Classic Deviled Eggs

August 26, 2010

This was the first summer my kids have gone to summer camp, and my contribution to the end-of-the-summer-camp feast was Classic Deviled Eggs (published by CI in 2000).  I haven’t made any hard-boiled egg dish since Easter, and today’s recipe is different than my Easter Deviled Eggs (published by CI in 2006).  Unsure why Chris Kimball has two Deviled Egg Recipes, I wanted to try them both. Which one is better? The 2000 Recipe gets higher reviews for taste, but the 2006 recipe is easier and has better texture because of some new techniques; notably this one.

With the "Egg Scare" I wanted to be sure to cook these all the way through.

First, I hard-boiled the eggs using Chris Kimball’s favorite technique. I put the eggs in cold water and brought them to a boil. I let them boil for 5 minutes, then removed them from heat, covered and let them sit for 10 minutes. This method ensures that the yolks are cooked all the way through, but the yolks aren’t green (Sam I am).

Recipe is here. I peeled the eggs, sliced carefully and put yolks in a bowl. I mashed the yolks using a fork (see issues below) and added the 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise,  3/4 teaspoon of grainy mustard, 1-1/2 teaspoons of cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce. I used my pastry decorator to fill the egg halves (see more issues described below).

I give this recipe 4-stars, which tasted better than the other one from April (which only got 3-stars). I like the complexity added by the Worcestershire sauce (more than the sour cream from the other recipe).   But next time I will use my ricer to process the yolks; which will save time and provide for a fluffier filling.

Issues:

  1. I followed the recipe and mashed the yolks with a fork (in lieu of using my ricer). The yolk filling’s texture was denser, not light and fluffy as it had been in April.  I though clean-up would be quicker, but the fork ended up costing me an extra 10 minutes of aggravation.
  2. The major problem caused by the fork was that my pastry tip constantly jammed. Though I tried to mash the yolks well, there were still chunks that wouldn’t fit through my pastry tip. I couldn’t get through more than 3 or 4 eggs at a time without removing and cleaning the tip.
  3. The jammed pastry tip caused ascetic flaws in the filling too, no nice even swirl.  Bottom line: use your ricer (or a sieve) it’ll save time and aggravation, plus give you a fluffier and better looking filling.

Rating: 4-star.
Cost: $1.00 for 18 halves.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low.
Started: 7:00.  Ready:  7:30 AM.

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More English Muffins

August 23, 2010

I spent the weekend with old friend in Saratoga in upstate New York. Having loved the book Last of the Mohicans, the nearby towns are straight from the book: Lake George, Fort William-Henry, Fort Edwards, Glenn Falls. But having read the book in early adulthood, I imagined the savagery of the frontier wilderness of the 1750’s. Today, it is mostly corn and dairy farms. We played tennis, just 10 miles from where Hawkeye jumped into the falls to escape the pursuing Magua.

I baked two kinds of English Muffins for my friends; buttermilk English muffins, and also wheat-honey-raisin muffins. I modified the Buttermilk recipe to use a starter (same starter as the Focaccia), which was a winning idea.  The starter gave much more tang and interesting flavors. (first time I made English Muffins last week)

A choice of English muffins in the morning.

The wheat-honey-raisin English muffins did not use a starter (as they were sweeter). I used a combination of wheat-and-all-purpose flour, a technique Chris Kimball recommends to avoid “hockey puck syndrome”. Also the wheat version uses water instead of buttermilk. I added the raisins just before kneading. Otherwise I made them side-by-side in two separate bowls, each following the same general steps.

Personally, I though the Buttermilk with butter was the winner. But my kids were also insistent that the honey-raisin with homemade grape jelly was the winner. I stored the left over muffins in a zip-lock bag which we ate on Sunday morning, and their was no loss of freshness.

Rating: 4-1/2 stars.
Cost: $1.50, for 19 muffins.
How much work? Small/Medium.
How big of a mess?  Small/Medium.
Start at: 6:00 AM. Ready at: 9:00 AM.

