Salmon and Vegetables Teriyaki

The same dish they have for takeaway at Whole Foods with better salmon and less sweet teriyaki.

Sushi rice (in the rice cooker or heat rice with 1 teaspoon canola oil and a teaspoon of salt and then for every  1 cup of rice  add 1 1/2 cup water).

Carrots, red pepper, and broccoli steamed (start carrots first, then red pepper, then broccoli).

Pan sear salmon however done you like (remove pin bones if needed). I have been using Silver Coho Salmon I found at Trader Joe’s and it has been very tender and delicious.

Mix teriyaki sauce: in a measuring cup add a heaping spoon of cornstarch, then stir in soy sauce until you have a smooth slurry. Then equal parts soy sauce, mirin rice wine or sake, brown sugar. Add a teaspoon of grated ginger and fresh ground pepper to taste. Microwave a minute at a time until thickened or bring to a boil on stove.

Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Maybe some thinly sliced scallions too.

Done.

Copyright © 2017 MRStrauss • All rights reserved

Cucumber

When a small packet of heirloom cucumber seeds turns into this, you need more cucumber ideas. I have quite a few Asian and Greek inspired recipes so I needed something to go with other foods. This paired well with pasta.

This is best made a few hours before serving. Start with this basic recipe and then see how it tastes. I usually end up adding a little more vinegar or sugar. You can also add chopped fresh dill or red pepper flakes for a different take. Or more garlic.

• 4 cucumbers, skins removed and seeds scooped out, thinly sliced
• 6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
• 2 tablespoons good tasting olive oil
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 1 garlic clove, crushed or put through a garlic press
• salt to taste

Copyright © 2017 MRStrauss • All rights reserved

Tabbouleh

 

The first time I had this was in a Persian restaurant in Washington DC. What an incredible idea: a salad of parsley. It’s a bit of a pain to make, especially since I don’t like parsley stems, but foolproof.

For this version you’ll need:
• 1 1/2 cups bulgur wheat (medium or course)
• 2 big bunches of parsley
• 1 red onion
• 2 large tomatoes
• 1 cup lemon juice (4-5 lemons)
• 1/2 cup olive oil (I use Nunez)
• 2 tablespoons fresh or dried mint
• Salt and pepper to taste (I use Maldon sea salt and freshly ground Tellicherry pepper)

Equipment I used:
Large mixing bowl
2 cup measuring cup
Mesh strainer
2 quart sauce pan
Lemon squeezer
Cutting board
8 inch chef’s knife

Start proofing the bulgur wheat. There are many ways to do this. I’ve settled on putting it into a mesh strainer fitted into a saucepan—shown above—and running hot water over it to wet the grains until the water reaches the top. I sit it by the sink and about 45 minutes later it’s all puffed up and you can just pick the strainer up and let the water run out.

While this is going on, get out a large bowl, the biggest one you have. Finely dice the tomatoes and put them in your bowl and sprinkle with the Maldon sea salt. Set aside.

In a 2 cup measuring cup, add a half cup of olive oil and stir in the mint; finely minced if using fresh. Squeeze the lemons and add to the olive oil.

Now finely dice the red onion and add it to the olive oil and lemon juice mixture.

Now the parsley. I don’t like stems so I painstakingly pluck the leaves and then coarsely chop them. But you can do this however you want.

Once the bulgur is drained and ready, add everything to the bowl with the tomatoes. Add freshly ground pepper to taste or not.

Watch it disappear in less time than it took to make.

Copyright © 2017 MRStrauss • All rights reserved

Yucatán Bentosh

This inspired take on the traditional rice bowl comes from a trip to the Yucatán peninsula. After discovering these bright pink pickled onions (escabeche de cebolla) in Mérida, I needed a place for them. As with all my recipes, the ingredients here can vary— here, I’ve used ground beef. But it is just as good with shredded spiced chicken or beef, or beans. If you’ve got the time, you could even take this to the next level with Mayan style Cochinita Pibil, which is another dish I first had in Mérida. Cochinita Pibil is like pulled pork, but with a kick from sour orange juice instead of vinegar. There’s a good recipe for this on rickbayless.com.

