Eggs Florentine with Smoked Salmon and Asparagus

Eggs Florentine

Did you know that the Kitchn is hosting a cooking challenge this month? That’s right, time to get out of that rut you’re in and try something new!

The first week was breakfast week. And I have definitely been in a breakfast rut, so…good timing! I realized that I typically eat sweet and grainy breakfasts. I hardly ever eat eggs or vegetables before noon! So when it was time to set goals for breakfasts future, that was mine: eat more veggies and eggs for breakfast.

I kind of cheated on one of the “assignments” and didn’t actually look up any new recipes to try. But, hey, I did write down a few ideas I wanted to work into the morning lineup! And the first one that made the cut was eggs florentine.

I must admit that I love runny yolks any way they come, and eggs florentine has long been one of my favorite eggy treats. It’s so rich and sumptuous! I decided to model this dish after the fancy breakfast I usually order when I go to Eggspectation, so I added in a few slices of smoked salmon and a side of blanched asparagus. You know…so I could look myself in the eye after licking my plate clean (because at least I ate some vegetables with all that buttery hollandaise…).

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Tabbouleh Pitas with Feta

Tabbouleh Pita with Feta

Dear Great Country Farms CSA Share,

I guess I owe you an apology. You were right. There is a place for cucumbers in my life. Like in tzatziki. And gazpacho. And tabbouleh, which I also hated prior to this summer.

We have an uneasy friendship, don’t we, CSA share? For weeks, I’ve wanted to stop being bombarded by cucumbers and just get onto the tomatoes and corn and peppers already. But I must admit…you probably knew best. You have forced me to try new things, things I never would have considered if the top shelf of the fridge wasn’t buckling under the weight of all those cukes.

So…sorry for badmouthing you behind your back. Here’s one final cucumber recipe…take it as a peace offering.

Love, Melissa

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Veggie “Gyros” with Tzatziki Sauce

Veggie Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Day 3 of working through cucumbers like they are going out of style.

Which, of course, they aren’t. Because there are still 6 of them in my fridge. Eek!

But this combination is one I will be returning to over and over, even when I am not desperate to put an end to a plague of cucumbers. Tangy, herby tzatziki sauce is so easy to make—and much healthier than I realized! It’s full of protein from Greek yogurt, vitamins from the cucumbers and herbs, and just a smidge of heart-healthy olive oil. Gotta love the Greeks!

Combined with hummus and a fistful of fresh chopped veggies, this vegetarian wrap (these only vaguely resemble proper gyros…but I like the name anyway) is nutritious and amazing. And delicious! The most important quality.

My carnivore husband has requested that I bring this meal back, and called it an excellent compromise between his culinary wishes and mine. That might sound like a mouthful, but I promise you, it was high praise!

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CSA Week 7: Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

When we first started getting cucumbers in our CSA box, I thought maybe I could ignore them. I have never really liked cucumbers (am I the only one who thinks they taste odd and somewhat bitter?), and I can count on one hand the number of times I have bought one on purpose.

But ignoring them turned out to be a terrible strategy…they just kept multiplying. Each week for the last four weeks, the CSA box has been incredibly heavy…full of pounds and pounds of cucumbers!

I tried giving them away. But seriously, how many people are suffering from a shortage of enormous cucumbers? That barely made a dent.

So, it’s time to get serious! My friend Sarah (who, bless her, did take a cucumber off my hands) suggested tea sandwiches. She made the first round herself, to convince me. And I must admit, they weren’t half bad! I loved the way the sharp, fresh chives accented the cucumbers and brought a little life to this old classic.

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Spicy Black Bean Pita Pockets

Spicy Black Bean Pitas

Attention, all mothers of babies and toddlers!

I have found you the perfect meal delivery vehicle.

That’s right, the pita pocket! You can hold it in one hand, it won’t fall apart when you put it down (plus it’s easy to pick back up again!), AND nothing will fall or drip out of the bottom of it while you are juggling your baby with one hand and your meal with the other.

Seriously. You can easily hold it out of your baby’s reach, you can walk around with it…

And it’s delicious!

Another new mommy bonus: This meal only takes 10 minutes to make.

…Did anyone else just hear the Hallelujah Chorus in their head?

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Black Bean Burgers

I have been wanting to make black bean burgers for ages…but for some reason, I was a little afraid of them. You know how sometimes you can get in your head and convince yourself that a dish you’ve never tried is going to be really difficult to get right?…

Well, I was completely off base about that. And I’m glad I finally got my act together to make these burgers for my two best friends when they came to throw me a baby shower! Thanks, Stephanie and Debby, for being my guinea pigs :)

These black bean burgers were delicious, and sooo easy to make! They were moist and flavorful, with a bit of a southwestern flair—definitely not like the dry pile of beans I feared so much. I definitely recommend you make these burgers. They are hearty and healthy…a great way to end the summer!

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Green, Egg, and Cheese Bagel Sandwich

Okay. I may have mentioned earlier that one of the things I have truly been loving during this pregnancy (aside from ice cream) is sandwiches. I have been taking note of interesting veggie sandwiches and wraps—you know what I mean, the ones that aren’t basically melted cheese with one mushroom or something like that.

Not that I don’t like cheese. Last week when I was hanging out with my sister-in-law, she made herself an egg and cheese sandwich, and I kind of drooled on her a little bit. And then I spotted a delicious-looking egg and avocado sandwich in a coffee shop with a friend. And maybe you see the trend here.

I added spinach to the above mix, inspired again by last month’s Secret Recipe Club blogger, Amy of Amy’s Cooking Adventures. Plus an everything bagel, and voilà! The best sandwich ever. The toasty bagel warms the colby jack just slightly, the ripe avocado and spinach provide a rich butteriness and a crisp crunch, and the over-easy egg…oh my, the over-easy egg. When you bite into the sandwich, the yolk breaks and drips all over everywhere, but it also douses the sandwich in amazingness. I ask you, is there anything better than a runny egg yolk? mixed with cheese and my favorite green veggies? I think not.

(P.S., if you have never had an everything bagel, you really should rethink that decision, because they are great!)

I was originally holding off on sharing this sandwich with you until I could also bring you a great bagel recipe, but honestly I am just too tired to knead bagel dough for 10 minutes, so you will have to settle for bakery bagels for now. Maybe I will regain my bagel-making fervor in a week or two. Continue reading

Grilled Beer and Cheese

Guess what? I also joined the Daring Bakers!

The challenge for the Daring Bakers this month was quickbread, which, as the name suggests, was quick. Also, it allowed me to make something I’ve been planning for quite some time: beer bread!

The first time I ever had beer bread was at one of those sales parties that people who don’t like you very much drag you into (oops, please don’t be insulted if you host Tupperware or Mary Kay parties!). In this case, it was a horrible roommate who was hosting a party to sell clothing that was old lady-ish and about four times more expensive than anything I normally purchased. I felt super awkward knowing that I wasn’t going to purchase anything, so I hid behind party snacks. Namely beer bread. Yum! Lightly slathered with a bit of butter or coated with a tasty dip, beer bread is a simple snack with a complex flavor.

After a few years of making this bread for myself, I discovered a recipe for grilled cheese using beer bread. Holy moly, what could be better!?

You, of course, can serve your beer bread however you like. But if you like your taste buds, then you should treat them to grilled beer and cheese at least once.

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