Sunday, January 26, 2014

Portugese Baked Eggs with No-Knead Rustic Bread

Happy Sunday! To me, Sunday is synonymous with brunch. I have been eating brunch almost every Sunday for my whole life. It seems to be more of a thing in some cities than others, but it's definitely a thing where I grew up in Colorado. Even when I was out of college, my partner and I met his family every single Sunday for brunch. When we moved from the west coast to the east, I was so happy to be in another place full of people who love brunch. It's fun to go out for brunch, but I also really love to make it at home. The boys are in full swing of studying for their medical boards coming up this summer, so they don't have much free time for eating out lately. So this weekend, we stayed in and I made brunch on Saturday and Sunday. They're so lucky to have me around ;)

Jack got me this really cool magazine/cookbook for Christmas called Gather (pictured below), and this bread is my first recipe I have followed from it. The pictures are beautiful and most of the recipes are slightly involved, but I can't wait to make more! (It also comes twice a year, so I have another one to look forward to in a few months!) This is my second loaf of bread I have ever made, and it's sort of weird only because of the slow rise. However, even though using roughly 20 hours total sounds like a really long time to spend on one loaf of bread, the hands-on time is literally like 10 minutes. Plus, I was sleeping for about half of it. 

I have also had Portuguese Baked Eggs on my list of brunch things to make for a long time. My main problem was that a lot of the recipes are basically just eggs swimming in marinara sauce. While I am sure that's not bad, I try not to make things where the main ingredient involves just opening a jar. I try to make as many things as possible from scratch, which is normally just as easy said as it is done. (I have learned in the last year how easy it is to make homemade tortillas too, and that has basically changed my life). Then I stumbled upon this recipe: same flavors, but all fresh vegetables. Perfect! It's not the easiest recipe to make just because it takes some time: chopping, stirring etc. But, it's definitely worth the time for a hearty delicious brunch. What are some of your favorite brunch recipes? I am always looking to mix it up! 

No Knead Rustic Bread 
makes 1 small-medium sized loaf 

3 cups flour (bread flour if you have it), plus extra for dusting
1 & 1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp active dry yeast 
1 1/2 cups cool water 

1. Stir together flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. Then, mix in the water using a wooden spoon until you have a wet, sticky dough (it's okay to use your hands to mix if you have to, but the dough needs to be very sticky to the touch). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight (12-18 hours). This slow rise - the fermentation - is the key to this bread's flavor. 
2. Dust your clean work surface with flour. Scrape the dough out from the bowl in one ball. Lightly flour your hands and lift the edges of the dough in towards the center, tucking them in to make a nice round shape. Do not add additional flour to the bread. 
3. Place a well-floured tea or dish towel on the work surface and gently transfer the dough round to the towel, seam side down. Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Fold the edges of the tea towel over the top and let the dough rise in a warm area until almost doubled, 1-2 hours.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 475 degrees. Place an oven-safe pot with lid in the oven on a rack in the lower third portion. 
5. When the dough has risen, unfold the towel and lightly dust again if necessary. Quickly and gently invest the dough into the pot, this time with the seam up. Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.
6. Remove the lid and rotate the pot within the oven. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the bread is a deep chestnut color, but not burnt. Very carefully lift the bread of the pot and let it cool on a rack for up to 60 minutes before eating. 

Recipe from Gather Cookbook - Jim Lahey's New York Sullivan Street Bakery bread 

Portuguese Baked Eggs 
serves 3-4 

1/4 cup olive oil
3 bell peppers (I used two red and one yellow), thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 beefsteak tomatis, cut into wedges
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, seeds intact, sliced lengthwise
20-ish fresh basil leaves
2 Tbs fresh oregano leaves 
1 Tbs chili powder
2 tsp paprika 
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup ricotta cheese
6 large eggs
1 cup grated white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan 

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño, basil, oregano, chili powder, and paprika. Reduce the heat slightly and continue to cook, stirring on occasion, until the vegetables are very soft and there is a thick liquid present, 25-30 minutes. 
3. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Discard the jalapeño.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Transfer the pepper mixture to an oven-safe dish- I used cast iron, but a baking dish will also suffice. Using a spoon, make 3 evenly-spaced wells in the veggie mixture. Drop a dollop of ricotta into each divot (it's okay if you don't use the whole cup) and then crack and egg on top of that. 
5. Top the dish with both cheeses and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 18 minutes, until the Parmesan is melted and the egg whites are set.
6. Serve immediately on slices of toast! 

Recipe adapted from bon appetit magazine 

Optional: share your last bite with an adorable dog face, like Gustav here. He stared at me the entire time I was eating, so I finally gave in. It's hard not to! 

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