Crispy Polenta Cakes with Poached Eggs & Asparagus

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Spring has most definitely sprung!

The sun is shining, the days are getting longer, the flowers are in bloom (Aaaa-CHOO! My pollen allergies are terrible!) and everyone seems to be in a festive mood for celebrations and leisure meals. And why not? So many delicious items are coming back into season!

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Asparagus is one of those beautiful produces that are coming back and are popping up all over at our Farmers Markets and grocery stores. And in my opinion, nothing pairs more lovely with asparagus than eggs. Eggs and Asparagus….what could be more “Spring-like” than that winning combo?!

Safe Eggs
To celebrate the comeback of my favorite season, Spring, I’m partnering with the makers of Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs to create a quick and easy dish that would be perfect to make for breakfast or even a last minute brunch gathering and featured that winning pairing.

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Veggies? Check!

Bright and sunny egg/protein? Check!

But what about a starch?

I’m not a gal to shy away from bread or potatoes — I’m unabashedly carbo-holic like that. Though for this dish, I thought I’d bring a little Italian slant to it by pan frying up some crispy polenta cakes by using a pre-made polenta roll.

Now before you yell at me for using a pre-made polenta, let me justify it by the following:

  1. One of my favorite stores carries a wonderful organic polenta roll that is extremely tasty and affordable.
  2. If I made the polenta myself, I would have to wait for it to cool before frying them up into crispy cakes.
  3. It’s QUICK! And who doesn’t need some short cuts every now and then?

But hey-if you prefer to make your own, I’m all over it! In fact, it would be a great opportunity to use up any leftover polenta you may have lingering in your fridge.

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After roasting the fresh asparagus with simple S&P and lemon zest, I topped them with the crispy polenta cakes and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. And the pièce de résistance – a beautifully poached Safest Choice™ pasteurized egg. In my humble opinion, there are few other culinary beauties than seeing an unctuous egg yolk over a dish.

Perfection!

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And not only is a beautiful but it’s functional. The yolk becomes a rich sauce for both the crisp polenta cakes and asparagus. I know some folks are wary of under cooked eggs but rest assured. Davidson’s Safest Choice® uses an all-natural egg pasteurization process to eliminate the risk of salmonella–all without changing that farm fresh flavor or nutrition. Plus their wonderful chicks are Hormone free, Antibiotic free, and Vegetarian-fed. You can learn more over at SafeEggs.com

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As for the next few months, I’m looking forward to all that Spring has to offer as well as fixing up more dishes fitting of the season. But in the meanwhile, you can find this quick and delectable recipe for Crispy Polenta Cakes with Poached Eggs and Asparagus here.

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*DISCLOSURE: This recipe and post was created in partnership with Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs. However, as always, all opinions are my own.*

Avocado Toast with Smoked Salmon and Poached Egg

Avocado Toast
Early last Sunday morning I found myself rummaging around my seestrah‘s fridge for some breakfast inspiration. I wasn’t in the mood for a laborious dish because I was on the brink of h’angry……

And quite frankly, that’s not a pretty sight.

I ended up pulling out eggs and some leftover smoked salmon and guacamole from the night before. Yup, it was Avocado Toast time! How absolutely trendy of me.

Now usually, when I fix up some Avocado Toast, I smash up some ripe avocado and add a bit of spice. But seeing how I had some delish guac at my disposal, I opted for that route.

Avocado Toast
As for the egg, I had initially wanted to fry it up—I love the crispy edges. But this gal is a sucker for an oozy-goozy poached egg that essentially makes a sauce from itself once you break into it. So wonderfully divine, so deliciously decadent.

And before I even had a chance to take a proper pic on a camera (instead of my phone), I had gobbled it all up.

Oh well, guess I’ll have to make it again to reshoot it.

