Chorizo and Eggs with Sun Salsa

Chorizo and Eggs

I think Spring is here, or it is coming!

I know I might be jinxing us but the sun has been shining and the temps are rising. My allergies have begun their annual attack (blagh!) but I am prepared and ready to fight back. Nothing is going to ruin spring for me, nothing!!!

I was so excited about the suns return that I knew I had to make my dad’s famous sun salsa. Of course we only ever had the salsa when we were having chorizo and eggs for breakfast. I think they are meant to be together, at least that is probably what my dad is going to say. This dish is also incredibly easy and since I wanted to soak up all the sun possible this weekend it proved to be a great dish to feature. Yes, this means I made something super fast so I could escape my kitchen and enjoy the sunshine, don’t be mad!

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Can I take a minute to say that I find dicing and chopping to be therapeutic. I think I just recently came to this conclusion. Maybe I am alone on this one but there is something kind of calming about dicing and chopping when you know how to work the knife. It is kind of like you get in to this rhythm and you could just dice all night long. Maybe the thought of this is terrifying because it does involved wielding a knife. I have cut myself enough times to know that even if you are in the zone you can still do some damage to your digits. Hopefully you don’t think that I come home from a stressful day and just pull out the knife, that would be crazy! Just know that I certainly don’t shy away from getting my dicing and slicing on!

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I learned how to make the salsa from my dad, I think he might tweak it every time he makes it but for some reason it still comes out exactly the same way. What he says is the magic is the sun, it’s amazing what the sun can do! It really is the best fresh salsa in the world!  I love all latin food and when you get fresh salsa’s or tortillas there is absolutely nothing better. In fact, this dish is not the same unless you have the fresh salsa because the fresh clean flavors compliment the boldness of the chorizo.

Salsa

Let’s take a minute and talk about Chorizo. I really like Chorizo and when the hubs and I went to Spain for our honeymoon I was majorly excited to get my chorizo eating on in addition to the cheese and jamon gorging that took place! P.S. I miss you Spain!

I do not like when a restaurant has Chorizo on the menu and I order thinking “oh yeah, here we go!” and this wannabe Chorizo appears before me. Chorizo needs to have a kick and a spice combination that I couldn’t even begin to decipher. Mexico and Spain treat Chorizo somewhat differently but no matter where you are it is going to be a unique bite, this is not your everyday Brat folks!

Chorizo

Luckily I have always been able to find chorizo in the main grocery stores which is nice. In Pittsburgh my parents would get their chorizo from a place in the Strip called Reyna Foods . Remember when we talked about the Strip, well Reyna is one of those places that has the best Latin ingredients. Of course you will see that they are known for amazing tortilla’s and chips which we never passed up on a visit to the store.

Chorizo and Eggs

 

I love this dish, it reminds me of home. It reminds me of Saturday’s in the Strip and salsa marinating on the porch. It really reminds me of spring and summer and hopefully making this will encourage the sun to stay a little bit, maybe even hang around for the next 6 or 7 months.

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Chorizo and Eggs 

3-4 servings

Ingredients:
2 Small Links of Soft Chorizo Sausage (Fresh) or 1 large link
2 Eggs
4 Corn or Flour Tortillas
Sun Salsa (Recipe Below)
Sour Cream (optional)
Mexican Cheese Blend (optional)
Fresh Cilantro Sprigs (optional)

Instructions:
Remove the chorizo from its packaging or casing and add to a skillet over medium heat. Cook the chorizo and break into small pieces similar to browning ground beef or pork. Once the chorizo starts to form little bits remove it from the heat and drain any excess grease, fully cooked chorizo should look like cooked ground turkey or beef. In a small bowl lightly beat the two eggs. Add your eggs to the chorizo and return to the heat cooking and stirring to incorporate the eggs into the chorizo. Cook until all of the egg is cooked through. Serve the chorizo-egg mixture in a tortilla topped with your favorite taco toppings and of course some fresh salsa that was marinating in the sun!

