Thursday, March 21, 2013

Breakfast Burritos

My love for breakfast burritos knows no bounds. Literally. I will eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and as the occasional midnight snack. They're the most satisfying, conveniently portable breakfasts out there and the ways that they are customizable to your tastes are pretty much infinite. Don't like red bell peppers? Add some chopped jalapenos instead. Shiitake mushrooms not your thing? Omit mushrooms altogether and throw in some sun-dried tomatoes! Or caramelized onions! Or a big old handful of chopped cilantro! Whatever your little heart desires. I tend to use this as a base recipe to clean my fridge out with. After a big Italian meal, I took my leftover prosciutto and Parmigiano Reggiano the next day and mixed it all up with some eggs and a scattering of baby lettuce leaves from a salad I had made the night before, and voila! Dinner and a clean fridge in one. xo

Breakfast Burritos
4 breakfast sausages
4 large organic eggs
Splash of half and half
Ground black pepper
Coarse sea salt
4 flour tortillas
1 red bell pepper, chopped
Handful of shiitake mushrooms, chopped
Cotija cheese

Begin by browning the breakfast sausage in a skillet over medium heat, breaking up the meat into pieces as you go. After a few minutes, add the red bell pepper and mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes until the sausage is browned and broken up into small pieces and the vegetables have started to go all soft and lovely. Turn down the heat to low.

Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the half-and-half, and salt and pepper. Beat together lightly. Pour the egg mixture over the sausage mixture. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, gently stir the mixture continuously over low heat until the eggs are set. This will take a good 10 minutes or so. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt or pepper as needed.

To assemble, warm the stack of tortillas on a paper towel in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Place a heaping spoonful of egg mixture onto the middle of a warm tortilla, and top with a crumbling of Cotija cheese. Tuck in the sides and roll the tortilla until closed. Wrap in foil sheets and keep warm until ready to serve.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Veal Stew with Rosemary and Lemon

There are few things more satisfying than waking up late on a Sunday, having absolutely nothing pressing to do, and dawdling around your kitchen, placing a big pot of something good and rich and comforting on the stove, and letting it bubble away for most of the afternoon while you lounge around in pajamas catching up on phone conversations and magazines. There are only a few more weeks of chilly weekend days to spend huddled up indoors this way, and I can't think of anything better to devote them to than stews like this one.

I found this recipe years ago in an issue of Food & Wine, and I've made it every single winter since. The big hunks of veal melt into amazingly tender pieces as the hours go by, and the sauce is just the right consistency. Not too thick, not too soupy--it falls into that perfect space right in between. The best part is that the leftovers get better and better as the flavors meld, which leaves you with especially delicious dinners for the week ahead. xo

Veal Stew with Rosemary and Lemon
From Food & Wine, April 2003
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 lbs boneless veal shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 cups dry white wine
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add half of the veal, season with salt and pepper, and cook over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer the veal to a plate. Repeat with another 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the remaining veal. Pour off the oil.

In the casserole, melt the butter in the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the celery, onion and carrot and cook over low heat until softened and golden, about 12 minutes. Add the wine and boil over moderately high heat until almost evaporated, about 12 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, rosemary, and veal, along with any accumulated juices. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring once or twice, until the veal is very tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir in the parsley and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Serve with rice, polenta, or pasta noodles.

Can be made a few days ahead!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Food for Thought

In yoga this week, my amazing teacher, Kyle Miller, was talking a lot about karma. We walk around so much of the time dissatisfied with one thing or another. You know the drill: "I wish I had a boyfriend," "I just want love in my life," "I don't know why my friends aren't nicer/more loyal/more compassionate." "My co-workers totally don't respect me," "My great-aunt's best friend's brother is driving me bats*%t crazy." And we struggle trying to figure out how to fix things, forgetting that the easiest way to change things is to change yourself.

If you want more love in your life, be more loving. If you want the people around you to be kinder and more compassionate, show them kindness and compassion. If you want more respect, respect others and respect yourself. A lot of the time, our natural instincts veer towards more of a "monkey see, monkey do" attitude. If someone is rude to you, you're going to want to be even ruder back to them. If a friend fails to show up for you, you suddenly lose all desire to be a good friend to them. But that's the wrong line to take. Kindness begets kindness, courage begets courage, love begets love. So be brave. Say "I love you" first. Help the mother with her stroller up the subway stairs. Forgive and (really) forget. Let it go. Everything starts with your thoughts and actions. As Gandhi so famously said "Be the change you want to see."

Friday, March 1, 2013

Zucchini Pizzettes

Last week, I crossed the bridge over to Williamsburg to have dinner with a client at a cozy, flatteringly lit Italian restaurant called PT. After a long day at work, there's nothing quite like tumbling into a warm, candlelit space and being handed glasses of delicious wine by astonishingly friendly proprietors to make everything seem good and glowy again. PT is exactly that place with the addition of some pretty extraordinary food. One of my favorite dishes of the night was also one of the simplest--grilled slices of zucchini with a thin layer of tomato sauce, some excellent cheese, and drizzles of olive oil melted on top. The little pizzettes were so good that we each had about four of them and I immediately tried to replicate them in my kitchen. They're perfect as a little appetizer and especially great if you're entertaining a crowd. xo

Zucchini Pizzettes
4-5 zucchini
Extra virgin olive oil
Tomato sauce (just use your favorite jarred kind)
Ball of fresh mozzarella
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Turn on your broiler and set it to high. Slice your zucchini into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Lay them on roasting pans. Drizzle all pieces with olive oil. Spread about 1 teaspoon of tomato sauce on each slice, creating a very thin layer. Tear your mozzarella into little shreds and lay a couple of pieces on top of each zucchini slice. Sprinkle all with salt and pepper and give everything another drizzle of olive oil. Place your roasting pans into the oven and broil for about 8 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, bubbling, and golden brown in spots.