Inspired by Omar Allibhoy, I recreated one of my favorite all-time dishes with this Tortilla Española. I first encountered the dish as a naïve, hungover, food-deprived 21-year old in Madrid. After successive nights of ecstatic partying, our gracious hosts prepared what looked to be a ‘puffy omelet.’ At the time, I was kind of agnostic about eggs – take ’em or leave ’em – and prepared to be satiated with a few simple bites. What happened next, even in my slumberious haze, was nothing short of a revelation. Was this cheesy? Was this buttery? What is this creamy texture that somehow holds tight, and oozes deliciousness over every tastebud?
Turns out, this was a simple fortification of potatoes, onions, eggs, salt, pepper & EVOO. And that’s IT.
One of the simplest recipes I’ve made, but takes concentration and is definitely an ‘active’ recipe. But absolutely worth it – breakfast, brunch, dinner. Amazing food here.
- Four fist-sized waxy potatoes
- One yellow onion
- 7 eggs
- glugs upon glugs of EVOO
- salt & pepper to taste
- pour oil, realistically 3/4 of a cup, in to a wide, non-stick skillet. heat on high.
- quarter the onion, then slice it. once pan is heated, add to pan.
- while onions are heating, and they need time to caramelize & brown, half then slice the potatoes.
- once onions have nice color, add potatoes to the pan and mix actively for the next 15 minutes, or until potatoes have great color as well.
- while potatoes are frying, crack eggs in a large bowl and whisk with salt and pepper
- after potatoes & onions have browned, turn off stove and drain excess oil (strain & save it – can be reused about five times and has a great subtle flavor)
- place potato/onion mixture into the eggs and let stiffen for about five minutes.
- put skillet on stove and heat to medium – add mixture
- heat for four-five minutes, moving subtly the entire time
- place a large plate on the top of the skillet, press down firmly and flip. this is easier than it sounds, but still pretty harrowing.
- slide the now-forming tortilla onto the skillet again, and heat other side for four-five minutes, again shaking subtly.
- slide off onto plate, let cool for five minutes and slice.
- i like to add crisp greenery and an acidic element (tomatoes) as well as an herb (parsley), but you can literally make this as sweet or savory as you’d like.
Appetizers have always been my favorite course to prepare. With limitless possibilities stylistically as well as aesthetically, the course lends itself to fun. Plus, where there are appetizers, there is a party – always a good thing. Perhaps most importantly, they’re mentally more manageable for me. As a cook with literally zero training, prepping & serving bite-sized pieces was less of a wide-reaching endeavor: Find something you like, shrink it down and make sure it pops with color and flavor and there ya go. Plus you get to use cute little plates and make good use of negative space. Enjoyable.
This one right here was perfect for time & place as well – apples are in prime season, and red and green are. . .well, they match the color palette of the Holidays. Add a little bacon for texture and flavor, my ‘Ingredient of the Year, 2014’ pomegranate seeds for literal pop and you have an awesome, awesome – and SIMPLE – Holiday (or anytime) appetizer.
- red and green apples, sliced
- juice of two lemons
- goat cheese
- cracked black pepper
- baby arugula
- pomegranate seeds
- crisped bacon
- soak apple in lemon immediately after slicing
- remove, drain on paper towels
- crisp bacon and drain on paper towels to dry
- spread goat cheese on apples
- crack black pepper generously on apple/cheese
- add one baby arugula leaf to each slice
- break bacon into small pieces, adding one piece to each slice
- add one pomegranate seed
- serve and say ‘Happy Holidays’
Everybody loves grilled cheese. At least everybody I know. Okay, maybe not vegans but even they’ll tell you that they’ll grub one of those grilled soy cheeses, guaranteed. Point is, as a kid my Mom always made a basic grilled cheese – sourdough with two slices american cheese toasted and served. And that was fine. Simple, easy and good. Especially with soup. At a certain point, I developed a friendship with a school chum that had a live-in maid (?!?!) named Elvia that made the most excellent, amazing grilled cheese sandwiches I’d ever tasted. Buttery, crisp, gooey – they were mind-boggling, despite their near identical ingredient makeup as my mom’s. The difference? Butter. And fried. So when TW asked for a grilled cheese the other day, I decided to try to elevate this simplistic dish while still staying true to the Elvia sandwich I so fondly recall. This is the recipe that follows.
And yes, it’s awesome.
- 1/4 stick butter
- 2 slices, wheat bread (firmer than white, stands up to frying better)
- 3-4 slices, tomato
- 1 jalapeño, sliced into rounds
- 2 thin slices, cheddar cheese
- swiss cheese, slice or shredded
- parmesan cheese, thinly sliced from rind
- any other meltable cheese of your choosing, I used beemster vlaskaas (creamy, sweet)
- heat large skillet to medium-high
- butter one side of each piece of toast, add remaining butter to skillet and heat until melted but not browned
- fry one slice of bread for one minute, add cheddar cheese
- fry for another minute, add swiss cheese
- fry for one more minute, add remaining cheeses and top with second slice of bread, butter side up
- flip sandwich and fry for three minutes
- remove from pan when crispy brown, cut diagonally and serve with soup, avocado, chips, ranch dressing. . .anything you desire!
