matcha fried rice

Matcha Fried Rice

Have you heard of matcha? I’m sure you have.  It is one of those “in” ingredients these days.  I have put of trying it because green tea ranks below most other flavors of tea in my book. I tend to prefer spicy/cinnamon or earl grey rather than the earthy flavor of green tea.

matcha fried rice

None the less, I was still intrigued. One of the hypes of matcha is the concentrated antioxidants it offers. Instead of steeping tea leaves in a bag, you are essentially consuming finely ground tea leaves. In addition to beverages, it has found its way into food items, even dessert.  I was determined to try it in an entrée and decided to make a version of my fried rice.  I started with my Ham Fried Rice recipe, and eliminated peas, ham, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and ginger. I added matcha as my replacement spice and a bit of baby tomatoes for added sweetness. The result was a light and refreshing Matcha Fried Rice that was well balanced.

matcha fried rice

This festive dish has been a fun lunch this week and I look forward to experimenting with matcha in other recipes.

Matcha Fried Rice

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced red onion
4 cups cooked long grain rice
1 1/2 teaspoons matcha
2 large eggs
½ cup baby tomatoes, chopped
4 green onions, chopped

 

Add 4 tablespoons of butter to the pan and heat until melted over medium-high heat. Add carrots, and onion, and saute for 3 minutes or until onions begin to soften. Immediately add the rice, and matcha, and stir until combined. Continue stirring for an additional 3-4 minutes to fry the rice. Keep warm.

Coat a non-stick pan with cooking spray then heat over medium heat. Add eggs, and cook until scrambled, stirring occasionally. Remove egg, and stir into rice mixture, along with the tomatoes and green onions.  Serve immediately.

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breakfast burritos

Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos

A few weeks back a friend asked me if you can freeze cooked eggs.  Even though cooking eggs usually doesn’t take too long, there are those mornings when you are running a bit late but you don’t want to scrimp on breakfast. I told her I’d do some experimenting (and a bit of research), which led to these breakfast burritos.  

breakfast burritos

From everything I read online it seemed that cooking and freezing eggs was easy, with a few simple tips.  First, undercook the eggs a bit as they will cook more on reheating.  Second, let any make ahead burrito contents cool before rolling to ensure the tortilla stays together. Finally, choose mix-ins that freeze well (tomatoes, for example, would not have a great texture on reheating).

For my experimentation I first tried just scrambled eggs (two) with cheese.  To reheat it took only about 1-1.5 minutes to warm them up from completely frozen, and they tasted great.  I was now ready to venture into Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos. 

I typically eat a lighter breakfast, but there are definitely days I enjoy the treat of eggs or a breakfast burrito.  For these burritos I added cheddar cheese and precooked pork sausage, which is a combo I have always enjoyed in breakfast casseroles. The meat and eggs cooked up fast and the burrito rolling was easy once I watch a tutorial to make sure I was doing it correctly.  Then came the fun part – freezing and reheating for breakfast to determine the correct thaw time.  These burritos can be reheated from frozen and only take 2 minutes.  I found this time ensured that the entire burrito was thawed throughout, but did require a minute or so to cool a bit before eating.  Now that I know having a quick and healthy breakfast on hand is so easy, I think I will always keep a stock in my freezer.  I love food challenges posed by friends!

breakfast burritos

 

Make ahead Breakfast Burritos

12 large eggs
1 pound breakfast sausage, cooked,drained, and cooled
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
8 burrito (large) tortillas (~10 inch in diameter or larger)

 

beat and pour eggs into a large pan that has been coated with a bit of nonstick spray. Scramble the eggs for 4-5 minutes or until barely set; stir in cheese.  Let cool, then stir in breakfast sausage.   Evenly divide the egg mixture between the burrito tortillas, placing slightly over to one side. Roll one side over the filling until the filling is covered, then fold in the left and right side and then continue to roll to the end. Wrap in a sheet of foil and continue with remaining burritos.  Place the burritos in a gallon sized freezer bag and freeze until ready to eat. To reheat, remove the foil and then microwave each burrito for 2 minutes on high, flipping once.  Let cool slightly before eating. (Note: 1.5 minutes left the burritos still a bit cold in the center).

