Monday, April 13, 2009

Baked Eggs in Tomato-Parmesan Sauce

I found this recipe in April 2009 Martha Stewart publication, Everyday Food. I love this magazine. It is full of easy-to-prepare recipes. What I like even better than the recipes are the articles on techniques and foods. This particular issue features articles on rice, asparagus, dried beans, and shopping smart.

I think this recipe seems a little bit like an Italian version of Huevos Rancheros (see my earlier post for that recipe).

This recipe would make a economical dinner paired with a salad and garlic toast (serves 4).

I have changed some of the instructions to minimize the number of pans used for preparation--fewer to wash!

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
2, 15 ounce cans of diced tomatoes in juice
1, 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
8 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In an oven-proof skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and rosemary; cook until garlic is golden--about two minutes. Add diced and crushed tomatoes and two tablespoons of parmesan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; stir occsasionlly until liquid reduces some (two-four minutes). Salt and pepper to taste. Reserve one cup of tomato mixture.

Carefully crack the eggs over the tomato mixture in the skillet. Top with reserved sauce and parmesan.

Bake until whites are opaque but yellows are still soft, about 25 minutes.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Donna

Recently, my sister discovered that she has ovarian cancer. This event has made me take pause and reflect on our relationship.

She is 12 years older than I am, and married and left the house when I was only 7 years old. Although she wasn't close in the sense that she wasn't a part of our household as I grew up, she has always been there for me.

I remember when I was a little girl, a friend of mine wrote on the walls of my front porch with a marker. My dad was so mad! He didn't believe me when I told him I didn't do it, so I was banished to my room. My sister came in and played Uncle Piggly Wiggly with me until my punishment was over.

I also remember when she used to turn her high school senior ring inward toward her palm and whack me in the head when I was obnoxious and bratty! Ouch--that hurt!

My sister is an amazing seamstress and quilter. When she was a newlywed, she didn't have a sewing machine, but she would hand-sew the most amazing and detailed clothes for my Barbies. She would sew on little beads for buttons, line all the dresses and coats, and add touches of lace--couture Barbie! My Barbies dressed more like June Clever rather than Marilyn Monroe, but how lucky I was to have one-of-a-kind creations! Just 2 weeks ago, these Barbie clothes were passed down to my granddaughter Gracie.

When my late husband and I were going through difficult times, I could always count on her to help me with my kids; to keep them safe and fed and sheltered when I just couldn't cope.

When I graduated college at the age of 43, she gave me a box filled with all of the pieces to a quilt she designed for me but had not finished. Four years later the quilt was finished, but I had to wait to take ownership because it hung in a bank lobby for six months. It took her four years to complete the quilt because she had to make it perfect. That is how she is. It is the most exquisite example of quilting I have ever seen.

Recently, my daughter married. I asked my sister if she would make the little dresses for my granddaughters. She agreed, and in her usual style, created dresses that were perfect in execution and beauty. She even hand-embroidered their monograms on the tails of the dress sashes.

I remember all of these things and at the same time realize I can't remember the last time I told her that I loved her. Even with her illness, and the urgency to let her know that I love her, I still have a hard time saying it out loud (I come from a family that isn't very demonstrative!). So I have been buying and sending her cards. I have been buying the cards, of course, here on Etsy. Every card I have purchased has been absolutely beautiful, and the sellers have taken great care and spent extra time to insure that I get just the right card for my sister. These wonderful pieces of art have made it easier to express myself in a way I haven't been able to before.

So, if you haven't SAID "I love you" to your mother, father, sister, brother, child, *fill in the blank,* say it today. And if it is hard to say, send a card, note, letter, email, or a smoke signal. It feels good!

I will close this post by sharing with you that I love my sister Donna, and she is the best sister in the world.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Come on...admit it...these are funny!

Tell these jokes to your kids. They will think you are the funniest person in the world--or--they will roll their eyes and love you anyway!

Why did the easter egg hide?
He was a little chicken!

Why shouldn’t you tell an Easter egg a joke?
It might crack up!

What do you call a rabbit that tells good jokes?
A funny bunny!

Why does the Easter Bunny have a shiny nose?
Because the powder puff is on the other end!

Why did the bunny go to the dance?
To do the bunny hop!

What kinds of books do bunnies like?
Ones with hoppy ending.

hehehe.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit Casserole

My friend at work, Janet, is always on the lookout for new and interesting recipes. She shared this one with me today. I love the biscuits used in this recipe because you only cook as many as you need. Served with a mixed greens salad, I think think this would make a wonderful light dinner.

The recipe that follow is for 2 servings. If your family is bigger, adjust recipe accordingly.

