Eggs with a Twist Part 2. Or…… Time to Harvest your Basil!

I have discovered yet another twist to a tried and true recipe, actually, make that two, when they are combined.  Deviled eggs and pesto….yes, you read that correctly.  These two marry to create a delightful new taste to a couple of old favorites.  Besides, it really is time to harvest your basil, and pesto is the perfect way to freeze that fresh taste of summer.  Also, it’s tailgating time, and deviled eggs are an integral part of the pre-game feast. Use your favorite deviled egg recipe and substitute your pickled relish with pesto and, presto!, you have an appetizer or side dish that will command raves.  I use a roasted red pepper pesto because I’m not sure how to make a Carolina Blue pesto.  It’s your choice or your team’s colors.

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Pesto Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

6 hard boiled eggs
3 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 to 2 teaspoons pesto

Preparation

Scoop out the hard boiled yolk from the eggs.  Using the tines of a fork, mash the yolk and add remaining ingredients.  Using a small spoon, dollop the ingredients back into the egg white halves.  Garnish with toasted pine nuts, petite basil leaves or paprika.

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Ingredients
• 2 red peppers, halved and roasted
• 1 garlic clove
• ½ cup of basil
• ¼ cup shredded Parmesan
• ⅓ cup of pecans, toasted
• 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil
• salt & pepper

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350º.
2. Halve and seed the red peppers. Roast in oven for 15 minutes with the inside side down. Flip them over after 15 minutes and roast for another 15 minutes on the other side.
3. Remove from oven and place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes. {this will keep the heat in the bowl and make it easier to remove the skin}.
4. After peppers are finished resting, remove the skins and set aside.
5. Put pecans in a saute pan and toast until just fragrant. {about 7-10 minutes}
6. In a processor put, roasted red peppers, garlic clove, toasted pecans, shredded Parmesan cheese, basil, salt and pepper. Blend together.
7. Slowly start to add olive oil {depending on how you like your consistency} to the pesto mixture.

 This freezes well.  It is delicious tossed with pasta.

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The Getty Girls

IMG_1436-0We are fortunate to have our own chickens here on Misty Morning Farm. Farmer Paul, aka husband, calls them the Getty Girls. Did you ever see the animated film Chicken Run?  It’s delightful and mindless entertainment for a rainy Sunday afternoon.  Chicken house antics.  When Farmer Paul talks about his Getty Girls, thanks to that film, I envision our southern hens, pecking and scratching, all the while accessorizing their beautiful coats of feathers with strands of pearls around their necks. Can’t you see it? Our girls are refined hens, producing the most beautiful colorful eggs that can easily rival those imaginary strands of pearls that grace their feathery necks.

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If you have access to farm fresh eggs, make the effort to find and purchase them.  It’s worth it. The yolks are a rich deep golden color, and the taste is so much better. They require no refrigeration, and my recipes are much more flavorful when fresh eggs are used.

I have included a tried and true recipe with a new twist. I love breakfast for breakfast, brunch or supper, and Eggs Benedict top my preferred list. Use your favorite recipe or mine below, but replace the Canadian bacon or ham with avocado and tomato. It is so rich and creamy! I think you’ll like the change.

Avocado Eggs Benedict

 Ingredients

2 English muffins split in half and toasted
4 eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 avocado sliced
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes sliced
4 slices white American cheese
Easy Hollandaise Sauce
paprika and parsley for garnish

Preparation

Make Easy Hollandaise Sauce. To poach eggs, fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the white vinegar and reduce heat to a simmer. Crack and gently drop in the eggs. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove when the whites are firm and the yolks are done to your taste. Arrange in layers on each of the toasted muffins, the cheese, sliced tomatoes and sliced avocados. Top with the poached eggs and Hollandaise and garnish with paprika and parsley.

P.S. If you’re in a hurry Knorr makes a pretty good sauce mix…but, as always, fresh is best.

Easy Hollandaise Sauce

Ingredients

2 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 stick butter melted
1 to 2 drops Tabasco sauce
dash of cayenne pepper and salt

Preparation

Combine egg yolks and lemon juice in a food processor. Turn it on and slowly add the melted butter. The sauce will emulsify. Add the seasonings. Do not reheat or sauce will separate.

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Cucumbers… the North vs. the South

Growing up in the South, I knew it was summertime when a big bowl of cucumbers in vinegar appeared on our table. Simple, sliced cukes (I like the small pickling ones) white or apple cider vinegar, salt, lots of pepper and a sprinkling of sugar. Nothing else like it! When the tomatoes are ripe on the vine, slice those along with some Vidalia onions and throw them on in with the cucumbers. The best trifecta.

This summer, on Martha’s Vineyard, the Northern version of summertime cucumbers shattered my Southern heritage a bit. I was invited to an outdoors jazz concert at Featherstone Art Center.  My friend provided the snacks, and I brought the wine. We put up our beach chairs and I opened a bottle of Vinho Verde, a light, perfect for summer, Portuguese white wine with a hint of bubbly. I recommend Casal Garcia. The label says “young and refreshing”….after a few glasses I certainly feel that way!

