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The Old Hen B&B closed May 31, 2014. We recommend The Roaring River B&B 425.888.4834 and The Log Cabin B&B 425.533.8278 for your North Bend get-away. Please stay tuned for Deanna's cookbook plans. Here's to starting from scratch. Talking about The Old Hen online? Our hashtag is #theoldhen .

Strata Florentine With Sausage & Gruyere Recipe

Why settle for flavored mayonnaise when you can have snobby custom-infused aioli?

Why have wine punch when you can refresh with a sassy sangria?

And why have a breakfast casserole when you can have sophisticated strata?

STRATA FLORENTINE WITH SAUSAGE & GRUYERE

Makes about 6-8 servings

Strata Florentine Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound mild sausage
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 long loaf of French bread
  • 6 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • 6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and cook until translucent then golden brown. When finished cooking, place onions in a small container and set aside. Add sausage to pan and cook until browned. Remove from heat. It is okay if it is not completely cooked because it will bake in the oven and complete its cooking cycle there. Place eggs, milk, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and whisk until eggs are beaten and ingredients are well-combined.


Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and cook until translucent then golden brown. When finished cooking, place onions in a small container and set aside. Add sausage to pan and cook until browned. Remove from heat. It is okay if it is not completely cooked because it will bake in the oven and complete its cooking cycle there. Place eggs, milk, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and whisk until eggs are beaten and ingredients are well-combined.

Add sausage to pan and cook until browned. Remove from heat. It is okay if it is not completely cooked because it will bake in the oven and complete its cooking cycle there.

Place eggs, milk, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and whisk until eggs are beaten and ingredients are well-combined. Dice French bread into about 1-inch pieces and then add to egg mixture, making sure each piece is well-coated. Stir in chopped spinach, 4 ounces of cheese, cooked onions, and browned sausage. stir ingredients together.

Coat a 9 X 13 baking pan (or six 16-ounce baking pots) with butter. Pour strata mixture into baking pan/pans.

If making the night before, just cover & place in the fridge and bake in the morning. 

Bake for about 30 minutes.

Top with last 2 ounces of cheese before serving.

Look at you, cook… I mean chef.

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How to Make the World’s Brightest Easter Eggs

My Name is Deanna. And my mother is a retired cake decorator and this is how you make the prettiest Easter eggs in all the land.

I’ve never had an Easter egg that was pastel.

 


I’ve never had an Easter egg from a kit and I’ve never had an Easter egg that was dull. While other kids were using the barely-there coloring kits, I was at home whining because I didn’t realize how amazing my own home was. For it was bright.

“How?” you ask. Well, my mother was a cake decorator. She had the magical potion for bright, jewel-toned eggs right in her cake decorating kit…. er, closet. Yeah. Cake decorating closet.

Steps for brightly colored Easter eggs

  1. Place eggs in a pot of water. When water begins to boil, time the boiling for up to 8-10 minutes.
  2. When eggs are finished boiling, drain hot water and allow to sit in cold tap water for about 6 minutes.
  3. Bring some hot water to a boil. As soon as it reaches boiling point, remove from heat and carefully pour into containers that will hold about 1 cup of water and still have enough room for the weight of an egg.
  4. Using your favorite cake decorating food colorings (not liquid!), place about 1 teaspoon of food coloring into each cup of hot water. Wilton food colors are the very best food colors. They can be purchased at Michael’s Craft Supply and other craft stores.
  5. Pour one cap full (or one teaspoon) of vinegar into cups of water as well.
  6. Stir food colors into each cup of water until well mixed. Remove any clumps that might be left over. This might happen if the food coloring has been around too long. It will still work but if you leave the clumps in, you’ll get little blotches of color.
  7. Using a spoon, gently place one egg into each color. Soak and occasionally give a little stir to get the best coloring. Soak as long as you like – the longer, the brighter.
  8. Remove eggs when you’re happy with the brightness of your eggs and allow to dry on a few layers of paper towels.
  9. Use your hands to coat with butter for the amazing shine. Why? Because that’s what grandma always did. Also, just think of it as car wax.

I always got the purpleiest of the purple eggs in my basket.

The Wilton brand food colorings I used for the eggs pictured here: Purple, pink, yellow, royal blue, teal and leaf green.

P.S. Juniper green is fun if you have boys who like army guys. Just don’t soak it very long.

Thank you, mom. You have given me an undying love for jewel tones and helped me to see why being me is special; and, indeed, butter goes on everything.

