Egg, Bacon, and Cheese Stuffed Peppers

We actually hit 58 degrees the other night. The leaves are starting to fall from the elm trees already and for the first time in my Oklahoma life I’m just a teensy bit sorry to see summer go so soon.

Our counter is piled high with red (and green) tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers…still cucumbers (I’ve made more pickles this year than I can count.) We even have a few strawberries and some knobbly carrots that look like they didn’t know which way was down.

A friend of mine gave me red peppers from her garden that were just amazing (Thanks, Libby!). I roasted a bunch of them and put them in everything from Eggs Florentine to Mac and Cheese with Caramelized Onions. You can’t get much better than that!

These Breakfast Peppers come pretty close. I had to make them twice just to make sure because I’ve never been a fan of stuffed peppers. This is a whole different story.

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One thing I love about these is that I don’t feel like I need extra carbohydrates to go with it or to fill me up. Two pepper halves make a very satisfying and delicious breakfast.

Here’s what you need…

Egg, Bacon, and Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Serves 4

  • 4 medium to large red peppers (You can also use green, or yellow for that matter.)
  • 6 slices Applegate Farms smoked turkey bacon (or bacon of your choice)
  • 7 eggs
  • 2 T. milk or cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 4 oz Parmesan, freshly grated

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds and membrane, being careful not to cut through the pepper. It’s helpful to get peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom (There’s probably a technical name for those…) and cut them so they balance by themselves, but if your peppers are oddly shaped like mine were, place them in a ramekin or muffin tin to balance them out.

Cut or tear bacon into pieces and saute in a skillet until cooked through. Divide evenly between pepper halves.

Beat eggs, milk and salt together (You can go crazy here with herbs, too, if you like) and pour over bacon, filling the peppers just before the point of overflow. (Am I explaining things weird today or what?!)

Slice cream cheese thinly and layer over egg mixture. Top with grated Parmesan.

Bake for 35 minutes or until eggs are set. Let cool slightly before digging in.

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If you happen to have enough refrigerator space (Mine is stuffed with pickles [1 gallon jar, one 1/2 gallon jar, and 2 quart jars to be precise], sauerkraut, milk kefir, water kefir, creme fraiche, lacto-fermented peppers, plus groceries for a week… I really need another refrigerator for this fermented stuff!), you could assemble these the night before and pop them in the oven for a quick breakfast. As it is, it takes 10-15 minutes to assemble and 35 minutes to bake.

Hope you all are enjoying the last days of summer!

Brussels for Breakfast

I hope no one was holding their breath in anticipation for this delicious breakfast recipe, because that would result in fewer people reading my blog due to…well, let’s just say a severe lack of oxygen.

Believe me, I’ve been thinking about it everyday, but something always seems to get in my way. So finally, this morning, I bring you one of my favorite breakfasts – Brussels Sprouts with Quinoa and Fried Eggs topped with Hot Sauce!

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First, a word about Brussels Sprouts

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These darling little vegetables had suffered a lot of abuse over the years. Not only do they get overcooked, discolored and soggy, drastically loosing their full potential, but people tend to hate them with a passion for that very reason. I am convinced that if the poor Brussels only had the chance to be cooked correctly, they would immediately have a following. Case in point, my brothers. They LIKE Brussels.

Besides, did you know that Brussels Sprouts have three times more vitamin C than an orange? Four-to-six sprouts contain the adult daily requirements for vitamin C! Watch out cold and flu season! They are also high in protein, accounting for more than a quarter of their calories, and an excellent source of vitamin D and folic acid. Brussels are also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.

If that doesn’t make you want to try this dish, I don’t know what will!

Here goes –

Recipe serves one.

  • butter
  • 4 small Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 c. quinoa, cooked
  • 2 eggs, fried or soft boiled
  • salt and pepper
  • hot sauce

Hold the Brussels sprout by the stem and slice into thin strips.

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Melt butter in a skillet. Add Brussels and saute until the sprouts turn bright, vibrant green.

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Add the quinoa and cook just until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with fried eggs and hot sauce and enjoy this power house of nutrients!

