Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Blue Notebook: Lemon Crisps

As someone who loves to cook, I’m always on the lookout for a new recipe to try. Like many of you, I scour new cookbooks, study the food pages of newspapers, and investigate magazines, all in hopes of discovering a new dish that makes my taste buds dance and my eyes roll back in flavorful ecstasy. I constantly rip out magazine pages or print an online recipe to try. Or, better still; copy a recipe from family or friends, or print one that came via email. And, if I’m lucky, the new recipe makes The Picky Eater (also known as my husband, Michael) happy, too.

When a recipe is tried and found to be a keeper, I add it to my blue notebook. I don’t remember where or when I got it, but the blue notebook has been my kitchen treasure for years and years. It has followed me from a house in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, to a tiny studio apartment in Concord, New Hampshire, and then across the country for a short stay in a Meriden, Kansas kitchen, to where it lives now in a downtown apartment in Topeka, Kansas.

This blue notebook is just as much a history of my kitchen life as my Mamaw’s recipe box is a history of her kitchen endeavors. As I flip through the pages, memories fill my mind with joyful times, tinged with a bit of sadness for those friends who shared these dishes that now live so far away. There are the recipes from my New Hampshire neighborhood Thanksgiving dinners; my friend Kathy’s recipe for hot wings and the dips I made for Super Bowl parties; and the peanut butter cookies, chocolate chocolate chip muffins, brownies and whoopee pies I made for neighborhood kids on their birthdays. (Every child knew I would make them any treat they wanted for their special day.)

The blue notebook also holds my favorite baked ziti recipe from Mark Bittman that I copied from the New York Times, Rachael Ray’s roasted potatoes with rosemary and steaks topped with Gorgonzola I served one year for Christmas, and Martha Stewart’s shrimp boil recipe I made one summer for a balloon festival cookout. Also included are a group of recipes I’ve collected from the many restaurant chefs I’ve interviewed through the years. And now it also contains the recipes I’ve made for this blog, including all of the 50 Women Game Changers efforts.

The front of the notebook has a pocket where I once kept un-tried recipes, until it became so full that it couldn’t hold any more. So instead, a manila file folder holds what I consider test recipes that are waiting to see if they are blue notebook worthy.

From time to time I will share some of my blue notebook recipes. Here’s one that just received that honor: Lemon Crisps. I tore the recipe out of the March, 2006 edition of O, The Oprah Magazine. It was in an article by Dayton television newscaster Michelle Kingsfield about how her friends made her homemade meals while she went through both a pregnancy and chemotherapy for stage four lymphoma. (I went online and was happy to discover she is still in full remission and working for WDTN in Dayton.)

If you like lemon squares, you will love these lemon crisps. They are similar with a sweet-tart lemony filling, but the crust is crispy. Plus they’re easy to make. The perfect summer treat!

I left a plate full on the table by the elevators on the floor where we live. Four hours later, this is what was left!

Lemon Crisps
Adapted from a recipe found in O, The Oprah Magazine, March 2006.
Makes approximately 32 bars.

Cooking spray or oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish with foil, and then spay the foil with cooking spray, or pour a bit of oil into the dish and spread over the foil with a paper towel.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and melted butter, rubbing it through your fingers, until blended and crumbly. Pour into the baking dish and press it firmly and evenly into the bottom. Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking, in another bowl whisk together the granulated sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. Add the eggs, lemon peel, and lemon juice, and mix together until well blended.

Pour the filling onto the hot crust and return the baking dish to the oven for another 20 minutes or until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack until completely cool.

Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar and remove from the pan, using the foil to help lift it out of the crisp out of the dish. Place onto a cutting board and cut into bars.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This week’s Gourmet Live 50 Women Game-Changers focus is on Alexa Andrzejewski and Soraya Darabi, who along with Teb Grubb, created Foodspotting. With so many restaurant review apps available, this group decided to develop one where people could review specific dishes instead of entire restaurants. On the website they explain, “Because we know that even a ‘one star restaurant’ can have one amazing dish, we want to know what you love, not what you hate. We encourage spotters to share only the foods that they like and to 'nom' the foods that they love.”

