Stags and Scotch

What do you get when you mix a lazy Saturday morning, venison sausage, a hungry me, and my over ambitious ideas?!?!?!!  

Scotch Eggs!!

I had never attempted a scotch egg before, but I have pounds and pounds of breakfast sausage from The Engineer’s deer and eggs are a constant staple in the fridge.  It seemed like a perfectly reasonable breakfast idea!  So, Friday night I googled a quick explanation from Gordon Ramsey and decided that fancy British breakfast was just the thing we needed Saturday morning.  This is exactly the sort of thing that happens when I watch cooking shows.  If Gordon can do it….I obviously can do it!  If I can’t do it as well as Gordon, I can certainly do it better than his stupid contestants on Hell’s Kitchen….but that is a different matter entirely.

If you wanna take a stab at making your own scotch eggs, here’s what I used to make my jazzed up, cheesy version.  They turned out crispy and delicious, although they are a bit of work, so they aren’t going to become an every weekend activity anytime soon even though The Engineer really liked them…

IMG_9200

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs plus one for an egg wash
  • 1 pound breakfast sausage of your choice
  • Flour for dredging
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheese
  • Any spices you like….get creative!!!
  • Olive oil for frying

First things first, you must boil the eggs.  Gordon recommend a 4 minute and 30 second dip into already boiling water.  I don’t love super runny eggs, so I opted for an almost 6 minute boil.  Apparently British eggs cook faster?!  My 6 minute eggs were still runnier than I would have liked, and it made them a bit hard to peel and wrap in sausage without breaking open and oozing yoke.  The Engineer likes runny eggs, and I don’t horribly mind them as long as I have plenty of stuff to wipe them up with so we made do.  Next time though….I’ll let them go a couple minutes more.  I was worried that cooking the sausage would cook the egg inside more, but I don’t think that is the case.  Be sure you just cook your eggs to as hard or soft of a boil as you’d like.

While your eggs are boiling it’s time to get creative with your meat!  Our sausage blend is a bit under-spiced so it takes some jazzing up.  If you have a better blend or are just feeling lazy feel free to leave your sausage as it comes.  There aren’t a lot of rules, so add what you’re feeling!  Gordon apparently adds blood sausage and shredded apple to his pork sausage base.  I added cheese!!  The Engineer loves cheese with his eggs and I figured this would be an easy place to add it……plus the following pyramid of spices

1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper

Salt and Pepper to Taste

1 Tablespoon each of Garlic and Onion Powder

2 Tablespoons each of fresh, frozen Thyme and Oregano from my garden

Get everything in your sausage all mixed up, and be sure to get your breading stations set up.  I added some salt and pepper to the flour mixture and a splash of water to the egg so it whipped up nicely.

Once your eggs are cooked, cool them down with some cold water and commence the peeling.  I find that peeling the eggs under a little running water really helps the shells come off easier.  I had one egg not survive the peeling intact, so I did end up just frying some of the sausage as patties…..but that’s our little secret so don’t tell anyone!  The recipe would have made 5 scotch eggs otherwise!

To prep your eggs, squash a “large golfball sized handful” of meat into a very thin patty.  I get that that isn’t a super exact amount….but I guess you’re looking for 5 even sized balls.  Try and keep it as round and thin as you can.  Carefully place your peeled egg in the middle and warp the sausage around it.  A couple times I had to grab a bit more meat mixture to bridge any holes, just make sure to get everything covered in the sausage layer.  I found the rolling and forming them in my hands the way you’d make a snowball was the most effective, although don’t squeeze too hard because if you break your eggs, and you like them a little runny, you’ll end up with exploding yoke everywhere.  Not only will this mean that someone will get a mystery scotch egg with no yolk, but it’s also hard to get everything stuck together with all the yolk oozing around!

Gently roll your delicious meat ball in the seasoned flour….transfer to the egg wash….and then finally roll in breadcrumbs.  If you’re ball has gotten a bit amorphous or wonky by this point don’t worry…..just pick it up carefully and reform it in your hands.  According to Gordon it is helpful to press in the breadcrumbs anyway so don’t worry too much about it.  It’ll be a bit messy….but the good things in life are usually messy anyway.

