November 10, 2014

Meatless Monday: Fingerling Potato & Swiss Chard Hash with Eggs

Do you want an egg on that? Yes. The answer is always, always yes. I will top anything and everything with an egg. Aside from the obvious, I have yet to find a food that isn't improved with a gloriously runny, perfectly cooked egg perched on top. Poached, fried, over easy, sunny side up, hard boiled, soft boiled, you name it - I'll eat it. I love eggs every which way and when I can eat them for dinner, I love them even more.

I've been observing Meatless Monday for almost a year now, give or take a few Mondays here or there, and guess what? It's easy. It's not hard to find delicious, filling, exciting recipes that omit meat so you can remove it from your diet for one day a week. More and more bloggers are on board with the movement meaning there's no excuse for not being able to find a vegetarian recipe online cause look you just did!

This hash combines lots of my favorite things which is why I'm so excited to share it with you: Swiss chard, leeks, cheese, and EGGS. Plus, it's healthy so there's that bonus. It also takes about half an hour to cook, some of which is just letting it sit and you don't have to do anything so this recipe ticks off several boxes: healthy, delicious, fast. Let's get to it.
Fingerling Potato & Swiss Chard Hash with Eggs
Recipe modified slightly from Cooking Light
Serves: 4, Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups potato mixture, 1 egg: PointsPlus: 7

Ingredients:
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced leeks
  • 12-oz. fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (to taste)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 cups thinly sliced Swiss chard
    • I like the ribs and ends of Swiss chard, if you don't - be sure to trim it
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-oz. shredded Gruyere cheese
Directions:
Heat a large, cast iron skillet over medium heat (don't have a cast iron skillet? SHAME ON YOU. Use any large skillet and then after cooking, go buy yourself a cast iron). Add oil to pan and cook leeks until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add potatoes and garlic, cooking 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Once potatoes are tender, deglaze the pan with apple cider vinegar. Season with 1 teaspoon paprika, salt, and pepper.

Add Swiss chard and cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Using a spoon, make 4 egg-sized spaces in the hash. Crack an egg into each spot then season again with 1 teaspoon paprika, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Sprinkle Gruyere cheese over the mixture and cover and cook until the egg yolks are lightly set, about 3-4 minutes, depending (just check on it).

Divide the mixture among 4 bowls and enjoy! I added hot sauce to the final product and it was deeeelicious, I recommend doing the same if you are a hot sauce person.

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Crafty: Make a Leaf Wreath

Fall leaf wreath DIY
Crafting a leaf wreath
Heads up - first 'crafting' post comin' atcha! The apartment doors where I live are big, plain, and brown with a plastic number nailed into the door frame above. Every season, I like to make a sign with our names (AIMÉE, DAN) and sometimes our apartment number (8) to jazz up our doorway just a little bit. This DIY is better later than never, because I hadn't updated our door decoration since March (the shamrocks were really starting to look out of place).

Rather than make a Halloween or Thanksgiving-specific decoration, I decided to go with a simple leaf wreath. Since I don't have a ton of crafting storage spaces or all the fancy supplies that other bloggers out there do, I took to the classics and hand-drew leaves onto construction paper, cut them out, and glued them to a circle I made out of cardboard. How about THAT for innovation?
Supplies needed:
  • Construction paper
  • Glue, markers, tape, scissors
  • Enough cardboard to make a circle
  • Cardstock
  • Clothespins (though not required!)
Start by drawing different types of leaves on construction paper, whatever colors you'd like. I went with yellow, orange, green, brown, and purple for mine. I free-hand drew the leaves, though I know there are tons of templates out there online - just do a quick Google search and find your favorite.
Craft a leaf wreath
Craft a leaf wreath
Cut the leaves out carefully and group them by color (this helped me with placement on the wreath). 
Craft a leaf wreath
Craft a leaf wreath
Make a circle from cardboard and begin gluing the leaves down around it.
Craft a leaf wreath
Once you're done gluing the leaves, fill in any open spots with a marker or crayon. At this point, your wreath is good to go! But if you'd like to personalize it, add the letters of names of your household like I did! I traced an A and D on cardstock, colored gold polka dots all over them, and the attached them to the wreath with small gold glittered clothespins.
Craft a leaf wreath
When you're satisfied with your wreath, punch a hole in the top so you can hang it up and get decorating! (The lighting isn't great in our hallway, so forgive the blurriness)
Leaf wreath DIY
Leaf wreath DIY
How are you decorating for the fall? I can't wait to make the next wreath for winter! I'm thinking snowflakes? Or maybe cotton balls.
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November 5, 2014

BAGELS!

Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
Let me start off my saying that I'm from New Jersey and we know how to make a good bagel. Bagels are boiled, then baked, and they come from individual bagel shops - not chains. I would rather just not eat a bagel than eat one from Bruegger's Bagels or Dunkin' or whatever. Bagels are an art - they can't be mass produced! 

The problem with living in Massachusetts is that you just can't find a good bagel up here (or pizza crust! But more on that in another long, exhaustive, ranting post). Maybe it's the water, maybe it's the technique, but it's definitely the fact that they have weird bottom crusts and aren't fluffy and chewy and MA doesn't really have individual places that do BAGELS and that's it. Yes, a new place called Bagelsaurus just opened and I saw a few pictures and they looked pretty legit and have an adorable logo and store name but ONE store does not a bagel state make. Sure, not eating bagels everyday has been good for my waistline but sometimes you just NEED that carby goodness so I tried making them myself. Although these aren't the best, they will do until my next trip home to the tri-state area. 

NYC-Style Bagels
Recipes combined from The Sophisticated Gourmet and A Beautiful Mess.
Makes 8 bagels
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
    • This is to activate the yeast. If it's too hot, it will kill the yeast but too cold and it won't activate it. The water should be about 110 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, use your inner arm to test the temperature. It should be tolerable, like a nice hot bath
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg 
    • For an egg wash to get seeds to stick
  • Toppings: poppy seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, dried onion flakes, garlic powder, kosher salt, cinnamon, raisins, whatever you like
Directions:
Combine the yeast and sugar in bowl, stirring to dissolve. Add the hot water and stir to just combine. Set aside in a warm area so it can activate. If it hasn't bloomed after 10 minutes, it won't so start over! I bought alot of yeast packets in case this happened (and it did). Bloomed yeast should look like this:
Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
While the yeast is activating, mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Once the yeast is done bubbling up, add it to the flour mixture. Stir until the dough becomes "shaggy" like below:
Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
On a floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes elastic-like and soft. Kneading by hand is hard and it will take awhile but the effort is worth it! The better you knead, the less tough your bagels will be. I didn't knead my for long enough, honestly. 
Form the dough into a ball and put it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover it and let it proof (rise) for an hour in a warm place. After an hour, punch it down and let it rest for another 10 minutes. 
Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
On a floured countertop, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces as best as you can. Work the dough into a bagel shape and poke your finger through the center to make a hole. Here, I worked cinnamon into 3 of the dough balls before shaping them. After you form the bagels, let them sit for a few minutes. 
Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
Preheat the oven to 425. While the bagels are sitting, boil some water in a medium sized saucepan. Carefully drop bagels one at a time into the boiling water, cooking them for about a minute on each side. Fish them out with tongs or a spider/ladle.
Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
Place the boiled bagels onto a baking sheet lined with a bit of cooking spray. Use an egg wash, brush a layer onto each bagel then sprinkle on seeds, etc.
Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
Bake the bagels at 425 for about 20 minutes. 
Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
Cut open, shmear, and enjoy!
Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
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