armadillas


When the going gets tough

There are times in the early evening when you both arrive home, hungry and tired, and realize that there is very little in the pantry to eat. This is because you’ve neglected to go to the market. But there are other reasons your pantry seems so bare. The first is the mere simple fact that you don’t feel like cooking. After being on your feet all day (or sitting in an office), the last thing you want to do is stand some more in the kitchen. Any prospect of cooking turns into life or death battle where raiding the food in your cupboards will lead to a certain and untimely end. You’re brain is just too fried to plan a decent meal. The second reason falls to the fact that you accidentally somehow forgot to eat lunch. Now you’re so hungry not only can you not think properly, but nothing can be cooked fast enough to sooth your roaring tummy. Pasta takes too long. Casseroles take too long. There’s no way you’re even going to consider thawing out the pork hidden in the back of the freezer. You need food now!  Also, take-out is not an option because you’re trying to cut back on spending and eating out all in one go. What to do, what to do?!

You make waffles. Unlike pancakes, you can accomplish this task with relative finesse. You make waffles like champion! Or you have your assistant, who is equally as hungry and exasperated as you, make waffles like a champion. The best part is you can easily have them prepare the whole meal without them realizing they’re doing all the work. That is the joy of having an assistant. You can even call them your little sous chef. You’d be surprised how far a title can get someone and their willingness to crack an egg. Seriously, you love your sous chef.

And no, we are not making waffles from a box. We do things from scratch in this household. But today we did decide to try someone else’s recipe as opposed to following our own. Remember how not so long ago I said I was steadily going through the Pioneer Woman’s recipes? Well, the same goes for Joy the Baker. Today’s waffles were borrowed from her. Boy, did they sound good. I mean, who would dare say no to brown sugar bacon waffles? Not I, that’s for sure. I was sold as soon as I saw the word bacon. So, one can imagine the ghastly horror I felt at discovering I had used the last of my bacon up earlier that morning. Guess that’s what happens when you unexpectedly decide to have breakfast for dinner. Oh, bother.  The only thing to do was omit the bacon and lament. Then EAT!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk (milk with 2 tbs lemon juice)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Joy’s recipe also calls for 2/3 cup oil, but somehow in our dash to get food into our bellies…we managed to leave it out. The waffles turned out fine if you decide to follow our mistakes. Also, when omitting the bacon she recommends using cinnamon and nutmeg. I don’t much care for nutmeg, so I bumped up the amount of cinnamon. No worries!

In a large bowl, mix together all your dry ingredients

Find yourself an assistant/sous chef. Have them use their lovely muscles to whip together the wet ingredients. If you are making your own buttermilk, let the milk and lemon juice stand aside in a bowl for 5 minutes. This allows for the chemistry to take place. Grraaawwwwl

(What a lovely hand and forearm)

Now mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. When you’re all done, it’s okay if there are lumps in your batter. You just want to mix it, now kill it with the power of your wrist. Over mixing= no no

 You see that? That is my trusty waffle iron. His name is Olav, and if he didn’t exist I’d be cursed with making pancakes all the time. We’re going to plug him in and wait for him to heat up

Olav, as dear as he is, can be a little picky. Sometimes you try to cook some waffles and he just botches them all up in his mouth. So we’re going to feed him some PAM first. If Olav was a penguin and if our batter was a penguin, PAM would be the engagement pebble to unite the two together in holy lifelong monogamy. Random penguin fact for ya!

 Now that all parties are happy, take over for your wonderful sous chef and pour the batter onto your greased waffle iron. Close him up and wait as patiently as possible. Dinner will be served momentarily

In the meantime, giggle wholeheartedly as your boyfriend sous chef attempts to crack eggs one-handed into a skillet. He witnessed your amazing skills earlier and is determined to master you

Hehe

Haha

Hahahaha

Ahahahahahahaha

Laughter aside, feel free to frown when your assistant decides to take charge and declares he shall be serving cheeseless scrambled eggs. Say what?! Fervently ask what planet he hails from and when he refuses to hear your arguments against a plain scramble, begin plotting against him. Discretely chop up some of your leftover baby asparagus. You’re in enemy territory now…

