Tag Archives: breakfast

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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Eggs Benedict Brunch

Brunch: quite possibly one of the best inventions ever. It makes my Sundays worthwhile despite Monday quietly looming around the corner. The sun shines brighter, my to-do list disappears, and nothing can go wrong. Sundays that begin with brunch are destined to be amazing. It’s the little things.

One of my absolute brunch favorites includes the ever-decadent Eggs Benedict. I refuse to gain insight on its caloric contest lest it change my feelings towards this staple item. But it probably won’t. And since I indulge in it only upon occasion, I figured that’s enough to justify my blissful ignorance.

Eggs Benedict also happens to be one of my sister’s favorites so when I visited her over the summer, we decided to take it upon ourselves to make brunch instead of following our initial intentions of dining out. The decision couldn’t have been better. It would be near criminal to keep this recipe to myself.

The assembly requires some orchestrating but you’ll find your own rhythm after making it a few times.

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the Hollandaise Sauce:

2 egg yolks

1 1/4 sticks of butter to make 1/2 cup clarified butter

1 1/2 teaspoons cold water

1 tbsp lemon juice

cayenne pepper and salt

Everything else:

2 eggs

2 biscuits or English muffins; made beforehand or bought, kept warm in the oven

4 strips of Canadian-style bacon or whatever bacon you prefer; cooked beforehand

parsley for garnish

a few drops of vinegar

*Hollandaise Sauce recipe adapted from Culinary Arts

Step 1. Make the clarified butter. In a small pot, melt the butter over low heat. Have a spoon and an extra bowl handy. When the butter starts to melt, skim off the white foam from the surface with a spoon and continue until all white foam is removed.

What’s with the white stuff? The foam is comprised of milk solids and water, which separates, leaving behind the golden yellow butterfat.

Step 2. After all the white foam is skimmed from the surface, turn off the heat and slowly transfer the clarified butter into a separate bowl. Set aside.

Why do we clarify butter? Mmhm, it’s a burning question. Clarified butter can withstand up to 100 degrees more than its non-clarified counterpart. And since butter is an integral part of the sauce, it only makes sense to err on the side of caution. Burnt butter is not quite as appetizing as one may think it to be. Not that I’ve tried it or anything…

Step 3. Get your cooking apparatus ready: Fill a saucepan with 1-2 inches of water and get it simmering on the stove. We will use the steam, rather than direct contact with the water to heat the sauce. What kind of science experiment is this!?

Step 4. In the meantime, add the egg yolks and cold water in a separate bowl. You can use any heat-safe bowl except aluminum.

I used cold water from melted ice cubes. Or you can stick a small dish of water in the freezer for a few minutes, while you clarify the butter.

Step 5. Whisk the egg yolks and water until you achieve a light and foamy mixture; about a minute or two.

Step 6. Whisk in the lemon juice, too.

Step 7. Once the water in the saucepan is simmering, place the heat-safe bowl on top. Whisk the egg yolks gently until they slightly thicken. Make sure to keep the heat on a low gentle simmer to prevent getting scrambled eggs.

This low and slow method helps the butter and eggs bind well with each other. It’s a relationship meant to last.

Step 8. When the egg yolks are slightly thickened, remove the bowl from the heat. Slowly, begin adding the butter a teaspoon at a time while whisking. As you continue whisking, the sauce will start to thicken and at this point, you can add larger quantities of butter a time (think steady stream v. drop by drop).

Take it easy on the whisking; rapid fire will separate the emulsion.

Season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. And I really mean, taste, taste, taste! The finished texture should be smooth yet firm. Add a few drops of warm water and whisk if the sauce is a bit thick. Done! Set aside.

Step 9. Poach the eggs. In a saucepan, heat about 4 inches of water and heat until it is nearly boiling. Add just a tiny amount of vinegar. This will help to solidify the egg.

While waiting for the water to reach almost boiling, crack an egg in a bowl and get a slotted spoon ready. Remove the warm biscuits from the oven, and slice them in half. We used Bisquick to make ours and used the directions on the box to make these biscuits, aka yolk soakers.

