Saturday, January 31, 2015

Basted Eggs

Room temperature eggs and tablespoon of water
If you haven't figured it out by now, I am a breakfast person. Ever since I was a little boy I was told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If I don't have something to eat for breakfast, my butt is dragging until the early afternoon. For me a good breakfast sets the tone for the entire day.
When I think about how I want my eggs prepared, I would have to say that it really depends on my mood. I like my eggs soft or hard boiled, poached, basted, fried, scrambled, or made into an omelet.  Almost everyone knows what a poached egg is, but a basted egg? When was the last time you heard someone order basted eggs? What is that little known cooking method? It is basically a cross between a poached egg and a fried egg, that usies live steam to finish cooking the top of the egg. Basted eggs are a slightly healthier way to enjoy your eggs.
Melt butter in the pan
Requesting basted eggs in a restaurant is likely to be met with a puzzled look on your server's face. It just doesn't happen that often. It's not that they're hard to make, but do require an understanding of the technique involved. 
You're going to need a preheated non-stick, or stainless steel skillet with a little butter (okay I used more), with a drop of vegetable oil mixed with it to keep the butter from burning. You will also need some water to create the steam and a lid, preferably glass to hold the steam and allow you to view the cooking of the eggs.
Slip the eggs into the pan
Once the butter and oil is melted and combined, crack a couple eggs into a glass ramekin. Slip the eggs into the pan trying to hold the yolks closely together. If the pan is hot enough, the egg whites should start to cook immediately. Lightly season the eggs with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Once the egg whites are beginning to set, add about 3 Tablespoons of water around the eggs, give the fry pan a shake to get the water moving around the eggs to all parts of the skillet. The water will begin steaming immediately.
Just about time to add water
Cover the pan and let the steam from the water cook the top of the egg. It helps if the lid is glass so that you can monitor the egg cooking progress to your liking.
The steam off the top starts cooking the top of the egg
Once the egg yolks have a white film on them and are cooked to your liking, remove the lid. The water also disperses the butter and oil from under the egg. 
To serve remove the basted eggs to a plate and serve with 3-4 slices of crispy smoked bacon and one slice of lightly buttered whole wheat toast.
How do you like your eggs?
2-3 teaspoons butter
1-2 drops vegetable oil
2 egg
1-2 tbsp. water
To baste an egg, first heat 2-3 teaspoons of butter and 1-2 drops of vegetable oil in a non-stick, or stainless steel skillet over medium-low heat until hot. Then, crack the eggs into a ramekin or small bowl. Cracking your eggs into a small ramekin or bowl serves two purposes, to avoid getting shells in your eggs and to keep the egg yolks together for appearance purposes, since we eat with our eyes first. If you have a large egg ring, the egg whites will stay round too.
Once the butter is melted and blended with the oil, gently slide the eggs into the pan, and cook about 30 seconds. When the white of the eggs starts to turn opaque and lightly set add 1-3 tablespoons of water around the eggs. Immediately place the glass lid over the skillet to capture the steam, and cook 1½ to 2 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. It’s ready when the white is set and the yolk has a beautiful white finish.
Basted eggs, potato pancakes, apple-wood smoked bacon
How do you like your eggs? If you, or your family have an unusual way of preparing eggs. Please leave a comment below. A friend of mine living in Arkansas has chocolate gravy with biscuits. I just can't understand this paring. If you can convince me otherwise, please leave me a recipe below.
I just love homemade corned beef or roast beef hash with my eggs. I am looking for a great family recipe for those as well. 
Where do you like to go for breakfast? Tell me where you go and why.

© TMelle 2014-15

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Chicago Style Italian Beef

Hot dogs are high on the list when talking about Chicago style comfort foods. Hot dogs are just the beginning for most of us. The list is almost endless. Hamburgers, Italian sausage, a combo (Italian beef and Italian sausage,) Chicago style pizza, and let's not forget barbecue.
Cut X's in beef for garlic cloves
According to Wikipedia "An Italian beef is a sandwich with thin slices of seasoned roast beef, dripping with meat juices, on a dense, long Italian-style roll, which originated in Chicago where its history dates back at least to the 1930s."
Garlic cloves and parsley
Whether you like it dry, wet, or dipped, with sweet, or hot peppers, how you like your beef is really a personal preference.
Just can't slice beef this thin with a knife
Making Chicago style Italian beef is really not that difficult, if you have a deli-style meat slicer. The secret to great beef is a thinly sliced (not shaved) beef. You can get a home slicer for about $100-$200.00 price.
Just got to get the right bread
What you need to make beef: 
Olive oil

5 lbs. top round
1/2 tbsp. red pepper flakes, crushed
3 tsp. basil, dried
3 tsp. oregano, dried
5-6 garlic cloves, whole
3-4 cloves garlic minced (for au jus)
8 Italian buns (D'amato's, Turano, Gonnella)
32 oz. water
1 tsp. MSG (old school beef optional)
to taste salt & pepper
1-2 green peppers, seeded
as needed jardinere (optional)
pinch nutmeg (optional)
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour (for 5 garlic cloves)
16 oz. low sodium beef broth
Place seasonings on the top of the roast
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Mix together the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, garlic, MSG (if using) and a pinch of salt and pepper. 
Place the roast in a Dutch oven fat side up. Trim off any excess fat. Using a sharp paring knife cut 5 or more X's in the top of the beef, so that the hole depth is in the center of the roast. Dampen the garlic cloves with oil and roll them in flour. Using your finger press 1 floured garlic clove into each hole until the meat closes over the top. Rub the top of the roast with oil and then Rub half of the seasoning mixture on top of the roast.
Fill water
Pour the water into the dutch oven around the roast being careful not to wash the seasoning off the top of the roast and sprinkle with minced garlic  into the water. Cover with the lid and place into the oven. You may also add up to 16 ounces of low sodium beef broth if you like.
Place beef into oven
Roast the beef for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to
250°F and bake for another 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes, add the rest of the spice mixture to the quart of water. Pour this into the roasting pan.  Roast for another 30 to 45 minutes, or until the temperature of the middle of the roast is 130°F. Remove the meat to a platter and let rest for 1/2 hour.
Allow beef to cool
Allow au jus to cool in the Dutch oven. Refrigerate the au jus until the fat rises to the top. Remove the fat and strain the liquid. When ready to serve, reheat the liquid (au jus) and allow to simmer.
Remove the excess fat (many restaurants don't)
Get your meat slicer ready and set on a very thin slice (not shaved)! Once the meat is sliced add enough for number of sandwiches that you sre making to the simmering au jus. This will finish re-heating and cooking the beef.
The thinner the better
Can you smell that?
If you like sweet peppers on your beef, wash the peppers. Slice the peppers in half, remove the seeds and white membrane and then slice them into eighths. Slice the cleaned pepper halves in half and place in a medium sized pot.
Saute those peppers
Begin to cook down the peppers occasionally stir them around so the skin of the peppers become blistered. Now add some olive oil and some minced garlic, salt, and turn the peppers until they are completely coated.  Cover and saute the peppers on medium heat until they are soft. Serve on top of an Italian beef sandwich.
You can save the rest for later
Place some meat on each bun, ladle with some au jus and top with jardiniere and hot peppers.
Can you smell that?
Cover and fry the peppers down on medium heat stir periodically until they are soft. Serve on top of an Italian beef sandwich.

© TMelle 2014-15