Wish Upon A Dish

August 21, 2017

Kentucky Hot Brown Stuffed Tomatoes ♥ Rise & Shine with a Savory Breakfast - RecipeReDux Challenge August 2017

Hi there,
Time for another Recipe Redux Challenge.

This month's challenge is a Rise and Shine with a Savory Breakfast
The trend of protein-packed breakfasts is catching on…and back-to-school time is looming. This month, show us new healthy takes on eating savory or dinner-inspired dishes for breakfast.

I knew this dish was the national dish of the Kentucky Derby. Wasn't until this year that I expressed an interest in making the Hot Brown.
What clinched the deal is a daily bumper crop of tomatoes that is on the verge of being unmanageable. For tomato lovers this is a year to brag about.

Anyone who grows tomatoes knows it is hit and miss from year to year. Last year it was so hot, I bought umbrellas to shade my crops but by August, the vines dried up and stopped producing.
This year I kept my produce choices to 4 vegetables. Swiss chard, Asian eggplants, cubanel peppers and tomatoes.

So where do I stand as of today? Bumper eggplants, decent amount of chard, absolutely NO peppers. Ahh but there are 6 kinds of tomatoes that just won't stop producing. I think the cooler weather this August has lots to do with that. Not complaining but I am not as big a lover of tomatoes as the Nudge is, so he gets a grape, cherry & teardrop tomatoes in a jar salad he eats weekdays.

Finally the large meaty tomatoes started to turn red and all at the same time. My San Marzano's have been appearing in sauces, salsas, and salads for a month but the Rutgers are finally sitting in the sun waiting for it's day in the spotlight.

The timing could not have been better for posting this recipe.
Anyone not familiar with a Hot Brown needs to know that it is as Southern as can be.
Bacon, tomatoes, egg toast (brioche), cheese sauce and poached eggs. What's not to love.

For a healthier version (and one that can be prepared the day before), I am taking those iconic ingredients and stuffing them into a tomato instead of on top.

Originally this dish is made with freshly roasted turkey breast and if you use your leftover Thanksgiving turkey for sandwiches why not make this instead.
Too hot to roast any bird, I bought a pound of deli Black Bear Green Hatch Pepper Chicken Breast (sliced 1/8" thick) & chopped that into bite sized pieces. I baked the egg bread and set the tomatoes on top, which will not only act as the sponge at the bottom of the tomatoes, it helps to keep them snugly straight. The rest was layering, baking and then topping with a poached egg. I am giving my Hot Brown a Texas spin by using pepper jack cheese and the hatch pepper chicken.

I have to say, while I lightened up this version there was no indication of lighter flavor.
This was good and different so come Thanksgiving, will make an appearance on my turkey day leftover buffet.
Next time I am going to place a grilled slice of artisan Italian bread to sop up all the tomato juices and the sauce.

Kentucky Hot Brown Stuffed Tomatoes
makes 2 tomatoes
* 2 large tomatoes, insides removed & salted
* 6 oz cheese (2oz Pepper Jack, 2oz 50% less fat sharp Cheddar, 1oz Asiago, 1oz Parmesan)
* 1/2 can evaporated skim milk
* 5 slices bacon, cooked
* 1 lb roasted turkey or chicken, chopped
* 2 large eggs, poached or fried, salted & peppered

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place the tomatoes upside down on a paper towel while you grate the cheeses.
Divide the cheeses in half.
Heat the evaporated milk and add half the grated cheeses.
Stir until sauce is smooth with no lumps. Remove from the heat.

Toast the bread and chop into crouton. Place croutons in bottom of baking dish.

Stuff the tomatoes starting with a quarter of the meat then the same with the cheese. Repeat.
Top the tomatoes with bacon strips.

Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. The tomatoes should be hot and tender but still hold their shape. Tent the tomatoes with the foil and reheat the cheese sauce.
Ladle a few spoon fulls of the sauce on each dinner plate and then place half the croutons on the sauce. Top that with one tomato.
Place poached egg on top of bacon and then spoon more of the cheese sauce over the egg.



August 19, 2017

Slow Cooker Beet, Goat Cheese & Walnut Salad ♥ a no-fail way to cook fresh beets

This salad was inspired by two ingredients I recently had the pleasure of being introduced too.
Fresh beets and Trader Joe's Honey Jalapeno Goat Cheese!!
Oh, my what a combo and by adding a few tomatoes from my garden with glazed walnut pieces I had the BEST salad the other day.

I love fresh beets but with all my culinary accomplishments, roasting/cooking fresh beets comes in dead last.
I can not count the times I bought fresh beets only to eventually throw them in the trash.

Funny stat. I eat jarred beets in every chop salad I eat weekday. How sad is that?
My success rating on making fresh ones is probably 3:20. I eventually got the hint, succumbed to my failures and bought good jarred salad beets.

