Mexican Chorizo Hash

What do the following four foods have in common?

Sweet potatoes.
Asparagus.
Brussels sprouts.

Stumped?  They’re foods that Big Guy didn’t really eat until we started dating.  It wasn’t that he didn’t like sweet potatoes, asparagus or Brussels, he claims he just wasn’t exposed to them (Terri and Carolyn – correct me if he’s wrong.)

Now what do these have in common?

Eggs.
Coffee.
Fish.

If you guessed these are foods that Big Guy doesn’t like, you would be correct.  These have always been on my list of “things not to prepare for dinner.”  But I must note that he’s a great eater – if he were to be served any of the above items (which he has been), he will eat them.  It’s not that he doesn’t like the taste of eggs and fish – he doesn’t like the texture.

But something happened in Sonoma.  Not only did we eat an egg at least once a day in some form or fashion but Big Guy started to enjoy the eggs.  Even the runny yolk eggs.

This is a game-changer.  I didn’t waste any time whipping up a dinner that incorporated a runny yolk egg.

 

Not only are eggs a great source of protein but they’re fairly inexpensive (though for our household I purchase cage-free, organic eggs since I do eat the yolks not cooked through).  The cholesterol in eggs gets a bad rap but unless you have high cholesterol, two eggs a day (including the yolk) is perfectly healthy.

Mexican Chorizo Hash is an incredibly simple dish that comes together in no time thanks to the limited list of ingredients and needing only one cooking pan.

Mexican chorizo is crumbled and browned in a skillet before adding in the chopped onion, roasted red pepper, salt and pepper.  A bag of fresh spinach is stirred in and cooked until wilted.

Once wilted, the chorizo mixture is removed from the pan and refrigerated pre-shredded hash brown potatoes (found near the eggs, if you’re curious) are added to the pan and cooked until crisp.

Stir in the sausage mixture and crack four eggs on top.  Cover and cook until the eggs are set.

Dinner’s ready!

The chorizo and roasted red pepper add just the right amount of flavor to the dish while the spinach amps up the nutritional value.  I loved the silkiness of the egg once the yolk cracked and smoothered the hash.  Runny eggs for the win.

So what food have you started eating because of a significant other?

I definitely did not drink red wine before Big Guy and I have to say I’ve started eating things from the backyard since we didn’t garden growing up.

 

Friday Favorites.

This past week snapped me back into reality fast and I think I’ve finally “recovered” from our trip to Sonoma.  After a long and busy week, I’m looking forward to opening a bottle of wine and relaxing this evening before a busy, busy Saturday and Sunday.  I’m sending warm thoughts to you all (and an early Spring!).

Favorite Belly Laugh:  Sushi Sandwiches.   We watched this YouTube video about 73 times in Sonoma.  And I still laugh every.single.time.

Favorite Glazed:  Old Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts.  The other night we were watching Best. Ever. on the Food Network and it was all about Best. Breakfast. Ever.  Some time during the episode Big Guy revealed that he has never had a sour cream doughnut.  Gasp.  Now if he’s telling the truth I need to show him the light.  The light to my most favorite doughnut.  Perhaps I need to recreate this soon so that he doesn’t shock anyone else with this confession.

Favorite Healthy:  Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad.  Between the roasted carrots, the cilantro vinaigrette and the creamy avocado this plate is simply gorgeous.  I love the contrast of cooked carrots and fresh avocado.  Texture heaven.

Favorite Inspiration:  You guys, I can’t stop thinking about updating our living room.  (Stop rolling your eyes, Big Guy.)  I’m just ready for something new.  And blues are on my mind.

Favorite Refreshing:  Coconut Clementine Green Smoothie.  There is a half-empty can of coconut milk in my fridge that is begging to be added to my smoothie mix.

Favorite Sweet ‘n Spicy:  Thai Pineapple Fried Rice.  I forget how much I love rice bowls until I have one.  And then I want another one.  I think Big Guy agrees with me on this.

Favorite Dip:  Butternut Squash Goat Cheese Dip.  I am totally on board with any dip that involves goat cheese.

Favorite Bite:  French Onion and Prosciutto Stuffed Mushrooms.  I don’t know how anyone could not like mushrooms.  But hey, whatever, more for me.

Favorite Space:  Oh look, here’s a blue and black living room.  Hint, hint.  Nudge, nudge.

Favorite Date Night:  The Montanara Pizza (Classic Fried Italian Pizza).  Pizza and a bottle of red wine from Sonoma sounds heavenly.

Favorite Sip:  Ginger Rosemary Zinger.  I’ve been eyeing the candied ginger in my pantry for quite some time and I knew I wanted to incorporate it into a cocktail.  This is the cocktail.

Cheers!

Crisp Cauliflower Fritters {and nacho goodness}

You have no idea how good it feels to be back in the kitchen.  In fact, that’s one of the things I miss most when I’m on vacation.

So on Sunday morning, I grabbed my green juice, textbooks cookbooks, a notepad and a pen and started menu planning for the week.  The menu came together quite easily and I have my craving for healthy food to thank.