 

Sun Salsa

Yields – 2-3 cups

Ingredients:
1/2 Red Onion Diced
1 Green Bell Pepper Diced
2 Jalapeno Peppers Diced (remove seeds if you want a mild salsa)
2 Garlic Cloves Minced
3 Roma Tomatoes Diced (remove seeds)
1 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro Chopped
1 Tbsp.Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice
2 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a tight-fitting lid. Shake the bowl making sure to combine the ingredients as much as possible. Place the bowl outside or in direct sunlight and let marinate for an hour. Once marinated use freely and refrigerate any leftovers. For extra heat add a couple of drops of your favorite hot sauce.

Irish Coffee Pie

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Irish Coffee Pie

I made you this boozy pie courtesy of grandma’s recipe collection.

Booze

Folks, I am not going to lie. This pie tastes like straight booze, I am not even sure we can really call it a pie. In fact, I don’t recommend eating more than one slice of pie if you had hoped to drive somewhere after. Despite that warning I think it is the perfect treat for celebrating this holiday.

French Press

I am sure many of you spent your weekends celebrating and wearing green. If you have any party left in you then I suggest you whip up this baby up. I could have gone the whole corned beef and cabbage route but I am always reminded that this is not really an Irish dish so why should I continue to peddle the myth? My dad does make a pretty awesome corned beef and cabbage so I might just have to bring it out at another time. This pie may not be the national pie of Ireland but it has enough Irish Whiskey in it where you wont find yourself doubting the Irish connection.

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In other news, it is snowing again. I just CAN’T anymore. I loved winter once but now I am thinking it is time we went our separate ways. I keep trying to tell it that I want to move on and at first it seems to understand; it lets me have one day, one moment of happiness, and then it walks back in to my life and refuses to leave me alone. Winter why have you been so cruel?

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I think I’ll go eat another slice of pie and forget all about you!

Irish Coffee Pie

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
1 9-inch Graham Cracker Crust
1/2 Cup Cold Coffee (Bold)
3 Eggs
1 Pkg. Gelatin
1/4 Cup Cold Water
2/3 Cup Sugar (Divided)
1/4 Cup Kahlua
1/3 Cup Irish Whiskey
1/4 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Instructions:
Separate the yolks and the whites into two separate bowls. Dissolve the gelatin a bowl with the cold water. Gently beat your egg yolks. Combine your egg yolks, coffee, 1/3 cup of sugar and gelatin in a double boiler. Stir occasionally until the mixture begins to thicken, be mindful not to scramble the eggs. Once the mixture has thickened to the point that it coats your spoon you can remove it  from the heat. Add your Kahlua and whiskey to your egg mixture and stir. Allow the mixture to chill in the fridge. Once cooled add your egg whites to a mixing bowl and begin to whip, once your egg whites start to foam add your remaining sugar (1/3 cup) and continue mixing until the egg whites form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the cooled down coffee/liquor mixture. In another bowl whip your heavy whipping cream until it is stiff, careful not to over whip. Fold your whip cream in to the mix as well. Pour your mixture into the pie crust and chill until completely set. Top with shaved chocolate and serve.

Challah French Toast

Did you remember to set your clocks ahead? Happy Spring!!

Challah French Toast

I don’t particularly enjoy losing an hour of sleep but I do enjoy looking out the window at 6:00PM and still seeing the sun. It will make working late seem less late, maybe…

Sliced Challah

To celebrate the festive spring that is approaching I decided to make challah french toast for brunch, this happens to be a favorite in our household and something the hubby requests almost every other weekend. Since I was feeling loving I decided to indulge him and whip together this delicious version of french toast on what was also a particularly sunny and bright Sunday morning.

Eggs

Say what you will about all of those french toast varieties out there, Challah IS the only way to go! I can’t really remember french toast before I was introduced to Challah french toast. My mom used to make us french toast with day old baguette, I think this is as french as it gets, and don’t get me wrong, that was delicious but when you take a thick slice of Challah and work your french toasting magic you will never go back to french toast with other types of bread.

