Garbanzo Carbonara


I love Carbonara, but have a real problem making it my dinner. I find it extremely heavy an unbalanced. It’s all fat and starch, with low protein content (bacon, although delicious, doesn’t count as nutritious in my book). Even trying it with whole wheat pasta doesn’t justify the ratio of bacon cheese and egg. But I love the stuff.

One day it occurred to me I could substitute garbanzos in for the pasta. While still a bit starchy, in my mind and belly they feel more acceptable.  Served with broccoli, I can handle it every other month or so.

Garbanzo Carbonara
Ingredients:
3 cups cooked garbanzos (I like mine with a bit of a crunch)
3 strips bacon
3 eggs
1/2 cup shredded pecorino
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Its essentially the same as carbonara: Slice the bacon to desired size. i prefer to have nice chunks of it…if I’m gonna eat it I wanna feel it. I do inch-long strips. Cook it in your skillet until its done how you like it (I like mine crunchy). Remove and set aside.

2. Heat a bit of oilve oil in the same pan on high eat. Add your garbanzos and sautee until beginning to brown up nicely. Remove from heat and let cool just a minute, no longer.

3. Break eggs into the pan over hot beans, and stir constantly not allowing the egg to curdle. The heat should cook the egg enough, but the constant movement will give it a nice a creamy texture. Once the mixture thickens up beautifully, add in the bacon and cheese And stir to combine well. The cheese should melt just a little bit, adding another element of texture and flavor. Season with salt and pepper.

A Sunny Sunday Breakfast on a Cloudy Day: Fried eggs over a bed of onions

Overcast and a bit chilly on the last day of January. Unusual but welcome conditions. A lazy Sunday morning after the gym. Exhausted, the grogginess returns to us as strong as if we never left the bed. Hungry. The normal cereal just won’t do today. “Wanna make some eggs? I’m gonna lay back down.” What an incredible man. And look what he brings: three eggs, sunny-side-up, on top of a bed of sauteed onions. Yolks cooked to the preferred consistency. We have tried endless times to get a soft boiled egg to look exactly like these. At the first glimpse, runny. But with the edge of a fork it holds together, the white mostly untouched by the golden glow. Still the yolks spread easily, smoothly, like cream, over a piece of toast.

The onions — slightly sweet, soft, but still crisp — providing the bed which allowed for this state of perfection to develop. Absorbing the harshness of the direct heat, but benefiting themselves from the fire.

We eat from one plate because there are no secrets.

Tomato, Caramelized Onion, and Spinach Pie

Happy National Pie Day everyone! This morning while reading through his morning news, Hec informed me it was National Pie Day. I told him, “No, that is March 14th”. But he meant pie and not pi. So he asked me to make a pie.

I’m sure he meant a sweet pie, but we had lots of tomatoes, so I decided it would be a savory pie with tomatoes. Caramelized onions never did anyone wrong either. And we happened to have some swiss chard we bought a week ago (so it is not actually spinach, as I put in the title), so that was going in as well.

I don’t like to make pies often. I have a great respect for a high quality pie crust, but I don’t like to use lots of butter and I never use shortening. Never. So I googled some recipes and settled on an olive oil whole wheat crust. I used all whole wheat flour instead of half and half. I wish we had white whole wheat flour in Guate. I’ve yet to see it though.

It actually took quite a while to make this, but it was really easy. The time input didn’t bother me though. All week I was excited for Saturday so that I could stay at home, rest, and finally do some experimenting in the kitchen. The pie was delicious. We actually only have one tiny piece left.

