Sunday, March 24, 2019

ChezCindy: French-style Omelete with Spinach and Shitakes

French chefs prepare omelets with beauty and simplicity.  A beautiful technique that rolls the flat disc of gently cooked eggs out of the pan directly onto a warmed plate.  But omelets don't need to look as beautiful as a chef's preparation when we make them at home.  If you can crack eggs and whisk them in a bowl before adding them to a nonstick skillet, you are half-way there to making an omelet.  

I am drawn to omelets because of the add-ins.  Simplicity calls for just a bit of shredded cheese.  I tend to take mine further by adding in pre-cooked vegetables.  I generally have roasted or caramelized vegetables waiting for their next use in my refrigerator or freezer.  Most always I have caramelized onions in the freezer - highly recommended for topping burgers or bruschetta toasts.  Here I grabbed fresh spinach and shitake mushrooms.  Just a quick sauté in the skillet before beginning the omelet.  That is the true beauty of an omelet - it can be any flavor profile you desire.  

Below, I have outlined the basic technique for making an omelet.  But, as sometimes happens to me, if the omelet is just not coming together - no problem.  Stirring it around in the pan a bit more and it is now scrambled eggs!  Just as good.  

Basic Cheese Omelet  
3 eggs
1 heaping tablespoon butter
salt & pepper to taste preference
2 tablespoons grated cheese

Working with a small mixing bowl, crack the eggs into the bowl.  Whisk the eggs thoroughly until fully combined, but not frothy.

Heat a 8-inch nonstick sloped-sided skillet over medium heat.  Add the butter to melt, swirling the pan to coat the bottom and sides evenly.  Gently pour the whisked eggs into the hot skillet; reduce the heat to low.  Swirl the eggs in the pan to form an even layer coating the bottom of the pan; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Using a rubber spatula, draw the edges of the eggs to the center of the pan, allowing the more liquid eggs to fill in.  Cook for 1-2 minutes as is without touching or moving the eggs.  Add the cheese, and any other cooked filling at this time; turn off the heat.  Keep the omelet in the pan while the residual heat melts the cheese.  Using the rubber spatula, scrape around one side and underneath the omelet, lifting this side to fold the omelet in half to cover the cheese.  Using the help of the spatula, slide the omelet onto the serving plate.

Serves 1 hungry person or split for 2 to share.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

ChezCindy: Golden Raisin Scones with Honey-Olive Oil Glaze

If you read this blog, you know I am a fan of scones.  It had been quite a while since I made them, but it seemed like a good weekend to do so.  Scones are a pantry-ready baking recipe, meaning that the ingredients are most likely available in your pantry for spontaneous baking - flour, baking powder, butter, eggs.  Most scone recipes include an add-in such as dried fruit or cheese and herbs to bring flavor.  Searching my pantry for dried fruit, I was really low on what was available.  So the selection was golden raisins.  The scones came out tender and flakey, with the golden raisins adding sweetness and chew.  Usually I top sweet scones with a sugar glaze, but I wanted something different.  I make a fantastic focaccia using golden raisins that is bathed generously with a mix of olive oil and honey.  It is one of the best focaccia I have ever eaten.  This came to mind for topping the scones, thus I made a honey-olive oil glaze.  Surprising, but delicious, to have the taste of olive oil with the scones, making these scones perfect for breakfast, brunch or dinner.

The next day, the scone made a terrific sandwich for my work-day lunch!

Golden Raisin Scones with Honey-Olive Oil Glaze
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash

4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix in the flour, sugar, baking powder, kosher salt, and orange zest.  Mix for 1-2 minutes to combine.  
Cut the cold butter into small 1/4 inch cubes.  Add the cold butter to the flour, mixing on low speed until the butter is roughly combined with the flour.

In a small bowl, combine the cold cream with the cold eggs, lightly beating to combine.  Add this to the mixing bowl.  Mix on low speed until roughly blended.  The dough will not be fully combined.  Add in the golden raisins; mix for 1 minute.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Gather the shaggy pieces of dough with your hands to shape into a square about 1-inch thick.  Fold the dough in half to form a rectangle.  Fold in half again to again form a small square.  Using your hands, again, shape the sides of the square to neatly complete the look of the square, pressing out the dough to make a larger square about 1-inch thick.  This time, fold the square in half one time to make a rectangle.  Shape up the sides of the rectangle so that the edges are cleanly shaped.  The folding is creating layers within the dough so that your baked scone will be flakey.  Using a rolling pin, lightly roll out the rectangle to the size of 12-inches by 4-inches.  Shape the edges again if the rectangle has lost its perfect shape.  Cut the rectangle in half across the 12-inch length to form two 12x2-inch rectangles.  Cut each rectangle into six 2-inch squares.  In a small bowl, mix the egg with 1 tablespoon of water; brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash.

Place the scones onto the prepared sheet tray lined with parchment paper.  Place the entire tray into the refrigerator to chill the scones for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the fridge, placing the cold tray onto the center rack of the preheated oven.  Bake the scones for 18-20 minutes until the tops of the scones are golden brown.  Remove from the oven; allow the scones to cool on the tray for 10 minutes.

Combine the honey and the olive oil in a small bowl.  Using a spoon, spread the honey-olive oil glaze over the tops of the scones.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

More scone recipes:

Recipe for Irish Cheddar & Herb Scones