July 17, 2010

Breakfast at Marjorie's

My girlfriend sent me a little text this morning with a mid-morning query, "Where's my friend?" which led to, the whatcha doin', didjya eat, wanna have breakfast conversation. I dragged a brush through my hair, grabbed my youngest and these fixin's and scooted down the street. Her team was mostly in pj's and gravitated to the TV room with my girl while Marj and I got after the side by side breakfast business. She made her soon-so-be-world famous crunchy, fluffy waffles while I turned this green bowl goodness into my current favorite breakfast: Spanish Eggs.

I've happily shared the original recipe. Oh, but I deviate and suggest you do to - with great gusto! Red peppers, green, yellow, minced carrots, more onions, add 'em in. It is a delicious way to enjoy a shirred or poachy kind of egg. And best served with good friends, great conversations and today, pear tea.
Saturday mornings all around, I say!

Spanish Eggs -- From the Sonoma Diet

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin bite-sized strips
1 fresh jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 to 1 1/12 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 eggs
salt
pepper
2 T sliced almonds, toasted

1)  In a large skillet cook bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, and garlic in hot oil about 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in tomatoes, chili powder, cumin and the 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to boiling: reduce heat. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.
2) Break one of the eggs into a measuring cup. Carefully slide the egg into simmering tomato mixture. Repeat with remaining eggs. Sprinkle eggs lightly with additional kosher salt and black pepper.
3) Cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes or until whites are completely set and yolks begin to thicken but are not firm.
4) To serve, transfer eggs to serving plates with a slotted spoon Stir tomato mixture; spoon around eggs on plates. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Derivations: sweat the pepper (red is fine too) with garlic and onion in the olive oil, add tomato and some coarsely chopped mushrooms. I don't always have a jalapeno and don't always add the chili powder. I do use lots of fresh ground black pepper and love a good sprinkling of lemon and a quarter of an avocado to finish. 
It is a remarkably hearty breakfast. A warm corn tortilla is perfect along side.


July 15, 2010

Peachy

Oh, the summer fruit.
Who doesn't love the color, the fragrance, the flavor of the peach?
The neighbor's peach tree is overloaded and I'm dreaming about what each of these darlings will become in the next phase of their lives.
I'll let you know as we go. But I must ask the question:
What do you do with your peaches?

July 14, 2010

Popsicles

I could go on about the brilliance of time for summer reading, or the de-stuffing projects, but really, all that's on my mind is popsicles. Like these at DesignSponge.
I have hungry, hot, tired people around and the second best thing I can think of to cool them down is a cool thing on a cool stick.
We'll maybe even make them out of watermelon, like our favorite watermelon granita.
Believe me we'll be enjoying Christina's Fabulous Summer Slush. But that recipe is for another summer's day.
Ah, summer.

July 12, 2010

Spatchcocked Chicken Night

You can't imagine the fun we had last night making this unbelievably easy and unreasonably delicious dish. It may be the 7th wonder of the food world.

Our dear friends, the one's we call, "Group"  (five families, nine kids and thirteen years of infectious affection), gathered last night for a pool and dinner party. Kids were everywhere - ranging from 10 to 14. Parents came from as far as 300 miles away for the event. (This is close to full compliment with a family out of the country.)

Of course, we all had responsibility for a dish and the host made scrumptious chicken, from a MS Everyday recipe. We, of course, went right into Julia Child mode discussing the merits of a Spatchcocked Chicken, the method, ("First you spatchcock the chicken by running a knife down it's back...") loudly and joyfully.  It is the most delicious chicken I've EVER eaten. No exaggeration and, I'm posting the recipe.

Just in case you don't know the cooking term to Spatchcock (which I only vaguely recalled and couldn't define very well) is an Irish term and refers to the removal of the backbone and flattening of a chicken for the purpose of rapid cooking. (We could call it butterflying, but Spatchcock has so much more gusto.) You can also use it to refer to something dispensed with quickly. Good word.

Beyond the chicken what I loved most about this night was the play occurring all over the house. There were men with cellphones and cameras and apps all kibitzing about new and better and what's next. The kids swam and worked in the studio or performed well-choreographed dance routines and the moms stood around the kitchen laughing and talking and cooking and making friendship bracelets. Friends for life friendship bracelets. Good play.

Good friends. And a good night.

Photo credit: Michelle Goldstein  (our Mama G.)

July 11, 2010

Spatchcocked Chicken with Tomatoes a la Ms. Stewart

Use a 3-4 pound chicken. Turn it breast side down on a cutting board and starting at the bottom, cut upward with kitchen shears, along the backbone. Cut along the other side and remove backbone. Turn the chicken and flatten it in true butterfly style by applying pressure with your palm. (Here's a video of a more complete method and a more refined method, which makes it easier to cut for serving.)

Spatchcocked Chicken with Tomatoes
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Season spatchcocked chicken with coarse salt and ground pepper and place, breast side up, in a pan (or on a cookie sheet) with 3 unpeeled garlic cloves, smashed. With the tip of a paring knife, pierce 1 pint cherry tomatoes. Add to pan and drizzle tomatoes with 1 teaspoon olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Pour 1/2 cup dry white wine and 1/3 cup water into pan. (we forgot the wine and it was delicious...) Roast chicken until juices run clear when pierced between breast and leg (to 165 degrees at the thickest part of the meat) 30-40 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup basil leaves before carving.

Taken from Martha Stewart Everyday Cooking July, 2010. 
Also see Martha Stewart's website recipe.

Quotable Sunday ~ Friendship, again.

If I had a single flower for every time I think about you, I could walk forever in my garden.
-- Attributed to Claudia Ghandi

I am blessed, beyond blessing with the friends God has given me. Those close at hand and those close in heart. I am more blessed than I can find language to express.

And I am grateful for my lovely friendship garden.

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Original text and images sole property of BirdandSeashells. If you wish to use something, please ask or quote me.