Category: How To

How to Trim and Parboil Asparagus

Asparagus dressed with lemon vinaigrette

Asparagus comes a variety of sizes, from pencil thin to very thick. The pencil-thin spears require very little trimming, while thick, chunky spears with woody bottoms need some attention.

How to Trim Thin Asparagus

Take one thin spear and hold the very bottom end in one hand and the center in the other. Bend slowly until the spear snaps at the natural breaking point. 

How to Trim and Parboil Asparagus

Lay the trimmed spear next to the others with the tops aligned. Slice the remaining bottoms following the cutline of the trimmed asparagus.

How to Trim and Parboil Asparagus

How to Trim Thick Asparagus

Use a vegetable peeler to trim from the halfway point to the bottom. Trimming reveals more of tender inner portion that is covered by newer tough peel. If you skip this step, the natural breaking point will be higher and you waste good asparagus. Follow the directions above.

Thoroughly rinse the spears and set aside.

How to Parboil Asparagus

Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and place a strainer in the sink.

Bring a large saucepan of cold water and the salt to a boil.

Add the trimmed asparagus and cook for 20-30 seconds for thin spears and up to to 3 minutes for thicker spears.

How to Trim and Parboil Asparagus

Drain and immediately plunge into the ice-water bath to cool and stop the cooking.

How to Trim and Parboil Asparagus

Drain again, wrap in a large flour sack or dish towel and refrigerate for at least an hour. Use within 48 hours.

Dress the chilled asparagus with our Lemon Vinaigrette and serve over our delicious Herb-Crusted Roasted Salmon.

 

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How to Trim and Parboil Asparagus

Asparagus dress with lemon vinaigrette

Easy step-by-step instructions for trimming and parboiling asparagus. Use chilled asparagus in salads or serve alone with a simple vinaigrette.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 14 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish/Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Instructions

Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and place a strainer in the sink.

Bring a large saucepan of cold water and the salt to a boil.

Add the trimmed asparagus and cook for 20-30 seconds for thin spears and up to to 3 minutes for thicker spears.

Drain the asparagus and immediately plunge into the ice-water bath to cool and stop the cooking.

Drain again, wrap in a large flour sack or dish towel and refrigerate for at least an hour. Use within 48 hours.

Keywords: blanching, parboiling, precooking, shocking

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How to Trim and Parboil Asparagus

Easy step-by-step instructions for trimming and parboiling asparagus. Use chilled asparagus in salads.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: How To
  • Method: Parboiling
Scale

Ingredients

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Instructions

Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and place a strainer in the sink.

Bring a large saucepan of cold water and the salt to a boil.

Add the trimmed asparagus and cook for 20-30 seconds for thin spears and up to to 3 minutes for thicker spears.

Drain the asparagus and immediately plunge into the ice-water bath to cool and stop the cooking.

Drain again, wrap in a large flour sack or dish towel and refrigerate for at least an hour. Use within 48 hours.

Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and place a strainer in the sink.

Keywords: asparagus, chilled asparagus, parboiled asparagus,ice water bath, shocking vegetables, how to trim asparagus

Gin and Tonic

Gin and Tonic sounds pretty simple. Select a gin, fill a glass with ice, add tonic water and a wedge of lime. Not all gins are produced in a similar fashion, however, and high-end distillers use a wide variety of ingredients in different quantities and use different infusion methods, which result in a broad range of flavors. Below are descriptions of three different gins that make an excellent Gin and Tonic, a great summer refresher, and a superior tonic water.

gin and tonic garnishes

Tonic Water

I chose Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water, which  is made from naturally sourced ingredients, with no artificial flavors or added sweeteners. Quinine is the primary ingredient and is responsible for the bitterness found in tonic water. Fever-Tree sources quinine from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and “fever tree” is the local name of the Chichona Ledgeriana trees, which produce some of the highest quality quinine in the world.