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Individual Egg Souffle Stack

Individual Egg Soufflé Stacks

Changing work schedules and the start of the school year has resulted in a desire (and need) to simplify prep of weekday meals and snacks.  Consequently, when I was reminded about muffin tin eggs I thought I should give a variation of the recipe a try. Since I had just found hash brown patties the same size as my mini loaf pan I knew that I just had to make an individual stacked egg soufflé.

 

Individual Egg Souffle Stack

Using the muffin tin method of cooking the eggs lends itself to individualization of the mix-in ingredients.  If you don’t happen to be a fan of tomatoes or onions – no problem! Swap in your favorite veggies.  The recipe I used as my guide suggested 12-15 minutes for muffin tin cooking, but I found I needed 20-25 minutes to set the eggs in the larger min loaf pans.

Individual Egg Souffle Stack

The layering of the hash brown patties, honey ham, and egg soufflé was a great balance of rich flavors in a manageable personalized portion.  The presentation and built-to-suit egg soufflés were also a hit with my guests!


Individual Egg Soufflé Stacks

8 large eggs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup diced baby tomatoes
¼ cup diced green onion
8 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese blend
4ounces thinly sliced honey ham lunch meat
4 hash brown patties

 

Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Spray a small cookie sheet and a mini loaf pan (8 mini loaves) with nonstick spray.  In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, butter, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Evenly divide the tomatoes and green onions between four of the mini loaf pans. Then, evenly pour the egg mixture over the tomatoes and green onions, and then top each with 2 tablespoons of cheese.  Place one ounce of honey ham in each of the remaining loaf pans, and place the hash brown patties on the cookie sheet. Place the loaf pan and the cookie sheet in the oven.  After 10 minutes, flip the hash brown patties and return to the oven.  Continue baking both until the eggs are set, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and then plate by topping each hash brown patty with one ounce of ham and one mini egg loaf.  Serve warm.

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Italian Cobb Salad

Italian Cobb Salad

Like many of you, I colored Easter eggs with my children this week.  What I had in mind for this craft was a method that would be easy for both of my kids (ages 3 and 5) to do.  A while back I had seen a method using shaving cream or whipped cream which I thought would be the perfect pace for them.  As I described the upcoming craft to my daughter she got really excited and said that she wanted to pass out colored eggs to all of her friends. I explained to her that hard boiled eggs aren’t an easy gift to give to others and that perhaps we should find a substitute craft she could give as gifts.

To my surprise (and probably revealing that I don’t stay on top of the craft trends) there are colorable plastic eggs. This revelation solved two problems for me: (1) my daughter wanting to pass out dyed eggs and (2) no one eating hard-boiled eggs but me.

I decided to make a few hard boiled eggs and bought some of the plastic, colorable eggs to satisfy everyone.  We colored six of the plastic eggs using the shaving cream method, which turned out to be super messy and surprisingly not so thrilling for the kiddos. The result was also a more subtle, pastel color.

Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs

I had also bought a Dudley’s roll it coloring kit in case the first method didn’t work.  This turned out to be a HUGE hit with my daughter, and we spent a fun-filled afternoon coloring my hard boiled eggs and the remainder of the plastic eggs. Both sets of eggs turned out with a vibrant hue.

Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs

Even though the plastic eggs helped solve the “how many hard boiled eggs do I have to eat?” problem, I tasked myself with creating a different way to eat hardboiled eggs this week.  I decided to try a variation of a classic by making an Italian Cobb Salad.  The chicken and blue cheese are swapped out for steak and mozzarella, and the dressing is a mix of Italian dressing and jarred sundried tomato pesto for a refreshing take on a cobb salad.

Italian Cobb Salad

If your are looking for other hard-boiled egg tips, don’t forget to check out my posts on how to make foolproof hard-boiled eggs or my Southwest Egg Salad.

Happy Easter!


