Posts Tagged ‘cook’

Easy as Eggs

January 24, 2014

Although I haven’t written about what I’ve cooked recently, doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking. Winter is such a great time for getting four dishes going at once, the oven and stove heating the room, steaming the windows, providing the warm comfort of home cooked nourishment. It was so comforting, in fact, that I shunned my computer, choosing instead to bury my hands under blankets while watching old TV shows.

In our third week of more-freezing-than-remembered nights, I have resigned myself to the cold and pushed myself to tackle the projects that I can’t leave alone in warmer temperatures. One of those projects is writing about cooking.

Many recipes strike me as too boring or easy to write about so I wait until I make something extravagant, then decide that it’s too complicated to outline every step. Sometimes the best place to start is the simplest.

Today at lunch I broke open an egg atop my salad and giggled with satisfaction. It was perfectly cooked to just past soft boiled. As a child, I grew to hate hard boiled eggs, with their cakey yolk that stuck to the roof of my mouth. Wanting to add eggs to my salad but not the way I knew them, I read up on boiling eggs in Joy of Cooking. Could this magic equation of “bring egg to a boil then simmer for 4 minutes” really be the key to not over cooking a boiled egg?

a taste ingrained since childhood, a skill learned in adulthood

a taste ingrained since childhood, a skill learned in adulthood

In my experience, yes, it is. There is still variance in the heat provided by the different stoves, the point at which you decide the egg is boiling, and I think I occasionally turn out a hard boiled rather than soft-ish boiled egg. But this formula seems to work and as I break the egg open with a fork to find that dark yellow jelly consistency in the middle of the yolk, transporting me back to childhood where I learned to eat a soft boiled egg side-by-side with my grandfather, I smile, cherishing the color and consistency as much as the memories.

Soft-ish Boiled Egg

inspired by Joy of Cooking

  • 1-3 eggs
  1. Place the eggs in a small pot, covered with water.
  2. Bring the water just to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Simmer the eggs over low heat for 4 minutes.
  4. Rinse under cold water, peel and enjoy.

Notes and Variations

The part I have yet to master is peeling the egg. There are rumors that adding 1T of vinegar to the pot at the start will help the egg separate from the shell. I have not paid enough attention to this variable to have a conclusion. There are also theories about putting the eggs in the fridge after cooking, running it under cold water, peeling it immediately versus after it cools… I can never keep them straight. I need to follow up on this with a detailed account of my experimentation.

Explanation Please?

May 7, 2013

I have been very absent from this blog. It’s true, but fortunately for a good reason: a few weeks ago I finished classes and got a bachelor’s degree! I spent the last few months focusing on school work, mostly eating out, rarely touching the kitchen except for the rare omelet and daily dose of caffeinated tea.

I am happy to announce that I have returned to my beloved kitchen! Just last weekend I baked a pie and banana bread on Saturday then spent Sunday evening cooking until I fell asleep (in bed and after all burners were turned off!). And I can’t wait to cook some more!

I would like to say that I am going to be very diligent and update this weekly but I don’t want to set myself up for failure. It’s a goal at least, and one I’m going to aspire to. Without weekly assignments, readings, and monthly exams to keep me occupied, what else is there to do? Well, plenty. But I’m going to make sure writing about cooking is one of them.

Thanks for understanding my absence and continuing to read my recipes.

-Sarah J-

Boneless… Yet Dry As a Bone

September 23, 2012

Pork scares me. I don’t like to cook it. It never turns out right. Any time I have made pork loin before it was dry and inedible, even with a pile of sauce on it. Other times, I under cook meat for fear of it drying out. I leave pork to the experts and enjoy roast sandwiches, pulled pork BBQ, and ribs when I go out to eat.

Recently I inventoried my freezer in an attempt to use up the many sauces, leftovers, and concoctions that filled it. Two things I found gave me the courage to try the dreaded pork loin again: apple cider concentrate and cabbage. (Yes, I froze a quarter of a cabbage. There’s only so much of it one person can eat in a week.)

After a few words of encouragement from some pork-cooking friends and a lovely cut from a grocery store, I did some research. The clock was ticking on the meat in the fridge and I had a free morning to spend cooking and potentially salvaging a roast. I got out my standards: Joy of Cooking, Julia and Jacques, Grilling, and started taking notes.

Roast Pork Loin

Roast pork loin with onion.

That, my friend, is the picture of success. I culled tips and techniques from the cookbooks but followed my own instinct and fortunately, it was spot on. Finally, after 6 years of vegetarianism and 6 years of eating and cooking meat again, I have retrained myself to cook meat properly (I owe a lot of thanks to my themometer!).

Apple Cider Pork Loin

created by Sarah Johnson

Ingredients

  • small pork loin
  • 1-2T thyme
  • 1t salt
  • 1-2t pepper
  • 1-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2t mustard seed
  • 1T cumin seed
  • ½c apple cider concentrate
  • ½t tabasco sauce
  • small onion
  1. Mix the herbs together to make a dry rub for the pork (thyme, salt, pepper, garlic, mustard seeds, cumin).
  2. Coat the pork loin with the dry rub, wrap or cover and let sit for at least an hour or overnight.
  3. Mix the apple cider and tabasco. If using concentrate, thin it out 1:1. If using regular cider, add 1T brown sugar.
  4. Slice the onion into rounds and place on the bottom of the baking dish.
  5. Place the pork on top of the onions.
  6. Pour the cider mixture into the pan.
  7. Bake for about 90 minutes at 350F until the internal temperature is at least 150F (it will still be a bit pink).
  8. Baste! This is the most important part of keeping the meat from being dry. After the first 30min I baste about every 15min. I also check the temperature each time I baste which is a great way to keep from overcooking the meat.

Notes and Variations

This is a simple recipe. The beauty of pork and many other meats is that they are a blank canvas for you to use your favorite palette of tastes. I used this relatively standard seasoning mixture but any blend will do. The simplest way to make this recipe is with herbs de Provence. Since this frequently comes in a jar, the steps are open jar, rub seasoning on meat, bake.

One other important note about this recipe is that it was inspired by turkey. My go-to Thanksgiving recipe for turkey is courtesy of Jacques Pépin. The basting liquid in this recipe uses apple cider with a touch of tabasco sauce. I like the way it tastes so sweet with just a touch of spice that you can’t quite figure out. It seemed like an appropriate flavor for bland pork and I believe I was correct!