Step 10. When the water is near boiling, gently pour the egg into the pan and slowly push the eggs whites closer to the yolk as it continues to cook. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes then take the egg out with a slotted spoon. Place directly on top of the halved biscuit.

Step 11. Spoon a bit of Hollandaise Sauce (or in my case, a lot) over the poached egg and garnish with a bit of parsley. Voila!

Or, if you’re like my sister, do it up with Canadian-style bacon and a bit of cayenne pepper on top to finish it off. Either way, you’ve achieved something delicious, satisfying and most definitely worth all the hard work. Enjoy!


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Brunch at Bourbon Blue

Two of my dear friends came up to visit Philadelphia this past weekend for a mini getaway. They recently got engaged (congrats!) and I hadn’t seen them since their engagement so it was a perfect opportunity to catch up and celebrate the beginnings of their new life together.

The weather predicted rain, but we were determined to make the most of the day. We tackled a ton of things on the to-do list which left us not only feeling super accomplished, but also quite exhausted. The next day, the onslaught of rain came and we decided to take this day a bit slower, to meander through parts of the city we hadn’t seen, to eat a decadent breakfast, get food coma, and die from the deliciousness of it. That was the plan.

I had heard of Bourbon Blue from a classmate of mine who recommended it while we were having lunch. She introduced me to this wonderful little strip of local eateries and shops in Manayunk, which reminds me so dearly of my beloved Carytown in Richmond, Virginia. It was a joyous find. And I made a mental note.

So a few weeks later, here we were, all three of us ready to start our laze-fest. The brunch pretty much did us in. I ordered the crabcake eggs benedict which really combines my top three faves when it comes to breakfast: eggs, eggs, and oh, eggs. Benedict-style is my most favorite fancy shmancy indulgence when it comes to eggs. The yolk itself is sinfully creamy enough  on its own but that Hollandaise sauce just takes you all the way.

I chose the crab cake instead of the (ham?) I think it was? It doesn’t matter. The crab cake was exactly that. Lumps of real crab meat and none of that super bready filling that you can’t even tell if there was crab in there in the first place. The caramelized onions and roasted potatoes mopped up all that extra sauce/yolk/heavenly mixture left on the plate. I did just say mop up the sauce because that’s exactly what you’ll be doing too. Um yeah, I tore it up.

A., ever the sweet tooth that she is, chose the French Toast, which, really, made you roll your eyes to the back of your head upon first bite. I usually gravitate to the more savory side of flavors- even when it comes to breakfast but this right here, I could totally do without a second thought. Pillow-y, syrupy-warm, bread. I can’t think of any other words to describe it. The fresh fruit balanced out the richness of the toast and the baked apples? Forget about it. She tore it up too. In a lady-like manner, of course.

B. chose the Ham Skillet, a heaping layer upon layer of breakfast staples. They combine roasted potatoes, chopped ham, and sharp cheddar cheese in that steaming hot skillet and serve it with, as you see, 3 eggs on top. Where do you even begin? Yum. I had to sneak in a bite of my own before it was all gone. I guess it was just.that.good. And I agree. The melted cheese just melds everything together in this crazy gooey bite and before you know it, you’ve reached the bottom and don’t know how you got there.

If you’re in the Manayunk area, I’d check this place out for brunch. I hear the lines get crazy out the door on Sundays but we went early on a Saturday and it was so much more low key. Other than a few couples sitting next to us and a huge baby shower, we had the place to ourselves. Our server was really nice and attentive and they have a gorgeous deck which opens up in the summer.

It was a struggle, getting up from our seats, but a struggle well worth it. The rain had let up a bit so we headed down to Kelly Drive by the Schuylkill River to walk it off and take in the last bits of the city before their trip back home. Not so bad for a rainy day, after all.


