Garlic Bread Chilaquiles (ish)

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Ah, the hungry, tipsy grocery store trip. Living in Brooklyn makes this too easy, as there’s a walkable grocery store on every corner, and at least 4 bars in between. A grocery shopping pub crawl is all too easy to accidentally happen. 

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What are the things you buy when not in sound judgment? This particular day in recent history, my overloaded basket contained:

  • These seedy everything crackers that I could eat for every meal. (Ignoring the fact that we currently have at least 4 open things of crackers. Oh well, book club is approaching, crackers will be eaten. If they make it til then.)
  • Fancy granola. I’m always happier making my granola, but I apparently do get pleasure from staring at the giant wall of prepackaged varieties and choosing one. This grocery shop was over a week ago and have I opened the granola? No. Do I know where it is? Uh, no. Can you return granola?
  • the Expensive Cheddar. I literally always buy cheese at the grocery store, but usually I opt for a sensible one, one that will complement the other misshapen blocks and wedges taking up significant fridge space. This time, we already had at least 3 kinds of cheddar. WHY, self, WHY MORE CHEDDAR?
  • Frozen Garlic Bread. Oy, this is just the least me-y ingredient. First of all, it’s frozen and weird, and second of all, I KNOW I can make garlic bread from stuff I already have at home. And it would’ve been great. But on this day, I just had to have the frozen variety. Daniel didn’t even realize you could buy frozen garlic bread, which I hope opens a world of opportunities for him on ski trips in the future. 
  • (speaking of Daniel, he bought a bag of pork rinds. Packaged fried pork rinds. Did you know that’s a thing you could buy from a grocery store?! They are still unopened and forgotten in the pantry. 🤢)

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Okay so, we got home, we made Alison Roman’s trendy caramelized shallot pasta, a big salad, and baked off this random loaf of garlic bread. Then both of us ate a giant bowl of pasta (yum), a giant bowl of salad (delish), and … one little piece of garlic bread (meh). Leftover pasta makes a great work lunch. Leftover salad doesn’t exist. Leftover garlic bread, the giant pile of it, from the entire loaf, because we are only two people and you can’t not bake the whole loaf and because it’s really not that good, took over the fridge.

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Leftovers are the mother of invention. Since that night, I’ve used them as croutons in my favorite kale caesar salad. I’ve melted cheese and tomato on them and sprinkled them with chaat masala a la Priya in her book Indian-ish. And I made this for breakfast!

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Chilaquiles is usually made with old tortillas, which are cut into strips, fried, and coated in a spicy salsa before being covered with eggs, cheese, herbs, etc. You get to eat a pile of chips for breakfast, basically breakfast nachos, so obviously it’s one of my favorite things ever. This version does not have chips or salsa or anything particularly Mexican, but it does use up a carb I had lying around. Inspiration, not authenticity! This came out way better than it had any right to. So, if you too have leftover garlic bread as the result of an ill-advised shopping trip, join me on the inauthentic dark side.  

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Ah, our first hand view of the construction process, starting every morning promptly at 7am

Some notes – you don’t need garlic bread for this, you could easily use any other bread you need to use up. It just adds extra flavor! This version isn’t particularly saucy, but you could continue cooking the tomatoes until they burst if you prefer it that way. Alternatively, if you too made the NYTimes’ shallot pasta, adding some leftover caramelized shallot paste would add extra sauciness and umami-ness, never bad things.

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last year: kale, sumac, and crispy rice salad
roughly three years ago: black eyed pea stew
roughly five years ago: butternut tahini mash

Leftover Garlic Bread “Chilaquiles” for One 

a Swanky original

glugs and drizzles of olive oil
1 very large garlic clove
big handful cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
glug of balsamic vinegar
day old garlic bread, cut into bite sized pieces (I dunno, 4, 5ish slices? Really, however much you want to eat for breakfast)
1 egg
small handful shredded mozzarella cheese
lots of chopped fresh parsley
s+p

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a small nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Smash and peel your garlic clove, and add to the pan. When it smells good but hopefully before it starts to brown,  add cherry tomatoes and turn heat up a bit. Add a glug of balsamic vinegar, and shower with salt and pepper. Cook til charred, stirring frequently. This will only take a couple minutes. Remove to a small bowl.

