Fried Eggs with Mushrooms and Kale

When people ask me what my favorite food is, I usually say french fries, chocolate chip cookies, or sushi.  But if I am being honest with myself, it is really eggs.  I love eggs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I love them scrambled, poached, hard-boiled…you name it.  Which is why I am especially excited to be taking an Eggs class this term in culinary school.

One of Dave and my week night go-to meals is Fried Eggs with Mushrooms and Kale, a one pan recipe that I saw Martha Stewart demonstrating on the Today Show a while back.  It is quick, easy, and healthy.  We like kale, but really you can use any cooking greens you prefer.  We make this in our cast iron skillet since Dave has a minor obsession with it.  But any large skillet would work also.

Enjoy morning, noon or night!

Fried Eggs with Mushrooms and Kale
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Serves 4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 ounces white button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
Coarse salt
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 cups cooking greens (cut into 3/4-inch-wide ribbons), such as collard, mustard, or kale
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
Garnish: finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat and add oil. Cook mushrooms with 1/2 teaspoon salt until golden and tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in garlic, then greens and water. Cook, stirring, until greens wilt.

2. Push greens to make 4 wells. Crack 1 egg into each. Season with salt. Cook for 4 minutes. Let stand until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 4 minutes. Garnish with cheese.


Dave’s Weekend Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

I am a city girl through and through, but there are two things I miss from my past experience living in the ‘burbs:  1) A big jacuzzi tub and 2) a back patio where I can indulge in the laziness of a Sunday morning, while drinking my coffee and having a simple breakfast.  The next best thing are Dave’s pancakes, that I get to enjoy on most weekends.

Of all the things I can cook and bake well, pancakes are not one of them (although I have to say, it’s gotten better with the use of a griddle.)  So when Dave and I started dating, I put him to that task, and he eagerly agreed.  And that is how our weekend tradition of pancakes started.  For the first six weeks or so, he tested a new recipe every time, taking notes of the different ingredients, measurements of each ingredient, until he developed his own recipe.  It is now a household staple.

For his birthday, I even got him this handy dandy Pancake Pen, made by Tovolo, that squeezes out perfectly round pancakes.

These will be a great start to your weekend!

Dave’s Weekend Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes Recipe
Makes 8-10 pancakes

1 1/2 cups of flour
~2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
~1/2-3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs (1 whole and 1 egg white)
1 1/3 cups of buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter (melted and cooled)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 banana (mashed or diced)
Chocolate Chips (amount is to your liking)

1) In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
2) In a small bowl, whisk the egg, egg white, buttermilk, butter and vanilla.
3) Pour in wet ingredients into dry ingredients bowl, and gently stir until just combined.
4) Fold in the banana and chocolate chips and stir til batter is slightly lumpy.
Do not overmix.
5) Let batter sit for 15 minutes.
6) While batter is sitting, heat griddle to 350 degrees.  The trick to cooking a perfect pancake is to watch for the air bubbles to rise to the top of the pancake; when the top of the pancake starts to bubble, it’s time to flip it over.  Both sides should be lightly browned.

* We found out, by necessity, that substituting sour cream and milk (skim, whole, soy, almond, etc) for buttermilk made for a fluffier pancake.  If you opt for this, use two dollops of sour cream and 1 cup of milk.  Also, this recipe will work whether you use the bananas and chocolate chips or not, it’s your choice!

Travels: Empire State of Mind

No, Dave and I were not singing Jay-Z and Alicia Keys while we were walking through the concrete jungle of New York City this past weekend. But we gave our taste buds a ride all over town while visiting family and cheering on a close friend for the NYC marathon. Here is a quick rundown of our itinerary:

Friday night
Dinner at BYOB Kuma Inn in the Lower East Side with Dave’s sister and her boyfriend (this place was an obscure restaurant above a Bavarian bar, but the tapas style Asian food really stood out!)
Drinks at Elsa’s

Brunch at Petite Abeille in Stuyvesant Town with my cousin Jami
Being a tourist at the Empire State Building (spectacular views!)
Dinner at One If By Land, Two If By Sea

Brunch at The Standard Grill in the Meatpacking District
Quick walk through of EATALY in the Flatiron District (where Dave freaked out because Mario Lemieux walked by us)
Being spectators at the NYC Marathon

I’d like to shine a spotlight on a few activities from our weekend….

  • Dinner at One If By Land, Two If By Sea in the West Village. Dave’s research paid off for finding a romantic atmosphere for our Saturday night date night. According to press clippings displayed near the restroom, One If By Land has been voted Most Romantic Restaurant in NYC multiple times and apparently is an old carriage house once owned by Aaron Burr. This fact I thought was especially cool, because I am always thoroughly entertained by this Got Milk? commercial from a few years back:

I’m sure Burr was proud to have won the dual, but I would hope he would be proud to know that his former residence is now a pretty awesome restaurant. My love of dirty martinis has been elevated with their Horse and Carriage cocktail. It was a dirty martini with horseradish-infused vodka, olive juice, and a tooth pick spear of bleu cheese & onion stuffed olives. A first whiff smelled like a Jewish Holiday, but it gave the cocktail a swift kick in the pants, like the Jews did to the Egyptians.

Their menu is a Four Course Prix Fixe including a choice of a small, medium, large, and dessert dish. With this type of menu, there were many delectable bites, but my favorite dish was the Halibut, which sadly was not included in our photo shoot for the evening. It was perfectly cooked and surrounded by trumpet royale and Shiitake mushrooms, on a bed of roasted garlic potato purée. There was a lemon burst that really balanced out the flavors in the rest of the dish.

  • Brunch at The Standard Grill in the Meatpacking District. I first stumbled upon this place the summer of 2010 during my annual Girls Weekend with college friends. We had drinks here and it was a fun, happening place. When I came back to Philly from that trip, the Twenty Manning restaurant near Rittenhouse Square had been reinvented to Twenty Manning Grill. TMG eerily looked like The Standard Grill I had just been too in Manhattan; Beef, Fish, Fowl, Poultry sign and all. I had told Dave previously about Philadelphia’s venerable restauraneurs’ imitation of New York City restaurants; now he had had seen it first hand with this example as well as Pastis (Parc in Rittenhouse). Brunch didn’t really stand out for me, besides our celebrity sighting of Bridget Monyahan, the housemade raised donuts, and these really cute salt and pepper shakers.

  • I failed to mention the real reason for our visit to NYC, I opened a bakery!

    Just kidding……but if I did, I guess I couldn’t use this name. However, because this shop had my namesake, we popped in to taste the mini, and I mean mini, cupcakes they were selling. Apparently, each cupcake is less than 50 calories. They weren’t anything to write home about. The concept appeals to me, since I often need something sweet to cleanse my palate after a meal, but am not looking for anything filling. The frosting was good, but something about the cake itself was off, but we couldn’t put our finger on it.

With lots of reasons for frequent NYC visits and it being in close proximity to Philadelphia, there will plenty more Manhattan posts. Lucky for us, the city has boundless gastronomic options!

One last thing I would like to mention – while watching the marathon runners pass by us with less than a mile to cross the finish line, we saw a few amputees and individuals in wheelchairs. I believe completing a marathon when you are healthy is inspirational on its own, but this just blew me out of the water. Here is a picture of a female amputee close to finishing the race:

Dave found out more about her today. Her name is Melissa Stockwell and here is her Web site. The quote on the home page is “All of our dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” I couldn’t agree more! I have decided to pursue my own dream and start culinary school part-time this week! Wish me luck!