How to/ Basics

All about Eggs~Part Two; How To Cook Eggs For Best Results

August 26, 2013
Thumbnail image for All about Eggs~Part Two; How To Cook Eggs For Best Results

Click here to read All about Eggs~Part One; Practicalities which discusses how chickens are raised effects the quality of the egg, the benefits of pastured raised eggs, egg myths and facts, how to purchase and store eggs, and food safety. This post will cover the various methods for cooking eggs to get the best results.

Cooked in its whole form as the star of the plate, the options for eggs are virtually limitless. Some of the more popular presentations are listed below. For the best results, always start with the freshest eggs possible.

Fried- Sunny-side up, over easy, over hard, these are a few ways to fry an egg (see photo at top of post).
How to cook for best results: Heat a small sauté pan or cast iron pan. Add your choice of fat (butter, olive oil, even bacon fat) and get it sizzling. Crack the egg directly …

Read the full article →

All about Eggs~Part One; Practicalities

July 27, 2013
Thumbnail image for All about Eggs~Part One; Practicalities

“The Incredible, Edible Egg!”

Chances are, if you remember that commercial jingle then you might be of a certain age. Old enough to have seen the humble egg go from every day breakfast item, to founding member of the food “pyramid” seen in every 7th grader’s nutrition textbook, to being disparaged as unhealthy. The egg has come back around again to not only “healthy”, but revered as many restaurant menus now feature at least one dish with a poached egg on it as well as being the product of many a newly minted backyard suburban chicken coop. It’s been almost 40 years since that jingle entered our collective consciousness and of course, it’s now available as a 21st century ring tone, a perfect nostalgic reminder right on our smartphones. (

It’s no surprise there has been a resurgence of interest in the egg. It is …

Read the full article →

How to Make Pesto (plus a bit of a rant)

March 19, 2013
Thumbnail image for How to Make Pesto (plus a bit of a rant)

A few years ago on a trip to Rome, I met an American woman living in Milan who is married to an Italian man. She mentioned how her mother in law is so strict about the provenance of her food that she would never even consider eating pasta al pesto outside her home region of Genoa. At the time, I simultaneously scoffed at the idea and sat in awe of the level of conviction it takes to adhere to one’s beliefs regarding food in that manner.

Because I typically grow about a dozen basil plants every summer, I make batches of pesto and freeze them to eat throughout the year. What would her mother in law would think of my pesto? It’s not traditional in its execution, but the ingredients are (most of the time). She would probably be horrified that I use a food processor instead of mortar …

Read the full article →

Oysters part 4- How to Make Oysters Rockefeller

February 19, 2013
Thumbnail image for Oysters part 4- How to Make Oysters Rockefeller

There is over a century of history surrounding the recipe for Oysters Rockefeller and as many recipes out there as there are varieties of oyster. Created in 1899 at Antoine’s restaurant in New Orleans, the dish was a version of one originally made for snails. Legend has it that when it was first eaten, people said it was “rich enough for a Rockefeller,” hence the name.  One thing is for sure, the recipe is a closely guarded secret and while people have tried to duplicate it, it’s never been published, not even in their Antoine’s cookbook.

There’s been much debate over the years as to the ingredients, but experts agree the most traditional versions are made with a mix of herbs and watercress, not spinach which has become more common. Bacon, Parmesan cheese, cream, and even hollandaise sauce, are frequent additions, but not original. This version is as faithful as …

Read the full article →

Oysters Part 3- Sauces and Garnishes

February 13, 2013
Thumbnail image for Oysters Part 3- Sauces and Garnishes

So now that we’ve talked about the history of oysters, the different types and where they come from, and you’ve seen how to buy, clean and open raw oysters, how about making some sauces to go with them? Below are some of the most traditional ways to serve oysters. My favorite is mignonette sauce, or just completely unadorned. How do you like your oysters?

Mignonette Sauce

Mignonette Sauce

Mignonette is the typical French accoutrement for oysters. Order oysters or a fruits de mer platter in any Parisian bistro and what you’ll get is a clean taste of the sea with a wedge of lemon and this piquant sauce.

4 oz red wine vinegar
2 ea shallots, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp freshly cracked black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and allow the shallots to marinate at least 1 hour.

It’s all about the shallots.
The shallots add a savory component …

Read the full article →

Oysters Part 2- How to Buy, Clean, and Open Raw Oysters

February 9, 2013
Thumbnail image for Oysters Part 2- How to Buy, Clean, and Open Raw Oysters

For a historical background on oysters, please read Oysters Part 1-Introduction; The seduction from the sea.

Buying, Care and Cleaning:

Buy the freshest oysters possible from cold waters (look for oysters from the Pacific Northwest, both coasts of Canada, and places in the far southern hemisphere like New Zealand and Chile). Do not eat or buy any whole oysters which are open as this means they have died and are not safe for consumption. Sometimes a live oyster will open slightly. Give it a tap and if it snaps shut, it’s still alive. If not, toss it.

Store fresh oysters in the refrigerator with the cup side down and their flat side facing up. Cover with a wet kitchen towel. Do not store them on ice because sitting in melting fresh water can kill an oyster. Don’t store oysters in an air-tight container because lack of oxygen can kill them. …

Read the full article →