Category Archives: Breakfasts

Going For It: Sage and Chevre Popovers

A perfect way to start a Saturday morning.

One of the things I love most about writing this blog, is becoming friends with people all over the world; hearing their stories, sharing recipes, being buoyed by their adventures, and trading kitchen tips and tricks. I am humbled by people’s honesty, in their triumphs and in tragedy, and I so appreciate knowing that there are other neurotic foodie folks out there who think there is nothing odd about making six dozen carrot muffins to perfect the technique.

One of my favorite exchanges was the discussion of all of our “Scary Foods“. I began with grilled artichokes, but from there came confessions of trepidation about spatchcooking a chicken, feelings of inadequacy with yeast dough, and a personal favorite, “anything animal related”.

Popovers have always been on the Intimidating List for me. Done right they are culinary beauties, golden brown with steam escaping from their crusty tops in front of your eyes. Done wrong they are dense little hockey pucks that would be better suited for home protection than mandatory consumption. The trick is that you must not, absolutely can’t, definitely don’t open the oven while they are cooking. For certain people who shall remain nameless (me) this is an exercise is incredible self-control, and let me tell you, it ain’t easy. But if you follow the rules and wait until they are done you will be greeted with a splendid treat and the unexpected, but most welcome addition to just about any meal be it a fried egg, salad, beef tenderloin, or fall lasagna.

What are you cooking this weekend?

Sage and Chevre Popovers

Makes 12, halves beautifully. Adapted from Joy of Cooking.

Culinary beauties: Sage and Chevre Popovers

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 TB warm melted salted butter
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, cut into 12 pieces
  • 1 1/2 TB dried sage, crumbled
  1. Bring all ingredients to room temperature.
  2. Move rack to center of oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
  3. Grease muffin tins. Popover tins are great too, but the former will absolutely do the trick.
  4. In a bowl combine the flour and salt.
  5. In a second bowl thoroughly combine the eggs, milk, and butter.
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture and fold just to combine. A few lumps will remain.
  7. Divide half the mixture into the muffin tins, about one-third full.
  8. Evenly distribute the goat cheese and sage, and top with remaining mixture.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 20 more minutes. Do not open the oven!
  10. After the full 35 minutes of baking time, check to ensure they are done. They should be well browned and crusty, or else they will deflate.
  11. Remove from pan, and puncture one hole in the side of each to let steam escape.
  12. Serve immediately or keep crispy in the oven (turned off) for up to 30 minutes.

21 Comments

Filed under Breakfasts, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Bad Behavior: Slow Roasted Tomato Quiche with Leeks and Gruyère

Like so many before me, I’m afraid to say, I have some unflattering qualities. I’m prone to interrupting and am wildly competitive. My hair makes me look like a Fraggle when I wake up and I have been told on more than one occasion that I am nearly unbearably cheerful in the morning. I think To-Do lists are fun, and find a timer a helpful addition to more situations than is healthy. And I am a hideous control freak. It’s bad. I’m working on it. Well, sort of…part of me has just given in to this reality that I have a strong, undulating need to control most situations. Like I said…it’s bad.

Cherry tomatoes ready to be roasted

Such little jewels…cherry tomatoes waiting to be roasted.

As proof of this dreadful quality I input all my receipts into a monthly Excel spreadsheet. Are you shuddering yet? You should be. And yes I know about Mint but am too much of a control freak to trust it. This past weekend as I was closing out August I gasped in horror at my Groceries line item. As you would probably expect I tend to spend more on food than some people do, but August was out of control. Let’s just say if you can feed a starving child in Africa for $1 a day I could have fed a few children for a few years. And this doesn’t even address my “Eating Out” or “Fun” line items. It was time for drastic measures.

And so, with the determined resolution you could only expect from someone like myself, I put a moratorium on all food purchases. Admittedly, I have a very stocked kitchen to begin with (add “obsessive and irrational fear of second potato famine” to the list of faults), but I’m actually now having fun seeing how many gourmet meals I can create with just what’s in my kitchen at the moment.

