Recipe box: breakfast bird nests

(Is this becoming a food blog? Yikes)  

So I posted this picture on the old Insta earlier today:   

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And people liked it more than the typical pictures of my kids, so here's the recipe (it's vague, but just go with it): 

Oh--so a little backstory, I'm doing a whole30 type thing right now, an elimination diet to remove some inflammatories from my diet (wow I sound Iike a geezer), mainly because of some health stuff ("stuff" meaning maybe Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever--a real true thing. Not a bluegrass band at the upper state fair.).

So here's the recipe which is good and also noble because if you're into those sort of health things (no gluten, no dairy, etc) this ticks all those boxes. Ticks. Daggone. TICKS!

Ingredients:  

1 package frozen (thawed) shredded hash browns  

1 dozen eggs (or in my case, 8--yeahhh)  

salt and pepper  

nutritional yeast (whaaat...or shredded sharp cheddar, or neither. All work)  

add ins like BACON! Chopped peppers, mushrooms, green onions....etc

 

Method:  

preheat your oven to 425.  

Spray your muffin tins. You'll have such a sad experience if you don't. 

In a big bowl, combine hash browns with salt n peppa, cheese or yeast or nothing.  

Add a super generous pinch (like a grab) of potatoes and basically fill each tin. Like to the top. You'll think "I simply can't use all these potatoes!" But you will. Do it.  

Then with your fingers, smoosh the potatoes to the sides and bottom of the pan, leaving a space in the middle for your egg mixture. There should be a shaggy overlap on each one. That's good! It'll cook down a bit. Also looks nest-y and gives you lots of crunchy bits. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes til light brown.  

In the meantime, if you want, crack your eggs and wisk them. However, if you happen to love a good runny yolk, sit on your hands.  

Wisk in green onion and a little s+p.  

After the potatoes have baked, turn the oven down to 350.  

Pour egg mixture in each hollow, OR crack an egg into each one. My husband doesn't do runny yolk. Aside: what's with the Internet's fascination with little runny yolk pierced by a fork videos? I like a good egg like that but the videos are gross to me. WHY. 

Top each egg with whatever mix ins (toppings I guess, but they sink in) you've chosen.  

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool a little, then remove from the pan. Eat all the crispy bits left behind.

So so good.  

Also good heated back up. So boom -- you just made your breakfast for the week.  

Here's August and also carrot salad

I'm sitting here procrastinating work, just so we're clear here. I'm using you to prolong actual work. But after a conversation I just had I think maybe what this REALLY is all about is a desire to play or at least approach words a bit more freely here.  

I know I'm justifying procrastination, but there's truth there too.  

August is a landslide of change. My teacher man heads back to the classroom, our schedules flex and fill in more ridgid ways. This year, my son goes to public school...I hold that truth at arms length. But there it all is, looming. He turns 6 in a couple of weeks. I turn 38 a few days before that. So August always seems to pummel me a bit with shifting and incessant full-feeling.  

But with that comes an adrenal pulse. My eyes open a fraction wider, I'm well aware of my heart in my chest, I'm awake again. But really longing for the pillowy freedom of summer. But ahead we go, like it or not. Change is a coming, the milk expires after Silas is in school and I'm older and "normal" is back.  

But I need the mess to be boxed in--spiritually, socially, emotionally. I've always felt the most me when I can have a room with nice straight and steady walls and space within to be free. Free and un-free all at once. Summer's flexibility breeds too much laziness in me, too much free time to waste. I gotta have a schedule and a deadline, and I don't seem to have the wherewithal to self impose. 

But in my freedom, I found this recipe that you should make as soon as possible. MAKE THIS I say, because it's surprising and delicious and needs to be shared because it makes so much. It's bright and tart and sweet and crunchy and just so good.  It has nothing to do with August or anything but I found it was an excellent catalyst for having some friends over and therefore forcing me to hurricane around the house cleaning and straightening. May it wake you up to a new season or meal or gathering.  

Here's a picture my friend Deb took of her leftovers of our communal meal, just in case a picture of carrot salad gives you some reference:  

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There's a bunch of fiddly chopping involved. The pistachios especially irked me. Use it as mediation time, or like I did the first time I made it, make it with friends (like Deb). DO IT. 

