Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Best Easter Egg Recipes - Leftovers Series

For some, it's all about eggs for Easter, and I have a basketful of recipes for leftover ovums the kids can't finish. So read on for using up eggs that are hard-boiled, because there is no way youngsters can put away that many. And be sure to set aside a few raw eggs for some of my recipes listed below (click on any recipe name to see the original blog post.)

Eggs are still a great deal. Lately, I get my eggs from a local Dollar Tree for, you guessed it, a dollar for half a dozen medium eggs, and sometimes they even carry a dozen for a dollar.

The easiest leftover use of eggs is a simply delish Egg Salad. It's the quickest and easiest way to use up leftover boiled eggs.

Half a dozen cooked and peeled Easter eggs mixed with a little mayo and some chopped celery will yield a bowlful of creamy deliciousness that can go between 2 toasted slices of bread, as a topping for your favorite salad, or serve spread on your favorite crackers as appetizers.

Ingredients (about 3 sandwiches)
  • 6 eggs - I used small eggs. Boiled, peeled, and chopped. about 2 cups total after chopped.
  • 1/4 cup mayo - I used light mayo. Okay to add more. Add an extra teaspoon at a time to reach desired creaminess. Large eggs will need more mayo.
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped - including leaves on the stalk -- if it comes with them. About 1/2 cup total after chopped.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Water to boil eggs.
*Many recipes call for mustard, I like it without. But you can add it - try a teaspoon Dijon or regular mustard. You can also use 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard powder.

In a pot add eggs and cover with an inch of water. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Just when eggs start to boil, turn off the heat completely and cover the pot with a lid (or plate.) Let sit for 15 minutes. Eggs will continue to cook in the hot water. (Okay to use any favorite boiled egg recipe you may already have.)

Meanwhile chop one stalk of celery, including leaves. Chop finely.

After 15 minutes, remove eggs and rinse off in cold water, so you can peel them without burning your fingers. You can also let them sit in a bowl of cool water with some ice cubes for about 5 minutes.

Now time to bring it all together. Peel, discard shells and chop the eggs. You can add them as you chop to a large bowl. I usually chop the eggs in half, then place them yolk side down on the chopping board and finish slicing.

Add all the chopped eggs to a bowl. Mix in the chopped celery. Finally, scoop in 1/4 cup of mayo. Mix well. Salt and pepper to taste. Try out a small spoonful of Egg Salad. At this point you can add more mayo if you like, a teaspoon at a time to reach desired creaminess.

I find less mayo and mustard (optional) the better, as they easily overpower the mild egg flavor.

A scoop of Egg Salad goes well with your favorite vegetable salad. Egg Salad is a tasty party dip on your favorite chips or crunchy veggie slices. Also, try a spoonful on an avocado half. But I like an Egg Salad Sandwich the best.

This recipe is easy to double using a dozen eggs -- just add another 1/4 cup of mayo and another rib of chopped celery. Keep finished Egg Salad covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Another early recipe of mine is a silly Devilish Deviled Eggs I made one Halloween. Fun and tasty. Of course, leave out the spicy chili peppers for kid-friendly bites. And you can find all the yummy recipe details from my food blog by clicking on any recipe name.

For extra eggs you haven't boiled yet (or set aside,) there are a lot of my cheap$kate recipes to choose from, like a filling Pasta alla Carbonara with egg yolk and crumbled browned bacon over spaghetti; or a baked omelet-like Frittata with pasilla chili, chorizo, potato, and cheese.

Scrambled eggs come in many variations. Jewish delis have a couple of good ones that I've adapted. I get corned beef on sale during St. Patric's Day, so it's only natural to have some of it sauteed with eggs (even better is pastrami made from corned beef - my recipe is here.

Small packages and cans of salmon come cheaply and I like to add it to my Jewish Breakfast Scramble. And add a dollop of cream cheese and you have a lighter substitution for Lox and Cream Cheese Bagel. Try it sometime, I know you will like it, too.

Booze and eggs go together, especially if you're making my Homemade Eggnog. This video recipe is one of my holiday favorites. You won't believe your eyes when you see my intoxicated antics after imbibing on one Eggnog too many. Be sure to watch this recipe video all the way to the end!

One of my earliest published recipes is also one of the quickest and easy to make: Scrambled Eggs and Sundried Tomatoes. I like to keep a jar of pungent dried tomatoes in herbs and oil in the refrigerator, right next to my carton of eggs. For a non-oil, lighter version, use plain dried tomatoes in a plastic pouch, too (this is what my wife uses.)