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When we lived in Philadelphia we used to get lunch at a place called Sabrina’s Cafe. If you have ever been to Philadelphia then you might already know about the brunch at Sabrina’s – which in my opinion happens to be the best in the city. Sabrina’s was famous for their Stuffed Challah French Toast, that is right, I said STUFFED. If you don’t know this already Challah is a sweeter bread, somewhat similar to your brioche or portuguese bread. If you are making french toast with any of these then you probably know it will be rich. Sabrina’s takes it a step further by stuffing the french toast with a sweet cheese and then trying to put some fruit on it to make it seem like it could still be healthy. It comes out on a plate and you realize immediately that the french toast might be bigger than your head. You do your best to demolish it and sometimes you are successful, other times you have to admit defeat. Gah, I just drooled on the keyboard thinking about this.

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I don’t do the stuffed version mostly because I like to think that only Sabrina’s can make it the right way so I wont even bother attempting it. I do like to make mine with a little burst of citrus which always makes it taste bright. Just so you know this is the kind of french toast that you could eat sans syrup. So yummy!

Challah French Toast

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:
1 Loaf of Challah
3 Eggs
1 Cup 1% Milk
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
2 Tsp. Brown Sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp. Lemon Zest
Butter

Instructions:
Slice your bread into 1-1 1/2 inch slices and set aside. It is best to use a loaf of Challah that is a day or two old but a fresh loaf will work just as well. In a shallow dish break your eggs and scramble. Add your milk and remaining ingredients to your eggs and mix together.

Heat a skillet to medium heat and melt 1 tsp. of butter in the pan, swirling to coat the pan. While the pan is heating place a slice of bread in the egg mixture, after a few seconds flip the slice over to soak on the other side. Using tongs, remove the bread from the mixture doing your best to let any excess liquid fall off. Place your bread in the pan and cook until it turns golden brown, flip and repeat on the other side. Repeat this process with the remaining slices of bread, add butter as needed. Keep your slices warm until you are ready to eat. Serve with fruit and powder sugar.

Shrimp Creole

Dear friends, it is almost Fat Tuesday so you know what that means…

Shrimp Creole

Mardi Gras treats!!

I have had the pleasure of being in New Orleans for Mardi Gras and I can say that it is something everyone should do at least once in their life. I didn’t do the whole Bourbon Street, flash for beads, debauchery all around, Mardi Gras experience, so hopefully you have not let your mind run wild with crazy thoughts. I get really jealous around this time of year because no city has a celebration that will ever match the one in New Orleans nor should any city try. I could hop on a plane and experience Carnival in Brazil but let’s be real, if I can’t get to New Orleans every year then I am certainly not getting to Brazil.

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For this year’s celebration I was lucky to stumble upon a recipe from my grandmother for Shrimp Creole. As I read the recipe I noticed that one ingredient she had left off the list was the SHRIMP…I guess it is a good thing it was called Shrimp Creole or I would have just assumed it was some weird tomato sauce. In fact the recipe was written in a very short hand format so I had to do some research to fill in some of the missing pieces. It was clear after doing the research that grandma had added her own twist to the dish (olives and mushrooms-not sure where grandma pulled those from). Don’t be afraid, she stayed true to the origins and any additional elements are minor. 

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I am not sure if my grandmother ever went down to New Orleans but I would imagine she would have liked the food and the music. I don’t think I would have suggested that she go down during Mardi Gras, frankly I can’t imagine anyone’s grandma down there for Mardi Gras (terrible images must now be erased from my mind). It is a great time though and New Orleans is a city so rich in culture and food tradition that it would be a shame to miss out. The hubby and I have been trying to plan a long weekend where we just eat, drink, and dance our way through New Orleans. Ok so if you haven’t done so already, go get yourself a King Cake and some cold Abita beer and do as they say, Laissez le bon temps rouler! 

Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole 

Yields 4-6 Servings

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. Butter
1/4 Cup Chopped Onion
1 Minced Garlic Clove
6 Olives Roughly Chopped
1 1/2 Cup Canned Whole or Diced Tomato
1/4 Cup Tomato Sauce
1/2 Cup Green Pepper Diced
1/2 Cup Celery Diced
1/4 Cup Mushrooms Sliced
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 Tsp. Dried Thyme
1 Tsp. Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp. Cayenne (Add more if desired)
1 Tsp. Sherry
1 Tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Lb. Shrimp Peeled and Deveined (Raw or Frozen)
1 Tsp. Chopped Parsley
White or Brown Rice for Serving

Instructions:
In a large skillet melt your butter over medium heat. Add your onions, garlic and olives and saute until the onions start to soften. You can cover the skillet for 2 minutes and stirring occasionally. Once your onions have started soften add all of your other ingredients except for your shrimp to the pan. Stir everything together and saute for a few minutes uncovered. Put a cover over the pan and drop the temperature to low-medium heat. Allow everything to cook until the sauce thickens. Once your sauce has thickened to the consistency you want you can add your shrimp and cook uncovered, stirring frequently until your shrimp have cooked, about 5-8 minutes or until pink. Once cooked remove from the heat and serve over rice. Garnish with the parsley. If you want your dish to be spicier you can add more cayenne or you can drop in a few dashes of Tabasco. Note: If you use canned whole tomatoes make sure to break them up during the cooking process. 

I have made some other dishes that would be great to celebrate the holiday and pay tribute to New Orleans. Check them out!

My Mom’s Famous Jambalaya 

Mom's Jambalaya #2

Crawfish Beignets 

Crawfish Beignets 3

Spinach, Mushroom, and Goat Cheese Frittata

It felt like spring for a minute and I was in love…

Spinach, Mushroom, Goat Cheese Frittata

I know I have discussed this subject in the past but can we talk about how awesome brunch is? I am not really one of those people who loves brunch because you can get lunch items. I really love brunch because breakfast is awesome and it forces us to slow down for a minute before the work week begins again.

Portobella Mushrooms

I have told you before that in my house Sunday brunch was/is the norm. Before all the restaurants started serving brunch until 4PM (really though?) my mom would whip up brunch every Sunday for our family. Breakfast on Saturday was your basic cereal or weekday breakfast treat, Sunday was the big show. When I come home to visit I always ask what is for breakfast on Sunday morning and if nothing is planned I make a huge fuss – true story.

tomatoes

When I was young I would wake up to the smell of bacon or potatoes cooking on the stove. That was back when I could sleep in until 2 if you let me. Being an adult with responsibilities and everything I find that I can’t sleep past 9, although it seems the hubby never has trouble sleeping in. JD tends to feel it is his job to make sure I wake up early and take him for a walk and then we can sit on the couch watching TV until it is time to start out day, dogs are so routine driven which is great until it’s a Saturday morning and JD needs to get up at 6:30AM to be walked and have his breakfast.

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Anyhow, since I grew up expecting a big breakfast on Sunday mornings I now find myself making a big breakfast on Sunday mornings even if it is just me home. If the hubby is away I find that I will still make a big brunch for myself and sit there wondering why I made so much food. I shrug and say, “it’s tradition”.

Frittata

I decided to make a frittata after being inspired by a couple of coworkers who made frittatas and brought them in for their own breakfast. Since spring might be around the corner I wanted to go with something light with a slight touch of richness from the goat cheese. I think it was very successful but you can make it and tell me your thoughts.

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Spinach, Mushroom, and Goat Cheese Frittata

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:
6 Eggs Scrambled
1 Tsp. Shallot Diced
1/4 Cup Portobello Mushroom Diced
1/2 Cup Baby Spinach Chopped
4 Cherry Tomatoes Sliced
1/4 Cup Goat Cheese Crumbled
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 375. Coat an oven proof, non-stick skillet with olive oil and heat. This recipe works well in a 8 inch skillet. Add your shallots to the pan and saute until they get soft. Add your mushrooms and saute for 1-2 minutes until they start to soften. Add your spinach and cook until it starts to wilt. Pour your scrambled eggs over your sautéed veggies and distribute your tomato slices on top, season with salt and pepper. Allow the eggs to cook without stirring. Once the bottom has set you can lift and tilt the skillet to allow the runny egg to distribute and cook evenly. When most of the frittata is set you can sprinkle the top with the goat cheese, place in the oven for 2-4 minutes or until the top is fully set (no runny egg remaining). Remove your skillet from the oven where you can serve it directly from the pan or you can flip the frittata on to a plate.

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