Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Devilishly Good Eggs

This is in honor of my Dad. See today marks twenty wonderful years that he and I have spent together. Nope I didn't turn twenty today, (My birthday was last month, and I'm a few years older than our anniversary.) And no he didn't just enter my life twenty years ago, I've been blessed to have him by my side since birth. Those who know me, I mean really truly know me, know my whole life has been "a long story", one crazy chapter after another. Through all those crazy chapters Big Bad Dad is the one person who has always been there, living those crazy chapters right along with me.

So in honor of our twenty year anniversary I whipped up a batch of one of his favorites...deviled eggs. Really, I should say one of our favorites. I credit my love of deviled eggs to the Big Bad Dad himself. I can make a dozen and between the two of us somehow they disappear within a few days. We have, what I find to be, an amusing and ongoing disagreement when it comes to deviled eggs though. I say sweet pickle cubes are a must in deviled eggs, but to quote his paraphrasing of Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry: "Nobody, but nobody puts pickles in deviled eggs."

So for you deviled egg eaters out there I ask you, sweet pickles or no?

Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs

6 hard boiled eggs
3 Tbsp mayo
1 good squirt yellow mustard
a splash vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp sweet pickle cubes (optional)

How to hardboil eggs:

Lay the eggs in the pan and add enough cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch. Set over high heat and bring just to the boil; remove from heat, cover the pan,and let sit exactly 17 minutes.

When the time is up, transfer the eggs to the bowl of ice cubes and water. Chill for 2 minutes.

Peel eggs and cut in halve lengthwise. Remove yolks and set whites aside. Using a fork mash yolks into until there are no lumps. Add mayo and mustard. Blend with fork until well combined and smooth. Add a splash of vinegar and salt and pepper to taste, and pickle cubes if using. Put yolk mixture into a re-sealable plastic bag, using scissors, snip a small corner off and pipe even amounts of yolk mixture into egg whites. Store deviled egg in refrigerator.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Anybody Up For Takeout?

Chinese food is one of those things I love but don't eat all that often. I've gotta have a craving for it, and I've found that sometimes I love making it myself. I'm no chinese food expert so I keep it simple. But hey, simple is good too right?

There are a few veggies that are a must in my homemade chinese dishes: onions, mushrooms and pineapple. Especially the pineapple, I love, love, love it in my stirfry dishes. I made this dish so long ago, gosh I can't even remember, but I came across the photo the other day so I decided to share this deliciousness. It can hardly be considered a recipe in my opinion, but definitely something I will make again and again. Oh and the potstickers? Delish! I buy them in the frozen food section at Costco. Just throw em in a skillet with a little water and a few tablespoons of oil, cover and let them cook til the water is all gone and you're ready to devour. And they come with a yummy dipping sauce.

Teriyaki Beef Stirfry

Make Your Own Chinese Takeout:
Teriyaki Beef Stirfry

Toasted sesame oil
1 lb of beef (I use the kind already sliced and meant for stirfrying.)
1 jar stirfry sauce of your choice (I use Kikkoman)
1 medium yellow onion
1 bell pepper
2 carrots
1 small can pineapple chunks, drained
4-8 small button mushrooms, cleaned

Thinly slice vegetables, set aside. Add oil to pan, enough to lightly coat bottom. Heat over medium-high heat, add meat and saute until cooked through and no longer pink. Remove meat to papertowel lined plate. Add more oil to pan, add bell pepper, onion and mushrooms. Saute until bell pepper and onion are tender-crisp, add pineapple and return meat to pan. Pour stirfry sauce over ingredients and stir to coat. Allow sauce to heat through. Stir along side or over rice, and with potstickers, if desired.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sweet, Sweet Babies!

Wow, I've truly been gone far too long! I'm sure I've said it before and meant it, but I'll say it anyway, I hope to be back for good and on a REGULAR basis now. I greatly appreciate all the encouragement and well wishes I've received from y'all. I've been in and out of the hospital a few more times since my last post, but I'm doing much much better. Life is very different these days from how it was a year ago. I'm still not where I want to be with my health, but I've come a long way and I refuse to give up and think I'll never reach the level of health I desire and pray for. In some ways I'm pretty healthy again, I'm doing well, I wake up everyday feeling great and I'm loving life. There's one thing I can say for sure, the crisis I (and the rest of my loving family) have dealth with this year has truly changed my life. I've learned so much about myself and the love and support of my family. As strange as it sounds, sometimes amid tragedy you discover there are blessings in there somewhere.

So, with that said, who wants to talk about some food? I do! My Big, Bad Dad does pretty much all the cooking these days. What can I say? I love his cooking! I haven't been doing a great deal of baking, but I am getting back into the groove. I recently got a chance to preview Christmas with Southern Living 2007 and decided to try out a recipe for Baby Pound Cakes that looked pretty promising.

The result was a sweet and buttery moist cake. Although not really what I would call a typical pound cake these little babies were definitely worth baking. Overall a pretty simple recipe and definitely got good reviews from my taste testers.

Baby Pound Cakes

Baby Pound Cakes

1 1/2 c. butter, softened
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
3 c. sugar
6 large eggs
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed using an electric mixter for about 2 minutes or until cream. Gradually add sugar, beating well for 5 to 7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears.

Combine flour and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended; stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin tins (standard size), filling three-fourths full.

Bakeat 350 degress for 22 to 25 minutesor until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Yields approx. 2 1/2 dozen.

Alternatively, pound cakes can be made in fluted mini pound cake pans: size varies according to brand. Pans should be greased and floured. Fill pans three-fourths full and bake at 350 degrees. Length of time will vary according to pan size. Cakes can also be baked in mini-muffin tins following same instructions baking for 16 to 18 minutes. Yields approx. 9 dozen.

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