Okay, you’re all going to laugh at me this time. I apparently can’t make hard-boiled eggs. I am the laughingstock of the culinary world.
See, I wanted to make some hard-boiled eggs for salads. I used the Rouxbe method: bring cold salted water to a boil, add eggs, reduce heat to a simmer, set timer for 12 minutes, then when the time’s up place eggs into an ice bath to stop cooking and prevent the grey ring around the yolk that has been a feature of every single hard-boiled egg I’ve ever eaten. I let mine sit under running cold water because I don’t have ice in the house right now, but what the heck. If they had the grey ring, I’d live.
Left them in the fridge until dinnertime. Took one out. Cracked it on the counter. The whites were still runny, let alone the yolk!
I think what did it in the end is that my “simmer” was closer to a “poach.” I know, I know: bad chef, walking away from the kitchen before verifying the temperature. Mea maxima culpa.
Anyway, they’re back in some hot water now. (New method: put eggs in cold salted water, bring to a boil, take off heat, let sit for 20 minutes, drain and cover with cold water, let sit for 15 minutes.) They will almost undoubtedly have the grey ring. I honestly don’t care at this point.
So… there you go. My shameful confession. You may all take this brief moment to revel in your superior technique and let me know how you make your hard-boiled eggs.
Update: After the second cooking (method mentioned in penultimate paragraph), the eggs are actually perfect: hard-cooked all the way through but no sulfur ring. Yay!
Friends, I have a confession: I’m 29 years old and I’ve never made a meatloaf.
I decided that that situation needed to change. Tonight. Marc started a new, physically demanding job this week and he’s been coming home very tired. And while my normal meals tend to run semi-vegetarian (mostly to save money), I decided that tonight my man deserved meat. And since we don’t have a barbeque, I’d try something else.
After hunting around some of my favorite food blogs, I found this recipe from The Kitchn. It looked promising, and moreover it looked pretty simple. I decided to try it.
But oh, nothing that be that simple, can it?
A few weeks ago, I stumbled across this post, where a blogger was pointing out some signs that she’s become a pretty decent cook. It’s titled “10 signs you’re becoming a better cook.”
I, alas, am not as far along as the blogger in question. But I am getting better. So I decided to compile my own list of milestones. Call it the newbie edition.
Ten signs you’re becoming a better cook, the newbie edition:
1. You are willing to attempt recipes that once intimidated you.
2. You ask friends for recipes instead of assuming you can’t replicate a dish.
3. You assume your cooking attempts will not end in disaster.
4. Your cooking only rarely results in inedible dishes or injury.
5. You seriously desire a proper chef’s knife.
6. Your boyfriend defers to you when cooking certain dishes.
7. You can cook a stew or chili for D&D night and receive compliments.
8. Your baked goods rarely last more than a day or two before they’re gone.
9. You are willing to experiment with produce that’s on sale at the grocery store.
10. Your primary emotion while cooking is usually calm, not panic.
Last week, whole chicken was on sale at my local grocery store for 99 cents a pound. I don’t usually buy meat (mostly due to the price), but this was too good to pass up. We bought two whole chickens for about $5.50. Now, obviously Marc and I can’t eat two whole chickens before they go bad, so I turned to the mighty knowledge of the Internet to tell me how to cut up a chicken. I wound up with sixteen chicken pieces (eight per chicken), all of which I froze except for two chicken breasts that Marc and I were going to eat that evening.
Well, one thing led to another, and Marc and I weren’t able to eat the chicken on Friday. Or Saturday. Or Sunday, or yesterday. So now it’s Tuesday, and I figured I really should cook the chicken breasts before went bad. Problem: I wasn’t in the mood to do anything fancy, and (impossible as it is to believe) I’ve never cooked just plain chicken breasts before. Even after I figured out how to debone them (worked better on the second piece than the first, but overall a success), I still had no idea what the heck to do with them. What was a fast, easy, and efficient way to cook chicken breasts?
Coincidentally, the Internet dropped the answer into my lap this afternoon in the form of a blog post from The Kitchn. The method is extremely simple: pound the big ends until the pieces are about even, dredge in flour with some salt and pepper. Heat pan to medium-high and add some butter and olive oil. Allow to melt, reduce heat to medium, and add the chicken. Cook for one minute. Flip. Cover and turn the heat to low. Do not peek! Cook for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and cook for another ten minutes. And that’s it.
It turned out surprisingly moist and tasty. This would make excellent meat to go on a chicken salad or as fillings for a wrap or something. Definitely going to remember this method!
(Though, for future reference, I’d be happy to hear other peoples’ tips and tricks for chicken cooking.)
It has been a perpetual resolution of mine to learn to cook. Really, I can’t do much beyond making pasta, simple sauces / stir fries, and grilled cheese. I can mess up the simplest of dishes. Admittedly, the furthest I’ve come to actually acting on this goal was to watch a lot of video cooking podcasts, but I digress.
So tonight I found myself with a fair amount of free time, staring into pantries, fridge, and freezer.
“Hm… (I thought,) I’ve got pasta and rice; I’m sure I could make one of those.”
“Hm… (I contemplated,) I’ve got canned tuna and salmon that I bet I could do something with. I’ve got canned corn, vegetables, baked beans, meat sauce, and soup. I’ve got fresh garlic, onions, and eggs I’ve been meaning to use. I’ve got frozen chicken strips, lamb chops, and hot dogs that could be turned into something.”
I stared. I pondered. I stared some more.
I made myself a TV dinner.
(On the other hand, if someone can suggest something moderately easy I could have cooked with the above ingredients, I’d be very grateful. They’ll still be there tomorrow at lunchtime… and dinnertime.)