Saturday, June 25, 2011

Draft 2

I am now compiling recipes into chapters of what is officially Draft 2. I also semi-successfully made a lasagna-type casserole, and ruined another attempt at a cheese sauce when trying to make potatoes au gratin. What is it with me boiling the %&$*ing cheese sauces?

I have decided that instead of page numbers, recipes should be numbered in a more biblical chapter-and-verse arrangement, since I may not have much control over the number of pages the final book is printed at. The numbers will be added at the end, when I finish adding and removing recipes.

The first two chapters, revised:


For the beginner, eggs are simple and gratifying to cook as a breakfast food. But eggs are more than just a breakfast food. Egg is the glue that holds together balls, patties, and loaves (see recipe ###), stuffings (see recipe ###), pancakes (see recipe ###), and other baked goods (see recipes ###). Egg is also an important part of the custard found in French toast and bread pudding. (see recipe ###)

Eggs can be kept, refrigerated, for several weeks. Older eggs are particularly good for hard boiling, because they can be peeled easier. Do not eat an egg that is damaged. Handle raw eggs as you would handle raw meat, because raw egg, like raw chicken, can carry salmonella. Eggs and egg dishes much be cooked to 165 degrees to be safe to eat. Technically, this means cooking the egg until both the white and yolk (the yellow part) have become solid. However, many people consider it worth the risk to eat runny eggs and raw cookie dough.

Scrambled Egg (quick meal)

Put a tablespoon of butter in a skillet, and melt over medium heat. Break the desired number of eggs into a bowl. Add a dash of salt and pepper, and then beat with a fork until evenly mixed. Pour the beaten eggs into the skillet, add stir with a rubber spatula until the eggs are cooked.

Fried Egg (quick meal)

Put a tablespoon of butter in a skillet, and melt over medium heat. Break one or two eggs directly into the pan. Sprinkle on a dash of salt and pepper. Once the egg white has solidified, either put a lid on the pan to cook the top of the egg, or use a spatula to ever-so-gently flip the egg. Serve promptly for a runny yolk, or leave in the pan a little longer for a cooked yolk.

Fried egg with solidly-cooked yolk makes a great breakfast sandwich. Toss some grated or sliced cheese on top of the egg while it finishes cooking, or some greens (try leftover cooked spinach or kale!), and then serve on toast.

Omelette (quick meal)

Put a tablespoon of butter in a skillet, and melt over medium low heat. Break one to three eggs into a bowl. Add a dash of salt and pepper, and about a tablespoon of milk or water per egg. (The milk or water make the omletter puff up a bit.) Beat with a fork until evenly mixed.

Pour the beaten eggs into the skillet, and do not stir. When the egg mixture is almost cooked through (which you can judge by jiggling the pan) sprinkle grated cheese on top, or other fillings such as chopped greens, cooked vegetables, or cooked meats. Use a spatula to fold the omlette in half, and continue to cook until the cheese begins melting out the sides of the omlette.

Hard Boiled Egg (ingredient or quick meal)

Hard boiled eggs are great as egg salad (see recipe ###), or chopped and added to a salad of leafy greens (see recipe ###). They also make a fantastic breakfast or lunch finger-food for small children.

Hard boiling is a great way to use up eggs which are approaching their expiration date, because older eggs are easier to peel. Kept refrigerated in their shells, hard boiled eggs can be kept for a week.

Quick Method: Put the eggs in a sauce pan and cover with water by one inch. Heat until boiling. Boil for about six minutes on medium heat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs into a bowl of cold water to cool them down.

Longer Method: This method of making “hard boiled” egg supposedly results in a better quality result. Put the eggs in a sauce pan and cover with water by one inch. Heat until almost boiling. Then turn off the heat, put a lid on the pan, and let the eggs sit for about 15 minutes. (If you have extra large eggs, add a couple of minutes. For small eggs, subtract a couple of minutes.) Use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs into a bowl of cold water to cool them down.

Soft Boiled Eggs (quick meal)

The perfect soft boiled egg has cooked whites and a runny yolk. Soft boiled egg can be eaten straight out of the shell with a spoon, or can be scooped out onto torn-up buttered toast, and served with a dash of salt and pepper.

Put the eggs in a sauce pan and cover with water by one inch. Heat until boiling. Boil for about three minutes. Use running tap water or ice water to cool the eggs. Serve at once.

Egg salad (quick meal)

To make egg salad, follow the recipe for tuna salad (see recipe ###), substituting about two eggs per each can of tuna.

Frittata (quick meal)

A frittata is basically a family-sized omelette, and it can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Like soup, frittata is a great way to use leftover ingredients. You can throw in leftover cooked vegetables, cooked meats, raw chopped greens, or cooked pasta. If you do not have leftover cooked meats or vegetables to use, you can first cook some in the same pan that you will then cook the frittata in. The exact number of ingredients used depends on the size of the pan. This recipe assumes that you are using a small pan (about 12 inches in diameter), and the results feed about three people.