To honor these two women, I decided to join in on the Foodspotting! I signed up and posted this photo of the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich from the Mirth Café in Lawrence, Kansas. This is probably my favorite sandwich of all time served at one of my favorite places to dine. (I wrote about the café last summer in this post.)

Then I decided to recreate the sandwich at home, something I’ve wanted to do since the first time I tried it. The cheese combination of provolone, feta and cheddar provide the perfect balance of creaminess and flavor. The sandwich also has a layer of baby spinach and is spread with pesto, which blends well with the cheeses.

I’ll never look at a grilled cheese sandwich the same again. Any other will just seem, well, dull.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Adapted from the dish served at The Mirth Café in Lawrence, Kansas.

2 pieces of bread
1-2 teaspoons pesto, to taste
1-2 slices of provolone
Grated sharp cheddar
Feta cheese, crumbled
Baby spinach leaves

Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Spread butter on one side of each bread slice. Spread the pesto on the other side of just one bread slice.

When the skillet is hot, place the butter-only bread slice into the skillet, butter side down. Layer cheeses and spinach on top. Finally place the remaining bread slice on top, pesto side down. Grill until bread is browned, and then turn over to brown the other side.

Be sure to check out my fellow food bloggers to see what they prepared:

Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed,
Susan - The Spice Garden
Heather - girlichef,
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney,
Amrita - Beetles Kitchen Escapades
Mary - One Perfect Bite,
Sue - The View from Great Island,
Barbara - Movable Feasts
Nancy - Picadillo,
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits
Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen,
Annie - Most Lovely Things,
Jeanette - Healthy Living
Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook,
Alyce - More Time at the Table
Kathy - Bakeaway with Me,
Martha - Simple Nourished Living,
Jill - Saucy Cooks
Sara - Everything in the Kitchen Sink
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Claudia -A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

From Mamaw’s Recipe File #7: Peanut Butter (and More) Cookies

My current exploration into Mamaw’s recipe file uncovered what has become my all-time favorite cookie! It has everything that makes a good cookie—peanut butter, chocolate chips, oatmeal, and nuts. My husband, Michael, the Picky Eater, even asked for seconds…and thirds!

Mamaw’s recipe card calls these delicious morsels Peanut Butter Cookies. Since I have a more traditional style recipe (the one with the fork-made pattern on top) that I like very much, I just skimmed over it in search of other recipe treasures. But this time I noticed Mamaw’s words written at the top in bold, red, capital letters: LOVE THESE COOKIES!!

(Mamaw, laughing on the right, in her Missouri farmhouse kitchen with her sister, Prebble, on Christmas, 1968.)

Well, how could I pass that up? And I changed the name since these cookies have way more to them than just peanut butter.

As I mentioned in a past post, Mamaw always noted on her cards where she got the recipe. This one was from her good friend, Jane Gray Walk, and copied on January 29, 1974. I remember Jane Gray (yes, that’s what everyone called her.) She and her husband, Hall, lived on a farm not far from Mamaw and Papaw. I would go over with them to visit sometimes and enjoyed sitting quietly watching everyone play cards games such as canasta, pinochle, or pitch. I was usually the only child there, and as long as I didn’t make any noise, I could stay at the table. Everyone would drink pop, iced tea, or coffee, and snacks would be served as well, usually chips, popcorn, or some other type of munchies.
(Three of Mamaw's closest friends, including Jane Gray Walk on the left, 1962.)

These are soft, moist cookies with just a hint of peanut butter flavor. Mamaw made them with shortening, but I used butter.

Peanut Butter and More Cookies
Makes 5 dozen

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup nuts, chopped

Blend butter and peanut butter. Beat in sugar gradually. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Sift together dry ingredients and add alternately with the milk to the peanut butter mixture. Stir in oats, chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by teaspoon-full onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 275 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

(Mamaw holding me, January, 1963. I'm only 28 days old!)

Monday, May 21, 2012

This Week at the Market: Honey

Beautiful sights abound at a farmer’s market: Tables overflowing with baskets of red tomatoes, green peppers, brown potatoes, and purple onions; displays of homemade breads next to rows of pies; and an area of flowering plants just waiting for a garden to call home.

