Egg & Chorizo Sandwich

So, quick note here… Bess is out of town. This is her husband, James. I take the photos on the site, and I eat everything Bess puts up here. No, I know, I am incredibly lucky. Trust me. This is never more evident than when Bess is out of town. Usually it’s a couple days, and I can fend for myself with any frozen stuff she leaves behind for me… for instance, she made about 20 pounds of her bolognese for me to make pasta when I need to. She also left instructions on how to roast broccoli. Because I need vegetables. Listen, scurvy is nothing to laugh at, and in this case, with Bess being gone for maybe the next 10 – 15 days, you can’t be too safe.

I’m not a complete idiot when it comes to being on my own though. Let’s get that straight. It’s not like I’m your stereotypical dolt of a husband from your average sitcom. I can handle myself if I have to. Of course, that all stops with food. I am abhorrently incompetent in the kitchen, so much so that I’m fairly certain I suffer from a yet to be classified disability that prevents me from being able to prepare a simple meal. Modern medicine will one day discover that millions of people have this acute disorder, and we will be forgiven for all the times we burnt the toast, served pink chicken, carved up an overdone steak, or presented guests with runny eggs. But until then, we have to just hope we meet someone like my wife who can ensure our longevity past 35 through tasty, (mostly) healthy food like hers. I am pretty sure if it weren’t for Bess, I’d be pushing 300 pounds from a steady diet of Papa John’s and, on special occasions, chicken fried rice from the local Chinese delivery spot. I am not exaggerating.

So this morning, I’m pretty proud of myself. I know how to scramble eggs… I mean, who doesn’t? But we had some chorizo (spanish for “Thank you, Jesus”) left in the fridge and I figured I’d experiment with the old “scrambled eggs with melted cheese” recipe I’ve been kicking around since college. That’s right, college. I went there. Unbelievable, I know. Anyway.

This is my best attempt at trying to help the other dolts like me out there who couldn’t hold a spatula right unless someone showed them. Should you find yourself with the following ingredients and about 15 minutes to whip something quick up, this isn’t too hard, and it’s darn tasty.

Scrambled eggs and chorizo sandwich

  • 3 eggs if you’re especially hungry. Or, in my case, breathing.
  • 1.5 oz ground chorizo, or half a link from the package.
  • 1 piece of American cheese.
  • Splash of milk.
  • 2 pieces of bread. Any kind, what do I look like? Your bread guy?
  • Like, a smidgen of oil.
  • Healthy dose of humility in the event that you fail.

Crack eggs in a bowl with a splash of milk. Whisk the eggs and the milk to a froth. Tear up a piece of AMERICAN cheese, none of that foreign stuff. Drop the cheese in the egg mix. OK, now go over to your stove, assuming you have one, otherwise what are you doing here? Dummy.

Heat a pan. I don’t know what they’re called, but it’s like an inch deep. Add the smidgen of oil (that’s a thing right?). Heat to… just heat it up until you can throw a little water in the pan to test to see if the oil sizzles. That’s James Science for seeing if it’s ready for the chorizo. Add the chorizo, mash it up. This stuff cooks quick so don’t be an idiot like me and make a phone call when you put it in, otherwise you’re going to burn it and the fire alarm WILL go off. This is the most annoying part about cooking. You know what? It’s probably a best practice to just remove the smoke detector before you cook. Once browned, scoop the chorizo out and put it on a small plate with a paper towel to soak up the grease. Because. Come on… What are you, an animal? Get rid of the grease, trust me.

Drop the egg froth mix with the cheese in the pan. After a couple minutes, add the chorizo. Stir until it all co… oh crap. Put the toast in. Do that now. You should have done it back when you took the chorizo out, FYI. Don’t worry, I made the same mistake.

OK keep mixing those eggs and the chorizo. Smell that? Something’s burning, turn down the heat to like medium. Keep stirring until the eggs are cooked and then move the pan off the heat. Take a minute to clean up, trust me, you’re going to get a look from your sig-oth when they come home, and it’s going to be because you left the pan on the stove with some egg and chorizo still in there. All because you were distracted by a Youtube video you saw on Reddit and well, there went your Friday.

Alright the toast is done, go and get it out. Now add the egg and chorizo mix to the bottom half of the toast and put the second piece on top. I just told you how to make a sandwich, so if you’ve gotten this far, you know you really needed help with the whole cooking thing.

Here’s what it should look like.

In all seriousness, this is pretty tasty, and I survived the whole process. Speaking of survivors, if you were wondering where Bess is, she’s up in New York and New Jersey helping folks out who were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy last week. Every effort counts, there are still people without power… there are still people without a home. Please donate to whatever charity you prefer with a mission in those areas affected by Sandy, or for more information on how you can help support the recovery effort, visit http://www.serve.gov/sandy.