 

 

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Eggs Benedict Recipe

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I’m on a kick lately. Back to basics… the traditional, if you will. The basics are good for the soul. Here are some others I’ve been in touch with lately:

  • Take road trips.
  • Be happy.
  • Be kind.
  • Be silly.
  • Keep learning.

There’s something about going back to the basics that refreshes the soul. Sometimes we get too fancy, too complicated, too side-tracked. And then there’s Eggs Benedict – classy and uncomplicated.


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Two servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 English muffins, toasted
  • Butter
  • 4 pieces of Canadian bacon (or several slices of Black Forest ham)
  • 4 poached eggs
  • 1 recipe of hollandaise sauce
  • 1 green onion, diced (optional)

Toast English muffins and butter them. Place each on a plate.

Fry Canadian bacon or ham until hot. Place on English muffins.

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Poach four eggs. The best way to do this is to heat water in saucepan on high until it starts to boil. Place a paper towel on a plate and set aside. Turn heat down to medium high. Stir until water forms into a circler rotation in pan. Crack an egg open and drop into middle of pan. Allow to cook for about 4 minutes.  Remove egg from water with slotted spoon and place on plate. Continue until all four eggs are cooked. Eggs will look imperfect and this is perfect.

If you’re not a fan of the runny yolk and like an over-hard egg, you can cook them for about 8-9 minutes. This isn’t traditional, but you should enjoy your eggs the way you like them. You can also use fried eggs or scrambled eggs. This dish is delightful either way. 

Make hollandaise sauce and pour over your eggs. Oh, sweet Baby Jesus.

She may seem prissy and hard to figure out, sure, but she is so much more than that. She is comforting. She is saucy. And she is empowering. And, once you realize you can make the basics, you can do anything.

 

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How to Make Perfect Scrambled Eggs

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Sometimes seemingly simple things aren’t so simple. one of the most common and delicious dishes in all of the breakfast kingdom is scrambled eggs. It’s easy to end up with not enough eggs, eggs that are overcooked or maybe you just have a case of the blahs. Here’s an easy, gourmet twist on this breakfast comfort food just on time for Christmas.


Scrambled Eggs With Fresh Herbs

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Sea salt & fresh ground pepper
  • Leaves from 5 springs of fresh thyme, minced
  • Leaves from 1 sprig of fresh basil, minced
  • Leaves from 1/2 sprig of fresh rosemary, minced
  • Leaves from 4 sprigs of fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 cup fully cooked shredded ham (optional)
  • 3/4 cup Gruyère cheese, grated

Heat olive oil in a large, non-stick pan over medium heat then add onions. Cook onions, while stirring occasionally, until translucent. Make sure your non-stick pan is in great condition so that it truly is non-stick. Never use metal utensils with non-stick pans.

In a medium-large bowl, combine eggs, water, salt & pepper. With my salt shaker, I plan on three shakes per egg plus a few more shakes for the added water (what I normally add to one fried egg). Test your salt shaker and then plan accordingly the amount you need per egg when making scrambled eggs. Whip eggs until combined and golden using a fork and your wrist action – I find this gives me more control than using a whisk. It’s good to lift the fork often as you whip the eggs to incorporate as much air as possible into them.

After onions are translucent and eggs are well-beaten, turn heat to medium-high and add eggs to pan. Use a turner to scrape bottom of pan clean as you stir the eggs. The longer they cook, the less often you stir. When eggs are still a bit wet but starting to firm, turn heat to medium again and add minced herbs (save some for the top when eggs are finished cooking if you like), and ham. End cooking by taking large amounts of the eggs and flipping over gently… this will prevent your scrambled eggs from falling into tiny pieces and unbecoming. If serving right away, sprinkle with grated Gruyère and add about a tablespoon of water into the pan. Cover with a lid right away  to create steam and serve after cheese has melted.

You can tell when your eggs are over-cooked when they begin to turn brown and they will have a different smell. Burnt egg smell is unique, so train yourself to recognize it and you’ll be golden – no pun intended.

If your serving time has been delayed or you would like to cook the eggs early, you can place them on a baking sheet when the eggs are firm but still undercooked. Sprinkle with cheese and cover with foil (should fit loosely on top so cheese doesn’t stick to it but tight around sides to keep moisture in & prevent over-cooked eggs). Bake in oven heated to 170F for longer wait or 200F for 10 minutes or less.

If you saved some minced herbs, sprinkle over the melted cheese and serve. Bask in the compliments.

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Ham and Cheese Quiche Recipe

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Ham and Cheese Quiche. Amen.