Fever-Tree makes over a dozen tonic water varieties and mixers each meant to accompany the varying flavor essences of different gins. Flavors include clementine, elderflower, cola, and Sicilian lemonade. Take a look at Fever-Tree’s pairing wheel for great suggestions in matching their tonic water and mixers with different gin flavors.

gin and tonic - Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water

For this cocktail, I chose the Light Indian Tonic Water, which has 46% fewer calories than the regular tonic water.

Gin

My daughter Margot suggested I start with Bombay Sapphire for this post, but she had other recommendations as well, which I discuss below. Bombay Sapphire uses hand-selected botanicals from around the world: juniper berries, lemon peel, coriander, grains of paradise, cubeb berries, cassia bark, almonds, licorice, orris (iris root). The alcohol is evaporated three times in a Carter-Head still and then the alcohol vapors are infused into these botanicals, which results in a lighter and more floral gin.

gin and tonic- Bombay Sapphire

Since this gin is made with only lemon, I like to use lemon juice and a twisted lemon peel. To jazz it up further, add a few coriander seeds or juniper berries.

gin and tonic setup

Another favorite of Margot’s is St. George Botanivore Gin. We did a tasting of this gin at Stew Leonards (Link: https://www.stewswines.com) a few years ago and were impressed with the complexity of the flavor.

St. George Botanivore Gin is made with 19 different botanicals: angelical root, bay laurel, bergamot peel, black peppercorn, caraway, cardamom, cilantro, cinnamon, citra hops, coriander, dill seed, fennel seed, ginger, juniper berries, lemon peel, lime peel, orris root, Seville orange peel, and star anise. It seems counter-intuitive that all these flavors would mesh well, but they do. The citrus component lends itself well to lemon, lime, and/or orange juice and wedges in the gin and tonic. As a salute to the herbal components, add a sprig of dill or cilantro and toss in a few juniper berries for a sophisticated looking drink!

gin and tonic - St. George Botanivore Gin

 

My daughter also enjoys Hendrick’s, which has a cucumber infusion she really appreciates. Hendrick’s uses a dual still method to make the gin, a traditional copper pot still and a Carter-Head-style still, which uses a copper basket to hold the botanicals and then vapor infuses them to extract flavor. The last step is to combine the two alcohols together and add the essence of cucumber and rose petal for a distinctive flavor.

gin and tonic - hendrick's gin

Hendrick’s recommends using cucumber instead of citrus in a gin and tonic or soda water and elderflower for a unique cocktail, and Fever tree has an elderflower mixer, as well.

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Gin and Tonic

Gin and tonic is a great summer cocktail for those lazy, hot weekend afternoons lounging by the pool or sitting on the porch.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail 1x
  • Category: Alcoholic Beverage
Scale

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces gin, such as Bombay Sapphire
4 ounces tonic water, such as Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water
1/4 ounce lemon juice

Garnish
lemon peel twist, coriander seeds and/or juniper berries

Instructions

Fill a highball glass with ice cubes.

Pour the gin, tonic water, and lemon juice over the ice and stir.

Garnish with the

Keywords: alcoholic spirits, cocktail, gin cocktail, tonic water, mixed drinks, gin and tonic

 

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

Kale is a nutrient dense food high in antioxidants, sometimes referred to as a superfood because of these qualities. It’s a deeply colored leafy green with a firm texture that’s used raw in salads, protein shakes and smoothies. However, if you want to maximize the vitamins and minerals in kale, it’s best to eat it cooked. It’s a known fact that eating any food cooked provides access to more nutrients than raw food. But, before using for either a raw or cooked recipe, let’s discuss how to clean and parboil kale.

In this post, we’ll show you how to clean kale and to parboil it to use in recipes like our Creamed Kale and Leeks (coming next week). Toss kale into soups and stews during the final 15 minutes of cooking to add color, texture, and nutrients. Try our Chicken Kale and White Bean Stew, a delicious one-dish meal.

Chicken Kale and White Bean Stew

Kale is usually sold in bundles of leaves that weigh approximately 8 ounces. Once the tough stems are removed, you have around 5-6 ounces of useable greens, which need a thorough rinse to rid them of any grit. It’s much easier to do clean when the stems are removed first.