Italian Cobb Salad (for one)

2 ½ cups arugula
½ avocado, peeled and chopped
2 ounces grilled steak, chopped
1 hard boiled egg, peeled and chopped
¼ cup diced tomato
1 ounce diced mozzarella
2 tablespoons Italian dressing
2 tablespoons sundried tomato pesto

Arrange the arugula on a dinner plate, then place in strips down the plate the avocado, grilled steak, egg, tomato, and mozzarella.  In a small bowl, stir together the Italian dressing and sundried tomato pesto.  Pour the dressing over the salad and serve.

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Ham Fried Rice

Since I pack lunch for work everyday, I usually attempt to make larger quantities of dinner to be able to take leftovers as my meal. However, some weeks dinner is such a success that I am left with a hodge podge of ingredients and nothing to take as a quick lunch. This week I decided to use my random leftover items – cooked rice, diced red onion, and diced ham – and created a Ham Fried Rice.

fried rice

My fried rice typically changes a bit each time I make it, so I decided to do a quick search to see how my fried rice recipe(s) compare to others out there. One of the blogs that caught my attention was the one on gimmesomeoven.com, since I agree with many of her tips. She recommends using precooked rice (my favorite too, but probably just because it is easier) and adding oyster sauce. By coincidence I used similar veggies to the recipe on gimmesomeoven.com (though in higher quantity) and I decided to try her tip of using butter instead of an oil.

fried rice

 

I ended up loving the result (and so did my husband). The oyster sauce wasn’t too overpowering, and it was filling enough that I wasn’t hungry 15 minutes later (which is a good thing, since I am usually starving by mid-morning and struggle to not scarf down my lunch by 11am. Being ready for a second lunch around 2pm wouldn’t be ideal). The ginger was just a gentle hint, so if you like ginger go ahead and add a bit more. My Ham Fried Rice was such an easy dish to make to supply a few lunches this week, that I think I am going to add it to my go-to rotation.

fried rice


 

Ham Fried Rice

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced red onion
½ lb frozen peas, thawed
8 ounces diced ham
4 cups cooked long grain rice
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 large eggs
4 green onions, chopped

Add 4 tablespoons butter to the pan and heat until melted over medium-high heat. Add carrots, and onion, and saute for 3 minutes or until onions begin to soften. Add the peas and ham, and saute for 1-2 minutes longer. Finally, add the rice, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and ginger, and stir until combined. Continue stirring for an additional 3-4 minutes to fry the rice. Keep warm.

Coat a non-stick pan with cooking spray then heat over medium heat . Add eggs, and cook until scrambled, stirring occasionally. Remove egg, and stir into rice mixture. Serve, garnishing with sliced green onion.

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Southwest Egg Salad Stuffed Mini Peppers

The bags of multicolored mini peppers that abound in spring and summer have always drawn my attention. The colors are so vibrant, I feel like I must buy a bag and make something with them.

Mini Sweet Peppers

serrano Pepper

Like their larger relatives, they can be used in salads, stir-fry, etc., but I think their pint size lends them to used as bite-sized appetizers.

Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

Filled with a southwest egg salad that consists of hardboiled eggs, sweet and serrano peppers, shallot, cilantro, taco seasoning, and a bit of mayo, these southwest egg salad stuffed peppers are hard to resist. They can be served as a start to a fiesta themed meal, or eaten as a spiced up lunch.

Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

As I sit here munching on these delightful bites, I can think of other fun ways to use the mini peppers as vessels for food . . . . sample sizes of cold soup like gazpacho for an appetizer . . . .cheese spread . . . chicken salad.  What is your favorite use?

Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers


Southwest Egg Salad Stuffed Mini Peppers

12 mini sweet peppers
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large hardcooked eggs
1 serrano pepper
2 tablespoons diced shallot
2 tablespoons diced fresh cilantro

Prepare the mini peppers by cutting a hole in the top of peppers, reserving the pepper tops, and rinsing out the seeds. Dice the pepper tops, reserving 2 tablespoons for the egg salad and saving the rest for another use; set aside.

Make the dressing by stirring the mayonnaise, taco seasoning, and salt together in a small bowl; set aside. Cut the serrano pepper in half and remove the seeds and pith. Dice the serrano pepper and set aside.