Happy Saturday!❤

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Avocado Toast with Smoked Salmon and Poached Egg
Serves 1

Ingredients:

½ ripe medium sized avocado
½ teaspoon lemon juice
kosher salt
black pepper
red pepper flakes
1 slice bread, toasted
3 ounces smoked salmon
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 large egg
chopped cilantro to garnish

In a small bowl, mash the avocado with the lemon juice, 2-3 pinches salt, 1-2 pinches black pepper and 1-2 pinches red pepper flakes. Spread the avocado mash (or guacamole if you have it) over the toasted bread and place the smoked salmon slices on top.

Fill a pot ¾ full of water and bring to a rolling boil. Pour in the vinegar and slightly lower the heat. Crack the egg into a small bowl. Take a spoon and swirl it around quickly in the pot to make a whirlpool in the water. Slowly pour the egg into the center 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 2-3 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the egg. Gently blot it dry with a paper towel and place on top of the toast.

Sprinkle the kosher salt and black pepper over the egg. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

Huevos Rancheros …..Be EGGS-ellent

Huevos Rancheros

Brunch is my Spirit Animal.

In fact, if I had it my way, we would be allotted a few leisurely hours every day to create and enjoy brunch. Without a worry in the world….other than what delectable dishes we’d have and if there are enough mimosas….

Or Bloody Marys….

Who am I kidding–it’s your Brunch World…have both!

Huevos Rancheros

Sadly, with summer winding down, many of y’all with munchkins have either already sent them off to start a new school year or will be doing so shortly. And when that happens, daily brekkies become less elaborate and more about efficiency and time saving.

Heck–I totally get it.

I only have a fur-child and between getting her walked and my own act together before work, I can barely manage to guzzle down some coffee in the morning.

And thus, my brunch heart weeps.

Huevos Rancheros

So do yourself a favor….and your kiddos too!

Make them something a little special Monday morning to get them jumping out of bed….like Huevos Rancheros! Huevos Rancheros are easily one of my favorite dishes to have for brunch. Packed with flavor, various textures and all smothered with a beautiful runny fried egg.

Good lawd…I’m a sucker for eggs.

Wait–maybe runny eggs are my Spirit Animal?

Suddenly, EVERYTHING makes sense….

Huevos Rancheros

These Huevos Rancheros are the perfect addition to this month’s  Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen. Not only does it affirm my adoration for the remarkable egg but it is sure to have your loved ones waking up with a pep in their step.

The whole process from start to finish takes about 30 minutes since I use some short cuts like canned refried beans and store bought enchilada sauce for the Huevos Rancheros “sauce”. But if you precook the sausage and prep everything ahead of time, you can have these gorgeous Huevos Rancheros on the table in about 15 minutes. Not bad for breakfast “cooking” during the weekday.

Much thanks to our friends at Safest Choice™ and to learn more about them and their pasteurization process to eliminate salmonella, please click here.

Have an EGGS-ellent weekend!

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Huevos Rancheros
Serves 2

Ingredients:

½ cup sour cream
½ tablespoon Tapatío Hot Sauce or hot sauce of your choice
½ tablespoon fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
8 ounces breakfast sausage
vegetable oil, divided
4 small corn or flour tortillas
2 large Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs
kosher salt
8 ounces refried beans, warmed
1 cup shredded Monterey jack or Mexican blend shredded cheese
8 ounces enchilada sauce, red or green, warmed
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
¼ cup thinly sliced radishes
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
¼ cup pickled red onions, optional
½ small avocado, sliced
½ tablespoon gochugaru or other ground chili pepper
2 lime wedges

In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, hot sauce, lime juice and garlic powder. Cover and refrigerate.

In a skillet, add the breakfast sausage and cook over medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to crumble the sausage and break into small pieces. Cook the sausage until browned — transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Take a paper towel to wipe out the grease left from the sausage. Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat. Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Fry the tortillas in the oil until both sides are crispy and brown. Add more oil when needed. Drain the crispy tortillas on plates lined with paper towels. Set aside.

Take another paper towel to wipe out the majority of the oil left and place the skillet on the stove over medium-low heat. Crack 2 Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs in the skillet and fry until the center has set and the whites are opaque. Sprinkle each egg with salt. Transfer the fried eggs to a plate and keep warm.