But first let’s rewind to the glorious nachos that made my life complete on Sunday.  I’ve been craving nachos like WHOA and I knew that’s what we were going to have on Superbowl Sunday.  But we totally could not make up our minds as to what kind of nachos.  Big Guy was obsessing over the smoker so I finally gave in and the man had some one-on-one time with The Bandit while smoking ribs.  He smoked ‘em, bathed ‘em, grilled ‘em and sauced ‘em and finalllllllly we were able to make nachos.  In addition to the pork, the nachos included fontina queso, more cheese, salsa, Greek yogurt and jalapenos.  It’s what my nacho dreams are made of. And yes, I have nacho dreams.

I may or may not have also made a fun Superbowl drank for myself.  A ginger shandy that was a mix of 2 parts IPA, 1 part Ginger Beer and 1 part limeade.

I just couldn’t bring myself to drink wine with this mess of a platter and football.

Back to the Cauliflower Fritters…they seem so boring compared to the above.  But they’re not!

Despite the fact that I am not a lover of raw cauliflower I find it quite lovely when cooked.  And even more lovely with brightened by lemon zest.  These crispy vegetarian fritters are a combination of steamed, mashed cauliflower, chopped onion and shredded potatoes mixed with two eggs and and a little flour (I used rice-flour, but I think all-purpose would work best) to hold them together.  For flavor, garlic, lemon zest and cheddar cheese are added to the cauliflower mixture.  Once combined, form into fritters and lightly pan-“fry” until crisp and cooked through.

The fritters are served with a tangy sauce that combines Greek yogurt, a little mayo, lemon juice, green onions and a sprinkle of salt.  Do not serve the fritters without the sauce.  Trust me.

I know they aren’t near as pretty as the nachos but my body was actually craving this kind of meal made complete with a side salad.

feb dinner

And no, I didn’t stay up for the whole game.

I proudly made it until half-time.

 

 

 

West African Peanut Soup

Last Friday I claimed West African Peanut Soup as my “Favorite Spoonful.”  And not five minutes after the post went “live” I received an email from my husband (Big Guy) asking if “peanut soup” could be our Monday night dinner.  Never in a million years would I have imagined myself receiving emails from Big Guy requesting a vegetarian soup for dinner.  A.) While he always eats the vegetarian meals I serve, I know that his favorite dinners typically involve animal products.  B.)  Soup isn’t something he ever requests.

So guess what was on the menu for Monday night.  If you guessed “peanut soup,” you’re correct!  I wasn’t about to let this opportunity slip by as I’ve been flirting with West African Peanut Soup/Stew recipes for a couple of years and I never quite found the right recipe.

This particular recipe is actually quite simple though it brings together three ingredients you would never expect to be in a recipe together.  Peanut butter.  Tomato paste.  Collards.  I should also note that two of those three ingredients are two of Big Guys favorite things:  peanuts and collards.

But the ingredients work together in the most creamy and comforting way possible.

The soup is incredibly thick and filling and is best served over a bed of rice with a sprinkle of crunchy peanuts on top for a little texture.  And Big Guy has now deemed this the “best vegetarian” meal I’ve prepared EVER.  That’s saying something.  And he even asked if I could make it again.  (Maybe next year, honey.)

The flavors are incredible thanks to the addition of ginger, garlic and Sriracha.  Oh, and peanut butter (all.the.peanut.butter.).

And yes, the elephant background was totally planned.

Weekend Review {red wine braised beef shank}

And just like that, the weekend comes to an end and another work week begins.  But before we get the work part started, let me rewind.

Friday evening we had plans to attend the first wine dinner of 2015 with our wine club, Friends of the Vine.  The wine dinner was a 90+ Point Wine dinner.

We sipped our way through dinner with two whites, two reds and a dessert wine.  The wine that surprised me the most was a chardonnay that was poured during the social hour.  I typically do not enjoy chardonnays but this particular one was not oaky and butter but instead crisp and refreshing.  The syrah was a wine that was much better with food and the sauvignon blanc was the perfect balance of grassy and grapefruit.  Such a fun evening with new and old friends.

Saturday we found ourselves heading to Raleigh to run errands and enjoy lunch.  Once home, we got started on the Red Wine Braised Beef Shank.  Beef shank is a new-to-my-kitchen ingredient as we typically find ourselves leaning to recipes utilizing short ribs.  I was excited to cook a new cut of meat.  Especially when braised in red wine.

The recipe comes from the Easy Gourmet cookbook by the blogger i am a food blog.  The beef shank is seasoned liberally with salt and pepper before being seared in a Dutch oven until browned on each side (about 5 minutes).

Smashed garlic, mushrooms, tomato paste, and a quartered onion is sauteed before adding in the red wine, a little water and a sprig of rosemary.  The beef shank cooks low for about 4 hours.

While dinner was cooking, we enjoyed cocktail hour and a movie (Taken 2).  I made myself a French 75 with gin, fresh lemon and simple syrup.

Several hours later, dinner was ready.  I served the braised beef shank over a creamy bowl of polenta.

The braised beef shank was incredibly tender and the mushrooms were one of my favorite components of the meal.

The perfect bowl of comfort for a date night at home.