A pound of kale (stems and all) yield about 2 cups parboiled and squeezed dry kale.

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

How to Trim Kale

There are two ways to remove the stems, either by using your hands to pull the green away from the leaf or to cut it away with a knife.

To use your hands, grab the kale with the leafy party toward your palm right where the stem begins. Pull the stem back, but don’t break it. Pull towards the top of the kale and remove the tough upper rib as well.

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

To use a knife, lay the leaf on a cutting board and fold it in half so the rib is revealed. Take a sharp knife and start almost at the top of the leaf and draw the knife along the inside edge until the leaf is free.

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

If the recipe calls for chopped kale, cut it up before washing.

For salads, cut the leaves in half lengthwise and pile one on top of the other. Roll the leaves lengthwise and cut thinly across top to bottom and then wash.

How to Wash the Kale

Plunge the trimmed leaves into a large bowl filled with cold water. Swish around and scoop the kale into a colander. Drain the bowl, refill, and repeat. Repeat the process until there’s no grit on the bottom of the bowl.

How to Store Kale

Spread the kale out on a large towel (such as a flour sack towel) or a length of paper towel and roll. Place in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

How to Parboil Kale

Fill a large saucepan (7-quart) with cold water, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and bring to a boil.

Have a strainer ready to drain the parboiled kale.

Make an ice bath by filling a very large bowl with water and a couple of handfuls of ice cubes to plunge the kale into to stop the cooking.

Place 1/3 of the trimmed and cleaned kale in the boiling water, stir to get the kale completely into the water. Add another third, stir, and then the final third. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

Drain the kale and immediately plunge it into the cold-water bath. Stir a couple of times to make sure all the leaves are free. Remove any ice cubes and drain the kale again.

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

Remove the excess moisture from the kale by squeezing in handfuls.

NOTE: If you are using the leaves whole, such as in a stuffed leaf recipe, don’t squeeze dry.

The kale is now ready to be used in a recipe or frozen.

See Other Kale Recipes:

Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup
Curried Lentil and Kale Stew
Winter Greens

How to Clean and Slice Leeks

Leeks are a member of the onion, or allium, family, which includes chives, shallots, garlic, and scallions. They have a strong, unpleasant taste eaten raw, but develop a silky texture and sweet flavor when cooked, the perfect foundation for soups, stews, and side dishes.

Grown in sandy soil, the white portion of a leek is deeply embedded to prevent it from turning green (photosynthesis). As a result, leeks always have dirt hidden between the layers and need a thorough rinsing.

The tough, dark green leafy tops are not used in recipes, however, it’s worth cutting through that top lengthwise to see if there are any usable portions hidden in the middle. As the leek grows, the portion of the leek that’s closer to the surface begins to turn a faint green. Use this portion, some of the inner green top leaves, and the white for most recipes.

Occasionally, however, only the pure white portion is used in a recipe where the green color is undesirable, such as Vichyssoise.

As a rough estimate, for every 3 inches of a leek that’s about 2 inches in diameter you will get 1 cup of thinly sliced leeks.

How to Trim and Clean Leeks

Remove the green tops and slice in half lengthwise to see if there are tender, usable green leaves. Toss the dark, tough greens.

Some recipes, such as poached leeks, cook the leeks in two long halves. To prepare the leek, cut off the roots but leave the center core to keep the layers together. Slice the leek in half lengthwise stopping just before the core. Rinse thoroughly and dry. Proceed with the recipe.

Other recipes ask for sliced leeks. Remove the greens as instructed above and cut off the entire root end. Slice the remaining leek in half lengthwise and again lengthwise.

Thinly slice the leeks and place in a cold-water bath.

Swish the leeks around and rub them against each other with your hands to loosen any grit.

Use your hands or a hand strainer to remove the leeks into a strainer or clean bowl.

Drain the water, rinse the bowl, and refill with cold water.

Repeat the above steps until there is no grit left in the bottom of the bowl.

