Breakfast/Brunch

Breakfast Risotto…Because Your Mornings Will Thank You

Breakfast Risotto
I was feeling a bit punky this week.

What’s punky?

It means that I was under the weather. Yeah…I got the saying (and likely the cooties) at the office.

But all of the sudden yesterday afternoon, I WAS BACK! Energy, spunk–and especially my appetite!!

I WAS HUNGRY!!!!!

So when I got home, I did a quick inventory of what I had in the pantry and about 30 minutes later — BOOM!

Breakfast Risotto was born!

Breakfast Risotto
I adore risottos. It’s rich, comforting and just darn tasty!

And I love breakfasts and brunch foods. Bacon and eggs, baby!

So really, it was only time that I combined the two to make this unctuous and satisfying dish. Oh! And since I had some asparagus on hand, I threw some in for some texture and brightness. Now I will say that I debated between a fried egg and a poached one. Let’s be honest, I’m a big fan of both. But in the end, I went with a crispy fried egg for some more texture—though I won’t be hurt if you go with a poached egg.

In the end, it was a winning dish! Perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner!

And here’s to not feeling punky anymore! ❤

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Bacon Risotto
Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 cups chicken stock
4 slices bacon, diced
1 cup diced white onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
1 cup chopped blanched asparagus
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, more to garnish
kosher salt
¼ chopped Italian parsley, more to garnish
4 fried eggs

Heat the chicken stock in a medium sized saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

In a heavy bottom pot over medium-low heat, slowly sauté the bacon until it becomes crispy and the fat has rendered down—about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the bacon bits to a plate covered with paper towels. Reserve two tablespoons of bacon drippings in the pan and discard the rest. Sauté the onions over medium heat in the bacon drippings until translucent. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme leaves, rice and stir quickly until the rice is well coated and opaque—about 1 minute.  Stir in the wine and cook until the liquid is nearly all evaporated.

Ladle in 1 cup of the chicken broth into the rice. Simmer and slowly stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to simmer and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. The risotto should be slightly firm and creamy–approximately 25-30 minutes in total.

Gently fold in the asparagus, lemon zest and Parmesan. Check for seasonings and adjust with the kosher salt. Fold in the parsley.

Spoon the risotto into dishes and top each with the reserved crispy bacon. Grate additional Parmesan cheese over each dish. Top each with a fried egg and sprinkle parsley over each dish. Serve immediately.

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Pork · Vietnamese

Cơm Sườn Nướng {Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops with Rice}

Cơm Sườn Nướng - Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops
I’ve been craving a lot of Vietnamese foods lately. It’s comforting, nostalgic and just damn tasty.

I’ve said it many times before but I didn’t realize how good we had it growing up with all of that deliciousness around us all of the time. I definitely took it for granted.

And now when I want good quality Vietnamese food, I have to make the haul up to Orange County where I beg my family to feed me or resort to swinging by one of the gazillion Việt spots in Little Saigon.

Cơm Sườn Nướng - Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops

But then there are times where I’m home in San Diego and have to fend for myself.

Don’t get me wrong–I do like cooking Vietnamese foods, I’m just not the best at it. For sure, Mom reigned supreme and the aunties too. And nowadays, I’d say big seester N and our cousies A and T are right up there. That alone makes the idea of ever moving back to OC palatable because they’ve got skills!

There are a few Việt dishes I’m happy to make and feel pretty good about.

Cơm Sườn Nướng - Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops
Seestrah T posted a pic the other week of her grilling up some Vietnamese style pork chops which made me think of two things. First — hey! She never makes that for me! And second –sheesh, now I’m really hankering for some pork chops!

It was time to take matters into my own hands and luckily, I had all the ingredients already! My version of the marinade has staples like fish sauce, soy, sugar, shallots, lemongrass, garlic, ginger and chilies. Our cousin T that lives in Đà Nẵng makes the most EPIC sườn nướng (grilled pork chops). Years ago she told us what she marinated them with but I think the woman is holding out on us because mine never taste the same! And maybe it has to do with the fact that she grills them over this teeny-tiny charcoal grill on her patio floor and perhaps that’s where the essence of Việt Nam somehow creeps in and flavors it.

