Sunday, September 9, 2012

Baked Eggs with Pullet Eggs

A baked egg.
I received some beautiful little pullet eggs from our CSA (community supported agriculture) and I wanted to do something special with them. It isn't every day that you get pullet eggs. What are they? Well, they are small eggs that are laid by chickens that are less than one year old. They are so small and so cute.

The pullet egg is on the left and the large eggs is on the right.
It took me a couple of days to figure out what to do with them. I decided I wanted baked eggs. I thought baked eggs would appropriately showcase the petite eggs. The last time I made baked eggs I had a terrible time cleaning the ramekins; so, I decided to make a version of toad in the hole. I had some lovely bakery hamburger buns and used them as my edible ramekins. If I was using large eggs, I would need to use large hamburger buns or maybe dinner rolls. As it turns out the hamburger buns were just the right size. I am on a Herbes de Provence kick so that's what I used but I usually use a sprinkling of fresh chopped herbs. For a healthier version, use whole wheat buns, fat-free half and half, and egg whites.

Baked Toad in the Hole

Butter or Margarine
Hamburger Bun (One to two per person)
Eggs (One per bun)
Cream or Half and Half
Herbes de Provence or Fresh Herbs, Chopped
Salt and Pepper, To Taste

Preheat your oven to 350F/176C/Gas Mark 4. Grease a cookie sheet (you don't want the buns to stick to the cookie sheet and they will because some of the cream is likely to escape). Carefully remove the center of the bun without breaking though the bottom. Butter the inside of the bun and place on the cookie tray. Repeat until all of the buns are buttered and on the tray.

Hollowed out buttered buns

One at a time, break the eggs into a bowl and pour into the center of each bun.

Pouring the egg into the center of the bun- it just fits.
Top off with a bit of cream. Sprinkle with the herbs and salt and pepper.

Ready for the oven
Bake for 15-25 minutes (depending on whether you want a hard or runny yolk. For those who want a runny yolk, test to see if the white is set and take the eggs out of the oven. For those of you (like me) who can't stand runny eggs, jiggle the bun and if the yolks don't move you are set. For me, twenty-five minutes of baking resulted in perfectly cooked eggs.
The bottom line: will I make these agan?  Yes, I enjoyed these. I love the fact that I did not need to watch the eggs or worry over them. I was able to sit back, relax, and enjoy my morning coffee. Afterwards I had very few dishes to wash (well, for Katie to wash). Next time I may place some chopped tomato on the bottom or creamed spinach. The possibilities are endless.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Baked Cheesy Corn

Baked cheesy corn
I have very warm feelings towards cheesy corn. I first had it when I moved to Kansas City and visited the various barbecue restaurants. I began to rate the quality of cheesy corn and pulled pork I consumed at the various bbq dives. I also have very warm feelings towards dives. I began making my own pulled pork, spare ribs, and brisket and decided why not cheesy corn. Why? Because there is nothing healthy about cheesy corn and I will eat all of it. As I was perfecting the recipe, I ate it for dinner three nights in a row. I have now got the recipe just right and I need to take up running. But wow is it good and it is even better the next day.
I did lighten it by using light cream cheese and 1% milk. Low fat cheese would also work. I really like a hot pepper cheddar in this recipe (especially with the lower fat ingredients). I also use fresh corn (incredible) but if you don't have fresh, use frozen. I use diced ham in mine-- others use crumbled bacon and other people don't put any meat in at all. I can't imagine it with anything but ham. Yes, I do recommend you use Velveeta-it melts quickly and thickens the cheesy corn. You can change the flavor of the dish with the type of paprika you use. With regular cheedar cheese, I like a smoked paprika. If I use a spicy cheddar, I like a sweet paprika. If I use sharp cheddar, I like a spicy paprika. That is the nice this with this recipe, you can tailor it to you tatses.

Baked Cheesy Corn

5-6 Tbsp of Butter
4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1/2 Cup (60g) of Flour
3 Cups (720 ml) of Milk
4-6 oz (115g- 170g) of Diced Ham
4 oz (115g) of Velveeta
8 oz (225g) Block of Cheddar Cheese, Grated
4 oz (115g) Cream Cheese
1 Tsp of Paprika
Salt and Pepper
3 Cups (555 g) of Corn (About 5 ears)

Preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas Mark 5.  In a large sauce pan melt butter and garlic. Saute until fragrant (about one minute). Add flour and stir for about one minute. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil. Continue to whisk until it starts to thicken (a couple of minutes).

Stir in ham, cheeses, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined and smooth. Remove from heat and fold in corn. Pour into casserole dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

The bottom line will I make this again? Yes--It is tremendous served with pulled pork or spareribs. I have been known to eat it cold the next day all by itself (for breakfast or lunch).