Remove the shells from the eggs, and place the eggs in a large bowl and smash with a fork, then stir in the 2 tablespoons of diced pepper, diced serrano pepper, shallot, cilantro, and dressing. Stuff the egg salad into the pepper openings. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Note: To hardcook eggs, I recommend using the process I describe here

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Mushroom & Cheese Omelet

A typical weekend breakfast in my house involves eggs, and even some mid-week breakfasts too (if you haven’t guessed by now, given all my posts involving eggs). Since we eat so many, we have been on a quest to continually improve the quality of eggs that we purchase. For a little over a month we have been trying pastured eggs from a local rancher. While pricey, the eggs are loaded with higher nutrients than the conventional, supermarket egg (typically double to triple the vitamin E, A, and omega-3 content) since the hens are allowed to roam their pasture freely.

DuckEggs

After speaking with the rancher on my egg drop-off day I was intrigued to try one of her other products – duck eggs. Duck eggs are large, resembling jumbo chicken eggs in size. I found the shells harder to crack and the yolk took up a larger fraction of the egg. While the taste was basically the same, I would say they have a more potent egg flavor.

You may ask why try duck eggs if they don’t have much of a difference in flavor. According to my supplier/rancher, she has heard or three reasons (and I found similar confirmation here and here):

  1. The egg whites are more firm, creating better texture in baked goods
  2. People with chicken egg allergies can often eat duck eggs
  3. They are an alkaline food, which is thought to help fight cancer

Give their large size, I only needed two duck eggs to make an omelet as compared to 3 large chicken eggs. My omelet fillers rotate with what I have on hand, so this time I thought  sautéed mushrooms,  sautéed red onion, and pepperjack cheese would complement each other well. The resulting Mushroom & Cheese Omelet was a great way to start my day. I can’t wait to test the superior baking qualities listed above . . . and the other products my rancher has to offer. Anyone want to share a half of a hog with me?

mushroom and cheese omelet

mushroom and cheese omelet


Mushroom & Cheese Omelet

8 duck eggs or 12 large chicken eggs
8 tablespoons butter
8 ounce sliced, button mushrooms, sautéed
1 large red onion, sliced in half moons and sautéed
8 ounces shredded Monterey jack cheese

 

To make each omelet, first whip together two duck eggs (or 3 chicken eggs). Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat in a 10-inch nonstick skillet. Pour in the eggs and let the eggs begin to set. Once the eggs start to set, sprinkle 1/4th of each of the fillers (sautéed mushrooms, sautéed onions, and cheese) on one-half of the omelet. Fold the other half of the omelet over the fillers. Continue to cook until the egg is set and the cheese begins to melt. Plate and repeat three more times to make 4 mushroom & cheese omelets total.

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Cardamom & Fig Butter Ice Cream

Today marks the first birthday of my blog – Happy Birthday Experimental Epicurean! I thought it would be fitting to celebrate with a typical birthday treat and I settled on ICE CREAM (any excuse for ice cream is a good excuse, right?). I decided to break the cycle of the chocolate vs. vanilla debate and went a little more exotic with a Cardamom & Fig Butter Ice Cream. I also just had to have a bounty of balloons, since, well, my kids have been begging for balloons these days and it seemed fitting to add balloons to our party.

FigButterCardamomIceCream_2

FigButterCardamomIceCream_3a

There are two types of ice cream: those that do not require eggs, referred to as Philadelphia style, and those that do require eggs, which are considered custard-style. I often like to make a custard-style, since I love the extra creaminess. Custard-style ice cream takes longer to make since it requires tempering the eggs with hot milk or cream and then chilling prior to the freezing step. Trust me when I say that waiting the extra time for the rich, velvety ice cream is worth it.

FigButterCardamomIceCream

In addition to the creamy base, I have spiced it up with some ground cardamom and swirled in fig butter. The result is a decadent treat that will wow adults, and leave the kids searching for more. In fact, I almost wish I had two ice cream makers so that I could have made a double batch!

FigButterCardamomIceCream_6

FigButterCardamomIceCream_7

IceCream10


Cardamom & Fig Butter Ice Cream

2 large eggs
1 ½ cups half & half
½ cup white sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup fig butter (found in the jelly aisle)

 

Add the eggs to a food processor and process until smooth.