One sight I enjoy is a table stacked with jars and bottles of honey, golden and glistening in the sun. This past week I restocked my honey supply with a bottle from Koelzer Bee Farm in Corning, Kansas, but there are many other stalls that sell this sweet elixir.

I always have a bottle of honey in the pantry. When I don’t feel well, I like honey in my tea, or I make-up a batch of ginger tea. Like Julia Child, honey and peanut butter is one of my favorite sandwich combinations. Thanks to Gourmet Live’s 50 Women Game-Changer #18, Clotilde Dusoulier, I now make a lovely French honey spice loaf. And my favorite breakfast/lunch/snack is a crispy apple slathered in peanut butter and drizzled with honey.

There is a general belief that local honey helps relieve seasonal allergies, though no serious scientific studies as of yet to back it up. The theory is since the honey contains pollen spores from local plants, it helps the immune system build a tolerance to the blooming flowers, trees and grasses that cause allergy symptoms.

My theory is, if it tastes good, eat it!

(Note: Honey can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Plus, never give honey to a child under 12 months of age since it can contain the bacteria that cause infant botulism.)

I wanted to add another honey recipe to my repertoire, so I paid a visit to the National Honey Board’s website, which has an extensive selection of recipes. The Honey Oatmeal Muffins caught my attention because I’m always looking for an easy breakfast recipe that will get me through the week.

These muffins are just right—not too sweet, so you don’t feel like you’re eating cake for breakfast (though what’s wrong with that, right?), and they’re the perfect backdrop for butter, jam, or more honey! I also think they would taste great with dried fruits and nuts added into the mix. My husband, Michael, suggested chocolate chips. :) (See why I married him!)

Honey Oatmeal Muffins
Recipe from The National Honey Board
Makes 12 muffins

3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Combine oats, flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and soda; mix well. Beat eggs, honey, milk and oil together; mix well. Pour honey mixture over dry ingredients; mix only until moistened. Spoon into oiled muffin tins. Bake at 375°F for 20 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cat Cora’s Easy Pizza Sauce and Dough

My fellow bloggers and I are quickly coming to the end of our Friday Gourmet Live 50 Women Game-Changers project. Just three more left on the list!

Today’s focus is on Cat Cora, the first and only female Iron Chef. You can read all about her extensive food resume on her website. I was most intrigued by her Southern and Greek backgrounds (what a food combo!) and the fact that she has four sons with her wife, Jennifer. What a rowdy household that must be! (The image I posted comes from the Food Network website.)

After looking through her many recipes online, I decided to make her easy pizza sauce and dough. Not just because these are easy recipes, but also because I’m a pizza fiend. I love pizza in any shape or form. I already have my favorite homemade sauce, but I’m always open to something new.

The sauce was easy to make. The only trick is to remember to mix it up a few hours in advance so the flavors have time to blend together. The dough was simple, too. Just basic pizza dough with ingredients like many others: flour, salt, yeast, water, and olive oil.

I decided to make a plain cheese pizza with mozzarella and parmesan so I could really taste the sauce. The flavor was wonderful! The addition of the rosemary gives it a complexity not found in most pizzas. My only complaint was the sauce was too thin. I believe the recipe adds too much water, so my recommendation is to mix up the tomato paste and olive oil first, and then add the water a little at a time until you reach the consistency you enjoy.

The crust was very good, though my husband, Michael, pointed out that it was a little salty. I’ll probably reduce the salt amount to 1 teaspoon the next time to see if it makes a difference. Also, if you enjoy a crispy crust, move the pizza from the baking sheet onto the oven rack for the last half of the cooking time. This allows the bottom to get brown and crisp. Just be sure to keep an eye on it, since it will also speed up the cooking time a bit.

Easy Pizza Sauce
Adapted from recipe by Cat Cora

1 (4-ounce) can tomato paste
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Mix together the tomato paste and olive oil. Add the water in a bit at a time until the sauce reached your desired consistency. You may not use all of the water. Add garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, oregano, basil, and rosemary. Mix well and let stand several hours to let flavors blend. No cooking necessary, just spread on dough.

