About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Poached Eggs in Red Wine Sauce

Better known in France as, Oeufs en Meurette, originating in Burgundy for obvious reasons. This is a classy version of a poached egg on toast that can be used for brunch, lunch or a Sunday night supper.  A favorite of Francois Mitterrand.  Add some bacon and it's manifique'!

1 carrot diced
1 stalk celery diced
1 cup onion diced
1 oz. diced smoked bacon
2 tbls butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups beef stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
3/4 cup red wine
1 bouquet garnie (thyme, bay, parsley)

Fry the bacon and add the onions, carrots and celery until slightly browned. Add the butter to the browned vegetables and melt, then add flour and cook over medium-low heat stirring constantly until flour begins to brown, then whisk in the beef stock. Add tomato paste, wine and thyme.  Simmer for 15 mins.  Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve and salt & pepper to taste.  Reheat in a clean sauce pan and serve over a poached egg on toast. Dust with Parmesan cheese if you like.

If you can afford it, poach the eggs in a bottle of red wine and strain the excess for making the sauce.  Fry a good quality bread, like brioche, in butter and serve immediately.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Egg Drop Soup

This is the season for eggs and this classic Asian soup is often overlooked. Simple, elegant, comforting.  It's too easy to be true, it's quite an elegant first course, and it can be just the thing if you're coming down with a cold after a rough day at work. 

3 cups chicken stock (homemade preferred)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbls cornstarch
2 eggs beaten
2 green onions sliced thin (or chives)

Combine 1/2 cup unheated chicken stock with 1 tbls. cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside.  Bring remaining 2 1/2 cups stock, ginger and salt to a rolling boil and slowly drizzel in beaten egg stirring constantly.  Cut off heat and add the dissolved stock and cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly.  Add green onions just before serving.

As Ina Garten would say, "How easy is that!"

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Eggceptional Soft Cooked Egg

My husband often pined for the perfectly cooked and peeled soft boiled egg his mother made for him when he was a boy.  If he was a bit under the weather, this was the simplest form of comfort food a mother could offer. It's kin to the chicken soup notion.  A proper soft cooked egg, adorned with a dab of butter, salt and pepper, actually takes a bit of attention to achieve perfection and there is no alternative.  It's either right or it's wrong, nothing in between.

Some demented but dedicated soul perfected this method testing about 1000 eggs to come up with this fool proof technique.  The shell removes easily, leaving unblemished, tender, just firm white and the yoke is runny like honey.  The only variable is the pot.  I always use a heavy (enameled cast iron) 2 quart sauce pan giving enough surface to the small amount of water required thus ensuring it doesn't entirely evaporate in the short cooking period.. It will also accommodate 4 eggs.  The eggs are cooked by steam rather than boiling water.  A single egg cooks as well as 4.

1/2 inch of water in a heavy 2 quart sauce pan
Bring the water to a boil and carefully add 1 to 4 large eggs.  Cover and cook exactly 6 minutes. and 30 seconds (will admit to a few seconds variance, depending on taste, I like mine at 25 seconds). Then remove from heat and immediately, run the eggs under cold water, tilting the pan in a sink so the cold water flows over the rim and circulates through the eggs, for exactly 30 seconds.  Peel by tapping the larger end of the egg on a clean surface to break the shell and carefully peel. Alternatively, you can use an egg topper if you have one. Serve immediately with a dab of butter, salt & pepper and toast points.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Creamy Mediterranean Hummus

I've done the super food thing now for two weeks and have found it not much of a departure from my regular diet.  I lost 1 pound; no dairy or gluten probably contributed to that.  This was more about eliminating the not so super foods, butter, cheese, red meat, refined flour and sugar.  I had my first bite of  red meat last night officially ending the super foods gig.  Boy, it tasted good but I did find myself passing up the bread and butter.  Two weeks of super foods reminded me to be more mindful of what goes in.  The real challenge was enhancing flavor and satisfaction.  Super foods by themselves are fairly boring.  It's the fats and sugars that create more complex flavors and leave us feeling full and satisfied.  My conclusion -  same old thing, it's all about balance and moderation.

The Mediterranean Diet has been in the news lately, touting all the benefits of olive oil.  So here is a recipe that covers a lot of healthy diet issues and is always popular.  Hummus.

1 15 oz can chickpeas or garbanzo beans
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbls olive oil, more for serving
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1  tbls water
paprika to garnish or a dash in with the spices (I used smoked paprika)

Rinse and drain the chickpeas.  If you have the patience remove the skins. Just give each a gentle rub between your fingers.  This makes for a smoother texture.  Add the ingredients to a food processor in this order:

1. tahini & lemon juice(process for 1 minute)
2. chickpeas, garlic, salt & cumin (process again)
3. Olive oil added through feed tube
4. Water, through the feed tube