Begin assembly. Place one crispy tortilla on a plate. Spread a thin layer of the warmed beans over the top. Sprinkle cheese over the beans and add a few spoons of the browned sausage over the top. Spoon some of the warmed enchilada sauce over the items and top with some tomato halves, radish slices and cilantro leaves. If you choose to, also add a few slices of pickled red onions.

Top the stack with another crispy tortillas and repeat the layering process. Once done, top the stack with a fried egg, avocado slices and drizzle some of the spiced sour cream over the mound. Top with cilantro and gochugaru (or other ground chili pepper) and serve with lime wedges.

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*DISCLOSURE: As a brand ambassador for the Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen, I was compensated for the creation of this recipe and post. However, as always, all opinions are my own.*

Coddled Eggs with Pesto and Potato-Parsnip Purée

Coddled Eggs with Pesto and Potato-Parsnip Puree

We’ve officially entered “shower” season. And by that, I don’t mean April Showers but Wedding Showers and Baby Showers!

My next two months will be weekends filled with shower games, presents galore, tea sandwiches, little bite sized desserts, and sparkling cocktails (I hope!).

Coddled Eggs with Pesto and Potato-Parsnip Puree

What can I say? Love is in the air and my dear friends and loved ones have a lot to be celebrating over these next few months.

So for my latest contribution to Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen, I thought I would make something that would go well on a menu for both bridal and baby showers.

Coddled Eggs with Pesto and Potato-Parsnip Puree

I’ve always been a huge fan of choosing brunch to host parties and celebrations. It’s the perfect time of day where you can serve a variety of foods to please all palates. A few desserts, sandwiches. croissants, scones, preserves, charcuterie boards, and of course–there has to be eggs!

And these adorable coddled eggs served in mason jars will be an absolute hit at your showers.

Coddled Eggs with Pesto and Potato-Parsnip Puree

They start with a luscious, smooth layer of a potato-parsnip purée….which truthfully, are one of my faves these days. They’re a bit lighter than traditional mashed potatoes but are just as delectable.

Next, comes a layer of savory, herbaceous pesto. And c’mon now–who doesn’t love pesto? But for this particular dish, it really does add some much needed brightness to offset the rich, coddled egg and purée. You can also add some sauteed greens as well.

Finally, the whole thing is topped off with a beautiful egg. Heaven.

Coddled Eggs with Pesto and Potato-Parsnip Puree

Your guests will just love these little jars when served. The yolks are unctuous and runny — perfect to dunk toasted little soldiers into. And since Safest Choice™ uses an all-natural egg pasteurization process to eliminate the risk of salmonella, feel at ease when serving them to mamas-to-be.

Want to find out more about their pasteurization process? Click here

Coddled Eggs with Pesto and Potato-Parsnip Puree

These little cuties can be assembled hours before your parties (even the night before!) to give you even more time to spend with your guests.

Adorable? Check! Easy to assemble? Check! Delicious? Check!

Sounds like a slam dunk dish to me. Happy Shower Season, Friends!❤

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Coddled Eggs with Pesto and Potato-Parsnip Purée
Serves 4

Ingredients:

kosher salt
½ pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 medium sized parsnip, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
¼ cup heated heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1 teaspoon garlic powder
black pepper
4 tablespoons pesto
4 large Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs
sea salt flakes
chopped parsley
serve with soldiers or other bread of your choice

Prepare the potato-parsnip purée by bringing a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Add ½ tablespoon salt, potatoes and parsnips. Boil until they are tender—about 20 minutes. Drain the root vegetables and either run them through a food mill or ricer. Stir the hot heavy cream, 1 tablespoon butter, and garlic powder into the potato-parsnip mixture. Season with additional salt and black pepper as needed. Set aside.

Take 4 small mason jars or ramekins and use the remaining butter to grease the inside of each jar. Divide and spoon the potato-parsnip purée into the bottom of each of the jars. You can also use a small piping bag to do this. Spread one tablespoon pesto on top of each potato-parsnip purée and then carefully top each with an egg.