They say Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche, but real men like this ham and cheese quiche. It’s simple, it’s delicious and surprisingly manly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Ham and Cheese Quiche Ingredients

  • 1 Pillsbury pie crust (or 1/2 this homemade recipe)
  • 10 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 8 oz. grated cheddar cheese (or any cheese that melts well like gouda, gruyère, havarti)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 8 oz. cubed ham, drained
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon course ground pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream (optional garnish)

Place homemade pie crust or store bought Pillsbury (this brand because it isn’t sweet) pie crust in pie pan, poke crust with a fork about 20 times all around and then bake for 13 minutes.

Drain ham on paper towels. Leftover ham is also great for this recipe. Pat dry as well so that much of the moisture is soaked up by the paper towels.

Beat eggs, heavy cream & flour together. Blender on medium speed works well for this.

Stir in cheese, green onions, ham and salt & pepper.

Remove pie crust from oven when done. Pour mixture into pre-baked pie crust.

Bake quiche with a baking sheet on the shelf underneath it to help catch any possible overflow. Use a guard to protect the edges of the crust from over-baking once they are light golden brown. Bake for about an hour or until a knife comes out clean. Quiche will continue to bake for a little while after removed from oven since it’s still hot.

Serves eight or if you would like to have larger friends, six. Place a dollop of sour cream on each piece and an artful green onion if desired.

She has enticed many a gentleman and made their taste buds dance. She is a quiche that even real men love.

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Balsamic Red Onion and Sausage Tart Recipe

This recipe is guest approved.

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It is savory with a touch of sweetness. It is the Balsamic Red Onion and Sausage Tart… With Fresh Herbs and Le Gruyère Cheese Perfectly Melted On Top.


But, you know, I had to stop the name somewhere.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Pillsbury pie crust
  • One 14 oz. package smoked beef sausage
  • 1/2 large red onion
  •  8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon each finely chopped, fresh rosemary or basil, oregano, and thyme
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated

First spray a tart pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line pan with a pie crust. A Pillsbury pie crust rolled out a little bit will work just fine. (Pillsbury isn’t sweet like the off-brands). Bake pie crust for 15-20 minutes until done.

Cut beef sausage into large, bite-sized pieces.

Yeah. Like that.

Thinly slice red onion and then cut slices in half.

Finely chop fresh herbs.

Whisk eggs, milk, freshly chopped herbs and salt & pepper together.

Pour most of eggs into cooked pie crust.

Begin browning sausage pieces over medium high heat and then add onions.

Cook until onions are caramelized and then add balsamic vinegar. Allow to cook for a couple more minutes.

Place onions and sausage into tart pan with the eggs. Place tart pan into oven and then pour remaining eggs in. If pan is very full, place a half sheet baking pan underneath to prevent dripping. Grate cheese over the top.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until a knife poked into the center of the tart comes out clean. Serves 4-5 people.

Le tart. Le sigh.

This recipe can also be made in a pie pan. Just add a couple more eggs to the recipe.

 

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Herb Baked Eggs Recipe

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When I started making baked eggs, I had only seen pictures of them. I’d never tried them but they looked so delicious, that I finally gave them a whirl. They are easy to make once you learn the secret. Today, I’m sharing the secret. Because I love you.

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Just place three eggs in a small baking pan. Cover with about a few teaspoons of freshly finely chopped mixed herbs such as thyme, oregano parsley, rosemary and/or basil (no stems). You can bake them in ramekins or mini cast iron pans too. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can add diced ham or bacon bits on top before baking for extra yum factor as well.

If a yolk breaks when putting it on the pan, I spoon it out & replace it with an new one. I then refrigerate the broken one to brush onto baked rolls or danishes to gave them a beautiful shine.

Preheat oven to 325F and place pans in oven for 11 minutes. You will want to watch them closely after 10 minutes. When the whites no longer jiggle and the yolks are still soft in the middle, they are done. When making more than two pans, give more baking time but watch closely since they bake quickly.

Baked eggs are delicious served simply with herbs or serve with hollandaise if you like…

…and Johnsonville original recipe sausage from the meat department…

…or smoked beef sausage (so beautiful when sliced diagonally!)  from the lunch meat section in your local grocery store.

Then there is always sizzling hot bacon. Oh so many wonderful and tasty options to choose from.

I always make sure there is a pretty napkin underneath and let my guests know that the pan is very, very hot. I do love beautiful napkins
ever so much. Dare I admit that napkin shopping is an event for me?

Happy breakfasting to you and yours this pretty napkin season!

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A Spring Decoration: Robin Easter Eggs

These eggs make for the oh so prettiest display. They are simply boiled eggs made extra beautiful but could be made to last longer if you hollowed out the egg instead of boiling it. To hollow, poke uncooked egg with a pin at the top and the bottom of the shell. Over a bowl, blow the inside of the egg out into the bowl. Of course, they would be more fragile but can still be made to look like these…

robin egg easter eggs

Place small white or light-colored eggs in a pot of water. Once water is boiling, allow to continue boiling for 10 minutes. remove from burner & set aside.


Heat up a medium bowl of water or if you prefer to color the eggs one at a time, use a large mug.

You will need sky blue & leaf green food coloring (or a teal or turquoise will do).

If using blue and green, place a tablespoon or two of vinegar into about 20 ounces of water, then add a little bit of green food coloring & stir.

Add the blue food coloring & stir again.

Don’t underestimate the power of vinegar when coloring Easter eggs. Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.

Using non-toxic paints, use a stiff paintbrush, place some brown little paint on it and flick onto eggs. Practicing on newspaper first is a good idea to be sure your paint flicks just how you want it too. You want speckles, not blotches or streaks.

The nice thing about living where I live is that I was boiling noodles for spaghetti and went outside to grab some fresh moss off a tree and came back to perfectly cooked noodles. I know, right?

Just place some fresh (or store-bought) moss into a glass container. I used my Southern Living at Home hurricane vase. She is not surprised at this as she has been used as many things, including punch bowl. Thank you, Lovely, you never disappoint.

Perfect for a peaceful moment of reading on the porch alone.

 

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Taco Quiche Recipe

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was dragged to brunch. Brunch was scary for the little girl because it meant two things.

One, it meant that two meal opportunities were condensed down to one meal opportunity. This was not a good thing for the little foodie blogger in the making.

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Two, the main dish at brunch was always quiche – ew-y gooey, lukewarm, tasteless (except for the broccoli!) quiche. The very name sounded ew-y gooey.

Then one day the little girl grew up and decided she was going to invent a quiche that was firm, hot, and filled with flavor. This blog post is about one of the many flavorful quiches that she now makes.

Enter taco quiche. Ole’!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and get ready for a fiesta! Chop about 1/2 cup of yellow onion and toss into frying pan.

Add about 1/4 pound of ground beef and sizzle, sizzle, sizzle.

Drain grease and rinse well. Pat down with a clean paper towel to help remove as much excess juice as you can so that it doesn’t make your quiche ewy gooey.

Add your favorite taco seasoning in the amount the package says to add for 1/4 pound of beef (or just add 1/4 of a package of taco seasoning), but instead of adding water, try this trick…

Drain the olive juice from the can of sliced olives. Use about 1/4 cup.

Add the olive juice to the meat instead of water.

Yummers.

To prepare the quiche pan, just spray with cooking spray. By the way, never ever, ever use baking spray for savory dishes! It has a sweet taste that will ruin your savory meals. Save the baking spray for the sweet recipes. Gives me the shivers just thinking about using it on a savory dish!

Place your homemade pie crust in the pan. That is unless you cheated like I did. In that case, place your store bought pie crust in your pie plate. If you do make a homemade crust, check the sugar content. Again, this is a savory dish so you don’t want a sweet crust. When it comes to pre-made crusts, Pillsbury is a great brand to use as the off brands sometimes have too much sugar in them.

Preheat oven to 350F. Bake pie crust for 15-20 minutes until done.

Okay, meat is cooked, pie crust is baked. Time for the filling!  Place nine eggs in a medium bowl and beat well. Add salt & pepper to taste. I use this trick to help me decide how much to use… I shake the salt and grind the pepper about two times each per egg when I make quiche.

Now we add the milk. Wrong!

Now we add the half & half. Wrong!

If you’ve survived ewy gooey quiches like I have I am sure that you will put your foot down with me and declare heavy cream! Yeah for heavy cream! Just 1/8th of a cup will do.

Next add the olives that were left from the can we drained above and about 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese

Add 1/8 cup of taco seasoning.

Now for my favorite part! Cilantro! Chop a small handful and add. Mmmmm…. smells better than Tijuana!

Finally the grand finale – taco beef! Stir in well.

Pour quiche mixture into baked pie crust and place on a cookie sheet just in case it drips.

Bake for about one hour.

Serve hot with your favorite toppings like finely chiffonade lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, salsa and, of course, extra cheese, please!

And she and her blog readers lived happily ever after.

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© Deanna Morauski 2009-2017