Baked Egg in Avocado

Baked Egg in Avocado

Baked egg in an avocado
Remember Toad in a Hole ? When we were little, we used to use a cup to cut out a round circle in the middle of a slice of bread and fry it up with an egg in the cutout area.

This recipe is the new — and healthier! — version of eggs in a frame. Instead of all that butter and/or oil, you bake it. And instead of the toast — which you can have on the side anyway — the egg’s cooked inside of an avocado where the pit has been removed.

Heirloom Beans: Preserving History

If meat ever moves out of the center of the plate, heirloom beans are ready to fill the void. Economical, nutritious and often oh so pretty, heirloom beans today take center stage in vegetarian cuisine and are widely used as side dishes and garnishes on menus around the country.

Heirloom beans are nutritious, but not necessarily more nutritious than non-heirloom ones; Both are fiber- and protein-rich. The nutritional value depends on the type of bean. Even though heirloom beans cost two to three times more than everyday beans, they still are significantly less expensive than putting meat, poultry or fish on the table.

Cultivated around the globe for centuries, heirloom beans grow as nature created them, untouched by modern Imagetechnology or horticultural tampering. They come in thousands of varieties and are used dried and fresh in many of the world’s cuisines. They’re especially popular throughout the Mediterranean region, but are also used in Asian and other international cuisines and in regional American dishes.

It’s important to preserve these heirloom vegetables, once they are gone, they’re gone forever. 

Newcomers to the world of heirloom beans often look for perfectly formed straight beans. Heirloom beans are not always like that. They can be curled or misshapen and still be perfectly good. When customers learn their history and that they are special, they realize that the rest of our food and ingredients must be special, too.

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Cooking dried beans

  • For optimum results when cooking dried beans, follow these tips.  Whenever possible, soak beans covered overnight at room temperature or in the cooler.
  • „Do not soak in boiling water. A slow penetration of water protects the beans’ skin.
  • „ If you can’t soak beans overnight, add beans to boiling water, turn off heat and let stand 1 hour.
  • „ Always discard soaking liquid and cook beans in fresh water.
  • „ Avoid excess water, which can leach out color and cause colors to run together.
  • „ Cook until desired tenderness. Time will vary by type of bean.
  • „ Cook beans until slightly tender before adding salt, tomatoes, sugar or acids of any kind, which harden the seed coat and make it nonpermeable.

Cinnamon Streusel Muffins with Quinoa

 

For the quinoa:
3 c. water
1 1/2 c. quinoa

For the muffins:
2 c. dark brown sugar, tightly packed
1 c. grapeseed oil (You may substitute canola oil, vegetable oil, or any other light, flavorless oil.)
2 large eggs
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. milk, whole
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, ground

For the streusel topping:
2 c. dark brown sugar, tightly packed
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
2 c. all-purpose flour

To prepare the quinoa, bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once at a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until tender and translucent, approximately 10-15 minutes. Once cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool. ImageMeanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° and prepare the muffin batter by sifting the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Cream the oil and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs, beating until just incorporated. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk and beating just until a smooth, uniform batter forms. Fold in the cooled quinoa. (Please note:  the instructions listed above will yield approximately 5 cups of cooked quinoa – you only need 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa for these muffins. You can store the remaining 3 1/2 cups cooked quinoa in an airtight container for future use.)

Line 24 standard-sized muffin cavities with paper liners and fill each lined cavity approximately 3/4 full with the prepared batter. Drop the filled muffin tins firmly onto a hard surface to release any air bubbles in the batter. Set the batter-filled tins aside.

Prepare the streusel topping by combining the sugar, flour and softened butter in a large bowl. Using your fingers, mash and mix the ingredients into a rough crumble. Generously top the muffin batter in each cavity with several tablespoons of streusel. Bake the muffins for 23-26 minutes or until the streusel topping is slightly crisp and golden.

YIELD:  24 muffins

5 Tips For Baking With a Toddler

100_9399What’s that you say? Make an extreme mess with toddlers in the kitchen? The one who flings things everywhere and thinks it’s high class good times to blow chocolate milk out of their nose?

In a word: YES.

However much of a pain the butt it may be, creating things with your little ones is simply one of the best ways in which we can parent and spend time with our children. In my humble opinion. Toddlers love touching and discovering new textures. They really love to learn new skills – especially if it involves doing the everyday stuff that they watch you do.

They want to be all up in that business. Which, since I love to cook and bake…it’s not a far stretch to imagine that I’d suck up the mess and get into some baking with my little ones.

For however much I preach about the benefits of getting creative with young children, (whether be in baking, cooking or crafting), I cannot deny that there is a rather winning formula. A method to the madness if you will, that facilitates for less mess and stress; more fun and sensory play…

1. Say Good-bye To Perfectionism 
An egg (or two, or three), WILL get dropped on the floor. Get over that. Milk shall spill. Flour will get everywhere. Expect to mop the floor after. Nothing will be picture perfect, so forget those visions of fancy royal icing cookie creations dancing in your head.

2. Timing Is Everything
 Don’t start a recipe when your toddler is tired or hungry. This might go without saying, but it was worth reinstating. You also don’t want them bouncing off the walls either. Choose that magical time after a session at the park and a snack, for example – and wrap their cute little bodies up in an apron.

3. Prep Your Ingredients Beforehand
I never invite my little ones on the scene before prepping all that I can ahead of time. All tools of trade are out, as well as ingredients. Anything that I can do to make things flow better (like measuring), without actually doing the whole thing myself, I will.

4. Go With The Flow & Play It Safe
You don’t have to be so stringent as to have assigned tasks, but you can try and keep the potential for fight breakouts between siblings to minimum by putting one toddler on dry ingredients and another on the wet. This never lasts but it’s a good way to begin the process. Always keep the unsafe tools out of reach and practice/teach safety regarding the use of the oven and other culinary tools you might be using. Use non-breakable bowls and measuring cups. Let them taste test as they go and if you have really young toddlers in the mix, have play food and extra bowls on hand that they can just go nuts with. And by nuts, I mean nuts. You drew a bath beforehand to dump them in, right? Good.

5. Savour & Congratulate! 
Let them eat, eat and eat some more. High fives all over the place.

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Green Chili Polenta with Black Beans

ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Mexican stye cheese, finely grated

 

  • 1 7-ounce can whole green chilies, drained
  • 1 can cooked, black beans, drained
  • 1 cup drained canned corn
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack/Cheddar mix cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 8 x 8 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Mix first 5 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook until polenta is tender and thickens, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cheese and green chilis.

Pour half of polenta into prepared dish. Cover with  half of corn and black beans. Sprinkle with half of cilantro and 1 cup Jack cheese. Spread a thin layer of prepared or homemade salsa on top.  Spoon remaining polenta over. Cover with remaining chilies, corn, cilantro and cheese. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill.) Bake until polenta puffs and cheese begins to brown.Top with remaining salsa

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