Scotch eggs are traditionally deep fried, but I don’t have a fryer and I didn’t feel like using that much oil just to fry up 4 egg balls in a large skillet.  So….I broke with tradition slightly and just added a generous drizzle of olive oil to my largest, deepest skillet and let it get hot.  Once hot, carefully place in the scotch eggs and cook until brown and crispy!!!  They get oh so deliciously crispy…..must be the cheese at work!  Once they are cooked on one side, grab carefully with tongs and flip over.  Once the top and bottom were golden and delicious, I set them on their sides and slowly worked them around until they were perfectly cooked little brown orbs of goodness.  You might think that a hefty drizzle in the bottom of the pan won’t be enough oil, but remember that sausage will loose grease as it cooks….use that to your advantage!  The cheese and the fact that you aren’t actually deep frying them does cause them to stick to the pan a tiny bit, so just be gentle when you’re working with them.

Serve piping hot with your choice of breakfast sides and of course some coffee…..mimosas if you have them!  If you like your eggs runny you’ll probably want some toast to help soak up all the deliciousness.  They are a bit heavy….in a good “old school, stick to your ribs, keep you full for a long time” sorta way…so I’d steer clear of anything like pancakes or hash browns.  I eat a ton, but even I think that’s too much to take on.  Some fruit, maybe some tea, and pleasant thoughts of the English countryside should be more than enough to start your day off on the proper foot!

IMG_9201

Glorious lil scotch eggs and some apple butter toast!

 

Waking Up Hangry!

I’m a big breakfast eater.  Some times I can get away with just coffee, but especially at work or days I’m going to have a late lunch after a workout…..I need a good breakfast to get me through.  But, I’m also SUPER LAZY in the morning and pretty much refuse to wake up any earlier than I absolutely have to!!

Enter……THE FROZEN BREAKFAST BURRITO!!! 

Fast, easy, customizable, and filling enough to get you through even your hangriest mornings.  Make them ahead and pull them out as you need them.  They are perfect!

image

THINGS YOU NEED:

  • Tortillas
  • 2 Eggs per Tortilla
  • Splash of Milk or Cream
  • Cooking Spray or Butter
  • Meat–I’ve been loving Hot Italian Sausage….like you’d use on pizza.  Bacon….ham…..quinoa…..tofu…..DO WHAT YOU LIKE
  • Cheese
  • Onion
  • Bell Pepper
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Saran Wrap

 

Precook your meat of choice.  The Italian sausage crumbles as it cooks, but I would dice ham or bacon so that it’s easier to wrap up the finished burritos.  Some spicy, taco seasoned quinoa would also be good if you’re looking for a meat free option.  I just looked back and realized I’ve never posted my Mexican quinoa bowl recipe, so probably I’ll have to do that soon!!!  But, just follow the cooking directions on the quinoa, and dump in some taco seasonings….Cumin, Cayenne, Garlic, Chili Powder, Onion Powder…ya know, the usual…..or buy a pack of seasoning if that’s more your thing.

Dice the onion and bell pepper and throw into a large pan over medium heat with some butter to soften.  Whip the eggs with a splash of milk and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the eggs into the pan and cook to a soft scramble.  This may take longer than you’d think depending on the amount of eggs you make…..just be warned.  Keep an eye on them though, as once they start to set it will go faster.

image

Lay out each tortilla on a square of saran wrap.  Starting with the eggs, try and split an even amount into each tortilla.  Add in your meat of choice, and sprinkle with a bit of cheese.  By this time, it’s possible that your tortillas may have gotten a bit dry.  No worries, slide them onto a plate and simply microwave for 10-15 seconds.  Roll carefully, and then seal the roll with the saran wrap.

Once they are all stuffed, rolled, and wrapped….simply throw them in the freezer!  I was slightly worried that since they were warm the tortillas would get soggy and mushy, but they all came out perfectly!  Sometimes, if I planned even slightly ahead, I would pull one out and leave it in the fridge overnight to thaw.  I found that thawed burritos took 45-60 seconds to microwave.  I simply unwrapped them out of the saran wrap and set them on a plate or paper towel to microwave.

For the ultra lazy among us, a fully frozen burrito takes about 2-2.5 minutes to microwave, but flip it over half way through so that the bottom of the tortilla doesn’t get too soggy in the microwave!

I usually ate these at work, with my hands, just as they are.  But, if you have the option for a more plate and fork eating situation these would be great with the addition of some guacamole, salsa, and/or sour cream!!

Bon Appetit!

 

Things You Can Do Instead of Homework

Sunday, I planned on doing homework.  I really….with every fiber of my little being intend on committing myself to the two hours of mild boredom and slight torture that is taking lecture notes as a distance student.  This all came crashing down when I got home, during a rain storm…..this becomes important…..to discover that my professor had neglected to upload the Mac compatible version of the week’s lecture.  So here I sat, with a newly repaired MacBook, and nothing to do with it.