How to Julienne Leeks

Cut off the roots but leave the center core to keep the layers together. Slice the leek in half lengthwise stopping just before the core. Rinse thoroughly and dry. Remove one layer and fold in half lengthwise if small or in quarters if long. Thinly slice the leek.

This shape is perfect for frizzled leeks, which are dipped in a little flour, deep fried, and used as a garnish.

Other leek recipes:

Potato, Leek, Turnip and Bacon Soup
Rosemary Pea Soup
Leek and Zucchini Casserole
Celery Root and Leek Soup

Cooking Bacon on the Stovetop

cooking bacon on the stovetop

The real secret to successfully cooking bacon on the stovetop is to start with a cold frypan, which prevents the bacon from sticking. Lay the strips of bacon in the bottom of the pan, a slight overlap is okay as the bacon shrinks, and place over high heat. Use a good frypan that distributes heat evenly, such as an iron or a Le Creuset frypan.

Cooking bacon on the stovetop is messier that cooking bacon in the microwave or in the oven. A frying spatter screen helps contain some of the mess, but the stove still requires requires a good wipe down.

cooking bacon on the stovetop

Once the bacon begins to sizzle and render some fat, lower the heat to medium and continue cooking. Lift the spatter guard and gently flip the bacon. Bacon spatters and to help prevent burning yourself, lift the end of the strip closet to you and turn toward the back of the pan. Hopefully any spattering occurs away from you!

cooking bacon on the stovetop

Return the spatter cover, and cook a minute or two more. The bacon cooks quickly at this point, so watch closely to remove the bacon at the floppy or crispy point.

Place the cooked bacon on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb some of the excess fat.

cooking bacon on the stovetop

As an alternative to a frypan, use a griddle. The rectangular shape and bigger size accommodates more strips. There’s quite a bit of spattering and unfortunately no spatter screen for a griddle, so a bigger cleanup job.

Whether you use a skillet or griddle, have a plate ready for the cooked bacon and place in a warm oven or warming draw to hold. Finish cooking the remainder of the bacon and your eggs or pancakes or waffles.

stovetop bacon

Cleanup requires some elbow grease. I use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, which makes the job a little easier.

Watch our How to Cook Bacon on the Stovetop Video Here.

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Cooking Bacon on the Stovetop

stovetop bacon

Cook up a batch or two of bacon and hold in a warm (200-degrees F) oven while you finish cooking.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5-10 minutes
  • Total Time: -26016441.483333 minute
  • Yield: 2 slices per person 1x
  • Category: Breakfast/Brunch
Scale

Ingredients

46 slices bacon

Instructions

Lay the strips of bacon in the bottom of the pan, a slight overlap is okay as the bacon shrinks, and place over high heat.

Once the bacon begins to sizzle and render some fat, lower the heat to medium and continue cooking.

As an alternative to a frypan, use a griddle. The rectangular shape and bigger size accommodates more strips. There’s quite a bit of spattering and unfortunately no spatter screen for a griddle, so a bigger cleanup job.

Lift the spatter guard and gently flip the bacon. Bacon spatters and to help prevent burning yourself, lift the end of the strip closet to you and turn toward the back of the pan. Hopefully any spattering occurs away from you!

Notes

Use a good frypan that distributes heat evenly, such as an iron or a Le Creuset frypan.

Keywords: bacon, panfrying bacon, frying bacon, cooking bacon, cooking bacon on the stovetop

Fresh Herbs versus Dried Herbs

Stew Leonards herb selection

Here’s a little primer on using fresh herbs versus dried herbs.

I prefer fresh herbs for many dishes, especially recipes that call for delicate herbs, such as basil, dill weed, chervil, chives, cilantro, mint, parsley and tarragon, which fade quickly during long cooking times. The best time to use delicate herbs is at the end of cooking or as a garnish. Stir in during the last 5 to 10 minutes, but no longer or the flavor diminishes significantly. Chopping helps releases more flavor components, a rough chop or fine mince, either is fine. These freshly chopped herbs awaken the taste buds and have a pleasing aroma.