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Savory Breakfast Tostada

Tostada – [tɒˈstɑːdə] – A flat tortilla with various fillings piled on it.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I love savory breakfasts. I will almost always choose a grilled cheese egg sandwich over a bowl of cheerios. I attribute my penchant for savory eats to the breakfasts of my childhood. Growing up, dad cooked mini “gourmet” breakfasts for my sister and I on Saturday mornings. Oh they were simply scrumptious. Once such dish included sauteed matchstick carrots, garlic fried rice, a sunny side up egg and tapa, thin slices of marinated sirloin steak – Filipino style.

Since then, I’ve always been on the lookout for creative savory breakfast dishes that are both simple and fun. Coincidentally, many of the recipes I have conjured up are a mix of ingredients that are ready and available in my pantry. Why?

You know how sometimes you have left-over ingredients from last night’s dinner recipe? And you’re not quite sure how to use ’em without making the same thing twice? But you also don’t want to let it go to waste? That’s when ideas start flying and it is how this tostada recipe came about, one Saturday morning.

For this recipe you will need the following:

vegetable oil
1 corn tortilla
1/3 cup black beans (or kidney/white/pinto)
3 tbsp shredded cheese
a few leaves of cilantro
4 pieces of shrimp
1 egg

Let’s get to work

Step 1. Cook the shrimp

Fill a pot of water enough to cover the shrimp and place on medium heat. When it gets to the point where it is just above a simmer (not boiling!), slide in the shrimp and mix it around for about 3 minutes then pull them out and set aside on a plate. In my case, take a picture and set it aside. Heh.

Step 2. In a non-stick frying pan, pour about 1 tbsp of oil in the pan on medium heat and swirl it around the pan. When hot, break an egg on one side and place the tortilla on the other side. You can definitely cook the two separately but my pan is big enough to fit both, so why not?

Step 3. Distribute the beans on top of the tortilla. Don’t forget to drain the juices! Bean juice = soggy tortilla = not so texturally appealing. We want crunch here!! Mm I love sunshine eggs. Especially when it gets crispy & brown on the edges.

Step 4. Season the beans with a little salt and pepper. As far as I know, canned beans don’t come seasoned and are for the most part, boring, without it. Salt your egg, too.

Step 5. Add the cheese on top of the beans. Ok, so I know this totally does not look like 3 tablespoons of cheese. I got a little heavy handed ok? I won’t judge you if you do the same.

At this point, I flipped the egg over but you can choose to leave it as is if you like your eggs over easy. For this recipe, I prefer the yolk a little solid.

Step 6. Nip off a few cilantro leaves, give them a quick rinse and place on top of the tortilla.

Cilantro is  one of those things you either hate or love. I know someone who likens eating this herb to eating shampoo. Personally, I could eat a heaping bunch of it – yes, insane, I know. Spring rolls, tacos, tostadas – these were totally created for the sake of cilantro in my mind. If these greens don’t appeal to your palate, fresh baby spinach will do or you can get rid of the veggies all together.

Step 7. Chop the cooked shrimp in thirds and scatter randomly. Or, if you’re like me, add them strategically so that every bite gets a piece of goodness. Then lick your lips when you notice the cheese has started to melt nicely.

Step 8. When the egg is done, place on top of the shrimp. Step back and adore your mini tostada creation.

Step 9. Garnish with a little bit of cheese, shrimp and cilantro. Enjoy!

From start to finish, one tostada takes about 15 minutes to accomplish – 10 if you’ve done it more than once and you’ve got everything pre-prepped. The thing I like about this recipe is its versatility. Shrimp can be substituted with leftover steak or chicken from the night before and you can use whatever cheese you have on hand. Once, I substituted beans for 3-pepper and garlic roasted hummus and I used avocado instead of cilantro. The possibilities are endless! I like having options when I cook.

Get creative, you might just surprise yourself ! There’s a sense of accomplishment in taking what you have at hand, using it in a completely different way and in the end surprising yourself with something delicious. Here’s to exploring new ideas and to savory breakfasts!

Until next time, happy cooking!


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