sourdough french toast, with coconut oil

I have a friend from high school who recently told me that because she’s been reading our blog she now has a jar of Coconut Oil in her pantry and no idea what to do with it.

This is for you, CKR.

IMG_6020 The thing about Coconut Oil is … it’s pretty versatile.  And it’s really good for you.

I mean really good for you.

It’s good for your hair.

Skin.

Digestion.

Kidneys.

Heart.

It boosts your immunity.

It helps control cholesterol levels.

It’s helps reduce high blood pressure.

People use it in dental care.

It can even promote weight loss!

And I am not usually a proponent of Dr. Oz, but even he sees the benefits of using coconut oil.

Why is it good for you?

Because of the lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid that make up the lipids in the oil.  Lauric acid is the active ingredient in Lauricidin (which we use during cold/flu season as a preventative measure).  Also, Coconut Oil has been shown to be antimocrobial, antioxident, antifungal and antibacterial.

And when it comes to cooking?  It’s really adaptable.

Because it’s solid in most US pantries (if you live north of Washington, DC, and the Coconut Oil in your pantry is liquid, your pantry might be too warm, and I’d consider keeping the CO in the fridge), it’s an easy substitute when recipes call for Crisco or Shortening.  I’m not saying it will work in every recipe, but we’ve had good luck using it as a replacement in most of our baked goods.

And putting a little heat under it for a few seconds makes it liquid and usable for recipes that call for Soybean, Vegetable or Canola Oil.  (The reason we don’t use Soybean, Vegetable or Canola Oil in cooking anymore, primarily because they are high in the “bad fats,” and are processed using chemical solvents to break down and release the oil.  Olive and Nut oils are processed using a press.  If there is a choice not to add “chemical solvents” to our bodies … we’re going to make it.  Check out this link if you want more info on what oils are good for you and why.)

Back to Coconut Oil, and how it ended up in our French toast.

So, we use Coconut Oil all the time.

In cookies, cakes, pancakes, fried chicken, to sauté vegetables … to name a few.

A few days ago, I was making breakfast for the gang and we had a lot of things on the schedule for the day so I was looking for a “super-nutrtious” start for the day.  I hadn’t soaked any grains.  We’re doing out best to avoid boxed cereal.  I wasn’t in the mood for an egg taco. And there was only a little milk in the fridge.

But we did have half of a 2-day old loaf of sourdough bread.  We did have four eggs.  Some yogurt.  Vanilla.  And Coconut Oil.

Breakfast.

Fast and easy and super-duper-nutrious.

With just a hint of coconut goodness, pure grade B maple syrup and small pat of pasture butter?  Everyone loved them.

INGREDIENTS (makes 8 pieces of toast):

  • 8 one half inch slices of sourdough bread
  • 4 eggs (3 large eggs would probably do it.  The ladies gave us medium eggs this week)
  • 1/2 cup yogurt plus 1/4 cup whey (If you don’t have yogurt and whey, 3/4 cup of milk or 3/4 cup of buttermilk will also work)
  • 2 tablespoon Coconut Oil (plue 1 tablespoon to grease the pan)
  • 1 teaspoon of pure Vanilla Extract
  • pinch of Sea Salt

DIRECTIONS:

Heat a 10-12 inch saute pan on medium-high heat.  Add coconut oil and let it melt.

Meanwhile, combine eggs, yogurt, whey and vanilla extract and salt in a bowl large enough to soak a piece of bread.   Whisk until well-combined.

Whisk in the melted Coconut Oil, leaving enough in the pan to coat the surface.  (NOTE, if your ingredients are very cold, the CO will start to “bead” and firm up again … I left mine out for a few minutes to come a little closer to room temperature before I started cooking)

Soak the bread slices until they are good and coated on both sides.  Add them one by one (or two by two, if you can fit them in your pan and they aren’t squished) to the hot sauté pan.  Let cook on one side until they are golden and cooked through.  Turn and cook on the other side.  Repeat.

