Tag Archives: basil

Bell Pepper and Egg Breakfast

Since my recent obsession with Pinterest, I’ve been drooling over lots of easy foodie recipes and filing them away in my Tasty Notes pinboard. It’s where all my productivity has gone recently. What thesis paper? Nom nom nom.

 I chose to try this recipe in particular…ok, I admit, purely for the aesthetics of how the egg, cooked in sliced bell pepper rings, emulate images of, what else, flowers. Ahh, how cute is this! I thought. It was all downhill from there.

 And in all honesty, I have this ongoing love affair with eggs, and breakfast and brinner and I figured this was something I could work into my eggy cravings somewhere.  Mhmm, that’s it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

two eggs

1 bell pepper (or two if you like different colors)

shredded cheese

fresh basil

green onion

salt and pepper

Step 1. Wash and cut the bell pepper into ½ inch thick rings. Remove the white membranes from the inside. The first time I made this, I cut the rings a bit over half an inch because I wanted the ring to be thick enough to hold in the egg.  This will definitely vary depending on the size of egg you use and how big the rings are. Just have fun with it!

 Make sure to slice the rings as evenly as you can, with a non-serrated knife. If the rings aren’t straight, egg will leak out from underneath when you crack the egg into the ring.

 Step 2. Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. At the same time, turn on the broiler on the high heat setting. If you can use a pan with a metal handle, do so. You’ll see why in a minute.

Step 3. When the oil is heated, add the bell pepper rings and allow to cook 2-3 minutes. Do not flip. Next, crack one egg into each bell pepper ring and season with salt and pepper. Allow 2-3 minutes to let the bottom of the eggs cook.

In the picture, the eggs are left sunny side up and more or less, raw, but I decided to cook the tops of the eggs by sticking the pan under the broiler for about 3 minutes to get the tops of the eggs cooked.

Don’t forget to use oven mitts to take out the pan! In my eager anticipation, I almost forgot to do this – not a good idea.

Step 4. Transfer the pepper-egg on top of toast or wheat sandwich thin. Sprinkle a little cheese and green onion on top and serve!

Or in my case, sprinkle a lot of cheese, chopped basil, and green onion. oh. my. sweet. breakfast. yes.

Add the cheese. Go ahead, add a lot. I won’t judge.. Melt it a little, so that it strings out when you bite into it. Use whatever cheese you have. Add chopped bacon. Smile, because that was a genius idea. Then make this again for lunch. (Guilty!)

I love the chopped basil and the cheese together. The basil gave it a bit of freshness that wasn’t too overpowering for the egg. Ah the egg. My life wouldn’t be the same without it.

Cheese, basil, bacon or just salt and pepper – try different toppings with whatever you have on hand. Have fun with it, it’s all about your foodie experience and how you make it unique each time. If you love it, make it and make it again and improve it. Share it. It’s the best thing about cooking.

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Basil Lemon Pesto

This past Friday marked the end of finals week and the beginning of a long, luxurious winter break. The feeling of relief was so deliciously surreal that I spent most of the morning rolling around in bed refusing to get up. My room looked nothing short of a hurricane disaster; clothes flung all over the place, papers strewn everywhere but my desk, my poor, over-worked french press soaking in the sink – all remnants of a hectic quarter gone by.

 As I stood, yawning, I couldn’t help but realize how fast time has flown by since I started grad school. In less than twenty-five days, we’ll be ringing in the new year and, in three months, I’ll be wrapping things up here, heading to who knows where, and doing who knows what. Maybe I’ll be in school, maybe I’ll be looking for jobs, maybe I’ll drop everything and travel the world. But, I’ll save those thoughts for another day.

Now faced with an abundance of free time, I welcomed the opportunity to try an idea that’s been on my mind since I discovered a package of Brazil nuts in my kitchen: to make pesto using Brazil nuts instead of pine nuts. That and I was craving pesto…on a mozzarella tomato panini, on grilled chicken, linguine, three cheese tortellini.. just a small craving..no big deal.

The truth is, I’m not crazy about Brazil nuts. I bought them because I’ve never had them before and the name made them sound all too exotic. Alas they were a bit too dry and bland for my taste, so I wanted to reinvent these suckers into something more delectable. The results? Surprisingly amazing! I personally couldn’t tell the difference using Brazil nuts. The consistency and texture of the pesto itself is comparable to that of a pine nut pesto. It’s one beguiling imposter. And I’m ok with that.

Here’s what you’ll need:

¼ cup raw Brazil nuts

1 large garlic clove

1 ½ cups basil leaves

½ cup olive oil

zest of 1 lemon

5 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tsp. salt

Step 1. Rough chop the Brazil nuts and add to the food processor.

Step 2. Mince the garlic and add with the Brazil nuts. Pulse the mixture once or twice.

Step 3. Wash the basil leaves, shake off the water, rough chop, and add to the food processor and pulse twice, using a spatula to bring ingredients from the upper sides. Scrape the ingredients from the upper sides closer to the mixture. Do the happy dance because pesto makes the world go ’round.

