Oswald Rivera

Author, Warrior, and Teacher

Category: eggs (page 2 of 2)

Creamed Spinach with Baked Eggs

This recipe is my take on a Mediterranean favorite. Spinach with bake eggs is a popular dish in Spain, where they serve the eggs and spinach in individual ramekins or small cups. I’ve also seen it in Greek cuisine. In my version, the spinach is cooked with various seasonings and heavy cream. Then the eggs are baked on top. For the baking part you can use a reliable baking dish. But my preference is always for cast-iron. It’s a family thing. My mom cooked with cast-iron and so do I; and that goes for the baking part as well.

This recipe makes a great brunch dish. But it can also be served as a dinner entrée. With dinner, I serve it along with a grain, be it rice, couscous, or even kasha. A good crusty loaf of bread, a light wine, and you can’t go wrong.

CREAMED SPINACH WITH BAKED EGGS

1 medium onion, peeled and cut into thin rings
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 bunches fresh spinach leaves, about 1 1/4 pounds, coarsely chopped
2 clove garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Heat butter in a heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent.
3. Add spinach and cook, covered, stirring a couple of times, until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Remove lid, add garlic. Cook, stirring, until most excess liquid is evaporated, 2-4 minutes.
4. Add cream, salt, pepper, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Crack each egg into a section of the pan. Place in middle of oven and bake until eggs are set, about 15 minutes.
    Yield: 4 servings.
 

Rice with Cheese and Creamed Eggs

In our culture, rice comprises a main component. It’s not only just a side dish. In most cases it constitutes a major part of the meal whether it’s something like Arroz con Pollo (rice and chicken) or Asopao (a hefty stew), or fragrant yellow rice. When my horizons expanded, I discovered there were other methods of preparing rice—such as Italian Risotto, or Indian cumin rice, or Chinese fried rice (by the way, an American invention). The Risotto, combining Arborio rice with broth and grated cheese fascinated me. And I began experimenting, and I came up with this beauty—a simple rice with cheese and a sauce of creamed eggs. In this case, the sauce is simplicity itself: Take a can of cream soup (I like cream of mushroom) and combine it with eggs and the rice. For the cheese, you can use any cheese desired. It could be grated Parmesan, or Swiss, Gruyere, Gouda, Romano, Monterey Jack, etc. For this recipe, I used Cheddar. Whatever cheese ingredient used, you get a hearty, rich, delicious and inexpensive meal, great by itself or served with fish, seafood or meat.

In this dish, the rice is mixed with saffron, to give it that unique taste and color so revered in our cooking. If you don’t have (or can’t afford saffron) then turmeric will give the same glow and coloring. This is something acquired from Indian cuisine. It gives the dish that added oomph. As an added treat, the rice can be served in a ring mold. If you don’t have a mold, take any round pan or pot (with enough space to hold the rice), rinse the pan under cold running water, and stuff it with the cooked rice. Let it sit a couple of minutes. Then unmold, tapping the top of the pan gently, on a plate. Pour the sauce atop the rice, and you got a highfalutin continental dish.    

RICE WITH CHEESE AND CREAMED EGGS

1 1/2 cups rice
2 cups water
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon saffron or turmeric
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese (or any variety desired)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) cream of mushroom soup
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup diced canned pimentos
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
6 hard-cooked eggs, quartered

1. In a 2-quart saucepan or pot, bring the water to a boil. Add rice, saffron and olive oil. Mix well, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender and all the liquid has been absorbed (20 minutes to 1/2 hour).
2. Stir in cheese. Cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.
3. While rice is cooking, melt butter in a skillet or fry pan. Add onion and saute until soft and translucent. Stir in mushroom soup, water, pimentos, and parsley.
4. Add eggs and heat briefly.
5. Layer rice/cheese mixture into a ring mold (or individual custard cups) packing tightly with a spoon. Unmold rice ring on a serving plate. Spoon egg sauce over rice, or over individual rice molds.
    Yield: 6 servings.

Eggah – Arabic Egg Cake

Most authorities regard eggah as a dish in Arab cuisine that is similar to an omelet or frittata. Some would say it’s like a tortilla. I would say it’s more like an egg cake.  In fact, eggah is nothing like an omelet (or omelette). To my mind, an omelet is something light and fluffy. Eggah is nothing like that.  It generally has a filling of chicken, meat, vegetables or noodles. And it’s big, about an inch thick or more. You cut it into slices like a cake. And some cooks bake it in a rectangular dish and serve it in squares like Sicilian pizza.

