Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Eggs cooked three ways

I recently had a friend over for lunch before she left for Ireland to be with her internet dream boy (fingers crossed for her).  Cooked eggs offered an inexpensive way to put on a spread without having to put out a lot of cash.  And it appealed to her Brazilian tastes.
The menu was a breakfast parfait, deviled eggs, and a tasty frittata.

Check it out:

US American-style breakfasts, with their two fried eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast and whatever else the daily special at the local roadside diner is pushing are dumbfounding to most Brazilians.  By any reasonable measure Daily Special breakfasts in US diners are huge stomach bombs fed to folks before they go off to work (unless you are a farmer, construction worker, or a mother of four and need the energy!)
The Brazilian habit is to eat a small piece of bread with a small coffee – and call it breakfast.
Here’s a cute little compromise version of the US American breakfast that you can serve to your Brazilian friends – and it’s wrapped up in a small enough package that they might actually try it.
I found the recipe here (slightly modified) while TasteSpotting.
Here we go.

photo from the original food blog post here:

Bacon and Egg Cups with Potatoes and Parmesan

Makes 6 small servings (feeds three US Americans or 6 Brazilians – LOL!)
6 slices of bacon
3 small potatoes, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
3 tbls rosemary (or your favorite herb)
6 tbls heavy cream
3 tbls butter
6 large eggs
Grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 6 muffin tin cups with oil. [Actually – I used a super-quality non-stick muffin tin and things stuck like crazy. It was a mess.  So I suggest you cut strips of parchment (papel mantega) and line the walls of the cups.]
In a skillet, cook the bacon until cooked but not crisp.  Line the sides of the cups with a slice of bacon.  In the same skillet, keep about ½ tablespoon of the bacon grease, remove the remaining, and cook the diced potatoes until tender. If you don’t have that much left over grease, add some butter or oil.
Place the potatoes and zucchini in the bottom of the 6 greased and lined cups, divided evenly, making sure the bacon stays on the side. Top the potato mixture with a few sprinkles of rosemary,  1 tbsp of cream and ½ tbsp. of butter in each cup.  Crack an egg over the top of each cup, grate parmesan over the top of the egg, sprinkle salt/pepper.
Fill the empty cups (if any) in the muffin tin with water to keep the temperature of the pan even. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the egg is set.  Pop the little egg bakes out of the cups and serve with toasted bread.

Deviled Eggs
Early on I discovered that while most Brazilians I have met were not familiar with deviled eggs – they enjoyed them all the same.  And as so many of us know, they are typically a hit with children.  The only modification I’ve made to my mother’s recipe, to try and reach out to the Brazilian pallet, has been to add finely diced ham.
Let’s take a look.
6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
½ cup finely minced ham
1/8 cup minced parsely
¼ cup Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
½ teaspoon white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Paprika for garnish

Pop out (remove) the egg yolks and place into a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Adjust the flavor to your taste.  Fill the empty egg white shells with the mixture and sprinkle lightly with paprika. Chill before serving.

Bacon and Cheese Frittata
Here’s another super easy egg dish that packs flavor and is not too strange for your Brazilian friends to try. It’s best if you have a really heavy fry pan that can go into the oven – or you can try the”flip and finish” method on the top of the stove.
Check it out.
6 eggs
1 cup milk (or ½ c milk and ½ c crème de leite)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions
5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (queijo prato or finer varieties)

Beat the eggs.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  Pour into a hot frying pan with sloped sides (so you can work a spatula around the edges later). Cook over medium heat until nearly set. At this point you can wither place the whole pan into a hot oven and cook it off until completely set and browned a bit, OR you can loosen the nearly cooked frittata with a spatula, place a large plate over the pan, flip the frittata onto the plate, then slide the frittata back into the pan with the uncooked side down to finish cooking it off on the stove top.
Serve hot (but it works cold as an appetizer finger food item as well).

The whole thing: cheap, easy, accessible.