Saturday, December 22, 2007

Soft Boiled To Perfection

This morning is so beautiful! There's a fresh blanket of snow outside and the sun is shining. This prompted me to have one of my favorite things for breakfast...soft boiled eggs. Yummy! It's like heaven in a cup! The first time I ever tried a soft boiled egg was at a little inn that I stayed at in Antwerp, Belgium. The proprietor of the inn made me one with my meat and bread for breakfast.

I used my little egg-timing gadget that I bought from Sparrowhawk, a local gourmet shop. Although I think you can find this little gem anywhere. It really takes the guesswork out of knowing when enough is enough.

Just slip the little guy in with the eggs (always use cold water if your eggs came straight from the fridge) and turn on the heat. I watched it here and there, and when the water started boiling I had to lift the little timer out to see the progress. It turns black as it's heating up, and when the black reached the "soft" mark I knew it was time to chow down.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Bit Of Dark History & Weenie Royale

On the way home from work this morning I had one of those NPR moments where I had to sit in my car to finish listening to a story. Granted I could have ran into the house and turn on the stereo, but I didn't want to miss a moment.

It was a very interesting clip of "Hidden Kitchen" where Americans tell their stories of food and how they were influenced throughout life. This one was on Japanese internment camps during World War II. It was a dark and shameful time for the United States to imprison their own citizens only for the sole fact that they were Japanese American. One woman said if you had at least a 1/16th of Japanese blood you were interned.

Several generations were affected by this horrible act. It was hard times and they were given very little for provisions but they made due. Their food and how it was prepared was passed down throughout the family tree. This young woman was talking about her great-grandparents and how they passed down recipes, and to this day she still enjoys them. Weenie Royale was one of her favorites for breakfast.

Although processed meat gets a bum wrap, I must admit my fondness for it. I am guilty of enjoying hot dogs, bologna, and the dreaded four-letter word of canned meat...SPAM. My family also had a lot of Great Depression recipes passed down and SPAM was one of them. We ate simple things like boiled dinner (ham bone, cabbage, potatoes, and onions), fried noodles (just egg noodles fried in butter and bread crumbs), and tons of "hot dish" (any kind of casserole made with whatever meat, whatever vegetable, and a can of "cream-of-something") so I truly understand the concept of finding comfort in the foods we ate during not-so-comforting times.

Listen and read about the story featured on "Hidden Kitchen" on

Weenie Royale

1/2 white or yellow onions, chopped
1 tablespoon
soy sauce

2 hot dogs

3 eggs

Cooked white rice

Saute the chopped onions with a tablespoon of soy sauce and cook at medium to high heat until they are caramelized. While you wait for the onions to caramelize, cut the hot dogs in julienne slices and beat the eggs. After the onions are caramelized, add the hot dogs and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the beaten eggs to the onions and hot dogs until the eggs are done. Serve on top of cooked white rice.

I made this for breakfast this morning. I actually dusted off the old rice cooker and went to 7-Eleven and bought a package of hot dogs. I don't think I've bought hot dogs since college!

I know that this really isn't the healthiest meal, but was pretty tasty.

Diversity is a good thing...and I think this country is slowly learning this.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Muffins!

I made these Chocolate Chip Muffin Mixes to give out for Christmas this year. They are really very simple and pretty good too!

Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t ground nutmeg

1/8 t salt

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I found that mini chips are best for this)

Layer the flour, chocolate chips, and brown sugar in a wide mouth quart jar. Be sure to level and lightly pack each ingredient before adding the next. In a plastic sandwich bag put in the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; close with a twist tie or I sealed mine with my FoodSaver by just putting on the edge of the sealing element.) and put this on the top. This will keep your leavening ingredients fresher for longer storage. Put on lid and ring and screw on cap finger tight.

I took a plate and traced out circles onto colorful Christmas wrapping paper and covered the jars. You can decorate anyway you would like. You can use fabric and ribbon and chose any print you'd like. You can give this gift all year long.

I made up my own recipe cards. You can write your out on a 3"x5" card and attach or make yours on the computer like I did. The card is as follows:

Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 Jar Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix
3/4 cup buttermilk (low fat is fine)

3/4 cup applesauce (unsweetened is fine)

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 1/2 T vegetable oil

1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, pour all of the Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix (be sure to add the ingredients from the sealed bag) and mix well with fork. Set aside. In a small bowl mix egg, buttermilk, applesauce, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Add this into the dry ingredients and stir until just blended. Do not overmix. Batter will have a fluffy texture. Spoon into greased (or lined) muffin tins, filling 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing. Serve warm or cool completely on a wire rack.

These muffins turned out yummy! Nice and moist and they aren't too sweet. They are pretty springy and I think would go great with coffee or tea in the morning or anytime you want a snack.

I packaged these up and gave them to my neighbors. I think they will like them. I'll pass out my finished jarred mixes this week to my co-workers and friends. A gift of food is always welcomed at Christmas or anytime of the year!