Always use fresh herbs in cold preparations, such as salsa and guacamole. Dried herbs won’t reconstitute properly without heat and moisture, and the flavor is muted.

basil

Dried herbs are concentrated in flavor and are best for long, slow cooking times, such as our Mediterranean Lamb Shanks. These hearty herbs include bay leaves, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory and thyme. The moisture and heat of the liquid in a slow-cooked, roasted, or baked recipe rehydrates dried herbs and the flavor infuses the liquid, meat and vegetables nicely. A garnish of the matching fresh herb or one of the fresh herbs in a mélange, coarsely chopped or minced, further brightens and enhances any dish.

Mediterranean Lamb Shanks

Rule of Thumb: Dried herbs are more concentrated in flavor, so use 1/3 less than fresh herbs. For example, if a recipe calls for a tablespoon of fresh herbs, use 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.

dried herbs in spice drawer

Shelf Life and Storage

Fresh Herbs

Unfortunately, fresh herbs are highly perishable. Once separated from the root, they begin to wilt and dry out. The method I use for storing most of my fresh herbs is to gently rinse them in cold water, shake the excess water off (or use a lettuce spinner), strew atop a couple of sheets of paper towel, loosely roll it up and store in a sealed plastic baggie. Most herbs will last 3-4 days.

tarragon

Don’t buy fresh herbs without plans to use them immediately; they’re expensive, especially in the winter, when brought in from outside sources. Notice the size of fresh herb bundles as the growing season progresses – they can be huge – especially basil, which is the ideal time to scoop them up and make several batches of pesto for the freezer!

pesto

Dried Herbs

Dried herbs have a longer shelf life, though not indefinite. Store in dry, dark places, such as a spice drawer or cupboard. Countertop spice racks are not ideal because of the exposure to light. If you are uncertain about the freshness of a dried herb, or spice for that matter, open the jar and give a sniff. If the aroma is weak, the herbs are past their prime and need to be replaced. My go to source is Penzey’s, https://www.penzeys.com which has a store a few miles from my home. They are also have a mail-order business. For those herbs (and spices) that I use infrequently or in minute amounts, I buy the 2 ounce jar.

Use Both Fresh and Dried Herbs

Maximize flavor by using a combination of both fresh and dried herbs. Start with dried herbs in slow-cooked recipes like soups, stews, and sauces, while sweating the aromatics. The dried herb infuses the dish with a subtle flavor. Just before serving, stir in a good handful of freshly chopped herb(s) for a bright, fresh flavor.

mint

 

Photos of herbs were taken at Stew Leonard’s in Norwalk CT.

Poached Eggs

Poached Eggs

I know many are intimidated by the thought making Poached Eggs, but it really is quite simple. The key is to poach the egg until the white is set and the egg yolk is runny, which means temperature control and timing. If you prefer a firm yolk, a little more time at the controlled temperature is all that is required.

Farm fresh eggs are the best for poaching. The egg whites are nice and tight so there’s less spread in the pan. For an older egg, a dash of white vinegar in the cooking water helps coagulate the egg white. There are also egg poaching machines and lots of little cups, etc that claim to make pretty poached eggs. I don’t see the point myself and they would only take up more space in my already full kitchen.

Poached Eggs

How to Poach Eggs

To make them the old-fashioned way, fill a low rimmed saucepan or a straight-sided skillet with cold water, high enough to cover the tops of the eggs. Add almost a capful of white vinegar and bring to a full boil.

Place a couple of folded paper towels by the side of the stove to briefly drain the cooked eggs on before plating.

Crack up to 4 eggs in a small bowl, slide the eggs into the hot water and immediately lower the heat to the gentlest of simmers. Cook for 2 minutes 30 seconds for a runny yolk or 3 minutes for a firm yolk. The key to success here is the gentle simmer, a rapid boil is harsh, and the eggs are easily ruined by the turbulent water.

Poached Eggs

Use a mesh skimmer spoon and gently scoop up all the eggs together. Rest the bottom of the skimmer spoon on the paper towels to drain for a couple of seconds and then slide onto your plate.

Sprinkle a wee bit of kosher salt and ground pepper over the eggs and dig in. Hollandaise sauce recipe coming next week.

Watch our video here. Note: Since making the video, I prefer to crack my eggs in a bowl and slide them into the water vs. cracking them individually into the pan. They keep better shape and cooking time is even for all.

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Poached Eggs

Poached Eggs

Farm fresh eggs are the best for poaching. The egg whites are nice and tight so there’s less spread in the pan. For an older egg, a dash of white vinegar in the cooking water helps coagulate the egg white.

The key is to poach the egg until the white is set and the egg yolk is runny, which means temperature control and timing. If you prefer a firm yolk, a little more time at the controlled temperature is all that is required.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Eggs
Scale

Ingredients

1 to 4 large eggs
white vinegar

Instructions

Fill a low rimmed saucepan or a straight-sided skillet with cold water, high enough to cover the tops of the eggs. Add almost a capful of white vinegar and bring to a full boil.

Place a couple of folded paper towels by the side of the stove to briefly drain the cooked eggs on before plating.

Crack up to 4 eggs in a small bowl, slide the eggs into the hot water and immediately lower the heat to the gentlest of simmers. Cook for 2 minutes 30 seconds for a runny yolk or 3 minutes for a firm yolk. The key to success here is the gentle simmer, a rapid boil is harsh, and the eggs are easily ruined by the turbulent water.

Use a mesh skimmer spoon and gently scoop up all the eggs together. Rest the bottom of the skimmer spoon on the paper towels to drain for a couple of seconds and then slide onto your plate.

Sprinkle a wee bit of kosher salt and ground pepper over the eggs and dig in.

Keywords: poached eggs, eggs, poaching

1 to 4 large eggs
white vinegar

Simple Syrup

simple syrup

Simple syrup is equal parts sugar and water melted over high heat. Make a batch and keep on hand to sweeten iced tea, lemonade, iced coffee or any specialty cocktail. It’s also a key component to making a sorbet or granita.

Simple syrups have a decent shelf life. Keep refrigerated in a sealed container for a several weeks. If mold forms on an older syrup, just like jams and jellies; discard immediately.

simple syrup

A rich simple syrup is double the amount of sugar to water (a ratio of 2:1). The increased amount of sugar increases the preservation and this syrup lasts up to six months refrigerated in a sealed container.

Use a small syrup container, similar to what you see in a diner, and keep it on a small plate to prevent any drips from forming on your table or refrigerator. Here’s a nice selection from Amazon.

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Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is quick and easy to make and has multiple uses, like iced drinks, cocktails, sorbets and granitas.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups 1x
Scale

Ingredients

Syrup

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup cold water

Rich Simple Syrup

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cold water

Instructions

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, set aside to cool. Pour into a covered container and refrigerate.

Syrup lasts several weeks and rich simple syrup up to 6 months.

Notes

Discard if any mold appears on the surface of the simple syrup.

Keywords: simple syrup

Microwave Bacon

Cooing bacon in the microwave.

As much as I love bacon, it’s a messy business to cook up a batch. My preferred method is to cook Microwave Bacon using a microwavable bacon plate.

Cooing bacon in the microwave.

I’ve had mine a long, long time. I looked them up on Amazon and found better designed models than my round one. Why round??? They even come with tops to prevent spattering; I use paper towel. I also line the bottom with paper towel for safety reasons. The ridges do keep the bacon grease away from the bacon, but if you’re cooking up several strips, that’s a lot of fat, the plate is hot, and the grease is slopping around in the bottom – very easy to get burned. The paper towel soaks up that grease and prevents dripping.

Cooing bacon in the microwave.

Place a paper towel over the top to prevent spattering.

Crispy bacon or floppy bacon – which camp are you in?

