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Oaxacan Frittata

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Frittatas are the best way to transform simple ingredients into a magnificent meal. It’s the goodness of pie without the crust. With their lightly crusty edges, creamy soft centers, easy comfort, and the fact that almost every ingredient can play and sing along embedded in custardy creamy eggs, frittatas are the perfect Summer companion, and this Oaxacan Frittata is the one you want this summer by your side.

This Frittata is all about the Oaxacan Jewel tomatoes I grew in my little garden. I love how the combination of custardy eggs and “Quesillo” a.k.a Oaxaca Cheese, compliment the flavor of the tomatoes with out masking them. Even when cooked, the tomatoes hold their fresh and juicy flavor. The melted strings of Oaxacan cheese along with fresh herbs and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt make this Frittata the object of my Summer affection.

A Frittata for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, under-dressed, over-dressed, with a glass of Texas Rose’ wine or a glass of milk, crusty artisanal bread or a simple green salad, warm or cold, one gorgeous ingredient or with leftovers from your vegetable basket, a Frittata is a bare necessity,  a recipe you should always have under your sleeve.

Enjoy the Summer!

Oaxacan-Frittata-Ingredients

Oaxacan-Frittata-Stringy-Cheese--quesillo-Queso-Oaxaca

Oaxacan Frittata

A few tricks and bits, like using a cast iron skillet is a must, it makes for an evenly cooked frittata along with a good drizzle of oil in combination with butter to crisp up the frittata’s bottom and edges.
When frittatas are cooked slow and at low temperature in the oven or on the stove top it produces the most magical situation; a crusty bottom and edges while keeping the top and center creamy. Always cover with a lid if you want to avoid the flipping. If you like a crusty top, sprinkle some dry cheese like parmesan or manchego, or a combination of one of these cheeses and a few panko bread crumbs on top of the frittata right at the end of the cooking time. Place the frittata under the broiler or salamander for a quick 1-2 minutes until slightly golden brown, and you’ll have the so desirable crusty top.

Serves 4 hungry gardeners

1-1/2 lb Heirloom tomatoes I used a combination of Oaxacan Jewel “hint the recipe name”, Cherokee, and Cherry tomatoes
2-3 green Mexican onions, if using scallions use 4 including the white part
1 serrano, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Sunflower oil
1 tablespoon butter

8-10 eggs
1/3 cup Mexican Crema, Oaxaca style if possible, or Crème Fraîche will do to.
2 cups shredded Oaxacan cheese, aka quesillo
1-2 fresh sprigs of Oregano remove leaves, and roughly chop.
1 fresh sprig of Epazote, or/ Mexican Marigold Mint. Remove leaves, and roughly chop.
Sea salt and Black pepper to season

 

Cooking Preparation:

1. Cut the tomatoes.
I like to cut each tomatoe differently so you and your guests can recognize each tomatoe when is cooked. Besides, the fact it looks more appetizing, they hold their shape better when cooked, and by removing some of the fleshy seeds your frittata will not get soggy. So, I sliced the large tomatoes, halved the cherry tomatoes, and cut in wedges, and removed the fleshy seeds on the the medium size cherokees.

Oaxacan-Frittata-Heirloom-Tomatoes
2. In a 9″ cast Iron pan quick sauté green onions, garlic, and serrano until bright green. Set aside to stop cooking.
3. Quick sauté the tomatoes. Set them aside.
4. Whisk the eggs, crema, black pepper a pinch of sea salt, sprinkle some of the herbs.

Egg-Frittata_Yes-More-please!
5. Into the cast Iron pan, add a drizzle of sunflower oil, a layer of half of the tomatoes, 2/3 of the sredded oaxacan cheese and half of the custard. Then add the rest of the tomatoes, on an even layer, and top with the rest of the Oaxaca Cheese sprinkle the rest of the herbs, crank some fresh black pepper, sea salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Oaxacan-Frittata_Easy-Comfort-Yes,-more-please!
6.Place the frittata in the oven, and bake at 325F for 12-15 minutes or until top and center is just set but slightly giggly. Remove from oven and cover for a few minutes. The remainder heat will cook the egg center, with out over cooking the edges.

