The Egg Nest, Nid d’oeuf

Someone shared a Russian video about making these fabulous looking egg nests on my facebook page.  I was absolutely enchanted the moment I saw them and thought: I wanna try.  The tricky part is that I have to be in the mood for breakfast for lunch or dinner and that might take a while (there’s no making an elaborate breakfast for, *gasp* breakfast).  I also had to figure out what they were called to search for them in English… and then Pinterest saved me.  Someone pinned a recipe for it and viola… and experiment was born!  Even better: it was based of a French recipe (I have a not so secret love of French cuisine and anything to do with France).

Now, usually, I whip egg whites by hand; a carry over from my days working at a living history site, but I live in this wonderful 21st century and decided to make my life easier.  I used my hand held mixer that has a whisk attachment.  Boy, was that so much faster and easier.  I’ve been converted…for now.

The recipe I found calls for grated Guyere cheese and this writer used parmesan, but I had none of these.  I usually do have some parm. but not today.  Digging in the frig, I found some shredded cheese I use for tacos, fajitas, etc.  I wasn’t sure if it would work and if it would be too heavy so I went light on the cheese, just two pinches.  I’m going to have to find some Guyere and give that one a try.

Nid d'oeuf!  So yummy!

Nid d’oeuf! So yummy!  Forgive the blurry quality.  The tremors in my hands were bad today.

I followed the directions, though I used cooking spray rather than parchment or the mat.  My yolks did break so I was worried, but never fear.  You only put them in for three minutes so it doesn’t mess with the yolks too bad, depending on how badly you broke them.  While I fretted for the combined total of 6 minutes (you split the cooking time), I didn’t need to; they came out beautifully.

They taste just as good too!  Like eggs over easy, but the whites are airy and light.  I’m horrible at flipping eggs (I always, always break them), so this alternative is brilliant.  I don’t have to compromise that yummy yolk sauce and the whites are delicious and filling.  This one is a keeper.  Actually, this might be a good ‘show off’ recipe.

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Twofer: Dinner and dessert

Tonight was a pasta night.  It happens quite a bit, usually in the form of an easy microwave dinner or just some pre-made in a jar sauce with noddles.  Nothing fancy but nothing creative either.  I decided to forgo the stables and do something new.

The menu?  Pasta with an easy creamy garlic sauce that I found on this blog and a quick, microwave dessert that’s a bit of a stable for me when I want something sweet and fruity.  I will say this about the menu…  wait a bit before going from your garlic sauce to your apple dessert.  It doesn’t always go well together right away.

Let’s break it down.

The sauce wasn’t too difficult to make and I say this as being a person who cannot make a savory sauce or gravy right to save her life.  Desserts?  No problem.  Savory?  Apparently it doesn’t work in my brain.  That being said, I’ve watched enough cooking shows to believe I could handle this, and you know what?  I did.  What I will say, however, was that I did have to change things up a bit…as usual.

Pasta with a creamy garlic sauce topped with cherry tomatoes, shredded cheese and parsley

Pasta with a creamy garlic sauce topped with cherry tomatoes, shredded cheese and parsley

The recipe on the site calls for a tablespoon of butter, finely chopping garlic and three tablespoons flour (among other things, you’ll have to check the website out to see what).  I didn’t have fresh garlic (boo) so I used the minced stuff which is probably what changed things for me.  My mixture ended up too dry before I added the milk to the mix.  So I hurried and put in another tablespoon of butter, which seemed to help and worked the milk into the mix.  I do think I will cut back on the flour in the future and add more salt, otherwise, the quick save did the trick.

Now, to top it off, and because I’m a sucker for cheese (forget mold allergies, I love my cheese!), I sprinkled a bit of shredded cheese on top, a bit of dried (wish I had fresh) parsley (I’m on a parsley kick), and some cherry tomatoes.  I turned out rather tasty.  It wasn’t as strong a flavor as I would have liked and fresh garlic is probably what would have made this so I’ll give it ago another time when I have it in the house, but for a quick and easy pasta sauce?  It’s a keeper.

On to dessert.  I’m a fan of microwave desserts since I’m just one person.  It makes it easy to stop at one serving.  What I love even more are apples.  I can eat apples till I’m too stuffed to eat.  Just ask anyone who has worked with me at Greenfield Village at Firestone Farm during apple harvest.  Apples, love them!