Easy Pizza Dough
Adapted from recipe by Cat Cora

1/4 cup warm water, 105 degrees F
1/2 envelope dry yeast (1 1/8 teaspoons)
1/2 cup room temperature water
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Add the warm water into a small mixing bowl or a standard 2 cup measure, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let stand until the yeast softens, 3 to 5 minutes. Mix slightly to dissolve yeast and allow it to proof for another 15 minutes in a warm spot in the kitchen. Add the room temperature water and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the yeast mixture and stir to combine.

Measure the flour and the salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Combine on very low speed with the paddle attachment. Slowly add the liquid ingredients to the dry, and increase the speed of the mixer slightly to incorporate the mass. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with a dough hook if you have one. [I used the dough hook for the entire process.] Knead until the dough becomes smooth and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 4 minutes. Place the dough on a floured board and knead the dough by hand for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add flour to dust as needed to prevent sticking. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a very lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel, let stand until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. With a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough as evenly as possible. (I started with the rolling pin, and then moved the dough onto the baking sheet and used my fingers to stretch it out the rest of the way.)  If you are only making a small pizza, the remaining dough can be placed into the refrigerator or frozen until ready to use.

Cover with toppings and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes

Be sure to check out my fellow food bloggers to see what they prepared to honor Cat Cora:

Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed,
Susan - The Spice Garden
Heather - girlichef,
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney,
Amrita - Beetles Kitchen Escapades
Mary - One Perfect Bite,
Sue - The View from Great Island,
Barbara - Movable Feasts
Nancy - Picadillo,
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits
Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen,
Annie - Most Lovely Things,
Jeanette - Healthy Living
Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook,
Alyce - More Time at the Table
Kathy - Bakeaway with Me,
Martha - Simple Nourished Living,
Jill - Saucy Cooks
Sara - Everything in the Kitchen Sink
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Claudia -A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

This Week at the Market: Jam

I am in farmer’s market heaven! Here in Topeka, we not only have the large Saturday morning market, but we also have three more during the week: One on Monday at the library, another on Wednesday outside of the Capitol building, and finally one on Friday in the middle of downtown.

Since we were in Missouri visiting my parents for Mother’s Day this past weekend, I decided to check out today’s market at the Capitol. I was a little late getting there, so many of the stands were sold out of the prime produce. Still, I found one last basket of tomatoes and some radishes.(This is a photo I took from last summer. I was so busy looking around that I forgot to take one today.)  

I was drawn to a stand full of Julie’s Jams and Jellies from Creek Bottom Produce in Perry, Kansas. What caught my attention was a jar of apricot jam. I love apricot jam! As a kid, it was tops on my morning toast or warm biscuit, even more so than grape jelly. It had been years since I had any of this wonderful, burnt-gold nectar, so I immediately bought a jar.

The recipe possibilities filled my mind when I got to my kitchen. Toast topped with the jam, a rustic tart, and turnovers were my first ideas.

I settled on homemade toaster pastries. Well, almost homemade since I used refrigerated pie crust. (I know, but regular readers are well aware of my pie crust phobia from past posts. Besides, I had a package in the freezer.)

My husband, Michael, (also known as The Picky Eater) turned up his nose at the idea of apricot jam in the pastries. So I made some with a sour cherry jam I had in the pantry.

The pastries came out great—flaky, slightly sweet, and oozing with apricot filling. I’ll be enjoying them every morning for the rest of the week!

Homemade Toaster Pastries

1 package refrigerated pie crusts (2 crusts in the package)
1/4 cup jam of your choice
1 egg, beaten
Sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Unroll the pie crusts onto a lightly floured surface. Roll with a rolling pin to square the edges as much as possible. (But don’t roll the dough too thin.) Cut each crust into 8 equal rectangles. (The edges from the end pieces may be a bit jagged.)

Place half of the rectangles onto the baking sheet and brush with the beaten egg. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the jam into the center and spread out, leaving a 1/4-inch border along the edge of the pie crusts. Top with the remaining rectangles, and trim with a knife or pizza cutter to match the bottom crusts. Use a fork to seal the edges and poke holes into the tops of each pastry. Brush the tops with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 7 to 9 minutes until the edges are lightly golden brown.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Coffee Cup Chocolate Cake

My waistline is in serious trouble. Not that I have much of a waistline already, but what little of it is left is in danger now that I’ve discovered it is possible to make chocolate cake in five minutes! No late night (afternoon, morning or evening) chocolate craving will ever be ignored again. Oh dear. Willpower, where are you?