Add the half and half and sugar to a medium saucepan and place over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the milk comes to a boil. Remove from the heat, an then with the food processor running, slowly pour the hot half & half into the eggs through the feed tube. Process until smooth. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and let cool slightly, then stir in the cream, cardamom, salt, and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Add the mixture to an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and chill for about 30 minutes. When finished, the ice cream will be soft. Swirl in the fig butter, leaving streaks of the fig butter throughout the ice cream. It can be eaten as is, or chilled further in the freezer for a firmer texture. Store ice cream in the freezer until ready to serve.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, the kitchn has a great link for how to chill your ice cream without a machine.

 

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Cheesy Chorizo Steel Cut Oat “Grits”

Part of my enjoyment from cooking comes from developing something new, especially for a contest.  Last year I experimented with steel cut oats, which was a key ingredient in the Spar for the Spurtle recipe contest. The recipe I entered was a Creole “grits” which I have had on my list to tinker with again since entering.

steelCutOats

This week I decided to swap out the peppers and Andouille sausage for the equally as flavorful chorizo and green onions, which was just as much of a hit with my family. The unique part of the recipe is that instead of the typical ground-corn grits I have cooked steel cut oats as the creamy base, creating a nutty and slightly chewy breakfast side dish.

ChorizoSteelCutOatGrits

These Cheesy Chorizo Steel Cut Oat “Grits” can be enjoyed on their own, but why not add a fried egg?  It is the perfect complement to the “grits” for a well-rounded and satisfying meal.

ChorizoSteelCutOatGrits

ChorizoSteelCutOatGrits


Cheesy Chorizo Steel Cut Oat “Grits”

3 cups water

1 cup steel cut oats

¾ lb chicken chorizo sausage, uncased, pre-cooked

1cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

4 green onions, diced

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

4 large eggs

 

Add the water to a pot and bring to a boil. Add the steel cut oats and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until liquid has been absorbed and the oats are tender-chewy. Stir the sausage, cheese, onions, and salt into the pot. Remove from the heat, and keep warm.

In a separate, non-stick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Crack the eggs into four separate ramekins then gently add the eggs to the skillet, making sure the eggs do not touch. Cook until the whites are set, but the yolk is still a bit runny, about 3 minutes.

Evenly divide the “grits” between four plates, then top each pile of grits with a fried egg and serve immediately.

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Healthy Solutions Spice Bends Challenge: Steak & Mushroom Frittata

The first recipe contest I have entered this year is the Healthy Solutions Spice Blends Recipe Challenge.  As a busy, working mom I love the added time-saving feature of premixed spice blends.  With over 15 spice blends to chose from, you are sure to find something your family will enjoy – even those on a low salt or low sugar diet.

It was tough to decide which spice blend to feature, but I ultimately selected the Bold Beef Rub since my mouth watered just thinking of all the new recipes I could create.

My Steak & Mushroom Frittata uses the Bold Beef Rub in two places – as a coating on the skirt steak pieces before they are sauted and as the flavoring in the eggs.

steak-frittata-4

This one-pan breakfast dish is a sure crowd pleaser! The robust flavor of the Bold Beef Rub added great depth to the frittata, and the generous portion of mushrooms and other vegetables made the dish seem hearty without making it too heavy. I’m sure that once you try this steak & mushroom frittata you’ll be tempted to try all of the Healthy Solutions spice blends!

steak-frittata-2


Steak and Mushroom Frittata

6 large eggs

1/8 cup half & half

2 teaspoons Healthy Solutions Bold Beef Rub, divided

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ lb skirt steak, cut into bite sized pieces

½ lb baby Portobello mushrooms, diced

10 grape tomatoes, diced

½ cup diced green onions

1 ½ cups shredded Swiss cheese (6 ounces)

 

Preheat the broiler. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, half & half, and 1 teaspoon of the Bold Beef Rub; set aside. In a separate bowl, sprinkle the remaining Bold Beef Rub over the skirt steak pieces and toss to coat.