In Arabic culture, eggah can be served as an appetizer, side dish or even an entree. And it can be eaten hot or cold. As noted, it can be cooked in the oven or on top of the stove. If doing the latter, you require a good, heavy frying pan, preferably cast-iron. Also, the dish should be cooked on low heat for the eggs to set. Butter, usually clarified butter, is used to cook the dish. I depart from this in that I prefer extra virgin olive oil. Another fact: in Iraq the dish is called kuku. I don’t know why.

EGGAH WITH CHICKEN AND NOODLES

1 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed. Note: you can also used leftover  
   cooked chicken—as long as it’s been boned
1 pound tagliatelle or fettuccine noodles
4 eggs
3 cardamon pods, cracked (these can be found in any Asian, Indian or Arabic store)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

1. To cook chicken breasts: just place them in a pot with water to cover, bring to a boil, lower heat and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes; then cube or cut into small pieces.
2. Cook the noodles according to package direction, but only until al dente. Do not overcook. You can add the chicken stock from the chicken breasts used in the water for boiling the noodles. Drain and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the chicken, noodles, cardamom, salt and pepper, and mix well to combine.
4. Heat oil in a large frying pan or heavy skillet. Add the egg mixture and cook over very low heat for about 1/2 hour, or until the mixture sets. Brown the top under the broiler for about 2 minutes.
5. Top with parsley and serve as is in the pan, cutting into slices. Or, if desired, unmold onto a serving dish and serve that way.
    Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Picture: courtesy of Pinterest

Stuffed Eggs Seville Style

When I was growing up, one of the favorite dishes we had in the family was stuffed eggs (think of deviled eggs). But our method was called stuffed eggs “Seville style.” My Uncle Phillip, of late memory, swore that this was the way they prepared eggs in Seville. I have no historical proof of this. We just took him at his word. We know that Seville (Sevilla – “Seh-Vee-Yah” in Spanish) is a city in Southern Spain. It was under Muslim rule for over 400 years and it could have been the Muslims who introduced this type of dish to the region. Again, this is all conjecture on my part. If somebody out there has more accurate information, please let me know.

The dish itself is very easy to prepare. All you need is eggs, olives, onion, mayo and Worcestershire sauce. That’s it. It’s quick and convenient and will impress family and company. The recipe is from my first cookbook, Puerto Rican Cuisine in America  (Perseus Books – Running Press). Enjoy.
 HUEVOS RELLENOS A LA SEVILLA
       (Stuffed Eggs Seville Style) 

8 hard boiled eggs
1/2 cup chopped pimento stuffed olives
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1. Slice eggs in half lengthwise and remove yolks. Set the hollow whites aside.
2. In a bowl, combine yolks, olives, onions, mayonnaise, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well.
3. Stuff the hollow egg whites with the egg-yolk mixture.
4. Place in a serving dish the refrigerator and chill.
    Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Photo: courtesy of Real Simple – Life Made Easier

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Zabaglione

Two Zabaglione Served in Stem Glasses with Lady Fingers

Martino Rossi, nee Martino da Como, nee Martino de Rubeis, nee Giovanni Rosselli, was also known as Maestro Martino (Martino the master), presumably because of his cooking prowess as shown in  his four manuscripts known as Libro de Arte Coquinaria. This is an extremely important book in the history of cuisine. It was the first cookbook that had somewhat precise recipes and was well organized. It was printed in Latin in 1475, then in Italian, French, and English; and it was a popular treatise well into the 1700s.

In his magnum opus, Martino Rossi describes a dessert comprised of eggs yolks, sugar,cinnamon, and sweetish wine. He calls it Zabaglione (roughly translated: eggnog). Today, Zabaglione is one of Italy’s most famous desserts. Rossi says that Zabaglione should be served when “it soils the spoon.” (translation: when it is so thick it sticks to the spoon). Modern Zabaglione is made just prior to serving, usually in a copper sauce pot, and should be served immediately after it has thickened.

ZABAGLIONE

6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup marsala wine
1 tablespoon white wine

1. Mix  all of the ingredients in the top of a double boiler. Cook over boiling water, beating the mixture constantly until it warms and thickens.
2. Remove from heat and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy. Serve in a serving bowl or individual cups or glasses. The Zabaglione, though thickened, should be soft, smooth, and light. One may have to add more or less sugar and/or wine depending on the consistency desired, some prefer it heavier, some prefer it lighter.
   Yield: 4 servings.

