If there’s one type of cuisine my grandmother knew well, it’s Mexican. She and my grandfather took frequent trips to Mexico. While my father and uncle were off misbehaving, my grandmother explored the vibrant crafts and flavorful foods. She learned how to cook both traditional and untraditional dishes, adding her own twist when they returned to New York. Eggs Jalisco is an example of just that: traditional Mexican flavors with a twist …two twists actually because I couldn’t help but add fresh avocado and tomato as well.
Chocolate. Almond. Espresso. It’s hard to go wrong with this indulgent trio. Perfect with coffee or tea, this lovely bundt cake is my grandmother’s marbled almond cake recipe from “The Art of Fine Baking,” topped with a simple espresso glaze. I like to think of it as a Sunday morning cake. The espresso in the glaze can count towards your morning coffee (I’ll take any excuse to eat cake for breakfast).
Marshmallow is not just for kids anymore. In the past few years, there’s been a surge of gourmet marshmallows. I frequently see lavender, lemon, and chocolate flavored marshmallows for sale in clear plastic bags with a bow at price that usually exceeds $5. Even the good old Jet Puffed marshmallows from the grocery store have expanded into different sizes and flavors. This may be why I love marshmallows more now than I did as a child. The light fluffy texture is irresistible and when combined with chocolate, it’s easily one of the best confectionary combinations.
Homemade marshmallows take these sweet airy puffs to another level. Not only can you control the texture, you also have some control over the sugar content. This recipe is based on a classic version by David Lebovitz. A process similar to Italian meringue, the use of egg whites makes a super fluffy, almost spongy marshmallow that can easily be eaten on its own. If you’ve never made marshmallows, this is the recipe to try.
There are a couple different ways to make a vegetable frittata. You can put it straight into the oven casserole style, or you can start it on the stove and move it to the oven. Either way produces that delicious eggy goodness. In this unpublished Paula Peck recipe, the oven only approach is suggested. However, I found that the stove-to-oven method works equally well here and allows for a one pot meal (so to speak). Just saute the veggies in an a large oven proof saute pan and once soft, add the eggs. When the eggs begin to set, drizzle a little olive oil around the edge (this is optional but helps reduce sticking) and put it in the oven.
Just like the cooking method, the selection of vegetables can also vary. Local asparagus is abundant right now so this seemed like an obvious choice. Broccoli, green beans, potato, tomato, or even cauliflower would be tasty as well. With just a few substitutes, this regular vegetable frittata can become a fancy “Spring” or “Summer” frittata – ready for its brunch debut.
2lbs small zucchini cut a bit less than 1/4″ thick
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced celery (or asparagus cut in 1/2″ pieces)
1 cup sliced green pepper
1 cup green onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add zucchini and asparagus (if using). Saute, turning frequently until golden and tender.
Grease a 9 inch ceramic dish or its equivalent. Combine celery (if using), green peppers, onions, and garlic. Place a third of the mixture on the bottom of greased dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Make a layer of sauteed zucchini on top, then another layer of vegetables, seasoning, and finally another of sauteed zucchini.
Beat eggs, adding cream, Parmesan, thyme, salt, and pepper. Pour over vegetables. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until egg is set. Cut into wedges to serve.
This may look like just a casserole but hidden beneath the layers of sausage, vegetables, cheese, and perfectly delicious runny egg yolks is a pizza crust like no other. Seasoned mashed potatoes are baked until just a touch crispy so they hold together to create that carb replacement for the average pizza dough. The mashed potatoes also add a richness that makes this unusual pizza both filling and satisfying. So why the casserole dish instead of a baking sheet? The original recipe titled “Potato and Egg Pizza” in “The Art of Good Cooking” says to use a baking sheet such as a jelly roll pan. I decided to use a casserole dish simply because I wanted a fairly thick layer of mashed potatoes, a favorite comfort food of mine. However, any baking sheet with an edge would work well here.
The beauty of this Mashed Potato Egg and Sausage pizza is how over-the-top it is. Onions, pepper, and mushrooms along with sliced sausage (I used Italian style chicken sausage) are just the beginning. Fresh mozzarella, Parmesan, and star-of-the-show golden yolks, ooze over the mashed potatoes. Try it with garlic mashed potatoes and this may be one unforgettable pizza.
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cups very well seasoned mashed potatoes
1 large onion peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 green pepper, seeded and sliced
4 cooked Italian sweet or hot sausages
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup diced mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease a large flat baking dish (such as a jelly-roll pan) generously with as much olive oil as necessary. Spread mashed potatoes evenly. With the back of a large spoon, make indentations in the mashed potatoes for the eggs which will be added late.
Bake potato-lined pan for 30-40 minutes or until potato seems slightly brown and crisp on bottom. Remove from oven.
While potato is baking, sauté onion, garlic, mushrooms and green pepper in remaining olive oil till soft. Slice cooked sausage 1/4 inch thick.
After potato has been removed from oven, spread top of it with sautéed mixture and sliced sausage, leaving indentations clear. Break eggs into each of the indentations. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and dot with pieces of mozzarella cheese. Return to oven. Bake about 25 minutes, or until eggs are set and cheese bubbling. To serve, cut into wedges or squares.
Adapted from “The Art of Good Cooking,” by Paula Peck