Summer cooking: Deviled Eggs

So deviled eggs are actually a year-round side dish in our house, because it’s one thing that everyone will eat, amazingly enough. There’s something just so…yum about deviled eggs. What is it? I rarely follow a recipe when I make them, although I sometimes use this recipe as a starting point. But I don’t measure (anything) and I go simply by taste. Honestly, I think this is the best way!

Ingredients:

12 hard boiled eggs (I use this method of hard boiling), peeled and rinsed.

prepared horseradish

sweet relish

brown mustard

mayonnaise

celery salt

pepper

paprika

Directions:

1. Cut eggs in half lengthwise, scoop out yolk into a bowl and put whites on a platter.

2. Using a fork, smoosh egg yolks until reasonably smooth. If you want really, really smooth deviled eggs, you could use a hand mixer, but really, who has that time and who cares about a few lumps?

3. Add in approximately 1/4 cup mayo to start, plus about a Tbsp of sweet relish and brown mustard each. Mix. Add more of each to your personal taste.You may want more mayo or mustard especially.

4. Toss in about a tsp of horseradish, mix and taste. Depending on how much heat you like, and how hot your horseradish is, you may want more.

5. Salt (celery salt) and pepper to taste. At this stage you may also want to add a squeeze of lemon juice, for something different.

6. Scrape mixture into a sandwich bag. Cut corner of sandwich bag off and pipe into egg whites (confession, when I’m in a hurry I just scoop it in with a spoon, rather than using a sandwich bag. Might not be pretty, but it tastes the same!)

7. Sprinkle lightly with smoky paprika and either chill or serve immediately.

There are a TON of variations of the deviled egg recipe out there. Really, it’s all about trial and error and getting it to your taste. There’s no right or wrong way.

And now I wish I had some deviled eggs. Writing this made me hungry!

 

 

Summer Cooking: Grilled fish with cherry tomatoes & tapenade, Rice-Orzo side dish

Honestly, sometimes the parts of the meal that I like best surprise me. Yesterday we made grilled swordfish, cherry tomatoes and homemade tapenade. I wasn’t so sure I would like the tomatoes and tapenade, but was really looking forward to the swordfish. Turns out? We really loved the tomatoes, I loved the tapenade (no one else eats it) and we thought the swordfish was just okay (but we determined that was the fish itself, not the marinade).

So here’s an easy meal, great for summer because it doesn’t require you to turn on the oven or use the stove, and it’s SO refreshing.

For the fish and marinade: 

Fish, you can use swordfish, tuna, shark or other fish of your choice. Next time I’ll use tuna.

For the marinade:

1 cup white wine (grab a chilled bottle from your wine cooler. Pour a cup for marinade. Pour a glass for you to drink while cooking)

5 cloves minced garlic

2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (you grow rosemary, right? Why not? SO easy)

Combine the marinade and put fish in an 8×8 container, turning to coat. Salt and pepper top of fish, marinade at least an hour. Don’t overmarinate (no more than 4 hours).

To cook: preheat grill to medium high. Make sure the grill is clean! Drain marinade off fish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side, for a total of 8-10 minutes. Let cook on one side the full 4-5 minutes, until good grill marks are developed. Use tongs and a spatula to flip.

Serve grilled fish with a side of fresh cherry tomatoes and tapenade.

For the tomatoes:

1 pint cherry tomatoes, washed and halved

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp chopped fresh mint (and you’re also growing fresh mint, right? It grows like a weed!)

Toss tomatoes with olive oil and chopped fresh mint. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand 10 minutes, while fish is grilling. Serve. Incredibly refreshing and delicious.

For the tapenade:

1 cup pitted kalamata olives

2-3 sundried tomatoes (from the jar, in oil)

2 cloves minced garlic

8 basil leaves torn into small pieces

2 Tbsp fresh mint chopped

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp dried thyme

One quarter of a fresh lemon

2 tbsp olive oil

Put olives, garlic and tomatoes in small food processor (this is the one I use and LOVE) and combine until chopped & mixed. Add fresh basil, fresh mint, cayenne pepper, thyme and olive oil and pulse to mix. Taste and reseason to your liking. Squeeze in the juice of the quarter lemon, mix with a spoon. Don’t eat it all while you stand there though!

Serve grilled fish with the side of tomatoes and a spoonful of tapenade. Save excess tapenade for sandwiches, crackers, etc. I also served the fish with fresh buttered bread rolls and the below rice/orzo side dish that’s a summer favorite at my house. You could also serve with this orzo dish.

Homemade Rice-a-Roni (sounds fancier when I say rice and orzo, right?)