Ingredients:
2 Pillsbury® Oven Baked frozen southern-style biscuits (from 25-oz bag)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 can (7 oz) Green Giant® Mexicorn® whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained, or 1 cup Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers™ Niblets® frozen corn
2 strips bacon, cooked, crumbled
1/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place biscuits on cutting board to thaw, about 10 minutes.
In medium bowl, beat eggs and milk with wire whisk until blended. Stir in corn, bacon and cheese.
Spray 1-quart casserole with cooking spray. Cut each biscuit into 8 pieces; arrange evenly in casserole. Pour egg mixture over biscuits. Press down with back of spoon, making sure all biscuit pieces are covered with egg mixture.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until edges are golden brown and center is set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Gracies Eggies Featured in Etsy Treasury

Yay! My violet and grape cascarones have been featured in the Etsy treasury created by sweetscarlet. It is beautiful treasury featuring items in the color purple--so refreshing after a winter of white, gray, and beige!

The treasury is now closed, but take a look at all of the beautiful products sweetscarlet has in her shop:
http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5704343

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Earth laughs in flowers. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Huevocito woke up early on the first day of March, a Sunday. The south Texas morning was cold, but the sun was bright. Huevocito knew that the day would warm up and it would be perfect for gardening. He stepped outside. To his amazement, he saw that two very pretty flowers had already bloomed in his garden--one white and one red.

He also saw some beautiful roses had bloomed on the bush that Gracie's great-grandma had planted many years ago. They were white with just a touch of pink on the petals' edges.(Gracie's middle name is Charlotte, after her great-grandma).The Texas laurel tree was dripping with grape-colored clusters of flowers. Huevocito loved those because they smelled like purple Kool Aid! The tiny flowers on the Mexican heather bushes were in full bloom.







It was exciting to know that spring had finally arrived. He and Gracie knew just how they would spend his day--digging in the dirt, planting new flowers, and enjoying the warmth of the sun.

He got ready. First, he knew he had to wear a hat. Even though it was cool, he knew he would need a hat to protect his little head from the bright sun. Where had he put it? He hadn't used it since September. He looked under his bed--no, not there. He looked in the closet where he kept his coat--no not there. He asked Gracie if she had seen it. "Huevocito, my friend, I think it is in the garden shed, where it belongs." said Gracie.

"Of course, Gracie!" said Huevocito.

Huevocito and Gracie went to the garden shed, and saw his hat--hanging on the hook by the door, right where he hung it after he picked pumpkins in September.

He popped the hat on top of his head. He loved this hat. It was sturdy and made of straw. It was a good hat to protect him from the sun.

Huevocito and Gracie looked around the shed. What kind of tools would they need to plant some flowers?

The dirt had become hard over the winter. They wanted to break up the soil in the garden. The right tool for that job is a garden hoe. They found the hoe.

Then they would need a garden rake to smooth the dirt after he broke up the hard dirt. The rake was hanging from a peg on the wall.

Lastly, they would need a shovel to dig nice round holes to plant the flowers in. They saw the shovel leaning against the wall in the corner of the shed.

They gathered the tools and some flowers that Gracie's grandma had bought to plant and headed to the garden. They prepared the dirt, dug the holes, and planted the flowers.


They stepped back , looked at each other, and said, "PERFECT!" What a fun day it was for Huevocito and Gracie. They can't wait to plant more flowers.



Don't forget to check out my Etsy mini in the right column--it is full of garden-fresh products from creative Etsians. Also, I have added links to coloring pages. The link that goes with this post is labeled "Fresh From the Garden."

Friday, February 27, 2009

Click and Print Farm Coloring Pages

Huevocito, Gracie, and Summer went to the rodeo recently and learned all about farm animals. I have posted a link to a site where you can click and print farm-themed coloring pages. I hope your kiddos enjoy the story and the coloring pages!

Huevocito will be in the garden this weekend. Look for a new story with coloring pages on Sunday.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Milk Toast

My mom used to make this recipe when I was a little girl (50s-60s). She called this poached eggs. When I had kids, I made the same recipe, but we called it milk toast. This dish evokes very warm childhood memories--mine and my kids. It is great for breakfast, but is satisfying as an evening meal, too. It is also a good budget-stretching meal. The following recipe makes 4 servings of 2 eggs per person, or 8 servings of 1 egg per person.

4 cups milk (whole, lowfat--your preference, any type will do)
4 tablespoons of butter (or margarine)
8 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
8 pieces of toast

In a deep saucepan gently heat the milk and butter. The milk should be heated just to a point where it bubbles, but does not boil. Gently drop the the eggs into the milk. While eggs are cooking, make the toast. Cut toast into triangles and place in bottom of soup bowls. You can butter the toast if you like (I do--as I mentioned in an earlier recipe, I am very fond of butter!)

