Eat your breakfast

They do say it is the most important meal of the day, and I guess they are right. I am so tempted to use the infamous air quotes when I refer to they, but how would you see that? I’m also trying to trick you into thinking I’m one of the cool kids, I don’t think the cool kids do air quotes…, do they?

Breakfast. I don’t eat it as often as I should. I probably only have breakfast on the weekends, more like brunch. On weekday mornings, I have coffee and by the time that’s settled in, its time for lunch, so no breakfast. But on weekends, The Hubbz and I will partake on a morning-ish meal. There’s never a real plan, we just stumble on to the fridge and pull stuff out. Not too long ago, I came up with these.

I don’t really know what they are. A cross between a quesadilla and a tostada, some cheese and sausage and a nicely bright sunny-side-up egg to top it all off. This was perfection. We had the crunch of the corn tortilla against the creamy melted cheese and the yolk. Very easy, very quick, very good. No recipe here, just pull stuff together and make happy.

Sausage & Egg Tostadas
Corn tortillas
Sausage, thinly sliced
Queso Oaxaca or other melting cheese, grated
Eggs
Oil
Salt & black pepper

Layer tortillas with cheese and sausage. Top with another tortilla and toast it in a skillet with some oil. Crisp both sides.

Fry the eggs to your preferred doneness, you could also poach them.

Drain the tostadas, top with the egg and more of the sliced sausage.

Eat. Come. Mangia. And if you’d like more reasons to lick that screen, click here.

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris

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Flan de Queso

Flan, how I love thee. Let me count the ways. Flan de vainilla. Flan de coco. Flan de queso. Flan de chocolate. Flan de caramelo. Flan. Flan. Flan. Flan! The mere word brings a smile to my lips and conjures up childhood memories when Mom would whip up a batch of Flan Royal (the national brand). Yummy goodness.

This is one of those really easy desserts that makes a BIG impression. I thought I would share my version of cheese flan with you. I like the custard to be¬†smooth, but not terribly eggy. This recipe does just that. I also add almond extract and, when I have some in my bar, Amaretto. But I didn’t this time, so there isn’t any in this. Still, it was so yummy!

On this occasion I cooked them in a large muffin pan because I wanted to present them individually. However, I usually bake it in a 9-inch baking container and slice it. You can do it either way, of course the baking time will vary slightly.

Flan de Queso

For the caramel sauce:
1-1/4 cp sugar

For the flan:
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
4 oz cream cheese
1 tsp almond extract*
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp granulated (white) sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt (bit less if using regular salt)
2-1/2 cps whole milk

Preheat oven to 350¬į. Prepare a Bain-Marie: you will need a baking¬† pan that is large enough to hold the dish you’re baking the flan in. Add hot water to the large pan and place in¬†the oven.

 Make the caramel: add the sugar to a medium, heavy-bottomed pan and put it over medium high heat. Once the sugar begins to melt, lower the temperature to 1 or 2 notches.

At this point, turn down the temperature 1 or 2 notches, you want the sugar to dissolve, but not burn. Burnt caramel is no bueno.

Make sure all the lumps created when stirring have dissolved before you add the caramel to the baking dish(es). Be VERY careful with this sugar. I don’t think I’ve had a burn more painful than that of a caramel burn. Don’t multi-task here.

When you have smooth, dark caramel, pour into the dish and swirl it around to coat as much of the cooking surface as possible. Set aside and allow it to cool. It is best for the caramel to cool completely before adding the flan mixture–but DON’T refrigerate it to accelerate the cooling process or you’ll end up with cracked caramel and the custard will seep through it.

Making the custard: Put all the ingredients except for the milk and brown sugar in a blender glass and whisk until smooth. To avoid foaming the eggs, do this by pulsating instead of letting the blender go for a long time. It shouldn’t take more than 5-6 pulses.

In the meantime, use the same saucepan you made caramel¬†to scald the milk. There will probably be some caramel stuck to the pot. That’s fine, just add the milk and brown sugar and simmer until you see bubbles beginning to form around the edges. Turn off and remove from the heat.

You will now incorporate the hot milk into the egg mixture, because the milk is pretty hot, start the blender on low and slowly drizzle in the milk/sugar mix. As soon as all the milk is added, turn off the blender. Pour the custard into the carameled baking dish. Place the dish with the custard into the pan with water.

larger pan holds water and baking dish

The muffin-sized flan baked for 25 minutes, if you bake it in a 9-inch dish, it will probably be in the oven for close to 45 minutes. You’ll know it is ready when the top is golden and it begins to separate from the sides. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then put it in the fridge to cool it all the way through.

