Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making Perfectly A-Peelin’ Boiled Eggs

I play piano for church quite a bit…and have worked with severaql differeent singers and other instrumen talists…

And the one thing I have learned is that the songs that everyone knows and everyone and their brother requests that you sing—such as Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Aft…those songs that you’ve sung or played for only how long now….always end up being the hardest to put together because we take them for granted and each have our own version/expectation that we think that everyone else should prefer also.

The fact that the simpler and most common things are often the most difficult holds true in the cooking world as well.

Most of us have been boiling macaroni since pre-puberty and became brave enough to start boiling eggs the day after that.

You would think that we would all have the art of egg-boiling down well-mastered by now…

But are we really making the most perfect hard-boiled eggs that we could possible make…

Would we even know the perfect hard-boiled eggs if we ever saw it?

 

 

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The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg

Before we start learning how to make the perfect hard-boiled eggs, let’s first consider what we expect from the perfect hard-boiled eggs…as far as color, the shell, texture, and the yolk.

  • Color…no nasty gray ring around the yolk
  • Texture…firm whites and yolks, but not rubbery
  • The Shell…slips right off, making peeling the eggs quick and easy
  • The Yolk…creamy and mellow

 

 

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Ingredients

Obvously the first thing that you will need to have whenever you are making boilee eggs is an egg. In addition to the eggs, you will need cold water, Ice, and salt.

 

 

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Equipment

As far as quipment, you will need…

  • Large slotted spoon
  • Saucepan or stockpot with a fitted lid
  • Timer
  • Tongs
  • Bowl for the ice water bath once the eggs have boiled
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Prep Work
Place a single layer of uncooked eggs in a large saucepan or stockpot. Do not stack the eggs on top of each other or overcrowd them.

Add enough cool water until there is about an inch of water over the eggs.

Add a pinch of salt.

Cover with a lid.

 

 

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Cooking

bring water to a rolling boil over high heat; Many people claim that adding salt, vinegar or baking soda to the boiling water makes the  eggs not only easier to peel, but also helps them taste better….so if you are going to use any of these, add them now.

Reduce heat to medium-high..

Once the water has reached a rolling boil, set the timer for the desired time. ..typically this will be anywhere from five to sevcen minutes…and boil them.

To be more specific…

  • 3 minutes for very runny soft-boiled eggs with just-set whites
  • 4 minutes for runny soft-boiled eggs
  • 6 minutes for creamy, custard-y “medium”-boiled eggs
  • 8 minutes for firm (but still creamy) hard-boiled eggs
  • 10 minutes for firm hard-boiled eggs
  • 12 minutes for very firm hard-boiled eggs.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

A Watched Pot Never Boils

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

I Don’t Even Know How to Boil Water

You probably alreadty know how to do this cooking method called boiling…most of us have been boiling stuff since we were making our own macaroni and cheese out of a box when we were teenagers…assuming that you were borb before they started making macaroni and cheese is single-serving microwavable cups.

Yet boiling is a cooking method…and our goal at this point is to learn about all of the most commonly used cooking methods…

So let’s talk about boiling for a while.

 

 

 

What is boiling?

Boiling is a moist-heat cooking method that involves immersing food in a liquid that has been heated to 212 degrees F. This hot liquid then transmits its heat to the food being cooked.

This temperature is called the boiling point…the point where the pressure of the liquid equals the pressure exerted on the liquid by the surrounding atmosphere.

As liquids boil, you will see bubbles forming and then exploding on the surface of the liquid.  These bubbles are caused by water vapor rushing to the surface.

The food that you boil should be sturdy enough to withstand the aggressive water without being damaged…because the rough agitation of the water can actually damage the food.

 

Commonly  boiled ingredients include pasta, grains, green vegetables. dried pasta, dried legumes, rice, noodles, potatoes, and eggs.

 

How long you boil the ingredient depends on several facttos—such as what the ingredient is, your personal preference,  how you were brought up….(for example, back in Mississippi we cook our peas along with some bacon practially all day before serving)…how important maintaining the food’s original color, texture, and flavor…whether or not you care if you deplete the nutrients of the ingredient…and so forth…

Ingredients an either be added to cold water and heated along with the water…ior added to the water once the water has already started boilling…depending on the characteristics, of what it is that you are cooking…(more on this later)…

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Let’s All Get Boiling Mad Together

Yeah, I know…I said that we would crawl our way up the Raw Foods Pyramid one food at a time…one tier at a time…

But…

My family will never be content to eat nutritional yeast and raw sweet potatoes for the rest of their lives.