Who knows….

Cơm Sườn Nướng - Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops
For these chops, I generally prefer to use a thinner cut—about 3/4 inch thickness. They remind me more of how we have them in Việt Nam or at the restaurants here. But if you prefer a thicker cut, go for it! Just be sure to marinate them overnight or at least for 6-8 hours.

Next, I throw them on a screaming hot grill and they cook up for 1-2 minutes on each side. Easy peasy! Keep in mind that the grilling time will increase if you choose thicker cuts.

Once finished, you’ll get all of these lovely charred bits from the sugar in the marinade. It’s at that point that you’ll want to quickly brush them with hành mơ — scallion oil.

Cơm Sườn Nướng - Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops
I serve these pork chops pretty traditionally with a heaping scoop of steamed rice, sliced cucumbers & tomatoes, lots of spicy nước chấm (dipping sauce) and of course – a sunny side up fried egg with crispy edges. Now I know these days, some frown upon crispy edges on eggs. Quite frankly, I don’t know when that became out of fashion—but dang it! It’s darn tasty that way and adds texture.

If you order this dish out, you may also find that instead of a fried egg it will be served with Chả Trứng which is like a steamed egg meatloaf. It may sound strange to you but trust me, it’s awesome. Honestly, I was too lazy to make it (though it’s not difficult) but I promise I will someday soon and will share it with y’all.

Cơm Sườn Nướng - Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops

On this particular day, I plated them with a few Chả Giò . It’s not something I always do but seeing how I had a stash in my freezer, it seemed like the proper occasion to bust them out.

And with that dear peeps, Ăn Ngon!

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Cơm Sườn Nướng {Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops with Rice}
Serves 4

Ingredients:

Sườn Nướng – Grilled Pork Chops:
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh lemongrass
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
½ tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
2 Thai chili peppers, minced
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 bone-in pork chops

Nước Chấm –Spicy Dipping Sauce:
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 Thai chili peppers, minced
½ tablespoon Sambal chili paste, more or less to taste

Hành Mơ – Scallion Oil:
½ cup light olive oil
1 cup chopped scallions

Serve With:
steamed rice
4 crispy fried eggs
sliced cucumber
sliced tomatoes
lettuce or mixed greens

In a bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, oil, soy sauce and sugar together until the latter has dissolved. Stir in the shallots, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, chili peppers and black pepper. Place the pork chops in a shallow dish or large resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the pork, ensuring that the meat is well coated. Cover the dish (or seal the bag) and allow the pork to marinate in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours. (If using thick chops, marinade overnight.)

Prepare the nước chấm (spicy dipping sauce). In a small bowl or jar, mix ¼ cup sugar with the hot water until the sugar starts to dissolve. Stir in ¼ cup fish sauce, lime juice, chili peppers and Sambal chili paste. Set aside.

Prepare the hành mơ (scallion oil). In a small sauté pan, slowly heat the canola oil. Add the chopped scallions. Cook the scallions on very low heat until they are wilted but still bright green. Approximately 2-3 minutes. Pull from heat and set aside.

Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to take the chill off. Bring your grill to medium-high heat and lightly grease the grates with oil or cooking spray. Grill the pork chops for 1-2 minutes on each side until browned and slightly charred. If using thick chops, add an additional 2-3 minutes per side—depending on thickness. Remove the pork chops from the grill and generously brush them with the hành mơ. Cover and set aside while 4 plates are prepared.

On each plate, place a generous mound of rice and brush it with the hành mơ. Place one fried egg over the rice and add a few slices of cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce/greens on the plate. Add one pork chop along with a small bowl of nước chấm.

Serve immediately.

 

Breakfast/Brunch · Sponsored

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.*