a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Baked ham and eggs on portobello with asiago

Baked ham and eggs on portobello with asiago (Scott Beveridge photo)
By Scott Beveridge

Baked eggs were a thing while I was growing up in the 1960s and then they disappeared from our diet.

Maybe it was because they were boring, served hot without any other sources of flavor in a baked-egg bowl after it sat in an oven for about 15 minutes. 

Flash forward and the baked egg has returned, reinvented and dripping hot with other ingredients.

There are baked eggs with spinach and bacon cooked in hollowed out russet potatoes, baked eggs in cups in ham cups and baked eggs in bread slices.

The other day I noticed a Facebook post about eggs baked in portobello mushrooms, decided to give that a try today and thought the end result made for a delicious late Sunday brunch.

The most time consuming step in this simple recipe is cleaning the mushrooms.


4 portobello mushrooms
4 large eggs
1/4 cup grated soft asiago cheese
4 thins slices of a good deli ham
olive oil, enough to coat mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste
2 pinches parsley flakes


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Remove stems from mushrooms, use a spoon to scoop out their gills and brush off as much dirt as possible from the tops. Do not run under water. Use hands to coat both sides of the mushrooms with olive oil, dust with salt and pepper and place them stem-side down on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Turn mushrooms over, nestle a slice of ham into bowl, top that with raw egg trying to not break the yolk and sprinkle with more salt and pepper and some parsley. Return to the oven for about 20 minutes. Meaty mushrooms may require a longer baking time.

Sprinkle cheese on top while they are still warm and ready to eat.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A little fairy tale house

The new Storybook House in the Bookworm Glen at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden. (Photo courtesy of the garden)
OAKDALE, Pa. - A new miniature house on fieldstone at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is rather cute.

It will house oversized laminated fairy tale books in the Oakdale, Pa., park's Bookworm Glen.

The garden in development completed the building in time for 500 children due to visit in late July and early August to hear retired schoolteachers read such stories, said Kitty Vagley, its executive director.

"I could not resist sharing this photo of our latest addition to the Eastern European Woodlands," Vagley said.

Pittsburgh is lucky to finally have its first open-air public gardent.

In 1998 it signed a 99-year lease with Allegheny County for this property along Pinkerton Road near Settler’s Cabin Park to transform 460 acres into the nation’s first public garden on an abandoned mine site. A year later, the group invested $200,000 in the plan and would eventually earn a $5 million state grant to redevelop the site.

It's home to a rare meadow where hundreds of dogwood trees grow, and no one is quite sure how they got there.

Not only have these trees survived coal mining and natural gas drilling, but they also warded off a fungus that has killed many of their like in Southwestern Pennsylvania, said Jerry Andres, a volunteer who cares from them.

“Our dogwoods seem to be perfectly healthy,” Vagley told the Observer-Reporter this summer. “That is what Mother Nature did for us. What was not unusual 30, 40 years ago is very rare today.”

The garden is open at this time only for special events and periodic “peek and preview tours” led by guides along the Woodland Garden trails. For more information, call 412-444-4464.