Tuesday, September 28, 2010

South(west) Of The Border

Good evening everyone! It's starting to feel at lot like fall (in the evenings anyway). Fall happens to be my favorite season. Cool-ish weather. Beautiful leaves and great culinary traditions. Pumpkin bread, squash and other gourds are in season, pumpkin spice, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie. Although there are no pumpkin related dishes on the menu tonight, you can rest assured that there will be in the near future. Pumpkin pie is a certainty, pumpkin bread is a possibility and a saw a recipe for a pumpkin spice soup that has my interest. When it comes to fall culinary treats, it's all good.

Speaking of all good, tonight was Maggie's night to take the kitchen and she debuted a delicious little treat that could have come off a menu at Perkins or Ihop (or other breakfast serving establishment) I'll turn the keyboard over to her now and let her share her unique and tasty dish for this evening.

The Recipe: Western Skillets Eggs
Original Recipe Found In: Food Network Magazine October 2010 Issue

What You'll Need:

1/2 Cup Half-And-Half
Pinch Of Cayenne Pepper
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Shallots (Sliced)
2 Large Green Bell Peppers
1 1/2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes
1/4 Pound Thinly Sliced Ham
4 Slices Sourdough Bread
2 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley
8 Large Eggs

Good evening everyone!  I, as well, love fall - it's the perfect time of the year (that's why we got married in the fall.)  For tonight's recipe, I went on a limb.  "A limb" usually refers to a non-pasta, non-cheese, non-chicken dish that incorporates one or more flavors/ingredients I don't usually use.  This recipe was definitely out there for me.

I started by chopping the green peppers, tomatoes, shallots, and breaking up the slices of bread into one inch sections.  Also, I whisked the half-and-half, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper together.  I began to preheat my oven to 350 degrees and heat a large ovenproof skillet (or in my case ovenproof dutch oven) over medium high heat.  

Add the olive oil to the skillet and warm for a minute or so.  Add the shallots and cook until softened - two minutes.  Add the chopped green peppers and cook until the peppers are soft and the shallots are golden - six minutes.  Add the tomato, ham, bread, parsley, and a fourth of a cup of water and cook until most of the water is absorbed - three minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

With the bottom of a ladle, make eight well-defined indentations into the bread mixture.  

The bread might still be a little sticky at this point, but make sure the indentations are there.  Crack each egg over a single indentation.  Slowly pour the half and half mixture over the eggs.  

Put the combination into the oven and bake for 15 minutes, rotation the dish every five minutes, until the whites are set.  Top with parsley.

The End Result:

It was a pleasant surprise, to say the least.  I was a little worried about this recipe (but, at this point, I worry about all my recipes.)  I had never really made a breakfast-esqe recipe for dinner and all the flavorings made me a little weary.  

But, the flavors from the cayenne, green pepper, parsley, and tomato gave this dish a real warmth, yet not too spicy.  The eggs were perfectly cooked - everything was real harmonious.  Although I didn't add the ham, it could have used a meat to round out the flavor.  All in all, I'm happy with this dish and it makes me not so nervous to try out "limb" recipes.

Thank you Maggie. Tonight's recipe certainly defines the cooking style that has become Maggie's. Nothing too complicated, nothing too labor intensive, but always something new. The flavors blended together nicely, making this simple dish a nice way to top off a day - or to get one started. My only change to this dish would be to add some sausage or other breakfast meat (bacon?). The recipe calls for ham, but ham and I don't get along. So, Maggie omitted it. However, some form of meat would really make the dish. Other than that, a tasty little treat that is worth a shot.

That's all we have for you tonight. I'm taking over the kitchen tomorrow night with a recipe that is perfect for those of you who work all day. With only a little bit of prep and a long cooking time - my recipe is perfect for the family on the go. More on that tomorrow, until then.


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