Furiously Eclectic People

Full Version: How to Boil an Egg and other simple recipes
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As per Julia Child:
Lay the eggs in the pan and add cold water to cover eggs by an inch.
Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat, cover the pot, and let sit exactly 17 minutes.
After resting time, ~RESERVE THE COOKING WATER~ and put the eggs into a bowl of ice cubes and water. Chill for 2 minutes as you bring the cooking water to the boil again. (This 2 minute chilling shrinks the body of the egg from the shell).
Transfer the eggs to the boiling water, bring to the boil again, and let boil for 10 seconds. (This expands the shell from the egg). Remove the eggs and place back into the ice water. Chilling the eggs promptly after each step prevents that dark line from forming. Leave the eggs in the ice water after the last step for 15 to 20 minutes to facilitate shell-peeling.

Personally, I've found 10 minutes to be sufficient for hard-boiling. I will grant that my eggs sometimes are difficult to peel but always figured that was because I don't use eggs all that often so they tend to be a little on the old side.
Egg Salad Sandwich

Chop two hard-boiled eggs and place in a small bowl
Add chopped onion, salt, and pepper to taste
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise to the bowl and mix
If the mayo is insufficient to bind the mixture, add more as needed but do not add too much. Nothing ruins a good egg salad like too much mayo. Well, too much salt is a killer, too.
Spread egg salad on a slice of bread, lightly toasted if desired. Any type of bread works fine, white, wheat, whole grain, etc. Although I've never tried it on pumpernickel or rye.

Options: include 1 teaspoon of prepared yellow mustard, 1/4 tsp paprika, and/or a few finely diced olives, green or black work equally well with deliciously different results.

Regarding chopped pickles in egg salad: If you feel you must, but I'll pass.
Tuna Salad

Drain a can of tuna. It can be in spring water or oil; it can be albacore or the cheap stuff; solid, chunk, or flake. Doesn't really matter. There was a time when, if I'm remembering correctly, the late '60s/early '70s were a long time ago, "grate" was an option. If this still exists, do not use. It's not fit for dog food.

In a bowl mix the tuna, some finely chopped celery (about 1 Tablespoon's worth should do), finely chopped onion, salt and pepper to taste, half a teaspoon or so of lemon juice, and one to two tablespoons of mayonnaise. Again, it's better to start with too little mayo, adding a little more as needed, than starting with too much, but tuna is more forgiving than hard-boiled egg.

Serve on bread, toast, crackers, or a bed of lettuce.

Options: 1/4 tsp celery seed. Substitute shallot for onion.

Also again: I'll pass on the pickle.

Further comment: Mayonnaise. It can be a store brand, off brand, minor brand, homemade, or Hellmann's, but mayonnaise. Not Miracle Whip. What are you? Nine?
That, is the perfect tuna salad IMO. Hard boiling eggs has the most recipes of anything I've ever seen. I usually boil the water, drop the eggs in for an indeterminate amount of time, and then burn my fingers as I remove that part I can't eat. I'm going to go make egg salad now.... but I'm out of bread.
How to make a roast beef dinner:

1) Acquire a boneless beef roast, any cut will do really... it's best to shop from a good butcher you can trust and get to know, but you go to war with the army you have, not the army you want. (PRO TIP: if you can get your hands on and INSIDE ROUND roast, they typically have the least fatty bits and make really good sammiches). The roast should be about room temperature before going into the oven, so it's okay to take out of the refrigerator for 1/2 hour or so before cooking.

2) Get yer mitts on a basic roasting pan with a lid - I got mine from a big-box hardware store chain without a spending too much, but the key piece of kit needed here is a ROASTING RACK that goes into the pan and keeps the meat about 1/2" off the bottom, preventing burning and allowing air to circulate under the roast.

3) Preheat oven to 350 F. While it's warming, coat the roast in a thin film of cooking oil (again, get fancy or just go with what you have), then apply salt and pepper generously to the surface of the meat (top, bottom, sides). It's okay to get hands-on for this step, just have a bowl of warm soapy water to wash up so you don't cross-contaminate everything in your kitchen. PRO TIP: Place roast in your pan FATTY SIDE UP (if it has a fat-rind, like most roasts' do). This lets the fat melt down into the meat... very tasty!

4) MATH TIME! For every pound of beef, cook for 30 minutes. If you like a little more pink in the middle (usually okay if you've got a quality butcher you trust), cook for 25 min / per pound. THIS IS THE BOTTOM TIME RANGE YOU SHOULD GO. Anything less and you could have essentially raw meat in the middle of your roast. Not really my thing. Remember: if it's too rare, you can put it back in the oven to finish, but you can't do much if it's too well done.

5) Once your roast beast is out of the oven, LET REST for 10 minutes before carving. Reasons: some science stuff about proteins re-combining, or juiciness being retained. I don't really know, it just works. Ask a chef if you've got a half hour to kill.


BONUS ROUND: for true one-pot cooking, take a large bowl and chop up two or three potatoes (washed, but skin on) and an equal quantity of carrots - the pieces should be small enough to eat in two bites, and for even cooking, the potato and carrot pieces should be roughly the same size. NEXT, add some cooking oil (same stuff you used on the roast) and plenty of salt and pepper, mix it all up to get everything coated, and then just pour the vegetables in the pan around the roast. You don't need to change anything else... the roast will still be cooked, and now you have sides without another dish to clean.

FINAL THOUGHTS: the pros will go on about proper "according to Hoyle" steps, like choosing a cut of meat with marbled fat, or being specific about which end of the cow to roast comes from (and to be fair, the closer you are to the south end of the animal, the more tender the meat should be), but really, balance your tastes with your budget... I don't have a food critics' pallet and don't feed the need to spring for Prime Rib when I get just as nourished with a less expensive cut.

