Friday, March 29, 2013

Omelettes 101: Mushroom Chive Omelette

Today's post is a tutorial:
How to Make the Perfect Omelette

Recently, I took an omelette class at one of my favorite stores, Williams-Sonoma.  I learned so much about this simple, yet elegant dish that I had to share it with you today.

An omelette takes beaten eggs that are cooked in a shallow pan and may be filled with a variety of flavorful ingredients.  Typically served for breakfast, and omelette can also make a wonderful light lunch or dinner.  

Following are a few steps to make the perfect omelette.

NOTE:  Have all your fillings prepared, and cooked if necessary, before you start.  This is important as making the omelette goes quickly.

1.  Whisk the eggs.  In a large bowl combine 2 eggs, 2 Tablespoons of water, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Use a whisk to beat the mixture just until well blended.  A flat or french whisk is best for this step as you don't want to beat in too much air.

2.  Melt the butter.  Place a medium or 8" nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat and add 1/2 Tablespoon of butter.  When the butter has melted and the foam begins to subside, tilt the pan to distribute the butter evenly.

3.  Add the egg mixture.  Pour the egg mixture into the pan.

4.  Distribute the eggs evenly.  Let the eggs cook for 30 seconds, then using a silicone spatula push the cooked eggs from the edges to the center.  Tilt the pan so that the uncooked eggs will flow towards the edges and the omelette will cook evenly keeping that even layer.

5.  Add the omelette fillings.  When the eggs have set and are no longer moving when you tilt the pan scatter the filling ingredients over the middle of the omelette.  Note, the omelette should look wet in the middle.  You don't want a dry omelette or it will become tough.

6.  Fold the omelette.  Using the spatula fold the out third of the omelette over the filling.  List the skillet and tilt the pan so the unfolded side slides onto the plate.  As it does this turn the pan and flip the omelette so that it folds over the last third that is already on the plate.  This is a tri fold.  Serve immediately.

 Tender, moist, heavenly....breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

That's it!  They come together so quickly, and when you make them tender there is nothing quite like it.  Now, what to put in it?  Anything goes.  We experimented with herbs such as thyme, tarragon, and chives.  We also used a variety of cheese, cooked pancetta, sauteed mushrooms, and sauteed bell pepper.  

Why not build your own omelette bar?  This would be a great idea for Sunday brunch, or even a dinner party.  

So the next day after class I made my own omelette.  My recipe is below.

Mushroom Chive Omelette

serves 1

1/2 T butter
2 oz. mushrooms, sliced
3 T cream sherry
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 T water
salt & pepper
2 t chives, chopped
1/2 T butter
2 T Parmesan cheese, shredded

In a medium skilled over medium-high heat add the 1/2 tablespoon of butter and allow to melt.  Add the mushrooms and saute stirring occasionally.  Cook 3-4 minutes and add the sherry.  Cook another 1-2 minutes until liquid is almost absorbed.  Remove from skillet and set aside.

Wipe skillet clean and return to heat.  Add butter and allow to melt.  Add eggs to bowl along with water and salt & pepper to taste.  Whisk slightly to combine.  Add chives to the eggs and whisk to combine.  Add eggs to the skillet.  Cook pulling cooked eggs from the edges to the center and tilting skillet to allow uncooked eggs to run to the edges keeping a single layer of eggs.  Continue this process.  As soon as there is no more liquid running place mushrooms and cheese down the center.  Using a spatula lift one side and fold it over the center.  List the skillet off the heat, tilting to slide omelette onto a plate, then flip and fold omelette over the final third that is on the plate.  For a treat put a dollop of creme fresh on top!  Serve.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March Madness Pizzas

Got a bunch of hungry guys to feed?

What better way to watch your favorite basketball teams try to take the win than by eating these simple customizable pizzas.  

This dish is worthy of a comeback.  I posted some similar pizzas over a year ago and wanted to bring them back cause they are so gosh darn good!   You can make pizza's on just about anything.  I've used tortillas, wraps, English muffins, and even pitas.  This one uses canned biscuits for the dough lending a nice soft crust upon which to place any toppings you desire.

Since the pizzas are miniature you can make several different varieties or allow your guests to top their own.  They are perfect snacks and everyone will love them.  What's better than a snack that you can just pick up with you hand and eat?  No fussing with silverware.  Simple to make with a few ingredients.

What flavor combo will you make?

March Madness Pizzas

serves 8

1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 tsp. Italian seasoning 
1 can of Grands homestyle biscuits (not the flaky layered kind)

shredded cheese
mini pepperoni, sausage, olives, peppers, diced ham, etc.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Open the can of tomato sauce and put it in a small saucepan.  Add the Italian seasoning.  Place over medium heat and bring the sauce to a bubble.  Turn the heat down to a simmer.

Open the can of biscuits and place them on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Using your fingers spread out each biscuit to flatten the dough just a bit.  Add some warm sauce to the middle of each biscuit, spreading almost to the edges.  Top with shredded cheese and any other toppings.