For this four person version, you’ll need:
• Ground beef (a pound or so)
• One red onion (medium size or however much pickled onion you want)
• Two small/medium yellow onions (one for the rice, one for the beef)
• Medium tomato for the rice
• Two cups Jasmine rice
• Cumin
• Chili powder
• Garlic (two or three cloves should be good)
• Diced tomatoes (14.5oz can)
• Iceberg lettuce (to me, iceberg tastes the best here since it is cool and kind of sweet)
• Cilantro leaves (I pluck the leaves unless the stems are really tender)
• White vinegar (around a cup)
• Salt
• Olive or canola oil
• Additional toppings: avocado, jalapeno slices, shredded cheese….

Equipment I used:
• Three quart saucepan for the rice
• Twelve inch frying pan for the meat
• One quart saucepan for the onions
• Glass bowl with lid for marinating the onions
• Mesh strainer
• Cutting Board
• 8 inch chef’s knife

Work on the onions first because they need time to cool; you can also make them early in the day or days in advance. Thinly slice or roughly chop one medium size red onion and boil covered in water for two minutes or so, until they soften. Don’t worry when you see their color fade. Drain the onions, place in a bowl big enough for them, and cover with white vinegar. Now the magic will happen: they’ll start turning bright pink.

Get a pot out for the rice. Here, I am making around five cups cooked, I think. Add some oil to the pot, I use about a tablespoon of olive or canola oil, and a teaspoon of salt. You can set this on low while your finely chop a half of a yellow onion. Saute the onion until it’s kind of soft. While this is going on, finely dice a medium size tomato or two small ones, or half a ginormous one. When the onion is done, add about a teaspoon each of cumin and chili powder and let that warm up a bit. Add the tomato and saute for a minute. Stir in two cups of rice— I’ve been using Jasmine rice here—and three cups of water and bring to a boil; then cover and set on low for seventeen minutes. This is the perfect rice timing I got from one of my first cookbooks, a ‘learn to cook’ cookbook by Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey, but once I accidentally just turned the burner off and it sat for the seventeen minutes on its own heat and it was fine. Who knows, every time I think something is a ‘must,’ I find it may not be so. But the general rule is a cup and a half of water for every cup of rice and seventeenish minutes. You could also make cilantro lime rice. Or you could also use Near East Rice Pilaf Spanish Rice to cut down on prep time; two boxes would equal about what I have here. Put the bowls on the stove to warm up.

Once the rice is on its own, start browning your ground beef while you chop one yellow onion and a few cloves of garlic. Add the onions and garlic to the meat and brown everything up a bit before adding around a tablespoon of chili powder and a teaspoon of cumin. Give the spices a minute to bloom before adding a 14.5 (why isn’t it 15 ounces?) can of diced tomatoes and their juice. Bring to a boil and then let this simmer. I stir it every few minutes; sometimes I need to add a little water.

While the meat and rice are cooking, you can get the toppings ready. Toppings can be a lot of things here: any kind of lettuce, chopped tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, any kind of salsa, cilantro leaves, sliced jalapeno peppers, roasted peppers, shredded cheese, gosh what else? Don’t forget the pickled onions. I’m sure there’s other stuff. Oh, lime quarters (maybe not with the pickled onions). Avocado. Beans too. I’m allergic to legumes so I can’t really recommend what kind, but they could be in addition to or instead of the meat. Margaritas and mojitos pair well with this. Duh. But Mexican Coke in the green bottle is awesome. Wait! Horchata! That would be most awesome.