Melt the butter in a large (12-inch) cast skillet over medium heat. Add the steak and cook, turning often, until the pieces are evenly browned and the meat cooked to medium, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the steak from the skillet and let rest on a plate, meanwhile add the mushrooms to the skillet and saute until browned and reduced in size, about 4 minutes. Return the steak to the pan, then add the diced tomatoes and green onions in an even layer. Pour the egg mixture over the steak mixture and then evenly top with the cheese. Cook over medium-low heat until the sides are set but the top is still runny, about 3-4 minutes. Place the skillet under the broiler and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the eggs are set, puffed, and slightly browned. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

 

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Foolproof Hard-Boiled Eggs – An Experiment

The idea to do an experiment regarding hard boil eggs was actually posed by one of my readers. She wrote:

“This past Thanksgiving my daughter’s boyfriend requested traditional deviled eggs be included as one of the appetizers.  I have been buying brown, cage free eggs for the last year as I think they make tastier scrambled and other breakfast egg dishes. I have noticed that the brown eggs shells are stronger than white eggs.  I hard boiled 3 batches of 6 of the brown eggs by bringing the eggs to a boil and then letting them sit for 20 minutes and then putting them in an ice bath.  This is a method I have been using for about 30 years.  Of the 18 hard-boiled eggs only 6 were salvageable and barely presentable for appetizers.  My husband rushed to the store to get a dozen white eggs which we hard boiled using the same method with a lot more success.  Do you have any suggestions on to successfully hard boiling cage free brown eggs?”

I’m sure this request would make any food blogger curious. I, too, had noticed that cage-free eggs were harder to crack (resulting in more frequent shell retrievals from eggs destined for scrambling of some sort) but I hadn’t done a side-by-side hard-boiled egg comparison. To be honest, when I make hard boiled eggs they usually end up as an egg salad or as a side for my brown-bag lunch. Could I make repeatable, perfect hard-boiled eggs and would it matter what kind of egg I chose?

For the first experiment I chose two packages of extra large eggs – one cage-free, organic and the other generic (I typically cook with large, but I could only find extra large in both kinds). They both had the same “use by date” and were stored in the same manner in my refrigerator.

The cooking procedure I used to cook the eggs is what you will typically find when searching out cooking methods:

Place the eggs in a pan and cover with cold water until submerged by one inch. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, then cover, turn off the heat and let sit for 18 minutes (or 14 minutes if you have large eggs). Remove the eggs from the pan and submerge in an ice bath until cool (about 5 minutes).

Cooking tips also recommend using older eggs, since they should be easier to peel.

I cooked 3 eggs from each batch at 1 day after purchase and 14 days after purchase using the method described above. I then weighed them before and after my attempt to remove the shell.

image002

image004

Surprisingly, I lost more egg with the shell for both kinds of eggs at the 14 day mark. In addition, with my accuracy (and the accuracy of my scale which is ~0.05 oz) there was no statistical difference between the two kinds of eggs with respect to ease of removing the shell. Hmm. Back to the drawing board.

In my review of all sorts of tips on hard boiled eggs, one tidbit listed in the  2014 July/August Cook’s Illustrated stuck in my head – the low pH of the white part results in it sticking tightly to the shell. Perhaps if I played with the pH of the water used to cook the eggs my results would be different?

One of the first examples of a recipe that uses a pH-altering ingredient was Ken’s Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs on allrecipes.com. Admittedly, using vinegar is the wrong direction in pH according to Cook’s Illustrated, but I was intrigued since the addition of vinegar is often used in poaching eggs to help the whites set quickly.

I followed his recipe to a T (with the addition of step “0”found in the comments to bring the eggs to room temperature first), this time using large eggs, and I was stunned. It actually DID work perfectly. Both the cage-free and the generic eggs were easy to peel, and I was able to remove the shell without taking any of the egg with it. By freeing the shells without any added weight from the egg whites, I was able to solve one of my other questions – are the cage-free egg shells thicker? With my limited sample size it appears that the cage-free egg shells are ~25% heavier (which I equate to mean they are thicker).

