Brown Rice Bowls with Roasted Carrots, Crispy Kale, and Fried Eggs

I blinked, and just like that, it’s December and the holidays are in full swing. My family packs a ton of holidays into these five weeks. Thanksgiving gives way to Hanukkah, which leads into Christmas, which yields to New Year’s Eve. Each of those holidays seems to revolve around delicious but rich food, be it gravy, latkes, or endless amounts of cookies. (I myself have baked four dozen cookies just in the last two days.)

As much as I love all this holiday food, it’s nice to sneak in some healthier options for everyday meals. These brown rice bowls have quickly become a favorite in my household. Even though they feature simple brown rice (duh) and roasted vegetables, they are totally crave-worthy. The nutty, chewy rice contrasts with a zingy vinaigrette, and soft roasted carrots are complemented by shatteringly crisp kale.  Adding a fried egg on top takes it to the next level, as the runny yolk becomes a lovely, rich sauce all on its own. Are you hungry yet?

The only tricky part of this recipe might be tracking down the za’atar, which is a tangy Middle Eastern spice mixture of sesame seeds, sumac, salt, and dried herbs. You can find it at Penzeys or other spice stores. I promise it’s worth it, but if you really can’t find za’atar (or really can’t stand the idea of one more shopping trip) the carrots should be fine with just a sprinkle of dried thyme instead. Enjoy!

Brown Rice Bowls with Roasted Carrots, Crispy Kale, and Fried Eggs

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Brown Rice Bowls with Roasted Carrots, Crispy Kale, and Fried Eggs

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice, rinsed
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 carrots, peeled and sliced into pieces about three inches long by 1/2-inch thick
  • about 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp. za’atar
  • 8 ounces kale, stemmed and sliced into 1-inch thick strips
  • 2 Tbs. red or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 small shallot, minced
  • 4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 375° F with the racks in the upper- and middle-thirds of the oven. Combine boiling water, brown rice, and 3/4 tsp. salt in an 8-inch square baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake on the lower rack until rice is tender, about 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven, fluff with a fork, and let stand for five minutes, covered with a dish towel.

Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. On the baking sheet, toss carrots, 1 Tbs. olive oil, za’atar, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Spread carrots out evenly on the sheet and cover tightly with another piece of foil. Bake on the upper oven rack for 20 minutes.

While carrots are roasting, toss kale with 1 Tbs. oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper in a bowl. When the carrots have finished roasting for 20 minutes, remove the foil and spread the kale evenly on top of the carrots. Return the baking sheet to the oven, uncovered, and roast the vegetables for 15-20 minutes, or until the kale is crispy.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together vinegar, shallot, and 3 Tbs. oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Evenly divide the rice into four bowls. Top the rice with roasted vegetables and drizzle each portion with a tablespoon or so of the vinaigrette. Cover the bowls to keep them warm while you fry the eggs.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Carefully slide the eggs into the skillet, cover, and cook until your desired doneness is reached, about 2-4 minutes. Top each rice bowl with a fried egg, and serve.

Serves 4.

Source: Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen “The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook.”

Advertisements

Flatbread with Egg, Parmesan, and Arugula

I’m in the middle of kind of a weird food week. Gabe and I are back from a weekend of camping, but we only have a few days at home before jetting off to California for his brother’s wedding. So aside from one glorious meal of homemade pesto featuring the first crop of my miraculously growing basil plant (wahoo!), we’ve been eating sandwiches and takeout.

Meal planning can feel like just one more chore sometimes, but I know I’m so much calmer, healthier, and less impoverished-feeling when I know exactly what we’ll be eating everyday and don’t have to depend on a nearby restaurant. Last week was a pretty successful week in that regard, and I kicked it off with this fun and unusual flatbread. I mixed the dough up before heading off to work, so it rose in the fridge all day and was ready for toppings come dinner time. It’s amazing what a little advance planning can do.

Flatbread with egg, parmesan, and arugula

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Flatbread with Egg, Parmesan, and Arugula

Dough

  • 1 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water (110° F)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour

Toppings

  • olive oil
  • cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup freshly shredded parmesan
  • 1/2 cup roasted or grilled red pepper slices
  • 8 large eggs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups baby arugula

Make the dough: In large bowl, stir together yeast and warm water. Let sit for 5 minutes, or until foamy. Stir in olive oil, salt, and flour until dough comes together. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 6-8 minutes or until smooth. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, place in a warm location, and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes. Punch down dough, cover, and refrigerate at least 6-8 hours or overnight.