The crew at Honeypie’s Recipes like floppy bacon, however my family members like crispy, really crispy bacon. The only thing needed to make crispy bacon is more time. You can easily make both floppy and crispy by removing some bacon earlier and holding in a warm oven (200 degrees F) on a platter or in a warming drawer.

Serve the bacon with our delicious recipe for Cinnamon Raisin French Toast.

Cooing bacon in the microwave.

Watch the How to Cook Microwave Bacon Video here.

 

Seafood en Papillote

I used halibut, scallops, shrimp, and clams for this Seafood en Papillote and spooned a little sauce that’s got aromatics and acid to highlight the seafood.

Cooking en papillote creates intense flavor from steaming the ingredients in a tightly closed container. The parchment paper makes a dramatic presentation and when the diner rips it open that flavorful steam makes your mouth water.

Cooking en Papillote

En papillote simply means cooking “in parchment” in French. The Italians call it al cartoccio. Essentially, these are little packets of tender proteins with thinly sliced aromatics, herbs, spices and/or vegetables with a drizzle of acid, such as citrus or wine, a dollop of butter, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and tightly wrapped. The cooking method is a combination of baking and steaming. The enclosed package keeps the steam in, cooks quickly, infuses flavor, and keeps food moist.

The most important thing is to create a tight seal, so the bag puffs up. Using parchment paper can be a little tricky and aluminum foil is virtually fool-proof. The parchment paper, however, makes a more glamorous presentation – slightly charred paper that pierces easily releasing the aromas under the nose of the diner.

Folding the Parchment Packets

4 half-sheet parchment sheets (16 ½” x 12 ¼”)
Scissors
Large baking tray

Fold the parchment in half and trim to a 15″ x 12″ rectangle. Draw a half heart shape on each and cut with scissors.

en papillote

Open and lay the ingredients in the center, fold the paper over and crimp.

Crimping the Packet

en papillote

Start at the top of the packet and fold ½-inch over and crease well. Continue making ½-inch folds with a firm crease until you reach the bottom point. Crimp and tuck final pleat under the packet.

en papillote

The key to success is a tightly sealed packet to contain the steam.

Aluminum Foil Packets

Use either regular or heavy-duty foil that’s 20 inches wide. Pull 4 sheets that are 20 inches long.

Fold in half, open and place the food in the center of one side.

en papillote

Fold over and square off the side by folding the edge. Turn and fold each end, pressing hard to seal tightly.

en papillote

The advantages of foil is the ease of creating a secure seal and if you open the packet and the food isn’t cooked through, it reseals easily.

Watch the Seafood en Papillote video here.

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Seafood en Papillote

Cooking en papillote is fun to make and intense flavors are easy to create because of the cooking method. This Seafood en Papillote recipe uses halibut fillet, sea scallops, shrimp, and cherrystone clams.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Baking/Steaming
Scale

Ingredients

¼ cup white wine
¼ cup clam juice or fish stock
¼ cup minced shallots (2 small shallots)
1 tablespoon minced cloves garlic (3 medium cloves)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper flakes
8  thin slices of fresh lemon
4  three- to four-ounce skinned white fish fillets, such as halibut or cod
8 cherrystone clams, thoroughly washed
8 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 sea scallops, cleaned
8 fresh thyme sprigs
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into four pieces

Instructions

Parchment paper or foil wrappers.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the wine, clam juice or fish stock, shallots, garlic, salt, and pepper flakes in a covered container.

Place 2 slices of lemon centered near the midsection of each wrapper.

Set one fish filet on each of the lemons, set 2 clams, 2 shrimp, and 2 scallops, and 2 cherry tomatoes around the fish. Top with 2 thyme sprigs.

Shake the wine sauce to combine and pour a quarter over each fish and top with a one piece of the butter.

Crimp each packet and cook in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Serve in the package and let each dinner open. The aromatic steam is part of the experience.

Notes

Folding the Parchment Packets

4 half-sheet parchment sheets (16 ½” x 12 ¼”)
Scissors
Large baking tray

Fold the parchment in half and trim to a 15″ x 12″ rectangle. Draw a half heart shape on each and cut with scissors.