So instead I have been getting acquainted with all the different cooking methods…what foods work best for which technique…how to use each method in creating not only meals that are healthier, but also more delicious.

I began looking at these different cooking methods by starting with what I thought were “moist cooking methods”…specifially sauteeing, pan frying, and deep frying.

Let’s consider a few characteristics that make certain cooking methods “moist” cooking methods…

  • 1. Moist-heat cooking methods involve cooking food with, or in, some type of liquid—such as steam, water, stock, or wine. Lately I have learned that many people do not consider these three methods to be “moist” cooking methods because…but, hey, we’ve already talked about it…so let’s move on and not join in on that debate.
  • 2. Moist-heat cooking methods involve using lower temperatures—ranging from 140°F to 212°F—(yeah, I know, we just talked about frying foods at 300-ish degrees…just go with it)…
  • 3. Moist-heat cooking methods soften tough fibers—such as meat protein or plant cellulose….which can be good or bad depending on the food that you are figuring out what to do with.
  • 4. Moist-heat cooking methods are typically simple and economical.
  • 5. Moist-heat cooking methods are more likely to preserve and maintain the water-soluble vitamins and other nutrients of the food, taking advantage of that food’s nutritional potential.
  • 6. Moist-heat cooking methods preserve and even add moisture to the food as it is cooking…important for cooking foods that need softening—such as hard vegetables, tough meat or dry grains and beans….
  • 7. Moist-heat cooking methods bring out more of the natural flavor in the food.

We have already looked at sauteeing, pan frying, and deep frying.

Some more common moist-heat cooking methods are…

  • boiling
  • braising
  • poaching
  • simmering
  • steaming
  • stewing

So let’s get boiling mad together in these next few posts, okay?!

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Facts to Never Forget about Frying Foods

For years I have honestly been afraid to deep fry. Seemed liike every single time I tried to fry something, I end up getting splashed with hot grease and my hysband ends up finishing the job.

I laugh and say that he cookes on top of the stove, and I cook in the oven.

But lately I have been practicing the art of deep frying, and actually enjoy it…especially considering that deep frying gives you such good, but bad for you, foods as onion rings and French fries.

1.Choose the Right Oil…It is important that you choose an oil that has a smoke point higher than the recommended frying temperature…such as canola, peanut, and soybean oil. As far as the amount of oil that you need, you will typically need one or two quarts.

2. Clear the area around your workspace….and create an assembly line…arranging things.in the following order from left to right……

  • Food to be fried
  • Batter
  • Stove with pot of hot oil
  • Wire rack with paper towels underneath to put the food on after it’s cooked.

3. Clean the Oil While Cooking...Keep the oil clean while frying by removing any breading or coating that is simply floating in the oil after taking out each batch. by using a fine mesh stainless steel strainer or spider to remove this debris…Otherwise, these will burn and make your food taste burnt.

4. Cook at a High Temperature…Your oil should be somewhere around 375 degrees before adding your food…otherwise you’ll probably end up with food that has an overcooked exterior and an under-cooked exterior…food that is heavy and  greasy, not crisp and light.

It is best to use a candy thermometer to check the temp of the oil before adding your food.

Believe it or not, it will also take more time to cook your food to cook.

Your ultimate goal is to have the hot oil instantly seal the outside and cook the inside without burning the surface.

5. Cook your food in small batches…Don’t overcrowd the pan. Make sure to let the oil rise to temperature again right after removing the first batch and adding the next batch because this will lower the temperature of the oil quickly..

Your temperature needs to be somewhere between 325 to 375°F before adding in your first batch of food…because your food is always colder than the oil

The temperature of the oil is probably the most important factor in determining how crispy the crust ends up being.

6. Cool Your Food After Cooking…Draining your food on a cooling rack will allow you to quickly absorb any extra oil from the surface. Otherwise your food will not have as much of a crunchy exterior.