Step 4. Add the salt, lemon zest and lemon juice. Next, slowly drizzle in the olive oil while running the food processor until all the oil is evenly infused. Use the spatula to help bring ingredients together. Normally, pesto doesn’t call for this much lemon but I prefer a bit more citrus to lighten up the olive oil.

Step 5. Remove the pesto from the food processor and mix in the Parmesan cheese until evenly combined. Taste, and add more salt and lemon juice if desired. You deserve it. Mmm chlorophyll. Did I just say that?

Step 6. Pair the pesto. Today, I had chicken in the fridge so I cubed one chicken breast and pan fried them until golden-brown and cooked through. While they cooked, I seasoned with salt and pepper.

Step 7.  To the chicken, I added 1 cup of cooked linguine pasta and mixed in 2-3 tablespoons of pesto sauce. A little bit goes a long way here, folks. You won’t need a heaping amount for your pasta, so add the pesto a little at a time to avoid over-saucing. And, if you’re like me, add an extra squeeze of lemon on top. Voila!

How can you say no to a face like this? Slurrp.

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Weekend Chicken Carbonara

This weekend, I visited my sister in Maryland for a bit of countryside, a breath of fresh air, and because I just missed her so. We spent the day strolling around the quaint little town of St. Michaels, an enchanting little place tucked away by the Chesapeake Bay.

Along the water, we found bed and breakfasts covered in overgrown ivy, snuggled up next to some of the most beautiful Victorian homes I’ve ever seen. The folks seemed all tan and glowing, so carefree, without a care in the world where their next step took them. It was clear people came here to relax and unwind. How could I resist such an invitation?

My sister and I grew up learning how to cook together. As children, we were our dad’s best sous chefs, mincing garlic, chopping tomatoes, whipping eggs into a nice froth, and so forth. Through the years we’ve honed what I like to call a nice cooking harmony in the sense that we just know how each other works in the kitchen and what to do next that it hardly needs verbalization. Needless to say, it gives me absolute joy each and every time we get to cook together. This weekend, we did just that, starting with one of her personal favorites, Chicken Carbonara.

When I arrived at her house, she had already started grating the Parmesan. “We’re using Giada’s recipe by the way”, she says, “..with a bit of my twist to it”. Of course you are! For once, someone telling me what to do in the kitchen. It was a nice change, but don’t get ideas.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 chicken breasts

1/2 lb. ziti pasta

1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley

1/4 cup fresh basil

4 egg yolks

4 strips of bacon

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

2 tsp. minced garlic

olive oil

salt and pepper

1 tbsp. finely grated lemon peel

Adapted from Giada di Laurentiis’ Chicken Carbonara recipe, Food Network

Step 1: Grate the Parmesan Cheese

Step 2: In a separate bowl, add the whipping cream, then add the Parmesan Cheese. Don’t mix just yet.

Step 3: Wash and chop the parsley

Step 4: Wash and chop the basil

My sister’s kitchen has a wealth of colorful bowls and plates and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to photograph them every chance I could. Ah I can’t wait until I get a kitchen of my own, with room for tons of dishes and color, and copper pots.. but I digress. Here’s the chopped parsley.

And the chopped basil. I love this wooden bowl.

Step 5: Add the chopped parsley, chopped basil, and 4 egg yolks to the cream and grated cheese. The fourth one took a dive beneath the surface and the third yolk is barely hanging on! I would too if I was swimming in a pool of yummyness. Mix this thoroughly until everything is evenly combined. Then place the bowl in the fridge while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.

Step 6: After you’ve rolled up your bacon to look like flowers, unroll them, stack them on top of each other and slice them into bite size pieces. You can trim off the fat from the bacon and use double the number of bacon strips if you’d like. Set these aside.

Step 7: Begin cooking the ziti pasta. Follow instructions on the box and add salt and a bit of olive oil to the water. When the pasta is done, drain but keep the pasta warm. Their heat will help cook the cream and egg yolks later on.  I love using ziti for this because in some magical way, the carbonara sauce finds its way inside the ziti. I can’t even describe what biting into that is like. Life-changing, I think.

Step 8: In the meantime, while you’re waiting for the water to boil, heat a non-stick frying pan with olive oil on medium heat. Once hot, fry the chicken breasts until they are cooked. Set them aside to cool a bit before you start shredding them by hand. Or you can use two forks and shred them this way while they’re still hot.

Step 9: After the chicken is done, heat a deep pot with olive oil on medium heat. When hot, add the garlic, followed by the bacon. Continue until the bacon is crispy and golden brown. Then take a piece out to taste its done-ness. Then proceed with two or three more pieces. Don’t feel bad about it.

Step 10: Add the shredded chicken to the bacon. Mix, mix, mix. Then turn the heat down to medium-low. At this point, the pasta should be almost done cooking if not already drained and kept warm. Delicious things await.

Step 11: Take out the carbonara sauce mixture from the fridge and gently pour it on top of the chicken and bacon. On top of this, add the warm pasta. Mix and taste. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Mix some more. Taste some more. Sneak a bite while she’s not looking. Then sneak more bites. Then pass the point of not caring if she catches you. Because it’s just that. good. Oof. Turn off the heat, transfer into a separate bowl and serve.

I know this will continue to be a favorite of ours for a long time to come and I hope you enjoy it too!



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