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brunch

Breakfast Socca with Eggs and Greens

Breakfast Socca with Eggs and Greens

If you’re not on the socca train yet, you should grab a ticket this week and get on it. It’s so easy to make, and incredibly tasty in many, many forms.

I’d say socca is akin to pizza crust – only full or protein and nourishment and a little more flavor. Really, you can add any toppings of your desire, including the classic tomato, basil, mozzarella trio that makes a good slice of ‘za. You can get fancy, like in this roasted carrot rendition. Or you can keep it fairly simple like this breakfast version below. And unlike pizza crust, it takes just a handful of minutes to whip up, no rolling pin needed.

Note – if you’re going to grab a ticket for the breakfast route, go for the savory option vs. taking a ride down a sweet socca road. I’ve tried to turn socca batter into blueberry pancakes, and it’s the first time socca’s failed me. Although, I must say, I haven’t totally given up on it in a sweeter form just yet. Future experiments are certainly to be had, and if you find a creation that works, by all means, please share!

Breakfast Socca with Eggs and Greens

As far as savory goes, this is a combination that works. Eggs, greens, and the last of summer’s tomatoes get piled onto a warm, nutty socca canvas. You could add a sprinkle of Parm on top, but it doesn’t even need it. If you’re seeking for more, serve it with a side of sweet potato hash, and a steaming cup of coffee. Magic. Continue Reading…

Eggs Simmered in Fresh Summer Sauce

Eggs Simmered in Fresh Summer Sauce

One of my favorite dishes this time of year is a fresh sauce filled with all of the garden’s golden ingredients. Summer sauce always tastes a little sweeter, with herbs that cut through the acidity with a touch more confidence, and veggies that add texture you just can’t find in supermarket sauces. It’s comfort meets clean eating at its best.

Eggs Simmered in Fresh Summer Sauce

Summer sauce needn’t be a recipe reserved solely for pasta, and in fact, I find sometimes I prefer it elsewhere. Like on sautéed and buttered zucchini noodles or a crusty slice of sourdough scattered with feta and basil.

Yet, used to simmer fresh-from-the-farm eggs undoubtedly ranks at the top of my preferential usage list. This is a breakfast – and sometimes lunch and dinner – I will reach for whenever the ingredients present themselves.

Luckily, it’s August, so that means this is showing up in my skillet quite often.

Eggs Simmered in Fresh Summer Sauce

This particular version is similar to a shakshouka, but with the inclusion of some extra garden power from grated zucchini. That being said, it’s not quite as delicate and sweet as traditional shakshouka, but it’s certainly as fresh and possibly slightly more flavorful. Feel free to vary it given the veggies you might have on hand. I’ve also kept this version on the chunky side, but you could certainly give it a pulse in the blender or food processor to go saucier. If you have super fresh/local ingredients though, I might advise against this.

Eggs Simmered in Fresh Summer Sauce

Be sure to keep an eye on the eggs once you crack them in. They can go from an over-easy yolk to a solid state in a flash as they near that final finishing point.

When they do get to that resting state you love, remove your eggs and sauce from the heat and plate it on up. I like to add blue corn tortilla chips for a nice texture and color contrast, sometimes crunching the chips straight on top of my eggs. You could also pair this with your favorite bread to sop up all the juices.

Cheers to doing summer breakfast right.

Eggs Simmered in Fresh Summer Sauce

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Watermelon, Basil and Feta Salad

 

Watermelon, Basil and Feta Salad

I woke up on Saturday morning realizing August was just 2 weeks away. Woah, woah, woah, hold the phone! But by all means, don’t hold the melon.

It wasn’t until I then realized I had went this far into the summer without buying my first full watermelon that the panic set in. That’s like living in the city without a bike — practically a crime, at least in my world.

I love watermelon, and how I let this much of summer slip by without eating a full half to myself is beyond me. Summers are made for meals of watermelon, right?

So of course, Saturday morning, straight to the market I went. And breakfast become none other than a huge slice of sweet, juicy summer. My favorite.

Watermelon, Basil and Feta Salad

It’s a miracle that the other half of the melon ended up in this salad. Like a just-picked heirloom tomato, or a perfectly ripe avocado, there are some things in life that I often feel, “Why bother doing anything more than adding a fork.” Although it goes without saying, a little bit of salt can entirely enhance those first two items, and it appears a little bit of feta and basil can do the same for watermelon. Sliced watermelon is great, but so is this melon salad.

