Pea & Asparagus Soup with Poached Egg

If you’re a regular reader around here (which, obviously I hope you are) you know I get a special thrill every time I bust out the immersion blender.  Now that it’s spring, though, that little wonder machine has been sitting in the back of the cabinet, awaiting fall, while I luxuriate in all things fresh and seasonal and NOT canned.  (Side note: I know people enjoy summer time soups.  I do not understand this.  Let’s be real: cold soup is just…cold.)

UNTIL – I happened to spot some beautiful fresh spring peas at Trader Joe’s the other week, and then happened to notice this recipe in Cooking Light.  This is a seriously delicious (and healthy!) soup..and a perfect excuse to use my trusty immersion blender once again.

IMG_3346

Pea & Asparagus Soup with Poached Egg

  • 1 or 2 pats unsalted butter
  • 3 leeks, white and green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups high quality chicken stock (use vegetable if you want a veggie preparation)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme
  • salt, pepper, crushed reds
  • 10 oz fresh peas
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and chopped
  • a big handful parsley, divided
  • optional: olive oil, green onions
  • for the eggs:
    • cold water
    • pinch salt
    • about a tablespoon white vinegar
    • 2 eggs (or however many you’re feeding)
  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; add sliced leeks and cook about 5 minutes, until nearly translucent.  Add stock, thyme, crushed reds, a pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a low simmer.  Add asparagus, cover and cook about 3 minutes, and then add fresh peas.  Cook about a minute, then add parsley (you can include the stalks, which will give it an additional pop of green!).
  2. Blend soup until smooth with a traditional or an immersion blender.  Season to taste and then return to low heat while you prep your eggs.
  3. Bring about an inch of salted water to a boil in a small pot.  Reduce heat to a simmer, add vinegar, and slowly/carefully add your eggs.  Cook about 3-4 minutes, or until the white of the egg firms up around the yolk.
  4. Ladle your soup into bowls and (carefully) add your egg.  Top with parsley, additional cracked pepper, and if you like, some olive oil and/or green onions.  Break that yolk open and enjoy the bounty.

IMG_3350

The Verdict:

Husband, who is not a fan of eggs (I married him, but do not claim to understand him), gobbled this up and went for seconds.  Needless to say, we were both bummed when this only made enough for one more (lunch) meal.  Make this.  I promise you will not regret it.

Recreating Duke’s: Avocado Toast with Poached Egg

There is this restaurant called Duke’s Grocery a few blocks down from us that both Husband and I love.  We love it so much, in fact, that we once waited almost 2 hours (!!!) for a table for four at brunch.  (I will note this was only acceptable because they also serve bottomless Bloody Mary’s and mimosas for $15.  One Bloody Mary is $8.  Obviously, there is significant positive marginal utility to me, the consumer & lover of all things spicy, horseradish-y, and salty, in this construct).

According to the Husband, there is really only one problem with this restaurant (other than the sometimes interminable wait): they do not serve french fries with their completely epic burger.  We are talking TWO (thin, because what are you, a glutton??) patties of perfectly cooked Angus beef, smoky Gouda cheese, caramelized red onions, a sweet chili sauce, garlicky mayo…I could go on.  Last time we were here, the Husband rectified the lack-of-starch-issue by ordering a second burger.  (Again, bottomless drinks cost $15 and we had waited almost two hours.)

Saturday morning, though, we waltzed right in, and ordered the usual.  Burger for him, avocado toast with poached egg for me.  And then Sunday morning, it hit me.  I had the celery, the horseradish, the tomato juice, the vodka, the sriracha.  That’s bottomless for $0.  I also had a perfectly ripe avocado, eggs, and some spinach to use up.  One epic brunch, coming my way.

IMG_3328

Avocado Toast with Poached Egg (inspired by Duke’s)

  • multigrain toast or English muffin
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 2 eggs
    • to poach: water, vinegar
  • about a tablespoon or two of cream cheese (once you go jalapeno, you never go back)
  • arugula or spinach
  • s&p
  1. Bring a small but deep pot to boil.  Add about a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of vinegar to the pot, reduce the heat until the water only bubbles slightly.  Carefully crack one egg and slide it into the water; repeat with second egg.  Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until the egg white firms up around the yolk.  Remove (gently!) with a slotted spoon.
  2. As your eggs cook, toast your bread.  Spread with a bit of cream cheese, top with a few slices of avocado and a bit of arugula or spinach.
  3. Top with the poached eggs and sprinkle some cracked salt and pepper over the top.  Serve with a Bloody Mary and wish every day were the weekend.

IMG_3330

The Verdict:

I think poached eggs are a bit of a skill – I get them right about 65% of the time (honestly, who wants an overcooked egg yolk, YUCK)…but I swear to goodness, this was 98% as good as my Duke’s breakfast the day previously.  The chief difference, of course, being that at home, I have to wash my own dishes (my chief dishwasher, aka Husband, wasn’t awake yet).

Pancetta & Leek Quiche

I know, I can’t stop posting about quiches and tarts and things that are technically veggie oriented but are really just carbo-loaded vehicles for cheese consumption.  Guilty as charged.

On the other hand, when the Husband told me this was “the best ever,” obvi it’s going on the blog.  Sorry I’m not sorry.

IMG_3278
how does this end up looking like a pizza?!

