a new year’s resolution, and breakfast for two

30 December, 2009 at 12:51 am Leave a comment

Well folks, the time has come yet again to consider resolutions! I typically tend to be of the “make ‘em and break ‘em” persuasion, generally within the first two weeks, but this year I am hoping to manage to follow through with at least one. And by follow through, I do indeed mean follow through: all year, no cheatsies.

Although I am considering the staying-power of a few personal resolutions as well, the one I am concerned with here is a cooking related one that I’ve been thinking over during the last month, and I hope it will be one I can stick with– I take it as a good omen that I have actually been looking forward to starting!  My goal, in 2010, is to begin a “kitchen firsts” series on this blog, for which I will attempt to do one new thing in the kitchen every week.  Especially at first, this will most often take the shape of  new ingredient to my kitchen– it could be something that I have never tasted or cooked before (sunchokes and rutabagas are on my list), or it could be something I’ve eaten many a time but never bought and prepared myself (fennel, parsnips, etc).  Kitchen firsts may also appear as a new kind of recipe (i.e., I’ve never made a souffle before), or a cooking technique that I’ve never tried before (braising, butterflying). My hope is that with these restrictions, I should be able to fill a whole year with weekly Kitchen Firsts (whenever I doubt that I’ll be able to come up with enough new items, I just take a stroll through the produce and bulk sections, or better yet, head to a specialty market like an asian grocery store!). I encourage anyone who is interested in embarking on a bit of a culinary adventure to follow along with these kitchen firsts, and please feel free to make suggestions if you can think of any interesting ingredients or recipes using them that you think we should try!

(read on for a New Years Breakfast Recipe)

Also on the subject of New Years, this morning I was in the mood for a good, hearty breakfast, but nothing too heavy–I don’t know about you, but around the holidays I always find myself craving something substantial and brunch-worthy in the morning, but without the heft of your traditional holiday fare.  Luckily, my new cookbook (Mollie Katzen’s Sunlight Cafe, a Christmas gift) provided the inspiration for a few dishes that really hit the spot, and I think this is something I’ll be recreating come New Years morning–after an evening of celebration, debauchery and indulgence, I think this would be a perfect and delicious power breakfast to start the new year out right.  While it may take you around an hour to bring the three parts together, it is low-maintenance and will not require much effort, or many ingredients. It’s kind of a riff on a traditional English breakfast (eggs, mushrooms, and tomatoes), but with more deliciousness and less blood sausage!

Eggs en Cocotte with Sharp Cheddar and Bread Crumbs
Adapted from Mollie Katzen’s Cheddar-Shirred Eggs
Serves 2

Butter, to grease ramekins
2 eggs
2 slices sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
2 T fresh or panko bread crumbs
Small pat of butter, about 1 tsp but just estimate
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper or paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter two ramekins, and crack an egg into each; sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place ramekins on a baking sheet (the eggs will come out sort of sunnyside up, with the yolk intact if you do it this way–if you prefer it all mixed up, better to beat it with a fork at this stage).  Bake eggs for ten minutes.  Melt your little pat of butter in a small bowl in the microwave, then add breadcrumbs and cayenne and mix.

After initial ten minutes, remove eggs from oven. Place a slice of cheese over each egg, then sprinkle with the buttery, spicy breadcrumbs. Return to the oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes, depending on how hard you like your eggs. Serve immediately!

Breakfast Mushrooms
Serves 2

8-10 white or crimini mushrooms, sliced (you can adjust the quantity depending on your appetite)
1 T butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 small clove minced garlic
2 green onions, sliced
Pepper

In a small skillet, heat butter until melted over medium high heat.  Add mushrooms, stir around, and then add salt and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are starting to look cooked.  Then add garlic and scallion, and cook for another minute, or until fragrant. Remove mushrooms to a plate, and season with pepper to taste.

Roasted Tomatoes with Herbes de Provence
Serves 2

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes (or, if you only have larger tomatoes, quarter and seed them)
splash of olive oil
salt & pepper
1 tsp herbes de provence

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, and brush with olive oil. Place tomatoes on sheet, and drizzle a bit more oil over the top.  Place in oven and roast for about 30 minutes, or until they’ve burst and puckered and look nice and roasty. Remove tomatoes from the oven, and sprinkle with herbes de provence.  Allow to cool, then season with salt and pepper and serve.

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fail-proof fudge kitchen firsts: ahi tuna (salad with jicama and avocado)

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