Tomato, Caramelized Onion, and Spinach Pie
makes 1 8×8″ pie

Ingredients:
1/2 pie crust recipe of choice
2 t olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1/2 t salt
pinch of sugar
1 t olive oil
1 bunch swiss chard, kale, or spinach, chopped
pinch of salt
6 roma tomatoes, seeded, salted, and squeezed of juices
1 egg plus 1 eggwhite
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup grated hard cheese, such as parmesean. I used queso seco, but thats hard to find out of Guatemala
1/4 cup fresh basil, or 1 t dried

Directions:
1. Caramelize onions. Heat pan on medium heat and add onions. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of sugar. Stir occasionally and continue cooking until deep brown, about 30 minutes.
2. Seed and dice tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and place in collender. Allow juices to drain, about 10 minutes. Squeeze with a dishtowel or cheese cloth. If not, the pie may be soggy.
3. Once the onions are caramelized to your liking, remove from pan and add 1 teaspoon of oil, greens, and a dash of salt. Cook until wilted. If any juices form, squeeze them out.
4. Put pie crust in oven for 10 minutes at 400ºF.
5. Beat the egg. Mix in the cheese and garlic.
6. Assemble pie. Fill the crust with onions first, following the greens, then tomatoes. Sprinkle with basil. Spread egg-cheese mixture over top.
7. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF and bake about 40 minutes until cheese has melted and egg has set.

Japanese Pizza

Japanese Pizza - Slice

If I were to rename this dish, I would call it a cabbage pie if anything. Or maybe a cabbage pattie, or cabbage cake. But for some reason the name Japanese Pizza stuck, and it has become quite popular recently, at least among food bloggers. I think the name Japanese Pizza is used because cabbage cake doesn’t sound very appetizing. Personally, I never ate cabbage until very recently. I always disliked coleslaw (it has mayo). The youngest memory I have of eating cabbage is from college when my mom made  a fabulous wasabi marinated tuna with an “asian slaw” she called it. I’m not sure what is in it, but it was good and there was no mayo for sure.

In Guatemala cabbage is quite common. They use a slaw-styled pickeld mixture of cabbage and carrots to eat on hot dogs, tacos sometimes, pupusas. Cabbage is common in a beef stew Héc’s mom makes. It’ve grown quite fond of it.

Japanese Pizza - VeggiesJapanese Pizza - In the Pan

Japanese Pizza - The FlipJapanese Pizza - Whole

It’s a simple meal to prepare. You just shredd the cabbage and other ingredients you want to put in, mix it with flour and an egg to bind, and then fry it up in a pan just like a pancake, carefully flipping it. You want to make sure not to leave the center soggy, so pressing it flat and leaving it on medium heat for about 10 minutes per side will ensure this. You want a golden brown crispy outside when you are done. It can be topped with a number of dressings, but I prefer my yogurt-cilantro dressing.

Japaneses Pizza (Makes two 10-inch pizzas. Serves 8-10 as a side, or 4 as a main)

Ingredients:
2 cups cabbage, finely shredded
1 carrot, finely shredded
3-5 radishes, finely shredded (optional)
5 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup flour (I always use whole wheat)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

Directions:
Shred all the veggies very finely. I use the large slotted slide of my box shredder. Toss to combine well. Whisk salt and flour together, then toss with the veggies. Then add the eggs, and coat everything very well. Add a teaspoon or two of oil to a large skillet and heat to medium high. Use a paper towel to spread the oil evenly to coat the pan. Add about half the mixture to the pan, quickly flattening and pressing as thin as possible. It should be about 1/2 an inch thick or less. Let cook for about 7 minutes, moving the pan around to let the pizza slide around. You don’t want it to get stuck.. Flip the pizza by first placing a plate upside-down on top of the skillet. Using pot holders, pick the “sandwich” up, flip quickly, so that the pizza is now on the plate. Add a little more oil to the pan, and then slide the pizza back to cook the other side. After about 3 minutes, reduce the heat to medium and cover. Let cook for about 7-10 more minutes, moving the pizza occasionally to prevent sticking.

