My 15-year-old son, Miles, spends an inordinate amount of time watching videos on his phone. I guess he’s a typical teenager. Most of the videos he watches deal with gaming – like watching other people play video games like Minecraft. While I may find this rather droll to watch myself, he finds this rather riveting. Maybe I’m missing something here.
But occasionally, he’ll come to me with a recipe he wants me to make simply because he watched a cooking channel on YouTube. He’s certainly not watching The Food Network and requesting anything from those cooks, but he does request things he sees made on the internet. Maybe the Food Network should take note of this…
Anyway, each week I ask what everyone wants for dinner. This week, his suggestion, based on a YouTube video, was shakshuka. I’ve heard of shakshuka but never made it before. So… why not try it? Turns out, that yes, Miles has an eye for spotting good food online.
The dish originates from Northern Africa where they mainly eat it for breakfast. It would make a great dish for brunch and we ate it for dinner. So, basically, you can have this dish at any time you want it. The simplicity of it is what makes it delicious – eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. That’s it.
Adapted from the NY Times
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet (12 inch diameter) over medium low heat. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic. Saute until the vegetables are soft, about 5-10 minutes. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Add the red pepper flakes, cumin, and paprika. Saute for another couple of minutes to bring out their flavors. Stir in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the tomatoes thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.
Crack the eggs, one at a time over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with the feta cheese and season the top with salt and pepper. Bake until the eggs are set – 7-10 minutes for runny egg yolks, 10-15 minutes for firmer egg yolks. Sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve. Serve hot with fresh bread. If it’s served with dinner, add a fresh salad on the side.
This recipe, akin to my bread or pizza dough recipes that reside in my head making it difficult to quantify, was recited to my colleagues and I by Colette (aka, Coco). When asked for the recipe, she said, "Oh, it's made of oats, millet, teff, egg whites, kefir, pumpkin seeds, nuts, sunflower seeds, a little oil." No quantities given. No other instruction. It's like all the ingredients just magically come together and voilà, you have waffles.
I'm part of a culinary medicine program at Montana State University and my team was meeting with Colette, a local physician and the clinical director of the WWAMI program for MSU, regarding a series of workshops we are holding in the fall. Colette invited us over to her home for breakfast and served us these waffles.
On the way back to campus, it was requested I try to remake the waffles and figure out Coco's recipe. It took me three attempts to come up with a recipe as close to the original as I could get.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the biggest fan of gluten free foods. I like dabbling with gluten free recipes because I like the challenge of making them taste good or a least palatable (because, frankly, most gluten free products need help in the flavor world). I appreciate gluten free recipes like this one where the GF flours are of high nutritional quality. Used in this recipe, teff and millet provide excellent sources of dietary fiber and protein.
As with most recipes, you can tailor this one to meet your own tastes or dietary needs. I offer quantities, but what you actually use is up to you. However, i suggest keeping the oats, millet, and teff in the recipe because of their nutritional properties. Additionally, the oats provide much needed structure to the finished product.
I like to make a big bowl of batter and keep it in the refrigerator for the week. As the batter sits, it gets thicker because the oats soak up the moisture. This is perfectly fine. You can also choose to make all the waffles at once and reheat them over the week (or freeze them -- like Eggo® Waffles, but way better).
These are now my go-to waffles and I find them to be a satisfying breakfast. When served with fresh berries, maple syrup, and a sausage link or two, you will have a delicious breakfast.
Coco's Gluten Free Waffles
Place the oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and nuts in a food processor. Pulse several times until coarsely ground (not too finely ground -- enough to add texture to the waffles). Pour the seed mixture into a bowl. Add the millet, teff, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, oil, and honey. Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Set aside while the waffle iron heats up. The longer the batter sits, the thicker it gets (which is fine). Cook the waffles according to the waffle iron instructions.
Enjoy the waffles with fresh berries and maple syrup.
Toasted Bagels: You're doing it wrong.
Yeah, you heard me. Get that bagel out of the toaster. You want a toasted bagel? Use a skillet instead.
I've been eating toasted bagels ever since I can remember. When I was a kid, my mom would make me toasted bagels and her method is perhaps the absolute best way to enjoy them. Sure, I've used a toaster or toaster ovens for my bagels, but using a skillet has an advantage over these popular methods. Instead of drying out the bagel, as toasters often do, the skillet method keeps the bagel soft while offering a lovely toasty surface upon which to spread the cream cheese. No more dried out bagel. You get one that is toasted and soft.
