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Chili Egg Bake and my Weekend Horribilis

“The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.” Scottish poet Robert Burns once wrote. To express the same sentiment, the French say “C’est la Vie”, that’s life. I personally prefer something a little more descriptive. Since this blog is rated PG (i.e. my kids read it), lets just say that it starts with “Sh” and ends with “Happens” m’kay?

So Labor Day didn’t turn out quite the way I envisioned it; the last hurrah of summer, a weekend long series of spectacularly entertaining events involving friends, family, food and beer. Nope. Not this year. No gathering, no backyard grilling, nary a friend in site. Due to circumstances beyond my control, dinners were rushed every night, and the recipes I had so carefully created were hastily cooked, hastily eaten and photographically undocumented.

Oh and I got a haircut from someone (not my usual someone) who, upon entering the salon, gave me a look that seemed to say “I’d rather have an enema than cut your hair”. Or maybe she just wasn’t all that thrilled about working on Labor Day. Either way, I did learn a valuable life lesson: If your hair dresser looks at you like something that she just scraped off the bottom of her shoe, chances are the hair cut isn’t going to be exactly what you were looking for.

And now for a moment of silence whilst I wallow a teeny bit in my puddle of pity…

Right. Back to “My Weekend Horribilis” Of course it wasn’t all bad. There was the delightful poolside conversation I had with a good friend while the kids splashed away happily. Not my pool, his. I don’t have a pool. Unless it rains, then I have a lake. There was the drive-in on Saturday with my daughters, their two friends, an air mattress and lots of pillows. If you are lucky enough to have one in your area, and it’s still warm enough where you live, take your family to the drive-in. I promise you, you won’t regret it. It’s not about the movies; it’s about letting your kids wear their PJ’s and slippers out of the house, curling up together under the stars, and eating cookies and popcorn for dinner, just this once.

So I know what you’re thinking; “Enough about you already, where’s my recipe?” And I’m thinking; “Geez, can’t a girl take a few paragraphs to share her feelings?” And you’re thinking; “Maybe a sentence or two, Karen, after that it gets kinda boring”, and I’m thinking “Well poo”.

We have a restaurant on site where I work, and on Fridays, they cook breakfast for the staff to eat during our weekly meeting. Every so often when the stars align just right, Rachel makes “The Pouff”

After poking, proding, and being a general pain in the butt, I was told that “The Pouff” was just some eggs, diced green chilis, cottage cheese, and whatever other melty cheese was on hand.

I did some internet digging, visited the library and after some trial and error settled on this recipe . I fiddled with it (as I am wont to do) to make something I oh so creatively named “Chile Egg Bake”

I’ve made the pouff with ricotta and also with cottage cheese. The ricotta version has the same texture and density of a fritatta. The cottage cheese version is much lighter, fluffier and almost creamy. I like them both, but the cottage cheese is my secrect favorite.

Chili Egg Bake

5 large eggs
1 tbsp flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 cup ricotta or 2/3 cup small curd cottage cheese
1 ½cups Monterrey Jack cheese, divided
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 tbsp butter, melted plus more for baking dish
2 tbsp diced green chiles (about ½ of a 4 oz can)
1/8 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8×8 inch baking dish. Whisk together the eggs, flour, baking powder, ricotta or cottage cheese, 1 cup of Monterrey Jack, the parmesan cheese, butter, chiles and pepper until combined. Pour into the baking dish, top with the reserved ½ cup Monterrey Jack and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden and the center has puffed up. Let rest for 10 minutes and then serve. Toppings can include pico de gallo, chopped green onions, avocado and sour cream.

(Printable Recipe)