Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lunch Week 7: Baked Eggs

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it, unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Baked Eggs
 Eggs are a wonderful vehicle for vegetables. It adds a lot of heft while binding everything together. It also gives me the protein that I lack when I'm not eating meat. This week, I wanted to make something similar to baked eggs. But I know I couldn't successfully reheat runny eggs in the microwave. They just keep cooking until they are well done. And that's no fun. So I thought to whip up the eggs instead and create a frittata-like egg dish but in muffin form.

I started with the vegetables: chopped frozen spinach, baby bella mushrooms, carrots, and onions. The first thing I did was chop up the onions and scallions into smaller wedges. Then I immediately placed them in an oiled pan on the stove. I salted them to speed up the process of the natural sugars breaking down. Yes, my friends, I am making caramelized onions. You always want to make this your first step because they take a long, long time. I stir them occasionally until they start to color. When they stick to the pan, I deglaze them with some water. I scrape up the brown bits and repeat until a full glass of water is finished and the onions are deep, rich brown.

While the onions were breaking down into a delicious sweet topping, I worked on the other vegetables.

For the mushrooms, I sliced them and then simply sauteed them until soft.
The one large carrot was peeled and shredded (using my new favorite shredding peeler) then sauteed in oil until cooked through.
And lastly, the spinach was defrosted and the water mostly squeezed out. I chopped up some garlic and added it to a hot pan. When they became fragrant and golden, I tossed in the spinach and cooked them through.
As the vegetables cooled, I worked on the other components of the recipe. For about a week's worth of servings, I whipped up 10 eggs. I added salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
And now the phyllo dough. If you're unfamiliar with phyllo, it's a Greek pastry dough comes in thin layers. You piled them on one after another in buttery layers and bake until flaky and crisp. They're a nice alternative to thick puff pastry. When you buy a pack of phyllo, it comes in layers of thin dough stack in a pile. I usually take off the first or second layer because they're usually damaged. Then I take one sheet of phyllo and place it on my cutting board. With a pastry brush, I brush on melted butter covering the entire sheet. I take another sheet of phyllo and place it on top. I repeat with the melted butter.
Now, I cut the phyllo into 6 rectangles. I place one over the other at an angle (forming a star shape) then press it into the muffin tin (which has already been brushed with melted butter). Repeat until all the crevices are filled.
Now layer in your vegetables. I start with the spinach on the bottom, then a few of the mushrooms,and lastly the carrots. I fill the phyllo cup with the beaten egg mixture then I top it off with caramelized onions.
Once all the cups are filled, I popped them into the oven at 350oF for 30 minutes until the eggs are set. Take out of the oven and let cool.
The phyllo cups should pop out easily. I eat about 3 per serving and they're delicious. I was so happy eating these.
They are texturally pleasing with the crispiness of the phyllo, and the different of vegetables. The flavors ranged from rich butteriness from the phyllo to savory from the vegetables to sweet from the onions.
Again, I am very satisfied with how these came out. Next time, maybe I'll add some sriracha hot sauce for extra oomph!

9 comments:

  1. Haha I was going to suggest hot sauce... I made these before (someone called them mini quiches) but with wonton wrappers instead. The flavor is good but I really couldn't get past eating cold eggs - something about that didn't do it for me. I like your method of cooking the vegetables first and layering them though - that is something I didn't do, and the texture definitely suffered when I made them. Maybe I'll try this again. Oh, do you reheat these? (I know what you wrote initially but these are already fully cooked)

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    1. @FF: I don't like using wonton wrappers for this because of the texture. I think phyllo dough is much more pleasant.

      Also, I do reheat these in the microwave. The phyllo doesn't suffer and the everything is warmed nicely.

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    2. @FF: Also, I cooked the vegetables first because I wanted as much moisture removed as possible. It helps to retain the texture.

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    3. Yeah I am pretty sure I made some missteps along the way. I'll try this again. Thanks! (and yes, part of what I didn't like was the texture of the wonton wrappers... it did not come out the way the recipe I looked at said it would!)

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  2. Oooh... I haven't made a frittata(/crust-less quiche) lunch in while! These look really cute and yummy - I like the layers!

    FF- I've made a Frittata for lunches before, and I'll just nuke it for a few seconds on medium-power, just to get the chill out. But that's without a crust... I'm not sure how it would work with phyllo or a wonton wrapper - those might not hold up so well? Also, cooking the veggies beforehand releases a lot of excess water, which could've ruined the texture of your quiches.

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    1. Haha, I didn't even read your comment before responding to Hungry's. Thanks! Actually I also didn't reheat because my bento (which is what I made my version for) had only one in there, the rest I eat room temp, so I didn't bother... but now I know. Thanks ladies!

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  3. Whoops - I was too slow... sorry I repeated Hungry's comments!

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  4. such a creative lunch! would also make a great hors hors d'oeuvres for a party.

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  5. Very nice phyllo cups.

    Speaking of frittatas:
    "Taco has organized this whole night just to mess with me and beat me this week, and I'm not going to let that frittata do it. He's a sly fox."

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