HERE COMES PETER Cotton Tail, hopping down the bunny trail... and Peter is bringing 3 dozen hard boiled, multi-colored eggs. What to do with them all? Well, there are egg salad sandwiches, hard boiled eggs for breakfast or snacks and... and... deviled eggs! My grandmother made this simple recipe when I was a child and it couldn't be easier.
Peel the eggs carefully and cut them in half. Remove the yolks and put them in a small mixing bowl.
Add the mayonnaise and salt. Using a fork, smash the yolks and mix them with the other ingredients until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Add the relish and mix it thoroughly.
Put the mixture into a small sandwich bag and push out all the air before sealing it. Cut a small hole in one corner. Squeeze all of the yolk mixture into the corner with the hole and carefully pipe it into each of the egg-white halves.
You may garnish each with olive rounds, pimiento pieces, a small bit of relish or other decoration. Finally, sprinkle the deviled eggs with a dash of paprika. Chill and enjoy!
SPAETZLE MEANS LITTLE SPARROW in German, but you'll find no poultry in this dish - instead it's basically an egg noodle that can be served with a number of different things like sausages or sauteed vegetables or any number of sauces. One of our family's favorite comfort foods on a crisp April evening is spaetzle served with spicy rich goulash.
This recipe for basic spaetzle will serve two to three people, but it is easy to double or even triple it for more homemade noodle goodness.
Mix the flour, nutmeg and 1/2 tsp salt together thoroughly in a medium-sized bowl. Add the two eggs and about half of the milk and stir thoroughly. Continue adding the milk, little by little, until you have a thin paste consistency. Set the mixture aside for about 20 minutes so that the bubbles of air trapped within it can rise to the top and escape. About 10 minutes into the resting time, put about 3 quarts of water plus the 1/8 cup of salt on the stove to boil. When it begins to boil, turn it down to just below a boil. You want the water to be hot but not bubbling.
Prepare a large skillet by putting the 2-3 Tbs of butter in it and turning it on to medium-low heat. It should be hot and ready when you begin making the spaetzle, as you will need to transfer them immediately from the hot water to the skillet.
To make the spaetzle, you will need something with holes in it to drop the spaetzle dough into the hot water. Special spaetzle makers are available in kitchen stores, but I use a large grater, and it works just fine. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the dough onto the grater and allow it to drip through, using the back of a spoon to push through any remaining dough. The dough will sink in the water, but in a minute or so, it will rise to the top. You may need to give it a gently stir the keep the noodles from clumping at the bottom.
Use a slotted spoon or small sieve to scoop the spaetzle out of the hot water, and, after letting it drain for a few seconds, transfer them into the warm skillet and give them a little toss in the melted butter.
Scoop your next batch of dough onto the grater and repeat these steps until all of the dough is used. Once you have all of the little noodles in your skillet, turn up the heat and give them all a good toss in the butter. They should be plenty salty, but you may add a little sprinkle of salt if needed. Fry them for just a moment, until the first few show signs of getting slightly browned, then remove the skillet from the heat and serve them immediately with the toppings of your choice and enjoy!
SOMETIMES I WANT something a little sweet, but not too sweet, and the scone is a perfect thing to satisfy such a craving. Scones, much like muffins, are great because with a basic recipe, you can get a number of different flavors by changing just one or two ingredients.
In this recipe I used cinnamon and currants, but you can experiment with many other fruits, nuts or spices to get different flavors. Generally, you'll want about 1/2 cup of fruit and perhaps a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of spice.
Preheat oven to 400.
Mix all the dry ingredients together well, and add the butter cubes. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to incorporate the butter into the flour mixture thoroughly.
Once the butter is mixed in so that the texture is light and a little grainy looking but without any big chunks of butter, add the buttermilk or milk a few tablespoons at a time. Stir the buttermilk in and keep adding it little by little until you have a thick paste consistency.
On a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper, spoon the scones out about 1 1/2" inches apart. They will spread some as you cook them. Using a small spoon, sprinkle a bit of sugar over the top of each scone.
