Sunday, February 26, 2017

RECIPE - Deviled eggs

I cannot take credit for this recipe. I use it with one teeny tiny change (which certainly doesn't make it my recipe) from a recipe on allrecipes.com. I only include it here because I know I have some regular followers of my blog who do not follow me on Facebook. So use the link and be prepared to make this a favorite of yours as well.

There are a gazillion recipes for deviled eggs out there, and I have made a million of them (yes, I do exaggerate!); however, this is hands down my go-to recipe now. If I want to get really fancy, I use my stick blender to get the filling nice and smooth, then put in a plastic bag and cut a corner off to fill the whites, but it's not necessary when I'm making a batch for myself. And as a low carber, I make them often. A few lumps in the filling make them no less tasty!

Here is the link. Thanks, Jeff Sikes, for a wonderful recipe! Oh, I do make one small change - I use zero carb Pompeian white wine vinegar in place of the rice vinegar called for in the recipe, because that's what I have in my pantry.

Classic Savory Deviled Eggs, by Jeff Sikes

Bon app├ętit.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

RECIPE - Hard boiled eggs

I hate it when it is nearly impossible to neatly peel a hard boiled egg. So every time I read an article with someone's magic recipe for how to have perfect hard boiled eggs that peel easily, I try it. I am always disappointed. That is because they don't tell you the most important thing - a very fresh egg will NOT peel easily no matter what method you use.

Eggs are one of nature's most perfect foods. And they are encased in great natural packaging. If an egg is not washed, you can safely leave it sit on your counter for a month. There is a natural film on the shell that creates a barrier to keep your eggs safe.

A commercial egg is washed, and that film / barrier has been removed. So you might want to refrigerate them. Mine are on the counter in this great little red ceramic egg carton that I bought. (Just for fun I keep my chicken salt and pepper shakers next to it - a gift from my daughter-in-law Julie, who always seemed to know what I would like.)

Eggs ready for action!
I know, they have been washed, and even if fresh from the farmer at the South Bend Farmers Market, by law they must be washed. But they are gone from my countertop quickly, and I'm still alive. They are never out there more than two weeks. And when the recipe calls for an "egg brought to room temperature," I'm good to go immediately. (One caveat -- if you need to separate whites from yolks, a cold egg separates more easily.)

So back to that egg's natural packaging. In spite of it, an egg begins to shrink inside that shell from day #1. And that shrinkage will be the difference between an egg that gets mutilated when trying to peel it and one from which the shell is easily removed. After just one week of aging on the counter, eggs will peel better because the albumin is shrinking away from the interior of the shell. When refrigerating, give them two weeks. When I was bringing in fresh eggs from the chickens on the farm, I would set a bowl of eggs into the back of the fridge for at least two weeks just for hard boiling. Once your eggs are at least two weeks old, some of those egg peeling pointers may actually make a difference. And three weeks should be guaranteed success, no matter what method you use.

I love Ina Garten's show, the Barefoot Contessa. And I love her method of hard boiling eggs. It is a little different from any I have seen, and I do recommend it. Most supermarket eggs will be well over a week or two old by the time you get them home. If you want guaranteed success, try keeping them for at least another week before hard boiling. If they are straight from the farm, don't use them for hard boiling until they have aged at least two weeks. So here goes, this is Ina's recipe with a couple of small tweaks:
  1. Put your eggs into a deep pan and cover completely with cold water.
  2. Bring to a full rolling boil. Immediately turn off heat. (If electric stove, remove from burner. On my gas stove, I just let them sit there in the pan of hot water on the turned-off burner.)
  3. Here's where Ina's recipe is different. Leave them sit in the water for only FIVE MINUTES!
  4. Remove the eggs from the water. Don't rinse with cold water. Just let the warm eggs sit on the counter on a paper towel.
  5. Here's where Ina and I differ. She says to wait only two minutes before peeling. I recommend waiting about five minutes. The first egg I tried to peel at two minutes didn't do too well. At five minutes, they peeled beautifully.
  6. Now roll the eggs on the counter top with the palm of your hand. The shells will crack into a myriad of small bits.
  7. CAREFULLY peel. They should come off pretty well.
  8. If you are still having trouble, hold the egg under running water while you peel, my second tweak to Ina's wonderful method.
Great thing about this is that the yolks are still a beautiful yellow color, no green around the edges. They are on the very edge of still being soft in the middle, but they aren't.  They are just perfect!

Thanks, Ina.

Now I'm going to have another deviled egg for breakfast. Recipe for my favorite deviled eggs coming soon.


Friday, February 3, 2017

NEW RECIPE - Chicken soup that's low carb, easy and delicious!

I came down with the flu on New Year's Eve - fever for four days, joints and muscles hurt, couldn't stand to have my skin touched. That was the worst of it, but it was another week or 10 days before I felt well again.

There was no gastro-intestinal distress, but nevertheless, I lost 10 pounds in eight days. I think it is because the only thing that tasted good was turkey broth from the freezer. I managed to wipe out my whole store of it. Darn!

Anyway, even though I'm feeling almost 100% again, I got in the habit of having broth. Canned broth - not so good. So last night I devised this quick soup with lots of broth, lots of flavor and some big chunks of chicken.

QUICK AND EASY CHICKEN BROTH

I started with Swanson's chicken stock, rated best by American Test Kitchen. But let's face it, it's not like that turkey broth I was enjoying. I "souped up" my soup this way.

Mise en place:
Dice the onion and celery and set aside.
In your spice prep dish, put your bay leaves, salt, pepper of choice and star anise (if using).
Wipe and slice the mushrooms. I like them in pretty thin slices. Put in bowl and set aside.

1 - 2 lb. box of Swanson's chicken stock
3 - chicken legs with skin and bone (you need both for flavor and for gelatin)
1 - slice of onion from a medium onion, chopped fine
2 - stalks of celery, chopped fine
2 whole bay leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper or a pinch of red pepper flakes
If you have them on hand, one whole star anise
7 or 8  white button or cremini mushrooms

Put stock and chicken legs into a medium pot over high heat just until the stock begins to boil. Then add spices turn heat to lowest setting, put lid on pot and set timer for 35 minutes. Don't overcook. An occasional bubble should rise to the top as it simmers. If you let it continue to boil or leave it over heat too long, the chicken will be dry.

At 35 minutes, add the prepared mushrooms to the pot. Put the lid back on and set timer for 10 minutes. No need to bring back to boil. There should be plenty of residual heat to cook the mushrooms.

Remove the star anise and the bay leaves. Remove chicken legs with tongs and put on plate to cool slightly. Throw away skin and bone and put large chunks of meat back into the pot. Serve immediately.

That's about three meals for me. If you reheat, don't boil, just bring to eating temperature. It is a common mistake to overcook chicken. What makes this so good is that the chicken still remains very juicy, even when reheated.

Enjoy!

Oh, for low carbers, a third of the recipe is 3 carbs. :)

This was in the fridge - see the jelled stock. Good stuff!