Breakfast/Brunch

Poached Eggs with Vegetable Medley and Arugula Pesto

Poached Eggs with Vegetable Medley and Arugula Pesto

I could eat breakfast all day long. Savory items, sweet items….so many options! And what other meal can you order a dessert for your main entree? (French toast, pancakes and all other types of sweet goodness…)

Poached Eggs with Vegetable Medley and Arugula Pesto

My only problem is that I can rarely eat breakfast first thing in the morning. At most I’ll have coffee or a smoothie because it takes a few hours for my tummy to wake up.

But that is why Brunch is so brilliant!

You get the chance to enjoy all the delish breakfast-like dishes hours after you manage to roll out of bed. And the icing on the cake? It’s totally acceptable to start sipping on cocktails way before noon!

Poached Eggs with Vegetable Medley and Arugula Pesto

At brunches, I tend to gravitate towards any and all types of Eggs Benedict dishes. Rich and decadent hollandaise sauce with an ooey-gooey poached egg—how could you go wrong with that?!

This wonderful offering is a nod to my beloved Eggs Benedict with an attempt to make a slightly figure-friendly version by swapping out the hollandaise for pesto. Now before you start getting all worked up, I realize pesto isn’t totally healthy but it’s a tad lighter than the (mouthwatering) egg yolk and butter laden sauce. The bright herbaceous flavor also helps balance the rich egg yolk. And since I had some great veggies on hand, I thought they would make a wonderful base in lieu of the muffin.

The next time you host brunch, consider making this rustic beauty! It’s quite simple but really is a showstopper that will definitely impress your guests.

And of course, Mimosas are a MUST. Or a Bloody Mary. Or an Irish Coffee. Well…you get my drift.

Happy Friday Friends…and make time for Brunch this weekend!

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Poached Eggs with Vegetable Medley and Arugula Pesto
Serves 2

Ingredients:

Arugula Pesto
2 Packed Cups Fresh Arugula Leaves
1/2 Cup Sweet Basil
½ Cup Roasted Pine Nuts
2-3 Garlic Cloves, finely diced
½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
Approximately ½ – ¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Vegetable Medley
1 Shallot, finely diced
2 Garlic Cloves, finely diced
2 Cups Crimini Mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 Cup Grape Tomatoes, quartered
1 Ripe Avocado, diced
Lemon Juice
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Olive Oil

Poached Eggs
1 Teaspoon White Vinegar
2 Fresh Eggs

Prepare the pesto. In a food processor, pulse garlic and pine nuts. Add arugula, basil, cheese, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. With the food processor on, stream in olive oil and blend until the pesto is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down sides in between steps. More olive oil can be added if a smoother, loose texture is desired. Refrigerate until ready to be used.

Bring a heavy saucepan that has been filled with a few inches of water to a rolling boil. Add in the vinegar and slightly lower the heat. Crack an egg into a small bowl. Take a spoon and swirl it around quickly in the saucepan to make a whirlpool of the water. Slowly pour the egg into the middle of the whirlpool. The movement of the whirlpool will help the egg form but you can also use a spoon to help it along. After about 3-4 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the egg and drain on a paper towel. Repeat with the other egg. Cover the saucepan and turn the heat down to low to keep the water warm.

In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons of olive oil. Saute the shallots and garlic over medium heat until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and continuing cooking for an additional 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and toss in the avocado and tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and a few squeezes of lemon. Toss to incorporate.

To serve, add a few spoonfuls of the vegetable medley to a plate. Using the slotted spoon, dip one of the poached eggs into the hot water to warm the egg and blot dry. Place the egg on top of the vegetables and generously spoon the pesto on top. Repeat with the 2nd dish. Enjoy!

Pizzas · Pork · Seafood

Seester’s Fav–Shrimp and Prosciutto Pizza with Fresh Arugula

Shrimp and Prosciutto Pizza with Fresh Arugula

For well over a decade, my SEESTER, T,  has been obsessed with Berri’s Cafe in LA. As in, SO OBSESSED that she will face driving through LA traffic from Orange County to get her beloved Berri’s. Correction….she will make her husband face the LA traffic so she can get her Berri’s fix.

