Hey there, y'all!
I'm just going to get right to it this week, and share some life changing ways to simplify your life in the kitchen.
It has always been a disaster for me when I peel hard boiled eggs. I end up taking off half the white part along with the shell and it's such a frustrating experience and the eggs look so ugly afterwards. I've tried so many different methods for hard boiling and they never seem to work. But not anymore! I tried a new way the last time I had to make deviled eggs (a lot of them) for a client and it was so easy - practically delightful, in fact. I don't think it's revolutionary or new - I just think it works.
You can find it here in the Food & Friends section of the Pioneer Woman's website.
Another wonderfully simple thing I tried recently is boiling pasta in a large sauce pan - not a big pot with tons of water like I've done my whole cooking life. This is life changing. It saves water, time & the pasta comes out perfect every time with a little starchy water leftover to make a delicious sauce.
Here is the method with a video on lifehacker.com
And one more simple thing - this is about one of the best things in life - bacon. Here are a few methods for making it in the oven - no splatter, no mess, no standing over the stove - just crispy bacon every time. I first learned this method from my guru - Ina Garten - the queen of all things delicious & simple (& elegant & rich & Jeffrey!). She's been making bacon in the oven for years because she's Ina and she's amazing.
For teaching's sake, here's a link to three different oven methods from the Food & Friends section of the Pioneer Woman's website which has photos of all three ways to roast bacon in the oven - on a rack, on parchment paper or directly on the sheet pan.
Here's an ode to cauliflower because why not? Last weekend when I was in Calistoga I had the most delicious vegetarian entree that I have ever had (for reals) while dining at Sam's Social Club, which is a restaurant on the property of Indian Springs Resort (heaven on earth as far as I'm concerned). It was a roasted cauliflower steak with tahini sauce and a crispy farro, pomegranate & kalamata olive salad. Oh.My.God. It was so freakin' good. I keep thinking about it, and want to re-create it at home sometime very soon. The cauliflower steak, which was basically a big head of cauliflower was golden and crispy all over the top and perfectly cooked on the inside. To make this happen at home you can rub olive oil & salt all over a big cauliflower head, place it in a shallow roasting pan and then cook the heck out of it on 425 degrees for about an hour or so until it's totally caramelized and beautiful looking. You know how to make tahini sauce since I went on & on about it several weeks ago, but here's the link to the npr recipe which makes a ton of sauce. Don't make that much unless you are feeding 50 people. Use a few tablespoons of the tahini paste (not 2 cups), a tiny bit of garlic (not the whole head), lemon, water, olive oil & salt and blend the heck out of it until it's so creamy & so smooth & so perfectly delicious. You will need more salt than you think and I like to thin it out with a combo of water & olive oil. I don't strain it - I just blend it in my magic bullet blender - which is truly magical, by the way. As for the crispy farro - it was probably thrown into the fryer, which I don't have here at home. I think what I'd do instead is make the farro like I normally do by simmering it in water and then I'd let it dry out on a sheet pan for a bit. I'd try crisping it up in a non stick skillet with olive oil on high heat. I am not sure it will yield the same crispy crackly results, but I do think it will be somewhat crispy which will probably be good enough for me. The olives were chopped into roughly the same size as the farro grains and the pomegranate seeds. I'm not sure what kind of dressing it had on it, but lets just say it was olive oil, lemon & parsley. You won't need much salt because kalamata olives are so briny and salty on their own. I will report back once I've tried making it - I'm so excited to try it here at home.
And here's another cauliflower stunner for you. I was watching a Food Network Thanksgiving special back in November - it was the one where Bobby Flay is at "home" and all his awesome Food Network friends pop over one by one to share their favorite holiday recipes. Eventually, Alex Guarnaschelli pops in and makes this crazy marinated then broiled cauliflower recipe that is like kind of indian and kind of italian and like totally mind blowing. This is not something I'd put on the Thanksgiving buffet table, but it's definitely something I would put in my mouth over & over again. I made it a few weeks after I saw this show because I couldn't stop thinking about it. You marinate the cauliflower for several hours in coconut milk & coriander, then you broil it (I roasted mine on high heat because whenever I broil something, the fire department has to come over and put out the flames). Next you make a vinaigrette with vinegar, lemon, olive oil and dijon and then you top it with a gremolata of garlic, parsley & lemon zest. Oh man. It's so good.