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Food Bloggers Against Hunger: Cheesy Egg Muffin Sandwich

This past summer, with the help from Nicole of The Giving Table, bloggers joined together and dedicated their posts to fight for slave-free tomatoes.  After posting a Gluten-Free Tomato Tart last July, we were asked to participate in the Food Bloggers Against Hunger event.  Of course, we couldn’t wait to participate!

Nearly 1 in 4 children in America lives in households that struggle to put food on the table.  Millions of Americans who participate in the nation’s food stamp program are limited to an average of $4 per person, per day to supplement their food budget.  As a result, they struggle with hunger at some point during the year.  Rates of food insecurity are substantially higher than the national average among households with incomes near or below the federal poverty line, and among households with children headed by a single parent.  In Washington D.C., 30.7% of children experience limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods at some point during the year.

For a little homework, we watched A Place at the Table.  It’s a documentary that examines hunger in America by focusing on 3 families which struggle to put food on the table for their children.  It discusses how U.S. government subsidies favor products that require processing (e.g., soy beans, wheat, and especially corn) over fresh fruits and vegetables that can be consumed with little or no processing.  As a result, the most affordable food is often calorically dense, processed food, lacking nutritional value.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation’s food stamp program, is at risk for severe cuts that would impact millions of families and children who rely on school meals and food stamps to survive.  A number of anti-hunger organizations: Share Our Strength, Bread for the World, Feeding America, The Food and Research Action Center- are asking supporters to spread the word.

Our nations policies need to change in order for this problem to be solved.  Here are a few ways you can help and participate:

1) Send a letter to Congress asking them to support anti-hunger legislation.  The more letters we send, the better.  Send this letter, it’ll take less than 30 seconds to fill out.

2) Go see A Place at the TableScreenings will be held in select cities through mid-June.  You can also view it on iTunes and Amazon.  Spread the word on what you have learned from the documentary.

3) Volunteer with Share Your Strength‘s Cooking Matters program.  The No Kid Hungry campaign educates and empowers low-income families to stretch their food budgets.

The documentary points out that many children and adults do not have access to low-cost, healthy breakfasts, and many go to school or work without eating anything.  With that in mind, Sam and I decided to post our favorite breakfast- it’s easy, fast, healthy, and low-cost.  Over 200 bloggers are participating in this event, check out what recipes others have posted.

I stopped by a local Safeway to pick up food for our breakfast, and to make sure we were on budget:

 Old Tyme English Muffins: $1.29 for 6; $0.22/English Muffin
 Lucerne Grade A Eggs: $2.49 for a dozen; $0.21/egg
 Lucerne Extra Sharp Cheddar: $4.39 for 16 oz; $0.27/ounce
 Green Onions: $1.39 for a bunch (approx. 8); $0.17/onion

Total Cost for one Cheesy Egg Muffin Sandwich: $0.87

 Total Calorie and Fat content per sandwich:
 Calories: 341*
 Fat: 17
*We used unsalted butter, but feel free to substitute with cooking spray.  We are assuming that everyone has one of these two items in their kitchen.

Cheesy Egg Muffin Sandwich

Cheesy Egg Muffin Sandwich
A Fifth Floor Kitchen blog
Servings: 2

2 English Muffins (preferably whole wheat)
2 eggs
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 tsp butter or cooking spray
1-2 green onions, chopped
2 oz cheddar cheese, sliced or shredded

The trick with making omelets is to use a smaller pan, so that the omelet has enough depth to allow for folding over.  An 8-inch, non-stick pan is perfect for this.

While cooking the eggs, toast 2 English muffins in a toaster.

Crack two eggs into a small bowl, add a pinch of salt and pepper and beat with a fork until well incorporated.  Coat the pan with butter or cooking spray, and put it over medium heat.  Once the pan is hot, pour in the scrambled egg mixture.  Sprinkle green onions on one half of the egg mixture, wait until it begins to firm up.  When the omelet is firmed up, and only slightly liquidy on top, add the cheese slices on top of the green onions.  With a rubber spatula, gently fold the omelet in half.  Turn the stove top off, wait for about a minute to allow the cheese to melt.  Then cut the omelet in half, and serve each half on an English Muffin.

An Edible Mosaic Virtual Book Launch

A fellow blogger, Faith Gorsky of An Edible Mosaic, just had her first cookbook released!  With the release of An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair, I’m excited to participate in her virtual book launch party, and share a recipe from her book!

About 2 years ago I came across Faith’s blog when searching for a Middle Eastern dish for my book club.  With her help I made the Beef & Rice Stuffed Zucchini, and the Golden Red Lentil Soup.  Since then, I have continued to read her blog and have had many opportunities to try out her recipes.  Many of them are inspired from when she lived and visited the Middle East right after she got married, and from her mother-in-law Sahar.

Faith’s book has over 100 Middle Eastern recipes, which focus mainly on dishes from the Levant.  Throughout the blog and in her book, Faith explains complicated dishes and approaches them in a modern way.  Her book is available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble! (so if you’re looking for a good holiday gift, definitely check this one out!)