And guess what? She orders the same thing EVERY TIME–the Berri’s Original Pizza. In the many times I’ve gone there with her (and I mean MANY since I used to live down the street from Berri’s), she’s only let me order the same thing too!

T  has a fixation with their Original Pizza and compares EVERY pizza with it. She even said it’s better than the pizzas she’s had in Italy! Hey….don’t yell at me–she’s the one whose infatuated. In fact, one night when we had gone out, yours truly had a little too much boozy goodness and got sick. Instead of driving her poor little sis straight home so she could properly pray to the porcelain gods, T made a pit stop at Berri’s and had the valet keep an eye on me while she ran in to get the pizza! Good Grief! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry!

Actually…it’s pretty hilarious.

Shrimp and Prosciutto Pizza with Fresh Arugula

This past weekend was my SEESTER’s (yes, purposely spelled that way) birthday. She and her fam headed up to San Francisco for a celebration weekend with our other sis, P. My work schedule wouldn’t allow me to join in on the fun but I was so bummed to be missing out on her bday festivities—not to mention all the yummy food and trip to Napa 😦

So in her honor (and to make her feel a little “jelly”), I decided to take a spin on Berri’s Original-— a thin crust pizza with shrimp, prosciutto and topped with fresh arugula. And you know what? I think I did it justice!

I added fresh Bufala mozzarella which gave a level of creaminess that played off the crunch from the shrimp and saltiness from the prosciutto. The pile of peppery arugula was so bright and fresh that heck—this pizza was almost like a salad!  Ok….maybe that’s a bit of a stretch.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEESTER!!!!!

And yes, I’ll make this again for you.

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Shrimp and Prosciutto Pizza with Fresh Arugula

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough:
1.75 Cups Lukewarm Water
½ Tablespoon Granulated Yeast
½ Tablespoon Kosher Salt
3.75 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
*Makes enough for 4 12-inch pizza crusts

Toppings:
2 Ounces Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Garlic Clove, finely minced
2 Pinches Red Chili Flakes
¼ Cup Marina Sauce, or your choice of Tomato Sauce
½ Shallot, thinly sliced
2-3 Fresh Basil Leaves, torn in pieces
2 Tablespoons Shredded Mozzarella
2 Ounces Fresh Bufala Mozzarella, sliced and patted dry
1-2 Thin Slices Prosciutto, torn in pieces
1-2 Handfuls Arugula Leaves
Kosher Salt
Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Prepare the dough the night before. Add yeast and salt to the water in a 5-quart bowl. Add in the flour and mix in a heavy stand mixer (with paddle attachment) until everything is uniformly moistened, without dry patches. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow to rise at room temperature for approximately 2 hours. After rising, cover the container tightly and refrigerate overnight.

One hour before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with a pizza stone on the lower rack. If baking the pizza on a sheet, preheat 30 minutes before baking.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Sprinkle the work surface and top of the pizza dough with flour. Using kitchen shears, pull up and cut a piece of dough about the size of an apple. Hold the piece of dough in your hands and add more flour as needed so it won’t stick to your hands. Gently stretch and fold the dough underneath itself to create a ball. Allow the dough to rest, covered with plastic wrap on the work surface for about 20 minutes.

While dough is resting, mix the shrimp, garlic, chili flakes, pinch of kosher salt, and drizzle of olive oil in a small bowl. Set aside.

When the dough has rested, flatten it with your hands and use a floured rolling pin to make a crust about 1/8 of an inch. Transfer the dough to a pizza peel (if baking directly on stone) or onto a baking sheet. Spread the marina sauce on top of the crust so it creates a thin, even layer. Sprinkle the fresh basil, cheese, shallots, and shrimp all over the pizza.

Lower the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. If using a pizza peel, carefully slide the pizza in the oven on the stone. If using a baking sheet, place pizza in the oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the pizza midway for even cooking. In the last 1-2 minutes of baking, add the prosciutto to the pizza and continue baking.

When done, remove the pizza and top with fresh arugula. Drizzle the top of the pizza with olive oil and serve.

Pizza Dough Adapted From: Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day

Pastas/Noodles · Poultry

Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Grilled Chicken

Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Grilled Chicken

Pesto is one of those things that is so versatile and can be made a gazillion different ways.

