If you come at the Sandwich King, you best not miss. This was my little joke as I prepared to compete against Pork & Mindy’s chef Jeff Mauro in the Humana Healthy Challenge for Charity in the CBS Chicago Culinary Kitchen. The charge: whip up something healthy to highlight Humana’s Healthier Choices program at Taste of Chicago (look for the Green “H” on the menus).
Now, I’m not going to take down a real live Food Network star. I’m not even the best cook in my house. But I wanted to make a good showing, so I went with a dish I could eat every day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks: Green Eggs In A Pocket.
Here’s the recipe:
Ingredients: (serves 4)
Eggs – 8
Salt and Pepper – to taste
Pita bread (white, but can use whole wheat)
2 cups Kale (trim the stems, or use pre-bagged baby kale)
1 cup fresh Basil
1 tsp Sea Salt (to taste)
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ cup Walnuts
4 cloves of garlic, chopped (or more. I love garlic.)
1 cup Parmesan (to taste, too)
1) Make the Pesto:
– Combine the kale, basil and salt in the food processor, chop.
– Pour in olive oil
– Add walnuts and garlic
– Add cheese
– Pulse to combine as you add ingredients . Adjust ingredients to taste.
2) Make the eggs
In a non-stick pan, crack 8 eggs and scramble over low heat.
As the eggs firm up, add the pesto to taste.
3) Warm the pita bread on another pan (or toast it).
4) Split the pita. Spread a thin layer of pesto, insert some rinsed, trimmed kale and a serving of the green eggs. You can add sliced cherry tomatoes as a garnish, and serve with kale salad on the side. (You’ll have extra pesto: freeze it in an ice cube tray, and then you can use it dish-by-dish. It’s green gold.)
The judges (XRT’s Johnny Mars, Carl Galvan of Supreme Lobster, and BJ Market’s John Meyer) ate it up.
And then? Jeff Mauro made healthy-ish high protein, low gluten chocolate cookies with whipped coconut cream. They were heavenly.
Dear reader, he won. $5,000 for the Hephzibah Children’s Assn in Oak Park — and Humana added a runners-up prize of $2,500 for my charity, the Beth Emet Soup Kitchen in Evanston.