Archives for the month of: October, 2012

toad en la holes

spiced & sweet fruitage

Weekends….a time for relaxation, catching up on some household chores, running errands, sleeping, watching endless amounts of tv, or in my case, actually having enough time to prepare myself a decent breakfast!! Something not completely frozen out of a box, something not in a liquid protein shake form, something that’s not ‘on the go or easy enough to scarf down in my car!’ Yes, I could have occupied my time with a million other things on my to-do list, sleeping being at the very top, but I happened to have some fresh and unexpired ingredients I thought I’d put to good use.

I’ve seen pictures of this thing called “toad in the hole” plenty of times but never really understood what the concept behind it was let alone how to go about cooking it. After some quick research, I found this breakfast item is a popular staple in London consisting of sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter served up with some veggies and gravy, or basically an inside out version of what we call ‘pigs in a blanket.’ Well that’s one form of this breakfast bite which I was not familiar with. The pictures that caught my eye included one egg literally cooked inside a piece of bread where a round shaped hole was made. And that’s the version I decided to replicate.

I had to really prep myself before I actually started to make this just because I knew things would move along quickly once my pan was hot. Oh and I’m a huge fan of over hard yolks, even when ordering eggs benedict, I ask them to cook the eggs a bit longer. I just hate when the mucousy membrane of the yolk smears all over my plate and I’m unable to sop it all up on toast or potatoes. So I put a bit of butter in the pan, cut holes in the bread with a glass cup, buttered the toast as if making a grilled cheese sandwich and placed the toast in the pan. Cracking an egg into it, I let the melted butter and pan work its magic. I got a little concerned when I noticed the eggs sticking to the pan so I added another spoonful of butter just to make sure I wasn’t about to eat any sort of burnt toast.

All the while this was cooking, I had some frozen hash browns browning and crisping up in another pan. My morning meal just got a little easier to make. To one piece of toast, I added some bacon bits and cheddar cheese on top. I just didn’t know how this was all going to pan out, but in retrospect, I shouldn’t have shied away from loading up both eggs. I kept turning the toast ensuring the eggs became the exact consistency I wanted, hard and cooked thoroughly.

I needed to add a lil bit of healthy to this easy. I have recently discovered my new FAVORITE yogurt brand Fage, pronounced fa-yeh, which is an all natural Greek strained yogurt. I love this stuff!!! Its thick and creamy consistency is a cross between sour cream and regular yogurt, but I have always been a big fan of strained yogurt. Now I don’t have to go specifically to the Persian markets to find it which is even more awesome! More recently, I have been experimenting with adding different ingredients to this yogurt and one great combo, especially for a power/healthy breakfast, are some sliced peaches, yogurt and cinnamon.  Of course you can alter your yogurt to your desired preference but I’m telling ya, this combo can’t be beat. If I wanted to splurge a bit more, I would have added some sugar to this too but the sweetness of the peaches from the can were just enough to keep me from going overboard.

Toad in the Hole: B-, one of my eggs did crack, that was the egg I loaded with bacon bits and cheese for picture purposes only lol, wish I had some bigger pieces of bread
Healthy Helping: A-, could have used some granola or even another type of fruit mixed into the yogurt
Overall Breakfast: B, even though I used bacon bits, could have used some slices of bacon or even a couple sausage links, the hash browns were ok but will attempt them from scratch next time, frozen food just doesn’t taste the same once you’ve taken the time to know how things should really taste, bummer to my pocketbook, yummers to my mouth

Quick and easy meal prep is what everyone is talking about nowadays, but when you have the time, quick and easy just makes it all the more better to be able to make your meal faster leaving you more time to do other things you equally love, like for example shopping, getting your nails done or my favorite, sleeping!

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looks good & tastes even better….usually

Very simply this is about the only authentic Persian cuisine I know how to make in my own kitchen, to date. The kabob, which is known as Kabob Digi or Pan-Made Kabobs, are actually quite easy to make and cook. This part of the meal I have actually known how to make for some time now. It was a great entree to make with some rice when I used to attend Cal Poly Pomona and I missed home cooked meals. I never made the tomatoes or cucumber salad back then though.

The kabob can be made with any type of ground meat, I prefer ground beef and this time chose to purchase the fattiest beef available to test it out. Not one of the best ideas I had, I might add. Nonetheless, I am trying anything to make my kabob as tender as possible, so I thought the fat would help.