Bake at 350 degrees for 11 - 13 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easter Dishes 2013

I'm planning out my menu for Easter Sunday, hope you are too!

I just heard that it's supposed to rain here on Easter.  That's okay.  It gives us an excuse to stay inside and eat the wonderful feast, and then curl up on the couch for a movie.

First, let's talk tablescapes.  Time to pull out the fancy dishes and decorate the table for the special meal.

Here is what my table will look like.

I created the centerpiece with  two large stalks of grass that are sprinkled with butterflies.  Three bowls, everyday cereal bowls, used to hold speckled eggs tying the centerpiece together.  Add a bunny (gotta have a bunny) a nice runner, and some outstanding rose patterned bowls and salad plates.  These top some basic white dishes.  Add some wine glasses and you are good to go.  This is perfect for Easter brunch, dinner or lunch.  It really sets the mood.   

 (Just need to add some fancy napkins and cute holders, some flatware and I'm set!)

On to the food...This year I'm being really adventurous and making all new dishes for Easter.  Crazy, I know!  But I have confidence that they will all turn out okay, and I'm trying to pick a variety of dishes that don't take all day to make.  I think I've got it down.

Since I haven't made any of these recipes yet I don't have pics to show you.  But want I want to provide you with are the recipes so you can get some inspiration for your own dishes.

Salad:  Spinach and Strawberry Salad
Main Course:  Ginger and Thyme Brined Pork Loin
Vegetable:  Steamed Carrots with Garlic-Ginger Butter
Starch:  Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Red Rice Stuffing
Bread:  Bunny Tail Buns
Dessert:  Carrot Cake With Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting

Anyone have any ideas for another dish???  Or maybe a great drink?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Strawberry Hot Cross Buns

In your Easter Bonnet...
With all the frills upon it...
You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade....

Just love that song, don't you?

One of my favorite Holidays is coming. Easter time is here!
I love bunnies, I love spring, I love chocolate bunnies...!
Everything about Easter reminds me of my childhood. Waiting patiently for the Easter egg hunt. Hunting eggs over and over all day long. Getting a new Easter dress, with shiny shoes. Coloring eggs, and oh the feast! My mom would make a roasted turkey with all the fixing for a wonderful spring meal!

Last year MGG and I celebrated Easter at the LA Arboretum. A beautiful garden full of native CA flowers and trees, and plants, also the home of the famous house from Fantasy Island, and the highlight is the live peacock's that are walking around.

This year we decided to stay home, enjoy the nice spring weather, and to cook our Easter feast! What will you do this Easter?

I'm planning my menu now. You can check out some of my ideas on Pinterest under "Easter". I just LOVE Pinterest...although I dare say it's addicting. (New goal - Cook items collected on Pinterest! One per month!) I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, that it can get away from you. 

 Isn't he just fabulous?!!!

So to get you in the mood for Easter, or just spring in general I've made a wonderful dish for you today.

Strawberry Hot Cross Buns!  Typically served on Good Friday.  These wonderful buns are nicely sweet and studded with strawberries.  A nice twist on the original recipe.  

 A lot of people will bake a pastry strip into the buns for the cross, but I prefer to just pipe a cross on  the buns with a sweet sugar glaze made from mixing confectioners sugar (powdered or icing sugar) with a  little milk. (See what a mess I made with my thumb on the icing above?  oh well, they're rustic!)  These are a yeast bread, so make sure to have the time needed to make these.  You won't be disappointed!

Kitchen Tip:  These are perfect to make in your Bread Machine!  Just make sure to use the dough only setting.

Strawberry Hot Cross Buns

Make 12 buns

1 cup milk                                       
1 package active dry yeast           
1/2 t sugar                       
3 1/2 c flour       
1/4 c light brown sugar                     
1 t cinnamon                                

1/2 t salt                                         
5 T unsalted butter, melted         
1 large egg, lightly beaten                          
2/3 c dried strawberries                     


1/2 c confectioners sugar
1 T milk              

In a small saucepan heat the milk until lukewarm over low heat. Add the yeast and 1/2 t sugar, stirring to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes until foamy.

In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture and beat until the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the melted butter and egg and beat until incorporated. Fold in the dried fruit and knead the dough until it is silky smooth and elastic. Add more flour if necessary.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning the dough once, so the top is lightly greased. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise until it has almost doubled in size, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

After the dough has doubled, gently punch it down and divide in into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a small ball and place on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment. Leave space between the buns as they will need to rise again. Make an egg was with a beaten egg and milk, brush the tops of the buns with the wash. Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray and place over the buns. Place in a warm spot and allow to rise about 60 minutes more.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush the top of the buns again with the egg wash. Place in the over and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool Before glazing.

To make the glaze, combine the confectioners sugar and milk in a small bowl. Once the buns have completely cooled pipe or drizzle the glaze across the buns horizontally and vertically to form a cross. Allow to set before serving.


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