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Posts from — September 2022

Tip Tuesday

Ever since I began cooking for myself … some 40+ years ago, I have made poached eggs the exact same way. I fill a small saucepan with water, bring it to a boil, add a pinch of salt and maybe a splash of vinegar, crack in the egg and simmer for exactly three minutes. This produces the perfect, fully cooked whites with a runny yolk egg, every single time, guaranteed.

In the last month or so, I’ve done it differently and now this is the only way I’ll cook a poached egg.

First, let me say, I love poached eggs. For breakfast, or on top of an open sandwich for lunch, or atop pho for dinner. Nothing is better than a perfect poached egg. The thing I’ve never liked about making it at home was cleaning the saucepan. There was always stuck egg white on the water line that wasn’t exactly easy to clean off.

With the new and improved way, there is nothing stuck, no need to do more than a quick soapy wipe, rinse, and dry. Now, I use a 1-cup Pyrex measuring cup, a splash of vinegar, and the microwave.

Adding vinegar to the poaching water makes for faster coagulation of the egg whites. It also helps make the whites more tender by reducing the strength of the egg protein bonds. With the vinegar, the proteins unravel and loosely bond back together as they cook.

You will need to experiment a bit to find out exactly how long it takes to poach an egg to your perfection in your microwave. I have an 800-watt microwave and it takes about 70 seconds to have an egg with a runny yolk and set whites. I’ve also had success cooking for 1 minute and simply leaving the egg in the hot water for another 20 or 30 seconds while I prepare the English muffin or toast. Always drain on a paper towel before transferring to a muffin. No one likes soggy bread!

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September 27, 2022   No Comments

love for Half Baked Harvest

Have you heard of Half Baked Harvest? I first discovered Tieghan Gerard on Instagram. I quickly purchased the “Every Day” cookbook, one for me and another for Marissa. I cooked out of it extensively when I was in Chicago that first month after Max was born. “Every Day” is Tieghan’s third cookbook. I have not cooked from “My Barn in the Mountains” or “Super Simple.” But I have tried out several recipes from her blog, including the recipe below.

I made a few adjustments, omissions, and additions to meet my likes and cooking style. You can see the original recipe here to compare.

The first issue for me was the instruction to keep the chicken the in skillet when adding the onion and peppers. Although I was using Marissa’s largest Le Creuset skillet, it just didn’t work. Everything didn’t truly fit into the skillet until the onions and peppers were cooked down, so I instruct to remove the chicken to a bowl. I understand why she wrote it that way, it is called a “one skillet meal” but it isn’t practical. And since there is already a bowl used to make the corn mixture, if you use the same bowl for the chicken to rest in and then to mix the corn in, it is the same number of items to use and clean.

Let’s see, what else… I added garlic, because, it’s garlic! I prefer a mix of Aleppo and Chipotle chili powders to basic chili powder. Oh, and Tieghan calls for mayonnaise as the garnish to be drizzled over the finished dish. That is not appealing to me. Once again, I see where she came up with that. True Mexican Street Corn has mayo, but I prefer sour cream to mayo for the drizzling. If I was to add mayo, I would sub out the yogurt in the corn mixture with mayo for a more authentic taste.

One last thing; although we all thought it was delicious as written, Marissa and I believe it would be even better to lift the chicken along with about half of the pepper/onion mixture, out of the sauce mixture once it is finished cooking, and palce in a separate bowl. Then double the number of tortillas, spread about half as much corn mixture on each, and fill the enchiladas with the chicken/pepper mixture too. (You may need to chop up the chicken strips to make them fit better.) Then place the enchiladas atop the salsa cooking liquid in the skillet, top with cheese, and follow the recipe from that point. Just another option to think about.

Read through my version and hers. Then feel free to mix it up with your preferred variations to make it your own. Enjoy!

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September 22, 2022   2 Comments

grilled pizza

Our family loves grilled pizza. Probably because of our long-standing tradition of grilling pizza before going out to Trick-or-Treat on Halloween. When the kids were growing up, all of their friends came to our house/neighborhood to go out for candy. Back then, purchasing pizza dough wasn’t even on my radar. Now, I’m lazy and simply pick up a package of pizza dough at Trader Joe’s and call it a day. But making fresh dough is fun and easy. The link for my dough can be found here.

In the recipe, I instruct you to place your stretched dough onto a pizza peel that is sprinkled with cornmeal. This makes it easy to slide the dough from the peel to the grill, preventing the dough from sticking. I made this pizza while in Chicago with Marissa. She did not have a pizza peel or cornmeal. So I made do with the back of a round baking sheet and crumbled saltines. By no means perfect or all easy but when you have to make do with what you have…

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September 15, 2022   1 Comment

Tip Tuesday

Season and Clean Your Grill Grates

Season your grates with half an onion

This works because onions contain sulfur compounds which is why you cry when cutting them. When heated, these compounds react with the bare metal to form a hard, non-stick sulfide layer.

Preheat the grill as hot as it will get.

Poke an onion half with a grilling fork and rub the onion vigorously along the grates. Apply some aggressive pressure.

Go over the grates several times. This will deliver non-stick grilling and easier release of grill debris and carbon.

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September 13, 2022   No Comments

perfect grilled burger

This recipe goes along with this Tuesday’s Tip for the perfect burger. (Next Tuesday’s Tip will be more grilling tips. Have to keep a good theme going!) Many professional chefs and home cooks agree that Worcestershire sauce is key to a great burger. This is because Worcestershire sauce is effectively an ancient fish sauce (it contains fermented anchovies), so it adds a sort of interesting depth of flavor or that perfect umami that enhances the basic burger to a true classic burger.

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September 8, 2022   No Comments

Tip Tuesday

Today’s tips are all about making the most fabulous at-home grilled burger possible. Later this week, I’ll share the burgers I made for Marissa and Jeff while in Chicago last month. The Illinois grilling season is quickly coming to a close, but here in Arizona, it lasts all year long. Chef John Ash was a frequent guest chef at Les Gourmettes Cooking School and one of my favorite teachers. All of the tips/secrets come from him.

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September 6, 2022   No Comments

refreshing shrimp salad

I spent last week in Chicago visiting Marissa, Jeff, and baby Max. This is one of the summer dishes I made for my sweet little family.

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September 1, 2022   No Comments