 If you like a crusty top, sprinkle some dry cheese like parmesan or manchego, or a combination of one of these cheeses and a few panko bread crumbs on top of the frittata right at the end of the cooking time. Place the frittata under the broiler or salamander for a quick 1-2 minutes until slightly golden brown, watch at all times to avoid  burning, and you’ll have the so desirable crusty top.

Oaxacan-Frittata-Ready-for-the-Oven
7. Let Frittata set for 5- 10 minutes before serving, it will help set and you can slice it easily. Serve along with a green salad, crusty bread, or what ever rocks your boat, Enjoy!

Oaxacan-Mexican-Frittata_Yes,-more-please!

Oaxacan Summer Frittata

Music Pairing: Jeepers Creepers 1958 Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden

One of  the best versions out there, ever recorded!

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Oaxacan Frittata

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A few tricks and bits, like using a cast iron skillet is a must, it makes for an evenly cooked frittata along with a good drizzle of oil in combination with butter to crisp up the frittata’s bottom and edges.

When frittatas are cooked slow and at low temperature in the oven or on the stove top it produces the most magical situation; a crusty bottom and edges while keeping the top and center creamy. Always cover with a lid if you want to avoid the flipping. If you like a crusty top, sprinkle some dry cheese like parmesan or manchego, or a combination of one of these cheeses and a few panko bread crumbs on top of the frittata right at the end of the cooking time. Place the frittata under the broiler or salamander for a quick 1-2 minutes until slightly golden brown, and you’ll have the so desirable crusty top.

Course Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican-Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 Hungry gardeners!

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 lbs. Heirloom tomatoes, I used: Oaxacan Jewel, Cherokee, sungold and cherry tomatoes.
  • 2-3 Green Onions, finelly sliced, include the green parts
  • 1 Serrano pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Sunflower Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 8-10 large farm eggs
  • 1/3 cup Mexican Crema, or Crème Fraîche will do.
  • 2 cups Oaxacan cheese aka quesillo, shredded
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh Oregano, remove leaves,and roughly chop.
  • 1 sprig fresh Epazote, remove leaves,and roughly chop.
  • Sea salt and Black Pepper, for season.

Instructions

  1. 1. Cut the tomatoes.I like to cut each tomatoe differently so you and your guests can recognize each tomatoe when is cooked. Besides, the fact it looks more appetizing, they hold their shape better when cooked, and by removing some of the fleshy seeds your frittata will not get soggy. So, I sliced the large tomatoes, halved the cherry tomatoes, and cut in wedges, and removed the fleshy seeds on the the medium size cherokees.

    2. In a 9″ cast Iron pan quick sauté green onions, garlic, and serrano until bright green. Set aside to stop cooking.

    3. Quick sauté the tomatoes. Set them aside.

    4. Whisk the eggs, crema, black pepper a pinch of sea salt, sprinkle some of the herbs.

    5. Into the cast Iron pan, add a drizzle of sunflower oil, a layer of half of the tomatoes, 2/3 of the sredded oaxacan cheese and half of the custard. Then add the rest of the tomatoes, on an even layer, and top with the rest of the Oaxaca Cheese sprinkle the rest of the herbs, crank some fresh black pepper, sea salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.

    6.Place the frittata in the oven, and bake at 325F for 12-15 minutes or until top and center is just set but slightly giggly. Remove from oven and cover for a few minutes. The remainder heat will cook the egg center, with out over cooking the edges.

    If you like a crusty top, sprinkle some dry cheese like parmesan or manchego, or a combination of one of these cheeses and a few panko bread crumbs on top of the frittata right at the end of the cooking time. Place the frittata under the broiler or salamander for a quick 1-2 minutes until slightly golden brown, watch at all times to avoid burning, and you’ll have the so desirable crusty top.

    7. Let the Frittata set for 5- 10 minutes before serving, it will help set and you can slice it easily. Serve along with a green salad, crusty bread, or what ever rocks your boat, Enjoy!

    Happy cooking!

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Scotch Mex Eggs

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How can I begin to tell you that the infamous “Scotch Egg” is not Scottish. It is believed that it was created by a London department store Fortnum and Mason in the 18th century. However, origins may go back to Algerian cooking or possibly to a fish paste and egg recipe that produced ‘Scotties’. want to know more about the history of these creatures, click here.