My favorite thing to do is to add some sugar, both brown and white (I love the flavor mix of the two with an apple), cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to a chopped apple.  Always taste your apple to check the sweetness, etc.  Every apple breed is different and that changes your ratio of sugar to spices.  I’ll admit, I had a sweet apple and might have added a bit too much sugar (ha!), but I got excited.

Spiced apples with ice cream

Spiced apples with ice cream

Microwave those apples with your spices and sugar for about 1 minute.  I always do spurts of 30 seconds just to be sure.  Then I crumble up some graham crackers or vanilla wafers (preferred) and top it off with just a small scoop or two of french vanilla bean ice cream.  It warms the belly and really isn’t as bad for you as a good slice of chocolate cake, which is a winner in my book.

All in all… not a bad meal.  A typical meal, but a pretty good one.

Period Little Biscuits

Short and sweet, just like this biscuits…

So what happens is this:  I work at Greenfield Village and therefore, work the farm life and living histories areas where we cook (and much, much more) but that means that many of us take home these recipes and make for ourselves and for our families…because they are just so yummy.  Therefore, all the trial and error happens there and less at home, though converting from a coal stove to a modern stove does have some whoopsie moments.

Look at those discs!  Perfect for soup bowls.

Look at those discs! Perfect for soup bowls.

These South Carolina Biscuits are found in the Buckeye Cookery which I’ve referenced before and since it’s still being printed, I can’t really give out the recipe like I want, but look this book up.  It’s glorious and has so much info in it besides period recipes.  These biscuits are described as good biscuits for a lunch (taken away from the house) but they are also good for a quick bread for dinner.

Now, I should say that they are not super fluffy biscuits but have some nice layers to it.  This lack of fluffiness made my family shrink back from them, which is sad because there’s just a hint of sweetness to this little goodies.  I adore them.  They’re easy to make and easy to eat.  You don’t need jelly, jam or butter on these babies.  So I was somewhat sad to know that I was the one eating them up.

You win some, you lose some I guess.  I’ll try another biscuit recipe later on and fool them…but check out this cookbook.  I swear, you’ll love it!

Lemon Parsley Chicken

Very tragically, I missed last week.  It wasn’t that there was no baking or cooking going on, just that they were repeats and requests by the family and a few standbys for GV which stars next Monday.  This just means there are two recipes for this week to make up for it.

This one is rather easy.  I started with a lemon-dill chicken recipe and had to modify it per what the pantry and frig contained, which is often the case.  Happily, this recipe still tasted amazing after the tweeks which I think owes itself to the recipe.  I’m quite fond of recipes that allow that freedom in the kitchen, but don’t we all?

Look at it cooking away, smelling up the house with yumminess.

Look at it cooking away, smelling up the house with yumminess.

The changes I made were pretty basic anyway.  Luckily, there were a couple of lemons in the frig (which aren’t usually there but I’ll take it) and it allowed me to use my little, wooden juicer and I love using my wooden utensils.  I didn’t have any dill (though the next time I will make this with dill because it would be amazing) or any onions since the last one had been used for a dinner in which I hadn’t been home to notice.  My family didn’t miss it since they are not the biggest onion fans but I am and I wish I could have used them.

There's so much flavor in this and apparently only 173 calories, so score!

There’s so much flavor in this and apparently only 173 calories, so score!

In place of dill, I used the same amount of herbs but used parsley and some basil, plus I rubbed the chicken with just a little bit of poultry seasoning with the salt and pepper before the searing of it.  The only other issue was that the flour wasn’t quite enough to thicken the mixture and I had to add a bit to make it work but that’s all part of the process.

The result is delicious and I love the tang of the lemon with the chicken.  It’s definitely only to be one of those repeat recipes for me while I play with the herb combos.

Green!

This is just a little green appreciation post, which is to say that these are not new recipes so it doesn’t count in that regard but it’s worth a share.

Are they adorable in green?

Are they adorable in green?

I made some green cupcakes (how can you not?) from one of those instant mixes but switched out the veggie oil for applesauce which is my new favorite trick.  It’s a great substitute, not only because it is healthier but because veggie oil isn’t always in the cupboards but the love of applesauce means that there is always, always applesauce.  Of course, I nixed all this healthy alternative by dropping some white chocolate chips into the mix.