This quiche was one of my first attempts to take a classic and fake it a bit with ingredient swaps. Craving a rich quiche, but not having any milk or cream I decided to use some yogurt, of which I have loads. The result was nearly as good as if I’d made it with the traditional heavy cream or half and half, and as an added bonus was healthier to boot.

What are your favorite “Use Up Everything In the Refrigerator” recipes?

Roasted Tomato Quiche with Leeks and Gruyère

Slow Roasted Tomato Quiche with Leeks and Gruyere

Slow Roasted Tomato Quiche with Leeks and Gruyere

  • 1 pate brisee crust
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (learn about how to support Slave Free tomatoes here)
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 TB + drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Grind of Salt and Pepper
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts finely chopped
  • 1 cup Gruyère, grated (or whatever cheese you like…chevre or cheddar would also be lovely)
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 3/4 plain nonfat greek yogurt
  1. Preheat oven to 365.
  2. Toss the tomatoes, garlic, drizzle of olive oil, and grind of salt and pepper in a cast iron pan, and roast until liquid is melted and flavor is concentrated. About 30 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, saute the leek in remaining 1 TB olive oil, until softened, about 6 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Combine the eggs and yogurt, and vigorously beat to combine, there should be no lumps from the yogurt
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pate brisee until a slightly larger circle than the pie plate. Fold in half for easy transfer, and move over to the pie plate. Unfold, trim the edges so even, fold crust under itself, and flute the edges.
  6. Add the leeks, cheese, and tomatoes to the pate brisee. Cover with the egg/yogurt mixture and bake 20 – 25 minutes on the middle rack, until golden brown, egg set, and cheese slightly bubbling.
  7. Can be served warm or room temperature.

28 Comments

Filed under Breakfasts, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Mystery Girl’s Weekend: Baked French Toast with Blueberries

I don’t know where I’ll be come Thursday night. Not in an esoteric, “What Am I Doing With My Life” kind of way, but as in I literally don’t know what state I’ll be spending the weekend in, thanks to our upcoming Mystery Girl’s weekend.

Picture this: Six months before you send in your money (which conveniently goes up $50 per year, allowing us to evolve from shared twin beds and PB&Js to something a bit more indulgent). Over the course of the next 6 months you get clues. A week prior you get a packing list with anticipated weather, and then less than 24 hours before your departure time you find out where you’re going. All plane tickets have been bought, all travel coordinated, menus planned, and extracurricular activities lined up. You need do nothing but show up (except of course when it’s your year to plan, but that becomes its own kind of fun).

We call it The Great Escape, and it is a highlight each year, a girl’s weekend spent with my childhood loves, women who know me better than I know myself, and who aren’t afraid to say so.

I leave on Thursday, and here are the clues I’ve received thus far:

  1. Not everyone is flying to our destination
  2. We could see a crocodile
  3. We’ll be staying over 70 feet off the ground
  4. There’s a river view and a mountain view from where we’re staying
  5. We’re going to have to share beds (yay!).

Guesses on where we might be going? States people live in are Washington, New York, and California.

Ms. Lou getting ready for the Toga party via tearing down the leaves in our backyard.

I am so excited I can hardy stand it, giggling over phone calls with Madeline and Meghan, trying to decide what Rachel could possibly have cooked up for us (so far we’ve come up with crocodile wrestling, bee keeping, and staying in a tree house with a moat around it, obviously). In the meantime though, I’m enjoying girl’s slumber parties in Seattle, Toga parties in the ‘hood, and a chance to do some beautiful cooking with whatever is freshest this time of year.

Summer Bounty from Pike Place Market.

This breakfast was the Rise and Shine element of our latest slumber party, hosted  by the lovely Liesel, and complete with Breakfast Bubbles. While I’m not normally much of a sweet breakfast person, the combination of the bread pudding with the blueberries was out of this world, and perfect when paired with some delicious scrambled eggs. Make this on a Summer Saturday morning when you want something indulgent, but not overly laborious, and good to feed a crowd.