 

Ingredients

4 cups grated carrots (I just grated a bag of whole carrots from the store)

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

7 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

4 green onions, white and green parts, chopped

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons olive oil

zest and juice of 2 limes

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon tumeric

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup shelled roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (let's be real--I made this twice and forgot the cheese both times. Didn't miss it, for what it's worth) 

Make it: 

  1. In a large bowl, combine the carrots, garbanzo beans, chopped dates, green onions, cilantro and chopped pistachios.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together olive oil, zest and juice of limes, cumin, nutmeg, turmeric, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the carrot mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle in the feta cheese and toss lightly. Or forget to add the cheese
  4. Serve immediately or cover and chill in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Adapted from Sara Forte, Sprouted Kitchen

 

Recipe Box: blueberry swirl cake (with blemish-concealing citrus glaze)

It's blueberry season! Let's eat cake, let's share cake, let's take a glamour shot of said cake. We took this beauty over to our friend's house the other night and man oh man if it had A Moment. It's just that good.  

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I love this recipe because the berries are really incorporated into the batter, because you make a simple jam from a portion of the fresh berries. This makes gorgeous, deeply flavored swirls in a rich, buttery cake...something I prefer over biting into a baked blueberry blob. This hearkens back to my younger self picking all the blueberries out of a muffin. Deflated, watery, tasteless...nothing that should describe a fresh blueberry. Degradation! But no more with this recipe. 

Try it! You can do this!  

And even if you liberally spray your bundt pan with baking spray and the darn cake still sticks (man, I had a feeling it would happen, I think I cursed it--and I wrote down how you can avoid it), well doggone it, make this easy (as cake?) citrus glaze to mask your mistakes. It improved what's already a lovely thing. I like when that happens. 

This recipe is adapted from Cook's Illustrated, a magazine I've hoarded and now don't know where all those saved issues are.... 

Blueberry Swirl Bundt Cake

 Cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (yes that seems weird but it really works) 

3/4 cup buttermilk (or do the spoonful of vinegar in milk trick...OR come over to our house and get the rest of our buttermilk out of the fridge) 

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 3 tablespoons juice (this was two lemons) 

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs plus 1 large yolk, room temperature

2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

Filling:

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons low- or no-sugar-needed fruit pectin

Pinch of salt

2 cups fresh or thawed frozen blueberries

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice

Glaze:  

2 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons lemon and/or lime juice  

 

Method:

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 325 degrees. Heavily spray nonstick bundt pan with baking spray and flour. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, lemon zest, juice and vanilla together in medium-size bowl.

Gently whisk eggs and yolk to combine in third bowl. (I know! The bowls! So many!) 

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping as needed. Reduce speed to medium and beat in half of eggs until incorporated, about 15 seconds, then repeat with remaining eggs, scraping down bowl after incorporating.

Reduce speed to low and add 1/3 of flour mixture, followed by half of buttermilk mixture, mixing until just incorporated after each addition, about 5 seconds.

Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk mixture. Scrape down bowl, add remaining flour mixture and mix on medium-low until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with a rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside while preparing filling (batter will inflate a bit.)

Filling: Whisk sugar, pectin and salt together in a small saucepan.

Process blueberries in a blender until mostly smooth, about 1 minute.

Transfer 1/4 cup puree and lemon zest to saucepan with sugar mixture and stir to thoroughly combine.

Heat sugar-blueberry mixture over medium heat until just simmering, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar and pectin.

Transfer mixture to medium-size bowl and let cool for 5 minutes. Add remaining puree and lemon juice to cooled mixture and whisk to combine. Let sit until slightly set, which make take around 15 minutes. This is an important step! I didn't wait long enough and that was my pan-stick problem. Learn from my impatient ways! 

Spoon half of batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Using back of spoon, create 1/2-inch-deep channel in center of batter. Spoon half of filling into channel.

Using butter knife or small offset spatula, thoroughly swirl filling into batter (there should be no large pockets of filling remaining). Repeat swirling step with remaining batter and filling.

Bake until top is golden brown and skewer inserted in center comes out clean, about 60 to 70 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert cake directly onto wire rack. Allow cake to cool for at least 3 hours before serving.

Want (or in my case need) a glaze?  

Sift powdered sugar into a bowl (at this point, I just barely wiped out a bowl...enough with the bowls!), mix in two tablespoons of juice, adding the remaining tablespoon a drop at a time to make a thick but pourable glaze. Decorate with berries and mint leaves and make someone's day.