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Renee opened her bowl of cucumbers laden with dill. After the first bite my cucumber horizons were expanded! They were delicious. A little hummus with chips and some fresh fruit rounded out our picnic fare. Combined with the music and our beautiful surroundings, this was one of my most memorable evenings of the summer – it was really the cucumbers that made it so.

So you decide…the North or the South? Or maybe we can just call it a truce.


 Southern Cukes                                                               Northern Cukes

   3 or 4 pickling cucumbers                                              3 or 4 pickling cucumbers

 vinegar to cover sliced cucumbers                                Juice of 2 to 3 limes

s&p…lots of p                                                              s&p…lots of p

a pinch of sugar                                                              chopped fresh dill    

                                                                                          2 chopped green onions       

Slice and peel cucumbers and add remaining ingredients. I use kosher salt and  course ground pepper. I have also used English cucumbers. Much of this recipe is to taste, so it’s all about your culinary creativity! Remember, some of the simplest recipes are the best.

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How the Title Came to Be

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I am fortunate that I get to spend a good portion of my summers on the magical island of Martha’s Vineyard. It is the place I am at my best. My soul gets recharged and nurtured on this spot of land off of the Massachusetts coast.

There is a constant gathering of friends and family around various tables on island. This particular night happened to be my last night on the Vineyard for the summer. We were eating at my friend’s home, who also happens to be a fabulous cook. She had her family, and there was my family, and then there were more and more…the number of guests kept multiplying. Fortunately, the bounty was plentiful from the land and the sea. Quahogs, swordfish, “lobsta”, salads, vegetables…an endless array of deliciousness.  We all found our seats and benches and poured wine and lit candles. Hannah, my friend’s daughter, looked around and then said emphatically, I love this! Her friend looked at her and questioned This? Hannah B. gestured her arms around the table and exclaimed…All of This!

And All of This is so vital in our lives. Coming together, sharing stories and good food. Memory making. So here’s to you Hannah for giving me the title for my blog. May we have many more All of This! times around the table.

Breakfast on the Beach

DSC_7086 IMG_1231 DSC_7083This past summer on the Vineyard, I was fortunate to be invited to a couple of breakfasts on the beach. Each featured delightful and delectable offerings of food and fellowship. French toast and scrambled eggs cooked on grills, fresh fruit and freshly, baked that morning, scones, tomato pies, potatoes cooked various ways and artichoke strata are just a few of the samplings offered on those sun drenched mornings.With the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, grills being fired up and the sweet, salty air surrounding us, I would say this was a near perfect way to begin a day.

The perk to all of the above was having your beach chair already set up, your suntan lotion handily available, and the sun and surf ready to be enjoyed. The breakfast easily eases into afternoon. This is another All of This! moments with friends gathered around in chairs, our tables being our laps or towels, and nature providing the most beautiful entertainment venue possible.

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Artichoke and Sun Dried Tomato Strata

Ingredients
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (about 1 large)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 jar sun dried tomatoes (4 oz)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence
1 3/4 cups  milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 (1-pound) loaf white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
Cooking spray
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled goat cheese, divided

Preparation

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in artichoke hearts, tomatoes and garlic; cook for 8 minutes or until artichoke hearts begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in herbes de Provence. Cool 10 minutes.
2. Combine milk, black pepper, salt, and eggs in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and bread; toss gently to combine. Stir in artichoke mixture, and let stand for 20 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 375°.
4. Spoon half of bread mixture into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with half of goat cheese, and top with remaining bread mixture. Sprinkle remaining half of goat cheese over top. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

The Spirit of Giving?

We all know that special time of year when people are feeling oh so generous. The spirit of giving is evident all around….at the office, the schools and most especially, found in plastic bags on everyone’s door knob, when they are returning from having just spread their own special cheer.

You know the season, right? Zucchini season!!! When it grows, it really grows. All sizes too, whatever your heart desires. What to do with these gifts of the season you ask?

Zucchini Bread. A good recipe can be found online, or in any church or junior league cookbook worth its reading. I bake and freeze small and large loaves for year round enjoyment. They make nice hostess gifts in a pinch, unless your hostess also has her freezer stocked from all of those generous gifts of bounty.

My “go to” zucchini recipe is fritters. They are delicious, and can be eaten as a side dish with most entrees. They are also a great appetizer, that I like to serve with basil mayonnaise.                                                                                                                Though the zucchini rush is summertime, this nice little veggie is the gift that keeps giving all year long.

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Zucchini Fritters

2 medium zucchini
2 Tablespoons grated onion
2 eggs
6 to 8 Tablespoons flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon pepper
butter & vegetable oil

Grate the zucchini and onion in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Heat 1/2 Tbl. butter and 1/2 Tbl. oil in the pan. Use medium to medium high heat. When the oil and butter are hot, drop heaping spoonfuls of batter in the pan.   Cook about 2 minutes on each side until browned. Continue to add oil and butter to the pan when needed, as remaining fritters are cooked.

Basil Mayonnaise 

1 cup lightly packed fresh basil
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

Combine  the basil, 1/4 cup of the mayonnaise, lemon juice and several grinds of black pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the basil is finely chopped. Add the remaining mayonnaise and lemon zest and process again.

Store in a tightly covered bowl in refrigerator. It will keep for up to 3 days.