Tuesday 3 June 2014

Food I Don't Usually Buy, and a Recipe

We had visitors recently, on a day I didn't feel like cooking. There were three teenagers in the group, and more than one picky eater, so I decided to take the easy way out.  I went to the grocery store the morning our company was due to arrive, and bought cold cuts, cheeses, crackers, a jar of antipasto, and some fresh fruit and veggies.  

When our guests arrived, I assembled the food on platters and put out plates and napkins, then let everyone pick and choose as they preferred.  It was an excellent solution to my "don't want to cook" dilemma, and made for a relaxed and pleasant visit.

Because I always prefer to have leftovers rather than not offer enough food, when our guests departed there was still quite a bit left on those platters, including several items we buy but rarely.  

Cold cuts, commercially made crackers, bottled antipasto, and cherry tomatoes are all luxuries rarely allowed for in our grocery budget and, not wanting them to go to waste, I planned several very simple meals around what we had on hand.  

Despite the simplicity of the meals we made from the leftovers, they felt like special treats to us because of the ingredients used to make them.  I'm going to share those dishes with you over the next several posts, beginning with this one:

Baked Eggs and Tomatoes in Ham Cups

Years ago, on one of her 30 Minute Meals programs, Rachel Ray made baked eggs in prosciutto cups.  I don't have the exact recipe but, really, do you need one?  I had 4 slices of black forest ham left over from our special lunch so I decided to make my own version of Rachel's dish.  

I used:

  • 4 very thin slices of black forest ham
  • 1 cup of finely diced tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper

I began by pressing the ham slices into muffin cups.  (I used a silicone muffin pan because of its non-stick properties.  Easy clean-up is a big deal for me.)

Rachel crisped her proscuitto by putting it in the oven so I put my ham lined muffin cups in a 350F oven for 10 minutes.  They did lose some of their moisture but they didn't crisp, and they kind of folded over on themselves, making it more difficult to spoon in the rest of the ingredients.  

You can decide whether or not you want to bother with this step.  If you do, I'd recommend a hotter oven, maybe 400F.

I spooned in the chopped tomatoes.  I seasoned mine with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  My fella doesn't care for pepper so I seasoned his with just salt.  

I cracked an egg into each cup.  

I put the pan back in the oven to bake.

On the show, Rachel cooked her eggs for about 10 minutes.  At 10 minutes my eggs were still so raw that the whites were almost clear.  (Maybe Rachel cooked hers at a higher temperature, or maybe she used a convection oven.)

At 20 minutes, our eggs were pretty much perfect.  The whites were cooked and the yolks still soft.

They came out of the silicone pan really easily.  I served them immediately, with a salad on the side.

Great supper!  Nice and light, but really tasty.  I'll do this again (without the crisping the ham step).

Here are some other recipes I made using leftovers from our company lunch: