Bedeviled Eggs

deviled-eggs Nothing big here, just good old deviled eggs. I’m not sure if deviled eggs are an American phenomenon or not, but I know that at least among the common people (most of us) it tends to be a staple at almost any holiday gathering.

I guess that is because it’s fairly benign–no big taste surprises. Kids like them as much as adults. Sure you can find your weird recipes with truffles and sardines I am sure, but most of us has some basic expectation when you bite.

I prefer my devils normal.

So this is how I do them. As I said, no surprises here, but I do have some ideas about cooking and peeling the eggs, so read on anyway!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Dozen eggs, cooked and peeled
  • 2 tbsp finely minced cornichons
  • 2 tsp grated onion
  • 2-3 tbsp mayonnaise (Hellman’s preferred)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp hot pepper sauce of your choice
  • paprika for garnish
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped chives (optional and fresh only)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cooking the eggs: place the eggs in a pan of water to cover. Place on stove and bring to a boil. When it has hit a rolling boil, turn off the heat, cover the eggs and let sit until water is tepid.
  2. Peeling the eggs: Once water is tepid, pour off the water, put the lid back on and shake the pan violently cracking all the eggs thoroughly. Cover with water and let sit for an hour or so.  This usually works pretty good to loosen the shells. But if you still have trouble do the following. One end or the other has a pocket of liquid. Crack this if not done by the shaking process. For some reason this seems to loosen the shell. It wets that membrane and lets it slide off.
  3. Once shelled, slice each egg long ways and remove the yolk.
  4. Place yolks in a bowl and mash with a fork.
  5. Add all the other ingredients–start with 2 tablespoons of mayo and then add more if it is still too dry. You want your yolk mixture to be firm enough to stand up nicely in the white.
  6. Once mixed, you can spoon back into the egg whites (about a tsp each), or pipe with a pastry bag or a plastic bag with the corner cut off.
  7. Sprinkle with paprika and chives.

SERVES: 6-12

NOTES: Some folks prefer no pickles. Some prefer no hot sauce. Some don’t like the onion either. Deviled eggs are horrid to plate unless you invest in a plate with indentions for them. If you don’t want to do that, then line your serving platter with a suitable cotton napkin ( I mean a real one–preferably not white). This will hold the little darlings in place and they won’t slide around.

Roasted Asparagus(es)

asparagusSo, what is the plural of asparagus?

Okay, what does it matter.

Like so many vegetables, asparagus is a fine one to roast. And it’s simple, and makes your side a bit more elegant that it might otherwise be.

Especially in Spring when the asparagus is coming in all over the land, this is a great side for just about any meal. Grilled chicken comes to mind.

And if you have never tried white asparagus, well, my tip is don’t bother. We did and we thought it actually pretty awful tasting compared to the green. But don’t let me influence you!

INGREDIENTS:

  • One bunch of fresh asparagus, snapped at the joint. Save the ends for a stock or throw them out. They are too pithy to munch.
  • 3 tbsp of good quality EVOO.
  • 1/4 c freshly shredded Parmigiano Reggiano or other high quality Parmesan.
  • salt and pepper to taste.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Wash the asparagus and pat dry. Take a spear and bend between fingers until it snaps. Throw the short end away or save for a stock. Line up the rest of the asparagus with the cut one, and slice them all. This works fairly nicely without having to snap each one. It will be close enough in most cases.
  2. Place all in a plastic bag and pour in the EVOO, massage until all spears are nicely coated.
  3. Spread on a baking sheet covered with parchment.
  4. Place in a 425° oven and roast until cooked through and getting a bit of sear. I would think 20 minutes would be sufficient. Roll them a bit about half way through to even out the sear.
  5. Remove to serving dish and sprinkle with the cheese.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper

SERVES: 4

NOTES: You can also add some roasted pine nuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds if you like. You might also like to spritz with a wedge of lemon. Not a lot, just a tablespoon or so sprinkled on for a nice little bright spot here and there.  Also you might want to sprinkle with some toasted bread crumbs, but I would make it just a scattering, not a layer certainly. If you use the breadcrumbs I would scatter some slices of garlic in the pan and heat until fragrant before putting in the bread crumbs to toast.

Lamb By the Leg

barbecue-butterflied-leg-of-lambI confess I’m not a great lover of lamb. I do enjoy the occasional lamb chop but I’ve pretty much avoided the leg. Nothing against legs mind you, it just seemed like a very large piece of meat.

But on a holiday, it does seem to be the thing to do, so this Easter I secured a leg and decided to give it a try.

