some photos of the best omelets I've ever made!

And -- the best one EVER (this morning):
"The peppers are INSIDE the omelet..."


DISCOVERY: Chipotle Breakfast!

'Borrowed' from the web.
I eat breakfast every morning. Every single morning. I don't think I've missed a single breakfast in three years, with the possible exception of a few weekend days -- on which I sub-in brunch.

I'm hardcore about breakfast because a) it's healthy and I keep myself full through most of the morning and b) I get to cook something every day before doing anything else. The key to making breakfast happen every day is habit, which means I tend to go on "kicks" -- long stretches in which I make variations on a particular breakfast recipe.

I've been on an eggs kick, adding onion, peppers, Canadian bacon, capers, and sun-dried tomatoes in some combination and often spicing with dried dill weed and garlic. I generally do an omelet, with the occasional scramble or frittata, and I frequently use one egg and two eggs-worth of store bought egg whites (fewer calories, more protein).

Well, last night I was watching a "Dexter" rerun, and among the fantastically sinister "getting-ready-for-the-day" opening credits scenes is one in which bright red hot sauce is violently splashed across an egg. Color me inspired.

This morning, I did the same thing with my morning omelet. I picked up a bottle of Chipotle Tabasco hot sauce (which I'd purchased without a clear sense of what I'd use it on) and drizzled my eggs with the sweet, smokey, burning flavor of chipotle peppers. Turns out, I'm hooked.

Simple onion, garlic, dill, and Parmesan omelet DRENCHED in chipotle hot sauce.
To make my morning omelet, you'll need (at a minimum):

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. egg whites
  • 3 T. diced onion (about 1/2 of a small one)
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • 2 slices (or one serving) of Canadian-style bacon (the leanest of breakfast meats; unavailable in Canada) cut into cm squares
  • 1/2 t. dried dill weed
  • Little bit of butter, salt and pepper
TO make, smear a little butter (enough to coat) on the interior of a nonstick skillet. Set over medium/medium-low heat. Once hot, throw in onion and garlic and cook til fragrant, about 2 minutes. Beat the egg and egg whites together until slightly foamy; add dill and season with salt and pepper. Add meat to the pan (and any extras, such as sun-dried tomatoes, capers, other veggies) and cook until you're happy, then add egg mixture.

For an omelet, don't disturb the pan until the edges set -- then you can swirl the uncooked egg around onto the pan. For scrambled eggs, start scraping and pushing using a (non-metal!) spatula pretty much right away. For a frittata, cook in an oven-safe skillet over medium-low, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and don't disturb eggs until nearly fully set. Finish a frittata in the oven until it starts to brown nicely.

In all cases, add Parmesan cheese before eggs are done (or for a frittata before they go in the oven) but after they're mostly set to avoid a mess.

I think I'll be on a hot sauce kick for a while.


Holidays in Maine Means Lobster and Tree-Shaped Cake

Without addressing the theological and cultural implications of a Jewish person doing Christmas -- I do Christmas.

Rather, my family does (and always has); my mother is Christian and doing Christmas (having a tree, exchanging presents, eating special dishes) is one of the many ways we have integrated the traditions and memories with which my mom grew up into our family's life. Plus, Chanukah is kind of a stupid holiday.

BUT that's not the point of this post. The point of this post is that Jen and I hit up my home in Maine for Christmas. A total of five cancelled flights led to two extra days in Maine for me and four for Jen -- and a number of extra meals with the family.


My mom made her EPIC lobster stew on Christmas Eve. This is truly epic -- NUMEROUS lobsters, picked and cooked in a rich but loose tinned milk-based stew. My mom's famous for this stuff -- just don't ask her about the time TWO consecutive batches were ruined due to the tendency of regular milk to curdle when interacting with the residue from the rubber bands around lobster claws. Don't ask my dad, either; he was the one who picked all those damn lobsters. Now, however, my parents have perfected the process; the result is a tangy, savory stew bursting with claw and tail meat.


My mom also whipped up a pretty super roasted beet, walnut, and goat cheese salad with the meal, one totally worth mentioning:

That morning, we feasted on an incredible french toast souffle, one which had sat and soaked in its batter in the fridge overnight. It souffled so much that we couldn't get it out of the oven without the peaks scraping the heating elements on the oven's roof -- and though this photo came after the souffle began to fall, I think it captures how buttery and airy the dish finished. It looks a little weird, but at the end of the day, this is the fluffiest, well-spiced, mouth-wateringest french toast EVAH.

Finally, the last few years I've been the one to make our family's traditional Christmas tree coffee cake. You roll out your refrigerated-rised pastry dough into a 10" by 16" rectangle and cover it in a mixture of pecans, dates, sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon. The dough is then rolled (hotdog direction) and cut into 16 even rolls. These are then arranged on a cookie sheet in the shape of an evergreen tree, painted with a little more butter, and are allowed to rise for a while before baking. We always frost with a little green vanilla frosting, like so:

This is a coffee cake in only the loosest of senses, for in truth, it's essentially an arrangement of sticky buns with a Christmas flair. So damn good.

In my house, Christmas isn't a religious event -- after all, my brothers and I are Jewish. But the Christmas foods are a touchstone, one that helps to make Christmas real and traditional and meaningful for my mother. Giving my mom the chance to be drawn back into wonderful memories from her childhood and to continue to make memories with her family (and this time around, with Jen too) is what it's all about.

Do any of you have interesting Christmas/holiday traditions and foods? Share in the comments section!