Egg-in-the-Hole or Egg-in-a-Nest or Egg-in-a-Basket or Whatever You Call It, It’s Good!

Armed with a simple cookie cutter, this recipe transforms breakfast for even the most reluctant eater.  It’s essentially eggs and toast with a twist, but kids love the fun of it!

  • 1 slice bread (We use whole grain, but you could you whichever is your favorite)
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pats butter
  • Optional:  A sprinkle of omelet-friendly ingredients, such as a grated cheese or diced veggies

Use a cookie cutter to cut a shape from the bread.  Our hen cookie cutter is the family favorite!

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In a pan set to medium-low, melt a pat of butter, fry the cutout until golden brown on both sides, and set aside.  Melt the second pat of butter in the pan and add the frame.  You have some options here:  Either crack the egg directly into the hole or scramble first.  If you go with the latter option, you can add omelet-friendly ingredients, such as a sprinkle of cheddar cheese or a tiny bit of cut veggies.  Season with salt and pepper.

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Fry until golden brown on both sides or until egg reaches desired doneness.  You can either break the yolk or leave it whole and runny for dipping with the cutout.  Serve warm.

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Any Morning French Toast

A breakfast classic!  This is by far the most requested breakfast item in our house.  The children love the flavor and mommy loves that it is a way to regularly enjoy our hen’s bounty whilst frugally reclaiming stale bread that would otherwise be thrown away.

  • 1 slice of your favorite bread (We use a whole grain for weekday breakfasts, broiche or other egg-based bread for the occasional fancy weekend brunch, and most importantly to use up whatever bread that has gone stale)
  • 1 egg
  • 1-3 Tbsp milk (This depends on the size of the egg, the staleness of the bread, and your own preference)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 pat of butter
  • drizzle of local honey and/or maple syrup (Use this to serve atop the finished french toast and/or mix it into the egg mixture prior to cooking)

Scramble together the egg, milk, cinnamon and optional honey/syrup.  Add bread and allow to soak up the liquid.  In a pan heated to medium low, melt the butter and then add the toast.  Cover.  Cook until golden browned on each side, flipping once.  Serve warm.

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Traditional Flan (Pudim Flan)

What sweeter way to use up farm fresh eggs than with a Portuguese flan?!

Egg Note: Do consider the size of the eggs in the recipe. Oddly enough, there isn’t much difference in yolk size from a small to a jumbo egg, but the white part changes in volume rather dramatically. What does this mean? If you are using small eggs, which are usually from younger or bantam chickens, this will mean that you will have a richer, yolkier flan because the yolk to white ratio is much higher. When small eggs are what I have on hand, I will use 10 small eggs instead of 8 large eggs and two egg yolks.

Traditional Flan (Pudim Flan)

Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

Make sure you have flan dish. You can purchase Portuguese flan mold at a specialty store or use 6-8 individual ramekins.

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Simmer over medium low heat until the syrup caramelizes and turns a deep golden brown. Keep an eye on this pot because it will go from boiling sugar…

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… to perfect golden brown caramel in seconds. Likewise it can go from perfect golden to to burnt in seconds, too. It take about 5-10 minutes for the color to develop.

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At this point you have a choice… You can either pour ALL the sugar into a large flan mold or 6-8 individual ramekins OR you can pour about a 1/4 cup of the stuff into the custard and the rest into the flan mold.   My father-in-law’s family does the former and mother-in-law’s family does the latter.  In her version, the caramel in the flan infuses the whole custard with that caramel flavor and makes it much darker in color.  Either way, remember that hot sugar syrup burns so make sure you are careful and use pot holders! Rotate the pan to coat both the bottom and sides and set aside.

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Custard:

  • 4 cups (1 quart) whole milk
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • peel of one lemon without the pith (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp port wine (optional)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks

Heat the oven to 350F. Beat the eggs, sugar, and milk together until frothy. Add the cinnamon stick and lemon peel if using. Heat on the stovetop until warm. Remove from the heat and add the port wine if using. Strain into the prepared mold(s).

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Place the custard dish into a water bath, which is quite easy to make: Simply place an oven-safe dish into the preheated oven, put the custard dish inside, and fill with boiling water until it comes halfway up the custard dish.

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Bake 45 minutes or until knife inserted in the middle of the custard comes out clean. If you are using smaller ramekins, 35 minutes should be enough.

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Chill completely before unmolding by topping with a large plate and flipping upside down.