It's a simple method:
Cut the bagel in half like you normally would. Spread a thin layer of butter on the cut side. Place bagel, butter side down in a non-stick skillet. Cook over medium heat until toasted and golden brown. Remove from pan. Spread with cream cheese or preferred bagel topping.
Enjoy a toasted bagel that is soft and warm.
The way bagels should be.
What's for brinner? Waffles, of course.
You might be wondering, what is brinner? Well, brinner is breakfast for dinner. You know, like how brunch is breakfast and lunch. We first heard of "brinner" several years ago on a little show called "Scrubs." Since then, my husband and I have made it a point to have "brinner" on a regular basis. But you just can't have any simple brinner like cold cereal or danishes. No, it has be to substantial - a full meal. While we love pancakes, sometimes you really want a waffle instead. Waffles are crispier versions of pancakes and this recipe makes them even heartier. Serve with fresh berries, maple syrup (the real stuff), and bacon (of course) and you have a delicious meal. Breakfast for dinner. Brinner.
These waffles are full of whole grains and are incredibly filling. One waffle is quite enough for each person.
Oat and Almond Waffles
Makes 4 standard size waffles
Preheat the waffle iron according to manufacturer instructions.
In a food processor, pulse together the oats and almonds until coarsely ground (not powder fine, but a little more coarse than that). Place oat mixture in a mixing bowl. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Pour about a 1/3 cup (depending on the size of your waffle iron) in the center of the preheated iron and press the lid down. Cook waffles according the iron's manufacturer's instructions.
Serve with fresh berries, maple syrup, and anything else you desire. We love bacon or sausage with our waffles.
Think of a frittata as a quiche but without the crust. Perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dinner.
I like to make frittatas when I need to clean out the fridge. You know, when you have vegetables hanging around in the crisper that have seen better days but you know you can still use. Soups, are also a good way to use up vegetables but sometimes you want something a little more satisfying. Or perhaps you really want eggs. Lots of eggs. Who knows.
At any rate, frittatas can be made with any combination of eggs, vegetables, cheese, and meat (if desired). There isn't a rule for these, just use your imagination and whatever you have laying around. Well, ok, within reason. I'm not sure raisins or chocolate belong in frittatas.
This recipe is for a southwest style frittata. I sometimes make them using eggs, bacon, veggies, and goat cheese (delicious, too!), but today I had chorizo hanging around ready to be cooked along with onions and peppers begging to be used up. So, what I'm saying is, you can use this recipe as basic template -- keep the egg and half and half ratio the same but vary up the meat, veggies, and cheese.
And use a cast iron skillet. Best non-stick pan around, especially the more you use it.
Yield: 1 (10-inch) frittata
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
In a 10-inch cast iron skillet (or other oven proof skillet -- one that eggs won't stick to), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chorizo and sauté until cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Break up the sausage into smaller pieces as it cooks. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic; sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the chard and sauté until it starts to wilt down, about 1 minute. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Pour the mixture into the pan. Stir to combine and evenly distribute the eggs and filling. Sprinkle the top with cheese. Bake in the oven until the top is lightly golden brown and the center is firm to the touch, about 30 minutes.
Cool slightly and serve.
Cheddar and Chive Biscuits
Making biscuits is similar to making pie crust -- you need cold butter to achieve flaky biscuits (just like with pie crust). Of course, the flakiest pie crusts and biscuits are made with shortening or lard but the best tasting ones are made with butter. If you want, you can substitute half of butter for lard (as a rule, I do not use shortening) for either biscuits or pie crust.
These biscuits are made with white whole wheat flour, making them a little more dense. You can use all white flour, that's fine. You may need to decrease the amount of butter milk to 3/4 cup since whole wheat flour absorbs more moisture than white flour.
Even though I added cheddar and chives to the recipe, you can either omit these items or add your own herb and cheese combination. Goat cheese and rosemary sounds like a good combination if you ask me and serve with roasted lamb chops. Seriously, that sounds really damn good.
But I digress...
It's time to step into the kitchen and make biscuits for a Sunday morning treat. Your family will love you even more.
Cheddar and Chive Biscuits
Yield: about 1 dozen
Preheat oven to 425ºF.
In a bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Add the cubed butter and with a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the buttermilk. Mix until dough starts to form. Add the cheese and chives; mix to combine.
Form the dough into a ball and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll to about a 1/2 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter, cut into shapes and place on a baking sheet. Reroll the dough until you use it all up. The last biscuit will look a little wonky but that's ok. They all don't have to be perfect.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Biscuits are best served slightly warm with a pad of butter.