Fill a large pot with about 2-3 inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place a steam rack inside of the pot of water and carefully place the filled jars/ramekins on top. Cover the pot and steam the eggs for 8-10 minutes until the whites are set but the yolks are still soft. Alternatively, if using mason jars, screw on the lids of each jar and place directly into the pot to simmer for about 10-12 minutes. If the jars/ramekins that I’m using aren’t very high, I prefer to place them on top of a steam rack.

Once done, top each coddled egg with sea salt flakes and chopped parsley. Serve with soldiers or other bread of your choice.

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*DISCLOSURE: As a brand ambassador for the Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen, I was compensated for the creation of this recipe and post. However, as always, all opinions are my own.*

Down and Dirty Breakfast Fries

Down & Dirty Breakfast Fries

Sometimes a gal has got to throw frou-frou out the door and just get down and dirty….. for breakfast that is.

I’m talking about turning to premade pantry items that can be thrown together in about 15 minutes to create a gritty, gut bomb breakfast. Something so darn good that you should actually feel a tinge bad about inhaling.

But don’t…. in fact, I’ll like you more for it.

Down & Dirty Breakfast Fries

C’mon now... we’re talking fries with a runny egg. It’s a no brainer.

If you’re aiming for extra credit, you could go the extra mile to fry up your own potatoes and pull together homemade salsa. Heck, I usually would but this dish is all about channeling your old 3am college days. And y’all know I’m not a morning person so the AM is my perfect “out” for taking shortcuts. No guilt here🙂

Happy Sunday FUN-Day everyone!

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Down and Dirty Breakfast Fries
Serves 1

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked frozen french fries (or homemade if you want a gold start)
cooking spray
3-4 ounces breakfast sausage
1 egg
2-3 heaping tablespoons salsa
black pepper and kosher salt
chopped cilantro

Place a large piece of aluminum foil over a baking sheet. Spread the french fries in a single layer over the foil and lightly cover with cooking spray. Bake until crispy according to package decorations.

In a skillet, add the breakfast sausage and cook over medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to crumble the sausage and break into small pieces. Cook the sausage until browned and transfer to a plate. Take a paper towel to wipe out the majority of the grease left from the sausage. Return the skillet to the stove over medium low heat.

Crack the egg into the skillet and fry it until the yolk has just set. Plate the baked fries onto a dish and top with the browned sausage, salsa and then fried egg. Add a pinch or two of both pepper and salt over the egg. Sprinkle the plate with the chopped cilantro and enjoy warm.

 

 

Potato-Egg-Prosciutto Pizza

Potato-Egg-Prosciutto Pizza

The thing is, I rarely ever have any true vested interest with the Super Bowl. Because although my beloved Vikings may be full of heart, we don’t seem to be able to get our act together to make a showing in the big game.

Well, not since the 70’s at least. Ughh…..

Potato-Egg-Prosciutto Pizza

But that’s not to say that I don’t love to partake in all the Super Bowl festivities.

And by festivities, I mean gluttonous food and adult beverages. Hey, it would be un-American not too!

My loved ones and I typically like to get our Super Bowl parties started early so we can have a full day of indulgence. To kick-off the AM shenanigans, I wanted to come up with something that married the spirit of brunch and football. And what does that better than gorgeous eggs and pizza?!

Potato-Egg-Prosciutto Pizza

Which is fantastic because I’ve been tapped this year to be one of the twelve ambassadors for Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen and thought it was the perfect time to whip up a few recipes featuring their delicious and all natural pasteurized eggs.

I’ve sung their praises before but you can rest easy when using their eggs since their pasteurization process eliminates salmonella. Check out more healthful info about their eggs here.

Potato-Egg-Prosciutto Pizza

In my opinion, this pizza really does have all the necessary components for a savory brunch.

Cheese? CHECK!

Potatoes? CHECK!

Runny eggs? CHECK!

Pork? CHECK!

It even has some greens to make us feel a little better.