Serving Suggestions:
The Japanese (I’ve read..however only from other American bloggers) eat this with ketchup and mayo. I like it with my cilantro-yogurt dressing. I also suggest topping with pine nuts, walnuts, or slivered almonds; fresh herbs especially cilantro or chives; slices of hard boiled egg or my favorite, an egg sunny-side up; bacon, prosciutto, or serrano ham; grated parmesan cheese. Be creative. You can do a lot with this, and it can easily be made into a main course by adding protein.

Curried Egg Salad

Curried Egg Salad - Sandwhich

I never liked egg salad. Remember Mom? I loved loved loved coloring hard-boiled eggs for Easter. When I was tiny it was the highlight of my spring, except for my brithday of course. The Easter Bunny would hide them, we would search around the yard, and Jon would always win. Always… I had fun anyway though. But unfortunately this happy even was the next day followed by <<ugg>> the egg salad sandwich on toasted english muffins. They would always ask me to try it, but it made me gag. It was the yokes. Maybe I would have liked it if it didn’t have yoke…or mayonnaise because I didn’t like that either. To think of it I liked none of those salads with mayo: tuna, chicken, egg.

Now I’ve grown up. But believe it or not, before this very day I had never eaten an egg salad sandwich. I can’t believe it either. Going through the archives of my favorite recipe blogs I caught the eye of this curried egg salad sandwich. Remembering that I now love deviled eggs (love love love), I figured, how could I not like egg salad? It’s essentially a bunch of deviled eggs mashed together and served on toast. Only reheating leftovers could have been simpler (and if we had them that might have been served…but we didn’t). It was a lazy day. (Yesterday we bought 3 pounds of squid and 5 pounds of tilapia, and in order to fit it in our freezer — which was overgrown with ice –I had to chisel it clean. And then I broke the freezer.) needless to say, I barely felt like dicing veggies. This was uninvolved but flavorful and satisfying.

Curried Egg Salad

Ingredients:
6 hard boiled eggs
1 small apple, diced
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/3 cup greek style plain yogurt
1/2 large red onion, sliced transparently thin
1.5 – 2 teaspoons curry (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Fresh cilantro, torn — a few tablespoons, to your taste (parsley is fine too)

Directions:
Chop the eggs into 1/4 inch cubes and finely dice the apple and slice the onion. Toast your walnuts for about 3-5 minutes, and let cool. Roughly chop, but I like to leave the chunks rather large. Mix egg, apple, and walnuts together in a mixing bowl. Separately whisk together the yogurt, curry, and salt. Pour yogurt mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a fork. Slightly mash everything together, but not too much so the eggs provide some texture. Lastly stir in the cilantro. Serve on freshly toasted bread.

Zucchini Fritata

IMG_2093

I love eggs — from a simple egg over-easy on top of a piece of toast, eggs with ketchup or salsa, to scrambled eggs with onion garlic, tomato, and some fresh basil. We tend to eat eggs quite often, and not just for breakfast. A very traditional Guatemalan meal which has become a part of my cooking repitior is huevitos con frijoles: refried beans scrambled with eggs. They are satisfying, healthy, enjoyable meals, but simple enough to throw together at the end of those long days when we haven’t had time to shop or put on our creative thinking caps. This mediterranean meal, too, is just as simple.

This was another recipe developed to consume our overabundance of zucchini. But what a delight it turned out to be. This is a colorful, nutritious dish, and can be adapted to any palate and awaits your creative take. Don’t like dill, don’t have it? IMG_2038Use some fresh mint, cilantro, or parsley instead. No zucchini? How about some spinach. Have some red peppers, capers, sun dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes? Those would work too. Any veggie or even meat that you would put into an omelet would work here. Its somewhere along the lines of a quiche, but with a little bit of flour and baking powder to give it a lighter fluffier texture. It went very well with the zucchini tatziki we had along side. You could serve this as an appetizer, side, or main entrée. It is delicious warm, cold, and at room temperature. You can increase the amount of cheese, decrease the amount of flour. Basically make it how you like. Its hard to mess up.

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