How to Use this Blog

This blog is designed to be used like a cookbook. I've put tags on each recipe so you can go to the section on that topic just by clicking on the word in the cloud or the list. Some recipes are under more than one category to help you find what you're looking for.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Deviled Eggs

This recipe is for Sarah who aspires to become Deviled Egg Queen:

First you have to boil eggs.  And here is a secret to boiled eggs: the older the eggs are, the easier it is to peel after it's boiled.  There's something that happens inside the egg as it ages...something about gases or such.  I don't understand what happens but I do know this to be true.  It's a lot easier to peel an old egg than a fresh one.  I have been known to leave the eggs out for a couple of days after I buy them if I'm planning to make a dozen or so.  No one has died from my deviled eggs yet. And when you think about it, the egg is designed to lay around in a warm place for several days without spoiling before it hatches into a chicken.  I mean, it's Mother sits on it for goodness sakes.  Eggs are pretty durable things unless you drop one.

Boil the eggs: Fill a pot with water leaving a few inches at the top.  Turn the heat on high and cover the pot. Boil  the water. Place the eggs into boiling water carefully so you don't break them.  Turn the water down to medium and let them cook for about 15 minutes.  Take them out and put in cold water, cracking them when you pour out the hot water and replace it with cold water.  Peel the eggs.  If the yolk is still soft and not fluffable you didn't cook them long enough and you're screwed. But 15 minutes should do the trick.
Cut each egg in half and put the yellow part into a bowl.  Mash these yolks with a little mayonnaise, adding mayonnaise as you go until it's the right consistency.  It should be thick like peanut butter. Add salt and pepper until it tastes the way you want it to taste.

Fill the whites with the yellow mixture. You can fill them using a teaspoon or if you have a whole bunch put the mixture in a ziplock bag, cut off one corner and squeeze like a pastry bag.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables has become one of my favorite standards for any big meal.  And it's just about the easiest dish you will ever make.

Here is the recipe:

Buy some vegetables. Season them. Roast them. Season them again.  Eat them.

Depending on how many people I'm serving I assemble veggies thusly:  for a big crowd it doesn't really take many vegetables.  You can spend more or less money by changing what you buy.

Get at least one potato and one sweet potato.  Peel and cut into cubes about 1/2-1 inch..  I usually get a package of brussel sprouts, trim them and cut in half.  Add a handful of baby carrots.  Mushrooms are nice--but I don't add them until the dense veggies are almost cooked.

Heat the oven to around 350 degrees.  mix the potatoes and brussel sprouts with some olive oil.  Sprinkle on some hamburger seasoning or other multi-spice.

When these veggies are almost done add the mushrooms, maybe asparagus, sliced bell peppers (the red ones are best), sliced onions.  Then cook and mix these together.

When these are all cooked, add some sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary if you have it, a smidge of garlic and more seasoning mix.  Maybe even toss this with a few drizzles of balsamic vinegar or even butter.

I love to cook this whenever I get a bunch of friends together.  I put everything out on the counter-top and let them cut, peel and assemble the dish.  It's a great bonding experience to cook together.  Plus sometimes they'll have ideas of other things to add,  This is also good at holiday meals for people who have a variety of tastes.  The kids don't have to eat the brussel sprouts if they don't want to.

Caesar Salad

I finally got the courage to make Caesar salad dressing and found out it's not that hard.  The whole "Anchovies" part always stopped me.  When I got the nerve to use a recipe that required them I next hit an obstacle that it required "anchovie paste" which I couldn't find at Walmart.  My philosophy of cooking calls for ingredients that can be found at any grocery store and doesn't send you to boutique stores with French names.  If I can't find it at Walmart then I'm just not going to mess with it.

Then it occurred to me that I could just smash up the anchovy and have paste.  Genius, no?

The next hurdle was that the recipe calls for a raw egg yolk then immediately tells you how you can die from eating raw eggs and you should make sure you are eating safe eggs.  I have personally never known or heard of anyone who has gotten sick on eating raw eggs so this is a risk I am willing to take.  The benefits of this wonderful salad are too good to pass up.

So, here is the recipe:

Buy canned anchovies ($1 at my Walmart; how can you NOT buy it?)

Take out 2 of the filets and store the rest in a ziplock bag for the next day when you will want to make more salad.  I don't know how long it will keep in the fridge but if it gets lost and forgotten for a few weeks just go buy more and throw the old stuff away. If anchovies live up to their reputation as being nasty you probably couldn't tell the difference if they went bad on you.

Mash up the two anchovies.

Here are the ingredients:

1 raw egg yolk
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 anchovy filets, mashed

Scant 1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

Note the vegetable oil and olive oil.  The first time I made this I used all olive oil and it gave  it a strong taste.  I think the vegetable oil is better at taking a back seat to the other flavors.

Put everything but the oil in a blender and start blending.  Add the oils VERY slowly and it will emulsify like mayonnaise does.  This recipe will make a whole lot.  You will have some left over.  I don't know how long it will last in the fridge and you will probably lie awake at night thinking of raw eggs so don't try to keep it too long.

After you get the dressing made the rest is as easy as tearing up some romaine lettuce and adding some fresh slivers of Parmesan cheese and croutons.  I'll try to post a recipe for the crutons separately.