In My Kitchen, September 2013

I nearly choked when I saw how many months have passed since I did one of Celia’s In My Kitchen Posts! Since this happens to be a long weekend in the US, I’m making time to do one this month.

Here goes!

In my kitchen this summer, is an egg plate that holds 6 deviled eggs. I loved the small version. Now Robert and I can have deviled eggs without having to make a whole dozen just to fill up the plate. (Yeah, I’m obsessive like that) I think it’s funny how the depressions in the photo have the optical illusion of being convex rather than concave.

6-egg Egg Plate

I’ve been pickling up a storm this summer.

Vegetables ready to pickle!

Vegetables ready to pickle!

Pickling Cukes

Pickling Cucumbers

I hope we have enough to last us this  winter. I’ve made Sweet Pickle Chips, Half Sours, Dill Pickles, Pickled Cauliflower, Pickled Beets, Pickle Relish.

When I was done pickling, I made jams.

Simmering whole fig and lemon jam

Simmering whole fig and lemon jam

Blueberry, Lemon and Thyme, Strawberry Basil Balsamic and Whole Fig and Lemon.

Strawberries and basil

Strawberries and basil

Blueberry, Lemon and Thyme Jam

Blueberry, Lemon and Thyme Jam

These two were also in the jam batch: Peach, Pepper with Ginger, and Mint Jelly. I used natural pectin by using grated apple peel.

Grate apple peel for pectin

Grate apple peel for pectin

While the canner was out, and to take advantage of 4 gallons of boiling water, I also threw together a batch of Heirloom Tomato Salsa, Homemade Ketchup, and Dijon Style Mustard and our own processed Horseradish.

Horseradish Root

Horseradish Root. See the sprout on the end? It sprouted so now it’s growing in the garden. In a pot since I understand it spreads and is hard to control. I just cut the sprouted bit off, stuck it in some dirt and before too long it grew.

Processed Horseradish, for the perfect Bloody Mary!

Processed Horseradish, for the perfect Bloody Mary! I love horseradish on most any protein with a squirt of fresh lemon

Homemade Condiments

Homemade Condiments

The “PING!” of cooling jars seemed to be non-stop for several days.

Now I have to find somewhere to store all these jars!

I found this great bowl and sauce server in the cabbage Leaf patters by Majorca Ware; I just love it!

Cabbage Leaf bowl and Sauce Server

Cabbage Leaf bowl and Sauce Server

What’s happening in your kitchen?

Sweet Pickle Chips

Sweet Pickle Chips

How to Boil an Egg and what to make with them

How to boil an egg is a basic procedure that needs to have a couple of “rules” to follow in order to turn out right.

There are a few suggestions on what to do with your hard-boiled eggs after you master the technique at the end of this post.

So often the yolks have a dark green sulfur ring around them and the whites are rubbery rather than tender. This happens from the eggs being overcooked or being old after they are cooked. The reason they start to stink when they age is due to the sulfur content which is also what makes the green ring around the yolk form, a simple chemical reaction.

You can avoid this and have beautiful boiled eggs by following this method and eating them soon after.

Start with cold water, cover by 1 inch

Bring to a boil, add salt

The rules are simple:

  • Start with cold water.
  • Bring to a boil
  • Add salt (only after the water boils)
  • Boil for 10 minutes

    Set timer for 10 minutes

  • Cool quickly in cold water

Cool by running cold water over the cooked eggs until they cool

Cool under cold water

down. You will need to change the water as it warms up from the hot eggs. Keep the water cool and in about 15 minutes you will have perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs.

A perfectly cooked hard-boiled egg is yellow throughout the yolk

Perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs

and the whites are tender.

Using this method, they

Gently tap to crack the shell all over

should be easy to peel. Gently tap the shell on the counter until it cracks. Gently roll the egg so the shell gets cracked all over; then peel the shell off.

Starting with cold water and adding salt after the boil all contribute to successful peeling.

A lot of Europeans will leave their eggs out on the counter, in the US we keep them in the refrigerator. Either way, it is best to start with cold water. Place the eggs in the pot, fill with cold water to cover the eggs by at least an inch or more. This helps keep the eggs from cracking due to temperature change.

Use a pot that can comfortably hold all the eggs you are boiling neatly on the bottom of the pot. There should be enough room for them to roll a little, but not too much. (See the photo of the eggs in the pot earlier in this post) Some people put a small towel in the bottom to cushion the eggs. This is totally unnecessary, but you can do it if you like.