Notes: I’m starting to buy some different chili powders. Just like olive oil, there are a lot of different flavor notes in them: different kinds of smoky, some have citrus flavors, and others are almost sweet, some are H-O-T. I find them in local Hispanic markets, where I also see a lot of whole dried peppers. I haven’t advanced to grinding my own, but one day I’ll probably give that a try just to see if it makes a difference. Whole Foods has some different ones now. I use grass-fed ground beef all the time now. In this dish, you can’t really taste the difference, but you can appreciate the tender texture of the grass-fed beef. I also want to try cotija or queso blanco. I’ve made this with jack cheese, but I wasn’t crazy about the flavor.

Copyright © 2017 MRStrauss • All rights reserved

Winter Chicken and Tomatoes

Possibly not for the dedicated locavore, but I found this a good way to bring tomatoes to the table in winter— as the little ones taste the same to me in any season. This is a light, cheery, and to me, easy to make warming winter meal.

For this four person version, you’ll need:
• Four small chicken breasts (I find that the organic, air-chilled ones are the most tender)
• Two pints of cherry tomatoes
• One or two heads of garlic
• Two cups of orzo
• One cup of parsley leaves (I don’t like the stems, so I pluck the leaves)
• One lemon
• Two tablespoons of capers
• Salt, ground pepper, olive oil
Optional: sea salt flakes, fresh cracked pepper

Cooking equipment I used:
• Anchor Hocking 11 cup covered baking dish or 9×13 baking dish with foil to cover
• 13×18 sheet pan for the tomatoes and garlic
• Three quart or larger saucepan for the orzo

Arrange the shelves in the oven to make room for the baking dish with the chicken and the baking pan with the tomatoes to go in together— I put the chicken just below the middle and the tomatoes and garlic just above the middle. Get the oven going at 400°. Put as many cherry tomatoes and peeled garlic cloves as you want in a bowl. Toss with a little good-tasting olive oil, spread this out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with some sea salt flakes. Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper. If the baking dish doesn’t have a lid, cover with foil; I use an 11 cup Anchor Hocking baking dish with a glass lid which is good for up to four not too big chicken breasts. Put everything in the oven and pour yourself a glass of something. The tomatoes will take around 30 minutes to shrivel up and get some brown spots. I usually just leave the chicken in until everything is done, but you can test it around 20 minutes; if it looks cooked through when you pierce it with a knife or the instant read thermometer says it’s 165º, it’s done. You can take it out and let stay warm on the stove.

While you’re sipping and the tomatoes are roasting, start a pot for your orzo and bring it to a boil; salt the water if you wish. Orzo usually takes 10 minutes, so try to plot for it to be done when the chicken and tomatoes come out. While you’re waiting, finely chop some parsley for the orzo, drain a few spoonfuls of capers, and have some lemon wedges ready— I take out any pips that I can see. Oh, and you can set your bowls on the stove to let them warm up a bit.

When the tomatoes and garlic are shriveled up and brown in spots, it’s ready. Drain the orzo and put it back in the pot; drizzle with some olive oil and fold in the parsley and maybe some salt. Take the chicken and tomatoes out of the oven and slice or dice the chicken in the baking dish or on a cutting board. Now it comes together: every bowl gets some orzo, a few slices of chicken, tomatoes and garlic. Then I finish the dish with a few capers and a splash of lemon juice, but it tastes just as good without— the roasted tomatoes are the star of the show here. This might work with fish, maybe tilapia dredged and pan fried. The orzo could be any small pasta (little shells with fish could be nice) or even rice, quinoa, or couscous.

Notes:
For olive oil, I use Columela— it has a sort of spicy flavor, for sea salt flakes, I use Maldon, and for pepper, I use the Tellicherry variety. I use table salt for anything mixed in or cooked and save the sea salt flakes for finishing or roasting. Using these ingredients adds a little extra flavor to the dish and they’re getting much easier to find now. I’m wondering about the salt packed capers I see popping up, but they are super expensive. I guess I should try them. This dish could also work with quinoa or maybe even white rice.

Update February 2016: I made this with quinoa instead of orzo and I like it just a much.

Copyright © 2017 MRStrauss • All rights reserved

Hark! The Cookie

Common name: White chocolate chip mint chocolate cookies.