Return skillet to heat, add a bit more olive oil, and toast your garlic bread til beginning to crisp. 

Return tomatoes to pan; stir to combine. (This would be when I’d add the shallot paste.) Make a well in the center and crack an egg into it. Sprinkle s+p on egg, and sprinkle mozzarella cheese all over the pan. Cover (I used the top of a dutch oven) and cook for a couple minutes, or until egg is at your desired doneness and cheese has melted. Remove from heat and sprinkle liberally with parsley. Eat with fork and knife and get your butt to work. 

 

Greens on Toast with a Lacy Fried Egg – 17/67

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Do you smell that? The summer heat, fighting in through the window cracks and landing on your skin? It’s some combo of pollen, sweat, musty summer clothes unburied, overheated floors, dusty ACs, melted ice cream, iced everything, sunburn memories. I was brushing my teeth the other night when it swooped in and hit me. It smelled like unfair moments in 3rd grade, when my siblings got window ACs in their rooms, but I didn’t, because I had three windows and could get a good cross breeze. (Time for a reckoning, parents. I’m an adult now and I know a cross breeze doesn’t hold a candle to real, manufactured, cold air. Hmph.) And it’s only June. We have two, long, slumpy, heat-laden, memory-scented months before us here. 

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I don’t hate it. I mean, we have 3 things of ice cream in the freezer right now. That’s a good summer perk. Also, CSA season! My favorite time of year, as you may know if you’ve been a longtime reader. Greens and more greens, and this is only a half-share. Also still taking suggestions for what to do with my half a gigantic kohlrabi. It doesn’t lend itself as easily to breakfast as greens do. 

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This recipe is fairly similar to another eggs and spinach one I’ve blogged before. But this variety you see before you is definitely the version that happens on a more regular basis around here. I’m not sure if it’s noteworthy or bloggable on its own accord, but Hanna said one of her favorite no-recipe meals is a lacy fried egg on greens. So here’s a typical breakfast for me, and it counts as one of my binder recipes, and it uses up a CSA bundle! Win, win, win. 

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one year ago: best kale salad” (as it has goat cheese, dried cherries, and a mustardy vinaigrette that is really, really good)
two years ago: nothing of note, but I’ll be damned if this isn’t the best use of turnips I’ve encountered yet
three years ago: vaguely Lebanese un-stuffed eggplant
four years ago: roasted beets and their greens with mint sauce (psych! this was also from five years ago!)
five years ago: rhubarb cake

Greens on Toast with a Lacy Fried Egg 

A swanky favorite, inspired by Hanna 

Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1 bunch spinach, some stems removed, roughly chopped
Smoked paprika
Juice of ¼-½ a lemon
s&p
3 eggs
toast
Shredded parmesan, hot sauce, fresh parsley 

To make greens: Heat a touch of olive oil in a small pan. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for about a minute on low-ish heat, until you can smell the garlic. Add spinach all at once. Sprinkle immediately with a couple dashes of smoked paprika, some lemon juice, and salt and pepper before it wilts. Stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until spinach is lightly wilted.

Meanwhile, make toast. 

I was lazy and wanted to use the spinach pan for the egg too. Be like me! When spinach is wilted to your liking, remove and put directly on your toast or aside for tomorrow morning. (This will make enough for three mornings-worth of breakfast for one person, especially good if your partner dislikes cooked spinach for some reason *eye roll emoji*.) Now make a fried egg. I did this one in too much olive oil, spooning oil over the whites to cook them a bit further. Bon Appetit/Jose Andres and Smitten Kitchen go into more detail about this crispy, lacy egg “phenomenon” (my words, not theirs) if you care about such things. Any fried egg will do. 