1/2 cup orzo

1/2 cup white rice

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups chicken broth

2 tbsp butter

1. Melt butter in pan, add orzo and garlic and cook until orzo is lightly browned.

2. Add white rice and chicken broth, stir and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer, cooking 20 to 25 minutes until broth is absorbed and rice/orzo are cooked. Serve. If it gets too dry, just add a small bit of broth to remoisturize.

 

 

Cooking the Books: Perfect Fried Rice from Heather Osborn

After I posted Sasha’s Tortilla Soup recipe last week, I started thinking it would be fun to post a recipe from a different publishing/industry professional each week. I thought, with Tuesday being the main release day in publishing, that would be the appropriate day for it. So Cooking the Books is born (with a nod to Shannon Stacey and Sarah Wendell for combining efforts to come up with the name). If there’s an industry professional you want to see share a recipe, let me know and I’ll nag ask them. (and if, you know, you happen to know someone who’s a good hand with whipping up a graphic I could use for something like this, that would be good too)

Early in January I was on Twitter (as I often am) bemoaning my ability to make good fried rice at home and Heather Osborn, executive editor at Samhain, popped up to say she had an awesome recipe. The perfect recipe, she said. I nagged her to send it to me and she agreed. Unfortunately, because I’ve been gone more than I’ve been home (and I’m gone again as this posts) I haven’t had a chance to test this out myself, but it’s on my menu for when I return! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Heather’s fried rice.

As you can see from the recipe below, I improvise quite a bit! Feel free to modify to your own tastes — as long as you follow the basic proportions, you should have some great fried rice! This recipe is really flexible and simple, so feel free to experiment with what you like best! Heather

INGREDIENTS:

Rice (2-4 cups, cooked and at least one day old. Fresh rice makes awful fried rice! It should be a bit dry. I usually use a medium grain Asian white rice, but a long grain would probably work okay as well.)

Meat (About 6 to 8 ounces, minimum, chopped small – maybe ¼ inch cubes?)

Onions/Green Onions (About ½ medium onion, diced same size as meat, or 3 to 4 green onions, chopped)

Oil (1-2 Tablespoons, or enough to coat the bottom of the pan)

Eggs (Depending on how much rice, between 2 to 4)

Soy Sauce (to taste)

Peas/Carrots (to taste – maybe 1-2 cups?)

DIRECTIONS:

Heat either wok or non-stick skillet on medium heat

(1), use enough oil to coat bottom of pan – 1-2 Tablespoons should be enough. When oil is hot, add meat and onion

(2). Saute until onion softens a bit – you don’t want to brown the onion, just make it translucent. Add rice and stir together. Now, let it cook for a couple minutes without stirring

(3). After a few minutes, stir the rice and let it sit for a few more minutes without stirring. Once you start seeing some of it crisp up a little bit and get a little color, add the soy sauce

(4). This is purely to taste. I tend to like my fried rice a bit salty, so I probably use close to a third of a cup, total. I suggest adding a few tablespoons, stirring and then tasting. You can always add more soy sauce when it’s done, so try not to go overboard now!

(5)Now for the eggs. Some people beat the eggs and then add them raw into the rice and stir to combine, which distributes the eggs throughout the rice. I prefer to scramble them in a separate pan and then add them to the rice already cooked. This makes for larger pieces of eggs, which I like. However you decide to do it, add your eggs now and stir to combine.

(6)Finally, add your peas and carrots. I use a bag of frozen peas or frozen peas & carrots. The heat of the fried rice will warm these up very quickly, so all you need to do is add them, stir to combine, and then after a minute or two, turn off the heat. Voila! Fried rice. Yum!

TIPS:

1. I just use a non-stick skillet – I don’t own a wok!

2. My mom used to add almost any sort of meat to this – left over chicken, pork, ribs, steak, etc. It’s a great way to re-use leftovers! The true Guamanian style fried rice uses Spam (1 can). That’s how I make it when I am craving it!

3. This part is super hard, because you really really want to stir! But resist! With a non-stick skillet, sticking shouldn’t be a problem, and you really want some of the rice to get crispy and lightly browned. Only some of it though – there’s no need to fry it to death!

4. For normal brands, I highly recommend Kikkoman. Good quality and taste. No LaChoy! Oh, and I don’t like the low sodium versions – I think it gives it a funny aftertaste. I’d rather just use less of the regular stuff.

Weekly menu: 1/9/11-1/15/11

This will be my last weekly menu for awhile. Starting January 16th, I’ll be traveling the next three weeks (Toronto, New York and Chicago) so my family is going to have to fend for themselves, I’m sorry to say. If I was more organized, I could probably make and freeze some things, but, well, I’m not that organized!

