Dinner For One ~ Asparagus, Egg and Truffle

When Mister is on business travel or has a late dinner meeting, I usually turn to eggs for a quick dinner. I have never been a bowl of cereal at dinner girl and enjoy my time in the kitchen too much to just pour dinner in a bowl.  Dinner for one doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming.  A few key ingredients in the pantry and refrigerator make all difference.

Eggs and asparagus are a match made in heaven, eggs and truffle are a match made in heaven and the tomato was perfect…so perfect that I went back to the kitchen for a piece of whole grain bread to get every bit of the tomato juice and truffle oil from the plate.

When you find yourself alone, indulge in this simple, elegant and truffle decadent dish for one.

I always have Truffle Oil and Truffle Salt on hand.  For me, there is nothing as wonderful as the taste and aroma of truffles and while truffle products are a bit expensive, a little goes a long way in elevating a dish from drab to divine!

Ingredients for One:

6 steamed asparagus spears
1 poached or lightly fried egg
1/2 tomato, sliced thin
Pinch of black truffle sea salt
Teaspoon of truffle oil

Preparation:

Layer asparagus and tomato on plate and drizzle with truffle oil. Place egg on top and sprinkle with truffle salt and a pinch of ground pepper.  This dish also works very well with hard-boiled eggs, sliced or chopped and sprinkled on top of the asparagus and tomato slices.

This also makes an elegant brunch or salad dish.

Truffles are wonderful in risotto and pasta as well.  I recently made a Lobster Mushroom and Truffle Risotto and there wasn’t a grain of rice left.  I owe that to the truffle!

Linked to:

Real Food Wednesday, What’s On Your Plate, Works for Me Wednesday, Sweet and Savory WednesdayWelcome Wednesday, Wandering WednesdayGold Star Wednesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Raising Homemakers, Potluck Wednesday, Let’s Do Brunch, What I Ate Wednesday, At Home with Haley, No Whine Wednesday, What’s For Lunch Wednesday.

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French Fridays with Dorie ~ Basque Potato Tortilla

We love Frittata.  We often make them for Sunday brunch.  Hash-brown potatoes on the side or mix it up with a simple salad.  A great guest brunch…the variations are endless.

Guess what I make when my husband is traveling?  Yep, a frittata…usually with tomato, spinach and a bit of feta.  There is something so comforting about breakfast for dinner.  Simple too!

This week, we are having a Basque Potato Tortilla from Around My French Table (Dorie Greenspan). Similar to a frittata with a twist or two.  The potatoes are browned and added to the egg mixture not served on the side.  I like this…simple one dish preparation.  I also like that I don’t have to utilize my non existent omelette flipping skills.

I made a few changes…instead of diced potatoes, I sliced them thin with a mandolin and I added asparagus.  I think it turned out just lovely and it tasted fantastic!  Golden and puffy out of the oven, thin and crispy potatoes on the bottom and fresh asparagus on the top.  Just as simple and as good as any frittata I have ever had.  Simple and tasty!

PS. If you wondering why there is no recipe, club rules frown on posting recipes from Dorie’s new book.  BUT…it is such a great cookbook that you will want to add it to your collection. Buy or borrow the book and join the French Fridays with Dorie group.  Buy the book:  Around My French Table (Dorie Greenspan)

A Splurge ~ Fettuccine Carbonara

For the most part, we maintain a healthy diet of fish, lean meats and veggies.  Whole grain pasta and bread.  An abundance of noodle bowls.  Rarely do we indulge in dessert other than a square or two of dark chocolate. But now and then we just have to splurge.  What could be better than a bowl of creamy fresh pasta, bacon and eggs?  Well, maybe Gnocchi a la Parisienne , Hachis Parmentier or Beef Bourguignon would work!

But this splurge is all about carbonara!

I have never made carbonara before so this is a first for me.  I scoured blogs and cookbooks and decided on Nigella Lawson’s recipe with a twist I saw in Giada’s cookbook.  Put the egg on top. I just loved how the egg yolk dripped down over the creamy pasta and pancetta and the bacon was, well…the bacon on the top!


Adapted from Nigella Lawson Spaghetti alla Carbonara.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh fettuccine
  • 1 cup cubed pancetta rind removed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly ground nutmeg

Preparation:

Put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta.

In another large pan that will fit the pasta later, cook the pancettacubes in the oil until crispy but not crunchy. Pour over the white wine or vermouth and let it bubble away so that, after a few minutes, you have a small amount of salty winey syrup left. Take the pan off the heat.

In a bowl, beat together the eggs, Parmesan, cream, and pepper. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, but since you want it kept al dente start checking it 2 minutes before end of the recommended cooking time.

When the pasta is done, remove approximately 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining. Put the pan with the bacon cubes back on the heat and add the drained pasta, tossing well to coat with the pancetta. Take the pan off the heat again and add the eggs and cheese mixture, swiftly tossing everything to mix. Thin with pasta water, if needed. Grind over some more pepper and grate over the nutmeg to serve.

Linked to:

Cookbook Challenge 2011

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Tasty Traditions

Things I Love Thursday

Prairie Story Recipe Swap Thursday

Fat Camp Friday

Untangling My Chopsticks – The Art of Kaiseki and My Toshikoshi Soba

I just finished reading Untangling My Chopsticks: A Culinary Sojourn in Kyoto by Victoria Abbott Riccardi.  A delicious book about her journey to learn the art of Kaiseki or 会席.