Layer toast, spinach, and egg. Sprinkle with parmesan, another glug of good olive oil for good measure, and your fancy sea salt. Hot sauce doesn’t hurt. Parsley is also nice. Mmm. 

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Baked Eggs and Spinach, Spanish-ish Style

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Reasons I should be eating cake for breakfast today instead of greens:

  • I survived this week.
  • A week which consisted of dress rehearsal and final performance for my, shall we say, incredibly stubborn current group of senior citizen actors I devised a play with. Hoo boy this was a tough one. Cake deserved.
  • A week which also consisted of rehearsals every day for the show I’m directing for Bond Street Theatre — our production of The Law of the Jungle — originally created in Afghanistan and currently restaged with teens from our weekend workshop series. Friday was opening night, and they killed it! Cake definitely deserved.
  • A week which also consisted of visiting the final senior center theater program I oversaw, wayyy out in East Elmhurst, Queens.
  • Monday is the first day of Urban Stages Summer Camp, for which I’m the director. The staff is trained, the theater is set up, the campers (more than we’ve ever had!) are ready to descend. And this administrator is feeling confident. (Cake!)
  • Other things accomplished this week to celebrate: we submitted visas for our upcoming China trip(!), got a good start on our wedding website, ordered a test save the date, and I found time to make muffins.
  • Also this country is going to shit and it’s terrifying, so I think cake for breakfast is the least of our concerns.

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Reasons I should be eating greens for breakfast instead of cake:

  • My fridge has been taken over by CSA greens. Like SERIOUSLY taken over. Send help.
  • (Also, I definitely ate this with half a leftover raspberry lime muffin I made for my teens, so I ended up with the best of both worlds.)

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Practicality, psh — these eggs also taste great. I say “Spanish-ish” because this recipe contains two of my favorite Spanish ingredients — smoked paprika and manchego cheese — but I don’t actually know if this is consumed in Spain. But I do know it’s delicious and that now I have one less bundle of greens to deal with in the fridge.

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four years ago: easy rhubarb cake 
three years ago: mustard greens with oyster sauce and garlic oil 
two years ago: Lebanese un-stuffed eggplant with yogurt sauce 
one year ago: tapado (Caribbean fish, coconut, and plantain soup)

Baked Eggs and Spinach, Spanish-ish Style

a swanky original

½ pound spinach (about 3 big handful)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 giant garlic clove, minced
big pinch red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
a couple splashes hot sauce (this is my favorite and adds even more smokiness)
Non-stick spray
2 eggs
shredded manchego (or cheese of choice)
fresh oregano, minced (optional)
s&p

Preheat oven to 375F.

If starting with farm-fresh spinach, remove stems and rinse. (My favorite way to do this is in a big bowl — fill with greens and cold water, hold greens to one side and drain, and repeat three times. Takes a little while but is quite effective.) Dry on clean kitchen towels, or a salad spinner if you didn’t break yours last week (oops). Give a rough chop.

Heat a big saute pan over medium heat. Warm olive oil. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for about a minute, until your kitchen smells great. Add spinach all in one go, and sprinkle with generous pinches of salt, pepper, and the smoked paprika. Then mix together. As spinach cooks down, add vinegar and hot sauce. Turn off heat when spinach is dark green and totally shriveled. For me this took about 3-4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Get out two oven-safe ramekins and spray with Pam or other non-stick spray. Arrange half of spinach in each. Make a little divet in the middle and crack one egg into each divet. Sprinkle eggs with salt, pepper, and manchego cheese.

Put ramekins on a rimmed baking tray (for easy maneuverability) and bake until whites are set but the yolk is still a bit runny. (In my notoriously slow oven this happened around minute 21, but I began checking around 15 minutes.) Sprinkle with oregano and extra hot sauce if you’d like. Let it sit for a moment before eating — everything will be hot!

Other things I’ve made with CSA ingredients this week:

  • a salad to use up lettuce, fresh oregano, and radishes
  • a Callaloo soup that I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of (I blame the okra)
  • raspberry lime muffins
  • lettuce wraps with hummus and curry roasted cauliflower