Plate the toast with a pat of butter and some pure grade B maple syrup and feel satisfied that you’ve eaten a nourishing and delicious breakfast!

farm fresh eggs …

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I love all the different shapes.  Doesn’t that one look like a giant torpedo?
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can you call an egg cage-free if it ends up in a cage in your fridge?
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what is that scary stuff on the eggs? forget it. don’t tell me. it’s better if I don’t think about it. (yes, we wash the eggs before we crack them … but we’ve been told leaving them in their original state will keep them fresh longer … we have not tested this theory … and again … I choose not to think about it too much because it grosses me out)
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breakfast
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lunch
dinner
dinner
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There’s just nothing like a farm fresh egg …

In the case of O’Mamas … the chicken taquito came first!

love,

Jeanne

crash potatoes and poached eggs … it’s what’s for breakfast

The other night, the Cowboy made hot crash potatoes as a side dish for dinner.

I had never heard of hot crash potatoes before.

But he found this recipe on The Pioneer Woman’s site.

Basically, it’s a boiled red potato that is then smashed in a pan (just kind of collapsed with one smash of a potato masher), drizzled with oil and salt and pepper and then baked in a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Yum, right?

And I don’t even like potatoes that much (unless they are sweet potatoes … or french fries).

But these were really good.  Crispy skinned salty goodness.

So Sunday morning (because I couldn’t make breakfast cake four days in a row), we tried something new and exciting.

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You guess it!  Hot crash potatoes with chorizo and poached eggs.

They were pretty much near perfect.

And we only had to make a few modifications to the Pioneer Woman’s recipe.

Makes 2 servings:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Red Potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Grape Seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 link of Chorizo (finely diced into 1/4″ pieces …or smaller … chorizo crumbles, really)
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Eggs

DIRECTIONS:

Boil the potatoes until they are easily pierced with a fork.  (Mid-boil, preheat the oven to 450 degrees … depending on how long your oven takes to heat up.)

Remove the potatoes from water and put in an oven-safe pan or skillet.  Using a potato masher, “crash” the potatoes.  Basically, you just need to press them down until the skin open up and all the white potato goodness starts to explode through the masher.

Drizzle the “crashed” potatoes with grape seed oil.  (We use grape seed oil because it has a higher smoke point than olive oil.)  Sprinkle on the Paprika, the Herbs du Provence and salt and pepper.  Add the chorizo and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.

When there’s about 4 minutes left, bring 4 cups of water plus one teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar to boil.  NOTE: The ACV acts as a catalyst for your egg whites to bind together.  Without it (or some other vinegar) you end up with poached yokes in a mass of stringy whites.  So … don’t forget the ACV!

Crack an egg into a small bowl and gently let it into the boiling water (BE CAREFUL!! That water’s HOT!).  Do the same with the next egg.

Back to the potatoes … Remove the potatoes from the oven and plate them.

And back to the eggs … Poached eggs take about 3 – 3 1/2 minutes to cook.  Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the eggs from the water and add them to your potatoes.  Sprinkle with a dash of salt (to taste) and enjoy!

ALTERNATIVES:

Here’s what we’re planning on doing differently next time …

  • I think sautéed spinach and shallots between the potato and egg would be AMAZING.
  • The Cowboy wants to try these with Hollandaise sauce … a Benedict-Redux, as it were.
  • It doesn’t need the chorizo … a few shallots (or finely chopped sautéed onions) would be equally tasty.  Or, of course you could add some bacon or leftover steak or chicken or turkey … you’re limited only by what’s in the fridge, I think.
  • You could try a Mexican-twist, with some plain yogurt or sour cream and raw garden salsa.

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poached eggs

Jeanne here …

The first time I poached an egg I was 15 years old, working at David’s Country Inn in Hackettstown, NJ.

The thing is … I didn’t work at David’s for long. My sisters did. I just sort of ended up there for a few months at the end of my sophomore year of high school. I washed a lot of dishes. And I worked the brunch shift … setting up cream cheese, manning the waffle station. When I was in the kitchen I was poaching eggs or making peach melba desserts.

I still can’t eat peach melba crepes.

Thanks for asking!

Anyway.

I poached eggs. Lots and lots of eggs. For months.

And then I didn’t.

For years.

Not because it’s all that challenging.

But I guess it just didn’t occur to me.

And it’s a really healthy, really easy way to enjoy an egg.

Here’s skinny…

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups of water
  • 3 capfuls of apple cider vinegar (or distilled white vinegar, if you happen to go by the moniker “The Cowboy.”)

DIRECTIONS:

Bring to a boil three cups of water and vinegar. The vinegar is important because it helps bind the egg white so you don’t end up with something akin to egg drop soup.

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I crack the eggs in a small dish, one at a time, to ensure that the yolk stays together.