On Sunday, I also happened to be heading to a friend’s b-day brunch, so the opportunity to make something special couldn’t be passed up. If you’re a food blogger, sliced watermelon isn’t all that great when fun, food-related occasions arise. Although, the few slices you’re munching on while cooking — those speak of excellence.

Needless to say, this was a hit and a totally worthy use of an impressively ripe and ready melon. Salty feta plays off the sweetness of the melon, while a minty basil takes its natural refreshingness to a whole other level. If you want your watermelon to feel fancy, in an effortless sort of way, this is it. I’m already ready for brunch, round 2, and of course, watermelon round 2, too.

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Creamy Polenta with Spring Greens and Shiitakes

Creamy Polenta with Spring Greens and Shiitakes

Oh man. A whirlwind of travel mayhems transported me to my mom’s garden this past weekend.

I was out in San Diego last week for work (consider me sunshine-swooned), and my layover flight home ended up terminated due to poor weather. My choices were: 1) Struggle to keep my eyes open till 4a.m. at the airport and achieve automatic world-class traveler status; or 2) Switch my flight destination from Philly to Baltimore and persuade my mom to come pick me up, just before the strike of midnight. Family for the win. I chose to forgo the world-class traveler award as soon as my mom gave me the go-ahead. That accolade can wait, especially in circumstances where a spring garden awaits. Oh, and let’s not forget that a ton more places are waiting for me to visit, too.

Spring greens

Naturally as soon as my jet lag wore off, I was outside inspecting the garden, and cooking up lunch with my findings. It happened to serve as a good thank you to my mom, and a pre-Mother’s Day gift. That deserves an accolade in itself, right? Just kidding.

Creamy Polenta with Spring Greens and Shiitakes

I dream of days where I have my own garden. Or even just a yard. But for now, my mom’s will likely have to do until I migrate away from Philly. Luckily, it holds its own with an uplifting plethora of baby greens and herbs, all of which gave inspiration to this meal.

At their youngest, kale and collards simply can’t be beat. And now is the time to find them.

Spring greens

It’s been said life hardens you, and apparently this goes for greens too. You see, babies are inherently soft-skinned and sweet in nature. Apply this to greens, and you get leaves that are far more tender than when they grow older, and generally less bitter, too. (And since this seems to apply to humans as well, I’m keeping a “big kid” status forever.)

The soft and sweet characteristics make early spring greens perfect for raw preparations and for quick 2-minute sautes in recipes like this. From kale to spinach to swiss chard, any green that might be sprouting up in your garden or making its way to your local farmer’s market will work here. If available, go for a mix. That may just mean throwing in a few red lettuce leaves, too, and turning your mushrooms a strange shade of magenta. Es la vida.

Creamy Polenta with Spring Greens and Shiitakes

Pile those greens and mushrooms on top of St. Andres cheese, already working to melt its way into creamy polenta, and you’ve got a spring meal that’s memorable, to say the least.

My best description for St. Andres is “a more heavenly version of butter”. However, if for some reason you can’t find it, opt for a soft cheese, one that’s ideally slightly stronger in flavor than brie. If baby greens aren’t at your disposal, feel free to use the big guys. Just add a few extra minutes to your saute time. Then tell those big babies to stop growing up so fast!

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Breakfast Millet with Peanut, Ginger & Turmeric Apple Compote

Breakfast Millet with Peanut, Ginger, & Turmeric Apple Compote

I’ve been on a turmeric kick lately, which is great because there are 101 health benefits associated with it. It’s a huge antioxidant-powered anti-inflammatory, meaning it can aid in everything from reducing arthritis pain to heart disease prevention.

It’s also frequently used in Chinese Medicine to treat depression, and it’s been shown to delay liver damage. With how brutal this winter’s been, it’s no wonder I’ve been consuming so much of the stuff. How else am I going to counteract all that alcohol I’ve been consuming as a result of my snow-induced depression? Kidding of course.

I will admit, however, a ginger-lemon-honey-turmeric tonic makes a great morning choice after a night out on the town. As does this breakfast.

Breakfast Millet with Peanut, Ginger, & Turmeric Apple Compote

In drink form or not, my turmeric intake often goes hand in hand with my ginger intake. The two make great partners in the kitchen, both in terms of health and flavor rationale. (Ginger’s another one of those anti-inflammatory, detoxifying godsends.)

Thus, it seemed only natural to take them to my apples for a Saturday morning breakfast. Sweetened with a little raw honey, which gets counter-balanced with a little lime, this brings a wonderful way to wake up. Plus, did I mention there’s peanut butter in this? Is there any better way to wake up than with that? For this PB-junkie, the answer is no.

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