Granted, I could have been responsible, gone back to the office, picked up my laptop, came home, and done my lecture.  However…..it was raining, and much like my resistance to snack food, I only have so much.  If the lecture had been right there, I would have done it.  Much like, I’ll only eat snacks if they manage to cross into my house.  If it’s easy I’m all about doing it, doesn’t really matter how much I’d rather not.  I wasn’t however, committed enough to lecture notes to brave the cold, bleak, rainy night for a Windows Media Player compatible computer.  I could go into a whole rant about how this professor should probably spend less time complaining about technology struggles and just figure out how to make things work for the distance students…..but I won’t.  Maybe later…..who knows how I’ll feel about these things later.

I will instead tell you what I did instead of lecture notes……I cooked!!  I basically cooked all the things…..spicy sweet potato hash, blueberry and apple crisp, and bourbon caramel.  I don’t really have recipes for these things, they are just somethings I throw together now and then.

Spicy Sweet Potato Hash

  • 3-4 medium to large sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs cumin, chili powder, and paprika
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Heat the oil in a large skillet and then combine all the ingredients at once (except the black beans).  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the potatoes soften.  The size of your cubes will dictate how long this takes.  Mine took about twenty minutes the other night.  Once everything has softened, add the rinsed and drained black beans and heat through.  Serve with anything you want…..plain, with eggs, avocado…..anything that sounds yummy.  This recipe lead to a new adventure in adulating…..I’ll explain later.

Blueberry and Apple Crisp

  • 3 apples, diced
  • 1/2-1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 1/3 cup white and brown sugar
  • 2 tbs butter
  • cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Add the apples and blueberries to a baking dish and mix slightly.  In a microwave safe bowl or container combine the remaining ingredients and microwave about 30 seconds.  You’ll just need to melt the butter, and then stir to combine the mixture into a grainy, crumb consistency.  Sprinkle the topping onto the fruit, and back at 350 for about half an hour, until you can see the filling bubbling and the topping becomes browned.  I like mine hot, with vanilla ice cream….and possibly caramel sauce!

Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Usually, I make this on the stove…..in a pan…..like an adult.  This time, I was lazy and just made it in the microwave.  It worked fine, it just takes a bit more babysitting.  You can’t just set it and forget it!

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbs butter
  • a couple splashes of heavy cream or half and half
  • splash of bourbon

Combine the sugar and butter in a microwave safe dish.  I set the microwave for 2 minutes, but stopped and stirred every 20-30 seconds.  Once all the sugar crystals have dissolved, drizzle in a bit of cream while stirring.  If your cream is cold and you don’t stir it will solidify the sugar again.  If it does get a bit chunky again, just pop it back in the microwave.  Once it’s reached a good consistency, splash in your bourbon, stir to mix and enjoy!

I ended up getting a whole weeks worth of food for a couple hours in the kitchen and some microwave skills!  It was all pretty easy, and a relaxing night.  I had never made the hash before, although I’ve made other hash varieties.  I discovered that my favorite way to enjoy it was with some avocado, some cherry tomatoes, and eggs.  Makes for a super filling and satisfying breakfast or lunch option.  The eggs are what caused me a new adventure in adulting.

I’ve never in my life been one for runny eggs…..or really any kind of egg that isn’t scrambled, hard boiled, or maybe on occasion….fried.  Although, scrolling through recipes online has lead to really like the idea of a poached egg…….so I decided to try something new, and I poached my first egg!  It went surprisingly well all things considered!  Granted, I over cooked it, but I thought that I would start with a more solid yolk, and then back down the doneness scale until I reach a point where I don’t like them.  I will say that I’m a big fan of the texture of the egg whites…..they are fluffier than eggs cooked other ways.

So, this week I’ve made several very cute and successful little poached eggs.  I also discovered that with enough focus I can crack an egg with one hand.  This became necessary because I thought that manicures and egg poaching were two activities that could be done together.  I mean…..they can…..but I don’t recommend it.  I’m sorry I didn’t take any pictures of the adventure, I was a little bit panicky about it.  Horror stories of poached eggs gone wrong were flashing in my brain.  However, I had no disasters, and everything was easier than expected honestly!!

It’s never too late to learn a new skill, and it’s always good to broaden your horizons!