Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Recipe of the Week: Huevos Rancheros

Brunch Ideas

The next few weeks I’ll be taking a look at “international” brunch dishes in anticipation of Christmas (ideas for Christmas brunch). I’ve been hungry for Huevos Rancheros for a few weeks now so I thought this would be a perfect place to start!

Huevos rancheros (Ranch Eggs) is a classic Mexican breakfast dish which has become popular throughout much of the world. Huevos rancheros means "eggs ranch-style" or "eggs country-style" in Spanish. The dish traditionally was served at the large mid-morning breakfast, or almuerzo, on rural farms where workers had a much smaller meal at dawn.

The basic version of huevos rancheros consists of corn tortilla fried lightly, and fried eggs (although I see a lot of recipes using poached) with a tomato-chili sauce over refried beans (frijoles refritos), slices of avocado, olives, and extra chili peppers are common accompaniments. Scrambled eggs can be used instead of fried eggs.

As the popularity of the dish has spread beyond Mexico, variations have inevitably cropped up. The U.S. food writer, Clementine Paddleford found a version in the 50’s based out of Texas that called for the eggs to be poached in a tomato-bacon sauce, and served over toast or biscuits. More commonly, the variations involve flour tortillas instead of corn; pure chili sauce (or enchilada sauce) and garnishes of fresh tomatoes, sour cream and lettuce. The use of pre-made salsa and packaged tortillas makes huevos rancheros considerably less labor-intensive.

I’ve found two unique versions and am looking forward to cooking up one this weekend as we venture out to find the perfect Christmas trees.



Huevos rancheros
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2002

Ranchero Sauce:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup chopped white onions
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup chopped tomatoes and their juice
1 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

To make the Ranchero Sauce:

1. In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and bell peppers, and cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Add the cumin, salt, cayenne, jalapeno, and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

3. Add the tomatoes and their juices and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

4. Add the stock and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes.

5. Remove from the heat and add the cilantro. Adjust the seasoning, to taste, and cover to keep warm.

To ensemble the rest of the dish:

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 large corn tortillas
1/2 cup warm refried beans
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups pepper Jack

1. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.

2. Add 1 tortilla and cook until warmed through and just starting to brown about 30 seconds. Turn and cook on the second side. Remove, cover to keep warm, and repeat with the remaining oil and tortillas.

3. In 2 medium skillets, melt 1 tablespoon of butter each, over medium-high heat. Break eggs into each skillet and fry until beginning to set, about 1 minute.

4. Sprinkle the eggs with the cheese and cover to finish cooking, about 1 1/2 minutes.

5. Place 1 warm tortilla on each of 4 plates and spread each with 2 tablespoons of warm refried beans. Place 2 eggs on top of each tortilla and top with the warm Ranchero Sauce.

Serve immediately.

Black Bean Huevos Rancheros


4 large Anaheim chilies
2 ounces pepper Jack cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
8 corn tortillas
Vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup drained canned black beans
1/2 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1 teaspoon chopped chipotle chilies in adobo or chipotle chili sauce
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
4 large eggs
1/2 small avocado, cut into 4 wedges
1/4 cup diced plum tomatoes
4 teaspoons finely diced red onion
2 teaspoons minced jalapeño

1.Preheat the broiler. Roast the chilies under the broiler for 6 to 7 minutes, turning frequently, until charred all over. Transfer them to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 5 minutes. When the chilies are cool enough to handle, peel and coarsely chop them. In a bowl, mix the chilies with the cheese.

2. Turn the oven to 375°. Very lightly brush the tortillas with oil. Spread the roasted chilies and cheese on half of the tortillas and top with the remaining tortillas. Transfer the filled tortillas to a baking sheet, cover with foil and top with another baking sheet.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a small skillet. Add the garlic and cook over moderately high heat for 1 minute. Add the beans, stock and chopped chipotles and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and keep warm.

4. Bake the tortillas for about 5 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese is melted. Meanwhile, in a lightly oiled large skillet, cook the eggs sunny-side up or over easy.

5. Transfer the filled tortillas to plates. Top with the beans and then the eggs. Garnish with the avocado wedges, chopped tomatoes, diced onion and minced jalapeño and serve.

images courtesy of google

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007!

We had a wonderful “Turkey” Day! I hope everyone got enough food! I think we are down to the last of our leftovers. Bring on Christmas!

Here are some pictures of the three day celebration.

Thanksgiving Eve has become quite the “party” night at Rebecca Lane – mostly lots of prep-cooking, catching up and breaking into some of the holiday wine. Sandra and I also celebrated 10 years at Rebecca Lane. My how time flies!

