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Super easy: Sungold Omelet and Pork Fried Rice

I made a couple of tasty and healthy dishes this past weekend that I wanted to share with you all.

Chef JimFirst, since we had two pints of sungold cherry tomatoes from our CSA, as well as a wealth of basil, I had an idea. I heated some olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, threw in a handful of the sungolds, shook the pan a few times and let them roast for a minute or two. Then I scrambled 3-4 eggs with salt and pepper and poured those into the pan. I swirled the pan around a bit and once the eggs were just about set, threw in a couple tablespoons of feta cheese, and a sprinkling of chopped basil. I cooked for another 30 seconds or so and then transferred to a plate, cutting the omelet into two servings (you can also use more eggs and cut into four wedges).

Chef JimThe other thing I had a taste for was fried rice. I like to make mine with pork, but it’s always difficult or next to impossible to make the kind of red-tinged barbecued pork you see in Chinese restaurants. So I did the sensible thing and picked up a container of roast pork at our local Chinese takeout joint. They call it “boneless spare ribs,” but it’s basically strips of barbecued roast pork (and it’s freaking delicious). So here is how I made my fried rice–I took a bag of frozen bag brown rice from Trader Joe’s (this is the best tasting quick brown rice you will find anywhere–I guarantee it), nuked it for three minutes and set the bag aside. I heated a couple tablespoons of canola oil in a large nonstick skillet with a splash of sesame oil. I threw in some finely chopped onion, carrots, sweet pepper, shelled edamame, and a small bit of minced fresh ginger — and stir fried that for 3-4 minutes. Then I dumped in the cooked rice and maybe 1/2 cup of diced roast pork and stir fried for another minute. Then I added a few sprinkles of Kosher salt, some shakes of black pepper; and a sprinkling each of teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, and Korean barbecue sauce, stirring for about a minute. Meanwhile, at about the same time I added the sauces, I heated a small nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray, and dumped in one scrambled egg. Instead of stirring, I just let that set, and slid onto a plate, cutting into small pieces and adding to the fried rice, stirring another 30 seconds and then sprinkling with chopped cilantro. After dividing among two plates, I sprinkled mine with a few drizzles of chili oil.

You can make this rice with whatever you have on hand. Green onions are typical but I don’t like them and they don’t like me. You can also use peas, corn, bok choy or whatever you can find. It’s fun to try different combinations, but trust me — the pork is what makes it. My wife says it’s better than takeout, and who am I to disagree? So maybe you should try it and see if you like it too. But I already know you will.

Mikey’s Beef Fried Rice

I’ve been on a mission lately to find Chinese roast pork in the grocery store. And I don’t think it’s gonna happen. One day I will stop being lazy and just pick up a container of it from the local takeout place and make my own fried rice with it. Because lately I can’t seem to find good fried rice. It’s either bland, too yellow and not brown enough, has too many onions or green onions, not enough meat, or all of the above.

So yesterday I was in the grocery store and saw these really nice stir fry beef strips. The last thing we had on our weekly menu (yes, Mrs. Mikey and I try to do that) was fish, and I had not thawed it, and want to be especially careful thawing seafood. So now then. I suddenly had a vision in my head for fried rice. Basically watching a lot of “Chopped” and “Top Chef” has made me try to think more creatively than usual lately.

So I took the beef strips and marinated then in teriyaki sauce for 15-20 minutes or until I prepped the other ingredients–Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice (poke a few holes in the bag and nuke for 3 minutes for absolutely perfectly sticky and delicious brown rice), carrots, 1/2 an onion, some snow peas, ginger, canola oil, sherry, soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, some cilantro, a lime, and a couple of eggs. I chopped the ginger up fine, chopped the carrots (I used baby carrots) and the onion, and then sliced the snow peas into slivers. I put about a tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet and when hot to the 2-inches-away touch, put the veggies in the pan and stirred, adding a bit of salt and pepper. After the onion just started to brown I removed the vegetables to a plate and added the beef to the pan, with some salt and pepper. The beef started to brown but I wanted it to be slightly charred in spots, or in this case a bit overdone to make it like a sponge for the teriyaki sauce if that makes sense.

Then I put the beef on a plate, and poured a little bit of sherry and soy sauce in the pan to deglaze it. I added a touch more canola oil, a sprinkling more of sherry and soy, a few drops of sriracha and a few drops of sesame oil. I put the veggies back in, chopped the beef into small pieces and added them to the pan, followed by the rice. Then I stirred, and added a little more teriyaki sauce and set aside to keep warm. Meanwhile, I heated a small nonstick skillet over medium heat and cracked two eggs in it. I put the rice in two bowls, topped each with a sunny side up egg, some chopped cilantro and a lime wedge, and there you have it….Mikey’s Beef Fried Rice!

My only regret is I forgot to snap a picture. But I will say it was some of the best fried rice I’ve ever made, and Mrs. Mikey agreed. Damn, now I’m hungry again.

