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And a cracking, ‘easy’ time was had by all….

IMG_6679Enough was enough…or should I say en-oeuf already?  I haven’t blogged forever. I kept meaning to get back into it but life got in the way and I am still struggling with the time involved with getting a post just right.  As other bloggers know, it’s a commitment and I just can’t come to grips that I should just type and play around with pictures when there are sooooo many things to do….

But en-oeuf already… Its Easter Sunday and I thought there was no day better than today to do a post about eggs. Not just any eggs, but our backyard ladies’ eggs.  They started laying awhile back and we are still getting double yolkers from 2 of them.  The rest of the girls are laying medium-eggs.

But what this post is about is hard boiling them.  As a lot of you know, when you get a fresh egg and you decide you HAVE to have a hard boiled one… the shell is a HUGE problem to remove… well not HUGE, but an irritating process and you get little bits of eggshell under your finger nails… it’s that problematic and even somewhat painful.

I follow Serious Eats on Facebook and one day they posted about the only way to peel fresh hard boiled eggs. I was intrigued. Every cook complains about this so I was a bit skeptical.  But I am never let down from their posts.

The trick is to have your eggs cold.  And your water boiling… rolling boil. Add eggs. Then an immediate turn down to simmer.  For soft boiled, 6 minutes and for hard boiled, 11 minutes.  Then immediately into an ice bath.   Success rate is between 80-90 percent. Every time.  I tested it 3 times before I told anyone about it.  Then I started making devilled eggs again.  DC loves them but with fresh eggs and the peeling pain, I had stopped making them.

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I use an egg timer disc for doing eggs but if you don’t have one, just follow the 6 minutes for soft and 11 minutes for hard instructions from above.  Gently drop your cold, fresh eggs into the boiling water.

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When the eggs are ready, the disc is solid dark red.  I forgot to take pictures along the way so you could see the red colour changing from bright red to dark red…. but you can imagine the idea…..the colour goes dark from the outside to the inside.

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Then I use the same strainer spoon to gently place the eggs into the ice water. Wait 15 minutes and you have eggs ready to use.

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Let the peeling begin!  It’s quite remarkable actually… after years of struggling with the shells, they basically just slip off like a non-fresh egg.

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IMG_6671 (800x533)I think the theory is that the shock of the cold egg meeting the boiling water and then meeting the shock of the ice at the end, shrinks the egg to produce the gap between the membrane and the shell.  Success rate is between 80 and 90 percent, so with the ones that don’t make the devilled egg cut, I just add to the yolks for the filling.  Works like a charm.IMG_6674 (1024x683)IMG_6673 (1024x683)IMG_6672 (1024x683)

Happy Easter everyone!

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Posted by on March 27, 2016 in Food, Recipes

 

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Loco Moco….and no we are not crazy… just crazy for this dish!

I was recently on a road trip to the wonderfully concrete and highway heavy Toronto.  I don’t usually go along with Don, but decided to this time as there were some extra events planned.

One of the events was our REIN meeting.  While attending it, one of our REIN members, Andrew MacDonald asked if I could send him my loco-moco rescipe….I said I would send it to him… so if I have to type out the recipe anyways… I thought I may as well make a blog post.  Unfortunately I have never taken a picture of the dish when I have made it, but as it is such a basic dish I have attached others I have found that look the same.  So here we go…

Patties (can easily be doubled)
 
1 lb ground beef
1/4 – 1/2 cup grated white onion (not choppped)
salt and pepper
 
Gravy
 
beef broth ( can just use hot water and some bovril, or knorr or…?)
corn starch
butter
worchestire sauce, ketchup, dijon mustard
eggs
hot cooked white rice
carmelized onions (optional)
 

I didn’t give quantities because I found it gets adjusted due to everyone’s personal taste. Start with 1 tbsp of cornstarch, and see if you like the consistency.  I like to keep it a bit runny so that the rice gets a bit goopy.  Some recipes don’t have the ketchup or the dijon, but I found it added some depth to the flavour.  Also, one time I carmelized onions on the side and served them as a layer in the dish.  In Hawaii, where we discovered this, if you go to the local food places… the dish is basically always served with macaroni salad.  This seems very odd to me, but I think they just serve macaroni salad on the side of most platter meals there.

Heat your NON-non stick fry pan…. or as you would know it,  your STICK ON pan…. get it nice and hot, add some oil.  Place the patties in the pan, sear and get a litte charred… you want it to cook on a bit and get some ‘brown bits’ in the pan.  Flip and do the same thing other side.   Place burgers off to the side on a plate.   With the pan hot, add the broth, reduce down.  Add the worcestershire, ketchup and dijon ( just a little of each)  I like to have mixed them together in a small dish ahead of time.  Mix the cornstarch with water.. then slowly incorporate it into the pan, ensuring you don’t get lumps. Add some butter when its nice and smooth.