This coffee cup chocolate cake is so easy. Just mix it up in the cup and microwave for three minutes. Instant dessert! I can see kids having a blast with this recipe, especially watching the cake rise two to three inches over the top of the cup as it bakes. (Don’t worry. Surprisingly it doesn’t spill over and it shrinks back into the cup the minute the microwave stops.) In our household, I can see myself heading to the microwave anytime life requires a chocolate fix.

The texture is less cake and more a cross between a steamed pudding and a brownie. I added chocolate chips, but you can add just about any additional flavor you enjoy, such as nuts, dried cherries, candies, etc. Icing, powdered sugar, whipped cream or ice cream would make a nice topping. The cake can be turned out onto a plate to serve, but I enjoyed it straight out of the cup.

Coffee Cup Chocolate Cake
Serves 1

4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 egg, whisked
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips
A splash of vanilla
Nuts, dried fruit, candies, etc (optional)
Place dried ingredients into a coffee cup and mix with a fork. Add the whisked egg and combine well. Stir in the milk and oil until well combined. Add the chocolate chips, vanilla, and whatever additions you desire.

Microwave for 3 minutes in a 1,000-watt microwave (4 minutes in a 700 watt microwave.) The cake will puff up in the mug while it bakes, but will deflate when oven turns off. Top with icing or confectioner’s sugar, if desired. Turn out onto a plate to serve, or enjoy straight from the cup.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Zarela Martinez’s Beans Fried in Butter

The recipe I picked for this week’s Gourmet Live 50 Women Game-Changers selection that I and my fellow food bloggers post about each Friday is probably the most versatile one I’ve come across. Especially if you like Mexican food.

Zarela Martinez is the featured chef. She was the owner of a popular Manhattan restaurant named after her from 1987 to 2011. She specialized in regional Mexican cooking, and she still caters special events, gives cooking lessons, and lectures on Mexican cuisine and culture. She is the author of Zarela’s Veracruz, The Food and Life of Oaxaca, and Food from My Heart. You can learn more about Zarela at her Web site.

I made her beans fried in butter, or in other words, refried beans. Traditionally, this dish is made with lard, bacon fat, or olive oil. The butter gives it a lovely rich flavor. Also, while it takes time, it is an easy dish to prepare. And it has so many different uses.

I made burritos...

 and quesadillas.

Add some sauteed green peppers and Mexican spices (chili powder, cumin, etc) and it makes a delicious bean dip. Sprinkle it with cheese and it’s a side dish for your next Mexican meal.

Any other ideas?

Beans Fried in Butter
Adapted from two Zarela Martinez recipes

1 pound dried pinto beans
3 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 large white onion
6 tablespoons butter

To cook the beans:
Place the beans in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. (For best results choose a deep rather than wide shape; in Mexico beans traditionally used to be cooked in a narrow-necked clay olla (pot).) Add enough cold water to cover the beans by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, and cook, partly covered, for 25 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of the salt (it toughens the beans if added earlier).

Have a kettle of boiling water in reserve. Continue to cook the beans, checking on them from time to time and adding enough hot water to keep them covered by at least 1 inch. After another 20 minutes (about 45 minutes’ total cooking time), test for doneness by eating a bean or two. If they are already softened, remove from the heat; otherwise keep cooking and testing until they are tender, adding more hot water as necessary. Usually it takes about 50 to 60 minutes total cooking time until the beans are done and the cooking liquid is somewhat concentrated. The oldest specimens may require more than 1 1/2 hours. [Mine took 65 minutes.]

Drain the beans in a colander and reserve about 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid.

Grate the onion on the fine side of a box grater, or chop coarsely and grind to a puree in a food processor. Set aside.

Working in batches as necessary, process the beans to a smooth paste in a blender or food processor, using up to 1 1/2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid to help the action of the blades. [I used all of the reserved cooking liquid.]