I'm not the best froster out there but I cover that up with little lucky charms on top

I’m not the best froster out there but I cover that up with little lucky charms on top

Top all of that off with a bit more Irish flavor, this is St. Patty’s Day after all, with some Bailey’s Buttercream frosting.  It’s basically the same recipe I used for the vanilla buttercream frosting but instead of milk, I put in 4 tablespoons of Bailey’s Irish Cream.  The result is yummy but very sweet, so beware of that… then again, this is frosting and that’s alright in my book.

See?  Aren't they adorable?

See? Aren’t they adorable?

Then, as if a green goodie isn’t enough, I made up some Irish Soda Bread.  It’s one of my favorite quick bread to make so I do whip it up often.  The twist to this: green food coloring!  Yes, I was in a green making mood.  I made the bread into little biscuits and making them green just makes them adorable.  Same taste, just a fun twist.

Add to all of that and I passed this bug onto my mother who made up some green rice, and green beans.  I half expected green eggs and ham.

Cheesy Fish

It’s a two for one today!  But we’ll start with the main course since it’s so yummy.

Now and then, Rachel Ray will make it onto my television screen.  I kinda like her show but it’s always at a time when I’m busy doing other things so I default to The Chew instead but that doesn’t mean I don’t try her recipes now and then.  The Parmesan-crusted Tilapia being a fine example.

Just before hitting the oven

Just before hitting the oven

We eat tons of tilapia in my house.  I’d prefer salmon personally, having an extreme fondness for it and given half the chance in a restaurant, will order it above any other selection of protein and meat.  Sadly, my pleas go unanswered and I have to search about for interesting fish recipes and here is a good one.

Flaky, parm covered and oh so good.

Flaky, parm covered and oh so good.

It’s super easy and requires very little in the way of ingredients and that’s always a good thing.  Most people have these ingredients already in their kitchen and that’s a big bonus with quite a few of her recipes.  If you don’t, they aren’t too expensive to get.  We didn’t have any parmesan handy being fresh out though we usually have it for our pastas.  This time the shredded was picked up verses the grated which worked out just as well.  It isn’t as ‘crusted’ as it probably should have but it tasted just fine.  I might not even ever try this with the grated since I liked the shredded well enough.

Since it is a quick recipe, I’d say it’s pretty ideal for those on the go and those wanting to be a bit more health conscious.  Thumbs up from me and the whole family on this one.

Stuffed Pretzels

After a bout of baking, I decided to switch things up a bit, partly because there were several boxes of Girl Scout cookies that needed to be consumed first and consumed they were.  (Also, if you mix pudding instant mix, about 3/4 cup milk and a thing of lite whipped cream topping and then crush a couple thin mints in a little serving of that, it is delicious).

Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

Pretzels were on my mind lately, and requested by the family since the last time I made homemade German pretzels during the fall.  I didn’t just want to make those again since it’s a big batch and we couldn’t eat them fast enough which was horribly sad for all involved since they are so yummy.  Therefore, I came across this recipe for pretzel bites that uses a different pretzel based recipe.  I’m always up for a new version of a loved yummy, so I set about making it.

I do love that there’s no butter or egg involved, better to say those ingredients for baking goodies, and lucky for me that we had left over ham from the night before.  It is a time consuming project, just to beware of that with the rising and the resting and then finally the baking, but I’m used to making bread and foods that take time so I was able to set things up and do a few other things around the house.

You can see how I got carried away with the size.  Whoops but yum.

You can see how I got carried away with the size. Whoops but yum.

The directions are very straightforward, though you should follow the whole one inch rule about how big to make these bites.  I’m not the best gauge of that when it comes to food (oddly, I am with fabric, huh) and I tend to make things a bit big… and yes, I did that this time.  They expand both in the resting and in the boiling process so these pretzel bites are more like pretzel biscuits but they sure are yummy.

The pretzel is fluffy and light and the ham to cheese ratio is nice.  It isn’t overwhelming for those who don’t like that sort of thing (I’d put way more cheese in there but that’s just me).  And they stuck to the pans but I have a feel it is the pans.  They have done that consistently with just about everything placed on them.  Sad news, but yay for shopping for replacements.

Definitely give this one a shot and I’m already looking forward to putting chocolate chips inside instead of ham and cheese for a bit of salty/sweetness.