There is nothing much to cooking a leg of lamb actually. It turned out quite simple. We liked it fine, and I have plenty in the freezer to make ragu’s of varying kinds in the up-coming months.

So when the right holiday comes along, do give it a try. Like many recipes, one should make it at least once in a life time. And if you find it grand, well, you have found a new friend!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 6-8 lb leg of lamb
  • 1 c white wine
  • 1/2 c orange juice (or substitute 1/4 c of lemon juice)
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. If you leg is bone in, place in a plastic bag. If boneless, tie it up with twine before placing it in the plastic bag.
  2. Mix the balance of the ingredients together and then pour into the bag, massaging the marinade so that the leg is well covered.
  3. Refrigerate for a good six hours, or longer up to about 12 or so. Turn the bag over when you think of it.
  4. Remove the bag from the refrigerator about two hours before cooking to bring it to room temperature.
  5. Preheat the oven to 475-500°.
  6. Place the leg on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. (Line with foil to help the cleanup)
  7. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes, turn over and roast another 10 minutes.
  8. Reduce the temperature to 325°.
  9. Roast until you get an internal temperature of 135° which is the high side of medium rare. Do not overcook or it will be dry.
  10. You should figure about 10-15 minutes per pound. Start checking after the first hour, but remember, that once it starts to move up, the temperature will usually move up fast, so do pay attention.
  11. When it is at the temperature you wish, (125° would be rare), remove the roast and allow to sit tented with foil for about 20-30 minutes before carving.

Serves: 10

NOTES: You can vary the herbs a bit if you wish. And plenty of people don’t care for the citrus marinade so you can omit it if you wish. If you do I would make small slits in the meat and insert the slivers of garlic and herbs that way. Or mince your garlic and make a light paste of olive oil and the herbs and garlic and spread that on the meat before placing in the oven.

Lemony Crumb Cake

lemoncurdThis makes a really nice breakfast or brunch addition to the table.

I love lemony stuff. Especially in baked goods. This has just the right tang with just the right sugar to make it a bright wake-up in the morning, a nice afternoon snack with some tea or milk in the afternoon, or a pleasant end of meal dessert from a light dinner.

Having some lemon curd on hand is a huge plus which makes this dessert really a quick recipe. If you have to make the curd first, well, it will take longer (the curd should be about room temperature), but you can make the curd in the morning and make the cake in the afternoon.

I hope you enjoy it. It’s from a All Recipes recipe. You can leave out the curd if you wish, and the cake is still very nice.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 recipe of Lemon Curd (you will need about 2/3 c for this recipe) room temperature
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c sugar, divided 1 1/4 and 1/4 c
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar

Crumb Topping

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c butter, cold and diced

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  2. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until smooth.
  3. Sift the flour and baking soda together and then add to the batter alternately with the yogurt until all is blended.
  4. Stir in the lemon zest.
  5. In a second bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy,  and then add the remaining 1/4 c sugar, a tablespoon at a time.
  6. Beat until the peaks are stiff.
  7. Fold the egg whites into the batter until no streaks remain.
  8. Place the batter into a greased and floured  square baking pan  9 x 9 works well, and spread evenly.
  9. Then dollop the lemon curd and spread gently over the top.
  10. Make the crumb crust by mixing all the crust ingredients together and blending with a pastry blender until crumbly.
  11. Spread the crumbles over the lemon curd evenly.
  12. Bake in a 350° pre-heated oven 45-50 minutes or until a skewer appears fairly clean.
  13. Cool on a rack and dust with powdered sugar when cooled.

SERVES: 9

NOTES: I think that fruit might be a great addition here. Things such as blueberries, strawberries or something like that. I would use about 1 cup and I would dry the fruit pretty well before toss them on top of the lemon curd. The fruit should be fruit that doesn’t require cooking such as berries, or cooked and cooled, say like rhubarb which could be fabulous in this recipe I think.

Lovely Lemon Curd

Lemon_Curd1Oh if there is something you should always have at the ready, it’s the simple yet elegant lemon curd. It can be added to so many things to create an instant sensation dessert.

Slather it between layers of a cake instead of the usual frosting, and it’s a wonderful surprise. Dunk a few shortbread cookies in a couple of tablespoons, and you have a festive and delightful ending to a meal.