To make the kabob: combine 1 or 2 lbs of ground meat, 1 large shredded onion including juice, somagh (powdered sumac), yogurt and salt & pepper. Thoroughly combine all ingredients, I mean like dig in with your hands and get dirty kind of combine. You just want to make sure all components are incorporated well together. While you are prepping your onion, heat your pan then add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.

Once the pan is nice and hot, carefully place the ground meat into the pan, flattening it to about an inch or so in thickness. It should look like a giant hamburger at this point. I like to sprinkle a lot more somagh on top of the meat at this time too. Cover the pan and let it cook on medium heat for about 15-20 mins or so. If you find your pan is too hot and it almost looks like your meat is about to burn, add some water to it.

After it looks like the meat has cooked through a bit, take a flat spatula and make lengthwise cuts of the meat from one end to the other, depending on your desired width, I like to make them about an inch or so. Let the meat cook for another 5-10 mins and very carefully, maybe even using a 2nd spatula, turn each kabob over to cook some more. This can be the trickiest part of the process, but with some practice, you’ll get the hang of it or if your still in the experimenting phase like me, using the fatty meat, plus the added tenderness of the yogurt and onions proved to be a bit of a messy situation and a lot more pieces of kabob than I had originally sectioned off. Trail and error, point taken and remembered for the next batch.

Cook for another 10 mins and wala you have officially prepared some homemade, delicious kabobs. For the cucumber and yogurt salad, I like to use a combination of Greek strained and regular yogurt, Persian cucumbers, walnuts, Sadaf seasonings including yogurt dip mix and dried mint leaves, plus of course some s & p. By all means mix it up a bit by adding more or less. Sometimes along with the walnuts, raisins are added to this salad but I don’t only for the fact that the raisins become too mushy too quickly. Combine, serve and enjoy!

Oh I almost forgot about the tender tomatoes! Ok so while your kabob is cooking and before you start your prep on the yogurt salad, take 1-3 medium sized tomatoes and roughly chop into large chunks. Begin heating a small sauce pan with some oil and water, s & p and a good amount of the somagh. Take 1 onion and chop the same as the tomatoes. Place both veggies into the pan and let simmer on low to medium heat alongside while the kabob is cooking. This is great to add atop the kabobs, have on the side or even on some rice, if you just so happen to make some.

Kabob: C+
Mast-o-Khair (Persian Cucumber & Yogurt Salad): A
Tomatoe: B+

Overall, I have made better kabobs but at least this was edible enough for one day. After I flipped them over, there was plenty of juice, almost too much juice from the meat and oil so I turned up the heat a bit. I walked away for about 5 minutes then started to hear a crackling sound, my kabobs were burning 😦 I quickly turned them over again but the damage was already done, I was way too hungry to even care at this point and luckily I had made the tomatoes and used them as a moisturizer to my meal. Whatever works right! Will be tacking this dish again soon but changing my approach yet again.

 

kitchen culture

over-night marinated, oven roasted & steamed

Making big things happen. Am on a path of change: lifestyle, health, fitness, mind, body, etc…

October is the beginning of brand news. I want to eat better, feel better, look better. Time management is a huge part in the success to health and with a lil bit of trial and error, I will master my plan and get the job done, feeding my belly that is.

However, not just going to stuff my face with anything anymore. Trying to manage my junk food cravings and most importantly remember all good things remain good in moderation.

Made great use of some frozen chicken, last night, and went out and bought some fresh greens and reds to go along with my meal. I marinated the chicken in Italian dressing, soy sauce, whole grain mustard, balsamic vinegar, honey, lime juice, garlic & salt n peppa….I guess everything but the kitchen sink but it sure tasted damn good if you ask me!

I roasted some roughly chopped red potatoes with olive oil, thyme, rosemary and garlic…oh yeah I LOVE garlic!!! Other than the fact that I should have better greased my pan, my potatoes came out crunchy & crispy on the outside yet flaky & moist inside.

Adding to the variety, I blanched some asparagus & broccoli in water with a hint of lime juice and salt.

Chicken: A
Potatoes: A-
Veggies: B+

Overall I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this homemade meal after a long hard day of work. Prepping for the future can never come too early. And I’m one gal who like variety & options, this option is getting a big thumbs up but as for the prep time, I give it a big thumbs down. I know it takes time to be healthy but I’m looking on the bright side and FINALLY starting to write and publish this food blog!!

Chew on this or chew on that
Try it once
Anything to make you come back!