Baked Eggs with Mushrooms, Spinach & Bread

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_MG_5631I firmly believe that you can never have enough egg recipes. My personal favorite way to eat eggs is over-easy, atop a piece of avocado-slathered toast with a little hot sauce, but every now and then I like to switch it up a little. This recipe looks impressive, uses one pan, and can be expanded exponentially to accommodate a crowd – really, what's not to love? You could also add bacon for a smoky flavor, or switch the vegetables for other items you prefer. The only thing I really insist on is the croutons and runny eggs. A perfect winter breakfast, if I do say so myself._MG_5637

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Baked Eggs with Mushrooms, Spinach & Bread (serves 2)

2 T. olive oil

1/2 baguette or other rustic bread, torn into bite-size pieces

2 T. butter

1 leek, rinsed well and thinly sliced

10 oz mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced

4 oz spinach, chopped

4 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil over medium in a sauté pan. When hot, add bread and toast until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

In a cast-iron or oven-proof pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add leek, and sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and season with salt an pepper, sautéing until browned, about 8 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and add croutons and toss. Carefully make four small wells in vegetable mixture, then crack eggs directly into each well. Place pan in oven and cook until eggs are just set, 6-7 minutes. Serve immediately.

Spinach and Leek Quinoa Cakes

Sorry for the lack of posting as of late. Between family visiting and being busy at work, lately I have come home exhausted and not very inspired to write. However, the fact that it's now light until 8:00 is helping, and the reappearance of leeks and ramps at the farmer's market is working wonders as well. I picked up some leeks the last time I was there, and was planning on making a quiche lorraine, but decided that these quinoa cakes would be decidedly better for my waistline and would help with my spring resolution to eat healthier. The quiche will have to wait for another day. Spinach and Leek Quinoa Cakes (makes 10-12)

1 cup quinoa

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 tablespoon butter

3 large leeks, thinly sliced

8 oz spinach, washed and roughly chopped

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil, as needed

In a small saucepan, bring the quinoa and broth to boil. Reduce to simmer, and cook, covered, until quinoa absorbs all of the broth, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until soft, about 20 minutes. When almost done, add spinach and cook until just wilted, about 1 minute. Add vegetables to quinoa and mix well. Add parmesan cheese and mix.

Coat sauté pan with vegetable oil and heat over medium. Mix breadcrumbs and panko together on a large plate. Form quinoa mixture into patties, using about 1/2 cup per patty. Coat well with breadcrumb mixture, then sauté until browned on each side, 4-5 minutes. Repeat with remaining mixture. Top with additional parmesan cheese, if desired.

Risotto Primavera

Spring certainly feels like it's in the air in New York. I spied some asparagus at the grocery store the other day that actually looked fresh, and couldn't pass up the chance to try it. This is one of my favorite dinners to make in the spring -- still hearty enough for cold nights, but a nice way to showcase spring vegetables. It is especially good served with a crusty baguette and a glass of chenin blanc. Risotto Primavera

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 white onion, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 cups arborio or short grain rice

6 cups chicken broth

1 14-oz can artichoke hearts, roughly chopped

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup peas

10 oz spinach, roughly chopped

3 oz proscuitto, chopped

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

In a large pan or dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and shallot and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add arborio rice and sauté until white dot is visible in the middle, 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup broth and stir to coat. Begin to add broth 1/2 cup at a time, waiting until almost all has been absorbed before you add the next half cup.

Once you have added half the broth, stir in the artichokes. Keep adding broth, and when you have 1/2 cup left, stir in asparagus, peas, and spinach. Add last part of broth and let absorb. Rice should be tender but still have a slight bite.

Stir in prosciutto and cheese. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Creamed Spinach

This recipe is from one of my all-time favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen -- in fact, this is one of the sites that made me want to start blogging in the first place. Deb's beautiful photography and excellent recipes get me excited every time she has a new post (and she has a cookbook coming out this year! Needless to say, I am very excited). I bought a bunch of spinach at the farmer's market last week and instead of doing the same old sauté with garlic and olive oil, decided it was time for something new. Namely, creamy, creamy cream sauce. This recipe makes a very rich side dish or you could easily top it with an egg and call it dinner. Creamed Spinach (just slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

2 pounds baby spinach or 2 1/2 pounds fresh spinach, tough stems discarded 1 3/4 cups heavy cream or whole milk, or a mix thereof (I used a mix) 2 shallots, finely chopped 1 small clove garlic, minced 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Wash your spinach well and shake dry. Place spinach in a large pot over high heat. Cook, covered, with just the water clinging to leaves, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 2 to 4 minutes for baby spinach and 4 to 6 minutes for regular spinach.

Press or squeeze out the excess liquid any number of ways, either by wringing it out in cheesecloth, putting it in a mesh strainer and pressing the moisture out with a spatula or large spoon or letting it cool long enough to grab small handfuls and squeezing them to remove as much water as possible. Coarsely chop the wrung-out spinach.

Wipe out large pot so you can use it again.

Heat milk or cream in a small saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until warm. Keep warm. Meanwhile, cook shallots and garlic, in butter in the large pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about six minutes. Whisk in flour and cook roux, whisking, about three minutes. Add warm milk or cream in a slow stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, and simmer, whisking, until thickened, three to four minutes. Stir in nutmeg, spinach, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until heated through.