Sides: BBQ Deviled Eggs

I happen to work for a barbeque restaurant. I prompted everyone to find a creative way to use one of our products, a Carolina-style mustard-based BBQ sauce, in a recipe. Tomorrow is judgment day, and we’ll all be competing for a cash prize and bragging rights in the office. I’ve postponed this competition once, and it was only until today at 4:30p that I actually started thinking about what I’d be making.

I feel like there is some pressure here! Not only am I talking a big game in front of my coworkers about how much I cook, but I have you fine readers to impress as well! It’s like the first time I skated in front of non-derby friends…

So I’ve settled on a barbeque classic: deviled eggs. In my family, it’s not a get-together without them. This barbeque sauce lends itself to the recipe because it’s replacing main ingredients vinegar, mustard, and salt. Some people add sugar, and BBQ sauce would cover that as well.

There are some other changes that will make this egg unique to me. My mom has always put pickle relish in her deviled eggs. I’m going for a slice of dill pickle nestled in the filling on top, like a garnish that actually serves a purpose. I also always see paprika, and while there’s nothing wrong with it paprika doesn’t do much for flavor. The egg whites are bland, and when you take a bite of a deviled egg you want to see color and texture and get some flavors going. A good BBQ rub will have sweet, smoky, spicy and salty covered and it will look great against the blank canvas.

Try these out at your next family get-together, or at a pot luck with friends. Though humble and seen as out-dated, there are definitely ways you can modernize this Southern classic.

My handsome little egg!

My handsome little egg!

You’ll need:

1 dozen hard boiled eggs, shells removed

½ cup of quality mayonnaise

½ cup of Carolina-style mustard BBQ sauce

1 mini dill pickle

Your favorite BBQ spice blend

    1. Slice each egg lengthwise. Gently squeeze the sides until the yolk loosens, or take a small spoon and finagle it out. Reserve all yolks in a mixing bowl. Set your empty whites on your serving tray (if you are so fancy).

    Squeeze the whites gently to loosen up the yolk.

    Squeeze the whites gently to loosen up the yolk.

2. Take a fork and break up all of the yolks until they resemble corn meal. Try to get as many lumps out as possible.

Crumbled yolks

Crumbled yolks

3. Add the mayo and BBQ sauce, and thoroughly mix it. Keep trying to work out any lumps you may have.

4. Taste test! Does your mixture need salt, or did your BBQ sauce have enough? Mine didn’t, so I added about a teaspoon of salt. Don’t forget that you’re dolloping this onto bland egg whites, so if you prefer a spicier mixture feel free to add some of your favorite hot sauce.

5. Spoon or pipe your mixture into the egg whites. For a makeshift piping bag, scoop your filling into a plastic baggie, seal, and snip off one of the corners. Instant piping bag! (with no cleanup after, of course)

6. Take your dill pickle and slice thin slices, enough for each egg to get a little garnish.

7. Sprinkle all of the eggs with your BBQ spice rub.

Lunch: Rosemary and White Bean Soup

This is based off of one of Ina Garten’s recipes out of The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. I’m a big fan of her recipes because many times they are timeless classics with just a few ingredients. Like all soups, this one tastes even better as leftovers. It makes a big batch, which you can divide into single servings and freeze for an easy dinner or lunch later in the week.

You’ll need:

1 lb Great Northern beans, soaked overnight in water

3 onions, sliced

¼ cup of olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 branch of rosemary (fresh should be used, but if you can’t find even a little plant at your grocery store use about 1 Tbs dried)

2 quarts chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegan option)

1 bay leaf

Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Sautee your onions in the olive oil until they are translucent.
  2. Add your minced garlic and continue cooking for another 3 minutes.

    The ingredients to a rosemary and white bean soup.

    The ingredients to a rosemary and white bean soup.

  3. Add the drained beans, stock, rosemary, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and let it cook for about 40-45 minutes. The beans will be very soft when done.
  4. Remove the rosemary branch (if fresh was used) and the bay leaf. Ladle into a food processor or blender, but reserve a cup or two if you like your soup with some texture. Pulse until roughly pureed.
  5. Pour soup back into the pot, season with salt and pepper to your liking, and serve hot with crusty bread and a salad.

    Rosemary and White Bean soup with french bread and Mettwurst

    Rosemary and White Bean soup with french bread and Mettwurst

Dinner: Palak Paneer with Tofu

OK, so this isn’t really palak paneer in its most traditional sense. I happen to have a great Indian food crock pot book called The Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy Singla, so that is a great modern convenience. Secondly, I’m not making the homemade cheese (the paneer). Instead I’m throwing in cubes of firm tofu to give me my needed protein for a balanced meal.

One of the reasons I love this dish is that it’s very different from what I’m usually cooking. I’m no vegetarian, but it is nice (and cheaper) to make some meat-free options throughout the week and it also gets me a healthy portion of veggies into my diet. Ingredients such as spinach, turmeric, tomatoes, garlic and ginger have all been linked with good health. There is also no added fat!

But my favorite part about this recipe is that it makes a large batch that you can portion out and freeze for those days when you need to bring your lunch to work or have just enough time to heat something up for dinner. Tuesday nights I only have about an hour to eat and grab my skate bag between work and practice. These kinds of recipes keep me on time for practice and fueled for 2 hours of skating.