Add salt after the water comes to a boil. This saves the bottom of your cookware from getting pitted from years of salting cold water. Save your cookware, salt only after water boils.

Some people will save the egg cooking water for plants, I don’t due to the salt.

Carefully peel, rinse and dry

The eggs will absorb some of the salt while boiling.

Here is a traditional Southern dish named “Deviled Eggs“. I have always been around Deviled Eggs so I am not sure how well-known they are in other parts of the world.

Here in the South, we have dishes known as “egg plates” made specifically for holding Deviled Eggs. I used to have several in different styles but alas, I no longer own an egg plate. Not even an egg plate shaped like a holiday wreath, not a glass one nor a china one. Where did they go? It’s not like I swore off ever making deviled eggs again. Puzzling how things come and go. Maybe one day I decided I would rather have the space than the egg plates. I don’t recall making that decision.

Be careful when adding the pickle relish. Don’t add too much liquid or else  your egg filling will be runny. If that happens add some cheese or bread crumbs or go commercial and add xanthan gum to thicken it back up. You could always boil some more eggs too.

Here is the recipe:

Deviled Eggs

  • 6 eggs, hard-boiled, split in half.
  • 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon Sweet Pickle Relish
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Capers
  • Chives or scallion for garnish

Remove the yolks from the whites, place the yolks in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mash

Tray of Deviled Eggs garnished with scallion green, caper and chive flower

together with a fork until smooth.

Adjust the quantities of the ingredients to match the yolks and your personal taste.

Perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs
Remove yolks to make filling for Deviled Eggs

Spoon the yolk mixture back in to the whites. Top each with a bias cut chive or scallion green.

Deviled Eggs

Sprinkle lightly with sweet paprika and finely ground black pepper.

What else can you do with hard-boiled eggs?

Add them to tuna salad, make egg salad for sandwiches, slice and serve with spinach salad, make Pad Thai and sprinkle chopped hard boiled eggs, peanuts and cilantro over the noodles.

Personally, I can eat them sprinkled with a touch of Fleur de sel.

Spinach Salad

Main thing to remember, start with cold water and boil only for 10 minutes.

Cooking Note: A “BOIL” is 212°F or when the bubbles roll rapidly and break the surface of the water.

Use hard-boiled eggs in Salad Nicoise

This past week

During this past week I have had some time off to get some projects off of my need to do list.

This is what I have been up to:

  • Taxes are done! Until next year. Every year I say I’m going to keep track of records so there isn’t so much to do at the end of the year. Right.
  • Nurturing sourdough cultures into some wonderful bread
    • The cultures had sat in the back of the fridge for over a week, neglected. I was afraid they were dying but after some TLC, Voila! Lively sourdough cultures.
    • I used Amaranth flour and discovered a wonderful green corn silk flavor which turns nutty when toasted
    • I made enough bread for the neighborhood. I love working with the dough. Something about it that I can’t explain
  • Located a commercial kitchen for the production of the condiment line we have been working on for a couple of years.
    • It is amazing how hard these facilities are to find.
    • Now for the details of product liability insurance, leases, USDA labeling compliance etc.
    • Finalizing all of the marketing materials from labels, cards, point of sale materials etc.
    • Lining up spaces in farmers markets to begin marketing
      • Design table display
      • Develop standard product demonstrations
    • Releasing product samples to a sales rep for larger sales and markets
  • Created some great meals that should have been on Spoon Feast
    • Crispy chicken thighs with green Thai sauce over coconut rice
      • Thai green sauce is a recipe in development and simply knock your socks off delicious!
    • Black Bean Soup
    • Grilled Steaks with classic salad and baked potatoes
    • Chicken breasts with lemon rosemary
    • Salmon salad on toasted homemade bread
    • Oven “fried” cod fillets with Thai green sauce (see above) and jasmine rice
    • Deviled Eggs, a true Southern dish

I suppose I should have been blogging about these dishes but didn’t.

I just wanted to cook without documentation.

  • Listened to French moviesall day just to hear the language.
    • I was inspired by Becoming Madame to find more ways to immerse myself into the process of learning French.
  • Registered for a digital photography class Saturday afternoon
    • I am very excited about this one!

I’ll be back on the regular blogging schedule by tomorrow.

In the meantime, the orchid has started blooming, soil is warming, the coffee is hot, and it is going to be a glorious day.

Life is good.