Breakfast for Dinner

A mysterious package arrived in the mail a few weeks ago. Heavy, padded, square and solid. I open the package, and voila! A cookbook! Not just any cookbook, but one that arrives just in time to save me from the frenzied schedule that vaporized most of February and March, Breakfast for Dinner.

My friends, I am sorry that I have been absent. I promise you it was for good reason. A new job at a company that I've had my eye on since college and a couple of unfulfilled attempts to land our dream home with a dream kitchen have eaten up days, nights, and weekend after weekend. Not to mention our sanity. We're still at square one on the home front, but a nice step forward was made for my career. I am hoping that a fabulous recipe from this charming book will help make up for the abrupt silence on this blog.

About Breakfast for Dinner. The first thing that struck me when I held up this book was a warm and fuzzy picture of the cheerful young couple, Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth, whose labor of love concocted this book. I imagine ya'll would swoon wistfully too with a glance.

While the concept of breakfast for dinner isn't new, it was quite nice to page through a formal collection of some hearty and easy-to-whip recipes. Most of the recipes come to life with the magic of eggs and become more sensational with the playful drizzling of maple syrup and generous sprinkling of bacon. Maple-glazed pork meatballs, bacon jam and even a maple-bacon cupcake made my short list. 

The classic breakfast for dinner recipe that I think of is one that satisfies and warms the belly as much at night as it does in the morning. Needless to say this recipe doubles for both meals of the day. Shakshuka, which translates into "all mixed up" in Hebrew, is a richly spiced tomato sauce with egg gently coddled to a runny poach-like quality. Herbs and crumbled feta are sprinkled over the thick soup to finish. Delicious and a cinch to make. 

From Breakfast for Dinner
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 mild peppers (such as Anaheim), seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 to 8 medium or large eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • warm pita or baguette, for serving
  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, peppers, and jalapenos and cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juices, vegetable broth, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper; lower heat and simmer for 20 to 22 minutes, or until thickened.
  2. Crack eggs on top of sauce; cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until whites are set and yolks are thick but runny (if you like firmer yolks, cook for 1 to 2 minutes more). Sprinkle parsley and feta cheese over top and serve with warm bread. S
Serves 3-4.

Twice-Cooked Pork Tenderloin

Nights have been busy here. Dishes have been piling up. Laundry strewn on the floor and I am very tired. About a year ago, in a moment of madness, I decided to undertake a challenge to sit for a finance industry exam. It meant reading through thousands of pages of accounting, quantitative analysis, portfolio management theory, oh and did I mention the pass rate is roughly 40% for each test. There are three levels. Also if I fail to pass one level I'll have to wait an entire year for another shot. What do I get out sitting for this exam? Perhaps a pretty piece of paper to post on the wall, maybe my name in The Wall Street Journal and some personal satisfaction. I am sadistic. Yes, I admit it.

With less time and energy on my hands, I've had to carve out creative ways to put food on the table. But this has not meant sacrificing flavor...not yet at least. Cooking big meals and surviving the week on leftovers have been our strategy. Plus some of our all time favorites take very little time to prepare. This twice-cooked pork tenderloin takes no more than half an hour from start to finish. The tenderloins are seared to a crisp, sliced into medallions for a second sear, and then coated with a delicious creamy mustard sauce. The simplicity of this recipe is what makes it brilliant, allowing one of my favorite cuts of meat to stand on its own. Good enough for a special meal, this recipe also makes an excellent last ditch effort to put food on the table.

Twice-Cooked Pork Tenderloin 
From the NY Times
  • 1 boneless pork tenderloin, about 1 pound 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 4 tablespoons butter, extra virgin olive oil, or a combination 
  • 1/4 cup cream 
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, lemon juice or Calvados, optional 
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish, optional 
  1. Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper. Put a large skillet over medium-high heat; a minute later add 2 tablespoons butter and/or oil. When butter foam subsides or oil dimples, add meat (curve it into skillet if necessary). Brown it well on all sides, for a total of 4 to 6 minutes. Turn off heat, remove meat from pan, and let it sit on a board. When skillet has cooled a bit, proceed. 
  2. Cut meat into 1-inch-thick slices. Once again turn heat to medium-high, add remaining butter and/or oil and, when it's hot, add pork slices to pan. Brown on each side, about 2 or 3 minutes each. Turn heat to low and remove meat to a warm platter. 
  3. Add 1/2 cup water to pan, turn heat to high, and cook, stirring and scraping, for a minute. Lower heat slightly, add cream and cook until slightly thickened. Stir in mustard, lemon juice or Calvados, if you're using them, then taste and adjust seasoning. Serve meat with sauce spooned on top, garnished, if you like, with parsley.
Serves 4.