Peach Strike Season Solutions: Seriously Peachy Bundt Cake

August means it’s “Peach Strike Season!”  What is this annual Bibliopharm event?  It’s the time of year when my daughter is so sick of seasonal harvest that she simply refuses to eat another peach, tomato, zucchini, etc.  So when faced with More-Ripe-Whatever-Than-I-Know-What-To-Do-With I’m looking for options my family might just eat and dessert is always a winner.  This recipe was inspired by Ina Garten’s Fresh Peach Cake.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour a bundt pan.*

PEACHES:  Toss together and set aside…

  • a shy 1/2 peck bag of peaches, sliced
  • 1/4 cup flour

CINNAMON-SUGAR: Toss together and set aside…

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

CAKE:

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream (you can substitute plain yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Cream the butter and sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined.

Fold in the peach-flour mixture.

Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top and marble by running a knife in a swirling motion through the batter.

Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let rest for 10 minutes and then de-Bundt.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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* This cake can get sticky and may be difficult to remove from the pan cleanly.  If you’re counting on the picture perfect cake, make sure you butter and flour a non-stick bundt (I used a stoneware Bundt this time and some was left behind only to be pieced together and sprinkled with powdered sugar to help hide the cosmetic imperfection).  You can also butter, flour, and use parchment paper in two bread loaf pans and utilize the paper like a sling and to lift out the cake.  To make the cake less likely to stick, you can omit the cinnamon-sugar because when that caramelized goodness hits the pan it doesn’t want to let go.   Yet another option is to go  lighter on the peaches (the original recipe called for only three!) to provide the cake with greater structural stability.  Of course, you could always just cut and serve it directly from the cooking vessel, in which case I would use either a nonreactive (i.e. Pyrex or Corningware–type glass) loaf or 9×13″ pan.  Anyway, happy recipe tinkering!

Fresh Apricot Tart

Fresh apricots are available locally for a brief, but glorious season.  They shine in this European-style rustic tart or galette.

  • 1/2 recipe butter pie crust
  • generous 1/2 of a 1/4 peck bag fresh apricots, washed, pitted, and halved
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 bantam-sized egg, lightly scrambled
  • 1 Tbsp coarse sugar
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 Tbsp water

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Toss the apricots, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl.  Roll out the pie crust and transfer to a baking dish (I recommend using parchment paper or nonstick aluminum foil so the tart doesn’t stick).  Arrange the apricots on the crust and fold the edges around.  If the apricots are falling over and pushing the crust out, you can use toothpicks or skewers to hold it together while baking.  Use a pastry brush to coat the top of the pie crust with the egg.  Sprinkle the egg-washed crust with coarse sugar.  Bake for 60-70 minutes at 350F.

Allow tart to come to room temperature.  Mix apricot preserves with water to form a glaze.  Using a pastry brush, glaze the apricots with the preserves mixture.   Enjoy!

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Our First Garlic Braids

The garlic was ready to harvest this week!  It’s the final part of the glorious garlic cycle:  Cloves planted in the fall, harvested some early bulbs for their tender garlic greens in pesto, and chopped off the flower scapes for the grill.  I thought I’d try my hand at making garlic braids this year.  I found this fabulous youtube tutorial for hard neck garlic and here are the results!  I feel so crafty!

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Pickling my Share

You can pickle anything.

I think.

But I know you can pickle crunchy vegetables.  Chop up the veg and put them into a clean glass jar.  You can recycle an old tomato sauce jar if you have it.  Then boil the brine and pour it over them. Add boiling water to top (about 1 cup).  Experiment with cut up pieces of beetroot, kohlrabi, green beans, daikon radish, carrots, peppers, cauliflower, and of course, cucumbers.  They can be ready to eat by the next day.  They keep in the refrigerator for months and develop more of the pickling flavor with time.  This makes enough brine for 2-24oz. ball jars.

  • Pickling Veggies cut into pieces, slices, or sticks to your preference
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Spices (This can be dill fronds and dill seeds for classic flavors or spice it up with the addition of hot peppers or go crazy with some Indian curry… the sky is the limit, but try to use whole spices.  If you must use ground, reduce the amount to under a tsp and allow them to settle to the bottom of the jar.)

This time I used a red beet and a “candy cane” beet with a hot pepper brine in one jar (right).  The other jar (left) is a curried pickle containing a golden beet, a kohlrabi bulb, and a few pieces of the candy candy beet that didn’t fit in the first jar.

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