Sunday Brunch Edition: Asparagus Egg Bake for 2

So this weekend has been yet another where we have left the house only to grocery shop and scout the Goodwill and Salvation Army for Steampunk goodies. Still getting over the virus from hell and being away from each other for 2 weeks, Joe and I spent the better part of the weekend sitting on the couch, watching movies, cooking, doing laundry, drowning ourselves in tea and cough medicine, and doing minimalist art projects.

Joe has been playing with his dremel and making a really neat wood ring. I did crossword puzzles and read. Since I am in the upswing of the illness and he is still struggling, I did most of the cooking. As a special treat, I made us brunch this morning. Let me start off my explaining, the following recipe is NOT what the original source, Sue Doeden suggests. It is my (typical) artistic interpretation.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter (melted)
  • 2 English muffins
  • 1/4 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar
  • 6 asparagus spears (cut into 1-inch pieces)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Crack eggs into a bowl and add milk, whisking together.
  3. Add tablespoon of melted butter and whisk until equally mixed.
  4. Lightly grease 2 ramekins with olive oil.
  5. Cut 1 of the English muffins (I used Thomas’ whole grain, which is healthier without that gritty taste the whole wheat ones have) and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Cover the bottom of the ramekins with the muffin (approximately 2/3 of the muffin) between the two.  Save the other English muffin to toast for the side.
  6. Layer 1/2 the amount of asparagus pieces and 1/2 the shredded cheddar, then the remaining chopped English muffin and asparagus.
  7. Pour the egg, milk, butter mixture over the top. It should just reach the rim, as it settles in between the dry ingredients. IMG_1822
  8. If desired, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
  9. Place the ramekins on a baking pan (in case of spills–they will happen) and put into the oven to cook for 25 minutes.

Serve immediately with a side of English muffin, fresh fruit (I used blackberries and mandarin oranges), and french press coffee (Vermont Coffee Co. is my weakness).

Happy brunching!

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Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Cheese

This on_DSC4401e comes from Northern Spy Food Co., a popular restaurant in Manhattan. However, I learned about this tasty dish when I went to visit my bestie, Rose, in Boston this past August. After the bus ride from hell and arriving to Boston and navigating public transit to SoWa, I was graced with this filling and fresh meal. I think in addition to butternut squash, Rose may have used grilled red and yellow peppers. It is kind of a blur at this point, but it was magical! Upon my return home, I asked Rose for the original recipe so I could recreate it at home.

This is the third time I made this dish–each time doing something a little bit different. The first time I cut the butternut squash myself, instead of using the pre-cut, pre-packaged one. (I learned quickly, that I wanted that 20 minutes of my life back) I also used whole almonds without toasting them. The second time I added a smoked cheddar cheese and sautéed onion. This time, I went with slivered almonds and got them a bit…crispy. Big surprise. I still have not learned how to “toast” nuts to the point they get fragrant before they start to get burnt. Although, I would definitely add the (non-burnt) toasted nuts in the future. The squash and everything else starts to soften up once it is mixed together-  so the toasted nuts added just the crunch that the dish was missing. Maybe next time I will try dried cranberries for added sweetness.

_DSC4396INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cubed butternut squash
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • bunch kale (ribs removed and sliced into 1 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup extra sharp cheddar (1/4 inch cubes)
  • fresh lemon juice
  • parmesan cheese (sprinkled)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss squash with olive oil, salt and pepper, and lay on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper until lightly coated. Cook for 35-40 minutes, until softened and beginning to caramelize.
  2. Toast almonds in a small pan in the same oven until fragrant (2-3 minutes).
  3. Toss kale with 1 T. of lemon juice and 2 T. of olive oil in a medium bowl. Add cubed cheese, almonds and the squash. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Mix together and serve.

This dish can be served warm or cold. Try it out and let me know what you add to make it your own!