Remove dough from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about an hour. Preheat oven to 450° F. Prepare two cookie sheets by lightly greasing with olive oil and sprinkling with cornmeal. Divide dough in half and roll each section into an oval about 7×13 inches. Place each oval of dough on a cookie sheet.

Lightly brush dough with olive oil. Top with shredded parmesan and red peppers. Bake flatbreads for 8 minutes. Remove from oven. One at a time, crack an egg into a small bowl, and then slide the egg out of the bowl onto the flatbread, until each flatbread has four evenly spaced eggs. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Return flatbreads to oven and bake until eggs reach desired doneness, about 5-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 Tbs. olive oil with vinegar in a large bowl. Toss arugula with dressing until well-coated, and then top the baked flatbreads with the arugula. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

Source: Slightly adapted from Williams-Sonoma Eat Well.

Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

Alrighty, friends, here’s the final answer for my first composite recipe challenge!

The grand prize (of all bragging rights) goes to Erin for correctly guessing that I was making potato salad. She actually made her guess within minutes of the homemade mayo post. Either she’s a super genius, or I need to get more creative. Or both. :)

So yes, I’m channeling warm weather with a old picnic standby, which was much-needed this week as the snow continued to fall. Nothing lifts my spirits more than sunny egg yolks and bright, tangy dill. Now please excuse me while I go search for spring.

Potato Salad

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

 Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

  • 3 lbs. red potatoes
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill or 1 Tbs. dried dill
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced red or white onion
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
  • salt and pepper

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add 1 Tbs. salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until slightly tender when pierced with a knife. Drain potatoes and place the colander over the empty pot off the heat. Cover with a clean dish towel and let the potatoes steam for another 20 minutes, until they are tender but still hold their shape.

Whisk together mayo, milk, mustard, dill, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size pieces. Toss with celery, onion, and egg. Pour the dressing over the potato mixture and gently stir until well-combined. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for several hours to let the flavors mingle. Serve cold.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten.

Nutrition facts (per serving): 215 calories, 21.5 g fat, 1.7 g carbs, 0.3 g fiber, 2.3 g protein.

Baked Hard-Cooked Eggs

Composite recipe part two! Earlier this week I made mayonnaise from scratch. The final recipe guesses included tuna salad, potato salad, egg salad, and deviled eggs. This recipe may or may not rule out some of those guesses. Discuss.

I learned this technique a few months ago and think it’s pretty cool. Baking eggs in the oven may take a bit longer, but it’s also easier to do a huge batch, requires no supervision, and results in a nice, creamy yolk. Plunging the eggs in ice water after baking also makes the shell slip off with ease. (Resulting in fewer choice words in this household.)

You may get some little brown spots where the egg releases moisture while baking, but those disappear in the ice bath. Sometimes a spot will form where the egg touched the metal pan, but you can remove it with a knife or just shrug and ignore it. Perhaps using a silicone muffin tin would alleviate this problem, but that’s something for another day. In my opinion, the ease of this method, the resulting texture, and the fool-proof avoidance of gray-green yolks all outweigh a little brown spot or two.

So now we have homemade mayo and hard-cooked eggs. Thoughts on the final recipe?

Baked Hard-Cooked Eggs | Lingonberry Jam Baked Hard-Cooked Eggs | Lingonberry Jam

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Baked Hard-Cooked Eggs

  • large eggs, raw
  • ice water

Preheat oven to 325° F. Place eggs in a muffin tin and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully transfer to a bowl of ice water. Leave in ice water for 15 minutes, or until cool. Peel immediately and/or refrigerate for later use.

Source: The Burlap Bag.

Homemade Mayonnaise

Just for fun, I’m starting a new little feature called “composite recipes” on the blog. What’s a composite recipe? It’s what happens when you make a dish using recipe components that are also homemade. Like if I made s’mores using homemade graham crackers and homemade marshmallows. Or tortellini using homemade ricotta and homemade pasta dough. Since I really love the challenge of making as much as possible from scratch, this seems like a perfect recurring feature.