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What a way to start off 2013, eh?

So, tell me – are you a fan of the Brussels Sprout? What is your favorite way to eat them?

Happy 2013!

Caution: Hot Sauce!

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So, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve never been a huge condiment fan, but suddenly I find myself eating hot sauce on everything. It’s crazy! After polishing off the remains of the Cholula (who can resist the cute bottles!) and chugging down the “Breakfast on the Edge”, I knew I had to do something about this…

Like make my own.  Yeah.

I browsed recipes, but in the end, just looked at the ingredients on the bottle and tried to replicate what I liked. Of course, who knows what “natural flavor” and “spices” really embody. At the very least, I now know what’s really in my hot sauce! And it’s as simple as this…

(Makes about 16oz. )

3 oz. package dried red peppers

boiling water

2 small cloves garlic

1 1/2 t. ground chipotle

1/2 c. distilled vinegar

1 T. salt

1 t. smoked salt

1 T. organic cane sugar

2 T. butter

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Soak the peppers in the hot water for about 30 minutes.

Put the vinegar, garlic, chipotle powder, sugar, salt and soaked, drained peppers (reserve liquid) in a blender…

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And puree until well blended, adding the reserved water to get the right consistency. Strain through a mesh strainer, unless you want all the seeds. They will make the heat much more intense. I prefer the look of no seeds. I know, it’s all about looks, right?

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Use a spoon to get ever last drop of delicious liquid out of the pulpiness.

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Place the strained liquid into a sauce pan and bring to a boil.

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Add butter and whisk to combine. Lower to a simmer and let cook for 30 minutes, whisking occasionally. Let cool before bottling.

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And be ready for some HOT STUFF!

This is the perfect thing to make on a freezingly bitter cold day because it warms you up from the outside in. No kidding! I was practically sweating while making it. And remember – DON’T rub your eyes or skin after handling peppers! Here’s a cool tip from Alton Brown on Good Eats to help take care of that! (Start watching the video at 14:48 for the hot pepper tip, or watch the whole video for a very interesting and practical guide on knives, knife handling, cutting boards and chopping techniques.)

To prevent burning your hands with capsaicin, the oil in hot peppers that causes such discomfort, occasionally dip your fingers into a 5 to 1 solution of water and bleach while you’re working. That will turn the capsaicin into a water soluble salt that washes away with water.

How cool is that?

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Next up, I’ll share one of my recently discovered favorite breakfast dishes that, of course, calls for hot sauce.

Speaking of breakfast dishes…

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I stumbled upon a frittata idea just this morning by accident and absolutely have to share it with you this minute!

Sauteed mushrooms, spinach, and cubed, leftover sweet potato (winter squashes like butternut or pumpkin would work as well) – seasoned with fresh rosemary, oregano, sage and salt and pepper. Pour eggs and cream over the mixture, sprinkle on some cheese (creamy goat or something sharp would be outrageous, but I just had cheddar.) and bake until set. Oh my! I love “accidental stumbles” in the kitchen!

And speaking of eggs…

My Mom bought some beautiful Cuckoo and Black Copper Marans and Welsummer hens and chicks (originating from France and Holland, respectively) and we hope to have our own farm fresh eggs soon.

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Black Copper Maran eggs are a dark chocolaty brown – the darkest of any other laying hens. These eggs are prized by French chefs and and are so expensive here in the US that a 3 egg omelet would cost $30.00! I wonder if someone could even enjoy eating an omelet that expensive?? Anyway, Mom wants to get several breeds of chickens that lay eggs of all different colors, so I’m excited to see that egg basket when they start laying!

Speaking of chickens…

My Mom is not only a chicken farmer, along with a gillion other titles, but she’s a great artist too. And, over on her garden/chicken blog, she’s giving away this oil painting of a Columbian Rock chicken. It’s it lovely?

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Folksy Chicken

Head over to Rosemary, Lavender and Thyme for a chance to win!

Speaking of winning…

Just kidding! I’m done…for now.

But don’t you wish I wasn’t? Winning is always such a great topic!