Thanksgiving was wonderful...we had a beautiful sunny day (but cold) and the first ever, brined turkey (thanks, Spice Hunter) came out very tasty (and not at all salty). All the side dishes came out beautifully and the “new” roasted butternut squash with blue cheese and pecans (thanks, Nigella) was a huge hit! The best part of the day was being totally organized and having time to sit on my butt and watch some football, listen to some music and chat with my family.

Sandra’s tablescape – flowers courtesy of Dad and Rosemary

After dinner was digested and a few of us napped, we had a little friendly “Lou” game (for old time’s sake). Fun! We got fleeced by Mr. and Mrs. “card shark”. Too bad we didn’t have 5 or 6 more people playing (HA HA HA, Pop….you were a legend).

Friday we hit the Washington County wineries for our third annual wine tasting tour. Our first stop was Alloro Vineyards – beautiful Tuscan inspired winery. We drove all around Washington County (got lost only once) and enjoyed the scenery (thanks to Brian our designated driver 2 years in a row). Most of the vineyards had some yummy appetizers and really interesting wines (mostly Pinots). We had no problems finding Gypsy Dancer this year and also hit Lawton Winery where I bought a bottle of dry Riesling (go figure). All in all a good day...great weekend!

Enjoy the pictures!


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I am extremely grateful that I get to spend my first Thanksgiving with my Dad in over 30 years. Dad and Rosemary are driving up from Springfield on Wednesday morning, Sandra’s office is closing at 3PM, Brian will arrive from Tacoma in the late afternoon and Uncle Steve flies in from Truckee, California after 9PM Wednesday. Thursday will be an abundant day of love and gratitude on Rebecca Lane.

For those looking for a little Thanksgiving history, check out the History Channel. Cool stuff!

To all friends and family –

As Thanksgiving Day approaches,
Our blessings we recall;
The things we are most thankful for,
We recollect them all.
You are really special,
In all you say and do.
You’ve made a difference in our lives;
We’re thankful now for you.



Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Birthday - Deby!

Happy Birthday to my best friend, Deby Hygelund who enters the last year of her 30's today. Happy 39th - I am right behind you.

Deby and I have been friends for over 30 years. We met the day before we started the 3rd grade at Yolanda Elementary in Springfield, Oregon. Her parents, Byron and Roz and her sister, Tera moved in next door to our house on E street and we became best friends from that day forward.

Happy Birthday! I'll see you soon to celebrate!


Friday, November 16, 2007

Recipe of the Week: Thanksgiving Potatoes

Turkey Day Side Dishes - Potatoes

I hope you all liked the veggie dishes from last week. While I am still contemplating my menu, here are some yummy potato sides that will have your guests loading up their plates for seconds.
Try and push the envelope here.....cooks! Some of these are not traditional, but easy to make (many can be made ahead) and all of them travel well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Crispy Shallots

SERVES: 8-10
TIME: 45-1 hour (but you can make it a day ahead)


5 pounds medium to large sweet potatoes
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
3/4 pound shallots, thinly sliced


1.Preheat the oven to 400°. Pierce the sweet potatoes with the tip of a knife and bake for about 40 minutes, or until tender. Turn the oven down to 250°.

2.Slit the skins and scoop the potatoes into a large bowl. Add the butter and cardamom and beat with an electric mixer at low speed until smooth and fluffy. Season with salt and white pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and keep warm.

3.In a large deep skillet, heat 1 inch of oil until shimmering. Add half of the shallots and fry over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining shallots. Scatter the shallots over the sweet potatoes and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The recipe can be prepared 1 day ahead. Store the shallots in an airtight container. Rewarm and rewhip the potatoes; recrisp the shallots in the oven if necessary.

Yukon Golds with Shallot Butter




2 1/4 pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 medium shallot, minced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper


1.In a saucepan, boil the potatoes in water to cover until tender, about 15 minutes.

2.Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the mustard seeds over moderate heat until they pop, about 3 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the butter with the parsley, shallot, lemon juice and mustard seeds. Season generously with salt and pepper.

3.Drain and halve the potatoes lengthwise. In a large dish, toss the potatoes with the shallot butter and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The shallot butter can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to a week.

Asiago and Sage Scalloped Potatoes
TIME: 1 hour, 30 minutes


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 imported bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese (about 3 ounces), preferably aged
1 cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh sage leaves
2 1/2 pounds medium Idaho potatoes, peeled and sliced lengthwise 1/8 inch thick


1.Preheat the oven to 400°. Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan. Add the onions and cook over high heat, stirring, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves, nutmeg, 1 tablespoon coarse salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Add the heavy cream and milk and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.

