Sunday, February 26, 2012

Veggie Eggs Benedict

I always order Eggs Benedict when I go out for brunch. I just love the combination of a delicately poached egg atop a fluffy English muffin with buttery Hollandaise sauce. I fantasize about the moment you put your fork into the yolk and the warm yellow goodness runs all over the plate, creating the most luscious sauce imaginable.

So yesterday I tried my hand at making Eggs Benedict at home, and it was a huge success! Not only was it easy to make, it was impressive to serve to overnight guests that were expecting nothing more than cold cereal for breakfast. Given our guests were vegetarian, and I just can't get enough veggies, I used fresh spinach, tomato and avocado instead of the traditional Canadian bacon, and it was better than the original! I used a blender to make the Hollandaise sauce, and it was so easy and delicious. The eggs were perfectly poached with fluffy whites and runny yolks. Don't be intimidated by this brunch classic- make it at home and impress them all!

Veggie Eggs Benedict
The best breakfast that's sure to impress!
Serves 4

4 English muffins, split
1 pound baby spinach
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tomatoes, sliced into 8 slices
1 avocado, sliced
Salt & pepper

Blender Hollandaise
2 large egg yolks
3 tsp. lemon juice
1 stick unsalted butter
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Poached Eggs
2 tsp. salt
3 T white vinegar
8 large eggs (organic, free-range eggs are best!)

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add spinach a handful at a time and toss with tongs until wilted down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.

Separate English muffins onto a large baking sheet so you have 8 halves. Bake in oven for 5 minutes to gently crisp. Remove and top each muffin half with some spinach and a tomato slice. Bake in oven for 10 minutes to heat through.

Meanwhile, make Hollandaise sauce. Put egg yolks, lemon juice and cayenne in a blender and pulse to combine. Melt butter in the microwave. With the blender running gradually add melted butter to yolk mixture to make a smooth, frothy sauce. Season with salt and pepper. If you're not serving the sauce immediately place a small heat-proof bowl over a small sauce pan on the stove with an inch of simmering water (not boiling) and add the Hollandaise sauce to bowl. Stir occasionally and whisk vigorously right before serving.  

To poach eggs, fill a large non-stick skillet nearly to the rim with water. Add salt and vinegar, and bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Crack eggs into boiling water, cover and remove from heat. Poach until yolks are medium-loose, 4 minutes.

Arrange two English muffin halves on four warmed plates. Add avocado slices, a poached egg, and Hollandaise sauce to each half. Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh black pepper, and serve immediately.

Dont' forget the mimosas!

Veggie Eggs Benedict recipe by Sarah Lang
Blender Hollandaise recipe adapted from Food Network
Poached Eggs recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chili-Lime Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw

I love fish tacos. It's rare to feel like you're eating healthy while eating Mexican food here in the U.S., but fish tacos do just that. Lightly marinated with lime juice and spices and topped with a crunchy, sweet and sour red cabbage slaw, these tacos are bursting with fresh flavor! Served with yellow rice and a quick saute of corn, onions, and red pepper, this is one delcious good-for-you dinner!

Chili-Lime Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw
A fresh and delicious dinner that is colorful and flavorful!
Serves 4
Fish Tacos:
4 tilapia filets
Lime, zested and juiced
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. canola oil
Chopped scallions
Corn tortillas
Salsa verde, optional, for serving

Red Cabbage Slaw:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 head red cabbage, finely shredded
1 large carrot, cut into fine julienne
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Salt and pepper

Combine slaw ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Combine lime juice and zest, chili powder and cumin in a bowl. Add tilapia filets and marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

Heat oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish and cook until just done. Remove and cut into strips.

Heat tortillas in skillet until warm and pliable. Top with fish, chopped scallions, red cabbage slaw and salsa verde.

Slaw recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pork Chops and Chunky Applesauce

My everyday recipe repertoire usually consists of cuisine based in Italian and Mexican tradition. I don’t often cook the classic American food I grew up with. But last Sunday, I decided to cook a traditional Sunday supper of pork chops and chunky applesauce. I turned up the flavor with the homemade applesauce that both sweet and savory from the apple, onion and cinnamon. It was a delectable combination that perfectly paired with the pork. I served the meal with lemony green beans sautéed in onions and garlic, and baked sweet potatoes with butter. This healthy and comforting meal was good for the body and soul. I think I’ll have to go back to my roots more often!
Pork Chops and Chunky Applesauce
There’s nothing better than a good old fashioned Sunday dinner with the flavor turned way up!
Serves 2

Pork Chops
2 boneless pork chops
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh black pepper

Chunky Applesauce
1 T butter
1 large apple, chopped
½ onion, diced
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. lemon zest
½ lemon, juiced

 Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle olive oil on both sides of pork chops and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook in skillet 3 minutes per side, and then remove to a plate and tent tightly with foil.

Return the skillet to the burner and reduce heat to medium. Add butter and stir to melt, and then add apple and onion. Cook apple mixture in skillet until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine. Add vinegar, lemon juice, and a tablespoon or two of water, stir, and cover for 10 minutes. Remove cover, stir, and add pork chops and any accumulated juices to pan. Continue to cook until pork chops are cooked through and applesauce is just starting to break down.
Place pork chops on warm plates and cover with applesauce. Serve with green beans and baked sweet potatoes. Enjoy!

Recipe by Sarah Lang

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chicken Parmesan

Most cooks have a “fallback food” that they’ll make when they don’t know what else to make. Most ingredients are easily kept on hand, and the food is comforting and always delicious. My fallback food is chicken parmesan. It’s easy to make, impressive for guests, and absolutely scrumptious! Lightly bread chicken breasts or tenderloins and smother them with cheese and sauce. Serve with your favorite pasta tossed in a quick homemade tomato sauce. Don’t forget the garlic bread and a green veggie on the side!
Chicken Parmesan
A tasty Italian-American classic!
Serves 4

1 pound chicken breasts, halved, or chicken tenderloins
2 T olive oil
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. dried Italian herbs
2 eggs
4 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
4 cups homemade tomato sauce
¾ pound pasta

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.

Set out three bowls. In one bowl combine panko and Parmesan cheese, in another bowl place flour combined with Italian herbs, and in the third bowl beat eggs. Make sure chicken is dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Working with two pieces of chicken at a time coat chicken in flour, then eggs, then in panko mixture, pressing to adhere. Gently lay chicken in pre-headed skillet and continue breading remaining chicken and adding to skillet.

After 3 minutes turn chicken over to brown the other side. Once chicken is lightly golden brown on each side place on a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack. Bake in oven for 10 minutes until cooked through. Remove chicken from oven and top with a spoonful of tomato sauce and two slices of mozzarella cheese. Return to oven to melt the cheese.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Combine with tomato sauce and keep warm.

Serve chicken with pasta tossed in tomato sauce and extra Parmesan cheese on top.

Recipe by Sarah Lang