Thursday, October 30, 2014

Reaching Egg Nirvana

Soft boiled eggs. I usually hated the prospect of running into uncooked whites so avoided them at all costs but lately.....

My lovely bride started ordering poached eggs and I thought them way too fussy to cook on my own and several attempts left me cold.  Then I encountered a few web sites that touted perfect methods of egg cookery and I had to try again but this time not poached but soft boiled. A soft boiled egg is basically poached but in the shell right? I reached egg nirvana with minimum fuss but you have to mind the clock. Easy to do.

In a pan with a cover, boil 1/2" of water. Place into the pan at boiling point a cold extra large egg.  Cover and countdown 6 minutes 30 secs.  How easy can that be right from the fridge and as many as you like. The secret being the small amount of water comes back to a boil instantly. The timing is the key element here. I would imagine 30 seconds less for a large egg.  After the time is up, run the egg under cold water to stop cooking and peel. Lovely dreamy tender whites and yolks that run but have just enough consistency not to be out of control. Perfection on a plate over a buttered toast or muffin.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pan Seared Veal with creamed Cauliflower and Broccoli

 Sometimes, it takes a while to cook a dish, as this did,  and the results are less than stellar. I am not all that familiar with veal cuts and the Veal Chops we purchased looked a bit odd as there was little to no bone (note to self, pick your meat carefully)

The recipe for Pan Seared Veal Chops with Creamy Mushroom gravy took a surprising long time to cook so I had a lot invested here but the outcome was so so and the 'chops' were incredibly gristly and unappetizing.  Would I do this again? Yes, but with a more careful selection of meat product.

1 Tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
4 veal chops rib bone in
1 medium onion diced

2 cloves minced garlic
1 pound wild mushrooms cleaned and sliced
1/4 dry white wine

2 cups chicken stock**
1 c heavy cream**

Heat 1 tbs butter and oil in large heavy pan. Add chops and sear till golden brown about 5-6 minutes per side. Set aside.

In the same pan add the onions and saute till softened about 5 minutes add garlic and cook 30 secs more.  Add the mushrooms and cook, tossing occasionally until they release their liquid and cook till the liquid has evaporated. add the wine and using a spoon, scrape up all the browned bits and reduce the until the liquid is gone then add the stock and cream.Add the chops back to the pan and bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover for about 30 minutes. Continue cooking uncovered for additional 20-25 minutes till the sauce is thickened and the chops are tender.

**Actually, that's a lot of liquid to thicken up in 20 minutes so use less or use a thickener like Wondra  or Buere Blanc.  I would use a bit less personally, about half of each.

Season with salt and pepper.

Creamy Cauliflower
 1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
1/2 cup sharp white cheddar or aged Asiago
1/4 c cream

Microwave or steam a head of cauliflower that has been separated into florets until quite soft.
Process with immersion blender till smooth adding the cream and cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

New Toy...Great Pizza

I read a post one of my bloggers wrote while on vacation who aquired a pizza oven that fit on the grill.  I became a little obsessed with a crusty pie since nothing like it existed in Mexico.

Bed Bath and Beyond carried a few on clearance so I picked one up.

I happened to make a batch of dough a few days earlier and it was in the fridge cold rising so I let that come to room temp before working it into a couple of crusts. I let the oven heat on the grill for 30 minutes or more and it was in the zone around 700 degrees. Now I cannot, for the life if me, get a crust off the peel so I use a bit of parchment to make life easier. The results of the high temp was amazing. Bubbly edges, crusty bottom, perfect pizza. Delish!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Another Year In Mexico

We had something special to celebrate this year and were fortunate to have our great friends Matt and Lori as well as Mackenzie, Ben and Christian come along for the ride. Our booking was delayed as we hoped Nick's schedule would allow him to join and as a result our usual haunt, Playa Mujeres,  was booked. He could not come with us and we ended up at the sister resort, Riviera Cancun,  south of Cancun. An older and decidedly less friendly version of our favorite resort we had a few small issues with service and trying to seat all of us at a meal. The concierge was rude and helpless but the restaurants tried to be accommodating but you could tell they were a little exasperated.

The food was pretty good but the outstanding dinner was at Chez Isabel with a Sea Bass that made you wanna smack your grandma. So good we went back for seconds.The Asian Spice restaurant was outstanding also. I had lasagna at the Italian place but it had a decidedly Mexican funk to it and I did not care for it at all.

The resort was well kept but the raft situation around the pool was laughable. They were like rare gems as guests stored them in rooms never to be seen. The security was ever vigilant and picked up your stuff after 40 minutes unattended even if you were in the pool right in front of it. Weird.

Brenda had created gift bags for all with a clever T shirt marking my 60th birthday. We had a great time with the kids but missed our absent members and a few who tried to book too late and found the resort full.  Next year we plan to book early and back at our favorite spot. Another year older and a little wiser.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Roasted Tomato Soup

Jill stopped by the office the other morning bearing the fruits from her brother's farm in Iowa. a box of assorted goodies included some bright yellow tomatoes that were getting past their prime so had to be processed quickly to preserve their integrity.


I started by selecting a few reds of our own, halving them and pulping them over a strainer to catch the juices. About 16 tomatoes yielded about 1 1/2 cups of tomato juice in a peachy color due to the mix of yellows and reds. I set this aside for later and proceeded to sprinkle the rest with olive oil and salt, throw in a few cloves of garlic and roast at 400 degrees for about an hour.

I threw everything including the reserved juice into the processor and whizzed away. In a large sauce pan I heated some butter and olive oil and sauteed a medium onion, 3 cloves of garlic and 1 teaspoon  of dried thyme. Normally I would use fresh basil but with the temperature dipping my basil is gone for the season. I added 1 tub of Knorr's Chicken broth with a cup of water and the pureed tomato mix. Still needing a little something to push it over the edge I added a 1/4 c grated Parmesan. That seemed to do the trick. The yellow tomatoes are very sweet so a little salt mellowed it out a bit.

Roasted Tomato Soup

2 pound ripe tomatoes halved and pulped, juice reserved
Olive oil for tomatoes and later for making soup
1 medium onion chopped
6 cloves of garlic, 3 roasted, 3 plain and minced
1 teas dried thyme
1 tub Knorr's Homestyle Stock (chicken)
1-2 cups water
1/4 c cream
1/4 c Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste


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