Caramelized Banana Bread

Bananas are the only fruit I genuinely hope we don’t finish during the week.  Throwing away shriveled grapes or moldy clementines makes me sad, but a pile of brown bananas puts a smile on my face.  Time to make banana bread.

The classic recipe from The Joy of Cooking is my go to, and it’s lovely, but this month’s Cooking Light (surprise) featured an entire spread on quick breads.  I am dying to try the sweet potato bread and the maple stout loaf later in the fall.  But this week called for banana bread, and this recipe did not disappoint.  The flavor of the caramelized bananas really adds depth.  The original recipe called for a glaze,which I skipped.  I did add coconut, and it was a nice little addition of both flavor and texture. 

Caramelized Banana Bread

adapted (slightly) from Cooking Light

  • 3 tbsp butter, softened and divided
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 medium ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fat-free buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp amber or gold rum
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Baking spray with flour  (I used Baking Pam)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, optional

Preheat oven to 350.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and bananas; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool 10 minutes.

While the banana mixture cools, combine buttermilk and next 3 ingredients (through eggs) in a small bowl (or in the measuring cup you measured the buttermilk in to save dishes).  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in another small bowl. 

When the banana mixture has cooled, place in a large mixing bowl, and beat on medium speed until smooth.  Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately to banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, just until combined. Fold in coconut, if using. Scrape batter into a 9 x 5-inch metal loaf pan coated with baking spray.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan, and cool on wire rack.

 

Beer Bread

Bread and I are not friends.  Well, ok, bread and I are BEST FRIENDS when it comes to eating, but we are more like frenemies when it comes to baking.  During Snowmageddon 2010, we were stuck in the house for several days, but luckily had power.  I decided to make bread and it was a total disaster.  I wasted so much flour, butter, yeast and herbs trying to follow what appeared to be a very simple recipe.  Anything involving yeast turns me into a hopeless kitchen clutz.

This aversion makes quickbreads more my jam (get it? jam? bread? food nerd pun?), but also limits my bread repetoire to loaves of banana and zucchini bread.  While those are always delicious, I was hoping to make a more savory quickbread loaf, which is where this recipe comes in.  Simple, basic, always in the kitchen ingredients and no waiting and waiting and waiting for dough to maybe-kinda-hopefully rise.  The bread is slightly sweet from the honey, nutty from the beer, and has a lovely, buttery crust. It’s fool proof, and fabulous. 

Beer Bread

adapted from EzraPoundCake.com and GimmeSomeOven.com

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey (can omit for a more savory loaf)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted (use a whole stick if you are daring)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9″ x 5″ x 3″ inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Using a wooden spoon, stir the beer and honey into the dry ingredients until just mixed. 

Pour half the melted butter into the loaf pan. Then spoon the batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter.  It will look buttery, which is obviously a good thing!

Place the loaf pan on a cooking sheet (in case any butter drips while baking) and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick/knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Sunday Brunch

What a Sunday spread!

What a Sunday spread!

This has been quite the exciting long weekend in the DC area.  Some of us lucky government employees have a 4 day weekend, but the trade off is the extra 2-3 million people in our city.  A group of my former co-workers decided a few weeks ago to get together for Sunday brunch without remembering a reservation would not be easy to come by. So, I decided to host the group at my house, which turned out to be a lot of fun!  Brunch slowly morphed into “Sunday Funday”, complete with all day mimosa drinking.  Since people were in and out of the house all day, I just left the food out and it was almost completely devoured by the end of the day.  Success!  No bad for me leftovers in the fridge.

The initial brunch run was a bit of a potluck, with bagels, homemade cinnamon rolls and potato casserole provided by others.  I personally made 2 fritattas and a citrus salad, along with the makings for mimosas and bloody marys.  The fritattas turned out really well, one vegetarian and one more man friendly, with pancetta.

furtado_veggie_1

The veggies fritatta included zucchini, red pepper and shitake mushrooms, sauteed with half a white onion, garlic, and olive oil.  I cracked 10 eggs with a bit of half and half, salt, pepper, fontina cheese and parsley.  The pancetta fritatta was sauteed pancetta with some thinly sliced potatoes, and shredded white cheddar, and the same egg mixture.  They both cooked on the stove for about 5 minutes and in the oven for 12.  So much easier than scrambled eggs or omelettes for a party!

citrus_salad

The citrus salad was easy, just grapefruit and blood orange, with a bit of sugar and mint.  I mixed some muddled citrus with champagne…and that made it even better!

A minty citrus champagne creation

A minty citrus champagne creation

Bloody Mary before digging in

Bloody Mary before digging in

My bartender did a great job...

My bartender did a great job...

We had a lot of fun with the drink experiments

We had a lot of fun with the drink experiments