A Win-NGUYEN for sure….even if my Vikings don’t. Bleh….

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Potato-Egg-Prosciutto Pizza
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 whole garlic head
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup thinly sliced new potatoes
½ tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
6 ounces fresh pizza dough, rested and at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon corn meal
2 large Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 thin slices prosciutto, torn into small pieces
2 ounces goat cheese
1 cup fresh arugula leaves

Prepare the garlic paste by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F. Peel and discard the outer skin from the garlic head. Cut off the very top part of the garlic head so that the cloves are just barely exposed. Place the garlic head on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over it. Bunch the foil together to cover the garlic and roast for about 30 minutes until the cloves are golden brown. Once cooled, squeeze the cloves out of their skins into a small bowl. Using a fork, mash up the garlic so that it becomes a paste. Set aside.

While the garlic roasts, mix the potato slices, rosemary, pepper flakes and ½ teaspoon kosher salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Once the garlic has roasted and has been removed from the oven, turn up the oven heat to 500 degrees F. Place a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven while it preheats.

Take the pizza dough and flatten it with your hands on a floured surface. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll the crust about 1/8 of an inch. Transfer the rolled out dough to a pizza paddle or lightly floured cutting board. Spread a thin layer of the roasted garlic over the entire pizza dough. Place the potato slices, slightly overlapped, over the top of the pizza. You’ll want to leave two small spaces uncovered where the eggs will rest.

Carefully remove the preheated baking sheet from the oven and sprinkle it with the cornmeal. Slide the pizza onto the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Take the pizza from oven and crack 1 egg into each of the predetermined spots. Place the pizza back into the oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until the eggs have set and the crust has become golden brown.

Slide the pizza onto a large cutting board and season with the remaining kosher salt and black pepper. Top with the prosciutto pieces, goat cheese and arugula. Serve immediately.

 

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*DISCLOSURE: As a brand ambassador for the Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen, I was compensated for the creation of this recipe and post. However, as always, all opinions are my own.*

 

Gingerbread Waffles with all the Fixin’s

Gingerbread Waffles

Our Christmas morning brunch consisted of bacon, mimosas and homemade waffles—gingerbread waffles! For me, it really couldn’t get much better than that.

When the big seester brought up waffles for our menu, I quickly suggested a gingerbread spin since the flavors were perfect for the season and well, because I’m obsessed with everything gingerbread.

I turned to good ol’ Martha Stewart as I had read some great feedback on her version of gingerbread waffles. The batter came together quickly and isn’t the least bit fussy. Once we ladled the batter onto the griddle, you could instantly smell the delicious spices mixed with molasses. And because we were going the extra mile for Christmas, we added some awesome fixin’s that went with the crispy, spiced waffles – Grand Marnier whipped cream and a tart cranberry compote. YUM!

These waffles definitely celebrate the flavors of the holiday but are so darn good, I intend to have them year round–particularly since they freeze beautifully. And I’m all about stocking up on my freezer meals.

Have a great weekend, Folks!

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Gingerbread Waffles with Grand Marnier Whipped Cream and Cranberry Compote
Makes approximately 8-10 waffles

Ingredients:

Cranberry Compote:
1 12-ounce bag cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Grand Marnier Whipped Cream:
2 cups chilled heavy cream
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Waffle Batter (From Martha Stewart)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large eggs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons unsulfured molasses

Prepare the compote. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Stir and simmer the ingredients for 20 – 25 minutes until the berries have broken down and the sauce has thickened. Set aside.

Prepare the whipped cream. Using a standing mixer fitted with the balloon whisk attachment, whip the chilled heavy cream on high until it just holds soft peaks. Slowly sprinkle in the sugar and whisk until you reach stiff peaks. Slowly pour in the Grand Marnier and whip until combined. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Heat the waffle iron.

Prepare the waffle batter. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs, butter, milk, sour cream, and molasses in a medium bowl. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, and whisk until smooth.

Grease the waffle iron as needed and ladle in the batter. Cook until golden brown and serve with the whipped cream and a dollop of compote.