2.In a medium bowl, toss the cheese with the bread crumbs, olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon of the sage, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

3.Remove the bay leaves from the onion mixture and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons sage. Put the sliced potatoes in a large bowl, add the onion mixture and toss gently. Spread half of the potatoes and liquid in a 2-quart nonreactive baking dish and sprinkle 2/3 cup of the cheese bread crumbs over the top. Cover with the remaining potatoes and press firmly to pack them down. Spoon the remaining liquid over the potatoes and cover with the remaining bread crumbs.

4.Bake in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour, or until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden; if they brown too quickly, loosely cover the dish with foil.

MAKE AHEAD The potatoes can be baked up to 5 hours ahead; let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in the oven before serving.

Buttermilk-Bacon Smashed Potatoes



4 pounds red bliss potatoes, quartered
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 cloves roasted garlic, peeled and smashed to a paste
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper


1.Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain well and place back in the pan over low heat.

2. Add the butter, buttermilk and garlic and mash until smooth. Fold in the bacon, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Recipe by Bobby Flay
Images courtesy of Google

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Here are some long over-due pictures from Sandra's trip up to Tacoma the first weekend in November.

We drove south to Olympia (which is really only about 20 minutes from Brian's place) along the water through Steilacoom and DuPont and wandered around the Olympia Farmers Market and took some pictures along the Olympia Marina.


Stacy and Sandra with George WashingtonState Capitol

Friday Night Cocktail in Old Town Tacoma


Friday, November 9, 2007

Recipe of the Week:Sensational Thanksgiving Side Dishes


Guests will come for turkey……and enjoy these irresistible and tasty Thanksgiving side dishes! This week……..VEGGIES!!! (next week, potatoes – in case you were wondering).

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to spend with friends and family and its also a great opportunity to cook and try new recipies.

All of these dishes seem to travel well (if you are cooking at home and eating someplace else) and are easy and quick to make. More time with your guests and less time in the kitchen!

Every year I try and cook one new side dish and maybe this year it will be one of the following


Spicy Carrots with Parsley and Cilantro



1 1/2 pounds large carrots, quartered lengthwise, then halved crosswise
4 garlic cloves, halved
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons sliced blanched almonds


1. In a large, deep skillet, cover the carrots and garlic with water and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool; discard the garlic.

2. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, cilantro, paprika and crushed red pepper. Season the dressing with salt. Add the carrots, toss to coat and sprinkle the almonds on top. Serve warm, at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Notes: MAKE AHEAD!! The carrots can easily be transported and warmed up in a microwave to serve!

Balsamic Glazed Pearl Onions




2 (16 ounce) bags frozen white pearl onions, left frozen, excess ice removed (you can also use fresh if you can find them)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Adjust oven rack to low position and heat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Toss onions with oil, sugar, salt and pepper in medium bowl. Transfer to a cookie sheet with rim in a single layer. Roast onions until golden brown, about 30 minutes, stirring at 20 minutes and again at 25 minutes, adding garlic at this point.

3. Meanwhile, bring vinegar to boil; simmer over medium-high heat, about 10 minutes, until reduced to 1/3 cup - it should be a thin syrup. Put onions into a bowl, add reduced vinegar and parsley; toss to coat. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

This recipe was originally featured in the USA WEEKEND

Lemon-Butter Green Beans with Pine nuts

ACTIVE TIME: 10 Minutes
Serves 6


1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed, blanched in boiling salted water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoon minced shallots
2 tablespoon pine nuts
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper


1. Blanch green beans in boiling salt water for 1 full minute. Drain green beans well and pat dry.

2. Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.

3. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to keep from burning.

4. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring, for an additional minute.
5. Add the green beans and toss to coat evenly.

6. Cook just enough to warm through, about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper and toss to combine. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Notes: This recipe takes 10 minutes to make; easy to transport and re-heat!

All images courtesy of GOOGLE

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Rick Springfield

Last weekend was another of our Rick Springfield Road Trip Weekends only this time, Sandra and I rode Amtrak to Tacoma and caught Rick at the Emerald Queen Casino.

Brian graciously took us to see our “boyfriend” although he did not partake in the musical extravaganza (you can all quite laughing now). Rick’s not just another pretty face….the guy has got some serious talent and plays the guitar, sings and dances like he is in his 30’s (real age = late 50’s).

I think Sandra and I have seen him a half a dozen times now since that first concert at the Rose Garden back in 1999. Little did we know that one of Sandra’s co-workers was good friends with Rick’s then guitar technician. When the co-worker found out that we were going to see Rick, she organized for us to hook up with her husband, Jim who introduced us to the guitar tech, Wes and the rest is history (we’ve got the picture to prove it).