Put the scones in the oven and cook them for about 8 minutes. I recommend checking them at around 6 minutes, but it may take up to 10 minutes. I used a gluten-free bake mix to make these scones, and it never rises as well as wheat flour, but it still tastes great. Serve them warm for breakfast, snack or a midday not-too-sweet treat. Enjoy!
LAST WEEK WAS Spring Break for my family so we went down to Washington for a holiday. We got to have long leisurely lazy mornings and I had the time to make some big brunches. One of my favorite breakfast or brunch items is fried potatoes. They are relatively quick and easy to make; I have even made them on school mornings on occasion. This time I served them with sausage links and omelets, but they are pretty hearty on their own or with a little sausage cooked in with the potatoes. Here is the recipe to serve 3-4 people.
Cut the pototoes (well-washed, skins on) into approximately 1/2 inch pieces. Put the butter or oil in a large skillet and allow it to heat. Add the onions and cook them for about 2-3 minutes before adding the potato pieces and spices, mixing well to make sure the butter or oil coats the potatoes.
Turn the heat down low and put a lid over the skillet. Stir the potatoes every couple of minutes, until the potatoes are beginning to get soft. Remove the lid, turn up the heat and cook the potatoes, stirring often, until they begin to get a little golden brown.
If you wanted to cook the sausage in with the potatoes, put about 1 cup of uncooked sausage in the skillet with the butter or oil and cook it about half way before adding the onions, and then continue with the directions from above. Serve immediately and enjoy!
I LOVE MY pressure cooker. My mom bought it for me as a Christmas gift a few years ago, and I don't know how I lived without it before then. I cook many many meals in it, but one of my family's favorites is carnitas. Carnitas are sometimes cooked slowly in the oven, but I don't often have time to do it that way, so I cheat with my pressure cooker. If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can try using a crock pot for several hours until the meat falls apart.
Put all the ingredients into the pressure cooker and seal the lid. Cook it on high pressure (check your cooker's directions) for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the cooker to cool enough to be opened.
Remove the lid and use a potato masher to shred the meat. It should fall apart easily. Turn the heat up to high and stir often, allowing excess liquid to boil off.
When the liquid is boiled off, remove the pot from the heat and, serve with warm soft or crispy tortilla shells (flour or corn) depending on your preference. Garnish it as you like. I like mine with fresh chopped lettuce, red onion and cilantro. Cheese, salsa, sour cream and guacamole are also tasty toppers. Serve it with your favorite sides and enjoy!
EVERY TIME I have gone to the store lately, there have been the most lovely avocados. I have been eating them like mad. One of my favorite ways to eat them is in guacamole. Here is a recipe for quick, easy and delicious guacamole. No one in my house, except me, will eat avocado, so this recipe is guacamole-for-one, but this recipe is easy to multiply if you have multiple guac lovers in your house.
Halve the avocado and remove the pit. You can easily remove the pit by striking it gently with the knife blade (which should stick in there) and giving it a twist. The pit will pop right out.
Score each half of the avocado inside the skin two to three times up and down and across. Using a spoon, scoop the pieces out into a bowl. Add the chopped onion, and use a fork to smash the onion and avocado together.
The more you smash the onion with the avocado, the more flavor you will get. Add the chopped cilantro and the salt (to taste) to the mixture and stir them all together.
Serve immediately with your favorite tortilla chips, tacos, burritos, quesadillas or anything else you like.
Don't let it sit around for long because it will turn brown. Sometimes, I like to prepare the onion and cilantro in advance in a small container and pack the whole avocado in my lunch to be smashed together when I am ready to eat it. Enjoy!
WE HAVE SOME pretty extensive lists of food allergies in our house, and it can be very difficult to find prepared foods from the store that don't contain at least one of our forbidden foods. As a result, I have resorted to making my own versions of many of the things I used to just grab at the store. One of those things that I cannot seem to buy at the store is breakfast sausage - they all seem to have added ingredients that at least one person in our house can't eat, so we decided to make our own breakfast sausage at home.
This was our first time making sausage, but it came out well. Even our kitty, Coco, came out to help.