Carefully Lower your food into the oil so that you don’t get splashed with hot oil. 

Food on Fridays, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Tempura

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Onion Rings

So our next recipe in our discussion of deep frying is how to make the perfect onion rings to serve with ‘kid-friendly foods” such as burgers…or as an appetizer…or simply because they’re so dad-gum good…(but probably not too good for you, right?)

The perfect onion rings have been double dipped in a batter that is seasoned to perfection. …the outside is crisp…while the onion itself is tender and sweet….accompanied by your favorite condiment—such as mayo, fry sauce, ranch or ketchup.

 

 

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Ingredients

2 large Vidalia onions, sliced into 1/2″ rings

Oil for frying

Batter Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • egg, lightly beaten
  •  1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. fine cornmeal
  • 3/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

 

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Prep

Fill your Dutch oven pan with 1″ oil. Heat, over medium heat, until  375°. Line a large plate or baking sheet with paper towels.

 

 

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Batter

Whisk together your dry ingredients—such as your flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, baking powder, and spices.

Whisk together your wet ingredients—such as your egg, buttermilk, and seltzer.

 

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Breading

Slice and separate the onion rings.

Dip each ring first in your dry inredients and then in your wet ingredients…as we’ve already learned in this previous post about breading.

Repeat the dipping process.

Place the finished onion rings on a cooling rack until ready to fry..

 

 

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Cooking

First make sure that your oil is hot enough.

If so, place the battered onion rings into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd your onion rings. This will keep them from cooking correctly.

Do not add salt while you are cooking your onion rings. This will help keep the batter on the onion instead of falling apart  in your frying pot. Wait and salt your onion rings after they have cooked.

Cook for about four minutes…until they turn a light golden brown color.

After they’ve finished cooking, take them out of the oil and set them out on paper towels to cool and drain. Sprinkle with salt.

Serve hot with ketchup and mayonnaise, if desired.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Mr. Potato Head’s Canadian Friend

The Yukon Gold potato is Mr. Potato Head’s Canadian friend who was born at Ontario Agricultural College in the 1960’s and named after the “gold rush country” around the Yukon River.

  • Flesh…yellow to gold, firm, moist, and waxy
  • Shape…ound to oblong with a slightly flattened shape.
  • Size…medium to large in size
  • Skin…smooth, thin, with a gold to light brown xoloe…relatively eye free but speckled with many small, brown spots.
  • Taste…rich, buttery, and sweet with a creamy and tender consistency

 

 

 

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Buying Tips

Avoid potatoes that are soft, wrinkled, or blemished.

Choose potatoes that feel heavy and firm.

Do not buy potatoes that are contained in plastic bags. There is no way to really check them out until you buy them and take them home and it’s too late.

Do not buy potatoes that show even a hint of green. This means that the potatoes have been exposed to enough light that they may contain a mildly poisonous alkaloids that can cause an upset stomach. However, if your potatoes turn green after you get them home, peel off all traces of the colored flesh before cooking.

Do not store potatoes and onions together because they will release gases that interact and make each other spoil more quickly.

Store your potatoes in a cool, dry, and dark location away from light.  They will stay good up to two weeks. After two weeks they will have the starch will turn into sugar, and the potatoes will be unpleasantly sweet..

 

 

 

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Nutritional Value

Yukon Gold potatoes are a good source of vitamins and minerals…containing nearly twice as much vitamin C as a regular baking potato. Typically one Yukon Gold potato contains…

  • Calcium 2%
  • Calories 110
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Dietary Fibre 2 g (8%)
  • Fat 0 g
  • Iron 15%
  • Potassium 770 mg
  • Protein 3 g
  • Sodium 10 mg
  • Sugars 3 g
  • Total Carbs 26 g (9%)
  • Vitamin A 0%
  • Vitamin C 50%

 

 

 

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Uses

Yukon Gold potatoes can be used in both dry and wet-heat cooking methods,

  • boiling
  • frying—both deep frying and pan frying
  • grilling
  • sautéeing
  • roasting
  • steaming

So in the next few posts, we will looking at how to make the perfect…

  • French fries
  • hash browns
  • mashed potatoes
  • potato salad
  • potatoes au gratin
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Batter Up

potato fries with fried meat and red sauce on round white ceramic plate
Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

The What

When we were pan-frying, we typically used breading…

But now that we are deepfrying, we’re most likely to be using a batter instead.