You’ll need:

A slow cooker

2 lbs fresh spinach, washed

2 large onions, chopped

3 medium tomatoes, quartered

4 inches of ginger, peeled and chopped

20 (yes, 20!) cloves of garlic, peeled

5-10 Thai chiles depending on how spicy you want it

4 Tbs ground cumin

1 Tbs red chili powder

1 Tbs garam masala

2 tsp turmeric

1 Tbs salt

  1. Throw everything into the slow cooker, except for the salt. The spinach will give off a lot of liquid, so even though you might not be able to fit the lid on everything will end up cooking down.
  2. Cook on High for 3 hours, stirring occasionally to push down the spinach leaves.
    Cooking palak paneer in a slow cooker.

    Cooking palak paneer in a slow cooker.

     

  3. Transfer the cooked-down veggies into a food processor or blender. If using one of these, do use a tea towel to cover the hole in the lid. Never blend hot stuff in your blender with the lid sealed… Unless you enjoy cleaning. If you have an immersion blender, feel free to use that Fancy Pants. Puree until you have a nice, smooth consistency. Pour back into the slow cooker.
  4. Add the salt and continue cooking the puree on Low for another 2 hours.
  5. Add your cubes of tofu when you’re ready to serve. This is best served over a bowl of basmati rice or quinoa, millet, or other grain.
    To store, I like to pour single servings into bags, top with tofu, and store in the freezer for a quick dinner later.

    To store, I like to pour single servings into bags, top with tofu, and store in the freezer for a quick dinner later.

     

Punk’s Eating

Lazy dinner... Rice penne with Rao's Homemade marina sauce and, of course, beer.

Lazy dinner… Rice penne with Rao’s Homemade marinara sauce and, of course, beer.

Some times we just don’t feel like cooking. Usually I buy the typical BOGO jarred sauce from the supermarket, let it sit on the shelf, and by the time I open the jar it will go bad before I even finish it. Not the case with Rao’s. I bought it after my fellow foodie Kayla Rose justified the $6.99 (on sale) price tag. So one night after the gym I needed to make a quick and easy dinner and gave it a shot. Just smelling the sauce hitting the hot pasta was enough to do me in. There was such a freshness to the tomatoes despite it being a jarred sauces, and the flavors were so intense. I knew this was a winner when I threw away the empty container. This week it was on sale again, and I actually had to resist the urge not to buy 2!

Breakfast: Egg Cups

Breakfast is unfortunately is the most overlooked meal of the day. The problem for me is 1. I L-O-V-E breakfast foods and 2. I’m like everyone else and I have no time to make myself something worthy of being considered breakfast. I’m sorry, but a bowl of sugary cold cereal at 7am just hits my stomach like a rock, and swinging into the DD on my way to the office most always makes me late.

Through my experimentation with different ways of eating, I’ve noticed that a high-protein breakfast not only keeps me going through lunchtime, but it’s pretty effective at helping me keep my weight in check. Also as a skater, my body needs all the protein it can get. While looking through some clean eating sites, I came across something called an ‘egg cup’. Basically they are mini egg quiches but without the crust, and by far the best thing that I’ve incorporated into my morning routine since the snooze button.  Do these Sunday while you’re making dinner, and you’ll be ready to go in the morning!

Image

You’ll need:

A muffin tin

8 eggs (whole, or any combo of white and yolks)

Shredded cheese (optional)

1 leak

2 strips of cooked bacon

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the rough top of the leak off and discard, about 1” from the end. Thinly slice the leak all the way to the bottom. Rinse under warm water thoroughly to remove any sand (leaks are notoriously sandy).
  3. Sautee the leaks in a pan in your favorite fat or cooking spray of choice on medium heat until they are soft.
  4. Mince the bacon and add to the leaks.
  5. Spoon the leak and bacon mixture into the muffin tin.

Resist the urge to season the ingredients! Adding salt to eggs while they are cooking can make them tough, and the bacon you are using may have enough sodium already. Do feel free to use herbs, like rosemary, or pepper.

  1. Crack your eggs into a bowl and whisk together.
  2. Pour enough egg into the muffin tins to reach about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up the side. They will puff up!
  3. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until they have risen and look firm on top.
  4. Remove and sprinkle a pinch or two of shredded cheese on top. The heat from the eggs will melt it while they rest.
  5. While they are still warm (but not hot), gently lift the egg cups out with a fork and place into a container.

Image

To reheat in the morning, pop them into the microwave for 30-50 seconds and you have a delicious way to power up in the morning!

There are a million ways you can tweak this recipe. It lends itself as a way to use up any leftovers you might have, like the veggies that you didn’t finish at dinner mixed with some extra sausage you made for breakfast over the weekend. Try any combination of grilled or sautéed vegetables, but make sure that your ingredients do not contain much water. If you’re using spinach, be sure it’s relatively dry before you add it to your muffin pan- spinach and mushrooms hold a lot of water, which will compromise the texture of your eggs. I’m a fan of zucchini, asparagus, and onions. Play around with different cheese to top your egg cups with. I think hard or semi-soft cheeses would work best. Sharp cheddar and parmesan are my two favorites, especially because they add a lot of flavor without having to use much.