L-R – Wes, Stacy, RICK SPRINGFIELD, Sandra and Jim

Since that first concert, we’ve been hooked and we look forward to seeing Rick about once a year.

The show last Saturday at the Emerald Queen was good. Probably one of the biggest rooms we’ve seen Rick play in and unfortunately we were about half way back (room probably held 2500). The best thing was the two big screens on either side of the stage that helped those of us away from the stage.

Rick played all his “oldies"...opened the show with a 2 minute video montage before taking the stage to “Who Killed Rock N Roll” followed by “It’s Always Something” from 1999’s Karma CD. From there it was all the 80’s stuff – “Kristina”, Don’t Talk to Strangers”, “I’ve Done Everything For You”, “Love Somebody” and of course…..”Jessie’s Girl”. The show lasted close to 2 hours (no opening act) and Sandra and I danced to every song.

What a great weekend!


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Bitter Disappointment

The winner's of the "Nigella Express" contest were officially announced in the Seattle P-I today and I of course was not chosen. I am extremely disappointed as I was so confident that my recipe was going to be picked. I was really looking forward to meeting Nigella and bringing home all those goodies! I'll try and keep my chin up and continue to practice my cooking and recipe skills.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Global Giving

In honor of the month of November and as a THANKGIVING we should all be a part of, some of you may have noticed my Global Giving “Tag” I added a few weeks ago. For those not familiar with Global Giving, they are an organization who connect you to over 450 pre-screened grassroots charity projects around the world. It's an efficient, transparent way to make an impact with your giving.

Global Giving begins with the dedicated, tenacious individuals who are driving change in their communities. From running orphanages and schools, to helping survivors of natural disasters, these people are do-gooders to the core. We connect these "good idea people" with the "generous giver people" and help projects of all sizes receive donations of all sizes.

After reviewing their website and running their donation wizard I found what I believe in my heart is a wonderful opportunity for me to “give”.

The project I support is:
Making footballs that can save lives in Africa
80 stitchers are making tough, repairable leather soccer balls & volleyballs in Africa for kids who hardly get to see a proper ball. Each ball carries a simple HIV/AIDS or Malaria awareness message.

So far, I’ve donated enough to pay for a leather ball to be stitched and delivered to a school or youth group in rural Africa. How good does that make me feel!!!

Today I received this update, which helps me feel connected to my project.

Check it out, I guarantee that it will make your heart grow!


Friday, November 2, 2007


In honor of Portland being named America's Best Vegetarian-Friendly Large City and the fact that Portland is hosting the Vegan Holiday Festival this weekend, this week’s recipe of the week is courtesy of Brian, who made this for me last weekend. Thanks, Babe!



This is a recipe I've adapted from Dr. Timothy Smith. I like this recipe for several reasons: It is very adaptive to your personal tastes; it has almost no fat; and it is vegetarian and can very easily be vegan.




4 large potatoes
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 medium onion
1/2 cup veggie broth or water
2-3 gloves garlic, minced
2 cups Veggies, fresh or frozen: options: peas, carrots, green beans, broccoli, corn,
zucchini, diced tomatoes
1 1/4 cup Morningstar Vegetable Crumbles (TVP)
1 small can tomato paste
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (substitute vegan cheese)
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Place potatoes in large saucepan and cover with water. Over high heat, bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 min. or until tender. Drain the potatoes and place into a mixing bowl with soy milk. Mash thoroughly.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the onion in 2 tbsp of broth/water over medium heat for 5 minutes or until tender.
4. Add garlic, your favorite veggies, basil and oregano adding broth/water as necessary. Cook for 5 min.
5. Add remaining broth/water and TVP crumbles. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
6. Pour the mixture into a 13x9 baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the vegetables and sprinkle shredded cheese to taste. Bake for 20 min. or until lightly brown.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween on Rebecca Lane

We had 65 Trick-or-Treater's last night on Rebecca Lane. Our first "begger" arrived about 6:40 and our last knocked on the door at 8:40. Sandra and I turned the lights off a little after 9:00.

We had quite a few scary faces (you know that black and white "scream" face) and a few dressed as Spiderman or Batman. Most of the little girls were dressed as a Princess, right down to the high heels! The most inventive were two pre-teen girls dressed as sock monsters.....you know, have you ever wondered what happens to your lost socks? They had miss-matched socks all over their bodies and one big one on their heads. Cute and very original!

I dressed up like a Hawaiian Tourist! I even got a few compliments!

We still have a ton of candy!