Thursday, July 15, 2010

Boiled PerfEGGtion

So, I am not one to really endorse products (yet), but I do feel the need to endorse a Website that I believe will help everyone, when it comes to the basic food product we call the “Egg”.

How many times have you wanted to hard boil/cook eggs and when you do so, you go by what Mamma or Grandma (maybe there are some dads and grandpas too) taught you? You boil water and place your eggs in boiling water for 10-15 minutes depending on the egg size, some of the eggs from the boiling process crack and after the process those eggs are now hard boiled/cooked with green yolks and rubbery whites.

Well, for many years, I followed what I was taught and observed in my family and one day, a few years ago I decided that I “didn’t” know how to hard boil/cook an egg properly. I always had trouble with the green outer ring of the yolk and sometimes a rubbery white, which in my book isn’t all that tasty and proper to serve to anyone, including myself.

So, I determined that all my previous experience was a bad habit and did my research. There are many great websites about eggs out there, but the one website I found, which is advertised in a quiet way is the Incredible Edible Egg site.

Not only do they provide great egg recipes, but they also provide the basics. I’ve searched other well known “Egg Brand” sites, but for the basic essential way to Hard Boil Eggs and I found that the Incredible Edible Egg site provided the best, simplest instruction and consistent results every time. Also, their method of Hard Boiled/Cooked Eggs has not let me down yet. For the past 2 years, the method they provide has not let me down once.

Other methods just don’t make any sense and the Incredible Edible Egg method literally just works the best. My eggs come out perfectly every time, no green rimmed yolks, no rubbery whites and the eggs are easy to peel.

So, I urge all of you out there to forget what you were told on how to hard boil/cook eggs and re-train yourself to the Incredible Edible Egg method. I am not kidding…I have not been disappointed and therefore is the reason I have posted this blog!
Basic Hard Boiled/Cooked Egg Recipe Link
For those who are lazy and don’t want to check out the site, here are the instructions:

  1. PLACE eggs in saucepan large enough to hold them in single layer. ADD cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch. HEAT over high heat just to boiling. REMOVE from burner. COVER pan.
  2. LET EGGS STAND in hot water about 15 minutes for large eggs (12 minutes for medium eggs; 18 minutes for extra large).
  3. DRAIN immediately and serve warm. OR, cool completely under cold running water or in bowl of ice water, then REFRIGERATE.
Note: Unshelled Hard Boild Eggs can last for 1 week in the Fridge.  Shelled should be consumed same day.

Enjoy Everyone!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Too hot to cook in the kitchen?

Well, this blog may be off topic, but recently for us NYC folks, the Washington Post (can’t site the exact article, I don’t have a subscription and heard it on the news) recommends trying to ban air conditioners all together. I say to the WP writer, are you really listening and speaking up for the general public to even propose this issue? Are you not taking your proper meds or are you on LSD? How much of a weed whacker are you? Could you at least find alternative solutions to the actual issue and recommend those ideas?

The environment is important, but if you are a person like I am, AC and/or Cool livable air is important to your health and even sanity (I’ve heard way too many horror stories of people in hot weather literally go crazy and kill people). I do believe in Eco Friendly Options and I have one that will act as an AC but is not…Simple suggestions like mine can change the world a little more at a time…

I personally made sure my recent AC Purchase was environmentally conscience and if I can afford it in the future, will replace my bedroom AC with the same expectations as my new appliance.

Look, there is a simple way to advocate folks all over the country to minimize their use of air conditioners. Try changing to a “De-Humidifier”! Now, one of my AC’s has a De-Humidifier setting and on crazy hot and humid days, I switch from AC to the De-Humidifier setting and I keep just as cool as if I had the AC setting. Luckily, if I do choose the AC setting it is also environmentally friendly by not spewing out all those crazy CFCs and as much energy as my old window unit. Also, changing to the De-Humidifier setting, my energy usage drops from 1400kw(AC) to 300kw(DH) and on the Fan is about 200kw. It’s a huge difference when it comes down to your electric bill!

Folks, it is about simple physics here…If you de-humidify, you remove the hot and wet air in your home or apt, which ultimately makes your life easier with cool dry air. Most de-humidifiers spew out cold air while sucking in the hot wet air, so it almost acts like an AC, but on a lower setting. AC settings don’t care which air and can still pump in humidity, even with central air.

So, for those who seem to not be able to live without AC, I challenge those to try a De-Humidifier through the summer months. I’m not saying every hot day should be AC free, but on those really humid days that the weather service announces that humidity is high, try it out. I guarantee it will work. The overall Temp may still be high, but it’s dry and more comfortable than if wetness is in the air. 80 and Humid can feel like 90-95 degrees. 80 and Dry, feels like 80 and Dry.

Look, Dry heat is hot and AC is great for Dry Heat, but you have to be in the desert for that. But if you live off the coast where humidity is really the heat culprit, try out my advice. Save the environment and your energy bill by either changing your AC settings to De-Humidify, if available or purchase a De-Humidifier for your home/apt and use in place of the AC. It WILL save you money overall on your electric bill and you probably won’t be a part or cause of the overall brownouts in your neighborhood.

Though, the real important factor is that you eventually buy an AC that is ultimately environmentally friendly…Less CFCs and Lead Free, which I was lucky enough to purchase about a year ago…and I feel better that when I do put the AC on, I am not F’ing up the rest of our world.

