Saturday, November 21, 2009

Breakfast Omelette

Breakfast Omelette

Ahhhh, Saturdays. While the rest of the world gets to enjoy a lazy Saturday at home, sipping coffee, reading the paper, I'm off to work. Sometimes I wake up early enough to have a little breakfast with my family, and this week we made omelettes!

An omelette is a fear of many people and I don't know why! It's such a simple thing you can whip up with whatever leftover ingredients you have in your fridge! Ours today was leftover ham chopped up, green onions, and diced mushrooms.

For delicious and fluffy omelettes, you'll take two or three eggs, add a splash of heavy cream, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and whisk them in a bowl. Set aside. Spray a nonstick frying pan with some Pam spray or if you're feeling naughty, add a tablespoon of butter. Sautee your diced ingredients in your pan, and then add your egg mixture. I like to swirl the eggs around to provide even coverage. Don't stir! Put that spoon down!

Let this sit until your eggs are no longer runny, and add a sprinkle of cheese of your choice. Ours was shredded cheddar this morning. Carefully flip one side on top of the other, and you've got a delicious omelette! I like to let mine sit just a minute in the pan so it gets crispy!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nigella Lawson's Rapid Ragu

While browsing some cooking blogs, I caught wind of a cooking group called I Heart Cooking Clubs and saw that they will be featuring Nigella Lawson recipes for the next 6 months. Well, Nigella Lawson is one of my favorite personalities on the Food Network, I make sure to DVR whenever she's on. Watching the way she cooks and describes things makes me want to curl my hair, put on a cute outfit and get in the kitchen. She's so lovely and I'd like nothing more than to sit and gossip with her.

Anyways, this week's recipe was for "Man Food". Could be a number of things, steak, hearty stews, etc. I quickly browsed through my collection of Nigella cookbooks and decided on the "Rapid Ragu" It looked so hearty and delicious, I knew it'd be perfect to make. I adjusted the recipe a little to use ingredients that I had on hand. For Nigella's exact recipe, click here.

Here's what I used:
  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • 1 small container of sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 14oz can of diced tomatos
  • 1 8oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of small cubed pancetta ( you could also use diced bacon)
  • 1/3 cup of Marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • Grated cheddar (optional)

First you will cook the pancetta with the oil until it's crispy. Once cooked, remove from the pan and set aside. Add your sliced onions and sautee them with the tablespoon of sugar until they are a beautiful golden shade. Nigella uses onion confit in her recipe, which I can't seem to find here. I made to make due! Add the mushrooms and garlic clove to the onions and cook until they have gotten soft. Add the ground beef, stirring it to break it up, also add the pancetta back into the pan at this time. Cook until beef is no longer rare.

Then you'll add the can of tomatoes, tomato sauce, Marsala, and water to the pan and simmer for 20 minutes. You can serve it as is, or be like me and serve it on top of buttered egg noodles.

Trust me on this, it's a perfect man food. It'll stick to your ribs and is perfect for the chilly winter months coming up. Make it for your man this weekend and he may wash your floors and do the laundry for you :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spicy Chicken and Black Beans

I love having recipes that take me such a minimal time to make and don't end up costing me a fortune. This one I just pulled together this morning before work, and it's so fabulous. Let's discuss. But first, a back story.

I normally do my grocery shopping at Publix or SuperTarget, they always seem to have what I need a pretty reasonable prices. But sometimes I head down to my local Super WalMart. I was walking up the Hispanic Aisle, and I saw a section of products I've never really noticed before. There was an entire section of these sauce bases, bouillons in so many different flavors. Since I'm always looking for more ways to add flavor without adding fat, I picked up a few. I picked up a jar of Sofrito, which is a tomato cooking base with green peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro, and olive oil. I also got a box each of onion, garlic, and parsley bouillions. Each little bouillon is equal to 1 TBS of the actual thing.

Okay, back to this morning. I'm wanting to make something to bring for lunch, so I browse through my pantry to find stuff I normally keep on hand... a can of black beans, and a can of chopped tomatoes with green chiles. I'm in a spicy mood, so I take these out, along with 2 chicken breasts, and get to work.

The back of the bottle of the Sofrito says to "Use 2 teaspoons of Softrio per 15 ounce can of black beans", so I opened the beans and dumped them into the sauce pan along with the 2 tsp of the Sofrito. I also throw in one of the onion bouillon cubes for good measure. I then put the lid on and turn the heat down to simmer.

I defrosted my chicken breasts, then cut them into semi-thick slices. Just even enough so they all cook for the same amount of time. I put them in a pan that I had put about a tablespoon of olive oil in, and got them cooking. I added 2 tablespoons of the the Sofrito, along with a teaspoon of dark chile powder, a teaspoon of cumin, and half of the can of chopped tomatoes and green chiles. The other half of the can, I then added to the beans for additional flavor. I let this all cook together until the chicken was done.

You can pretty much add whatever you have on hand, chopped peppers, diced onions, just make it your own dish! I was literally done within 15 minutes, and I had a cheap, low-fat, and delicious meal ready to take for lunch!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Review: Cozy Tea, Jacksonville

Recently, my co-worker and I were discussing how Jacksonville has such a lack of small cozy cafes in which you can get around with your gal pals, have a little snack, and a little bit of gossip. She then told me of a tea shop in 5 Points that she stumbled upon with her sister while shopping in the area. She said they had a huge selection of tea, and great lunch foods! We planned a trip for the next week for a visit!

Walking into the shop, I was immediately put in a better mood. I could see the selection of chocolate truffles and fresh baked scones in the glass counter. Our hostess then led us to a table. As I looked around the cafe, I noticed how cute and quaint the eating area was. The tables were all set with mismatched china and chairs. This isn't a bad thing! It just made it seem that much cozier. We then browsed through the massive selection of teas, and I finally decided on a black strawberry tea. (around $3.50 per pot, includes 1 refill)

When the individual pot of tea arrived, I was totally smitten. They even had a tag telling me it was my tea. Once I poured the first steaming hot cup, I could immediately smell the fragrant strawberry scent. The menu recommended adding sugar to the black teas to bring out the fruity flavor, so I added a teaspoon. I took a sip, and it felt like my world had just been rocked. I had never tasted a tea as exciting as this one before. I savored cup after cup of that tea, as each teapot holds 3 teacups worth, and a refill is also included in the price.

We then checked out the lunch menu, and after a hard decision, I finally decided on getting the sausage pastry roll, served with a Sour Cream Potato Soup and side salad with my choice of dressing. Other things on the menu include tea sandwiches, like turkey, chicken salad, or cucumber. You also choose just a salad, just soup, or their selection of savory pastries, which are the sausage roll, curried chicken salad, broccoli cheddar quiche, and a few others. My combo was only $8.95, a bargain for the amount of food I got! Most of the items range from about $6.00 to the $8.95 combo. The dessert menu include bread pudding, carrot cake, scones, blueberry pound cake, and chocolate tuffles, and those range from $1.25 per truffle, to about $4.99 for the cakes.

If you'd like to visit Cozy Tea, it's located in Riverside at 1029 Park Street. They are open for Brunch on Sundays, and have a full British High tea service in the afternoons. Once a month, the owner hosts an Indian dinner for $25, reservations are highly recemmonded.

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