Sunday came way too fast but was quite the productive day as we prepared for the upcoming weekend festivities.  Big Guy broke in his new (and bigger) smoker, The Bandit.  Smokey will be finding a new home soon where we knew he’ll be loved and taken care of well.  I also prepped lots and lots of barbecue sauce.

Looking at the calendar we are quite busy the next several weekends so it was nice to enjoy some time at home as well as getting things done around the house.

Ok, Monday, let’s do this.

 

{Virtual} Coffee Chat

One of the things I loved most about my two-week break from work during the holiday season was sipping coffee and chatting with everyone and anyone in the room.  Some days it was my Momma while we were in Charlotte.  Some days it was Big Guy and his Dad when we were in Red Springs.  And other days it was just Big Guy and me (note:  he definitely was not drinking coffee).  But I loved to have someone to talk to or to simply enjoy the pleasant silence that was between us.  Now I’m back at work and I sip my coffee while catching up on emails.  It’s not near as fun as it was last week.  So let’s pretend I’m not catching up on emails and let’s chat!

 

If we were having coffee this morning… I would share with you the 10 Kitchen Habits to Adopt in 2015.  The one I really want to see more of in my kitchen is hosting dinners for others.  Whether it’s a simple dinner at home with another couple or co-hosting and really pulling out all the stops.

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If we were having coffee this morning… I would share with you that my love of sushi isn’t going anywhere.  We ate sushi three times in two weeks.  Totally a new record for us.

If we were having coffee this morning… I would talk to you about the 13 Food World Predictions for 2015.  I can get on board with the gyro trend but I’m not so sure about marijuana being on the menu.

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If we were having coffee this morning… I would probably talk about how delicious our end to 2014 ended up being.  Like I mentioned (or perhaps you saw on Instagram), we dined at SoCo and enjoyed a 6-course dinner with French wine pairings.  It was absolutely incredible with some truly unique plates of food.  It’s a night of eating I won’t soon forget.

If we were having coffee this morning… I would recommend the cookbook, America Farm to Table by Mario Batali.  This was a gift from my brother for Christmas and I am so excited to cook more from the book.  This past Saturday we made fried oysters and they were perfect.  Salty, crunchy on the outside, sweet and not at all mushy.

If we were having coffee this morning…  I would tell you that I’m buying a new camera.  No, I’m not taking up photography.  But in college I was always “that” girl that had the camera in her purse and caught hilarious moments on camera.  Unfortunately, “that” girl has broken several cameras either by getting it wet at a bar (true story) or dropping it on the dance floor at a wedding.  But I’m 31 now and I would like more than just my iPhone to capture memories.  My father-in-law (hi, butch!) researched cameras for me and I’m excited to make a little investment.

If we were having coffee this morning…  I would catch you up to speed on the “gym drama.”  (HAH!)  But seriously.  On the newest group fitness exercise schedule they removed our favorite class and teacher.  And we’re super bummed.  And we’re not being quiet about.  Hopefully they’ll add it back A to the SAP before we all freak out.

If we were having coffee this morning…  I would leave you with this thought:

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Happy Birthday, Big Guy! {32}

It’s not so bad having more than one reason to celebrate.  Happy Birthday, my love!

And while I wish I could tell you that I have something absolutely fantastic planned for his 32nd birthday celebration, I can’t.  Instead, he’s taking me out to dinner for an amazing 6-course dinner with our best friends.

But I can tell you that Big Guy deserves celebrating for more than I can name.  Big Guy is not only my husband and best friend but he’s the taster of anything and everything that I cook.  He’s the guy that lets the weather determine what he drinks (Makers if it’s cold, Tito’s if it’s warm).  He is quite handsome in a bow tie but he is most comfortable in his flip-flops, old fishing t-shirts, and Aftco shorts.  He’s the life of the party.  And the first one to say something inappropriate.  And he’ll call you out if you’re being aggressive.  He has a heart the size of Texas and Elf makes him cry at the end.  He’s the biggest kid I know and his favorite holidays are Christmas and the 4th of July.  He’s obsessed with Lilly Pulitzer and Tory Burch shoes (not for himself, obviously).  He refuses to wear cologne and he’ll only use bar soap.  He’s the hardest worker I know and he works endless hours during the week so that we can enjoy weekends together.  He’s the head of our little household but he lets me be in charge of the kitchen.  He makes sure our yard is always the best looking in the neighborhood and he isn’t afraid to pull me outside and make me walk across the street to see his good work.  He melts my heart when he’s with Haines and Deacon (our niece and nephew) and I love that my family loves him as much as they love me.

Basically, he’s the best.

And he’s all mine.

And while we celebrate his birthday, we also celebrate the past year.  It’s been a fun one!

Hawaii.

Raleigh date nights.

Hosting a luau.

Celebrating our 1-year anniversary at The Fearrington.

Kentucky Derby at the Club.

Ocean Isle Beach trips.

Spontaneous Savannah.

Fire in the Triangle.

Cooking.

Lots of cooking.

Pirate football.

Tampa.

Wine.

And more wine.  (even red wine.)

2014 was an amazing year.  And I can’t wait to see what 2015 (and 32!) has in store for us.