Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cinco De Mayo Prep

Okay so this is technically a quesadilla, but then again, it totally and completely is not. But it's the best I'm gonna get for a Cinco De Mayo post since it is tomorrow and I am at a coffee shop "studying" instead of at home making yummy Mexican food. Plus, it's absolutely, one hundred percent, completely and totally, amazingly delicious. And, easy-easy-easy. This is my new staple for a quick lunch. (I just really wish I had a cast iron that was big enough to use when I make this with 10 inch 8 grain tortillas! But that is totally off point.) I got this recipe off of 101 Cookbooks and Heidi described it as an unda style quesadilla, which is something she discovered at a kati roll place, when they put a beaten egg on the grill and topped it with roti bread. Now, she makes everything that she possibly can unda style. Which I applaud, because this recipe is amazing.

Pseudo Quesadilla
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Zest of half a lemon
Large dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream (Clover brand sour cream is absolutely amazing and tastes like a mix between creme fraiche and sour cream)
2 tablespoons capers
olive oil
1 6 inch corn tortilla (sometimes I use a 10 inch wheat tortilla and when I do that, I add an extra egg)
1 egg
A bit of shaved parmesan

Whisk together the zest and creme fraiche/sour cream. Set aside
Heat a bit of olive oil and add the capers to it. Wait until they start to brown and then spoon them out onto a paper towel. They will crisp as they dry.
Beat the egg and in a slightly oiled pan (the correct size for your tortilla) on medium heat, add the egg and swirl around so that it covers the whole pan.  Once it sets just a bit (like 10 seconds or so) place the tortilla on top. Once it seems set enough that the tortilla and egg and starting to attach, flip the whole thing over.
Sprinkle parmesan over the egg side and let melt while the tortilla browns. Fold in half and top with the sour cream mixture and the capers.

I was pretty skeptical about the whole thing, but completely intrigued at the same time, and it turns out, the intrigued part of my mind was right. It's really a perfect lunch, hearty and filling with the egg (especially with a whole grain tortilla), but fresh from the lemon and tangy from the capers. And in case you were skeptical as well, it turns out that fried capers are mighty delicious--they taste just like capers but are nice and crunchy. A perfect topping! I make different variations of this now, adding different cheeses, taking out the lemon, adding chopped herbs, etc. and they've all come out great so far. So if you're feeling in the mood to have a pseudo-mexican lunch on Cinco De Mayo, try it out and let me know how it goes.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Spring Green

I have a new cookbook that I'm slightly in love with: Chicken and Egg--A Memoir of Suburban Homesteading with 125 Recipes. It's a compilation of the wonderful recipes inspired by a family's chickens. Since I have a huge urge to raise chickens of my own, this book fills two purposes for me. 1. To further that urge as well as justify it by showing me all of the wonderful dishes I could bring to my kitchen if I did raise a few hens. 2. It allows me to live vicariously through this family so that I don't act on the urge and actually buy some chicks the next time I see them sold at farmer's! Although I'd love some chickens, I don't think it's practical since my backyard is either garden or cement and I'll be moving to who-knows-where in less than 2 years. Instead, I pour over this cookbook whenever I get the urge.

The first recipe I made out of this book reflected the blooming spring outside--Green onions, cucumbers and basil make this an extra-ordinary egg salad and much more colorful than the normal, boiled eggs, mayo, mustard, salt and pepper egg salad that is often found at spring picnics. To prep for this meal, I made homemade mayonnaise that can be seen in my last post. The rich olive oil that I used to make the mayo brought a wonderful fullness to the salad. I highly recommend taking the time to make the mayo if you are so inclined.

Note* I hear my neighbor's hen clucking in their backyard right now. Resist the urge, Brittany. You can't have chicks right now!

Cucumber Basil Egg Salad
Adapted from Chicken and Egg by Janice Cole

6 hard boiled eggs, diced
3/4 cup seeded, diced cucumber. I prefer Persian cucumbers with the skin on.
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup sliced green onions. The green parts only.
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the eggs, cucumber, shallots, green onions and basil in a bowl. Stir in the mayo, salt and pepper. This can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days if it is made with conventional mayo, but should be eaten in the same day if made with homemade mayo.

I prepared some bread to go with this meal topped with fresh herbs and olive oil from the garden and popped it in the oven for a bit to dry it out and make it somewhat crunchy. It was a perfect addition, but some nice pita or a regular sandwich would be great too. Or slice some cucumbers and use it as a dip! I was absolutely crazy about the way that this came out. It had all of the familiar flavors of egg salad, but was completely revved up by the flavor of the basil and green onions and the wonderful crunch of the cucumber.