Braised Napa Cabbage in Cream Sauce

It's only been 10 days but has everyone stuck to their New Year's resolution to eat healthier and stay fit? No other time are gyms flooded with folks hyper-motivated to meet goals built out cyclical tradition than now. I made my pact to avoid overeating a long time ago, and yes, I've fallen off that wagon many a times, but to be honest I was pretty oblivious to the problem. You'll see in this story how much trouble could be had from overeating.

Salmon with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze

Did everyone have a nice Christmas? This one was a very special one for me as it was the first one I got to spend with my mother since moving out to the east coast. Between pastries, cheeses, grand roast and dark chocolate desserts, we're still stuffed and I'm imagining that everyone out there is still stuffed too. Perhaps somewhere between Christmas Hangover and Leftover Heaven? 

Apple Cider Stuffed Pork Loin and A Visit to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA

Visions of Christmas dinner have descended on my table and included are roasts of many kinds - prime rib, goose, duck and turkey. I have a wee less than a week to decide but one of those contenders also includes this delicious Christmassy pork tenderloin stuffed with raisins, dried apricot, and diced apples that is served with a sweet-savory apple cider sauce.

San Francisco

One holiday down and another one to go. December has always been an interesting month to me. It's about the time when things wind down, we tie loose ends before the year concludes and oh yes, that big magical holiday that every child (and adult) waits so anxiously to arrive. But it's also a manic month for me. Even as more time comes on line as work winds down, our newly freed-up schedules get re-compressed with holiday projects, shopping, eating, drinking, decorating, cooking, Christmas cards and being merry with much loved friends and family. Oh what fun and somewhat stressful, but then again, I wouldn't have it any other way. After all, the frenzy adds to the excitement. So to tie at least one loose end, I present a post that never made it earlier in the year as time got eaten up by my cute little gremlin.  Here are some pictures from yet another one of our some-day-legendary-mother-son trips.

Momofuku Roasted Brussels Sprouts and a Weekend in New York

Each year I try to collect at least one new tried and true recipe to feature on the Thanksgiving table. This year the recipe is from a side dish that Alex and I ate during one of our someday-legendary-mother-son trips. It was recent a trip to New York that brought us to Momofuku Noodle Bar where we enjoyed a bold umami-packed bowl of roasted brussels sprouts. However before I dive into the recipe here are a few pics of New York in the fall.

Morrocan Spiced Spaghetti Squash

There are a handful of squash that I love - butternut, kabocha, red kuri and sugar pumpkin - and then there is everything else. Varieties such as acorn squash or delicata or spaghetti squash that I have not yet found THE recipe that will make me swoon. So when I was given a spaghetti squash I wracked my brain with what to do...what to do... A recipe that offered a combination of bold savory spices - cumin, coriander and cayenne surfaced. Here the spaghetti squash serves as a buttery and creamy canvas with dash of excitement. I'm still not sure if I like spaghetti squash but this recipe certainly does a good job of  elevating it from its bland base. Let me know if you have a favorite spaghetti squash recipe.

Hog Island Oyster Point Reyes, CA

Because the Blue Angels were in town, because there was a blue grass concert, because the America's Cup was racing, because I wanted to see with friends, because the fog rolled in ... Alex and I hopped on a plane to the west coast a couple of weeks ago. While we stretched to get a little bit of everything crammed into one of the busiest and exciting weeks in San Francisco we did get a few relaxing moments, notably our visit to Hog Island Oysters in Point Reyes with our friends Gloria and Chris, the bay area's oyster farm famous for its fresh, briny and clean tasting sweet water oysters.

Roasted Squash with Brown Butter and Sage

Crisp breezes, apple cider and wool sweaters, autumn has finally arrived! October is my favorite month, it's when the final harvest is made of apples and myriad squash, it's when we all huddle a bit closer to keep ourselves warm and it's when the pace of life slows down just a tad so we can all savor the moment. 

Styer's Cafe At Terrain in Glen Mills, PA

Not far away from our house and very close to the magnificent Longwood Gardens is Terrain, a garden lover's dream. The nursery and home & garden store, which is owned by Anthropologie, captures the spirit of this part of the world -- the vast lands of Pennsylvania that is focused on agriculture and a slower pace of living. Right now at Terrain are row after row of colorful hardy plants overflowing and nudged beside them are large wooden crates of pumpkins and squash.