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Gently pour the egg into the boiling water, careful not to splash the water or burn yourself.

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Let the eggs “float” in the boiling water until the whites have turned opaque … about 3 – 3 1/2 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the water.

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Enjoy (0ver rice … over potatoes … on toast … an English muffin … anyway you like)!

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See how easy that is? Nuts.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy an egg? And when was the last time you did?

stracciatella soup … aka the perfect soup when you forget to make dinner

Hi.  Jeanne again.

non-sequitur update: TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO ENTER OUR TARGET GIFTCARD GIVEAWAY!  (giveaway closes at 10 pm PST)!

… and now back to my normal ramblings:

One of my favorite post-college memories was when I was living with one of my besties in Washington, DC.  Just to paint a picture, we lived in a one-bedroom basement apartment with a bedroom just big enough for two twin beds …my head was at Karen’s feet.  Literally.  It was that small.  I don’t remember where we kept our clothes.  And my share of the rent was more than half of my monthly income.  Which meant there was limited cash on hand for “extras” … you know, like food.  There was a lot of mac and cheese in our kitchen, I think.

Anyway, Dean & DeLuca opened in our neighborhood.

And in retrospect, I finally understand where all my disposable income went.

Hmmm.

Interesting.

Okay.  So Dean & DeLuca.

What I remember most about going to Dean & DeLuca as a young 20-something, was being willing to spend way too much money on “exotic fruit” like Asian pears.  And pomegranates.  And Gala apples.  I would stop there on my way to my bus stop and pick up a single piece of fruit for a snack for work.

But when I think back, besides the exorbitant amount of money I laid out for single pieces of fruit on my trek to work in the morning, I really never used to think about a lot of things when it came to food.

Like where it was grown.

Or how it was raised.

I never used to think about dinner until I got hungry (about 20 minutes before I wanted to eat).

But that’s all different now.

With this focus on feeding two littles … and my desire to make sure their diets are healthy and whole … there’s a lot more planning that happens in the kitchen.

But sometimes …

I forget.

I forget to think about dinner when I wake up in the morning.

I forget to think about lunches for the next few days when I’m at the grocery store.

I just forget.

Please don’t look at me like that! (Oh … sorry … that was in my head.)

And on those days, I’m happy to have bone broth in the fridge.

And eggs.

And parmesan and asiago cheese.

Staples that we always have on hand.

Because that means I’ve got three out of the five ingredients I need for one of the easiest and tastiest soups ever made.

Stracciatella soup.

Spinach and egg soup.

Perfect for a chilly evening.

And it takes all of 10 minutes to make.

Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups Spinach (cut in chiffonade) – you could also use Kale.
  • 6 cups Bone Broth
  • 1 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Shallot (finely chopped) – (you can also use a yellow onion … or garlic … but if we have shallots, I’m using shallots because I love the mellow taste of them with the salty cheese, rich broth and fluffy eggs in this dish)
  • 4-6 Eggs (depends on how “eggy” you want your soup)
  • 1 cup of Shredded Cheese (I use a blend of ½ Parmesan, ½ Asiago)

TOOLS:

  • 12-inch sauté pan
  • 2 quart saucepan
  • 4 bowls

WHAT TO DO:

Heat the bone broth in your saucepan on medium/medium-high.

While you’re letting the broth warm to a simmer (stirring occasionally), wash and chiffonade your spinach.  Then divide among the bowls.

Heat oil in sauté pan, add shallots and sauté until they are translucent (about 2-3 minutes).  Remove the shallots from the pan and divide among the bowls (just layer the hot shallots right on top of the spinach.

Use the same sauté pan for your eggs and scramble them up.  Before they are fully cooked (just barely before they are done), divide and spoon the hot eggs into your bowls (layered on top of the spinach, on top of the shallots).

Divide the cheese and layer that on top of the eggs.

By then, the broth is probably steaming hot.

Pour the broth over the layers in each bowl.

The broth will “cook” the greens, finish cooking the eggs and melt the cheese in your bowl.  It’s pretty delicious.

Served with a warm piece of garlic sourdough toast.

Oh yeah.

That’s what I’m talking about. (NOTE, I tend not to add extra salt to this dish.  I think the cheese gives it enough salty goodness, but the Cowboy adds salt.  It’s your call.)

We’re linked up on This Chick Cooks