Head over to her blog to check out the virtual book launch party to see other bloggers who are participating!  She is also hosting a giveaway- be sure to check it out all of the items up for grabs!

Below is one of Faith’s recipes, which I’ve made a few small changes to, based on what I had on hand in my kitchen.   The original recipe is Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts.  This recipe is vegan, so it can easily be incorporated into a vegetarian meal, but will be just as delicious served with some beef, chicken, lamb or seafood.

Fifth Floor Kitchen Recipe Changes: When making this dish I used vegetable broth, rather than water, when cooking the rice to give it some extra flavor.  If you’ll be pairing this with beef/chicken/lamb then you can also use that specific broth as well.  Also, I did not have any raisins on hand, instead I used dried pomegranate seeds- it was a great variation!  Another tasty alternative would be dried cherries or cranberries.

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts
ROZ MLOW’WAN

Recipe courtesy of An Edible Mosaic:  Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission.

Serves: 4 to 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes to let the rice sit after cooking

1½ cups (325 g) basmati rice, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 onion, finely diced
4 tablespoons sultanas (golden raisins)
1¾ cups (425 ml) boiling water
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon saffron threads (or ½ teaspoon turmeric)

  1. Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
  2. Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the pine nuts to a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the onion to the saucepan you cooked the pine nuts in, and cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the sultanas, boiling water, salt, and saffron (or turmeric), turn the heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil.
  4. Give the rice a stir, then cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to very low, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (do not open the lid during this time). Turn the heat off and let the rice sit (covered) 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top; serve.

OPTIONAL Add two pods of cardamom, two whole cloves, and one 2-inch (5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick at the same time that you add the rice.

Brazilian Fish & Shrimp Stew

I am very lucky cook, pretty much anything I make, Sam eats.  And about 9 times out of 10 he’ll tell me how great it is.  Then the 1 times out of 10, he’ll swear that was the best thing he’s ever eaten.  See, aren’t I lucky?!?

This was one of those 1 out of 10 meals that we both loved.  It had so much flavor, and it wasn’t too fishy.  This is definitely on the list to re-do!

When I picked up the June/July 2012 issue of Saveur, I noticed it had an article about the cuisine in the Amazon by Neide Rigo (the photos were done by James Oseland).  Since I have never been in this part of the world, I was interested to read about what people ate there.  And the pictures looked so delicious, I had to try at least one of the recipes.

The article focuses on the author’s visit to the Brazilian island of Marajó.  The trip alone took her 2 days from São Paulo: she took a flight, a taxi ride, then a 3-hour ferry ride, a car ride through the jungle, and lastly, a barge.  That was one long trip!

Marajó is the largest island surrounded by freshwater, anywhere in the world.  It’s about as big as Switzerland, and it’s located where the Amazon pours into the Atlantic Ocean.  The advantage to the location is that fishermen can catch saltwater or freshwater fish, it all depends on the time of day and the tides.

The islanders were introduced to beef and diary by the Dutch, French and Portuguese colonizers who brought cattle and African slaves with them in the 17th century.  The current cuisine is a result of 400 years of intermarriage of Europeans, Africans, and native Brazilians.

The afternoon that the author arrived on the island, she was served this delicious soup.  We had eaten the soup just plain, per the recipe below.  Neide’s stew was accompanied by sweet plantains, rice, stewed red beans, pickled chiles, a salad of lettuce and tomatoes, cassava and fresh juices to drink (pineapple, papaya, and white soursop).  If I’m ever near the Amazon, I would love to stop by for a visit, until then, I have this soup to savor!

Brazilian Fish & Shrimp Stew (Moqueca)
Adapted from: Saveur (June/July 2012, Number 148, pg 66)

We used tilapia in this recipe, although catfish and halibut were recommended- feel free to swap for any firm-fleshed white fish.  The soup also has a mixture of peppers, but if you prefer bell peppers use those.  Lastly, I used vegetable broth, but if you have fish stock that would be perfect (probably use about 1 cup).

1 1/2 lb tilapia (or catfish, halibut- or any firm white fish), cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 lb shrimp
6 garlic cloves, minced
juice from 2 limes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups mixed chopped peppers (jalapeños, bell peppers, chili, banana)
2 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cup light coconut milk (1 can)
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1-2 cups cooked rice

In a large bowl, mix together the fish, shrimp, 6 cloves of garlic, lime juice, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Set aside.

In a large pot heat up the olive oil, and then add the onion.  Cook until the onion is translucent, for about 5 minutes.  Then add the garlic and peppers, cook for another 3 minutes.  Next, stir in the tomatoes and cook until they are broken down, for about 5 minutes.  Add vegetable broth and coconut milk, bring to a boil.

Finally, drain any liquid from the fish and shrimp mixture, and add into the pot.  Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the fish and shrimp are cooked.  Sprinkle in the basil and cilantro, stir well.  Serve over rice.