Note: In some quarters, modern day Zabaglione is served over Italian macaroons (amaretti). Simply crumble the macaroons in the bottom of a serving bowl and pour the Zabaglione on top.

Photo: courtesy of StockFood/Paul Poplis Photography, Inc.

Deviled Eggs

One of my favorite appetizers is deviled eggs. I could eat a dozen at a time. Something about deviled eggs that is habit forming; like peanuts, you just can’t eat one. Deviled eggs are a simple convenience—hard boiled eggs cut in half, with the egg yolk mixed with mustard, mayonnaise and other ingredients. Nothing could be simpler. Question is: why are they called “deviled eggs?” According to the Oxford Companion to Food, the word “deviled” first appeared as a culinary term in the 18th century, and it meant “to cook something with fiery hot spices or condiments.” It stands to reason since heat and the devil have always had something in common (think of Hell). By the 19th century in America, “deviled” was applied to a variety of spicy dishes, inclusive of “deviled eggs.”

According to the TV show The Secret Life Of. . . . on the Food Network, deviled eggs originated in ancient Rome, where the use of spices or spicy sauces with eggs was very common. As one cane see, the dish has a noble and storied history. And in the 1950s and 60s it took off in America as a widely popular snack. In fact, they became so popular that a special tray was created to serve them.

The recipe given below is from Mrs. Alba Rosario Parsons, neighbor and dear friend in Vermont. The recipe has been in her family for ages. 

DEVILED EGGS

6 hard cooked eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Gulden’s mustard
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Paprika for garnish
1/4 cup chopped stuffed Spanish olives

Peel the eggs. Cut them in half, and remove the yolk to a small bowl. Mash them with a fork, and add the mayonnaise, mustard, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Using a spoon, fill up the empty egg halves with the mixture. Sprinkle lightly with paprika, and top with chopped olives.

Note: Instead of using a spoon, you can also make a hole at the end of a plastic ziplock baggy, put the mixture inside, and use the baggy as as sieve to fill the egg halves.

Caption: courtesy of photobucket.

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Tortilla Española

One of most popular food in the Spanish speaking Caribbean is a tortilla (pronounced: tor-tee-jah) But to us this is very different from the common Mexican-style tortilla. In Mexico, a tortilla is a flat bread; actually a flat thin cake made of corn or flour. Mexican corn tortillas are commonly eaten throughout America and Europe as tortilla chips. They are the mainstay of such dishes as enchiladas, tostadas, and flautas. What we know as the popular “taco” is usually made with a corn tortilla, a staple not only of Mexican cuisine but of Tex-Mex food as well.

A Spanish tortilla is different altogether. It is a round omelet-like egg dish originating in Spain. It is normally made with beaten eggs, pieces of potatoes and other ingredients such as bell peppers, onions and chives. The dish is cooked slowly in a little oil, and served hot or cold. In the Rivera family we have always referred to Spanish tortilla as just a plain Spanish omelet; and we’ve kept the same family recipe for generations.Only difference is we omit the potatoes. Don’t ask me why. That’s the way my mother has always prepared it.

So, here follows our version of the Tortilla Española  (or Spanish omelet). It’s from my first cookbook, Puerto Rican Cuisine in America (Thunders Mouth Press)

TORTILLA ESPAÑOLA (Spanish Omelet)

1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 medium  sweet red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
8 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1. Heat oil in  large non-stick frying pan or skillet. Add onions, green and red peppers and garlic. Stir-fry over moderate heat until vegetables are tender (about 5 minutes).
2. Add tomatoes and cook 3 minutes more.
3. In a bowl, beat eggs lightly and add salt, pepper and oregano.
4. Add eggs to vegetables and cook over moderate-high heat, letting the eggs set in the bottom and sides of the pan.
5. When the eggs start to brown, reduce heat to low and cook until upper part is dry.
6. Here you have a choice, either:
     A. Run a spatula or knife around the outside of the tortilla. Place  a large serving plate over the pan and     quickly flip the tortilla onto the plate. Slide the tortilla back into the frying pan and cook until set on the other side (about 10 minutes).
Or:
     B. Place tortilla pan under the broiler and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. (Be sure the pan has an oven-proof handle).
7. Serve the tortilla cut into wedges as you would a pie.
     Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

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