Frittata can either be cooked entirely on the stove top, by putting a lid on the pan and cooking at medium-low heat, or the frittata can be cooked in an oven-proof pan and finished under the broiler. Broiling results in a nicely browned top, and can be used to melt some additional cheese on top, if you desire.

Serve frittata by itself, or topped with a sauce (such as marinara or cheese sauce) or you can make sandwiches from slices of frittata.

6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup grated cheese
Salt and pepper
1 or 2 cups cooked vegetables, cooked meats, raw chopped greens, or cooked pasta
2 or 3 tbsp butter

If you are starting with raw meats or vegetables, first cook these in a tablespoon of butter or oil until cooked. Set these aside and use the same pan for the frittata.

Melt 2 tbsp butter in the pan on medium low heat. Tilt the pan to butter the sides. In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Pour this mixture into the pan, and do not stir. After a minute or two, sprinkle the veggies and/or meats into the egg. Put a lid on the pan and continue to cook until the frittata is solid all the way through. Or, cook without a lid until just the surface remains runny, and then place the pan under the broiler until the frittata is browned on top and solid all the way through.

Store-Bought Bread

This section covers things that you can make with bread bought from the store. For recipes that use stale bread, see stuffing, recipe ###; for bread pudding and French toast, see ###.

Most commonly available breads are made from wheat flour. Wheat flour comes in two varieties: white, and whole wheat. White flour and whole wheat flour are made from the same plant, but the outer portion - the bran and the germ - of the wheat berries have been stripped off to make white flour. This gives white flour a longer shelf life, but unfortunately also removes more than half of the nutrients that are found in whole wheat. So, white bread contains a lot of empty calories. Use whole wheat bread when possible.

Did you know that sliced bread freezes nicely? Buy more than you need when it’s on sale, and put the extra away in the freezer. Frozen slices can be thawed in the microwave, or put directly into the toaster. A frozen loaf can be moved into the refrigerator to thaw.

Frozen bread doesn’t work well for instant sandwiches unless you like your sandwich bread toasted. However, if packing a lunch, you can make a sandwich in the morning using frozen bread, and by the time lunch rolls around, the bread will be thawed and ready to eat.

One slice of sandwich bread torn or cut up makes about a cup.

Remember that when cooking anything under a broiler, but bread in particular, you will need to stand and watch, ready to pull the food out of the oven. Bread is particularly tricky, because when it starts to brown, it will then quickly start to smoke and burn. Always pull out the oven rack to get to the bread. Do not reach under the hot oven element.

How to make a Lot of Toast (quick meal)

You can make a lot of toast at once by broiling the bread in your oven. This technique can also be used to toast multiple slices of frozen bread.

Put the oven rack as high in the oven as it will go. Then put your slices of bread either on the rack directly, or on a cookie sheet. Turn the oven on broil and push the rack in, but do not shut the oven door entirely.

Flip the slices over as they reach the desired level of done-ness.

Toast topped with Southern Breakfast Gravy (recipe ###) makes a wonderful (if high calorie) hot meal. Or top toast with bruschetta (recipe ###) for light summer fare.

Cinnamon Toast (quick snack)

This is a great treat for children. First, lightly toast your bread. Then put the bread on a cookie sheet, and top with butter, sugar (white or brown) and a sprinkle of cinnamon (or other pumpkin pie spices). Broil until the butter and sugar bubble. Remove from heat and let cool before serving.

Pizza Bread (quick meal)

You can make your own pizza at home as a quick meal using bread or English muffins. This is a great meal for children, especially if you get them involved in making the pizza.

Toasted bread slices or toasted English muffin halves
Pizza sauce or marinara sauce
Mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced thin
(optional) pepperoni, chopped greens, cooked sausage, onion, or any other pizza topping that you like!

On top of the toasted bread, add the tomato sauce, cheese, and optional toppings. Put the little pizzas in a casserole dish or on a cookie sheet. Cook them under the broiler or bake at 350 degrees until the cheese melts.

An even simpler variant of this is “cheese bread”, which is just toast with cheese melted on top. Cheese bread goes well with soup or salad.

Grilled Cheese (quick meal)

Grilled cheese is one of the first things that most people learn to cook from scratch. Quite simply, it is a sandwich made with bread and cheese, cooked in a little butter or oil in a pan over medium heat. The trick is to let the sandwich cook slowly, at a low enough heat, so that the bread doesn’t start to burn until the cheese has melted.

Grilled cheese can be made both more fancy and more nutritious by adding other things to it. Try tomatoes, fresh spinach, leftover cooked greens, pickles, cooked meats, deli meats, sprouts, or grated carrot.

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