Not a bowl recipe,but you could certainly put them in a bowl to eat. I wanted to photograph one in a bowl but it was dark and overcast on both days. And then they were gone. You can also make these in a toaster oven. Two at a time for big cookies and you need to watch the time, you may need more or less then 14 minutes.

So, ok, this was my younger daughter’s idea for a holiday cookie, based on her love of peppermint bark, that we cobbled together from various cookie recipes. I always like to say you can use whatever brands you want because I don’t want to be a food snob, but the truth is the ingredients really make a difference, especially when it comes to desserts. I learned this many moons ago when I first made Georgetown Cupcake’s chocolate ganache cupcake with regular butter, Hershey’s cocoa and chocolate chips. I couldn’t figure out what was so great about these cupcakes. For some reason, I decided to make them with their recommended ingredients: Plugra butter, Valrhona cocoa, Callebaut chips, the whole deal. And WOW! So it’s not that they won’t be good without all these special ingredients, but they won’t be great. I think it was mostly the chocolate that really made a difference, so I didn’t sweat it here when I realized I had only regular salted butter.

6.5 ounce bag of starlight mints or box of candy canes
8 ounces of butter (two sticks), I used regular salted butter this time because that was all I had
1/4 teaspoon salt if using unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2/3  cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 cups of flour (I used Gold Medal)
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Guittard Cocoa Rouge)
1 teaspoon baking powder
12 ounces of white chocolate chips (I used Guittard Choc-Au-Lait)

Get the butter and eggs out to soften and get up to room temperature (this usually takes a half hour or so).

Get the oven going at 350˚.

Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats (such as Silpat) if needed.

Bash the candy into something around the size of Red Hots or M&M Minis. Careful here. The first time I used a rolling pin and now it is covered in pock marks. I had better success placing the candy between two layers of heavy duty zip lock bags and using the flat side of a meat mallet on a plastic cutting board. I have also used a food processor, but that just turns it to mostly dust (it also gets the machine really hot and etches the bowl).

Combine 2 cups of flour, 2/3 cup cocoa, and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Set aside. I don’t usually sift the dry ingredients together unless it’s a cake or cupcake.

With a stand or hand mixer, cream together 8 ounces of butter, 1 cup sugar, and 2/3 cup brown sugar. Scrape down as needed. Add the eggs. Mix until all mixed together.

Scrape down the bowl and begin adding the dry ingredients in three additions. Scraping down between each addition. This is to help incorporate the dry ingredients and also to keep you from having a flour bomb go off.

Once everything is thoroughly mixed, fold in the crushed candy and white chocolate chips. Don’t worry if the batter seems ridiculously thick.

Now you can decide what size you want the cookie. I used a large ice cream scoop that holds a ⅓ of a cup. I baked 5 cookies at a time on a large baking sheet. This made a ‘monster’ size cookie between 4 and 5 inches across. I baked these for 14 minutes. I did one sheet at a time, although if I would have turned the convection on, I could have done three sheets at a time.

Let cool slightly and eat.

Copyright © 2016 MRStrauss • All rights reserved

Thai Beef and Basil

I keep a few well-wrapped packages of ground beef in the freezer for quick recipes like this. You could use any ground meat or tofu. I’ve tried it with both Italian and Thai basil. I like them both; the Thai basil is a little stronger. I have also used brown, Basmati, and Jasmine rice and I think I like the Jasmine best. Again, this would have been another good recipe for when I first lived in New York and had nothing but a two burner hot plate and a toaster oven.