I am not going to sell you on a particular product/brand, but if you are eco conscience, then make sure your AC is: ECO-FRIENDLY CFC free GREEN R-410A refrigerant Lead free RoHS compliant components and make sure it has a de-humidifier option as well as a timer.

There have been many recent articles that the “energy star” logo is not all that energy efficient and it really is important you do your homework regardless of this most marketed brand name of energy efficiency, which has been recently proven, does not follow through the way it should be doing.

-Have a Seat (and hopefully listen)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tapenade my Whahhhhht?

Get ready to spread your love all over the place with the versatile French based recipe called Tapenade. Don’t know what Tapenade is? Well, I pity the folks who have never experienced this versatile and extremely tasty concoction.

So, it was in the early morning/late evening, oh who am I kidding, it was I thing around 2—3am, I was watching and flipping channels and came across a repeat of Alton Brown’s Good Eats on Olives. Unfortunately, the recipes from this particular show are not on the FN website (I checked!), which is a shame. Sorry FN, but if you repeat shows from years back, better ensure the recipes are still on the site, otherwise, stop repeating them! But no worries, for specific ingredients or measurements, because if you ultimately know the basics, you can pull it off.

This is a No Cook, No Bake and even Non Dairy recipe, but Vegans beware, this does have anchovies. Yes, you can make Olive tapenade without Anchovies, but the taste is not the same if it’s a culinary distinctive taste for the real thing (I’m holding my rants about Veggies and Vegans back right now). describes it as:
ta•pé•nade (tä'pə-näd') n. A spread of Provençal origin consisting of capers, black olives, and anchovy’s puréed with olive oil.
My personal Webster’s New World Dictionary of Culinary Arts describes it as:
TA-puh-Nahd; ta-pen-AHD;
A thick paste made of capers, anchovies, olives, olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings from France’s Provence region; used as a condiment, garnish and sauce.

Both are correct, but doesn’t go further by explaining this is just more than a spread. Tapenade spread is not just for crudités or bread anymore, but can be used in many food applications, especially when it comes to fish. What both neglect to add is what those “Provencial” seasonings are; the seasoning basics include: Garlic, Parsley, Lavender, Chervil, Tarragon etc. Lavender really does give a distinct flavor.

What you should know is that these ingredients are all subjective in the world of culinary adventures in today’s world. I personally like foods in the original origin, however when there is a food that can span other culinary nations, I’m all for “spreading” the knowledge around. Even though France is the country of origin for this amazing spread, the ingredients are so very Mediterranean in origin, which means that multiple countries can claim their own version, which is great for all of us and my Italian twist on things!

Tapenade is not just a spread for crusty bread or appetizer bound. Tapenade is an amazing spread to replace Mayonnaise and/or Mustard for sandwiches, and can also be a great crust for meats, fish and chicken. As Alton Brown put it years ago (It’s not an exact quote),”there ain’t nothing this food can’t go with!”

I recently made a huge batch of Tapenade (Italian Style) and because I made so much, gave half away to my friends/owners of my local bodega. The beauty of Tapenade is that it does last a long time if stored correctly. Up to a year in the Fridge, believe it or not!

My whole point to this post/blog is that you should not be afraid of such a “French/Culinary” food called “Tapenade”. This is the easiest condiment/spread to make. This really for those who are beginner cooks and this recipe should be the standard to general cooking.

Tapenade is such an incredible and easy recipe these days vs. what I remember, w hen I first learned about it. It’s like making Pesto, Salsa, Guacamole, and can be prepared quicker than cooking spaghetti (depending on the olives you get)! If you have 10 minutes or less, you can make homemade Tapenade, provided you have a food processor or blender to make your life easier.

BEWARE: Tapenade has a Strong and Condensed Flavor! A little can go a long way!

My Italian Tapenade Recipe (off the top of my head..All ingredients are approximate…If followed exactly about 10-12 servings or more-this is my guess):
  • 1 Pint Alfonso Olives (pitted)
  • 1 Pint Sicilian Olives (pitted)
  • 3 Cloves-FRESH Large Garlic
  • ½ Bunch FRESH Italian Parsley
  • ½ Bunch FRESH Basil
  • 2 Tsp Small Capers (Salted or in Brine)
  • 1 Can or Jar of Anchovies in Olive Oil (Only need about 4-5 anchovies)
  • ¼-1/3rd cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Note: add by eye…You do not want the mixture to be too wet or too dry.
  • S & P to Taste
  • 1 Tsp Dried Provencal Herbs with Lavender (The lavender brings an amazing distinctive flavor)
So, if you have a Food Processor or Blender, please follow these instructions:
  1. Add Olives, Capers, Anchovies, Garlic, and Herbs to food processor, pulse to medium grade chunkiness.
  2. Start the the Processor or Blender again with a low setting (or use your “pulse instincts”): Start streaming in Olive Oil slowly until mixture is fully incorporated, but not liquefied or like a hummus/smooth texture. The texture should be slightly chunky.
  3. Store in proper locking containers in the refrigerator. Apply to fish or meat marinades, substitute tapenade for Mayo or mustard or just enjoy on a good slice of bread on its own.