Baked French Toast with Blueberries
Adapted from Giada on the Food Network
Serves 6-8

Beautiful Blueberry French Toast

  • Butter, for greasing
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, plus extra for serving
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3 (1-inch thick) slices (8 ounces) day-old challah or sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) fresh or frozen, thawed, and drained blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  1. Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and lemon zest. Add the bread cubes and mix until coated. Stir in the blueberries. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the egg mixture in an even layer. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is set.
  4. Spoon onto serving plates and drizzle with maple syrup.

11 Comments

Filed under Breakfasts, Entertaining, Make ahead, Seasonal Cooking, Uncategorized

Let’s Go Steady: Grilled Summer Vegetable Strata

You might have noticed some minor changes around here lately. Nothing too big of course, but hopefully some small upgrades that will make Shut Up & Cook tick up one more notch on your “Favorite Food Blogs” list. (Incidentally, thank you to all who participated in the giveaway for free tickets to the Best of Seattle Party. All of your blog suggestions and recipe wish lists were such fun to receive).

The biggest change is the addition of a Recipe Index. That’s right folks, a one-stop-shop, all-you-can-eat, everything goes list of each and every recipe I’ve done over the last few years.

Looking through it I feel a mixture of many emotions: Pride (Hot damn, I’ve done some cooking!), embarrassment (Where do I get some of my blog post title ideas?), sadness (Still miss dogs Lucky and Onca every day), and peace (The past years haven’t all been easy, but I truly believe I’m better for them).

If you make nothing else from this blog…make these cookies. I guarantee they will be the best you’ve ever had.

For those of you that are new readers, I invite you to take a scroll through the list. Hopefully you’ll find new recipes to fall in love with, or discover old favorites. I felt like I was meeting a dear friend looking through the list, remembering moments and events, and who I was in each. With that, a few of what I think are the best (thank GOODNESS my photos have gotten better…eeesh!):

What I was surprised to find wasn’t on there however, was Strata. This was most odd because I make it at least once a month, and it’s a go-to for a delicious make-ahead brunch food that always feeds and satisfies a crowd. For those of you not familiar with the magic that is a strata, it is essentially a savory bread pudding meets egg custard. Stale bread is diced over which an egg/milk/cream mixture is poured. Any other assortment of ingredients are then added, it sits over night, and you bake it in the morning, resulting in a delicious smelling, beautiful looking, amazing tasting, puffed delight.

Grilled Summer Vegetable Strata
Serves 8 – 10

A perfect way to begin a Sunday morning.

The beauty of a strata is that you can throw whatever in…here I did grilled summer vegetables as a means to tackle my CSA, but you can do an endless combination of ingredients; think artichoke hearts and goat cheese, mushrooms and chorizo, peppers and sausage…the list could go on, and on, and is limited only by your creativity, and your leftovers.

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, cream, half and half, whatever
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 4 cups stale bread, cubed
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 summer squash, thinly sliced
  • Glug olive oil
  • 1 bunch kale, washed, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups semihard cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup semisoft cheese, shredded
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Fold in the bread and semihard cheese and set aside.
  2. Preheat a gas grill on high. Take the zucchini and squash slices and toss with olive oil. Over medium heat, using a grill pan if you have one, cook until softened and grill marks beginning to show and flavor slightly smoky. Remove from grill and coarsely chop.
  3. Grease a 9×13 inch glass baking dish.
  4. Pour in half the egg mixture. Top with half the zucchini and squash, half the kale, and half the semisoft cheese. Repeat with remaining egg mixture, vegetables, and cheese.
  5. Cover with foil and allow to soak in fridge overnight.
  6. Remove from fridge one hour before cooking and preheat oven to 325.
  7. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes without foil, rotating halfway through, and returning foil if top getting too brown. Bake until the top of the dish is very brown and the middle is springy. Let the strata cool for 10 minutes before serving.

13 Comments

Filed under Breakfasts, Cheap Eats, Comfort Foods, Entertaining, Make ahead, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Simple Pleasures: Rainbow Chard Egg Scramble in a Garlic Scape Nest

Cranes Beach, one of my favorite places on earth.