Starter:
1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/6 cup (1 1/3 ounces) 105-degree water
1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast

 

Buttermilk:
2 1/4 cups flour (12 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 package or 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
Cornmeal for sprinkling

Wheat and Raisin:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water (110 degrees Fahrenheit)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tbsp honey (or granulated sugar)
1 package or 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 cup raisins
Cornmeal for sprinkling

  • Mix together ingredients for starter. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours.
  • The next day, measure flour(s) and salt into large bowl with the starter.
  • Turn on oven, and then turn it off immediately once it reaches 200-degrees.
  • If substituting clabbered milk for buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to 1 cup of regular milk and let stand for 10 minutes.
  • In a Pyrex measuring cup, heat buttermilk and butter in microwave for 55 seconds until reaches between 100 and 110 degrees. Whisk in sugar (or honey), and dry yeast. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Slowly add milk/yeast mixture to flour, mix with a wooden spoon until no dry flour remains.
  • Flour counter and knead by hand for 1 minute. Wash bowl and spray with vegetable spray.
  • Put dough into prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm (turned off) oven for 1 hour.
  • Gently scrape out onto a floured surface, without punching down. Shape or roll to about 1/2-to-3/4 -inch thick.
  • Using a 3-1/2-inch biscuit cutter to form rounds. (I used large overturned plastic cup, also tin can)
  • Spread cornmeal over wax or parchment paper. Place the circles of dough onto the cornmeal.
  • Dust tops liberally with cornmeal. Top with plastic wrap, and let rise for another hour.
  • Preheat a dry griddle or large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  • Carefully use a spatula to place a few rounds onto the skillet. Brown each side for 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Let cool for 20 minutes on wire rack. Split using a fork (never a knife).
  • Toast before serving.
  • Preparation time is 3 hours.

French Toast

July 31, 2010

It’s been a few weeks since we had a family breakfast, so I planned French Toast as this morning’s breakfast. (Note: The planning only consisted of buying a special kind of bread.) As expected, the whole family was instantly transformed into a great mood. But unexpectedly, the boys immediately ran outside after breakfast and started working in the garden. Wow, the best $1.50 I’ve spent in a long time.

A sure way to start out the weekend right.

French Toast Recipe is here. Start by toasting the bread in oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile melt butter and whisk together all ingredients in bowl, and pour into a medium Pyrex casserole dish. Working two slices at a time, soak each side for 30 seconds. Cook in non-stick skillet for 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Results: 4-1/2 stars. The flavor was great. Definitely not too eggy, which was the problem when I was growing up.  Still, the texture was a little tough; no worse than any other French Toast.

Suggestions:

  1. I cut the recipe by 1/3, because there is so much extra. The full recipe is certainly enough for 12 slices.
  2. I increased to 1-1/2 teaspoons the cinnamon. The first time I made this they seemed a little bland.
  3. Between the second and third batches, I found it better to wipe the skillet with a paper towel, so that the bits of burnt butter don’t accumulate too much.
  4. Tongs are useless here. Use your fingers for dredging and a spatula for flipping.

Rating: 4-1/2 stars.
Cost: $1.50 for 8 slices.
How much work? Small.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 9:10 AM. Breakfast time 10:00 AM


Fluffy Omelet

May 5, 2010

My family has raw-egg-phobia, so it wasn’t until this diner-style omelet recipe that I could coax them into eating an omelet.

Nothing runny in this omelet. My family's raw-egg-phobia has been cured.

Of course air is the key to make a fluffy omelet. The eggs are whipped in a standing mixer to incorporate lots of air. Heavy cream is whipped to soft peaks separately (instead of milk) which gives it even more lift. The omelet is browned on the stovetop for 3 minutes, but finished in the oven where is has time to cook all the way through (no runny center).  My favorite filling is their sausage and peppers filling, but I usually add 5 or 6 mushrooms as well. Pre-cooking the filling cooks most of the moisture off, keeping the center dry.

Problems:

  1. The whipped cream should be mixed using a separate hand mixer (not your standing mixer), because there is so little heavy cream that the standing mixer won’t do the job.
  2. It’s so easy to forget that the skillet handle is 400-degrees. This morning was one of the few times I remembered; usually I burn myself.

Rating: 4-1/2 star.
Cost: $4.50
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Started: 7:45 pm. Breakfast:  8:25.


Happy Easter Deviled Eggs

April 4, 2010

Actually, these are the first deviled eggs I’ve ever eaten. So, I don’t really have anything to compare them to. But, they are definitely tastier than eating just plain hard-boiled eggs. But the real reason why I made them, of course, is having 3 dozen hard-boiled eggs on hand after this morning’s Easter egg hunt, I needed to find something to do with some of them.

I peeled 6 eggs, sliced, and pressed the yolks through my ricer, added mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Because the eggs were already hard-boiled it only took about 10 minutes (mostly peeling eggs). Recipe is here.

No more work than peeling your regular easter eggs

Rating: 3-star.
Cost: $0.80
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low.
Started: 12:30.  Ready:  12:40.

Child labor in the Easter Egg factory.


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