Tag Archives: How-To

My Foolproof (almost) Method for Boiling Eggs

( Nothing is Foolproof for a talented Fool)

 

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I’ve tried other methods as well but this one keeps being the one.  I’ve been boiling eggs like this for many years and seldom have a mishap.

 

What You Need:

Large pot of boiling water

Eggs

 

What you do:

1.  Take eggs out of fridge for at least 30 min.

2.  Boil 2-3 quarts of water

3.  WHEN THE WATER IS BOILING,  gently place the eggs in the

            water with a slotted spoon.

4.  Set your timer for 12 minutes after you’ve put them in.

5.  When timer goes off run them under cold water for 5-10 min.

 

You now have perfectly cooked eggs but more importantly, you have perfectly peelable eggs.

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Basic Meatloaf – Quick and Easy

 

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This is a basic meatloaf recipe, one you can whip together really fast and add it to your repertoire.  This is a DIY recipe – you can memorize this so you can just make it any time.

 

Keep in mind that you can alter the amounts of the spices and seasonings to suit your taste.  You can also add some green peppers or use fresh garlic.

 

What I do:  I heat a small frying pan on the stove before I make the meatloaf.  After I’ve made it, I fry up a tiny piece to see what it will taste like.  If it needs salt then I add salt.  If I’m feeling frisky I might add some chili powder and some cumin for a southwestern taste.

 

 

What You Need:

1          lb.        Ground Beef

1                      Egg

½         c.         Bread Crumbs (your choice)

1          sm.      Onion (diced) (about 1 cup)

½         c.         Salsa or Chile Sauce

1          tsp.      Oregano

½         tsp.      Basil

1          tsp.      Garlic (Granulated or whatever)

½         tsp.      Black Pepper

 

 

What You Do:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees

2.  Take off any rings you are wearing.

3.  Mix all the ingredients together.

4.  Line a cookie sheet or lasagna dish with foil

5.  Form into a loaf and put on the foil

6.  Cook in the oven for about an hour.

 

Ham and Potato Casserole

I wanted to make this for a breakfast we had at work today and I had to really start thinking about it because it’s been over a year or even two since I’ve made it.  Luckily it is a fairly easy recipe to make so with a little bit of searching I remembered how I make it and now I’m getting it down on (web) paper so I can always go to it. 

 

I made a white sauce instead of a canned soup because I like to prepare everything from scratch but I put the can of soup in there because it makes it a  whole heck of  a lot easier.  There’s a link to my basic white sauce recipe at the bottom of this post.

 

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To Prepare:

Grease a 9×13 casserole dish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

 

What You Need:

·         4 – 5                       Baking potatoes (sliced thin)

·         2-3          cups       Ham – diced or whatever

·         1              med.     Onion – diced

·         1              can         Cream of potato soup (or whatever cream soup you like) (18-19 oz can)

·         2-3          c.             Cheese (Sharp Cheddar, Colby-Jack, whatever you like)

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

What You Do:

1.       Saute the onions and ham.

2.       Line the bottom on the dish with 1/3 of the potatoes

3.       Add  1/3 of the ham and onions

4.       Add  1/3 of the soup

5.       Add  1/3 of the cheese

6.       Do that again 2 more times to make 3 layers.

7.       Cook covered for an hour.  Uncover and broil until brown on top

 

 

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Click Here for my basic White Sauce Recipe

Basic White Sauce

This is a basic white sauce that you can use in hundreds of other recipes.  I mostly use it in casseroles but it can lead to other sauces.  It is considered a “Mother” Sauce because other sauces are made from it.

Sauce - Basic White Sauce

What You will Need:

  • 2          TB        Flour
  • 2          TB        Butter
  • 1          c.         Milk
  •                         Salt and Pepper

 

 

 

What You Do:

1.  Melt the Butter in a small sauce pan

2.  Add the flour and whisk for about 5 minutes. 

            (This takes the raw taste out of the flour)

3.  Add the milk a little at a time and cook and whisk until

            it is smooth and thickened ( 5 min.)

4. Add salt and pepper as desired

 

 

To make it thicker, start with 3 TB of butter and flour.

To make it thinner, start with 1 TB of butter and flour.

You can easily make multiples of this recipe just add more flour or mild as desired.

 

 

Ridiculously Easy Braised Pork for Carnitas

 

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First of all, let’s talk about the 500-pound gorilla in the room:  what the hell is braising and why don’t we just know what it means?  Cooking terms are weird because, if you aren’t a trained chef, you probably don’t know a bain-marie from a china cap and you shouldn’t have to know all of these terms.  Not all of them.

 

Some you should know because casual cooks like ourselves need to be able to cook for ourselves and our families.  Braising is one of the words you need to know.  Thing is, you’ve probably done it or seen it done and didn’t realize that’s what it was. 

 

Braising is simply slow-cooking meat in a little bit of water and covered to retain the moisture.  Most of us know of this method if we own a slow-cooker.  That’s all it is.  Easy.  For braising, you can sear the meat first or not then put it in a dutch oven which then goes in the regular oven.

 

Most Dutch Ovens look like this:

 

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But mine is cast iron so it looks like this: 

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Either way, you’ve seen them before and have possibly used one as well.  So you put the meat in the dutch oven with about a cup or so of liquid.  You can add vegetables here as well.  You put the oven on 200° and cook for 8 to 10 hours or raise the temperature  a bit and cook for shorter amounts of time.  I put mine on 350° and cooked it for 3 hours and it was great.  Here’s a list of times and temps:

 

180 – 200°

8 – 10 hours

225 – 250°

6-8 hours

275 – 300°

4 – 6 hours

325 – 350°

2 – 4 hours

 

Two hours isn’t really slow cooking but it is braising and that’s what we’re doing here.