All this homemade stuff tickles me pink, but what about you? Well… what if I started posting the recipe components one at a time and then invited you to guess what the final product would be? Your guesses would surely keep me entertained, especially if I start with something as universal as, say, homemade mayonnaise. So many possibilities.

So here we go. Part one of this recipe is homemade mayo. Easy peasy. (And no, the final recipe is not a salami sandwich.) What do you think it could be?

Homemade Mayonnaise | Lingonberry Jam

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Homemade Mayonnaise

  • 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In medium bowl, whisk together yolk and mustard. Slowly begin to add the oil, just drops at first, until the mixture thickens. Add the rest of the oil in a light but steady stream, whisking constantly.* Whisk in vinegar, then salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate in a tightly covered container for up to 1 week. Makes about 1 cup.

Source: “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman.

Nutrition facts (per Tbs.): 125 calories, 13.8 g fat, 0.2 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 0.2 g protein.

*You can also do this in a blender or food processor. I found that a stand mixer doesn’t work as well, though, since the whisk attachment has a hard time getting to the bottom of the bowl for the initial mixing.

Spinach, Pea, and Pesto Quiche

I love a good pair of jeans and I’ll always stop to try on a cute sundress, but when it comes to shopping, kitchen stores are my kryptonite. Walls lined with cooking accessories, shelves full of glassware, sigh… I’ll just stop and have a look.

A couple weeks ago I bought a 9-inch tart pan. I already (somewhat ridiculously) owned six mini tart pans but not a standard-size dish. When I got home, I really wanted to play with my new toy. So I whipped up a simple dinner with ingredients already on hand: spinach, pea, and pesto quiche. My new pan performed marvelously, but you won’t see it here. The beauty of a tart pan is found not in the fluted steel or drop-out bottom; it’s what the pan leaves behind. In this case, a savory, rich, feel-good meal.

Spinach, Pea, and Pesto Quiche | Lingonberry Jam

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Spinach, Pea, and Pesto Quiche

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups flour, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 10 Tbs. (5 oz.) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into chunks
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2-3 Tbs. ice water

Filling

  • 4 oz. neufchatel or cream cheese
  • 2 Tbs. basil pesto
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 Tbs. minced dried onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk

Make pie crust: Preheat oven to 425° F. Stir together salt and flour. Using a food processor or pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until coarse (pieces of butter should be about the size of small peas). Mix in egg yolk, and then slowly add water until dough holds together. If it gets too wet, add more flour. Chill dough in freezer for 10 minutes.

Roll out crust on a lightly floured surface and transfer to a 9-inch tart pan. Trim off excess dough with a knife. Poke the dough lightly with a fork to reduce bubbling. Chill again in freezer for 30 minutes. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the dough just starts to turn brown. Remove from oven and let cool on rack.

Make filling: Reduce oven temperature to 325° F. Whip cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stir in pesto.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and add spinach. Stir constantly for about 2-3 minutes until spinach is wilted. Stir in peas and onions and cook for another minute. Add spinach mixture to cream cheese. Stir in cheddar and parmesan and add salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in eggs and milk until smooth. Pour quiche mixture into cooled crust. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until set. (Center should just barely wiggle.) Cool for 10 minutes and serve.

Source: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen. Crust from Mark Bittman.

Nutrition facts (per 1/8 of quiche): 375 calories, 28.3 g fat, 20.0 g carbs, 1.6 g fiber, 10.6 g protein.

Pannekoeken

Every once in a while (okay, more often than that…) my little sisters will teach me something I don’t already know. Like the biological concept of organ reserve. Or how to make Guinness palatable.

Sometimes they even teach me new recipes.

Pannekoeken is a traditional Dutch pancake, light and puffy and delicious. It essentially looks and tastes like a ginormous popover. Some people top it with apples or bacon. Some (like my baby sister) enjoy it with maple syrup. I’m a plain sort of girl. The salty butter, rich eggs, and sweet ‘n’ spicy cinnamon are enough for me.

My sisters traditionally make this meal in a glass pie plate, but my friend Rachel’s family uses a cast iron skillet. I decided to try it their way, and it turned out beautifully. I guess sometimes I can teach my sisters something new as well!

Continue reading