By the time the toast is prepared, the eggs should be cooked so that the egg white is set, and the yellow is still somewhat runny. Cook a wee bit longer if you prefer the yellow to be set.

Lift the eggs out of the heated milk and place on top of the toast in bowls. Spoon remaining milk on top of the eggs and toast. Salt and pepper to taste. Or, pour milk in bowl and place egg(s) in bowl. Serve toast on side and dip into milk to eat.

Have you notice a trend in my recipes?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

YE-HAW! Huevocito, Gracie, and Summer Go to the Rodeo

Huevocito was so excited! The sixtieth annual San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo was coming to town. He was looking forward to going to the Stock Show with his friend Gracie. 

"Huevocito, we are going to the stock show this week, " said Gracie. "Let's go to the western store and look for a cowboy hat to wear!"

"Gracie," said Huevocito, "what is a cowboy hat?"

"A cowboy hat is a type of hat worn by ranchers in the western and southern United States, western Canada, northern Mexico, and others, such as rodeo riders and country-western singers, also wear cowboy hats. A cowboy hat has a special shape--it has a tall crown and its broad rim protects a cowboy or cowgirl against the sun," responded Gracie. "Our hats will just be pretty!"

So Huevocito and Gracie headed off to buy cowboy hats. Gracie picked a pretty pink hat, and Huvocito chose a bright red felt cowboy hat.



The next day, Huevocito and Grace, and Gracie's baby sister, Summer, went to the stock show. They saw many animals from farms---chickens, turkeys, pigs, cows, horses, sheep, and goats. There were many nice people who talked to Gracie and Huevocito about farms and farming. Gracie and Huevocito saw the animals being groomed and cared for by young people from nearby rural communities. It was obvious that the animals were well-loved.


The most fun Gracie, Huevocito, and Summer had was when they got to feed baby animals. The little lambs and goats followed them and ate right out of their hands. The animals were so soft!
They also were able to see many of the machines that are used on farms, and even got to sit on a tractor.


The day was long and there were so many things to see! It was such a fun day. Look at the photos that Gracie and Huevocito took at their day at the rodeo. And check out those hats!

I Promised A Recipe for Western Omelettes, But You Are Getting a Recipe for a Mexican Fritatta!

Today's earlier post said that you could look forward to a recipe for Western Omelettes (so that this recipe would tie into the earlier egg joke). Instead, I am offering this recipe for a Mexican Frittata.

I found this recipe courtesy of marthastewart.com.  It sounds so yummy (did I just say yummy?--so Rachel Ray!). I would make several changes in the recipe if I were making it. I might not use "red potatoes" but plain ol' baking potatoes because that is what I normally have on hand. I might substitute yellow onions for the scallions, because I normally don't keep scallions around. And as good as olive oil is for you, I would use butter because I love butter! The point is, this recipe can be adjusted to suit your tastes and what you have on hand. 

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red potato, thinly sliced 
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
8 large eggs
1 1/4 cups chopped plum tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

In a broiler-proof skillet, cook potato in 1 tablespoon olive oil until tender and lightly browned. Stir in garlic and all but one tablespoon of scallions; season with salt and pepper.
Beat eggs until combined. Add 1/4 cup each of the tomato and cheese; stir to combine. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to pan. Pour egg mixture over potatoes.
Cook the eggs, lifting the edges with a spatula to allow uncooked egg to flow underneath. Cook for about 8-10 minutes until the center is almost set completely. Sprinkle the top with remaining cheese. Place under broiler until center is totally set and cheese is melted and bubbly.
Add cilantro and lime juice to the remaining tomatoes and scallions to make a salsa. Cut frittata into wedges, plate, and serve with salsa on top. 

The yolk is on you!

What do you call an egg who wears cowboy boots?

A western omelette!

My next post will be a recipe for an easy western omelette. Huevocito went to rodeo this week. I will be posting a new story about his adventures at the rodeo. Stay tuned!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Kas-ka-ron-ez

Cascarones, or confetti eggs, are festively-painted eggshells filled with confetti. The eggshells are meant to be broken over someone's head, usually as a surprise, showering the person with confetti. 

Gracie's Eggies is named for my precious granddaughter, Gracie, who is a huge fan of the confetti eggs. She been an expert at surprising people with a cascarones since before she was two years old. 

Cascarones is pronounced kas-ka-ron-ez, or kas-ka-ron if singular. The tradition of cracking a cascaron over people's heads originated in Mexico, and has become popular in the southwestern United States. In South Texas, cascarones are as popular as pinatas at celebrations., Especially in the spring, they are seen everywhere. Having a cascaron cracked over your head is said to bring good luck.

