Thursday, April 28, 2011

Weekend wake-up call

Despite popular opinion, Vindaloo does rise at an hour early enough to eat breakfast, or some meal that might approximate breakfast.  In fact, Vindaloo really enjoys cooking breakfast on the weekends when she can be more relaxed and not have to rush out the door to her next great adventure.  Which is usually right around the corner.

Furthermore, when Vindaloo cooks and eats a relaxed breakfast, she likes to serve something with a bit of a kick.  She has a particular penchant for poached eggs prepared in perky, piquant, peppery and peculiar sauces, preferrably with pimientos.  English majors, please don't fail to notice my attempts at alliteration!  Last fall, after her near-yearly pilgrimage to Albuquerque, she made and ingested Huevos Rancheros Christmas for several weeks on end (which is eggs with red and green chile sauce--and if you want the recipe, please write).  But lately, Vindaloo has been on a bit of an egg and spicy tomato sauce binge.  Lucky for her, her husband also likes spicy foods, so following are three egg recipes for you to try. 

Eggs Poached in Sauce Tomatish is not only spicy, but perfumed with smoky paprika.  It is entirely yummy and make sure you have lots of good, crusty bread or pita bread for the sauce.  Shakshuka is an Israeli variation on Tomatish, but with Middle Eastern spices.  It smells fabulous when it's cooking, but do try it if only for the lycopene boost, which apparently happens optimally when olive oil and tomatoes get all friendly and happy together in the pan.  And what more can be said about Eggs in Hell other than that they are devilishly good (oops!! sorry!!)?  Let me know if they don't just give your morning a jump start--and your tastebuds a proper kick in the proverbial pants.

Eggs Poached in Sauce Tomatish

Make this in individual ramekins or in a large skillet.  Great for a brunch gathering.

1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup sweet white onion, chopped finely or 1/2 cup onion, grated
8 oz. tomato paste
6 oz. water, plus extra for more thinning as necessary
juice of 1/2 lemon
4 eggs
goat or feta cheese and additional chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
warmed, crusty bread or pita bread

1.  Heat the oil in a skillet or heavy bottomed saucepan to medium high. 
2.  Cook onions, garlic, parsley, cilantro, salt and pepper briefly, then turn heat to low and saute until soft and translucent.  Do not overbrown. 
3.  Add paprika and stir, cooking for 1 minute.
4.  Add grated tomato, stir to blend.
5.  Turn heat up to medium and add tomato paste.  Stir and blend with other ingredients for 30 seconds.
6.  Add water and stir well.
7.  Add lemon juice and blend.
8.  Turn heat to med-high and bring to a boil, adding more water to reach desired consistency--your choice.  Sauce tomatish can be as thin as chicken broth to as thick as canned tomato sauce, or thicker.  
9.  When sauce is close to desired consistency, reduce heat to a simmer and crack eggs one by one into hot sauce. 
10. Poach, covered, until eggs are set.  For runny eggs, cook about 2 to 3 minutes.  Garnish with cheese and parsley, if desired.  Serve with warmed pita bread.  Serves 2.

For individual servings: You can ladle the hot sauce into greased gratin dishes and bake or broil until eggs are set.  Garnish with cheese and parsley if desired.

Shakshuka  Eggs Poached in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 to 3 Anaheim chiles or 1 to 2 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped (or substitute canned, roasted green chiles or pickled sliced jalapenos)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 Tbs. paprika
1 15 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
Kosher salt, to taste
4 eggs
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Warm pitas

1.  Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
2.  Add chiles and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes.
3.  Add garlic, cumin, and paprika, and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.
4.  Put tomatoes and their liquid into a bowl and break up slightly hands.
5.  Add tomatoes to skillet along with 1/2 cup water, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
6.  Crack eggs over sauce.  Cover and cook until yolks are just set, about 5 minutes.
7.  Baste the whites of the eggs with tomato mixture, being careful not to disturb the yolk.
8.  Sprinkle shakshuka with feta and parsley.  Serve with warm pitas.  Serves 2.

Eggs in Hell

There are several versions of this dish.  This is my favorite.

2 Tbs. EVOO
1/2 cup minced onion
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 jalapeño peppers or 1-2 serrano peppers, seeded and minced
1/2 tsp. crushed hot red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (you can use canned or jarred)
2 Tbs. cider vinegar
4 eggs
1/4 cup or more crumbled queso cotija, feta or goat cheese
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Crusty bread for dipping

1.  Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until rippling.
2.  Add onion, garlic, peppers and crushed red pepper.  Cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
3.  Add the tomato sauce and the cider vinegar and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer.
4.  Crack eggs and lower gently one-by-one into the tomato sauce.
5.  Cook until eggs are set.  For runny yolks, cook about 5-7 minutes.
6.  Remove from heat and cover generously with cheese.  Garnish with parsley.  Serve with warm, crusty bread.  Serves 2.

If these egg dishes don't wake you up, then you are either 1.) comatose, 2.) dead, or 3.) inert matter.  Please let me know what you think.  I eagerly await your reviews.

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