I recommend going to a meat specialty store to get your pork. Fatback can be difficult to find, and the butcher should be able to help you find a substitute if they don't have it. You can use bacon that has been boiled for a few minutes and drained as a substitute if necessary. Cut the pork into 1/2" pieces and mix the meat and fatback. Run the meat chunks and fatback chunks through a meat grinder together on a coarser setting. My grinder has two different plates; I used the more coarse grind for the first pass. Once you have all of the meat and fat ground, set it aside for a few minutes. Using a pestle and mortar, grind the spices and herbs together with the salt and sugar.
Sprinkle them over the meat as evenly as possible. Using your hands, mix the spices into the meat as well as you can.
Change the grinder setting to a finer grind and run the sausage mixture through it again. Now you have a big bowl of breakfast sausage.
You may store it as you like. We patted the sausage out into individual patties and put them into freezer bags with wax paper between the layers to thaw out for quick future breakfasts. Enjoy!
FOR VALENTINE'S DAY you can start showing the love from the very moment your sweetie(s) wake. But, I'm sure that you'll not want to get up hours early on a weekday morning to make heart-shaped belgian waffles with strawberry compote and hand-whipped cream. Despite what all the poets may tell you, love can be practical.
Here is a simple idea for a Valentine's Day breakfast that won't take much extra time and will let your dear ones know they are loved.
A Valentine's breakfast to warm your loved ones' hearts.
Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut 1 slice of ham per person and put the ham hearts in a skillet over medium heat. (Save the remainder of the ham, it can be cut into chunks for an omelette or quiche for another day's breakfast.) Wash the cookie cutter and dry it well.
Cut a heart from each of the slices of bread. Set the hearts aside for toast. Melt butter in a large skillet and place the pieces of bread in the skillet. Turn the ham so that it can brown a bit on both sides.
Crack each egg and pour it into one of the heart-shaped holes in each slice of bread. Cook the egg to each person's preferred doneness. The eggs could even be scrambled. Toast the hearts that were cut from the bread and cover them with jam.
Arrange the toast, eggs-in-bread (sometimes called eggs-in-a-hole, eggs-in-a-nest or Egyptian eggs) and ham on plates and enjoy!
Happy Valentine's Day!
EVERYONE LOVES CHOCOLATE, so here's a gooey chocolatey treat - and aphrodisiac cocktail - to end the evening with your Valentine this year.
Chef KTD Liz Madsen shows our producer, Sarah Gonzales, how to make a sweet, sexy and surprisingly easy dessert: molten chocolate cake and a "Persephone" cocktail that's sure to bring out the spring in anyone!
Molten Chocolate Cake
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
(Note: for those with dinner reservations, you can do steps 1-5 ahead of time, just let batter return to room temp before baking.)
Cheers and Happy Valentine's Day!
WILL IT EVER be warm again? This seems to be the longest cold spell ever. What could possibly help get us through this cold? Brownies! I know that there are a nearly limitless number of brownie flavors including, but not limited to, caramel-macchiato-hazelnut-butterscotch-chocolate-chip-mint-raspberry-swirl, but I tend to like the more basic versions.
Here is a recipe for brownies that is decadent but simple. Orange zest adds an extra complexity of flavor that elevates these sweets from ordinary to a "could I have that recipe?" level. I have made these for birthday celebrations, potlucks and more, but, most recently, I made them for my family to help us cozy up on a cold dark night.
1/2 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 c butter
1 c cocoa powder
1/2 c flour (or gluten-free flour substitute)
1/8 tsp salt
zest from one orange
Preheat oven to 350.
Take the butter and eggs out of the refrigerator at least half an hour before preparing the recipe so that they can come up to room temperature. When they are no longer cold, cream the eggs, butter and sugars together. Sift the cocoa, flour and salt together in a separate bowl, and then add them slowly to the creamed mixture, stirring as you go so that they mix evenly. When the ingredients are fairly well combined, add the orange zest and stir it in thoroughly.
Pour the mixture into a greased 9"x13" baking pan, spreading it out evenly. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, checking it every couple of minutes after about 35 minutes to see if it is done. Allow the brownies to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!