Jenny’s chalkboard: Mexican breakfast for dinner

With an assist from food TV–including a new show on Travel Channel called Feed the Beast, which I’ll be previewing before it premieres on Wednesday; and then an hour of Food Network’s Diners, Drive Ins & Dives yesterday, and after my wife (i.e. Jenny) and I both had this sluggish, head-achy thing going on, we decided we needed to eat something fatty and greasy. We were not hung over, but that’s what it felt like, and we needed a Sunday morning hangover remedy on Sunday evening. Those shows made me crave eggs and fat and salt, and when I saw we had chorizo in the fridge, I knew what had to be done–we had to make Mexican breakfast for dinner. Jenny agreed and put that on her chalkboard.

So what you’re seeing in the photo and that went happily into our bellies last night is this…..first, I took a leftover baked potato and cut that up, and stir fried it in a bit of canola oil. Meanwhile, as the potato was cooking, I took a link of chorizo (by link I mean it was maybe a foot long), removed the meat from the “fake” casing, and fried that up in a pan for about 10 minutes until it was cooked through and crispy, draining on paper towels. I wiped out the pan, and fried four eggs in it. Jenny shredded some cheddar cheese (full fat kickass Wisconsin cheddar), and I cubed an avocado while the eggs were cooking. I also opened up a can of refried black beans, and chopped some cilantro. As the eggs were set, it was time to assemble this creation in a big bowl–

First, the potatoes, which were nice and crispy. Then a dollop of refried beans and the chorizo. We topped that with two eggs in each bowl, followed by the avocado chunks, cheese and cilantro. Oh, and some Mexican hot sauce for good measure. Suffice to say we both felt so much better after eating this dinner. It was one of those food nirvana moments when you feed your body what it’s craving, and then some. And hey, now I know what to make next time we are hung over….and we hope you try it too.

Mmmmm breakfast

I’m especially hungry today, probably because I ate cereal for breakfast. Carbs of any kind make you want to eat more carbs. But here is a photo of what I ate yesterday:

Do you see a face? I kind of see a cartoon martian face, albeit one without a mouth, or maybe the bread is like a tongue sticking out. Let me know what you think it looks like, as I know you’re feeling creative today, right?

As for what it tasted like? Delicious. It’s a slice of Trader Joe’s whole wheat toast (a really great whole grain bread that has no chemicals or annoying preservatives), with two turkey sausage patties, topped by two sunny-side up eggs. And I will say this–I wasn’t craving carbs an hour later.

Bacon and egg torpedo

Sometimes you just gotta eat a pile of bacon. I didn’t know what I wanted for breakfast this morning, and pulled out some bacon. I took four thick slices out and cut them in half, and put them on the bacon tray. So that meant 8 short slices of delicious bacon. Now what? I spotted some hot dog rolls, and then it came to me–a little sub of sorts…..a torpedo. Of course, sometimes you have to accent the bacon with a scrambled egg, and you have to then accent that with cheese. So I stacked the bacon on the bun, put the egg on top and the cheese on top of that, and closed it up.

Bam–the bacon and egg torpedo. If I would have thought about it, and if I wasn’t so hungry that I didn’t have time to look for them, I would have thinly sliced up some jalapeno too for some good, clean heat. But hey, it was still pretty good.

Mikey’s kitchen tips

Happy Friday folks. I had this idea to come up with some kitchen tips for you, some that I learned quite a long time ago when my mom and brothers taught me how to cook; some from knowledge I gleaned on my own. Anyway, here are three tips and we’ll try to do this once a month or so…..

Perfect scrambled eggs–I can’t believe how long it took me to figure out how to properly cook eggs. In the past, I would scrambled the egg in a bowl and add it to a frying pan and almost seem like I was racing against time to try and cook the egg. Then for whatever reason, it struck me that scrambled eggs did not have to be rubbery and/or burnt around the edges. Maybe I saw Gordon Ramsay yelling at some chef on MasterChef or Hell’s Kitchen. Maybe I just figured it out on my own. Regardless, here is what to do–scramble the egg lightly and add a pinch each of Kosher salt and pepper. You can add a splash of milk too if you like, but I typically don’t. Anyway, heat the pan over medium-low heat and spray with cooking spray or add a tiny bit of butter. Add the eggs and stir gently, not leaving the stove. Just as the eggs begin to set, turn off the heat and stir a little more until just set and I mean JUST set. The result should be creamy and awesome eggs.

Soup add-ins–Lately I’ve had an obsession with raw jalapenos. If you’ve ever had pho, you might have had it with sliced jalapeno like this, but when I saw it done, I had to do it myself. But I took it further. I add raw, very thinly sliced jalapeno pepper to all of my soups, even if I make canned chicken noodle. It adds a great blast of heat, but natural, clean heat. Another thing I like to do is to add steak to soup, generally a soup that is already beef-based or a vegetable soup. I like to use tenderloin or sirloin, and the trick is to sear it on a grill or grill pan, for a minute or two on each side, and the key is to make sure it’s still not cooked in the middle. Of course, I’m not advocating to eat raw meat. Slice it very thin, and then add to your soup just as you’re about to eat it, and let the hot soup finish cooking the meat. That way you don’t have rubbery steak in your soup.