Subtly, set asparagus aside and continue cooking waffles. When the waffles are done, plate ’em up and butter as generously as you please. Oh, look! One is missing a bite

Time for operation scrambled eggs! When your sous chef, who is trying to work their way up to head chef, exits the kitchen, quickly drizzle some olive oil in a pan and add asparagus. Don’t forget a spoonful of garlic. Salt and pepper everything

Sauteing the asparagus will take no more time than 2 minutes. Maybe even one. Throw in your plain eggs and cook until warm

Pour your yummy scrambled eggs into a bowl and top with a little bit of parm and mozzarella. Waltz on into the other room with your eggs and waffles and try not to look too snooty. Not everyone has as refined tastes as yourself

Hello dinnnaaaaaaaar! Leftover waffles make a lovely snack for later. Just toast and butter. Or you could put some fruit jam on them. Yummm

Tijuana

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Sleeping in after a long night

Ah, there’s nothing like sleeping in on a Saturday morning. The sun is shining, the weather is breezy, and you aren’t obligated to leave the comfort of your chambers for nothing. Except, perhaps, your grumbling tummy. After all, you haven’t eaten in a good 17 hours. But it’s too late to make breakfast (in some opinions) and you’re not quite awake enough for something heavy. There, my friends, is the beauty of brunch. Not breakfast, not lunch, but a magical combination of both.   In college, brunch was probably my favorite meal…and I was always sad when I had to go into work and miss out on the yogurt bar which was only served on Sundays. It was a conspiracy, I tell ya!

Aside from a brunch bar with tangy yogurt, fresh fruit, and crunchy granola, I can’t think of anything more perfect to feast on for brunch than a yummy quiche. With a glass of milk. And a ripe peach on the side that smells impeccably of summer. Yes, we are about to die and go to heaven. Might as well write your wills out right now.

I must admit I had my doubts about quiche. You see, I’ve never tasted a quiche before. Souffles, yes. Quiche, no. So I was quite surprised when I padded to the kitchen, opened the refrigerator, noticed the bacon and asparagus, and then pulled out the eggs, milk, and cheese. I knew exactly what to do with all these ingredients. It’s like I was possessed! With such a delightful outcome, I’d happily become possessed again. I’d volunteer!

Perhaps you’ve never had quiche before either. Maybe you’re not much of an egg person and would rather move on to the cereal cabinet or see if there’s any deli meat left in the fridge. I promise you will not want to miss this. The quiche is divine, not eggy like one would expect, and if I had known how good it would turn out, I would’ve been making it for years.

Ingredient:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/2 package bacon
  • 1/2 tbs garlic
  • 1 handful baby asparagus
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (but I bet fontina would be a star in this dish)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Let’s start with the bacon! We’re only going to use half a package. We’ll save the rest for some BLTs. Go ahead and take your half package of bacon and cut it into bite size chunks. Place it in a skillet over medium heat and fry it up! Hello, love!

Set bacon aside. Next, drain the majority of the bacon grease from your skillet. Seriously, we aren’t cooking with it today, though a hint of flavor won’t hurt

Return skillet to heat and melt a pat of butter. Throw in your asparagus! On a whim, add the garlic. And a sprinkling of lemon juice. It’s habit! I can’t help it…

Oh yeah, and make sure you cut off the ends of your asparagus stalks. Oh, and preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Phew, that was close!

Now that your bacon and asparagus is all nice and cooked, whisk together milk and eggs in a medium bowl. Shake in your salt and pepper

Stir in bacon and asparagus. It would probably help if you chopped up the asparagus (this should probably be done in step 2). Stir in cheese as well

Your batter is ready. Spray a pie pan with nonstick spray (like PAM) and slowly pour in your quiche batter. I emphasize the slow part. No sloshing, please!

Pop her in that hot oven for 35 minutes. Our goal is for the center to be set…and for the top to be a Mediterranean golden brown! Ta-da!

Oh, baby! It was so good I had to have seconds. I probably could have eaten the whole thing by myself. No joke. Talk about scrumptious! You may want to pat your asparagus dry before mixing it into the batter. It makes the bottom of the quiche a little soupy, otherwise. Enjoy!