Pancetta & Leek Quiche

  • 1 premade pie dough, brought to room temperature
  • about 4 oz diced pancetta
  • 4 large leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • salt, pepper, crushed red pepper
  • about 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup or so heavy cream (or milk, or half and half, or whatever you have)
  • about 8 oz shredded Gruyere
  • optional: handful cherry tomatoes, halved, chopped green onions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Unroll the pie dough and press into a pie plate.  Prick lightly with a fork and bake for about 5-6 minutes, just to get the color nice and light golden.  Bonus if you can use a  crust protector.
  2. In a saute pan, over medium high heat, cook the pancetta until it starts to crisp up.  Reduce heat to medium low, and in that nice bacon-y fat, add your sliced leeks.  (Note: it will look like a LOT of leeks.  Don’t worry – they’ll all fit!).  Add salt, pepper, crushed reds, and parsley and let the leeks cook down a good while – about 10-12 minutes, until they’re nice and translucent.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whip together eggs, cream, and a pinch of salt/pepper/crushed reds.
  4. In your (lightly) baked pie dough, spread the bacon and leek mixture evenly.  Top with a generous amount of cheese, and then carefully pour the egg/cream mix over the top.  Top, as desired, with cherry tomatoes for an extra pop of color.
  5. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is nice and golden, and the eggs are cooked all the way through.  Top with additional parsley and serve with a side salad.
IMG_3281
less pizza, more leek.

The Verdict:

I think we already established the Husband’s verdict.  As for me, any day I get to use the crust protector, that’s a good day.

Tomato and Corn Tart with Olive Oil Sesame Crust

After a week of gorging on my mom’s amazing beef stew, I’ve gone back to my non-protein ways.

Sorry, Husband.

(Veggie) tarts are just so GOOD.  And sometimes, they’re even good for you.  Or at least not terrible.

Inspiration by Martha Stewart…and my friend Kate.

IMG_3227

Tomato and Corn Tart with Olive Oil Crust

for the crust

  • a little less than 1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • about 1/3 cup olive oil, plus a little more
  • about 1/3 cup water, plus a little more

for the filling

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • salt, pepper & crushed reds
  • about a cup Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked together
  • 1 can corn kernels, rinsed (Note: this would be SO much better with fresh corn, but sadly, we’re not quite to that season yet!)
  • 1 big handful grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  In  medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, & sesame seeds; slowly pour in the water and olive, forming a large ball.  You may need to add a touch more water or olive oil to help it stick together.
  2. Roll the dough out on a floured surface and press into an 8 or 9 inch pie shell.  Prick all over with a fork and then bake for about 10 minutes; remove and cover the crusts, so they don’t burn.  Reduce the heat to about 375 and bake another 10 minutes or so, until lightly golden brown.
  3. While the crust bakes, heat olive oil over medium low heat in a saute pan, add onion and shallot.  Add salt, pepper and crushed reds, and cook down – until golden and/or translucent.  Finally, add the corn and just give the whole thing a quick toss.
  4. When the crust is done pre-baking, sprinkle the bottom with a health layer of Parmesan cheese.  Add the onion/shallot/corn mixture, then top with the tomatoes.  Season with a little salt and pepper, lightly pour the egg mixture over it (this just helps it to stick together), and add the rest of the Parmesan to the top.
  5. Bake for about 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees; serve with a little Parsley and a light side salad.  Think about how awesome this will taste when you make it with New Jersey corn, straight from the roadside stand.

IMG_3231The Verdict:

The crust does take a little getting used to – it’s “healthy,” after all, and the taste of the olive oil shines through.  As with any dish, the fresher the veggies, the tastier it’ll be.  Still, it’s been a while since I joined the ladies (and a few good gentlemen) over at Fiesta Friday, but I think this is good enough to bring.  What’s more fiesta-y than corn?

Very Veggie Not-Quite-Tart

Last week, I had epic plans to make Ottolenghi’s Very Full Tart.

Which I did, sort of.  There were (obviously, because why can’t I just follow a recipe, why why why) some tweaks.  (I guess because when recipes call for things like zucchini, which I hate, you know there have to be some adjustments…& one adjustment, leads to another, and another…)

IMG_2943
if only i could follow directions…

Very Veggie Not-Quite-Tart

  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 smallish eggplant, diced
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced (or 2 medium onions)
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • about 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • leaves from about 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/3 cup ricotta (full fat works best)
  • about 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • a handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 eggs
  • about a cup heavy cream or milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Remove the stem and seeds from the bell pepper, place in ovenproof dish, drizzle a bit of olive oil over it and stick in the oven.
  2. Toss the diced eggplant with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little bit of crushed reds on a large baking dish; stick in the oven for about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Add the sweet potato to the eggplant pan and roast another 20 minutes.  In a large saute pan, heat some olive oil and saute the onions with bay leaves and a pinch of salt for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove all the vegetables (including the pepper) from the oven.  Reduce the temperature to about 325 degrees F.  Cover the pepper with foil and let cool.  When cool enough to handle, peel and chop into smaller slices.
  5. Grease the bottom of a pie or tart pan.  Spread out the panko bread crumbs on the bottom and halfway up the sides.
  6. Scatter the onion over the panko, cover with roasted vegetables (eggplant, sweet potato, bell pepper), and top with about half the thyme leaves.  Dot the veggies with both types of cheeses.  Scatter the halved tomatoes about the top.
  7. Whisk the eggs and cream in a small bowl with salt, pepper and some crushed red peppers.  Carefully pour the mix over the veggies and top with the remaining thyme leaves.
  8. Bake the tart for about 40 minutes or until the filling sets.  Admire your handiwork and serve with a small salad, (topped with any roasted vegetables that didn’t fit into your tart).
layers of veggie flavor
layers of veggie flavor

The Verdict:

This came out deliciously, and was great for a number of tasty, subsequent lunches. However, it won’t become a staple around here anytime soon, given that it took 2+ hours to make.  This is more of a snow day kind of meal.  Which, speaking of, where IS my snow day?!