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.

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.

One Minute Buttermilk Mug Cake

Just as promised, here is the second post of the day.

I have a dessert problem and I have no intention of fixed it, though I have every intention of making it as healthy as possible and thus my search begins.  For a quick dessert without a ton of it left over, I went to Pinterest and found myself a one-minute mug of cake recipe to give a try and the good news?  It was fairly healthy, yay!

My little cake pancake

My little cake pancake

The original was made for a chocolate version, and then I found one that added some instant coffee which I will be trying very soon.  I, however, was not in the mood for chocolate.  Shocking!  So, trying a little experimentation, I decided to forgo the cocoa powder in this recipe and substitute it with flour, and then use low fate buttermilk instead of 2% milk, which according to their labels, is the same about calorie-wise.

The result is a tasty little treat that’s dense (I find that buttermilk cakes are like that but that’s alright with me) and pretty flavorful.  I’d like to try this out with flavor extracts and see what happens but for a one minute, microwave cake?  I’ll take it.  Plus, it allowed me to play with applesauce as a replacement for oil/eggs that’s so popular on pinterest right now.  The applesauce flavor is ever so faint in this and I almost wonder if I can’t make it more pronounced.  Hmmm.  Food for thought.

Oh, and I’d probably make it in a smaller mug so it didn’t end up so pancake flat like…

This is my modification of the original:

4 tbsp + 2 tsp flour
pinch of salt
1 tbsp + 2 tsp sugar
3 tsp applesauce
3 tbsp low-fat buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix the dry ingredients well, then add in the wet and stir.  Bake in the microwave for about 40-50 seconds depending on your wattage.

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.

Lemon Whipped Cinnamon Toast

My mouth has tasted something divine and I’m so very happy my desperate need for dinner and experimentation worked out!  I blame Elementary (which is filling my time before Sherlock is back on).  It makes my brain work.

Being grocery day, I had to make due with what was there, which happened to be enough eggs for french toast and a tub of this lemon pudding whipped concoction I made up as a sort of frosting for a cake I made earlier (post coming for that).  My brain put two and two together, coupled with a love of stuffed french toast from restaurants and voila!  I created something purely fluffy and almost guilt free.  How?  Let me tell you.  (Can you tell I’m very pleased with myself?)

Doesn't it look yummy and so guilty?!

Doesn’t it look yummy and so guilty?!

I made up a cinnamon french toast, pretty basic but I kept the cinnamon and sugar mix down so it was just a hint of it.  Then, for the filling, I followed a frosting recipe I found that didn’t turn out quite right.  Instead, I had this fluffy pudding thing.  Basically, it’s a package of lemon pudding mix (I can’t remember if I grabbed sugar-free or not), lite whipped cream and a cup of 2% milk.  Pudding is pretty low-cal (unless you eat a whole batch) and whipped topping isn’t all that bad for you either.  Mixed up and placed in the frig, it isn’t as frosting-like as I’d have hoped and I have plans to perfect it but as it was, it was utterly delicious, fluffy pudding.  That, I figured might taste good as a filling for a cinnamon toast sandwich.

I took about a large tablespoon of my lemon fluff for each half, then sprinkled the top with powdered sugar instead of syrup.  With the subtle cinnamon sugar toast, it was perfection!  It wasn’t too sugary which happens with french toast and syrup.  I’m excited to try out different flavors of pudding mix in the whipped topping.

I’m never going back to regular french toast again.

On The Go Soup

No, this isn’t a genius post but I realized that sometimes, you just need ideas for those quick, at work lunches where you don’t want to pack a lunchbag…. Or you hit the snooze one too many times, didn’t make anything the day before and have to grab and run.  With that in mind, I might try to do some posts like this here or there as I find good quickie lunches.  I know I’d appreciate tips and tricks for it.  More heads and always better than one, especially with food.

This time around, I gave Lipton’s Cup of Soup a shot.  They’re just quick little packets of dried soup you can make in a mug (convenient for those stuck at desks and already have a mug hanging around) with some water and a microwave.  I had the cream of chicken one which is alright.  No, it isn’t mind blowing good as some chicken stews that I’ve had (and need to recreate) but in a pinch, it isn’t bad.

I would suggest, however, that you add some crackers to it.  Cheez-its are my choice because they have a nice flavor, decently salted and crumble up really nicely.  Saltines would work but these little packets really need a punch of flavor somewhere.  For kids, if you’re traveling, I’d throw in goldfish…actually, as an adult, I’d do it to!

In short, invest in a little box or two just in case.  You never know when you need it.