For this four person version you’ll need:
• Around a pound to a pound and a third of ground beef
• Two cups Jasmine rice
• Around six cloves of garlic
• A half cup beef broth or water
• Two cups basil leaves
• Two to three carrots julienned or shredded (I use this Japanese julienne tool)
• Tablespoon of Canola oil (if cooking rice in pot)
• Half cup rice wine (optional)
• Salt and pepper
• Two red chiles or add chili garlic sauce at end
For the sauce:
• A quarter cup of soy sauce
• A quarter cup of fish sauce or oyster sauce or hoisin
• Tablespoon of sugar
To finish:
• One cup basil leaves (torn if big)
• Two to three carrots julienned or shredded (I use this Japanese julienne tool)
• Four to six scallions
• One lime cut into four wedges
• Chili garlic sauce
Cooking equipment I used:
• Ten inch frying pan for beef
• Pot for rice—I used a 3 quart saucepan, or rice cooker

If using frozen beef, get that started in the pan, breaking it up as it browns. Then make the rice how you want. I usually heat the rice up in a tablespoon of canola oil, stirring to coat, and then add a cup and a half of water for every cup of rice. Here, I used two cups of rice and three cups of water. Add salt to water if desired. Bring to a boil and cover for 15 minutes before fluffing. Put your bowls on the stove to warm up.

While the beef is browning, julienne the carrots, remove stems from basil, finelly slice the scallions, and take skins off garlic cloves. Stir the soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar together. When the beef is browned, add the garlic. You can slice, finely mince, or put the garlic through a press and add to the beef. Let this work together for a minute. Deglaze the pan with a half cup of rice wine and let that almost burn off. Then add the beef broth and two cups of basil. When the basil is wilted and the sauce is bubbling, it’s ready! Put some rice in the bowls, top with the beef and basil, then divide the the basil and carrots, then drizzle over the sauce, and finally, sprinkle the scallions. Serve with lime wedges and chili garlic sauce.

Copyright © 2016 MRStrauss • All rights reserved

Salmon Teriyaki

The only part of this recipe where measure matters is for the rice and even there I haven’t found the need to be too precise. Perfect rice is perfect for you: add more water, less water, more salt, oil, a bay leaf, a chopped onion. In time, you’ll have a lot of perfect rice. I like baked brown rice— it turns out with a little more bite left to it. This also works well if you are roasting the asparagus since you can make double use of the heat your oven worked hard to get. I do try to make extra rice since it is so useful for so many things— even plain for a quick snack. But sometimes everyone is really hungry and the only thing left is a small prize of rice scrapings for whoever is cleaning the dishes. If you need to adapt this for a tiny kitchen, you can bake the salmon in a toaster oven and do the rice and broccolini on a two burner stove. Or do the rice in the oven and pan fry the salmon.

Broccolini options: You could use any greens here. I have made this with something called ‘Chinese broccoli’ and also with baby bok choy. All steamed. But stir frying the vegetables would work too.

Salmon options: I have been seeking out wild Sockeye, King, or Coho salmon because they have the deepest color. I’m not sure what goes on with farmed salmon, but they look like I do after a long winter—pale. Some even have natural color added. Something added is never natural. What color was it before? I would rather have a smaller piece of a salmon that lived the salmon life. And here you don’t need a big piece. I might try arctic char the next time. Also you can either pan fry the salmon or bake it at 275ºF until it reaches 140º (about 30 minutes for a one pound piece.)

Rice options: Instead of brown rice, you could use white rice, quinoa, couscous…

Sauce options: I have been using bottled teriyake sauce. The Whole Foods brand has a pretty good one.

Time note: If you do the baked rice, it will take about 10 minutes to prep and boil the water and 50 minutes in the oven. Everything else will come together within that time. I usually manage to clean up the kitchen and check messages, email, etc. while things are cooking.

For this four person version, you’ll need:
• Around a quarter to a third of a pound per person for the salmon
• 3 cups of medium grain brown rice
• Two bunches of broccolini
• Around a half cup teriyake sauce
• Around four or five spring onions finely sliced to garnish
• Salt, ground pepper, olive or canola oil
Optional: sea salt flakes, fresh cracked pepper

Cooking Equipment I used:
• Frying pan for salmon (I used a 12″ pan for four pieces of salmon)
• 4 quart pot with steamer insert
• Anchor Hocking 11 cup covered baking dish or 9×13 baking dish with foil to cover for the rice
• Four cup Pyrex measuring cup for boiling water

Get the oven going at 375º.