Open and lay the ingredients in the center, fold the paper over and crimp.

Crimping the Packet

Start at the top of the packet and fold ½-inch over and crease well. Continue making ½-inch folds with a firm crease until you reach the bottom point. Crimp and tuck final pleat under the packet.

The key to success is a tightly sealed packet to contain the steam.

Aluminum Foil Packets

Use either regular or heavy-duty foil that’s 20 inches wide. Pull 4 sheets that are 20 inches long.

Fold in half, open and place the food in the center of one side. Fold over and square off the side by folding the edge. Turn and fold each end, pressing hard to seal tightly.

The advantages of foil is the ease of creating a secure seal and if you open the packet and the food isn’t cooked through, it reseals easily.

Cooking Sunny-Side Up Eggs

sunny-side up eggs

I love a sunny-side up egg. The problem is that not many people cook them right. I want a sunshine yellow runny egg yolk, but I don’t want uncooked egg white on the top. Here’s my secret to cooking sunny-side up eggs!

My secret is to use an ice cube! It keeps the yolk high and prominent, perfectly runny and the egg whites cooked through.

Put a generous dollop of butter in a skillet over medium heat to melt. Once the butter foams, crack your egg(s) into the hot skillet and lower the heat a tad.

sunny-side up eggs

Pop an ice cube into the skillet.

sunny-side up eggs

Cover with a convex cover – like the one below.

sunny-side up eggs

The cover is going to jiggle and the butter sputter a little from the steam of the melting ice cube.

Remove the cover and you have a beautiful sunny-side-up egg!

sunny-side up eggs

Watch the How to Cook a Sunny-Side Up Egg video here.

Print

Cooking Sunny-Side Up Eggs

Use our fool-proof method to cook the perfect sunny-side up egg – an ice cube!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x
  • Category: Eggs
  • Method: Frying
Scale

Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 large eggs
kosher salt
black pepper

Instructions

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat.

Once the butter foams, drop 2 eggs into the skillet and add 1 ice cube.

Use a convex lid to cover the pan and cook for 60 – 90 seconds.

Slide the eggs onto a warm plate.

 

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs with and without dairy

I googled for recipes of scrambled eggs with dairy and without. It was interesting to see how each method has die-hard fans. Does it make a difference if you use dairy nor not?

The water content of the egg white evaporates during cooking. Adding milk, especially whole or 2-percent milk, has added fat and water to keep the eggs moist.

Scrambled Eggs with and without dairy

Lack of dairy produces a scrambled egg that is a little drier and less fluffy, but with more of an eggy taste.

The difference is negligible, though. You decide what’s right for you.

See our post for an in-depth explanation on how to cook protein, which explains why we recommend cooking low and slow.

Scrambled Eggs with and without dairy

Beat the eggs well and season with salt and pepper before cooking for optimum flavor. A non-stick skillet requires less fat than a regular skilled. I prefer butter for the sweet taste it imparts, but you can easily substitute coconut oil or vegetable oil.

Watch the Scrambled Eggs without Dairy video here.

Adding a little milk or cream to your scrambled eggs makes lighter fluffier eggs. A tablespoon or two for 2 or 3 eggs is sufficient, substitute soy, almond or coconut milk, if desired. Final flavor varies.

Watch the Scrambled Eggs with Dairy video here.

Print

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs with and without dairy

Scrambled eggs are delicious for any meal. For lunch place in a pita or wrap with some bacon and sliced tomatoes.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: 1 portion 1x
  • Category: Eggs
Scale

Ingredients

2 large eggs
1 1/2  tablespoons milk or cream
pinch of salt

pinch of black pepper

2 teaspoons butter or oil

Instructions

Beat the eggs, dairy, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl until frothy.

Heat the butter over medium heat in a skillet.

Once the butter is frothy, pour in the scrambled eggs and gently and continuously stir to create curds.

The eggs are done when all liquid disappears and the eggs are yellow and fluffy.

Notes

Substitute soy, almond or coconut milks for cow’s milk.