eggy goodness with kale

i love eating breakfast food. eggs, in particular – over medium, softly scrambled, fried, it’s all good. i also love a fluffy egg bake. or add a pie crust and make it quiche. i could eat quiche all day long. i’m sharing with you a never fail, go-to quiche recipe that i’ve made for years. you can thank me later.

1 store bought pie crust or your favorite crust recipe for a 9″ pie dish
2 bunches of kale, washed and torn into pieces
1/2 – 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup milk
5 eggs
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T butter

preheat oven to 375, line your pie dish with the crust dough

in a medium bowl, whisk eggs and milk until blended – add some salt, pepper, and paprika if you’re so inclined! set aside

in a frying pan, melt the butter and add the garlic – cook for about 30 seconds, until the garlic and butter start to smell really amazing. add the kale and saute for a few minutes, until the greens are all cooked down.

once the kale is ready, transfer it to the pie crust and spread it out evenly along the bottom. sprinkle some of the cheese over it and pour the egg mixture over everything. add the rest of the cheese to the top.

cover the edge of crust with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes. remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. let set for about 15 minutes before slicing.

mmm. mmm. good.


pappa al pomodoro

pappa al pomodoro, a tuscan tomato bread soup, is one of my favorite italian foods around. i had it my first night in florence (in 2004) and we’ve been in love ever since. so amazingly simple, but also flavorful and hearty. i love soup and bread’s take with the mussels, but since i wasn’t making 20 servings, i also consulted mario batali – and the final product came from a mash-up of the two recipes and some of my own thinking on the fly. i’m not even going to post my final recipe because i bet this would be good no matter what components of any recipe you chose!

chile lime shrimp with spinach & couscous

on any given week i’ll typically cook 2 big dinner items (lasagna, pulled pork, etc) and the mister and i will alternate those 2-3 things for dinner all week. though we haven’t gotten sick of any of the foods we normally eat, i want to start throwing in some quick, one-pan type meals to add a little more variety, so this week i’m planning to cook a different dinner meal every night. except after we ate this chile lime shrimp, we immediately decided we want to eat it again, like, tomorrow.

*whole wheat couscous (i used hodgson mills brand)
2 cups chicken broth
1 T olive oil/butter
dash of sea salt
*1 lb raw shrimp, peeled, deveined
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 T crushed red pepper flakes
drizzle of olive oil
1 lb fresh spinach, stems removed
1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
fresh lime wedges

in a medium pot, bring chicken broth, olive oil/butter and salt to a boil. stir in couscous, removed from heat and cover for 5 minutes – fluff with a fork.

in a frying pan, heat up drizzle olive oil. add garlic and red pepper flakes (note: in the future, i would like this dish much spicier. i plan to use a thai chili or something next time) and cook until fragrant. then add shrimp and stir so they’re all coated. when shrimp are partially cooked, add spinach and basil – by the time the greens are cooked down, the shrimp will be cooked through.

spoon couscous onto a plate, top with spinach, then shrimp and squeeze fresh lime over everything. YUMMY.

tiny getaway

the mister and i went up to duluth yesterday, for the night – to celebrate an anniversary of sorts. we missed the entire snow storm here and not a flake of snow fell up in duluth last night or this morning! we stayed at the inn on lake superior and i’m convinced our bed was made of marshmallows and angel wing feathers – sooooooooo comfortable.

i took this at dinner last night – at JJ Astor. the food was only okay, but boy, look at that view. and the restaurant rotates.

bahn xeo!

bahn xeo, a vietnamese savory crepe – one of my #1 all-time favorite vietnamese dishes. i introduced the mister to them a long time ago and he is totally addicted. my mom is a master at these crepes. she is like a one woman crepe making machine when we have these for dinner, with huge bowl of batter and at least 3 frying pans going at once. and let me tell you, hers are THE BEST. we even went out for bahn xeo while in vietnam last month and longed for my mom’s with every bite. this is my 3rd batch ever and i think i’m getting there! hopefully, by the time my (future, currently non-existent) kids are ready to enjoy these, they’ll be half as good as the ones grandma will be making for them 🙂

(we eat these with my mom’s delicious homemade fish sauce – shown in back – it’s to die for)

disclaimer: please excuse the arbitrary units of measurements. this is my mom’s recipe, as recited to me on the phone, and she has never used a measuring cup or spoon in her entire life.