Since I achieved perfect shell removal with Ken’s recipe I haven’t tried raising the pH to see if that works just as well. But why does Ken’s method work? My guess (which is just a guess since I don’t have the funds to add a scanning electron microscope or a pH meter to my kitchen gear) is:

  1. The addition of the salt causes microcracks in the shell. I noticed that at the end of cooking the outer layer of the brown, cage-free eggs was rubbing off and floating in the water. This allows a small amount of water and vinegar to penetrate the shell.
  2. The small amount of water that enters creates a barrier between the egg and shell, making it easier to remove
  3. The vinegar that does enter the shell helps to firm up the egg whites, minimizing damage to the egg whites when you remove the shell

Now that I finally have a fool proof method for hard boiled eggs worthy for use as deviled eggs, I am able to create a deviled egg recipe.

 

 ThaiDeviledEggs2c

After all the hard work experimenting, I kept the recipe simple and made Thai Deviled Eggs. I mixed the yolks from six hard boiled, large eggs with a bit of mayonnaise and a thai herb blend of lemon grass, ginger and cilantro. The smooth yolks was piped back into the whites, and my thai deviled eggs were done!

piping1

As a final note, while Ken’s method makes perfect hard boiled eggs for deviling, I prefer the classical method described at the beginning of my post for eggs salads since it produces a softer consistency egg white.

 

ThaiDeviledEggs1b


 

Thai Deviled Eggs

6 large eggs

6 cups water

1 tablespoon salt

¼ cup white vinegar

¼ cup mayonnaise

1/8 cup thai herb blend

 

Bring the eggs to room temperature (at least 45 minutes). Combine the salt, vinegar, and water in a large pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the eggs one at a time, being careful not to crack them. Reduce the heat to a gentle boil, and cook for 14 minutes.

Once the eggs have cooked, remove them from the hot water, and place into a container of ice water and chill for 15 minutes.

Remove the shells from the eggs and discard. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and remove the yolks. Place the yolks in a medium sized bowl and mash, then stir in the mayonnaise and thai blend. Evenly pipe the yolk filling back into the egg whites and store the deviled eggs in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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Asparagus Frittata

This week my husband and I split the grocery shopping in preparation for our Thanksgiving meal. As you can imagine, we ended up with some overlap – in this case asparagus.

asparagusStalk

This wouldn’t have been so bad, except our holiday guests have had to cancel at the last minute due to an everlasting cold, meaning we now have 4 and ½ pounds of asparagus to eat between two adults and two toddlers. I’m sure the week ahead will be filled with all sorts of asparagus salads, sautés, and soups.

The first recipe on my asparagus pare down list was my asparagus frittata. Not only is it a deceptively easy weekend breakfast, but leftovers make for a wonderful treat before rushing out the door for work.

I started with ½ pound of asparagus (woody stems removed) and gently sautéd them, then added some leftover mushrooms and onions from dinner the night before. Next, an egg mixture which included a bit of cream and seasoning was poured on top and finally covered with a bit of feta.

AsparagusF1

 

A few minutes over low heat on the stovetop followed by a few minutes under the broiler resulted in a beautifully, golden asparagus frittata. The whole family enjoyed the special Sunday meal, with the baby out-eating all of us!

AsparagusF2

asparagusFrittata_1


 

Asparagus Frittata

½ lb fresh asparagus
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
½ teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup cooked mushrooms
¼ cup sautéed onions
4 oz feta cheese, broken in pieces

Preheat the oven broiler; Break off the woody ends of the asparagus, and then cut into 1 in segments. in a medium sized bowl mix together the eggs, whipping cream, italian seasoning, onion powder, salt, and pepper and set aside.
Put the butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus and sauté for 3 minutes, or until softened. Reduce the heat to medium-low, sprinkle in the mushrooms and onions, and then pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Place the cheese pieces evenly over the top of the egg mixture. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the edges begin to firm and upon inspection the bottom of the eggs is beginning to brown. Remove from the stovetop and place in the broiler and cook for 3minutes longer, until the top is lightly browned and puffed. Remove from the oven, cut into eight wedges and serve immediately.

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