POST SCRIPT: I've used this exact method with boneless turkey breast as well, but usually keep cooking times to a solid 30 min per pound.
Great post. Can also be used for a lamb roast by reducing the temperature to 325 and the cooking time by 5 minutes per pound.
Oven-braised Pulled Pork

Since we've gotten to the oven, let's start impressing those who's idea of cooking starts with a box.

0. Purchase a pork shoulder roast. This can be a butt roast, sometimes called a Boston butt; a pork shoulder; or a pork picnic, sometimes called a picnic ham or picnic shoulder. The danger here is that some stores will call other cuts of pork a shoulder. But essentially what we're looking for is a big 4 to 8 lb. hunk of cheap meat. If you're paying more than $2 US per lb. it's the wrong cut. Hell, I won't pay more than $1.50/lb, usually waiting for a sale of $.99, grabbing two or three and placing the extras in the deep freezer.

0a. If the cut has skin or a lot of external fat, remove it. The object is not to remove all the fat, just the large chunks.

1. Preheat oven to 300

2. Season the pork generously with a seasoning blend (you can buy some or find a recipe easily online) or salt and pepper. Guess which I use.

2a. (completely optional) Heat some cooking oil in a Dutch oven large enough to hold the pork on the stove top and sear all sides of the meat 2 to 3 minutes each. Some idiots will tell you that searing meat "seals in the juices." This is complete bullshit. Study after study after study shows that searing meat makes for a 2% to 5% drier piece of meat. So why sear? One, because it looks good. You get this nice brown color to the meat that says, "cooked." Two, and this is the important reason: flavor. When meat is seared, it undergoes a chemical reaction that creates new flavors. Because searing occurs in a thin layer, you still have the original flavor of the meat. The combination of the two makes for flavor complexity, something that people who insist on eating each part of a meal separately (first the vegetable, then the potato, then the meat) cannot, will not, or are unable to understand.

3. Spread a sliced onion (or two) on top of the pork in the Dutch oven that may or may not have been used for searing.

4. Pour a cup of apple juice over the onions.

5. Place the cover on the Dutch oven and place in the now-heated oven for five hours or so, basting occasionally.

6. Remove the pork from the Dutch oven to a large cutting board. If the pork doesn't fall apart when trying to remove it, it's not finished cooking.

7. Discard the liquid in the Dutch oven, keeping the solids, i.e. use a colander to retain the onion and stray pork bits.

8. when the pork is cool enough to touch, start shredding with your fingers pulling the pork pieces apart, discarding any fat and bone.

9. Place the pulled pork and reserved onion mush back into the Dutch oven and mix. At this point you can add barbecue sauce (I usually use a hickory flavored sauce), mixing thoroughly.

10. Place the Dutch oven back into the oven for another 20 to 30 minutes.

Serve on hamburger buns or on a plate as an entrée. The pork keeps in refrigerator for a week and keeps for three months in the freezer.

Note: Apple juice is used for its acidity. The acidity is not for breaking down the connective tissue of the meat. It helps, but the relatively low heat and long cooking time takes care of that. Just like searing meat adds complexity to the flavor, so too does acid. If, for some reason, you don't want to, or can't, use apple juice, you can use wine, beer, a citrus juice, or vinegar. Note that each of these will bring different flavors to the meat. Apple juice is a fairly neutral flavor, so I'd best recommend a sweet, fruity wine or a cider vinegar if using a substitute. But definitely adjust the amount used. You can probably go 1:1 between apple juice and a Riesling, but you'll want to use less cider vinegar.

Recap of Note: Just buy some apple juice. You con go to the corner grocery or convenience store and grab a pint, using half and drinking the rest.

If you're feeling adventurous: Drop the oven temperature to 250 and place the meat in the oven before going to bed, taking it out in the morning. This is not a method I have used.
Baked Potato

Pierce a Russet potato a few times with a fork. Rub olive oil onto the potato. Rub salt onto the oiled potato. Place salted, oiled Russet potato directly on the rack in a 450° preheated oven. Cook for 45-60 minutes or until the skin is crispy and the potato is soft to the touch.

DO NOT WRAP THE POTATO WITH FOIL! A good baked potato has crispy skin and a dry, fluffy interior. Wrapping the potato in foil traps moisture.

A baked potato does not have to be baked at 450°. Simply adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Cooked Chicken Breast

For those times when a recipe calls for chicken breast that is already cooked.

Fill a pot with water. Place (thawed) chicken breast(s) in pot. Salt the water to taste. Put the pot over high heat. When the water just starts boiling, remove the pot from the heat and cover with a lid. Let sit for fifteen minutes. Internal temperature should reach 165.

This makes a very bland, poached chicken breast. Possible additions to add during the cooking (off the top of my head): bay leaf, peppercorn, chopped carrot, celery, garlic cloves, dried chiles, lemon, lime, fresh ginger, sprig of thyme, onion, parsley. Choose flavors wisely. If you're making a chicken Caesar salad, you'll probably want to lay off the chiles.
Easy Rice

Method 1
Place rice in pot according to recipe on package. Add oil and salt to rice according to recipe. Fill pot with cold water, ignoring recipe. Heat the water to a low boil. Boil rice until rice is tender. Using a colander, drain the water.

Method 2
Buy a rice cooker and accept the results.

Method 3
Follow the instructions on the package and practice, practice, practice.

I have never had bad results with Method 1.
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