Monday, March 17, 2014

Sweet Potato Corned Beef Hash

     So what could a  poached egg be put on top of tomorrow?  Since today is St. Patrick's Day, there might be a chance that somebody might want to make hash out of left over corned beef. Every Irish family has their own method of making corned beef.  My dad, whose name was Patrick, would actually wrap a brick in foil and place it on top of a baking brisket.  But, although I've included my recipe for corned beef brisket here, the real star of this post is the hash made out of leftovers. This one is made with sweet potatoes which blend so well with the savory, slightly salty meat, Dijon mustard and the hint of thyme.  It is just delicious with a poached egg on top and is really such a special treat, perhaps this hash made with left overs should be served for a weekend brunch instead!

Ingredients for Four Servings of Sweet Potato Corned Beef Hash:

1 cup corned beef (recipe below), chopped
1 cup cooked sweet potatoes, chopped 
1 medium onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, put through a press
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
poached eggs (recipe below), how ever many you wish to serve


Dice the onion and saute it with the butter over medium low heat until tender.  Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds.  Add the beef, potatoes, parsley, mustard, thyme, and pepper to the pan and combine. Over medium low heat, cook for about four minutes.  Then turn the mixture over with a spatula and cook another three to five minutes until the onions, sweet potatoes, and meat begin to brown.  Watch it carefully so that it doesn't start to burn.  Transfer the hash to service dishes and top with a poached egg or two. Recipes for corned beef and poached eggs are below.

Corned Beef
1 (3 lb. or so) corned beef brisket
2 bay leaves
3 teaspoons peppercorns (black, green, or one of those colorful mixtures)
2 teaspoons mustard seed
6 whole cloves
6 carrots
Small head of cabbage
6 large carrots
8 potatoes - new w/skins on or sweet potatoes

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place one of the bay leaves, one teaspoon of the peppercorns, one teaspoon of the mustard seeds,  two of the cloves, and the brisket into a large pot.  Add enough water to cover it, but don't fill it up all the way to the top.  Turn the heat up to high and bring it to a boil.  Let it boil for five minutes, occasionally skimming off the "scum" that floats up to the top.  I use a slotted spoon and transfer the frothy stuff to bowl, then throw it away later.  While the corned beef is boiling, peel the carrots and cut each one in two. If you are using them, wash the potatoes, leave the skin on,  and cut each one in two.  Place the carrots, potatoes, and the remaining bay leaf, 2 teaspoons peppercorns, 1 teaspoon mustard seed, and 4 cloves into an oven safe 9 by 13 baking dish.  At the end of the boiling time, get rid of any remaining scum in the pot and transfer the brisket into the baking dish.  Pour the cooking water from the top into the baking dish, leaving an inch or two of space at the top. Cover the baking dish with foil, and carefully place it in the preheated oven.  Bake for 3 hours and 45 minutes.  Ten minutes or so before the baking time is over, Wash the head of cabbage and discard the bruised looking outer leaves.  Core and slice the cabbage into 8 wedges.  Place the wedges into a pot large enough to hold them and set aside.  After taking the brisket out of the oven, transfer the meat and vegetables to a serving platter.  Cover with foil to keep it warm.  Pour the cooking liquid from the baking pan over the cabbage wedges and bring the pot up to a boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until cabbage can be pierced by a fork but is not mushy. Remove the cabbage from the pot and add them to the serving platter. Slice the corned beef across the grain and serve while everything is still hot.

Poached Eggs:
Bring at least 1/2 a pot of water in a sauce pan up to a boil. One or two at a time, crack the egg(s) onto a saucer. With a wooden spoon, give the water in the pan a swirl and slip the egg off the saucer into the middle of the swirl.  Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 3 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, lift each egg out of the water and place it on a cloth dish towel until ready to serve.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

South American Influenced Power Breakfast: Poached Egg on Quinoa

     Last year, between semesters, Allison had the opportunity to travel to Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. She tells me that in South America, the thought of having eggs for breakfast is basically unthinkable. They do like to serve a cooked egg over meals at other times of the day.  In fact, one favorite dish at a barbecue, or an asado, is a pepper grilled with an egg in it.  In Peru, it's common to serve an egg on top of a stew made with quinoa. So, for us that means it's a breakfast item - right?  Well - maybe more like brunch since the quinoa in this post has some fairly complex flavors due to the cumin and coriander in this recipe.

One of the Many Friends Allison Made While in Peru

Ingredients for Four Servings:
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/2 red pepper, diced to make 1/2 cup
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, put through the press
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 (15 oz.) can broth, vegetable or chicken
2 large tomatoes, diced or 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 ripe avocado, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
4 to 8 eggs, how ever many you wish to serve

Saute the diced onion and red pepper in the olive oil until tender. Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, and pepper and cook for another 30 seconds.  Add the quinoa, broth, and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to medium low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. While the quinoa mixture is simmering, or a head of time, poach the eggs. Take off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Spoon into bowls, top with avocado, cilantro, and  poached eggs*.

*While the quinoa mixture is simmering, or a head of time, poach the eggs.
Bring about 4 inches of water in a sauce pan up to a boil. One or two at a time, crack the egg(s) onto a saucer. With a wooden spoon, give the water in the pan a swirl and slip the egg off the saucer into the middle of the swirl.  Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 3 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, lift each egg out of the water and place it on a cloth dish towel until ready to serve.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

French Toast with Apple/Cranberry/Walnut Topping

     Last weekend Jenn flew in from California to go to a sorority sister's wedding.  Her plane landed about 11 p.m Friday and it was midnight when we got home.  About ten minutes later her good friend Colleen arrived from Chicago.  Even though they had to get up early the next day to
Jenn and Colleen - Ready to Party!
drive three and a half hours to the wedding, they found the time for a lot of laughter and catching up that night.  In the morning I wanted to send them off with a good breakfast, so I quickly made a family favorite - French toast made with whole wheat bread that is smothered in a Granny Smith apple/cranberry/walnut topping. This apple mixture is great over pancakes, waffles, and even ice cream. Taking the short cut of cooking the sauce in the microwave made it easier and I had more time to visit with the girls! They made great time getting there, had fun at the reception, and Jenn even caught the bouquet!

French Toast with Apple/Cranberry/Walnut Topping for Four

Ingredients and Directions:

For the French Toast:
8 slices of whole wheat bread
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of salt

Whisk the ingredients together in a mixing bowl.  Submerge each slice of bread in the egg mixture so that both sides are coated.  Brown the bread in a greased skillet, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

For the Apple/Cranberry/Walnut Topping:
2 medium sized Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnut pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Keeping the skin on the apples, slice them thinly, and discard the core. Dice the butter into small pieces. Put the apples, cranberries, walnuts, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt into a microwave safe bowl.  Mix the ingredients together and microwave on regular power for five minutes.  Stir when finished cooking. 

Put two pieces of French Toast on each plate and spoon the hot apple topping mixture over each one.