Kaiseki is a traditional multi-course seasonal dinner that accompanies the formal Japanese tea ceremony.  Kaiseki also refers to the skills and techniques that allow the preparation of such an elegant meal.  Read more on Kaiseki here and here.

Kaiseki: The Exquisite Cuisine of Kyoto’s Kikunoi Restaurant is a visually stunning book although you won’t likely be preparing the dishes from this Michelin rated restaurant at home on a frequent basis.

Victoria’s writing style is beautiful…I truly felt part of the journey…discovering the culture, customs and lifestyle of Japan. Through her detailed descriptions I gained a sense of the people, the seasonal food (key to the Kaiseki) and the natural beauty of the country.  And well…if you like a love story you will find that too!  You will devour this book and rush to the kitchen to savor every recipe as you “live” in Kyoto.

What I know after reading this wonderful memoir is that I will visit Kyoto one day, I will attend a Kaiseki and I will make the recipes presented in Untangling My Chopsticks.

Until then, a virtual visit and my version of Toshikoshi Soba (Year-Crossing Soba)

Kyoto Garden cc attribution by Bordas

Kyoto Women cc attribution by Marc Veraart

Kyoto Girl cc attribution by Sashimi 7

Kyoto Markets:

Kyoto Market cc attribution by Christian Kadluba

Kyoto Market cc attribution by Banzai Hiroaki

Peek around and you will quickly see that I love Asian food, especially noodles.  My new noodle bowl and sake set, my first attempt at sushi rolls, a shrimp and udon noodle bowl and a soon to be published post on homemade shrimp and cabbage dumplings in dashi (subscribe or follow me on twitter so you don’t miss the dumplings – they were out of this world and super easy to make).

Now on to my Year-Crossing or Year-Bridging Soba Noodles:

(そば or 蕎麦 or Soba is traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve to bring good luck and long life.  Recipes vary from family to family but the dish always includes soba noodles and dashi.  I buy all of my Asian ingredients at Pacific Mercantile which also has an on-line store.

While I am a little late in making my year-crossing noodles, about a month late…I will just have to consider this bowl as my month crossing noodles!

My Toshikoshi Soba (Year-Crossing or Year-Bridging Noodles) inspired and adapted from Victoria’s book:

Ingredients:

Serves 4

3/4 pound bunch of fresh spinach or 4 baby bok choy (I have used both and it works well either way)

5 cups dashi (I used dashi powder)

5 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon mirin

4 large eggs

8 ounces dried soba

4 shiso leaves minced

Shichimi (Japanese Red Pepper mix ~ red pepper, orange peel, yellow sesame seeds, black sesame seed, seaweed and ginger)

Preparation:

Trim stems from spinach and add a small amount of salted water to sauce pan.  Steam until just wilted.  Drain, remove excess water and cut into 4 service bunches. If using Bok Choy, steam whole and place two halves in bowl “hugging the noodles”.

Prepare dashi according to packet directions and add soy sauce, mirin and bring to simmer.

Bring a small pot of water to bowl, cook soba until al dente.  Drain.

Using same sauce pan as for spinach, poach to eggs or use your preferred poaching method.

Serving:

Twirl 1/4 of soba into noodle bowl, add 1/4 of the spinach.  Gently arrange the egg on top of spinach and ladle broth into bowl.  Garnish with a shhiso leaf and Shichimi pepper).

It was heavenly as the creamy yolk melded with the dashi broth and coated the noodles.

This post is linked to Novel Food, Wanderfood Wednesday and Foodies Reading Challenge.  Check them both out and join.  The journey is delicious!

{Kyoto photos used under creative commons attribution~ use terms}

Eggs a la Italia

An Italian twist on the classic Scotch Eggs.  Italian sausage and a tomato & basil sauce.

Sausage, Eggs and Panko

We made this recipe for two or 1.5 eggs per person.

3 hard boiled eggs, peeled

3 links of Italian sausage (casing removed)

1 egg beaten

Flour to coat eggs

1 cup panko

I can diced Italian seasoned tomotoes

2 tbs basil (chiffonade)

3 tbs grated pecorino romano cheese

Prep:

Flatten the sausage to create a disc that is about 2 times bigger than the egg.   You will need to be able to wrap the entire egg in the sausage.  Toss the egg in a bit of flour to coat and then wrap in the flattened sausage.  Roll the sausage wrapped egg in the beaten egg and then in the panko.

Rolling Egg in Panko

Egg Covered with Sausage and Panko

Eggs a la Italia Ready for Oven

Place the eggs is a casserole dish, chill for at least one hour (we chilled overnight) and then bake for 30 minutes at 400.

Ready For Oven

While the eggs bake, mix the diced tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of chiffonade, salt and pepper (to taste) in a saute pan until most of the liquid evaporates.

Remove eggs from oven when sausage is browned and drain on paper towel.  Spread tomato basil sauce on plate, add egg and dust with one tablespoon of cheese.

Plated Egg a la Italia

Enjoy!

Linked to Tasty Traditions, Life as a Mon Recipe Swap, Creative Juice Thursday, HoH

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