Creamy Chickpeas with Eggs and Proscuitto

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It’s the middle of winter and you want something decadent for a weekend breakfast, but it’s too cold and rainy and let’s face it — depressing, to go out. Spring is but a few weeks away but until then, you need something to cheer you up. Adapted from Bon Appetit, I made this easy one-skillet brunch one morning when it was blissfully sunny enough to sit outside and take in the vitamin D. If you stare hard enough, the egg sort of looks like the sun. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I served this with Iranian barbari bread to soak up the creamy tomato sauce, but any flatbread will work just fine.

Creamy chickpeas with eggs and proscuitto

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 sprig rosemary
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 cup heavy cream
Salt
Pepper
2 eggs
4 thin slices of prosciutto
Flatbread, for serving

1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium. Cook garlic and rosemary, stirring frequently, until garlic is golden brown and rosemary crisps up slightly but isn’t browned, about 30 seconds for rosemary and 2 minutes for garlic. Transfer rosemary to a plate.

2. Add chickpeas, tomato paste, and paprika to skillet and cook, stirring often, until coated, about 2 minutes. Mix in cream, season with salt and lots of pepper, and bring to a simmer.

3. Crack eggs into chickpea mixture and season them with salt. Cover and cook until white parts of eggs are set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and drape prosciutto around eggs. Crumble rosemary on top. Serve warm with flatbread.

Japanese Garlic Chive-Scrambled Eggs

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I probably make these scrambled eggs at least once a month. Easy, healthy, and delicious, they make a perfect breakfast (who am I kidding, I make this for dinner all the time too). You can serve this atop rice, but I prefer these soft and warm eggs by themselves.

Make sure to get Asian garlic chives for these, as the flavor and texture are completely different than your standard grocery store chives.

Japanese garlic chive-scrambled eggs

Ingredients:

1 small bunch garlic chives (about 1/2 pound), cleaned and chopped into 1-inch lengths
4 eggs
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon instant dashi granules (optional)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1. In a bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, soy sauce, salt, and dashi together until blended.

2. Heat the oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, then add the garlic chives, sauteing for a couple of minutes until they’re bright green and wilted.

3. Pour the eggs into the pan and turn down the heat to low. Let the eggs cook, undisturbed, until you see the bottom of the eggs turn opaque.

4. Give the eggs a gentle stir, scraping the cooked egg up from the edges off the bottom of the pan, and allowing the raw egg at the top to run underneath. Let this cook until the bottom layer turns opaque and stir again.

5. Repeat step 4 until the eggs have reached your desired doneness (I like for much of the eggs to remain soft and opaque). Remember that the eggs will continue to cook a little after you turn off the heat. Serve warm.

Halvah-Stuffed Challah

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Growing up, one of my favorite after-school snacks was halvah rolled up with lavash flatbread: simple, sweet, and satisfying. Called halvardeh in Persian, Middle Eastern halvah is ubiquitous these days in well-stocked American grocery stores. But when I was a kid, halvah was precious: we’d make semi-monthly drives from Santa Rosa to San Jose to stock up on Iranian favorites, including halvah, sour cherry jam, lavashak (sour fruit roll ups), and spices and herbs for days.

This halvah-stuffed challah is a grown-up version of my childhood snack and make no mistake about it: this is a weekend project. Adapted from a Food and Wine recipe, this takes the better part of an afternoon to make, and the results are well worth it. This recipe makes two loaves so make like me and freeze one for eating later, when the craving strikes.

Halvah-stuffed challah

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
5 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup tahini
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
Salt
1 1/2 cups chopped halvah
Sesame seeds and more sugar, for sprinkling

1. Make the dough: In a small bowl, whisk the water with the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes, until foamy.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk 4 of the eggs with the oil and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, pinch of salt, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cardamom and the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar. Mix to blend. Add the egg and yeast mixtures and knead until the dough comes together, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl, about 3 minutes. Scrape the dough out onto a work surface and knead until smooth and slightly sticky, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the dough to an oiled large bowl and cover with wax paper and a towel on top.

3. Make the filling and topping: In a medium bowl, stir the tahini with 1/3 cup of the honey, the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with the remaining 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of water.