Because I was sick almost all of last week, I didn’t get to completely follow my menu, so I’m taking one of the planned items for this week.

Today: spaghetti and meatballs, french bread, salad (my daughter danced and screamed when I said this is what we were having. Her favorite meal!)

Monday: Roast chicken, mashed cauliflower, mashed potatoes and green beans (from last week’s menu)

Tuesday: Fried sausage and potatoes. An easy meal and a family favorite.

Wednesday: Thai Basil Chicken (my brother’s favorite)

Thursday: Capellini Pomodoro (by request from Josh)

Friday: leftovers, if we have any

Saturday: Pizza casserole

Sunday (before I leave): Boilermaker Chili

I’m hoping that with Saturday and Sunday’s meals, they’ll be able to eat leftovers for a few days while I’m gone!

What’s on your menu?

As a side note, the print option on posts is now back, so if you want to print the recipes, you can easily do so.

Weekly menu: 9/11-9/17

Over on Whipped Out, I used to do weekly menus where I would share what was for dinner at my house over the course of the week. Not that I think anyone cares exactly what we’re eating, but it’s so much easier for me when I have a plan, and I am always interested in what other people are eating because it gives me ideas for new things.

I slacked off on a weekly menu over the summer, because we did a lot of grilling and not a lot of cooking. It’s hard to get excited about bigger meals in the summer, don’t you think? We ate a lot of steak, chicken and hot dogs/brats. But now that B is in school and cooler temperatures are here, I’m ready to start thinking about cooking again.

This week, one of my goals is to cook with meat from the freezer and other items from the pantry. We have plenty of both so it shouldn’t be too difficult, though we may need to supplement with a few fresh veggies. We’ll see. Also, this week my brother is out of town, so there’s one less person eating (and he does eat a lot) so I need to manage leftovers differently this week.

Saturday: Mexican casserole (recipe here) accompanied by cornbread. I’m going to try a new cornbread recipe.

Sunday: Josh’s General Tso’s chicken. Recipe here.

Monday: Chili using stew meat (recipe here). Leftover cornbread. This can be done in the crockpot so it’s ready when we get home from swim lessons.

(I’d rather have stew with stew meat but I’m the only person in my house who likes stew, sadly)

Tuesday: Frozen tortellini with jarred spaghetti sauce. Something quick and easy because Tuesdays are soccer practice.

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Butter chicken. I do have a recipe for this here, but I’m going to use a special jar of sauce I got from Canada!

Friday: Grilled pork chops (marinade here) with crash potatoes ( recipe here). Random veggie (probably green beans for family and spaghetti squash for me. Found a new recipe here I’m dying to try)

Now, keep in mind, this is just my guideline menu. If something comes up, if we don’t have leftovers or I decide I’m too tired to cook, then the menu changes as needed. But the main goal for this week is still to eat in and eat from the freezer/pantry. So far, I see that I’d need to pick up some fresh ginger (for General chicken) and the spaghetti squash. Otherwise we have what we need!

What’s on your menu?

Other Cooks in the Kitchen…Leftovers edition

Screen shot 2009-11-28 at 3.14.52 PM.pngI don’t know about you, but I’m already tired of turkey. But we still have turkey leftovers and it WILL get used. I hate throwing leftovers away. Today for lunch we had homemade turkey soup (recipe coming Tuesday) and tomorrow for dinner we’ll be having Turkey Pot Pie topped with Garlic Biscuits. And that, I hope, will be the last of the turkey. But I love to see what other people are doing with their leftovers, so I gathered a few links.

At Baking Bites, she’s making leftover turkey sandwiches with cranberry-barbecue sauce. I have to tell you, I do have leftover cranberry sauce because I’m the only one who eats it (but I still make it myself). She’s also got other leftover sandwich ideas for you to try out.

The Kitchn at Apartment Therapy gives several posts with ideas for leftovers, including hand pies, panfried stuffing, sweet potato and cornbread hash w/gravy, and turkey pot pie.

Serious Eats also has a turkey pot pie recipe, along with a whole post of other ideas to explore (mmm, chili?)

For the most unique leftover recipe, it’s The Barefoot Kitchen Witch and Thanksgiving wontons. I actually had a similar recipe printed out and bought the wonton wrappers last year at Thanksgiving to make these, but never actually did. Now I wish I had wonton wrappers in the house so I could do this for dinner tonight.

Anyone have any other great leftover recipes or ideas to share?

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