Cook the Book Fridays – Baked Eggs with Kale

Baked Eggs with Kale

Spending your formative years watching classic movies can leave you with some curious notions. For the longest time, I thought that cracking wise was the telltale sign that someone was interested in you, which got me into trouble now and again when I tried to put it into practice. I also believed that a meal of eggs cooked late at night was the height of sophistication. (Later analysis made me suspect that it was just a way of connecting with Depression-era audiences.)

Still, there’s a shadow of that idea left in me, making me rather pleased with myself whenever I make an egg dish more complicated than sunny side up. And truly, eggs have a little bit of magic about them. Until we all discovered aquafaba last year, there really wasn’t anything that could rival eggs’ versatility.

Which is why I felt a little self-congratulatory when I pulled these baked eggs out of the oven. It’s hard not to feel pleased when the result looks so pretty, with swaths of goat cheese and garlicky breadcrumbs surrounding sunny yellow yolks. And with layers of ham and kale underneath, it’s just as pretty when you dish it out. There’s no evidence of that in this post, because it disappeared too quickly to document. A victim of deliciousness.

I baked a half-sized portion of this dish, but I made the full amount of kale and tripled the breadcrumb recipe. Which means that I can do it all over again this weekend. I’ll also have plenty of breadcrumbs left over after that, which is a wonderful thing. Full of butter, garlic, and thyme, they’re like a culinary secret weapon.

I even have an excuse to try it again soon. I’m in the midst of my yearly pre-holiday eating-down-the-freezer routine, so I used some ham that I had on hand. The original recipe calls for smoked salmon and I’ll need to do a taste comparison – in the interests of fairness, of course.

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David Lebovitz‘ My Paris Kitchen.

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Smoked Salmon Waffles – A French Fridays Catch Up

Waffles

It’s not Christmas dinner I most look forward to, but Christmas brunch. There are fewer rigid expectations and an opportunity for playfulness that you don’t get at the more formal meal. This year, I made a bûche de Noël and smoked salmon waffles. Another year (actually, more than one), I made cardamom bread.

I bought a waffle iron a few months ago, in anticipation of making smoked salmon waffles for Christmas brunch. My brother caught and smoked a salmon himself earlier this year and my mother had some stashed in the freezer. Christmas morning waffles seemed like a great way to use some of the salmon and celebrate the season.

I loved how easy the batter was to put together and the waffles came off the iron without any trouble at all. (I sometimes wonder why people buy boxed mixes for waffles and pancakes, when making them from scratch is so easy and gives you much better results.) The savoury flavours of smoked salmon and green onions made these waffles the perfect accompaniment to our brunch, especially with a little dollop of cream on top.

They could also easily be elevated to cocktail snack or appetizer presentation by making them smaller, as Dorie gives as one option, and topping them with crème fraîche and salmon roe. Then, they would make a nice part of a New Year’s Eve spread.

Happy 2015, everyone! My blogging goals for this year include improving my photography (as you can see above, I’ve been a little complacent of late) and concentrating more on the quality of my writing. What are your goals for this year?

Find links to the rest of the French Fridays crew’s posts on this recipe here: Smoked Salmon Waffles. Then, see how everyone fared with this week’s recipe Simplest Breton Fish Soup.

Kevin’s Vegan Hash

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The Little Potato Company provided me with the potatoes used in this recipe. The recipe and all opinions expressed in the post are my own.

When I was given the opportunity to try The Little Potato Company’s creamer potatoes, I was happy to participate. The company started in Alberta, but now has farms across Canada and the US. They produce creamer potatoes exclusively, which are bred to stay small at maturity, with a thin, tender skin. I was also happy to learn their potatoes are non-GMO.

I spent the last few weeks boiling, baking, frying, and mashing the samples of the two varieties they sent me and I’ve been pleased with them in every application.

Last week, I shared a very meat-forward recipe using Blushing Belles. This week, I’ve got a vegan recipe for you, which uses their Yellow Fingerlings.

My partner, Kevin, wanted me to recreate the kind of breakfast that he’s had at the very few restaurants in town that serve gluten-free, vegan meals. I came up with this hash and he liked it so much, he let me name it after him.

Ingredients

Kevin’s Vegan Hash

Serves 2 generously as a main, 4 as a side

2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 small bell peppers, cubed
6 button mushrooms, cubed
12 Little Potato Company Yellow Fingerlings Creamer Potatoes, cubed
175 g extra firm organic tofu, cubed
a pinch of cayenne pepper
2 sage leaves, crumbled (or ½ tsp dried sage)
1 sprig fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried rosemary)
¼ tsp smoked paprika
½ cup Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
salt and pepper

In a large, non-stick skillet or cast iron pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and salt generously. Fry, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften and start to brown. Add the garlic and turn down the heat to low. Continue to cook until the garlic has softened and the onions are completely browned. Season with pepper (and more salt if needed). Scrape into a bowl and set aside.

Add a little more oil, if needed, then heat the pan to medium-low and add the peppers. Cook until the peppers are soft and a little browned, stirring occasionally, adding a pinch of cayenne pepper when they’re nearly done. Season with salt and pepper, scrape into a bowl and set aside.

Add a little more oil, if needed, then heat the pan to medium-low and add the mushrooms, stirring occasionally. When they begin to release moisture, stir in the sage. When the moisture is fully reabsorbed, season with salt and pepper, scrape into a bowl and set aside.

Add a tablespoon of oil, heat the pan to medium-low and add the potatoes. Season generously with salt and pepper, add the rosemary sprig (or stir in the dried rosemary). Cook, stirring occasionally, until a fork pierces the potato cubes easily. If the potatoes are not fully browned, raise the heat to medium and continue cooking until they are. Check to see if more salt and pepper is needed, discard the rosemary sprig if you used it, then scrape into a bowl and set aside.

Add a little more oil, if needed, then heat the pan to medium-low. Add the tofu and dust the cubes with the smoked paprika, frying until the cubes are cooked through and well browned. Season with salt and pepper, then add the rest of the ingredients back into the pan, stirring until everything is well mixed and heated through.

Take the pan off the heat and add the Daiya shreds, stirring until they are well distributed and melted.

Check for salt and pepper, then serve immediately.

You can visit The Little Potato Company’s website for more recipes.

FFWD – Coupétade ( or, French toast bread pudding)

Coupétade in a flowered glass serving dish atop a blue and yellow plaid cloth.

Egg bread made into an egg-y French toast, turned into an even egg-ier bread pudding. What’s not to like? Nothing, that’s what.

When I noticed that both last week’s dish and this week’s recipe called for brioche, I decided to make some. It’s a job for a stay-at-home evening, but not too difficult when there’s a stand mixer involved. The only downside to making brioche is thinking it’s too pretty to slice.

Two loaves of brioche on the cooling rack, one braided and the other sectioned.

Brioche was perfect for this dish (though I think that any good bread would do). I let the points of the French toast rise above the custard bath when I baked it and I really enjoyed the different textures this created. I also refrained from adding any flavours to the dish beyond the vanilla called for in the recipe. The vanilla worked well against the creamy egg-iness of the bread pudding. It can be lovely to have a single dominant flavour in a dish, sometimes. Relying on vanilla also brought out the flavours of the dried blueberries and apricots I tucked amongst the slices of French toast.

Coupétade, or French toast bread pudding.

I’d be happy to have this dish at (or let’s face it, FOR) any meal, but I think I’m going to file this one under potluck brunch recipes.

You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Coupétade