This etymological confusion distracts from what could be the best picnic food not yet consumed widely in the US. We love to eat hard boiled and deviled eggs at picnics. We also love delicious salty savory fried treats. This is only the marriage of each to the other. The crunchy breadcrumb exterior of the egg covered in sausage is from the deep frying technique and enhances the experience of  eating this savory delight. When prepared correctly the yolk will be cooked through but still soft and creamy. The Scotch Egg we present in this recipe has been further enhanced by the seasoning of the meat with Mexican spices adding a smokey and spicy note to the sausage mixture.

The result is a New World revision of an Old World treat. And doesn’t it seems appropriate that this recipe was created by a Mexican for his Husband which happens to be an American of Scottish ancestry?

This Eggs could be served many ways and for different occasions. It is certainly terrific on its own or served with some pickled vegetables, but may be the shining star of an Easter appetizer plate or as a side for an outdoor grilling gathering. It holds up well to dipping sauces but to tell you the truth all it needs is a good splash of malt vinegar to balance the richness, and put the British accent on it.

These eggs take a little discipline and patience to prepare but the effort is worth it. They can be the perfect new thing to try this Easter or on your next picnic and you may be shocked by the flavor explosion that this Algerian-British-Mexican Scotch Egg delivers. Enjoy!

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Let’s cook! here comes the recipe…

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Huevos Rancheros

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This is the perfect breakfast on a rainy weekend morning. Or a even cold snowy morning, if you live north of Texas. The origin of this dish is unknown to me yet very familiar. It’s a classic everywhere in Mexico. There are dozens of variations with different toppings and seasonings from various regions, families, grandmas,  mercados, or restaurants. This is the dish in its purest form. All principles items include fried eggs, dried chiles, tomato sauce, tortillas, and that last onion section that you didn’t quite finish on Thursday. This Mexican one pan wonder is the weekend antidote when you wake up extra hungry and craving a breakfast worth making. Imagine the creamy runniness of a sunny side up egg, smothered with savory spicy warm salsa over soft fried corn tortillas, a side of black beans, crema, and queso fresco. I would wake up to that in a flash!

My Huevos Rancheros version gets a side of black beans which I prepare almost every month by cooking a large batch in a slow cooker. I make little portion bags that I freeze for quick use. It makes my life easier and tastier. Ian calls them “Beansicles”. They are very easy to defrost and use either whole or smashed when ever needed they are there for you. Now, what you need from the pantry is that forgotten can of tomatoes. Please check your refrigerator drawers for a couple of fresh ones if in season. I always have my staple dry chiles in the pantry. Dried chiles are miracle workers. I can make salsa in a flash, or spice up soups or even hot cocoa like this. Fresh chiles? Yes, please! Serranos, jalapeños, chipotles en adobo; for me all variations are delicious as long you follow the ranchero principle: simple sauce + fried egg + corn tortilla + beans = Best Huevos Rancheros. Please no melty cheese in my Rancheros, save it for a quesadilla.

Huevos-Rancheros_chiles-&-Black-Beans

One of my favorite version of Huevos Rancheros Its the one you are about to see, easy enough to prepare them before coffee, and the spicy kick to the sauce will add to your morning wake up.
Huevos Rancheros cures hangovers, rainy mornings, helps you forget weekly stress, and fuels the most ambitious of Caudillos. Its uncomplicated preparation will give you a boost of confidence and culinary accomplishment. The way I prepare them could work for bigger crowds if arranged on a large platter or  for a brunch with friends or neighbors. All you have to do is learn how to fry an egg and combine 4 ingredients for a killer salsa. Enjoy!

Huevos-Rancheros_all-ingredients_Yes,-more-please!

 

Huevos Rancheros

Serves 1 Güerito and 1 Mexican

4 Eggs (ranchero faces drawing optional)
4 corn tortillas best kind you kind find.
Corn oil or your frying oil of preference enough to fry the eggs. about 2-3 glugs.
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup Black beans whole or fried is up to your preference.