In a NON stick pan,  cook your eggs to your liking. Eggs do not cook well in pans that are not non-stick… Sunnyside up, or over easy is preferable… you want the yolk to be a bit runny.  To put it all together….rice, hamburger patty, gravy, egg, a little more gravy… Tip:  cook the eggs right at the last minute,  have the dishes ready to go and then serve immediately.

And then say …. ahhhhhh… comfort food.  This is a really basic easy dish that never fails to deliver.  We are off to Hawaii again very soon and I am looking forward to trying a few more versions of it.

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2011 in Food, Recipes

 

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Why do they call it carbonara anyways…?

Spaghetti Carbonara…..The origin of this typical Roman pasta dish is as recent as the Second World War.  One story, which seems more the product of a fertile imagination than fact, tells of how American soldiers would go into Roman trattorie and order bacon and eggs with a side of pasta.  They were served a sunny side up egg and pancetta (or more likely guanciale, cured pork jowl) and a plate of unseasoned spaghetti.  When they mixed the two, Spaghetti alla Carbonara was born. Another story says that it was invented in a small town in southern Italy called Carbonia, by a chef who later moved to Rome and named the dish after his hometown.  Some people simply say it’s called “Carbonara” because the generous grindings of pepper look like coal dust (carbone means coal in Italian).  In any case, it is a luscious dish, whose creaminess comes from the raw eggs’ contact with the hot pasta rather than cream. …..  Thank you to the Educated Palate for that VERY informative description!  http://giulianohazan.com/blog/

It has been a favourite of mine for ages,  I introduced my brother to it somewhere along the way and he was just amazed that a pasta dish that was described at ‘bacon and egg pasta’  could be sooooo good.

Comforting and good it is. Too much of it… and you want to wretch.  There is a fine line between too much of it and too little of this very rich pasta dish.  Don was out tonite, and  as I hadn’t been cooking too much as of late, I needed some food therapy.  The Atlas was acting up,  I am not sure what is going on, but the spaghetti setting seems to be having some jamming issues…. this is the second time that I was troubled by it.  But alas, the spaghetti still turned out fine,  just a little thicker than usual.

Pasta is very easy.  Preferably you take 00 flour and mix with some eggs, salt and olive oil if you want, knead, rest and you have pasta.  Using the Atlas or something like it, makes the actual pasta making part WAY easier. While at cooking school,  the Atlas there had a motor…..Now we’re talking, I will certainly be asking for a motor for mine in the future!

After the dough rests, you run it through the machine, folding it on itself a number of times, then keep changing the settings and you have sheets.  Then add the spaghetti attachment, run it through, add some flour to keep it separated and you have spaghetti.  There are numerous instructions on the internet so I won’t bore you here with the fine details.

When I was at the Italian Bootcamp at the Culinary Institute of America(CIA) in November 2010,  our chef, Chefsky (don’t try to pronounce his last name), suggested a book that would certainly help us in our Italian cooking adventures.  The book, The Fine Art of Italian Cooking (Guiliano Bugialli) a book originally scribed in 1977, updated to 1990 and available on Amazon.com for 99 cents…. oops I stand corrected,  available for 63 cents,  but the 99 cent one was in Oregon and was the closest one to BC and so that was the one I ordered.  $3.99 to ship and so in my hands I had the cookbook recommended… and I felt that I had a ‘green’ book because I paid more to have it sent from a ‘closer’ spot…  sheesh…(what will be doing next!)  Well at least I had ordered a ‘recycled’ book.  This one ended up being in mint condition.

For this job, I decided to use the carbonara recipe from this ever so revered book and I must say, I was not let down.  We have already addressed the spaghetti portion,  so now all you need are the rest of the ingredients.  The recipe called for pancetta,  and as I don’t keep pancetta on hand,  I used thick slab bacon instead.  I followed the instructions and rendered it down with garlic and red pepper flakes.  Let me interrupt here with the garlic here….. I had grabbed the VERY shrivelled garlic from the pantry… and then had the A-HA moment that my garlic in the garden would at this point be…. SPRING GARLIC.  Spring garlic is regular garlic that has not been dried.  The French, who use copious quantities of the stuff, describe garlic use as this:   11 months of dried garlic, 1 month of spring garlic.  For the 1 month of spring garlic, all the same recipes are used… they just taste of ‘spring’ garlic instead of our regular ‘dried’ garlic.

The balance of the recipe is easy,  after you have rendered the pancetta-bacon, you keep it hot, whisk the eggs and the grated parmesan cheese together in anticipation of the final ‘tossing’ into the hot pasta.

So the final stage is the fresh pasta thrown into a LARGE pot of boiling salted water, salted like the sea, according to our CIA chefs.  I use my 8 quart All Clad pot and after a few short minutes, drain it, throw in a large bowl, toss in the rendered bacon, then follow immediately with the egg and cheese mixture and toss away.YUM!!

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2011 in Food

 

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