Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Easy Guacamole (Moved to SomeplaceThatsGreen.com)

This recipe has moved to my new blog home - Quick and Easy Guacamole at Someplace That's Green!  Please visit me there for this recipe and many more. 

Easy Guacamole, ready for party time

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Crockpot Coconut Ginger Chicken (Moved to SomeplaceThatsGreen.com)

The spring days are warming up (a little) and it is tempting to spend more time outside and doing some refreshing spring cleaning instead of cooking.  Crock pots aren't just for winter!   This is a bit like a curry but does not have curry in it.  Dinner becomes as fast as making rice to pair with it and maybe a side of colorful veggies. 

The original recipe is from Simple Bites.  I adapted it to use frozen chicken breasts, so it takes less prep time, which I'm a big fan of since prep time often overlaps with "get ready for work" time and I don't want to get up earlier than I have to.  Actually, most of the prep work can be done the night before.  There is plenty of room for variation on the vegetables - I like peas.  Potatoes make it feel a bit more stew-like, so if you want the focus to be on the chicken, leave out the potatoes.  If you do add these, make sure to use Russets, which hold together better with the long cooking time; yellow potatoes turn to mush. 

Are you ready for some delicious comfort food?  This recipe has moved over to my new website at Someplace That's Green, please check it out!

Coconut Ginger Chicken with Jasmine Rice

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How to Poach an Egg

Poached eggs are made by magic.  Or practice.  Something like that.  I learned the secrets at a technique class at Williams-Sonoma, where I got a front-row seat and watched with fascination as the magic happened over and over again right in front of my eyes.  Hey, I can do that!

Perfect poached egg, nice and gooey inside

A poached egg is what's used for eggs benedict and can be served over all sorts of other delicious things like toast or hash browns or lentils. If you have tried cooking them without knowing the tricks you've probably ended up with messes like mine - a weirdly rubbery yolk and a pot full of egg white soup.  Well, no more of that.

First of all, use fresh eggs.  The easiest way to know they are fresh is to buy them from a farmer instead of a grocery store. 

Second, do not use a saucepan with high edges.  The best egg poaching pans have low sides so you can get the raw egg very close to the water before pouring it in, like a saute pan.

The bowl of ice water isn't strictly necessary but is a convenient place to put all of the finished eggs, plus it helps to clear off the ghosty bits and make them look prettier.

A poached egg over curried lentils, every bit as delicious as it looks.

Poached Eggs
1 tsp white vinegar (this is very important)
Saute pan
Slotted spoon
Bowl of ice water

1.   Set up the water.  In a large pan with low sides, bring enough water to a simmer that the egg will have space to float and not touch the bottom of the pan.  A simmer is just below a boil.  It may be easiest to bring it to a boil first then turn the temp down.  Add 1 tsp white vinegar. This helps the egg white stay together instead of being soup.

2. Crack the egg into a small dish or ramekin (not directly into the water).  Not only does this make it easy to get out shells if the egg cracks badly, this lets you control the pouring into the water. 

3. Slowly and gently pour the egg into the simmering water.  Pour it so the white clumps together in one place, then plop the yolk right in the center of it.  If you're making several, pour the first egg at the 12 o'clock location and continue clockwise, so it's easy to keep track of which you put in first.  If the white of the first egg didn't stay together, add an extra teaspoon of vinegar before putting in the second egg.  

4. Cover and simmer the eggs for three to five minutes.  Five minutes makes the yolk harder with a soft center.

5.Starting at the 12 o'clock egg -
For a large batch of eggs: Lift the eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon and drop them into a bowl of ice water.  Just before serving, use the slotted spoon to move all of the cold eggs back to the simmering water for one minute to heat them back up.

For a small batch of eggs: Lift the eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon and set them on a paper towel lined dish until serving time.

6. Optional - set each poached egg on a cutting board and trim the edges with a paring knife so they are whatever shape you like.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Curried Lentil Hash

Curried Lentil Hash
I came up with this as something unusual to put poached eggs on top of.  Hash browns are delicious but can be boring after a while and it's nice to change things out.  Lentils have that nice starchiness that goes well with eggs and invite fresh garden vegetables like carrots and celery to the breakfast table.  

Lentils are great because they are available dried, very inexpensive, and do not require soaking like a lot of dried beans do.  The bag I bought did not specify what color they are, but they look greenish/brownish - lentils also come in yellow, red, and orange, so make breakfast colorful!  I chose chicken stock to cook the lentils in to impart some extra flavor. 

Curried Lentil Hash

1 Cup dried lentils
2 Cups chicken stock or water (20-24 ice cubes, melted)
1/4 tsp salt
1 Cup grated carrot (about 3 medium carrots)
1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped finely

3 stalks celery, chopped finely
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/3 cup flour
1 egg, beaten


1. First, wash and sort the lentils.  This is very important to make sure there are no rocks or other strange things in your meal.  Yes, my bag did have a rock in it, and I pulled out a dozen or so lentils that looked a bit off.  I don't think lentil sorting is an exact science.

2. Pour the washed lentils into a saucepan and add the chicken stock.  Note, do not add salt!  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer (a few bubbles but not boiling) and cook uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are soft and not crunchy.

3. While the lentils are cooking, saute the vegetables with curry powder, pepper, 1 Tbsp oil, and 1/4 cup of water until onions are soft.  Remove from heat and let cool.

4. Strain lentils through a fine mesh sieve.  I suggest straining them over a bowl because the leftover broth is delicious!  Don't let the strange gray color keep you from trying it!  Stir 1/4 tsp salt into the warm lentils.

5. Mix lentils and veggies together, then stir in flour and egg.  Mash a little.  The process is a lot like hash browns from here on.

6. Heat a frying pan with a little oil and add a layer of lentil mix.  Cook for about five minutes then flip over, in sections, and cook the other side.  Adding more oil will make the edges crispier.

7. Serve with poached eggs and toast.