4. Preheat the oven to 375F degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Transfer 1 piece to a lightly floured work surface and keep the other piece covered with a damp kitchen towel. Divide the dough on the work surface into 3 equal pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll out 1 piece into a 
14-by-6-inch rectangle. Spread 1/4 cup of the tahini mixture on top, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the halvah over the tahini in an even layer. With a long side facing you, tightly roll up the dough into a log, pressing the seam and ends together to seal in the filling. Repeat with the other 2 pieces of dough, 1/2 cup of the tahini mixture and 1/2 cup of the halvah. Arrange the 3 logs on one of the prepared sheets and braid them together. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds and sugar. Repeat with the second piece of dough and the remaining filling, egg wash and toppings. Bake the challahs for about 25-30 minutes on the middle and bottom racks of the oven, shifting and rotating halfway through, until deep golden. Transfer to racks to cool.


Turkish-Style Poached Eggs

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What surprised me most about Turkish cuisine when I visited Istanbul several years ago was how spicy it could be. I thought the food would be more like its Iranian counterpart: herbaceous and drizzled with saffron and turmeric at every turn. And while Turkish cuisine incorporates similar flavors, it’s also laden with peppers, both mild and hot. I loved it. Redolent with fresh vegetables, flatbreads, yogurt, lamb, and ingredients similar to the Iranian palate I’d grown up with, Turkish food was at the same time familiar but not.

One of my favorite dishes were these poached eggs. No one does breakfast like the Turks. The silky sauce is garlicy, yogurty, and has just enough heat so that you can’t stop sopping it up with bread, yolks and all. You can serve this with any flatbread, but I prefer this with some good-quality slices of toasted sourdough. Iranian barbari is delicious too.

Turkish-style poached eggs

Ingredients:

1/2 cup plain whole-milk Turkish or Greek yogurt

1 small garlic clove, minced

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon olive oil 

1 teaspoon ground Aleppo pepper or Turkish red chile flakes 

2 large cold eggs
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided

2 thick sourdough 
slices or pieces of barbari bread, toasted


1. Fill a large skillet with water to a depth of 2 inches. Bring to a simmer over medium.

2. Place yogurt in a small saucepan and slowly warm over low heat. Stir in garlic and salt. Cook, stirring, until yogurt mixture is the consistency of lightly whipped cream, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.


3. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to turn brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in oil and Aleppo pepper. 


4. Crack 1 egg into a ramekin or small bowl. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Repeat with remaining egg and remaining 1 teaspoon lemon juice in another ramekin or small bowl.


5. Gently slide eggs, 1 on each side of the large skillet, into the simmering water. Reduce heat so there is no movement in the water, and poach eggs until whites are set and yolks are still runny, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs to a plate.


6. Divide the warm creamy yogurt mixture between 2 
shallow bowls. Top each with 
a poached egg, and pour the peppery butter around and slightly over the yogurt. Serve with bread.

Apple and Peanut Butter Puff Pastry Tart

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It’s apple season in California and one can only eat (or juice) so many apples plain. What to do? Make dessert out of them, obvs. Here we have peanut butter, puff pastry, and of course, apples. How can you go wrong?

The whole thing comes together in just a few minutes, making this recipe easy enough even for a baking novice like me. It’s all the glory of the west coast’s seasonal produce wrapped up in a buttery, flaky, sweet-and-salty crust. (Sorry, juicer.)

Apple and peanut butter puff pastry tart

1 sheet frozen puff pasty, thawed
Flour, for dusting
6 to 8 tablespoons peanut butter
1 pound apples (about 2 large), peeled, cored, sliced into ½-inch wedges (use any kind but a tart variety, like Granny Smith)
1/4 cup chopped salted, roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
Sugar, for sprinkling
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Roll out puff pastry on a floured surface into a long rectangle. Cut in half crosswise (halves should be almost square). Transfer to a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet; prick puff pastry with a fork in several places. Using a small spatula, spread 3 to 4 tablespoons peanut butter in the center of each half to make a 5-inch round. Pile up apples in the center of each puff pastry and top with peanuts. Dot fruit with butter and sprinkle with sugar.

2. Beat egg and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl, then brush pastry with egg wash and fold up edges around apples, leaving the center open. Press along the folded edges to lightly seal. Brush outside of pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with more sugar. Let chill in freezer 10 minutes.

3. Bake tarts until pastry is golden, 15–20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue to bake until pastry is golden brown and apples are softened, 20–25 minutes.