Next, get the rice going. This is my big, hoping for leftovers portion, but you can cut it in half or thirds:
• Mix 3 cups medium grain brown rice and 3/4 tsp table salt in the baking dish
• Bring 4 2/3 cups water to a boil in a pot or microwave in a four cup Pyrex measuring cup (it will fit the extra 2/3 cup) or other microwave safe bowl.
• Add the boiling water to the rice
• Stir in 2 tablespoons of olive oil
• Cover and bake for about 50 minutes.

Once the rice is in, put the bowls on the stove to warm up and cut up the broccolini in roughly 3 inch pieces. Discard (or compost) any really woody ends. Set aside until you get the salmon in the pan. Prepare the pot and steamer. Add about a cup to cup and a half water and set on low.

When the rice has about fifteen minutes left, set a pan or a griddle on the stove and let it get good and hot. Prepare your salmon: rinse, dry, remove any bones, season with a little table salt and ground or fresh cracked pepper. You can cut into serving sizes or leave whole.

Turn the steamer up to high. Put the broccolini when the salmon has about four minutes to go.

Sear the salmon flesh side down, turning after it releases from the pan and has a little crust to it; I don’t find that I need any oil here, I just have to wait for the pan to let it go after a few minutes. Sear the other side a few minutes and let the skin crisp up, someone at the table will probably love a side dish of crispy salmon skins. Turn the heat down and let it finish cooking, anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes depending on how thick it is and how done you want it to be. Sneak a peek with a sharp knife at the thickest part if you’re not sure. I always do this because I’m never sure. When the salmon is almost done, take out the rice and uncover the broccolini

It’s ready. Remove the skins from the salmon if you want. Or leave them on. Coat the salmon with the teriyaki. Assemble your little bowl with as much or as little as you want. Top with spring onions.

Why a bowl? You can use any kind of dish, but I like a bowl. I like to cup my hand around the bowl while I’m eating to share a little of the food’s warmth with my hands. The best part is at the end: holding the bowl helps you get every last bit out. Also it’s easier to make food look nice in a bowl.

Notes: For olive oil, I use Columela, for sea salt flakes, I use Maldon, and for pepper, I use the Tellicherry variety. I use table salt for anything mixed in or cooked and save the sea salt flakes for finishing or roasting. Using these ingredients adds a little extra flavor to the dish and they’re getting much easier to find now.

Copyright © 2016 MRStrauss • All rights reserved

Tamogoyaki

Searching for a simple way to bring eggs to the dinner table for everyone at the same time, led me to this very loose version of the Japanese rolled omelette. I was looking for something a step up from scrambled— although warm, creamy, and topped with herbs, they are sublime—and not quite as heavy as a frittata, or as ethereal as a souffle. And simple— everything goes in the oven and then into a bowl. The eggs here come out very tender.

Potato options: You don’t even have to use potatoes, you could just do just vegetables— maybe peppers, eggplant, and onions? They wouldn’t need as much time to roast. You can also add other root vegetables, like carrots or parsnips, different onions, any color of peppers— I think I will try orange peppers next time.

Egg options: Any kind of cheese or herbs that you like would work. I find that I like it without the cheddar cheese, but everyone else wants it so I leave a little strip uncheesed.

For this four person version, you’ll need:
• Six large or extra large eggs (organic ones usually have better color and flavor)
• Tablespoon of butter for gracing baking dish
• One cup of whole milk
• One quarter cup of all-purpose flour
• One tablespoon Dijon mustard
• Six or eight or so Yukon Gold potatoes (depending on size)
• One large yellow onion
• One large red pepper
• A half cup of parsley leaves (I don’t like the stems, so I pluck the leaves)
• Enough chives to make around a quarter cup finely chopped
• Around a half cup shredded/grated cheddar cheese
• Salt, ground pepper, olive or canola oil
Optional: sea salt flakes, fresh cracked pepper