Luckily the season & my success with cooking beets coincided, so while all my other ingredients moving forward will probably be hot house varieties, my beets with be the star.
If you have never eaten a fresh beet you have to try this food-proof preparation.

Did you ever have a "duh" moment in cooking?
Mine came the other day when I saw not one, but a few recipes for carrot vegan hot dogs.
Not sure I would make a hot dog with them but I would definitely use that technique for my usual veggie contribution to our Thanksgiving table this year.
As soon as I committed that to memory, I had my moment.

Why not cook my beets using the slow cooker technique on those carrots?
OMG, this was too easy (and boy, did I feel dumb).

I bought a beautiful bunch of beets (tops in great shape but that's for another post) at a local farm stand the other day and set my iPad to remind me to cook them no later than Friday.

I simply washed three baseball-sized beets and placed them in the slow cooker insert. No water, no seasonings, no nothing. I used my small 2 quart cooker and if you find your beets too big for the pot, just slice them in half. Yes, it's that easy. 
I set the cook selection to high, closed the lid and set my timer to 3 hours.

When I got back from my walk, I took a skewer and tested a beet. It was perfectly cook!!
Just the right resistance. I placed them in a bowl to cool to room temp and when they did, I peeled the halved beet for a salad tonight and the other two were wrapped in a paper towel and tucked into veggie bags.... I now have enough for about a dozen salads.

Slow Cooker Beet, Goat Cheese & Walnut Salad
makes 2 servings

* 1 cooked fresh beet, sliced into 1/4" pieces
* 1/4 package jalapeno-honey goat cheese, broken into small pieces
* handful of chopped plain or glazed walnuts
* Favorite vinaigrette (I like a Vidalia onion one)
* chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, lemon verbana)
* thinly sliced sweet or red onion, optional

Last minute I threw in a few grape and teardrop tomatoes from my garden (first harvest of the summer).

Besides the sweet sugary taste that cooked beets have, a 100 gram amount (3.4oz) has only 43 calories, 10% carbs, less than 1% fat but has 27% folate and 16% magnesium.
I like that they also have 3g of fiber. Yes, please.

July 27, 2017

Roasted Icelandic Creole Cod ♥ One pan - thirty minute fish for two

I had this can of smoked oysters in my pantry, part of a food basket won at a Christmas party years ago.
At least once a year I clean and reorganized my canned food rack and that can would move back & forth and reminded me I just have to find a recipe or throw that can out.

Today was the day. I bought a beautiful thick cut Icelandic cod fillet that would be perfect with a smoked oyster creamed sauce with roasted potatoes.
My inspiration? A sauce based on that iconic oyster chowder at the famous Grand Central Terminal Oyster Bar.
I couldn't wait to write up the ingredients and get cooking.....that is, until I could not find that can of oysters. Hell of a time for me to forget.....I hate when a plan falls apart.
Since I was hoping to post about the smoked oyster sauce, I thought I would share this one dish dinner.
So, here we have plan B.
A creole sauce instead.

I have made so many different creole dishes, each with a different sauce to pair with the protein.
I geared this one towards the neutral flavor of the cod. It never had to compete with assertive flavors so I made a lite version. Most creole sauces are thick with tomato sauce & paste. I made this one with the tomato juice leftover after I used the canned plum tomatoes to make a tomato jam.
A can of V-8 or basic tomato juice would also work.

I finely chopped about 1/2 cup of mixed colored peppers and one large shallot. The rest was spices, Worcestershire and liquid smoke. A splash of vermouth to tone down the acid in the tomato.

I roasted the cod on top of the sauce and before I served dinner and to finish the dish, I stirred a dollop of sour cream (or Greek yogurt) into the sauce.

While I am into whole foods, Creole dishes should be served over converted white rice. If a low glycemic index is of concern to you, converted rice has half the GI of regular long grain rice. I like to think that an old Cajun smiles each time I do.

1/2 cup minced bell peppers (red, orange, green, yellow or blend of all)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 small onion, or large shallot, minced
salt & pepper
olive oil
1 1/2 cups tomato juice from canned plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon creole seasoning
1 teaspoon Goya Adobo
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 cup vermouth
2 tablespoons light sour cream of Greek yogurt
1 pound Icelandic Cod

Heat a large skillet and add a tablespoon or two of EVOO. Set the oven to 425°.
Add the garlic, peppers and onion. Saute on medium low until they start to brown.
Add the Creole seasoning, Worcestershire, liquid smoke and 1/2 cup vermouth.
Simmer until reduced, then add the tomato juice and season with salt & pepper.
Continue to simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened.
Season cod with adobo and place in skillet.
Carefully add the hot skillet to the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, depending on how thick the cod is. Remember the rule for cooking fish "10 minutes an inch".
Place the cod on a plate. Stir the yogurt into the sauce and spoon over the cod.

Enjoy! This will become a favorite, I promise.