8 oz rice flour (i get a thai brand that comes in a clear bag with red lettering & 3 elephants on it and use about half a bag per batch)
1 can coconut milk (mix up the cream and coconut water before adding it to the recipe)
3/4th bottle of heineken (or other similar lighter beer)
1/2 – 3/4 can of water (use the coconut milk can)
1 tablespoon tumeric (this gives the crepes the rich golden color)
2-3 pork chops, fat trimmed off
20-25 shrimp, peeled, de-veined and split in half
oil or cooking spray for the pan

fish sauce
fresh greens (lettuce, mint, thai basil, cucumbers, etc)
rice paper (optional)

another other:
this batter should be prepared a few hours before you start making the crepes. my mom says it needs to sit and expand or something, for awhile. who am i to argue?

-in a bowl combine flour, tumeric, coconut milk, beer, water – whisk well, until batter is smooth. there should be no lumps. add more water if necessary.

-prepare shrimp and pork. i cooked up the pork chops in the oven at 375 for about 11 minutes – they will be cooked for a bit in the pan so don’t have to be cooked all the way through in the oven. the shrimp is divided in half and the pork sliced into medium-thin 1 inch pieces (or so)

-heat up a large frying pan or two (on medium-high heat), with a little oil or cooking spray. these take awhile to cook, so if you’re really hungry, make sure to get started early and having more than one going at a time helps it go much faster 🙂

-scatter shrimp and pork pieces in the pan – let shrimp cook up for about 30 seconds and then add batter – enough to swirl around your pan and make a nice round crepe shape.

*make sure to breathe in the delicious smell of coconut milk cooking – MMMMMMMM*

-depending on how crispy you want the crepes, cook each side for 8-10 minutes

-eat on a bed of greens with (prepared) fish sauce. or rolled in rice paper with greens and fish sauce. don’t forget the fish sauce.

i love fish sauce.

soup du jour

happy thursday! just wanted to share an easy and yummy lunch (or dinner!) for those of us who are bored with sandwiches and salads, but don’t have the time to think about it TOO much and just want to make something quick 🙂

these are just jazzed up noodles, but they are flavorful and hearty – perfect for a work lunch.

you’ll need:
1 pack of Udon noodles or Bahn Cahn (the vietnamese equivalent, which i prefer because they are made from rice flour instead of wheat flour)
1 heaping cup of frozed vegetables – i used a peas, corn, carrots, green beans and lima beans mix
a big ol’ dollop of hoisin sauce (about a tablespoon)
wedge of lime

how to do it:
-prepare noodles as instructed on the package – i used a microwave safe pyrex bowl and it took 3 and a half minutes to heat up in our decrepit work microwave
-give the noodles and broth a stir, add the veggies, stir again, cover and heat for another 2-3 minutes
-add hoisin sauce and fresh lime, mix
-be delighted at the flavor explosion in your mouth

happy ballentyme’s day!

i’m not ashamed to admit that i love valentine’s day. i don’t love it in the “spend hundreds of dollars on dinner and jewelry and red roses” kind of way. for one, i hate red roses. and for another, that’s not what the day should be about. i enjoy valentine’s in the “make homemade cards, put up cute decorations, eat heart shaped sweets and be generally giggly over all the sugar you’ve just consumed” kind of way. celebrate or don’t celebrate in whatever way you see fit!

why i love valentine’s day – the 2011 edition

red nail polish and cute cut-out cookie messages (cookies from st. paul classic cookie)

a valentine given to me from one of my free arts kids – talk about a heart melter 🙂

banana chocolate chip muffins (recipe: kate in the kitchen)

my funny puppy valentine & valentine cupcakes (also from st. paul classic cookie)

vintage-y & homemade decorations!

red velvet pancakes for lunch (recipe: the herb box via MN monthly mag)

and my other wonderful, funny valentine. telling him i love him every day is hardly enough. he’s the best 🙂

1st birthday

i swear to you that i have been doing things other than making food/treats for my dog in recent weeks. i can also swear to you that i have been eating up all of that people food with no motivation to style, light and photograph any of it. oops. i’m making a come back soon, i think.

anyway. pineapple’s 1st birthday was on monday and what kind of responsible dog parent would i be if i didn’t document the occasion? he loved his “cake” and we got him a red rubber ball that smells like fruit for a present – needless to say, he loves the ball too! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PINEAPPLE!

eagerly anticipating birthday cake!

and now he’s just annoyed with me for taking a million photos instead of feeding him already.

the inside of the turkey loaf cake! with mashed potato frosting (sorry for the poor quality). i improvised the recipe, so let me know if you’re interested. pineapple flipped out over it and it agreed with his tummy just fine!