Cooking equipment I used:
• 10×15 Pyrex baking dish
• Parchment paper
• 13×18 sheet pan for the potatoes (I use a non-stick one)

Arrange the shelves in the oven so one is just below the center and one above with enough room on the center shelf for the baking dish with the eggs. Get the oven going at 375º. Put as many potato cubes—I use Yukon Gold and leave the skin on—yellow onions, and red pepper as you want in a bowl. I have been cutting everything into cubes somewhere around a half inch, but larger or smaller would work fine just the timing would be a little different. Toss the vegetables in some good-tasting olive oil—or oil of your choice— and spread out on your baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Put in the oven on the top rack so it can get started. The potatoes will take around 45 minutes including browning. Set the bowls on the stove to warm.

Grease some sort of pan or oven-proof dish that is around 10×15 with butter and line with parchment paper. I use a Pyrex baking dish and I usually cut one piece of parchment about ten inches by twenty-three or four inches so it hangs down the sides. This will help you roll the omelette. In a large bowl, whisk together one cup of whole milk— soy or almond milk may work here but I’m allergic to them so I can’t say— with a quarter cup of flour by adding the milk slowly to the flour until it is blended. I used basic all-purpose flour but I’m sure other flours, such as rice flour, would work as well. Add six large eggs, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and around half a teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Whisk everything together. Pour the egg mixture into the parchment lined baking dish. When the potatoes have been in around 25 minutes, place the eggs on the middle rack. The eggs will go in for ten to thirteen minutes or so depending on how runny or firm you want your eggs to be. While the eggs are cooking, finely chop a bunch or handful of chives and then a similar amount of parsley. Shred the cheddar cheese if using.

When the eggs are ready, take them out and put the oven on broil to finish the potatoes. Here too it depends on your taste, I like to get them browned to the point where another thirty seconds or so and they would be ashes. And sometimes they do get burnt when you play it close like that. While this is happening, sprinkle the hot eggs with most of the chopped chives and grated cheddar cheese. Then you can lift the parchment up on one end to help you start to roll it. Don’t worry if it’s not tight enough— you can just re-roll it or leave it loose. Wrap the parchment around the roll to hold it together and let it rest. When the potatoes are ready, put some in each bowl and top with parsley. Then remove the parchment and slice of the egg like you would a jelly roll, put the egg on top of the potatoes and top with remaining chives; you can add other toppings if you want: more cheese, scallions, sriracha, ketchup, anything you can think of. If you have a bunch of people, you can put toppings out for folks to choose.

Notes:
For olive oil, I use Columela— it has a sort of spicy flavor, for sea salt flakes, I use Maldon, and for pepper, I use the Tellicherry variety. I use table salt for anything mixed in or cooked and save the sea salt flakes for finishing or roasting. Using these ingredients adds a little extra flavor to the dish and they’re getting much easier to find now.

Copyright © 2015 MRStrauss • All rights reserved

Insalata Caprese with Smoked Mozzarella and Basil

This is almost too simple to put here, but I love this version with smoked mozzarella. All you need to do is slice or cut your tomatoes however you want, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and let sit for a few minutes while you cut up the mozzarella and basil. In this recipe, the mozzarella is more of an accent than a equal player; sometimes I do little cubes, sometimes sticks. If I have enough basil florets, I’ll use those; if not, I’ll do a chiffonade. The trick here, for me— and maybe this is just my imagination— is pouring the balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes before putting the mozzarella on top because I think it makes the cheese go tough. Weird. Also, some folks think adding vinegar is a travesty, but I think a little works well here. So, to taste and depending how hungry you are, tomatoes, salt flakes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar (you need very little of this, probably around teaspoon for a cup and a half of tomatoes), fresh cracked pepper, smoked mozzarella, and basil. Pair it with garlic bread and corn on the cob and voila! And a big glass of ice water with lemon, double voila!

Copyright © 2016 MRStrauss • All rights reserved