June 23, 2013

Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs

 Deviled eggs are making a comeback! I adore eggs in every form, but deviled eggs are a special indulgence due to their extra-rich, creamy filling. For these deviled eggs I stole a note from twice-baked potatoes... that is, take the filling out, whip it together with extra fat (mayo for this, butter for potatoes)... and more fats like cheese and bacon... and then put it back in. This is how the ordinary becomes amazing!

I made these eggs for our book club picnic. We read David Sedaris's "Me Talk Pretty One Day," which is a hilarious compilation of short stories. Since the stories are brief, we made our bites brief, too.

From sliders, to mini pies, to cute little bunches of veggies tied up with a sprig of parseley, all of our menu items were small.

These eggs might be bite sized, but they're certainly not small on flavor! Don't underestimate just how luscious these cheddar-bacon filled deviled eggs are, and plan to make a few for each person you're serving to.

After all, I've never been friends with anyone who would say no to something with bacon and cheese... And since my book club ladies are some of the best, these eggs flew right off the plate and into our laughing, happy, story-telling mouths.

Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs: makes 24
1 dozen hard-boiled eggs (directions below)
4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
1/4 of a medium white onion
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/8 teaspoon paprika, plus more for sprinkling
salt to taste

Directions: To hard boil the eggs, place the eggs in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Turn off and remove from the heat and allow to stand 12 minutes. Drain the eggs and shake in the pan to lightly crack the shells (this allows the cold water to get under the shells and aids with peeling). Fill the pan with cold running water for 2 minutes. Peel all of the eggs and set aside.

Cut each egg in half and gently remove the yolk with a small spoon. Add the white onion, mayo, and sharp cheddar to the food processor and process for a minute. Add the paprika and yolks and process until very smooth. Salt to taste. Crumble 3 bacon slices and stir into the yolk filling. Use a frosting piping bag to pipe the bacon cheddar filling back into each egg half. Crumble or slice the last bacon piece into 24 small pieces. Add a small bacon piece to the top of each egg mixture and gently sprinkle with the remaining paprika.

Chill. Can be made 4 hours ahead.

June 4, 2013

Fried Brown Rice with Tofu

That tofu in the fridge was creeping toward its "use by date." It was in stiff competition with the remaining BBQ leftovers from Memorial Day -- packages of hot dogs, hamburgers, buns, all begging to be cooked and eaten -- along with leftover pizza and pastas from a night out to dinner where Matt and I managed to grossly over-order, as if we might never eat again.

There simply weren't enough dinner-times in the week to give all those items a rightful spot in the repertoire! Sorry burgers and dogs, you're getting re-located to the freezer for use another day. Pizza, you'll get taken for lunch until you're done. As for dinner, it's tofu's time to shine.

It has been a while since we had Chinese food so I decided on fried rice. It's a one dish meal that seemed simple to make while satisfying major cravings for takeout. Add in tons of healthy veggies and protein packed tofu, and it was a dinner winner.

I think you'll really enjoy  my version, which uses the more toothsome and nutty brown rice instead of traditional white. Brown rice also has more nutrients, so it's a better bang for your meal buck. The coating on this fried rice is a bit more robust, too, with the use of dark soy sauce.

Needless to say, I made heaps of it with the intention of creating (yet more) leftovers.... and we ended up with barely any! That empty fry pan speaks volumes!

Fried Brown Rice with Tofu: serves 4-6
3 cups uncooked brown rice, rinsed thoroughly
vegetable oil (keep the bottle handy)
1 package extra-firm tofu, rinsed and patted dry
2 tablespoons regular reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 eggs + 1 tablespoon water, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Sriracha, divided
1 white onion, cut into large dice
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 bag of frozen mixed Chinese vegetables
2 cups frozen peas
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1/4 cup Mirin
2 tablespoons hoisin
1 tablespoon (plus more to taste) sesame oil
salt to taste

Cook the brown rice according to the package directions. I used a rice cooker, but a pot works just as well. Once the rice is just-cooked and chewy in texture, spread out on a baking sheet to cool and dry out slightly.

While the rice is cooking, prepare your tofu by cutting it into 16 equal cubes and pressing to dry. In a small bowl, mix the low-sodium soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of Sriracha. Toss the tofu in this mixture and set aside to absorb.

While your rice is cooling, in a very large skillet or a wok, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-low heat. Add the eggs and cook as a flat omelet for 2 minutes, then break up into pieces. Remove from skillet into a medium sized bowl and set aside.

Heat the skillet to medium-high again. Add about 1/4 cup oil, or enough to generously coat the pan. Add the tofu and allow to cook until browning and crisping on the sides, stirring only every few minutes. Add the onions halfway through and allow to cook until golden and soft. Add the garlic and stir one minute. Remove tofu and onions to the bowl with the eggs.

Heat another 1/4 cup oil in the skillet and now add the rice, frozen vegetables, peas. Stir often, allowing the rice to crisp and the vegetables to heat through. Whisk together the dark soy sauce, Mirin, hoisin, sesame oil, and remaining Sriracha. Pour over the rice and stir to coat, salting to taste, as well.

Add the tofu, onions, and eggs back in and stir to combine well and heat through before serving.


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