Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bruschetta Omelet

There truly is nothing better than a Jersey tomato.  Whether you pick them fresh from your garden or buy them at the Farmers' Market, they're like a little piece of heaven.   My favorite way to eat them is all alone, with just a little sprinkle of salt.  But when they are so abundant during these summer months I like to use them when ever and where ever I can.

This bruschetta omelet is great for breakfast, brunch or a light dinner.  It's quick and easy to prepare, and when you bite into it, the flavor just screams summertime.

4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil, divided
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 Jersey tomato, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1 small clove garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 ounce goat cheese

Beat eggs, water, 1-1/2 tablespoons basil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper until frothy.

Combine tomato, onion, remaining basil, garlic, vinegar, oil and salt and pepper to taste, set aside.

Heat butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat until melted.  Pour egg mixture into skillet.  Cook for about 6 minutes, as the edges set, lift the edges gently and tilt the pan, allowing the uncooked egg to run under the cooked egg mixture. Repeat as needed, until egg mixture is almost set. 

When the omelet is almost set, spoon half of the tomato mixture down the center of the omelet, top evenly with goat cheese.  Fold the omelet over the tomato mixture, cover and continue to cook until eggs are set and cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Slide omelet onto plate and top with remaining tomato mixture.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thai Mussels in Red Curry Sauce

Mussels have turned into one of my go-to foods of late, because believe it or not, they are ridiculously easy to cook and incredibly versatile.  They're a bit like a chameleon, taking cues from the sauce that surrounds them.  One of my favorite ways to prepare mussels is in a simple, white wine broth, served with lots of crusty bread for soaking up the sauce.  I'll save that recipe for another time.

I think people who have never prepared mussels at home are a bit scared off by them, probably because of  the whole "debearding" thing.  Truth is, most of the mussels that you buy these days are farm raised and very clean.  Many of them don't have beards (the fuzzy, wiry thing that keeps them attached to rocks and such) at all, and the ones that do, the beards are usually quite small and come away with a gentle pull.  I do keep a small pair of pliers in my kitchen, which can make this task easier, especially if you encounter a stubborn beard.

This recipe is probably my second favorite way to make mussels.  With the availability of great ethnic ingredients, like curry pastes and fish sauce, in the supermarket it's a lot easier than you think.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 14 ounce can regular or light coconut milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 to 2 teaspoons fish sauce* (optional)
4 pounds mussels, scrubbed gently and beards removed
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped Thai basil or Italian basil

Heat oil in a large 6 or 8 quart pot and saute onion over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until tender.  Add red curry paste, stir and cook for about a minute.  Add coconut milk, vegetable broth and fish sauce and bring to a boil.  Add mussels, cover and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes minutes or just until mussels open, stirring gently once or twice to ensure even cooking.  Do NOT overcook.  As soon as the mussels open, they are done.  When they are just done, they are big and fat and succulent and absolutely delicious!   Stir in basil and serve with lime wedges if desired.

Tidbit:  If you have a pot with a see through lid, that is perfect for cooking mussels; this will help with cooking to perfection as the mussels opening is your visual clue to when they're done.

Red Curry Paste (as well as (green, yellow and massaman) are readily available in the ethnic section of your supermarket.  Curry paste typically comes in an envelope or jar.  Scoop out what you need and keep the rest in the refrigerator for later use.

*If you leave out the fish sauce, add about 1/2 teaspoon salt to the dish.

Good fish sauces are made from a mixture of fish and salt that has been allowed to ferment for 1 year to 18 months. Anchovies are typically used, although some fish sauces are also made from other types of fish or squid. The basic ingredients of a good fish sauce are: fish, water, and salt. Sugar may also be added, but isn't necessary.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cucumber, Lemon & Rosemary Water

Drinking at least 8 glasses of water seems like a pretty easy thing to do to take care of your body, but sometimes plain old water, well it gets a little boring.  There are plenty of alternatives out there, but buying flavored waters can drive up that already high grocery bill, not to  mention the artificial flavors that may be added.

Easy Solution: Make your own.  It couldn't be simpler.
Add some fruits, veggies and/or herbs to a pitcher.  Fill with water and put it in the fridge for a few hours.  Before you know it, you'll have a delicious, refreshing, no-cal thirst quencher.

I used lemon, rosemary and cucumber, but experiment and make your own.
Try one of these combo's:  Strawberries and Basil, Grapefruit and Sage, Mixed Berries and Mint, Lemon Thyme and Blackberries.  The combinations are endless.