It’s easy to make and you can freeze it as well. So always keep some on hand. This is my go-to recipe straight from Joy of Cooking.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 lg eggs
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 c fresh lemon juice (don’t even look at one of those bottled varieties!)
  • 6 tbsp of butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Whisk together the eggs and sugar and grated zest until light in color. Use a stainless steel sauce pan.
  2. Then add the balance of the ingredients, and whisk, until evenly mixed.
  3. Place on the heat and continue whisking until the butter is melted.
  4. Continue whisking until the mixture has thickened, and has bubbled for a few seconds.
  5. You can put through a sieve if you wish, or not.
  6. Stir in the vanilla.
  7. Place in a bowl, cover with Saran wrap touching the curd, and cool in the fridge.
  8. It will thicken more as it cools.
  9. Generally this keeps for a week in the fridge, but I usually use it for a recipe and freeze any left over.

SERVES: about 1 2/3 cups

NOTES: This is the preferred filling for things like a Boston Cream pie, but also works for cream puffs, or used as a dollop with some fresh fruit compote. Be inventive always. It’s wonderfully tart so pair it with things like strawberries or blueberries.

Mixed Up Ethnic Casserole

FOODME02.tifOh come and try some fusion food!

It’s scary, but it all works out in the end.

Today we mix Cajun and Mexican, two of my favorites.

Casseroles are always delightful and this one turned out really great.

I got inspired by a recipe from AnnaShortcakes. Instead of stuffing a poblano, I changed things up and turned it into a casserole.

Look it over and give it a try if it suits your tummy.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 oz of chorizo sausage, casing removed.
  • 1 c of diced onion
  • 1 Serrano chile minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic microplaned
  • 2/3 c of rice (I often use a mixture of brown and long grain)
  • 2  cups of liquid (chicken stock, or a combination with beef stock, beer, vegetable stock, water)
  • 1 c corn, fresh, frozen or canned
  • 1 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 poblano or Anaheim or hatch chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 2 c Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 c cilantro, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Brown the sausage with the onions, garlic and Serrano chile until softened.
  2. Add the rice, liquids, corn, and diced chiles.
  3. Cover and cook on low simmer until the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Add the shrimp and cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly
  5. Turn into an oiled baking dish.
  6. Stir in the cilantro, and then sprinkle the cheese over the top.
  7. Place in a 350° oven for about 15-20 minutes, just to melt the cheese.

SERVES: 6

NOTES: You can tone this down by using a jalapeño rather than the Serrano. The Poblanos are mild, the Hatch chiles can vary depending on the variety. You could also use Mexican cheese such as cotija or queso fresco.

Corned Beef Bucket of Fun

cauliflower-corned-beef-hash-351464-342524.cardLeft over corned beef motivated this recipe. Of course, you can buy deli corned beef to use as a substitute, so don’t feel you can’t use this recipe except when you’ve made a full corned beef. Still, homemade is usually the best, so do indulge if you can.

I think I ran into a recipe for cauliflower and kale somewhere and got the idea to add the corned beef.

I think that’s what happened but I can’t be sure since I can’t find any cauliflower/kale recipe anywhere in my computer of recipes.

So I am kind of winging it on this one, but since I’ve made a kazillion casseroles along similar lines, I’m sure it will be about accurate if you make it.

It’s a pretty fast put together so have fun and I hope you enjoy it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb of corned beef, shredded (give or take)
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, broken into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped into bite-size pieces.
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, microplaned
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • 1 c Gruyère cheese, shredded (other kinds can be substituted) + 1 c Monterey Jack
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 c chicken or vegetable stock, or half that with 1 c milk
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 c of fresh breadcrumbs, toasted lightly

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Toss the cauliflower with some olive oil in a plastic bag and spread out on parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in a 425° oven until just fork tender–about 40 minutes or so. You want some charred marks on the cauliflower, so turn once during the process.
  2. Meanwhile, saute the onion and garlic in a couple of tbsp of olive oil until softened.
  3. Add the butter and melt, and then the flour and stir until a roux is formed. Cook for one minute.
  4. Add the liquid or liquids. Stir and heat until bubbly and thickened.
  5. Add the cheese, stir until incorporated, add the nutmeg.
  6. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish well.
  7. Add the cauliflower and spread around the bottom. Then add the kale and corned beef.
  8. Pour the cheese sauce over evenly.
  9. Spread the breadcrumbs over.
  10. Foil the top loosely  and bake for about 30 minutes at 350°. Remove foil in last 10 minutes.

SERVES: 6

NOTES: You can switch out the cheese as you wish. Substitute swiss chard for the kale if you like. You could also substitute any sausage such as kielbasa or andouille for the corned beef.