By switching up the types of nuts used or greens/herbs, you can alter the flavor of the pesto—giving your old favorites a new makeover.

Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Grilled Chicken

I happened to be strolling through my local farmers market the other week when one of the produce stands was getting ready to close up shop for the night. The vendor was selling the remainder of his produce for a ridiculously cheap price and I somehow managed to walk away with two HUGE bags of fresh arugula for only a dollar. A DOLLAR!!!!!

The arugula was so fresh and delicious but I couldn’t finish it all. Not wanting my arugula to go bad before I could use it up, I decided to throw some of it in to make a version of pesto for some pasta. DEE-LISH.

The arugula offered an additional peppery flavor to the dish— not to mention the extra Vitamin C and potassium I was getting by enjoying the dark leafy green.

In addition to using it in pastas, this pesto would be wonderful over grilled proteins, mixed in with hummus, or even over pizza.

Speaking of pizza and pesto— Watch out for my next post where I share another variation of pesto to make a delicious pizza!

Have a great week, Friends!

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Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Grilled Chicken
Serves 8

Ingredients:

2 Grilled Chicken Breast
2 Cups Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic, finely diced
¼ Cup Shallots, sliced
½ Teaspoon Dried Chili Flakes
1 Cup Arugula Pesto
1 Pound Farfalle Pasta, cooked al dente, reserving a few tablespoons of the pasta water
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Arugula Pesto:
2 Packed Cups Fresh Arugula Leaves
1/2 Cup Sweet Basil
½ Cup Roasted Pine Nuts
2-3 Garlic Cloves, finely diced
½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
Approximately ½ – ¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare Pesto. In a food processor, pulse garlic and pine nuts. Add arugula, basil, cheese, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. With the food processor on, stream in olive oil and blend until the pesto is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down sides in between steps. More olive oil can be added if a smoother, loose texture is desired. Refrigerate until ready to be used.

In a large and heavy bottom skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute mushrooms, garlic, and shallots until tender. Add chili flakes. Add the freshly boiled pasta to the pan and toss. Add pesto and toss to coat all items thoroughly. Add in a few spoonfuls of pasta water if you want a “looser” sauce consistency (optional). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Plate pasta and top with sliced chicken breast. Optional: Serve with additional Parmesan Cheese and Chili Flakes.

Appetizers/Small Plates · Salads · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Warm Lentil Salad with Roasted Beets and Chevre

I love cooking with my sister. Times with her in the kitchen are always so fun and innovative—daring and challenging. Therefore, when she invited us over one day to experiment with new dishes, I was ALL IN!

As a San Francisco resident, my sister has access to a wealth of beautiful products at her disposal and she definitely takes advantage of it. SF is a Foodie Paradise filled with delicious produce, sumptuous bakeries, savory proteins, and of course, amazing wines. So it was no surprise that one of the dishes she wanted to give a spin at was a French Lentil and Beet salad.

Beets. I know– I had made the same face at first. To that day, I hadn’t had good experiences with them as I mostly sampled them from a can or a salad bar. BLEH! But the sister assured me that by roasting the gorgeous golden and red beets it would bring out a decadent sugary component.

As for the French Lentils—wow. Picked up at a local grocery cooperation (Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco), they were absolutely beautiful. Nutty in flavor and deeply earthy. Sorry, I know my description didn’t do it nearly the justice it deserves.

My sister decided to take a spin on Martha Stewart’s Lentil Salad and Beets with many variations to the recipe. I don’t know how she did it, but every alteration she did boosted the flavor immensely. I guess big sisters do know some things 🙂

The end product was absolutely amazing—a perfect dish for the upcoming summer months. The sugary beets complimented the rich textures of the lentils while the goat cheese (Chevre from Cowgirl Creamery) added phenomenal creaminess. The vinaigrette was light but had a great amount of acidity while the baby arugula rounded out the dish with a peppery punch.

Would I suggest it? DEFINITELY! Use Martha’s version as a starting point and add or take away any items you’d like.

ENJOY!

Lovely beets prior to roasting

 

Leftovers are just as yummy, too!