 

Here’s the recipe for the carnitas:

 

What you’ll need:

1 Pork Picnic Shoulder – mine was 9 lbs. (more about that at the bottom)

¼ c. adobo seasoning (hmm.., recipe at bottom also)

 

What you do:

1. Heat oven to 350°.

2. Rub seasoning all over the shoulder.  I separate the skin from the

        and get some under there as well. meat      

3. Put a cup of water or broth in dutch oven, put shoulder in there and cook.

4. Pounce on it immediately when it is done and eat it up. 

 

 

Some extras:

1. What is a Picnic Shoulder and what is a Boston Butt.  The ‘whole’ pork shoulder (15-20 lbs) consists of the upper part (Boston Butt) and the lower part of the shoulder (the Picnic). You can purchase it whole, however most times it is found in the store separated into the two pieces mentioned above. The difference between Picnics and Boston Butts are the bone structure……the butt has a small shoulder blade bone and the picnic has the front leg bone and joint.

 

2. Adobo Seasoning

1 TB salt Seasoning - Mexican Spice Mix (2)

1 TB paprika

2 tsp ground black pepper

1 1/2 tsp. onion powder

1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. chili powder

 

These don’t have to be exact measurements as long as it tastes good to you.  You can add a chipotle chile or two if you want to zing it up.

 

 

 

Here is the finished product and how we had it tonight too.

    

 

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How it looked out of the oven
Pork - Carnitas Meal (2)
The next day out of the pan with celery and onions and some leftover 5-Guys fries
Pork - Carnitas (5)
Garnished!
Pork - Carnitas Meal (1)
Delicious and really ridiculously easy.

 

Another Day With Chicken

So I Spatch-Cocked my chicken last night.  I know, right?

From Wikipedia, “

A spatchcock, otherwise known as “spattlecock”, is poultry or game that has been prepared for roasting or grilling by removing the backbone and sternum of the bird and flattening it out before cooking.[1] The preparation of a bird in such a manner for cooking may also be known as butterflying the bird. The term “spatchcock” is used when the backbone is removed, whether or not the sternum is removed. Removing the sternum allows the bird to be flattened more fully.

“Spatchcock” is also the traditional word for a juvenile chicken (in French, a “poussin”). Poussins or Spatchcocks were generally butterflied in preparation for faster cooking, hence in modern English the word has come to refer to both the bird and the manner in which it was traditionally prepared.”

Saw how to do it on Witty in the City and thought I ‘d try it myself.  It was verySpatchcocked Chicken (2) easy, looked great in the pan and tasted even better.  The bones on the chicken were easy to cut through and the whole prep time was about 15 min. 

*Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees*

Here’s what you need:
1. One whole Chicken
2. Veggies of your choice (really should include onions though)
3. Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper and whatever spices you want
4. Cast Iron Skillet (or just a pan to roast it in)

Here’s what you do:
1. Cut the backbone out of the chicken and lay it flat in the pan
2. Cut up the veggies and sprinkle them around the chicken
3. Drizzle the veggies with oil
4. Put S&P and spices on chicken and veggies.
5. Put it in the oven for 45 min.
6. Attack the chicken immediately out of the oven1!  It will be
      tender and juicy with crisp skin.

Spatchcocked Chicken (3)

Perfect, Non-Chewy Brown Rice


I Love white rice.  I love it.  There is almost nothing better than boiling some white rice and when it is still hot, pouncing on it with some butter and salt.  It speaks to the depths of my soul and makes my heart take wings.

That’s why I rarely ever eat it.

Well, actually, it’s because it’s high in starch and low in fiber and nutrients.  So being a good human-on-planet-earth, I tend to eat more brown rice so’s to get the damn benefits from it like I’m suppose to.  I like brown rice but it is more utilitarian than white rice and lacking in any of the soul-stirring mentioned above.  Rice (5)

But, it does taste good and it will soak up curry sauce, red sauce, and kind of drippings and makes a nice bed for any dish that is ladle-able.  White rice is pretty easy to cook, about 15 min and you have rice.  Anyone can boil water and play some phone game for 15 min. while the rice cooks, then you fluff it and it’s ready.  Brown rice takes 45 – 50 minutes and can be pretty fussy if you’re following the standard recipe of 1 cup rice to 2 ½ cups of water, bring water to boil, add rice, turn down heat and simmer until rice is either crunchy and sticky or chewy and sticky.  At least those are my two most consistent cooking outcomes.

To avoid this agony, here is a very simple way to cook brown rice.  It is still time consuming, but if you set a timer for 30 min. you can pretty much walk away until it goes off.  (If you are like me, you will then proceed to go to the store because you forgot you were cooking rice just to return to yet another burned pan to clean). 

Here’s what you do.

1. Boil a big pan of water.  Doesn’t matter how much.

 

2. Add rice.  Again, doesn’t matter how much.

 

3. Bring back to a boil and set timer for 30 min.  Rice will be boiling around in the water like pasta.

 Rice (2)

4. Check after 30 min.  I find it can be ready that quick or could be 40 min.  I just keep on checking on it.

 

5. Pour into a colander, rinse off, and you have perfect rice.

Rice (1)                             

Rice (4)