Tijuana


Memorial Breakfast

I love breakfast for dinner. I love breakfast for lunch. Heck, I love breakfast for breakfast. Unfortunately, I’m one of those people prone to skipping early morning meals (I’m much too fond of that extra 15 minutes of sleep tsk tsk) so it’s a rare treat when I actually wake up, head to the kitchen, and crack open some eggs. Sometimes I even get inspired to whip up a pancake batter. But I have a secret. I am the worst pancake cook ever. I almost always ALWAYS burn them up. I think I get so excited about having pancakes that I keep turning up the heat (a no-no!) until it’s too late. Then I forget to learn my lesson and never turn the heat back down to its rightful position to cook perfect pancakes. This, folks, is why I invested in a waffle iron. It does the dirty work for me and I can focus on the bacon. Mmm. But today I wanted to give pancakes another go.

Since it’s Memorial weekend (and Sunday to boot), I figured today would be just the day to have a little breakfast in bed. Sort of. I don’t have any of those cute trays that you see on Mother’s Day commercials, but I believe in good old innovation. That’s what side tables are for. Am I right or am I right?

In my very good opinion, there’s no such thing as a good breakfast without bacon (or at least sausage if bacon can’t be found). I don’t know when my love for bacon emerged. I remember my first taste of crab legs. I remember my first taste of asparagus. I remember the first time I realized that coleslaw was an undiscovered delicacy! But I do not remember when bacon and I became lovers. I suppose it just always was and will always be. The reason I love bacon so much (you know, besides the fact that it tastes oh so good) is because you can pretty much add bacon to anything and improve it. Let’s make a list!

  • Bacon just on it’s own
  • Bacon crusted mac n cheese
  • Bacon flavored cupcakes (don’t knock it…)
  • Bacon wrapped asparagus
  • Bacon bits for salad
  • Nut and bacon brittle
  • Bacon dipped in chocolate

The list goes on and on and on and then on some more. Bacon also happens to shine quite divinely alongside some eggs. You see those eggs right there? Those are sunny side up eggs. I’ve never eaten them before which means I surely have never cooked them before. But there’s a first time for everything. I’ve never been much of a yolk person truth be told. My childhood was filled with fried egg white sandwiches thanks to my mom. That’s how she liked her eggs so that’s how I liked my eggs (I was quite the picky eater as a child- shocker, I know!). But now I’m more experimental and since today I wanted a semi-luxurious breakfast, sunny side up seemed like a good start.

Since I was frying up some bacon anyway… I went for it and cooked the eggs up in some of the leftover grease as opposed to butter. I guess this week is my glutton week, huh? We can start exercising again on Tuesday. And eating more fruits and veggies (there’s a zucchini in the fridge with my name on it). No worries! I decided to eat mine on toast with some cheese

As you can see, someone else decided to plop theirs onto a pancake. To each their own, to each their own

You know, the eggs really weren’t that bad. Not as runny and gooey as I imagined. Of course, my eyes were closed for each bite. Baby steps, okay? I didn’t burn the pancakes either! The syrup someone sent my way probably had something to do with the melt in your mouth taste, though. It was good, thanks! Overall, I’m pleased to say it was a very satisfying breakfast, and the milk was ice cold the way I like it.

Sunny side up eggs:

This was a lot easier than I expected. Warm up a non-stick skillet. I kept mine on medium-low since I tend to burn things. Also, the key here is slow cooking. Trust me on this one. I used a little bacon grease in my pan, but butter or a few tablespoons of canola/olive oil would do just fine. Once the grease is warm (not super super hot mind you) crack your egg into the skillet. I’ve heard that it takes practice not to break the yolk, but you’ll be fine. Mine didn’t break. I have confidence that yours won’t either. And that’s all she wrote! Let the egg and grease get to know one another, allowing the egg white  to firm up a bit. Once the whites start turning white, gently spoon the hot grease over the eggs and cook until they reach a consistency you’re comfortable eating. I cooked mine a little longer than necessary, but I have yolkphobia. I said baby steps!

As for the pancakes, I’ll share a recipe once I manage to perfect one. Did I mention pancakes aren’t exactly my forte?

Tijuana