Have I mentioned I’m in paradise?

Of course, there’s no such thing. But when we allow ourselves to believe this simple fairy tale, bookended with no schedules, no responsibilities, no To-Do list, and no meetings, we can almost disappear for a minute into days of endless possibility, indulgent foods of my youth, afternoons dozing on the beach, and wearing PJs until noon.

The pile of flip-flops abandoned, only to be retrieved by the end of the day, sometimes yours is still there, if not, you just take another.

We also find ourselves suddenly able to recognize and enjoy those simple pleasures, the things that in our haste to be on time, and maximize output, and multitask to the hilt, we miss. To me, there is perhaps no greater pleasure than uncomplicated meals, served outside, with friends new and old.

The view from dinner, served simply on a door and saw horses, with dogs running under foot, hoping for a nibble of some sort of deliciousness.

Each season has its ingredient “Darlings”; the things that restaurants and farms alike fall in love with and celebrate across their menus.  This year it seems to be Garlic Scapes. They are everywhere, and such fun to cook with given their beautiful shapes, savory flavor, and VIP status.

This season’s Culinary Darling: Garlic Scapes (incidentally these are beautiful in flower arrangements too).

This breakfast was the ultimate in simplicity, nothing more than some sautéed garlic scapes, wilted rainbow chard, eggs, and good sharp cheddar cheese, but eaten while looking out over the cove, and barely finishing by noon, it was, at the moment, all I wanted.

Rainbow Chard Egg Scramble in a Garlic Scape Nest
Serves 2

Rainbow Chard Egg Scramble served in a Garlic Scape Nest

1 TB Olive Oil
1 Garlic Scape, thinly sliced, avoiding the light green bottom and bulb plus 2 more for garnish
10 leaves rainbow chard, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped
4 eggs, vigorously beaten
1/4 cup extra sharp cheddar, the best you can find, loosely diced

  1. In a cast iron skillet, over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the garlic scape and cook stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes, until pungent.
  2. Add 2 TB of water to the pan and cook until water has evaporated and garlic is softened
  3. Add the rainbow chard and cook until wilted, and all liquid gone.
  4. Reduce heat to low, and add the eggs.
  5. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add the cheese, and stir well to combine.
  7. Cook until desired doneness is achieved.
  8. Serve with toasted English Muffins, nestled in a Garlic Scape nest for garnish.

23 Comments

Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Breakfasts, Cheap Eats, Entertaining, Health Conscious, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Dog Days of (Almost) Summer: Smoked Salmon Quiche with Sauteed Leeks and Chevre

Smoked Salmon Quiche with Sautéed Leeks and Chevre

People often ask me where I get my recipe ideas. Well, they come from all places, and inspiration tends to strike at the oddest times, leaving me foggily trying to remember what brilliant foodie idea I had while standing in the yard at 3a with the new foster puppy silently beseeching her to “do your business” so I can go back to bed.

Yes, there’s a new pup in town and we call her Ella. She arrived from Georgia on Sunday, having been pulled at the 11th hour from being put to sleep. She is as sweet as they come, and we are excited to see the lovely dog that emerges with love. Sadly, she is currently at the 24-hour vet clinic, having taken ill with severe pneumonia. We are keeping all fingers and toes crossed that this special little girl pulls through and can go on to find the loving forever home she so deserves.  (To learn more about the rescue group Georgia Peaches, please visit our Facebook page).

Slowly beginning to trust us and giving in for a little snuggle.

This particular meal idea is good old-fashioned copying. The Columbia City Bakery (which incidentally was just recognized by Bon Appetit as making one of the 10 best baguettes in the country), had the most amazing quiche the other day and I enjoyed every crumb of it. It was a smoked salmon quiche with sautéed leeks and chevre. Their crust is to die for, and there was almost too much goat cheese to seem like it was okay, except that I (not so) secretly loved it.

I’m pleased to say my carbon copy was pretty dang close and was the perfect center piece for a Saturday morning brunch before wine tasting in Woodinville. The perfect addition to any lazy morning, or light summer supper.