More pizza and eggs

Chef JimI recently whipped up a kickass omelet using cut up pizza as the filling. It’s a combination that I’m not sure why it’s not done more. So when I was in upstate New York last week visiting family, and had the most awesome pizza from Bud’s Place, I commented that this pizza was so good, I might have to have it for breakfast with my eggs in the morning. And I wasn’t joking.

So the next day, I heated up a slice of pizza (my sister showed me that the best way to re-heat pizza is in a frying pan, and she was right). Then I fried an egg, sunny side up, and slipped that right onto the pie. Pure heaven. Seriously, I wasn’t hung over but if you can think of a better hangover food combination, tell me what it is.

Man, I’m hungry now. I wish I had some pizza on hand!

Low carb doesn’t have to suck

I am in need of having to shed a few pounds again, this time more than ever…oops.

So I’m eating low-carb again for a bit….and started this morning with this creation I came up with on the fly–an overeasy ham omelet. Here is how you do it….

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Put two thin slices of ham in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, flipping every 30 seconds until crispy. Then crack an egg over each ham slice, sprinkle with salt and pepper and let cook for about 2-4 minutes, or until whites are almost all opaque. Then gently flip the ham slices over each egg yolk as if it were an omelet. Cook for another 30 seconds and serve.

My yolk was still runny, exactly what I wanted to achieve with this. And with the crispy ham, it was perfect and made me feel like I wasn’t even eating what you might call “diet food.” Give this one a try, especially if you’re doing South Beach or something similar.

Easy Fried Rice

I made this fried rice twice last week and it was awesome. If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, they have easy and delicious rice in their frozen foods section. You just nuke a bag of it for three minutes and you have perfect rice–either brown or jasmine or white rice. You can also buy the Uncle Ben’s or other easy microwave rice packets that are sold in the rice/pasta section, but trust me–this Trader Joe’s rice tastes better. I use the brown variety but either would work fine.

So after you nuke the rice, set it aside. Chop a small or half a large onion. Chop some baby carrots, and put them along with a handful of frozen peas (and/or frozen corn) in a small pot and cover with water and boil for a couple minutes. Crack an egg and cook that in a small, nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray for a minute or two until set.

Then, take a large nonstick skillet, swirl in a tablespoon or so of cooking oil such as canola. Heat over medium heat for a minute, then add the onion and rice. Stir fry for a couple minutes or until the onion is cooked and translucent. Drain the peas and carrots and add those. If you have any cooked pork, chicken or beef, chop that up and throw it in. Chop the scrambled egg and add that. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add a couple tablespoons of soy sauce. Continue to stir fry for another minute or so. If you have any cilantro, chop that and add in at the end (or green onion, or both).

That’s it. It is easier than it felt typing it all out, trust me. And it’s delicious and not too greasy as most restaurant fried rice is.

Sometimes ya gotta love the French

Sometimes the French get a bad rap. Even sometimes in our American minds, when the stereotype of skinny, stuck up wine-drinking cheese eaters conflicts with the vision of our core audience on Bullz-Eye.com, which is more chubby, loud, beer-swilling, bratwurst and Velveeta folks.

But let’s face it–the French make some damn good food, and we sometimes need to give them some love for it.

Such an instance reared its head in my world this past Saturday, as I was heading to the eye doctor. I’d never been to this doctor, and his offices are located in a strip mall here in Madison. Before I walked in, I noticed a French bakery next door, and it was hopping. So as I’m having flashing lights shone in my eyes, and puffs of air shot at my eyes, and having to read these tiny letters on a chart, and picking out glasses (by the way, when did the price of eyeglasses become akin to buying a television?)–all the while I’m thinking about that bakery and wondering what they might have. It didn’t help that my eye appointment was at noon and I was starving.

I went into the bakery and literally the women behind the counter all had thick French accents. This place was REAL. It’s called La Baguette, by the way. First I noticed some fruit tarts….something I don’t normally eat, but they looked amazing. Then I noticed these croissants…real ones, not the thin grocery store croissants. But next to those were something sort of round and croissant looking. I asked one of the ladies behind the counter what they were and she replied in her French accent, “chocolate croissant.” Are you kidding me? Count me in. I bought one of those, two plain croissants and a pear tart. Then I noticed the row of baguettes, and had to have one. It was warm and right out of the oven. Wow. I told the lady I would buy more if I stood there longer, and she said, “Please take your time!”

Needless to say, the baked goods from La Baguette were amazing. I managed to not eat all of it on the ride home, so my wife and I made a nice sandwich with the baguette, and we ate the chocolate croissant for dessert. The next morning we split the pear tart, and then while my wife ran out to an appointment, I made a fantastic breakfast sandwich using a croissant (see photo). I made some bacon, and cooked an overeasy egg and put those right on the croissant, and it was amazing. It helped that I had the perfect vehicle, but the bacon and egg came out perfectly, and that doesn’t always happen.

So hey, for right now anyway, I salute the French and their food. I also salute La Baguette, where I will return when I pick up my glasses next week.

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