Gracie is still learning how to pronounce cascarones. I hope you enjoy this little clip of Gracie taking a crack at pronouncing cascarones.


video

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Recipe for Huevos Rancheros

Have you ever heard people say that you should not discuss religion or politics at a party? Well, better add Mexican food to that list! I mentioned in a forum that San Antonio had pretty good Mexican food, and you would of thought I said that the Pope wasn't Catholic. Boy, did I get an earful!

With that in mind, I am going to publish this recipe for easy huevos rancheros. Remember that I am not saying this is the definitive way to make the dish, or the best way, this is just how I make the dish. I have always thought of recipes as a guide to making something, and the person who is making the dish adds or takes away from the recipe to make a creation of their own. In the recipe that follows, I use corn tortillas as a base for the eggs. I was introduced to this way of making huevos rancheros in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I thought the corn tortillas  added another layer of flavor and texture to the plate. This recipe will make enough for about six plates:

1 can of Mexican style stewed tomatoes
1 small onion (chopped fine or course, depending on your taste)
1 clove of garlic (or a teaspoon of pre-chopped garlic from a jar)
1/4 cup salsa (mild, medium, or hot, depending on your taste)
Salt and Pepper
eggs
corn tortillas
Butter
oil for frying

In a small saucepan, melt one tablespoon of the butter. Add the chopped onion and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, stewed tomatoes, and salsa. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the mixture while preparing the other elements of the dish, long enough so that some of the liquid is reduced.

In a small shallow frying pan heat oil. Tear a small piece of tortilla and drop in the oil. If the oil is hot enough, the piece of tortilla will float to the top and the oil will bubble. When the oil is hot enough, drop tortillas one at a time into the pan. Cook for about 30 seconds, flip the tortilla, and cook another 30 seconds. The tortilla should not be crispy. Place the tortillas on a plate with a paper towel; keep them warm in the oven set at a very low temperature.

In another pan, melt enough butter to cook the number of eggs you will be serving. I like huevos rancheros with over-easy eggs; some people prefer scrambled. Cook the eggs to your preference.

For each serving, lay two corn tortillas on a plate. Top the tortillas with the eggs, and ladle on a generous amount of the tomato mixture. 

The plate wouldn't be complete without a serving of refried beans and fried potatoes, and of course, flour tortillas. 








Saturday, January 31, 2009

Meet Little Huevo Ranchero



Little Huevo (Huevocito) Ranchero began his days on a wonderful family egg farm in a small town called Marion that was just east of San Antonio. He was laid at daybreak on a crisp winter morning when the sky was full of color--bright pink, orange, turquoise blue. Even though it was winter, the sun was bright and lemony yellow and it warmed the earth like a comfy electric blanket set at 5--just right.

The papa egg farmer carefully removed the little egg from the nest in the coop and was carrying it to an incubator when--oopsie-daisy, oh-oh, yikes, splat--the egg farmer tripped and dropped the little egg onto the counter where the family prepared their meals during breaks from working the farm. The shell cracked and all of its contents spilled onto the counter. The mother egg farmer said "Not to worry, we can use the egg to make huevos rancheros for breakfast!" And so she did--with sides of refried beans and fried potatoes, and of course, handmade flour tortillas--but hold the chile.

The little girl egg farmer, Gracie, scooped up the cracked shell and asked her mama if she could have it. "What will you do with a broken shell?" asked the mama egg farmer.

"I think I will paint it," she said.

Gracie went to her room and carefully selected the color of paint she would use to paint the little cracked eggshell. She looked to the morning sky and was inspired by the bright colors. She decided on the lemony yellow of the sun. Then Gracie painted a sweet and happy face on the shell. She added a beak, because after all, the little shell would have become a chicken if not for the unfortunate accident. Gracie opened the drawer of her desk and pulled out the bin of Martha Stewart crafting supplies she kept on hand for art projects. She found some crinkle-cut papers and glue--just perfect to create a little bit of hair for the little shell.

But the little egg seemed incomplete. It was so light--so hollow. "I know!" said Gracie. "I will fill your tummy with brightly-colored confetti in the colors of the morning sky." Gracie filled the little eggie's tummy with confetti and then pasted a little circle of tissue over the hole where she filled the shell's tummy.

"There, all done!" said Gracie.

But was she all done? What about a name for the little egg? The lightbulb that always hovered over Gracie's head suddenly started to blink brightly.

"I know, I will name you Huevo...Huevo Ranchero!" Oh I love you Huevocito (little Huevo)!

So now you you know how Huevocito came about. Follow this blog to read about his adventures and misadventures. This week Huevocito goes shopping for cowboy duds and attends the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo on opening day.