For the Sauce:

1-1/2 cups roasted tomatoes I used roasted canned, if using fresh when in season you will need about 4 Roma tomatoes.
6-8 Chiles de Arbol  (For amateurs please start with 3-4 chiles. When this dry chiles get toasted, the flavor profile is a bit smoky and much milder in spice, so do not fear them!)
1 garlic clove
1/8 onion
Salt and black pepper

Toppings:

1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco
2 tablespoons Mexican crema
1-2 fresh cilantro sprigs

Quick pickled onions:

1/8 onion slivered and rinsed*, 1/2 lime juice, one good pinch of salt, one good pinch Mexican dry oregano, combine everything on a small dish, wait for 10 minutes, serve. * I always like to rinse my onions when they gonna be eaten raw, it smooths away that sharp taste, and you will not have to brush your teeth five times before the flavor on your palate is gone.

 

Preparation:

1. Start by preparing all your toppings, warm up your beans, make the quick pickled onions, set a side.

2. Remove the stems of all your dry chiles de arbol. On a medium size frying pan, (good enough o fry some sunny side up eggs) place about two glugs of Corn oil over medium high heat, add the chiles and toast them tossing often, until a deep dark red. Remove the chiles, and add 1/8 of an onion for a quick sauté. Remove the onion, turn of the pan. In a Blender or with the help of an immersion blender Combine the roasted tomatoes, the toasted chiles, one garlic clove, the sautéed onion, 1/2 cup water,salt and a bit of black pepper. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

Huevos-Rancheros_making-the-salsa

3. Warm up over medium high heat the same pan and oil you use to toast the chiles and onion. There should be plenty of oil to sauté the corn tortillas. If not enough add a bit more oil. Oil must be hot before soft frying the tortillas. Cook the tortillas in the oil one by one both sides. Tortillas should have a toasty color and they should be playable. Place the tortillas as you go into the plates; one tortilla per egg.

4. Using the same pan and oil fry your eggs. I like to fry 2 eggs at the time, so they have lots of room and the temperature of the pan does not drop. I like my eggs with a bit of crunchy edges but soft runny yolks. It’s really up to you, cook them up to your preference. Place the eggs on top of the tortillas one egg per tortilla as you go. Remember that it is important letting the pan and oil to come up to hot temperature in-between egg batches. Like I said, I like sunny side up eggs in this recipe so I do not over cook the yolks. In fact I leave them a little under done, so when I pour the warm sauce over the eggs, it will warm them up and finish the cooking  to a perfect creamy runniness. Take this in consideration when your cooking your eggs.

5. Once your eggs are ready, in the same pan with the remaining oil and while it warm add the sauce. (Be careful sauce might get a bit feisty, you might end up with a polka dot pajama!). Lower the heat. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Sauce should be rich and at the same time lose enough to cover the eggs. If the sauce is too tick add a bit of water or chicken stock, if to loose keep reducing it.

Huevos-Rancheros_How-to-cook-them

6. Taste your sauce for seasonings and adjust if needed. Sauce your eggs with plenty of warm sauce. Place leftover sauce in a small bowl and take it to the table for an extra spoon or two.
Serve a couple of tablespoons of  black beans on the side, top with queso fresco, crema, cilantro for garnish and the quick pickled onions on the side. Enjoy!

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Huevos-Rancheros_ready-to-eat

 

Huevos-Rancheros_ready-to-serve_Yes,-more-please!

 Huevos Rancheros, A great rainy weekend breakfast!

Music Pairing: Pedro Infante – El Ranchero

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Warm Farro Asparagus and Poached Egg

Warm-Farro-Asparagus-and-Poached-egg-ingredients

Have you ever tried farro before? Farro is a handsome Italian whole grain with a great tan color, a nutty and slightly sweet flavor. Farro’s texture is firm with a bit of a chew.  An early variety of hard wheat, farro has been around for more than 10,000 years. It was originally grown in Tuscany, Italy and nowadays you can find great organic farms here in U.S that now cultivate this “ancient” new grain.

Farro has a number of nutritional advantages over other grains. It is a complex carb which makes it far more nutritious than white rice. It is higher in protein than regular durum wheat and higher in fiber in comparison to many other grains. It is rich in Vitamin B complex, A, C, E and rich in Magnesium. Due to it’s low gluten content is easier to digest and to make it even better:  it has a low glycemic index. As you can see Farro is not just a handsome whole grain. Farro is smart and a gentleman too.