The corn harvest at Magnolia Gardens finally concluded last week with two bountiful, beautiful ears that were sitting in our crisper over the weekend. Not wanting to waste those or our zucchini, I wanted a recipe that wasn’t simply ‘sauteed corn and zucchini.’ On page four of our search engine, I found this recipe by girlversusdough, which produced a very delicious cake of sorts, more reminiscent of a latke than a pancake (in my opinion), which we topped with salsa and greek yogurt. Delicious, and good for the summer.
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 tbsp fresh basil
- 1 tsp fresh oregano
- 1 cup diced zucchini
- 1 1/2 cup fresh corn, parboiled & cut off cob
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- In a large bowl, combine eggs, oil, salt, pepper, cayenne, brown sugar and herbs. Whisk to combine.
- Add the zucchini, corn and cheese and stir thoroughly with a spatula.
- Add the flour and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle to medium-high heat, adding a very small amount of oil to the skillet/griddle. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop 1/4-cupfuls of batter onto the skillet and flatten, if necessary, with the back of the scoop into a circle about 4 inches in diameter. Cook on each side about 3-4 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. Remove from skillet and transfer to a paper towel. Repeat with remaining batter.
- Serve warm with salsa and greek yogurt.
See that red ‘sauce’ in the background there? With the two pieces of bread flanking the plate? That’s hot tomato oil. Despite my affinity for halibut and pasta (the entrée in the foreground), the oil was the star of the show. UnBElievable. And to think, I was inspired by the walking hilarity that is Guy Fieri & his tough-to-not-watch show, Diners, Drive-ins & Dives. His feature on Pastabilities included this luscious, just begging-to-be-dipped sauce that people were lapping up at the Syracuse venue. I decided to try to recreate with a few changes and it was honestly amazing. I HIGHLY suggest you give it a shot.
- San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
- 1/4 yellow onion, diced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 10 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 2 serrano peppers, diced
- 2 cups, EVOO
- 2 tbsp, sriracha
- 2 tbsp, brown sugar
- salt, to taste
- heat oil in pot on medium heat
- once bubbling even slightly, add garlic, shallots, serranos
- boil for about five minutes, or until caramelized
- separately, begin heating tomatoes in separate pot
- drain – and save – oil, separating solids
- deposit solids into tomato mixture, stir thoroughly
- add sriracha & brown sugar to tomato mixture
- sautée tomato mixture for ten minutes
- add oil back into tomato mixture, remove from heat
- serve with crusty bread (or drink with a straw, jk – kind of)
Pork Belly Mushroom Toast
On a particularly lazy Saturday late morning, TW and I were looking for something scrumptious yet not eggy for a late breakfast. I scoured the refrigerator, found some beautiful brown mushrooms, had just clipped some fresh parsley from the Garden, and went to Google: “parsley mushroom breakfast recipe” – page 2 bore fruit (or vegetable, I suppose): this wonderful recipe from BBC Good Food.
I altered it slightly by using wheat toast, subbing pork belly for prosciutto, subbing cacique crema for crème fraîche and adding serranos. I know you’ll enjoy this – it was seriously incredible.
- wheat toast
- parmesan, shaved into slivers or curls
- pork belly, sliced fairly thin – 1/4″ or so
- 1 serrano chile, sliced into thin rings
- 4 cloves garlic
- generous handful of parsley, chopped
- cacique crema, 2 tbsp.
- EVOO, to taste
- salt, preferably maldon or fleur de sal but any salt with texture will be fine
- pepper, to taste
- toast bread until darkly browned
- place toast on plate, drizzle generously with olive oil so it seeps into the bread
- roast garlic cloves whole on high heat
- when browned, remove skins and let rest, turning pan down to medium-high
- place pork belly slices in pan, fry on each side for 3-4 minutes, or until crisp
- let pork belly rest on paper towel, covered
- add mushrooms and serranos directly to pan and sautee in pork belly drippings, approximately 2 minutes
- add two tbsp of EVOO and sautee another minute or two
- add garlic and most of the parsley, sautee one minute
- add cacique and stir until all mushrooms are coated
- spoon mushrooms onto toast
- add fresh parsley and the pork belly
- serve and devour
Ev’s Chopped-Inspired Winter Solstice Sausage
we had nothing in the house save for an apple, some random leftover sausage, fennel scraps and the awesome Beecher Flagship Cheddar. a little handiwork from the garden (serrano), boom – perfect winter snack.
mini chicken/apple sausage
1/2 fuji apple, diced
2 serrano peppers, sliced
1/2 fennel stem, diced
fennel greens, separated/feathered
beecher flagship cheddar cheese, disced
cracked black pepper
pinch of salt
apple cider vinegar
sautee sausage until 1/2 cooked, add apple and peppers and fennel stem
sautee until slightly browned