Batters will give youf food a lighter, thinner style coating…instead of  the thicker, heavier coating associarted with breading.

Batters also consist of the same ingredients as breading—flour, egg, and milk or water—but are mixed together instead of being dipped onto the food…and may also include salt, baking powder or baking soda, and sugar.

Baking soda, baking powder, beer, or any other type of carbonated liquid are often used to make the batter more  fluffy as it cooks.

Also herbs, spices, fruits, and even vegetables can be added to your batter to give it more flavor.

 

 

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The Why

 

Using batter when deep-frying serves many functions, including…

  • forming a protective, crispy shell around the food
  • giving your foods that expecteed crispy crunch
  • keeping the food from absorbing excessive amounts of fat
  • preventing your food from scorching
  • retaining the flavor and juices of the food
  • simply having a pleasing texture

 

 


The How

Find the right consistency for what you are  cooking…Batters range in consistency from the “very heavy” batters that will adhere to an upturned spoon…to “very thin” batters that will quickly pour or drop from that same spoon.

The ideal batter for fried foods is thick enough to adhere to the food, but not so thick as to become heavy.

 

Slow down the thickening process…Your batter will thicken very quickly after you finish making it. You can slow down this process the the following three methods…

  • using beer instead of baking powder or baking soda
  • using ice water when mixing
  • making it at the last possible moment before use

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The Which

In the next series of posts, we will looking at some of the different batters—such as baking powder batter, beer batter, egg white batter, flour and water batter, and yeast batter—and which batters are best for which foods…(more recipes, yeah)…

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

The Best Fry Station in the Nation

architecture cabinets chairs contemporary
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So far we have covered three cooking methods—sauteeing, stirfrying, and pan frying—Now we begin our fourth cooking method—deep frying.

So far in your minimalist kitchen, there are several things that you should have either kept, updated, or bought…

As far what you should have in your minimalist kitchen at this point, you should have…

  • Cookie Sheet
  • Cooking Oil
  • Cutting Board
  • Knives
  • Mineral Oil
  • Saute pan
  • Skillet
  • Spatula
  • Spider
  • Thermometer
  • Tongs
  • Wire Cooling Racks
  • Wok…for stirfrtying

 

 

 

Now that we are starting to learn how to deep=fry, there are a few more things that you might need. These includfe…

 

 

,

The Pot

One of the most obvious things that you will need when you’re deep-frying is something to deep-fry in.

Of the pans that you already have, your wok is your best option.

Another great option would be a large Dutch oven or a deep sauté pan with a heavy bottom, sides that are deep enough to allow you to fill the pan with a few inches of hot oil,  and a long handle.

Finally, you could choose to use a deep fryer. This is a great choice for people just learning to deep-fry because most deep fryer come equipped with min/max lines, temperature controls, and wire frying baskets.

 

 

 

Now let’s look at the cooking utensils that you already have…or should have…that you will also be using whenever you deep-fry. These include.,,

 

1. Thermometer

It is important that you have a good candy thermometer with a clip that sticks over the side of the pan, unless you buy a deep fryer that already has a thermostat. This will help you make sure that you are frying your food at the right temperature.

If you still haven’t bought such a thermometer, check to see if the oil bubbles around the stick end of a wooden spoon whenever you put a wooden spoon into the oil…or see if a popcorn kernel pops in hot oil whenever you put it into the pan. If one of these two things happen, then your oil is somewhere between 325 and 350 degrees…and you are ready to start cooking.

 

 

2. Tongs…You will also want to have a decent set of tongs on hand for removing food from whatever it has been cooked in.

 

 

3. A large slotted spoon…You will need these to help you remove and drain the food from the hot oil. Other great options to help you do this would include a wire basket or a kitchen spider

 

 

4. Paper towels…You will be using these to drain the food once it has been cooked.

 

 

5. Other…Other important utensils that you already have on hand include  wooden spoons, sieves, and fry baskets.

 

 

 

Okay, that was simple enough…not let’s learn what to do with all this “stuff” when it comes to deep-frying.