Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter-Skillet Scramble

Happy Easter, Friends and Fans!

We had a simple Easter. We've had illness in the house for 2 weeks. I ran out last night to do last minute Easter Bunny shopping at what turned out to be the very wrong store. We ended up with rather skimpy baskets. The kids didn't seem to notice. They enjoyed Floam knock-offs and jelly beans, Peeps and plastic eggs like the were exorbitant treasures.

My little bunny got ears, Cheerios and a sippie cup in his itty bitty basket.

My floam bunny in side view.

Head on.

Ben's snail.
We balanced out the sugar with some oatmeal mini-muffins.
Aren't they pretty?

Top muffins with sprinkles before baking. They get all crispity and melty.

After they were sugared up to the point of insanity (mine), D and Baby W took a snooze while I herded the other 3 and the doggie to the park. They played  with htier new sand toys in a place where they could do little damage and Savannah romped the picnic grounds munching crawfish shells wherever she could find them.

When we got back, the sugar haze was in the past and everyone was ready for a real meal.

Savannah was in dire need of a doggie biscuit. Peeww. Luckily, we're well stocked and she enjoyed her treat.

Unfortunately, I have neither planned a meal, nor made it to the store yet. Luckily, we were too sick to eat most of the last 2 weeks, so we have plenty of random ingredients in the fridge.
I fell back on an old standby. The Skillet Scramble.

This isn't so much a recipe, as a process. You can make a scramble out of potatoes, eggs (or tofu for a vegan option) and pretty much anything else you have. Veggies, meats, salsa, cheese, beans, grains, whatever.

Some suggestions:
Turkey, carrots, celery, onions, cranberries, gravy for a Thanksgiving-esque day-after.
Beans, salsa, chilies, onions, garlic, avocado for a Mexican flair.
Ham, bacon, tomatoes, swiss, cheddar, turkey, roast beef=club sandwich skillet.
Broccoli, carrots, spinach, onions, any other veggies=garden skillet.
Be creative and have fun.

Today, I did a sausage and gravy scramble. Mmmm. Watch this.

First, dice some potatoes. These are small red potatoes. Brown them in oil over high heat.

Dice some onions, if desired, and toss them in. I used wild onions that Ben picked. Reduce heat to low, cover and let cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, chop and cook other stuff. This is mushrooms and breakfast sausage.

Once this stuff was browned, I added a sliced banana pepper.

When potatoes and toppings are cooked, layer the toppings over the potatoes.

But wait! There's more.
These are the pan drippings. Not much to look at, but this is a little puddle of super-concentrated flavor.

Toss some flour in there and scrape and stir. Cook and stir about a minute over low heat, until the flour mixture is just the teensiest hint of brown. This is a roux. If you've never made one, brace yourself. Your life is about to change.

Add some milk. I use almond milk. Be ready to stir fast. Do not let this sit around. If a dough forms, add some more milk. If you prefer a clear gravy, use water or stock. Same process.

Now you should have something like this.

Cook over low heat until thick and bubbly. The flour acts as a binder, keeping the milk from curdling. This will thicken quickly, with no lumps and no floury taste, because we cooked our roux before adding the liquid. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Now, turn off the heat, and set this aside.

It's time for the scramble. Break some eggs into a mug or bowl. I used 5 eggs for 6 people. Beat
the heck out of them with a fork. Add a splash of milk. Beat them some more, just for good measure. The more you beat, the fluffier they will be. The more liquid, the lighter and thinner the egg. Less or no liquid will give you a denser, richer scramble.

Add a little fat to a skillet. I used a dash of the sausage fat. Heat the pan over low heat. When it's nice and sizzly, pour in the eggs. When they start to firm up, scoop them toward the center and let the runny gooey part take their place. See the big fluffy center and the runny edges? Good.

Now the eggs are done. Don't they look nice? I chopped them up into teeny bits because I'm feeding people with very small mouths. This step is not necessary if your people have a full set of chompers.

Layer the eggs into the skillet with their friends.

Top with the gravy and garnish with a dusting of smokey paprika.
Serve it up!

My kids raved on and on about this. They declared it restaurant quality food-not diner quality, but hotel bistro quality, they specified. That is high praise, let me tell you.

Bonus points: See the 2 Easter eggs on top of the school bags? They didn't. Looks like they will have a surprise on library day.

After lunch, they had some quiet time, watching a movie with D, while I caught up on the necessities of life, dishes and laundry. Last, a campfire in the backyard, complete with toasted giant marshmallows. A little playtime, some blogging, and D is cooking dinner, bless his heart.

And thus, our beautiful Easter comes to an end. I hope you all enjoyed yours as much as we did. Thanks for joining me in the retelling of the day.

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