Gift: Post-feast treats

Last year, a friend who had hosted a giant Thanksgiving dinner tipped me off to the most thoughtful hostess gift: breakfast for the next morning. As a host, what could be better following the days of cooking and hours of cleaning involved in these epic holiday feasts than having someone else plan a meal for you?

And as a guest, it’s pretty simple to pick up a dozen bagels, bake muffins, make a quiche, whip up a batch of Jane Lerner’s granola or, if staying overnight, wake the house up with a pan of Adam Miller’s chilaquiles. You will surely score yourself a return invite every holiday. And that’s certainly something to be grateful for. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Pass the stuffing… tip the turkey to me… and wishing heaping helpings of love and gratitude to all.

Create: Breakfast chilaquiles


Guest post by Adam Miller

Total score on GHG today: Adam Miller has shared his recipe for breakfast chilaquiles. Stirring up a dish of these would be an excellent way to say thanks to someone for putting you up at their place. Years ago, over a weekend getaway at a farmhouse in Wisconsin, Adam threw this together for our group. The just-foraged eggs from the hen house were a bonus that morning, but I’ve requested this several times since and it never disappoints. In fact, I think it only gets better (but the chips are super important). Plus, it’s a surefire hangover cure – a miracle one at that.

Aside from knowing his way around the kitchen, Adam is a writer, editor, curious traveler and the guy to stay up way too late with talking about music. Thanks Adam! Follow Adam around on Twitter and read more of his food writing here.

Adam’s Chilaquiles
When we have house guests staying, chilaquiles is my go-to dish to prepare for brunch. It’s quick, cheap, and everyone seems to love them. If you don’t know, chilaquiles are eggs scrambled with tortilla chips. There are dozens of other ingredients that could be added but at its most basic, it’s eggs and chips – the Mexican-American version of the Jewish-American classic, matzos and eggs, if you will.

The quality of the tortilla chips is key. Tostitos and Fritos turn to mush. And you do not want Cool Ranch up in your chilaquiles! I’m spoiled in Chicago because these are plentiful and cheap. Outside of Chicago, El Milagro work nearly as well. If you can’t find either, just find a  salted chip that’s made with less than 10 ingredients and looks like something you would actually see in a Mexican restaurant (not Taco Bell).

It’s hard for me to come up with a measured recipe for this—especially since there’s so many adjustments and additions depending on taste. I feel that onions are absolutely necessary for this dish. A few of the following will only make it better: garlic; bell pepper; jalapeno or other spicy pepper; cheese; tomato or a fresh salsa added during cooking.

The ratio: as a guide, go for 2 eggs and 1 big handful of chips per person. Following is how I would make this for four people:

8 eggs, whisked
4 big handfuls of good tortilla chips
1 medium onion sliced as thin as possible
1 bell pepper sliced as thin as possible
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
Pico de gallo (fresh tomato salsa)
Olive oil,
Salt, pepper to taste

Over medium heat add a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a large pan. Add garlic and onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add jalapeno and bell pepper and cook until fairly soft. (Add some salt to the vegetables while they’re cooking.) Add eggs and slowly mix in. If there’s a tricky part, it’s here: Add the chips one handful at a time, and fold into the eggs. The idea is to create a range of textures so the chips added early on will be softer than those at the end. Continue to add and mix in the chips, until the eggs are cooked.

I like to serve these in a large bowl with a selection of condiments, such as good tomatillo salsa and/or fresh pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, live wedges, and extra chips. Try it out and adjust to your own taste. Personally, I don’t think cheese adds much to this dish but I know people who disagree!


Create: Sugar Spun Gifts

We’ve been baking, roasting and stirring at our house in a mad dash to get treats off to friends and family. The common ingredient among the cookies, nuts and body scrubs I made is sugar. So if you need some sweet, last minute gifts here are three easy ideas.

Soren made his very first batch of Christmas cookies this year by following my new favorite holiday recipe for Chocolate Thumbprints. We started with a double batch of dough–half which was used to form the chocolate thumbprints (tip: baby spoons make the perfect dent), and the other half we rolled out to make shortbread shapes with our mini cookie cutters. A classic sugar cookie dough would have been better for shaping and sprinkle adherence, but as a last minute baker with a two-year-old pastry chef I only had time (and the patience) to follow one recipe.  The buttery mixture mimicked play-dough, so Soren had fun re-rolling and manipulating it. And chocolate thumbprint or not, they were still incredibly delicious.


A big hit from last year was the spiced nut recipe which Adam Miller shared on GHG. I roasted a batch of his family’s savory/sweet traditional gift and packed them up in decorative cones I found at Ikea. You can’t go wrong with these any time of the year.


I also made a sugary body scrub concoction based on an easy tutorial from Prudent Baby. The lavender and grapefruit essential oils I picked up seemed a bit weak, so I just kept adding aromatic drops to the jars. I’ll have to await feedback on this one to find out if I went overboard on the fragrance.

Create: Go Nuts!

Guest post by Adam Miller

Allow me to introduce Adam Miller: writer, editor, curious traveler and the guy to stay up with way too late talking about music. He cooks too, and offered to reveal his family’s Spiced Nut recipe for the holidays. So Adam can now add Good House Guest contributor (our first!) to his list of distinctions. Thanks Adam! Follow Adam around on Twitter and read more of his food writing here. 

 A batch of these savory-sweet snacks would make an excellent gift for upcoming Hanukkah, Christmas or New Year’s parties. Adam suggests presenting them in a Mason jar with a ribbon. We guarantee everyone will, er, go nuts for them.

My mom and aunt have been making spiced pecans and almonds for years. I’ve always loved them. A bit sweet, a bit salty, and a bit spicy—they’re the perfect snack. They’re also great in salads and an impressive garnish to add to a cheese plate. Funny thing about these, though, is that I never considered making them myself. Just seems like it must be a lot of fuss, right?

So wrong!

Although they take a bit of time in the oven, the actual work involved is 5-10 minutes, tops. It’s worth the minimal effort because these are so much tastier than any of the store-bought mixes. (Don’t worry. I still love you, trashy gas station Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds. See you next road trip!)

Make sure the nuts you buy are raw. Raw nuts are available pretty much any place that sells nuts in bulk. This recipe is for one pound of nuts. I use a mix of almonds and pecans, but I’m sure you can do it with any combination.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 lb. raw nuts

1 egg

1 Tbsp. chili powder*

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. salt

1 Tbsp. rosemary, crumbled

Preheat your oven to 250°. While the oven warms, prepare the mix by separating the egg and discarding the yolk. Beat the egg white with 1 tbsp. of water until frothy. In a separate small bowl, combine all the spices (everything except the nuts). Blend the spices and add to the egg white mixture. Mix well. Add the nuts and fold in until all are coated. Spread the nuts across a non-stick or lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Stir and bake for 30 more minutes. Allow nuts to cool and store in an airtight container.

*Chili powders vary greatly. I found that the one I was using was a little too salty and not spicy enough, so I only used half a Tbsp. of the chili powder and added half a Tbsp. of cayenne pepper. You could also make your own with cumin, cayenne, a bit of salt, and whatever else you enjoy! Really, the spice mix can be tinkered with a lot.