I strongly believe that farro should be the new super grain. I would say I prefer farro over quinoa.  There are different varieties of farro and the one I recommend to try first is farro perlato. It cooks in the same way as white rice. 2:1 ratio, 2 cups of water, 1 cup of farro perlato and in 20-25 minutes is perfectly cooked a bit al-dente and each grain separated which it makes it fantastic to sprinkle on salads or as a whole dinner like in this recipe. If you have more time and you are craving more fiber, choose a wholesome farro, soak it overnight and it cooks for about 45-1 hour… (but not my favorite choice, look for perlato!)
For this recipe I cooked the farro with some garlic and tossed it with extra virgin olive oil, lemon salt and smokey hot paprika. To top it off… a poached egg… And that farro dinner was amazing. I know you will love it and I would love to hear some feedback after you have dinner with this Italian grain…This recipe is definitely comforting and effortless.
Warm Farro, asparagus and poach egg… makes a great brunch, lunch or dinner.

FARRO TextureWarm-Farro-Asparagus-and-Poached-egg-asparagus-ribbons-Warm-Farro-asparragus-and-poached-egg--~Yes,-more-please!

Warm Farro Asparagus and Poached Egg

Serves 2 with some left over farro to sprinkle over your next green salad.

1 Cup Farro Perlato (Bluebird Grain Farms, Bob’s Red Mill Natural foods)
2 cups water
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 glug of extra virgin olive oil
½-1 teaspoon Smoked Hot Spanish Paprika. (upon you preference, start with ½ , check on flavor)

8-12 asparagus (the thiner the better, pencil asparagus work great , they are tender and less fibrous)
1 glug of extra virgin olive oil
1 Lemon (the zest and the juice)
Salt and Pepper

2 Eggs room temperature

To garnish:

2 tablespoons toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped .
2-3 pinches Smoked Hot Spanish Paprika.

Preparation method:

1. In a medium size pot bring 2 cups of water to boil along with two garlic cloves. Add the Farro and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 20-25 minutes. Or follow directions on package otherwise.
2. Meantime, wash your asparagus, cut the ends, and with a vegetable peeler make thin ribbons. In a medium size bowl toss the asparagus with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil lemon zest and lemon juice.set aside.

Warm-Farro-Asparagus-and-Poached-egg-asparagus-ribbons

3. When Farro is cooked, turn off the heat remove the garlic cloves and Season the Farro by adding a glug of extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, the Smoked Hot Spanish Paprika, lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice. Toss and cover with a lid to keep warm.

Warm-Farro-asparragus-and-poached-egg-seasoning-the-farro

How To poach eggs:

It is certain that poached eggs take a bit of patience and timing, but I assure you that eggs meant to be poached. Practice helps, and if you follow this easy method you will be an expert poacher in no time. The reward makes it worth trying.

1.In a small pot bring about 6 cups of water into a simmer. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.
2. Crack one egg at a time onto a small ramekin or a small cup (this with help you to drop the egg into the water more easily)
3. With a Wooden spatula, create a water whirlpool and drop the egg into the center of the whirlpool. This will help to contain the shape of the egg-white into a pillowy egg goodness.
4. Turn down the heat to low
5. Let it swim into the water for about 2-3 minutes if the egg was room temperature. If the egg was in the refrigerator, it might take about 4-5 minutes.
4. With a slotted spoon carefully remove the egg from the water, and place it into a warm ramekin with a bit of tepid water, while you proceed to poach the next egg.Warm-farro-asparagus-and-poached-egg-how-to-poach-and-egg

Note: if you are not trilled about the poaching your eggs,  over easy eggs will work to!
There is no rules in here, this is just pure cooking inspiration!

5. Plate a generous amount of warm farro and top it with the asparagus ribbon salad.
6. Carefully Place the warm poached egg on top.
7. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle some toasted hazelnuts, sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and a pinch of Smoked Hot Spanish Paprika. Enjoy!

Warm-Farro-asparragus-and-poached-egg-toasted-hazelnuts-and-farroWarm-Farro-asparragus-and-poached-egg-toasted-drizzle-olive-oli

If you want to know more about Farro, check this articles:

http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/03/20/jane-says-farro

http://www.bluebirdgrainfarms.com/nutritional-information.html

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