When you’re ready to serve, run a table knife around the edge to help loosen the cooled flan. Then invert it onto¬†your serving dish. To serve the individual ones, I loosened the target cup and placed plastic wrap and foil over the ones to keep them in place. Make sure you invert over your sink, you’ll be amazed at how much of that caramel melts away onto your serving dish.

Make sure to serve it chilled and… ENJOY!

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris

*Note: If you are not an almond flavor lover, you can skip the almond extract and increase the vanilla to 1 tsp.

Spanish Chorizo…, oh yeah.

 

This weekend we had breakfast for dinner. Sometimes that’s just the thing you need and want. Not that you’re trying to restart the day or anything, you just want hot breakfasty¬†foods. I had picked up a few goodies at Phoenicia Foods, namely¬†Spanish chorizo and the best fun cheese EVAH!¬†

Let’s talk about the cheese for a bit. It is… STRING CHEESE! Not the kid stick cheese string cheese, but a beautiful bunch of milky white strands of marinated cheese. It has a texture similar to mozzarella. There I was, pushing my little cart down the deli aisle, when I had to do a double take. I saw a vat of something, what I couldn’t tell. So I had to back up and read the tag. It read: Homemade String Cheese. CHEESE?!! SERIOUSLY?!¬† I promptly ordered myself 1/2 lb of it and giggled and grinned all the way home.¬†

How awesome is THAT?!

OK, back to the omelette. The other ingredient was Spanish chorizo. This is different from Mexican chorizo which is soft and crumbly. Spanish chorizo can be compared to andouille, and unlike its Mexican cousin, it is hard, cured and seasoned with dried smoked red peppers. It is delicioso! 

Shrimp is the last ingredient for the omelette. So this is a Chorizo and Shrimp Omelette. Can you say Oh My! I share, cuz I’m nice like that.¬†

Chorizo and Shrimp Omelette
1/2 cp Spanish chorizo, finely chopped
2 shallots, sliced
1 cp shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 tsp sea salt
Herbs d’Provence (optional)
1/4 cp white wine
5 eggs, room temperature
Salt & pepper, to taste
Butter 

Season the shrimp with 1/2 tsp salt and Herbs d’Provence. Set aside. Heat a skillet to medium and add the chorizo to render some of its fat. Then add the shallots and cook until translucent.¬†

 

To the chorizo and shallots, add the wine. If you want to, go ahead an flame¬†it to burn the alcohol. If you’d rather not do that, cook it on medium high until all the liquid has been absorbed.¬†

 

Once the liquid is absorbed, add the shrimp. Mix it in well, cover with a lid and turn off the heat. Set aside. 

 

Whip the eggs in a bowl, add salt and pepper to taste. In a nonstick pan, melt 1-2 tbsp of butter and add the egg mixture. 

 

Swirl it around to cover the bottom of the pan, when the top begins to dry, flip the omelette. Now add your fillings on one side of the omelette. 

 

When the cheese begins to melt, slide it halfway off the frying pan and onto a plate, then flip the second half over top. Serve and enjoy! 

Off to the side

Sometimes the sides are more ¬†important than the entr√©e. Sometimes the sides are the star. Sometimes the sides shouldn’t be pushed off to the side. Sometimes you should just eat the sides.

IMHO, this is one of those sides. It should take center stage and be bowed to. It’s delicious, it’s different, and most importantly, it is easy to make. The first time my mom made it, she told me it was Greek Fried Rice. Lindsay wants to know why, but I don’t know why she calls it that. I don’t know if it’s her original recipe. I just know I make it as she taught me and I enjoy it just as much every time.

 

Greek Fried Rice
Ingredients
2 cps white rice, cooked
1 cp fettuccine or linguine, cooked & broken into 2-in pieces
2 eggs, boiled and chopped
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cp Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

How to: Preheat a medium-sized saucepan over medium high heat and melt butter with olive oil. Add garlic and onions, cook them until translucent, then the parsley.

Add the rice and stir until it is all mixed in. If you happened to use leftover rice, keep stirring until heated through. Now mix in the pasta. The eggs are stirred in last. Turn off the heat and serve immediately. I mean, why would you want to wait?

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris