There are three holidays this weekend: two big ones and one silly one. The big ones are Easter and Passover and since each holiday has entirely different traditions and foods, I was initially stumped. What do I post that works for both holidays? Then it hit me! These holidays do have something in common: eggs. This egg and tomato grain is just the thing.
I adapted this dish from a recipe by Jacques Pépin. It’s from his Fast Food My Way cookbook. I haven’t changed much, other than the quantities, and using canned tomatoes instead of fresh. The fresh tomatoes aren’t very good this time of year, and besides, I dislike fresh-cooked tomatoes.
The eggs are mixed with tomato and onions, garlic, and thyme. The thyme adds a slightly spicy flavor and pairs beautifully with tomato. The whole thing is then finished with grated, slightly nutty Swiss cheese. Delicious!
And it works whether you’re on Team Pesach or Team Easter. Not to mention that whether you observe Easter or Passover, you’re likely to want a light lunch before your big meal(s) or want to take it easy the next day. This egg dish is relatively light and won’t fill you up too much before or after all that heavy food. I’ve listed it as lunch, but it would also make a good breakfast or light brunch.
The third holiday? That’s April Fool’s. There’s no specific food for that (except in France maybe when they call it April Fish), but somehow the tomato cheese mixture on top of the eggs looks like bacon if you squint. April Fool’s!
Adapted from a Jacques Pépin recipe, I've cut the quantity to make the grain suitable for one person. Eggs, thyme, and tomato mixed with a generous grating of cheese for a quick, light and satisfying lunch or brunch.
1 quart water
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, sliced (about 2/3
of a cup)
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped (roughly one clove)
pinch dried thyme
pinch black pepper
1/3 C canned peeled tomatoes
2 T plus 2 tsp grated Swiss (or Emmenthaler or whatever mild cheese you like)
Heat the water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, gently poke the rounded end of the eggs with a pin or a thumbtack.
Once the water is boiling place the eggs on a large slotted spoon and add them carefully to the water, one at a time.
Let the water come back to a boil, and cook the eggs for 10 minutes. When they're done, remove them with the slotted spoon and place in a bowl of cold water to cool.
Then peel the eggs and cut them into wedges.
Add the egg wedges to a small casserole or baking dish.
Heat the toaster oven to 400 degrees.
Heat the oil in a small skillet on medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for a minute. Then add the garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and tomatoes. Let the mixture come to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Pour the tomato mixture over the eggs in the baking dish. And sprinkle the cheese on top.
Put the baking dish into the toaster oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Egg and Tomato Gratin Substitutions and Variations
At the end, turn up the toaster oven to broil and cook for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese
Don’t just have a dish that looks like bacon, add some real bacon and crumble it on top
Vary the cheeses: try Gruyère or mozzarella or Monterey Jack
Sauté some sliced porcini mushrooms with the onion/tomato mixture
Cooking tip: Poking the end of the eggs with a pin reduces the pressure inside, making them less likely to burst in the boiling water.
Quick, what’s gooey, melty, cheesy, and great comfort food?This egg and pasta gratin has crispy eggs, tender noodles, and lots of cheese. It’s almost a cousin to pasta carbonara (but no bacon).The flavor is simple and delicate and the recipe incorporates two of my favorite “food groups”: pasta and cheese!
It’s adapted from a a new cookbook I just got (because given a bookstore gift card as a gift, I naturally headed straight for the cookbook section!). The cookbook is called Fast Food My Way and it’s chock full of inspiration. As you may have guessed from the title, all the meals are relatively easy and quick. They’re just perfect for those days when you don’t feel like fussing (or simply don’t have the time).Of course, you can also make this for a leisurely weekend brunch or scale the recipe up and serve it to guests.
The whole thing fits in perfectly with my own philosophy, which is delicious food for one person, made from real ingredients. Because, just because you’re cooking for one rather than two or more doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a home-cooked meal.And, of course, making it yourself is much cheaper than going out, or ordering a meal kit.
As written, the flavor is pure comfort food; not spicy or salty. However, if you want, you can add other flavors (more on that in the substitutions and variations section).
Crispy eggs, gooey cheese, and tender pasta combine to make this dish great comfort food. Great for a fast meal, or to warm up with on a cold day.
4 oz short pasta (I used cavatelli)
1 T olive oil
1.5 teaspoons fresh chives, minced
Grinding of black pepper
1.5 teaspoons butter (preferably unsalted, if you only have salted butter, skip the added salt)
2 large eggs
1/3 C grated hard cheese, such as Swiss or Emmenthaler
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add salt. Pour in the pasta and cook for about 10 minutes (or until it is al dente)
Toss the olive oil, chives, salt, and pepper together in a medium to large bowl (it should be big enough to hold the finished dish; I used a large soup bowl).
Once the pasta is cooked, turn off the heat, but don’t drain it yet.
Grab a soup ladle and pour a ladleful of the pasta water into the bowl.
Now, drain the pasta, and put it back in the pot. Scoop up a ladleful of the pasta, and add it to the chive/water mixture. Mix it all together thoroughly.
Keep both the remaining pasta in the pot and the pasta in the bowl warm while you make the eggs.
Next, heat the butter in a skillet. Add the eggs and cook on medium-high heat with the pan covered for about 2 minutes. The eggs should be set (the whites will be firm, while the yolk is still soft).
Sprinkle a generous tablespoonful of the cheese on top of the pasta in the bowl. Next, add one of the cooked eggs. Add more cheese, then pasta from the pot, then cheese, and then the second egg, then more pasta in succession.
Egg and Pasta Gratin Substitutions and Variations
Add crumbled bacon on top
Go for more sweetness and crunch with a sweet bell pepper
There are times when a simple recipe is just the thing. This cherry tomato basil frittata takes only a few minutes to prepare and only requires four primary ingredients (eggs, cheese, tomatoes, and basil).
Despite its simplicity, it’s full of flavor, even though it only has a few ingredients. You don’t necessarily have to fuss for hours or use a long list of twenty ingredients to get something delicious to eat.
The other nice thing is that it uses ordinary pantry/fridge staples you probably already have in your kitchen. No special shopping trip required!
This is adapted from a recipe I cut out from The New York Times (I think) long ago. I added the goat cheese, since I had a little bit left I wanted to use up. If you don’t have goat cheese, use something else. Any relatively mild cheese would do the trick.
I also reduced the servings, and adjusted the cooking time. The beauty of single servings is that it takes a lot less time to cook and prepare. The original recipe called for 6 eggs and a pound of tomatoes!
This is a great quick lunch, weekend brunch, or even breakfast. It only takes a few minutes to make, so it’s great when you’ve got a bad case of the “hungries.” Add a chunk of crusty bread and you’ve got a meal.
A quick, easy light lunch or weekend brunch that's ready in under 10 minutes.
ground black pepper to taste
1 T goat cheese
4-5 basil leaves, torn into pieces
1 T olive oil
3-5 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Break the eggs into a bowl, add the salt and pepper and mix together with a fork.
Add the goat cheese and basil and stir gently.
Add the oil to a small frying pan and heat on medium heat.
Pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pan.Let it cook for 30 seconds to one minute, until the sides of the frittata start to set and look more solid. Pick up the pan and swirl it around so that the eggs cook evenly.
Reduce the heat to low and cook for additional 3-5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, and gently remove the frittata from the pan with a spatula.
Substitutions and Variations for Cherry Tomato Basil Frittata
make it with mozzarella cheese or monterey jack instead of goat cheese
add some fresh spinach
use a pinch of red pepper flakes in addition to the black pepper
swap the plain goat cheese for herbed goat cheese
mix up the tomatoes: try one of those yellow/orange/red tomato blends
Fridays are tricky. Sometimes, I want to make a big feast because the week is over. Other times, I just want something quick and easy so I can relax. This fried egg burrito recipe is perfect for the days when I’m leaning toward the quick and easy side.
Fried egg burritos are also versatile. You can have them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (make two). And, they’re ready in about 10 minutes. So, they’re well under the 15 minute meal threshold.
I added some Monterey Jack cheese to the eggs, then tossed in a bit of jalapeño pepper and topped that with some salsa and sour cream to serve.
This fried egg burrito works as breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
1T neutral oil, like canola
1T shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, or other mild cheese is best)
1/4-1/2 tsp chopped jalapeño pepper
1 soft flour tortilla
1 tsp salsa
1 generous tsp sour cream
Heat the oil in a small saucepan.
Crack the eggs and add them to the pan.
Once the egg whites start to turn white (about a minute or two), add the shredded cheese.
Then, add the jalapeño pepper. Cover the pan and let it cook for a minute so the cheese melts.
While the eggs are cooking, heat the tortilla. If you have a gas stove lay it on top of the burner grate, turn the flame on, and let it heat for a few seconds. Then flip it over and repeat on the other side. If you have an electric stove, turn a burner to medium heat, put the tortilla in a dry pan, and heat for a few seconds on each side.
Place the hot tortilla on a plate. Remove the eggs from the pan with a spatula and lay them on top of the tortilla.
Top with salsa and sour cream.
Substitutions and Variations for Fried Egg Burrito
Like any other burrito, this is endlessly customizable.
add some canned beans or refried beans
cook up some chorizo sausage
if you like it less hot, use bell pepper instead of the jalapeño
Shakshouka doesn’t roll off the tongue when you try to say it. Maybe it’s a Middle Eastern market? Or a new folk dance? It is Middle Eastern spicy poached eggs, either Tunisian or Israeli (depending who you ask, or which ingredients you use). If you make it with onions and bell peppers, it’s Israeli. On the other hand, if you serve it up with feta or potatoes then it’s Tunisian.
This shakshouka for one recipe is actually two recipes that I mind melded together (one from column A and one from column B) to get what I wanted.
Also, for some reason, I thought it had spinach. So, I washed and chopped 1/4 C of spinach. Only to find out there was no spinach in either recipe. I added it anyway. Why waste perfectly good spinach? Besides it adds extra color and flavor, which I think worked out well.
The real recipe ingredients are poached eggs, tomato, onions, bell peppers, and some cayenne for kick.
I’m calling it lunch here, but it works well as a light dinner too. You can put the whole thing together in only 20 or 25 minutes.
So, easy, and no fussing. The hardest part is making sure you don’t break the egg yolks.
Serve it with lots of crusty bread to sop up the sauce.
One of the things I like about cooking is that you can take one recipe or meal and transform it into something else entirely. For example, this vegetarian eggplant sandwich is a variation on the sabich sandwich eaten in Iraq and Israel. First, I made another batch of the Israeli salad recipe from two weeks ago (the original way, with lemon and bell pepper instead of the mint and lime), and then I added pita, fried eggplant, hummus, spinach, and a hard boiled egg.
And voila! A side dish is now a full meal. The spinach isn’t traditional, but I had some handy and I figured it would go well with the other ingredients.
It makes a great lunch (or light dinner), without a lot of fussing. You hard boil the egg, fry the eggplant and onion, and then just stuff everything into the pita. You can even follow local tradition and eat it for breakfast on a weekend morning; it has eggs, it must be breakfast food).
Some versions of this sandwich use Israeli pickles and pickled mango sauce. These are both probably delicious, but I didn’t add them because I hate buying large containers of ingredients only to use a few spoonfuls. If you don’t mind that, or plan to eat a lot of sandwiches, you can find both on Amazon.
Vegetarian sandwich with eggplant, hard boiled egg, hummus, and chopped Israeli salad.
three slices eggplant, cut into strips
pinch or two of kosher salt (to draw out the moisture from the eggplant)
hard boiled egg
2-3T olive oil
2 tsp onion, diced
handful spinach (optional)
2 T persian/israeli salad (cukes, tomatoes, onion, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, optional bell peppers, cut into tiny pieces; the full recipe is here)
2 T hummus
one pocket pita bread
Salt the eggplant and let it sit while you boil the egg.
Fill a small saucepan (preferably enamel or stainless steel) with water and add the egg. Cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the egg for 12 minutes (right out of the fridge, 10 if it was sitting on the counter for a while).
Remove the egg from the pan with a large slotted spoon and hold it under cold running water (or plunge it into an ice bath). The shell will come off more easily if it's cold.
Heat the oil in a small frying pan and add the eggplant. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 5-8 minutes.
Now add the spinach, if using, and cook for one minute until it wilts.
Remove the eggplant mixture from the heat.
Peel the egg and cut it into slices.
Cut open the pita, and add the spinach.
Add eggplant mixture, egg, salad, and hummus in layers.
Substitutions and Variations for Vegetarian Eggplant Sandwich
Add the pickles and the mangos
Layer in some tahini sauce
Shred some cabbage and put that between the layers
Include bell pepper (about one mini pepper) in the Israeli salad
It’s too hot to do much cooking, but this Mixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad doesn’t require too much time standing over the stove. You only have to boil the egg and the potato. You can use leftover chicken if you have it, or grab a rotisserie chicken from the market.
I call it (in my head) Fairway Market salad, because that’s where I got the idea. It’s pretty flexible, but the constants (at least for me), are the chicken, spinach (and/or mixed greens), boiled potato, and hard boiled egg.
Since it was too hot to roast a chicken, I got a rotisserie chicken and used that for my salad.
You can change it to suit your own tastes or whatever you have in the fridge. Substitute tuna instead of chicken, or use all spinach or all romaine instead of the mixed greens. Try cooked corn kernels instead of the potato. The idea is to get a mixture of flavors and colors, rather than stick rigidly to a recipe.
If you want it vegetarian, or don’t have a cooked chicken, you can leave it out. On a cooler day, make an extra chicken thigh and season it with lemon, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. I adapted the salad dressing recipe from Ina Gartner.
Spinach Egg Potato and Chicken Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
A healthy, summery salad, full of veggies. This is flexible, so add different vegetables, nuts, bacon, or cheese to suit your taste (and what's in your fridge).
One to two large handfuls mixed greens and/or spinach leaves (washed thoroughly and patted dry)
One large egg
One small potato
1/4 cucumber, sliced
4-5 grape tomatoes, sliced in half (or one small beefsteak tomato, sliced in wedges)
1-2 slices prosciutto or cooked bacon (optional)
3-4 sugar snap peas (string removed and cut up into chunks)
1/3 C shredded cooked chicken
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp chopped garlic
2 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2 T olive oil
Cut the potato into chunks, and add them to a small pan filled with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes.
While the potato is cooking, fill a small enamel pan with water and add the egg. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes (use the longer time if the egg is right out of the fridge). Remove the egg, and rinse it under cold running water to stop the cooking process and make it easier to peel.
When the potato cubes are done, strain them, and rinse under cold water (so you don't have a hot potato in your cold salad).
Now, add the greens, cucumber, tomatoes, bacon or prosciutto, snap peas, and whatever other veggies you like, to a large bowl. Add the chicken.
Mix together the mustard, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Gradually add the olive oil, stirring with a whisk or a fork so that it blends together.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss it.
If you're lazy, you can cook the potato and the egg in the same pan. Remove the egg after 10-12 minutes of simmering. Let the potato cook another 10 minutes. This way, there's only one pan to wash instead of two.
Substitutions and Variations for Mixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad
Make the dressing with lemon juice instead of vinegar
Add some whole or sliced almonds
Top with grated parmesan or manchego cheese
Cook a couple of slices of bacon and crumble them over the top
I adapted this from a “spinach and egg omelette” recipe in the The Book of Jewish Food. That’s not really accurate. It has eggs and spinach, but I think it’s closer to a frittata than an omelette. So, I’m calling it a spinach and egg frittata.
There are lots of recipes for spinach (the spinach and potato pie looks great too and I’m going to try the spiced spinach and eggs with ginger). I am working on using the “spinach tree” so all those spinach recipes will come in handy!
The nice thing about this frittata is that you can serve it hot or cold. Eat it hot out of the pan, or wrap it up and take it on a picnic.
The spinach, eggs, nutmeg, coriander, and fresh dill add lots of herby and savory flavor. Top it with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
I ate it with a thick slice of buttered fresh rye bread and strawberries for an easy Sunday brunch.
The original recipe called for putting the frittata under the broiler to cook on the other side. However, since we’re only making a single serving, it’s much easier to just flip it over.
Spinach and Egg Frittata for lunch, picnics, or Sunday brunch.
1 handful spinach
2 T canola oil (divided)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 scallion, trimmed and sliced
1 tsp dried coriander
1 spring mint, chopped
1 sprig dill (or a generous pinch of dried)
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1 T Greek yogurt
Wash the spinach thoroughly to get out all the grit. Then drain in a colander. Leave the spinach in the bowl, get a paper towel, and push down on the spinach to squeeze out the water and dry the leaves as much as possible.
Heat half the oil in a frying pan and add the spinach. Cover the pot and let the spinach steam for a minute. It should wilt completely and become a sort of formless green mass.
Remove the spinach from the pan with a spoon and let it cool for a minute. Then get another towel and squeeze out any remaining liquid.
When the spinach is cool enough to handle, chop it into pieces.
Add the cooked spinach and the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the eggs. Stir everything to mix it thoroughly.
Wipe dry the pan you used for the spinach. Add the remaining oil to the pan. Pour in the egg mixture, cover, and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the bottom has set.
Remove the lid. Using a wide spatula, carefully flip the frittata over to cook on the other side. Cook for a minute or two.
This egg chili cheese burrito recipe is adapted from a Southwestern cookbook I bought long ago. Their recipe called for refried beans, and while I had beans, they were dry beans and hadn’t been soaked or refried, and I didn’t want to bother. I did have tortillas (the ones I use as sneaky crepes). plenty of eggs, chilis, scallions, and cheese.
I decided to improvise with what I had ready to eat, rather than waiting for the beans to soak. I was hungry, and didn’t want to fuss.
If you want to make the refried beans, you can use canned beans. If you have dried beans, and you have more time than I did that day, use the quick soak method to speed up the process.
To refry beans, just heat some bacon drippings in a pan, add cooked (or canned) pinto beans, plus some of the soaking liquid, cook them on high heat, and mash them up. Turn the heat to low once the beans get thick and simmer until they’re soft.
A quick egg chili cheese burrito recipe for one. Makes a great easy lunch.
1 egg (or two if you're hungrier)
1 tsp butter
1/4 jalapeño chili
1/3 scallion, chopped
2 slices cheese (such as Colby, Cheddar, or Monterey Jack)
1 tsp salsa
Heat the frying pan on medium-low and melt the butter.
Gently beat the egg in a small bowl.
Add the eggs, scallion, and jalapeno to the pan.
Scramble the eggs with a fork and cook about a minute until the eggs start to hold together.
Remove pan from heat.
If you have a gas stove, turn the flame to medium-high. Holding the tortilla with kitchen tongs, put it directly over the flame, turning it after a few seconds. If your stove is electric, heat the tortilla in a skillet (without any oil or butter, until it gets hot).
Place warm tortilla on a plate, spoon the egg chili mixture in the center, and top with cheese and salsa.
Fold over the tortilla and serve (or, if you want to be more authentic, fold in each end of the tortilla, and then fold in half to make a package).
Egg Chili Cheese Burrito Variations and Substitutions
add refried beans (about 1/4 cup)
cut up a sausage, fry it, and add that to the burrito
The first time I made this frittata recipe it was for a crowd (rather than one serving) on a boat, which was rocking. It took quite some time to make and they devoured it in minutes! I’ve scaled it back considerably, made it a bit faster, and of course, it’s now a frittata recipe for one person instead of six.
Even scaled back, it does take a bit of time to put together (unless you cheat, and use some frozen, pre-cut veggies, which is what I did here). However, this makes it a great option for a weekend brunch. I’m calling it lunch, but you could make it for dinner too.
The other great thing about frittatas is that they’re flexible. The original recipe (from one of the 60 Minute Gourmet cookbooks) called for ham, zucchini, leeks, peppers, and mushrooms. A great combination, but I didn’t have all those ingredients when I made the version I’ve posted here. So, I used broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, and onions instead.
If you’re not sure what a frittata is, think of an omelette crossed with a tortilla. The full list of ingredients changes, but it’s essentially eggs, sliced potatoes, and veggies.
A frittata recipe for one person; great for Sunday or weekend brunch.
2 Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 cup)
1/4 C sliced mushrooms
1 C frozen broccoli/cauliflower mixture
1/4 cup onions, sliced thinly
4 T canola or other neutral oil
1 T butter
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp red wine vinegar
Slice the potatoes thinly, but don't peel them. Place the sliced potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water.
Boil the water and cook the potatoes until you can easily stick a fork in them. This should take about 15 minutes.
Drain them into a colander, and then set them aside while you prepare the rest of the frittata.
Heat half the canola oil in an omelette pan, or a non-stick ceramic pan.
Put the potatoes in the pan and cook. turning them occasionally, until they are golden brown. Take them out of the pan and put on a plate until you need them again.
Now, add the mushrooms and onions. Cook about 5 minutes are so.
Then add the butter and stir until it melts.
Put the potaotes back in the pan, and add the frozen veggies (this is the cheating part).
Crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat them thoroughly.
Then pour the eggs over the vegetable potato mixture in the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook on high heat, stirring gently with a wooden spoon. Gently lift the sides of the frittata and cover the pan. Cook about 2 minutes (watch this carefully so it doesn't burn).
Splash the vinegar over the top of the frittata.
Get a large plate and invert it over the pan. While holding the plate tightly over the pan, turn the pan upside down. The frittata should slide right out. You have to do this quickly. It seems a bit scary at first, but it's really not difficult. And, even if it breaks apart, it will still taste good!
The original recipe said to par-boil the potatoes whole. However, they fell apart and were hard to handle (too hot). Slicing them first makes it easier, and they cook faster.
Use an omelette pan or a ceramic pan for this. The frittata will slide out much more easily.
Substitutions and Variations for Your Frittata for One
Much as I don’t like standard non-stick pans, a ceramic pan makes frittatas, omelettes, and other sticky foods much easier to prepare and serve. The eggs don’t stick, and the frittata comes out easily when you invert the plate over the pan to serve the frittata. And, I just love the cheery red color too.
Or, if you prefer, go for the conventional Lodge pre-seasoned cast iron pan. These pans will last forever if treated properly and food won’t stick. The drawback is that they’re heavy and you have to season them (with oil) after each use. They are made right in the US, by a company which also takes care to respect the environment.