Monday, February 13, 2017

What I Have Been Up To In My Kitchen: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner




Welcome To Yet Another Episode of What I Have Been Up To In My Kitchen!

Although I have been busier than ever before in my day job, and time in my kitchen has been curtailed, I have eked out a few dishes to write about.  A breakfast, a lunch and a dinner.  Well, the lunch could be a dinner or, if an egg is added, a breakfast, as well. Let's get started!

First, breakfast. It is absolutely not a secret that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and nothing says breakfast like eggs, bacon and hash browns. The theme of this breakfast was fresh herbs: fresh rosemary, sage and thyme.  I incorporated it into all three parts of the meal.  I began by adding some of the mixed fresh herbs to the bacon as it fried up. I was pleasantly surprised at how aromatic that was and the dynamic the fresh herb flavors added to the bacon. Very interesting. 

When the bacon is done, place them on a paper towel on a plate. 



Meanwhile, I began frying up 3 cups of hash browns in three tablespoons of vegetable oil and two tabs of butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet. I'd added a palm full of the diced herbs and a little salt and pepper, about a teaspoon of each, to the potatoes and turned them over to in skillet. The secret to crispy hash browns is to simply leave them alone and make sure there is equal heating across the flat surface of the skillet.  Let the hash browns cook for about seven minutes; check them and when they are golden brown, flip them.  Allow to cook another seven or so minutes.  Season, as needed, IF needed.  


Hash browns starting off in the skillet with fresh herbs, salt and pepper. 

As the bacon finishes, and the hash browns are browning, crack four-to-nine eggs (depending on how many you are feeding; two per person) into a large bowl.  Add one or two tablespoons, or half a palm full of chopped scallion greens, a tablespoon of the fresh herbs, half a teaspoon of salt and pepper and a dash of water.  My friend, Morgan, taught me that. Vigorously whisk the eggs until all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. 



Add two tabs of butter to a skillet and allow it to melt and foam over medium-high heat.  Add the whisked eggs and allow the edges to solidify.  I simply allowed the edges to solidify before scrambling things about a bit.  The secret to well-cooked scrambled eggs is to, like the hash browns, let them be! However, whatever you prefer, do!!!  Over-easy, over-hard, omlette. 

I plated the three delicious parts of the meal very simply.  You can garnish with scallions, cilantro, or not at all.  It is very pretty as it is. Witness below!


If you are a fan of sauces, add it!  Food should make you happy and it should be enjoyable.  Now go, enjoy!


Next, a delectable, simple weeknight meal to enthrall the pickiest of eaters......



Naan Burger with Yogurt Garlic Aioli

When the craving for a burger hits me, I get moving. I'd had a wildly busy week that week and I was unable to get to the grocer to purchase buns (I'd had a craving for King's Sweet Hawaiian Buns, my new bread obsession) but I did have Naan (Lebanese flat bread, in this case) in the freezer (I know, fresh is best, but I could not use it right away when I'd purchased it) and decided to finally enjoy it. Isn't it odd how life throws one monkey wrench after another into your plans and you have to just be flexible and adjust? I have learned that it is how you adjust that is important, whether you let it get to you or if you just let it go.  I am still learning to try to just go with it. I never said i was the quickest learner.  😊

Here is what I did to make this a perfect comfort food. To be honest, I wish I'd had ground lamb on hand, but I used ground pork for this burger. My apologies. I'd added the following the pound of ground pork: 

1/4 diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1.5 teaspoons Harissa 

For the Garlic Yogurt Aioli:
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
1 teaspoon diced fresh oregano
1 teaspoon of Mirin

To start, preheat the oven to 350-degrees. 

Add the above ingredients to the pound of ground meat and form the number of desired patties.  I go big, rather than mini.  My mom's version of "regular sized" burgers is making six burgers out of 0.96-pounds of ground beef.  Ummmm....no, Mama.  Go big or go home!  That is just me, you do what makes You happy!  I digressed, sorry.  I made three burgers rather than six.  

I added two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a skillet and, when the oil began to ripple, a sure-fire way to know it is ready, I added the burgers. They take about six minutes per side.  Another tip, just like the hash browns and eggs:  Leave them alone! Let them sear!  

Meanwhile, whip up the aioli and put it into the refrigerator to chill and allow the flavors to marry. This has a delicious tang and bite to it. You will love it!  

In addition, add the Naan to the oven, placing it on a rack, rather than in a pan.  No need to spray it with anything, it just needs to heat up. Allow it to heat through, about seven minutes or so. Once the Naan has heated through, it may get a little crispy on the outside and edges.  This is good!  Remove it and spread the aioli over the Naan. Sprinkle some fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, cilantro or arugula atop that, if you like, and add the burger.  The Naan folds and acts like thick tortilla, in a way.  I found it to be very delicious and sturdy. 



Even GusGus wanted in on the Naan action!


  Add fresh herbs to the Naan and Burger. 

I added a few dollops of Harissa to give it heat.

Quite delicious, simple, easy, not a lot of ingredients needed, and sure to be a family favorite!

*******


Up Next.....STEAK!!!


Nothing pleases the palette after a long "dry spell" of simple, humble pantry meals after a tight budget month than a huge, juicy herb butter basted steak, skillet potatoes, tangy tomatoes and jumbo buttermilk biscuits.  Well, if you are everyone who is me, that is. There is no real recipe for anything, here.  This is just for the savory fun of it!  The potatoes and the biscuits were store bought. Sometimes one just needs to let the store do some of the work.  😋

I love basting big, thick, juicy rib-eye steaks (these were bone-in, a feast for the pups) in butter and herbs after getting a good seared caramelization on the meat. Normally, I'd use fresh thyme and rosemary, but the store only had fresh sage, for some reason, so I used that.  Even so, it was fantastic. 




I added two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and two tabs of butter to a hot skillet and added the already chopped potatoes.  I added some salt, pepper and fresh minced sage and sauteed the potatoes on medium-high heat to get some golden color onto them, then I oven finished. The biscuits, I simply brushed with a little melted butter and sparsely sprinkled garlic salt atop the biscuits and baked according to the directions.

I also simply used grape tomatoes and plated them without garnish.  I love tomatoes, garnished, marinated or just as they are. That is just me. 

Very simple, most delectable, this dish was the epitome of comfort.  





This dish have love written all over it!

As always, friends, Thank You for your time and consideration.  Now, go cook for someone you love!!!  Food is love, brings family, friends and loved ones together. There is no greater way to show those you love how much you love them than by cooking for them.  Now, Go!  Cook!

~Martin
In-House Cook