Friday, October 21, 2011

In the kitchen...

I am so glad this week is over!  It has been emotionally exhausting, and I've been fighting off a migraine for several days as well (maybe the two are related???).  So, instead of delving into something philosophical or educational, or whatever, I'm sharing some kitchen tips and ideas, poached eggs via two methods, and a bit of random stuff just for fun...

My regular readers may remember my son's request to learn to cook eggs in "every way."  Well, we got around to poached eggs and tried two methods: Alton Brown's "slide them in gently" and Julia Child's whirlpool frenzy.  Alton's is easier, but Julia's results in a prettier finished product:
Julia Child method on the left, Alton Brown on the right.      
The Alton Brown method (read about in one of our cookbooks) called for cracking your egg into a small dish or ramekin, then gently sliding it into the simmering pot of water.  First of all, a bit scary because the only way to gently slide it in is to get your hand and the dish close to the surface of the really hot water.  But, we managed.  The result is the lumpy looking egg on the right.  The yolk somehow broke as we slid the egg in and the white went all gooey and spread out, so I used a spoon to try to push it all back into shape.  In fact, I threw away our first attempt because it was just gross and stringy bits of white with a cooked yolk.

The Julia Child method, called for whisking the water into a whirlpool frenzy and cracking the egg over the center of the vortex.  The method was supposed to yield a nicely rounded egg, which it did!  At first, I was a bit skeptical as there were bunches of stringy bits of white floating around, but once the whirlpool effect slowed, I saw that our egg had indeed kept a nice shape!  The hardest part was whisking and sliding the egg in without stopping or slowing the motion of the water too much - whisk like crazy, pull the whisk out, slip the egg in!  I did decide to crack the egg into a ramekin via Alton's suggestion and it was much easier than trying to crack it directly over the spinning water.

Next bit o' business....I mentioned nutritional yeast as a topping for popcorn.  This is the stuff we use, and it gives a lovely almost parmesan cheese flavor:

Have I mentioned that we really like jello?  Yep, we do...especially raspberry flavor, or lime flavor.  And, if we wait long enough, it goes on sale for 8-cents per large box! But, I hate to make a whole bowlful and have it gone in a day because a large bowl means less portion control.  Well, over this past summer we bought lots of packages of Italian ices (with coupons, and on sale), and I saved and washed the cups.  I also saved and washed yogurt cups (So Delicious brand coconut yogurt is amazing!).  They are the *perfect* size for jello servings!  Make your jello, then portion it out into the cups!  A large box of jello is perfect for eight servings.  Of course, you can also buy small plastic containers with lids that work well too...

And, maybe you have a problem with leftovers getting eaten when you had planned to save them for a meal later in the week?  When I make a dish that we both love, I purposely make extra and portion it out to be eaten for two meals during the week.  It is a bonus if I also end up with a snack portion.  Well, several years ago, while living at my mom's house, we had salmon for dinner - one of my all time favorite foods! - and there were leftovers.  My mom very rarely prepared leftovers for meals, so I assumed it was ok to eat the leftover salmon as lunch the next day.  Wow, was I wrong! I was in so much trouble! She had been saving it for another dinner.  But, how was I to know? No one told me, it wasn't labeled, and it was rare for us to have leftovers.  A few times we've had the same problem, with JP eating food I wanted to serve as another, last night, I labeled the leftovers and snack portion - a simple "NO" and "YES" were sufficient!  By the way, that is peppered beef goulash cooked in the crockpot, and leftover rice.  Although I prefer a vegetarian (even vegan) diet most of the time, I do love salmon, and the occasional meat dish (please don't hate me, veggie people of the world!)...

Last little tidbit, and then some fun postcards received this week...

JP was not feeling well this week, so I picked up some ginger ale for his tummy.  I used to love raspberry ginger ale but can't find it at any store (I think it was made by Schweppes but not positive...).  So, I bought the ginger ale, as well as a small bottle of juice (pomegranate-blueberry).  Oh my goodness!  Heavenly!!!

And, on to the postcard fun...we received three lovely cards this week, as well as a letter from my penpal in France.
From Belarus - a Russian fairy tale scene

The Baltic Sea, Poland

Hilarious card received from a girl in Great Britain


  1. Wow! I had no idea that poaching eggs could be such an art. Egg-cooking is a very important skill to have, especially for a young man.

    I haven't sent anything in the mail in over a decade, but one day you will get a postcard from Guatemala.

    Love the recycled jello containers!

  2. Gabriela, I know...who knew there were so many ways to cook eggs, let alone so many methods for each??? We do omelets a lot but I'm scared to try the Julia Child method which involves shaking and jiggling the pan a lot.

    We would be thrilled to get a postcard from Guatemala, and to send one back! :)


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