In a heavy medium-sized skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. When it foams, add the onion and cook until just lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the beans stir to mix thoroughly, and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, until the beans are thoroughly imbued with the butter flavor.

Taste for salt and add up to 1 teaspoon if desired.

Makes 6 servings

Be sure to check out my fellow food bloggers to see what they prepared to honor Zarela Martinez:

Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed,
Susan - The Spice Garden
Heather - girlichef,
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney,
Amrita - Beetles Kitchen Escapades
Mary - One Perfect Bite,
Sue - The View from Great Island,
Barbara - Movable Feasts
Nancy - Picadillo,
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits
Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen,
Annie - Most Lovely Things,
Jeanette - Healthy Living
Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook,
Alyce - More Time at the Table
Kathy - Bakeaway with Me,
Martha - Simple Nourished Living,
Jill - Saucy Cooks
Sara - Everything in the Kitchen Sink
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Claudia -A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds

Thursday, May 10, 2012

This Week at the Market: Eggs

First, let me start by being completely honest: I didn’t make it to the farmer’s market last Saturday. My husband, Michael, and I went to Wichita to visit his son and daughter in-law. And now we are going through market withdrawal missing the fresh tomatoes, strawberries, and bread.

However, I did have a dozen eggs in the refrigerator purchased when I was at the market the week before, which makes them perfect for deviled eggs since the worst thing a cook can do is use fresh eggs for this recipe. What is the biggest complaint everyone has about making deviled eggs? Peeling the eggs, right? Don’t you hate when the shell comes off taking half of the white with it? I tried every trick available to keep this from happening. The answer is to use older eggs. The peel comes right off.

To boil the eggs, place them in a pan of cold water and then bring the water to a boil. Let them boil for 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat, pop on the lid, and let the eggs sit for 10 minutes. Then drain off the hot water and add cold water and ice to cool off the eggs.

I came up with a basic egg salad recipe to which you can add any flavorful ingredients you enjoy. Of course, the best thing about deviled eggs is you can adjust the recipe to fit your taste: Add more mayonnaise, or less. Use Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise. (Michael’s favorite.) Use Dijon mustard or yellow. It all depends on what you enjoy.

Basic Deviled Eggs

12 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut the eggs in half and place the yolks into a bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
Here are some variations to try:

Michael’s Deviled Eggs

Basic Deviled Eggs recipe
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

Make the Basic Deviled Eggs recipe. Add the remaining ingredients to the egg yolk mixture. Fill the eggs and chill until serving.

(In the past, I would substitute Miracle Whip and yellow mustard for the mayo and Dijon mustard in this recipe since it was how Michael said he liked them. However, this time I made them using the basic recipe and he said they tasted great. So, shhhh, don’t tell him!)

Chevre and Herb Deviled Eggs
This recipe was inspired by one I saw on Chow.com and Ina Garten’s Herbed-Baked Eggs.

Basic Deviled Eggs recipe
2 tablespoons chevre (goat cheese)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic

Make the Basic Deviled Eggs recipe. Add the remaining ingredients to the egg yolk mixture. Fill the eggs and chill until serving.

Green Chili Deviled Eggs

Basic Deviled Eggs recipe
4 teaspoons canned green chilies
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
Salsa, for garnish

Make the Basic Deviled Eggs recipe. Add all the remaining ingredients except for the salsa to the egg yolk mixture. Fill the eggs, top with salsa, and chill until serving.

Spicy Deviled Eggs

Basic Deviled Eggs recipe
1 tablespoon grated onion
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste
Cayenne pepper, for garnish

Make the Basic Deviled Eggs recipe. Add all the remaining ingredients except for the cayenne pepper to the egg yolk mixture. Fill the eggs, sprinkle cayenne pepper on top, and chill until serving.

Bacon and Cheese Deviled Eggs

Basic Deviled Eggs recipe
4 strips bacon, fried to crispy and crumbled
2 tablespoons shredded sharp cheddar
1 to 2 tablespoons sour cream, to taste
Crumbled bacon and grated cheese, for garnish

Make the Basic Deviled Eggs recipe. Add the remaining ingredients to the egg yolk mixture. Fill the eggs and chill until serving.