Smoked Salmon Quiche with Sautéed Leeks and Chevre

1 Pate Brisee (recipe follows)

4 oz smoked salmon, thinly sliced (you can add more or less pending on your affinity for it)

1 leek, white part only, split in half, thoroughly washed, and thinly sliced

1 TB olive oil

1/2 cup goat cheese (yes, it’s a lot, but it’s worth it)

1/2 cup half and half

1/2 cup 2% milk

3 large eggs

1 TB chives

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put rack one rung up from the bottom of the oven.
  2. In a non-stick skillet on low saute the leeks until nearly all color is gone, about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the pate brisee until a slightly larger circle than the pie plate. Fold in half for easy transfer, and move over to the pie plate. Unfold, trim the edges so even, fold crust under itself, and flute the edges.
  4. Sprinkle the leek mixture evenly along the bottom of the crust, follow with the goat cheese, and top with the salmon, creating a pinwheel design if you like.
  5. In a glass mixing bowl combine the eggs with the cream, milk, and chives and whisk until foamy.

    An assortment of garden herbs can be added, pending on preference and what’s in your pots.

  6. Pour over top of filling and carefully move to oven.
  7. Cook until egg is fully set and crust is golden brown. About 30-35 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Makes beautiful leftovers too.

Pate Brisee (aka buttery pie crust)  – From the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook

1 1/2 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces

1/4 cup ice water

  1. Using a food processor fitted with a steel blade, (because it makes it so easy, and hey, there is no shame in that) process the flour and salt just to sift and mix.

    Making the pate brisee.

  2. Add the butter and process with repeated pulses until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

    Pulse until the butter and flour mixture resembles a coarse meal.

  3. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube and process until the dough leaves the side of the bowl.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, shape into a thick circle, and wrap in plastic wrap.
  5. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before using. If chilling overnight, pull out 30 minutes before use to allow to slightly thaw.

11 Comments

Filed under Breakfasts, Entertaining, Make ahead, Seafood, Uncategorized

Summer Loving: Baked Tomatoes topped with Fresh Garden Herbs and Pecorino

How do I love summer, let me count the ways.

When I was a sophomore in college, my friend Jay  earnestly told me, “Saturdays are for playing. Sundays are for resting.” Now this might not sound like rocket science, but for someone as hard working and always on the go as Jay was, it was revolutionary. Over the past 10+ years (dear god) I’ve taken that sentiment to heart. As much as I’m able, (we are talking about me after all) I try and get my to-do list done during the week so that Saturdays can be all about friends, food, traveling, and parties, and Sundays can be all about resting, recovering from said parties, and recharging for the week ahead.

Sunday brunch is a critical part of the Sunday resting, so I’m always striving to think of recipes that will be utterly satisfying, while easy to make and clean-up from. Baked tomatoes fit that bill to a T. Easy to make, only one dish required, beautiful to serve, and the perfect complement to just about anything else you can think of, they are a standard in my kitchen. Make these on a Sunday when life has slowed down enough to let you take a deep breath and enjoy the idea of doing nothing but resting.

Baked Tomatoes topped with Fresh Garden Herbs and Pecorino
Serves 2

Beautiful baked tomatoes.

Two tomatoes (heirloom, hot house, roma, they all work), carefully cored, and cut in half
1/4 cup grated fresh pecorino or parmesan
Sprinkle of fresh garden herbs (whatever appeals, chives, thyme, sage, garlic)
Olive oil for drizzling
Salt and Pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Put tomatoes cut side up in a small baking dish (for two serving a bread pan works well)

    Is there anything so great as perfect ingredients prepared simply?

  3. Top with cheese and then herbs

    These can easily be assembled ahead and then popped into the oven right before you want them.

  4. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  5. Bake 15 – 20 minutes until juices are flowing, tomatoes are slightly wilting, and cheese is bubbling
  6. Perfect served with toast, scrambled eggs, and bacon

5 Comments

Filed under Breakfasts, Entertaining, Health Conscious, Make ahead, Vegetarian