Eggs make a great binder for my sister Denise's Veggie Eggplant Burgers. (You should make sure to check out the video we made that features a wacky shopping spree in my local 99c only Store.) And you want to add a scrambled egg or two when you make my cheap$kate version of Chinese Fried Rice.

Ever make Crepes Suzette? There's not much to it really, just eggs, flour, milk and to quote Julia Child's nephew: "lots of butter." And who's that famed chef's nephew anyway?

Well, just watch the video to see this outrageous character shopping in the Hollywood Farmer's Market -- then moving on to the kitchen to show you how to make a tender and delicate pancake-like dessert, that's covered in a buttery orange sauce spiked with brandy!

 Do you have a package of frozen veggies in the freezer accumulating frost, and a crisper drawer full of veggies that are close to being thrown out? Well, just rinse off the frozen veggies and slice off the brown spots from the bell pepper and onion to make my colorful Veggie Frittata.

For this photo story recipe I ran out of eggs, but my neighbor Nuno was kind enough to lend me a few. (How's that for a cheap$kate move, free eggs!)

If you have a small patio garden then I have a couple of nutritious recipes to use the fresh-picked bounty. An easy veggie to grow is bright green Swiss Chard. Just saute it for a couple of minutes and add it to your favorite omelet recipe, my recipe is here.

Every time I change out the dirt from my teeny garden, seeds sprout willy-nilly. Often it's some kind of squash, that never bears fruit. Oh well, that's okay because the flowers make a great Squash Blossom Omelet.

I grew up in the South and was raised on Mexican food for a while. Almost everyone in Texas has tried Migas, which are tortilla pieces scrambled in eggs. And, you can't get simpler than having Refried Beans and Eggs. I didn't think I would like this meal at first, but learned that scrambled eggs elevate any humble ingredient!

Refried Pinto Beans & Scrambled Eggs

I get all types of Mexican chorizo at my local 99c only Store, including beef, pork, and soy (vegetarian.) Mexican chorizo is different than Spanish chorizo, mainly its texture. Spanish chorizo is hard like salami and Mexican chorizo is soft like ground meat. It's a pungent and flavorful protein that mixes well for Chorizo and Scrambled Eggs. And use it to stuff a Breakfast Taco or Breakfast Burrito.

Click to magnify.

Huevos Rancheros are the Eggs Benedict of Mexican cuisine. A corn tortilla with refried beans and a fried egg that's topped with crumbled queso fresco (cheese,) and your favorite salsa, is a decadent and filling way to start the day. Make a batch of this your family sometime, it's quite easy to do when you follow this cheap$kate's recipe.

You can top any of my Mexican breakfast entrees with a favorite jarred salsa or go here to see my list of Homemade Salsa Recipes, with links, that include:  Roasted Salsa Verde (tomatillo,) Red Chili (2 dried types - but same recipe,) Pico de Gallo and Mango.

Click on any photo to see larger.

Looking to impress an overnight guest, then serve her/him my recipe for Eggs Florentine for breakfast - you will definitely get an extra kiss. This creamy spinach and egg dish will keep any afterglow going. And if that doesn't work then I have a sensuous Fried Egg on Breadcrumbs with Asparagus.

I like a challenge. A favorite breakfast fast food is the classic Egg McMuffin. It's not as cheap as it used to be, so I figured out how to make my own cheaper version. And I share it with you in this homemade video recipe.

And for an extra hardy breakfast be sure to add my Old School Hash Browns to the menu.

If you are flush with cash and your ship has come in, then make like a bonus bloated Wall Street con artist and serve up my Billionaire's Crab Omelet. (I even give you a cheap$kate shortcut, just in case the stock market crashes, your government bailout  is rejected, and all your chips have been cashed in.)

And for my latest egg recipe video, I made a classic French-style Cheese Omelette. What's the difference between it and the ones you get at a typical American diner? Well, it is all about technique: mainly you just soft scramble the eggs in butter, add the cheese and gently roll the egg to close up the omelet.

Most American-style omelets are cooked dry, while a French omelet is slightly moist in the middle. It's a different way to cook an omelet that I've grown to like.

Eggs for dinner? Heck yeah, especially when pizza is on the menu. Break an egg on your favorite homemade or store-bought pizza during the last 10 minutes of oven baking. A mix of the creamy yolk is a sumptuous topping, so be sure to try my Pizza with Egg recipe.

And finally, if you're looking for a bit of levity, well, I have an early morning fried egg comedy video to brighten your day, here.

Whew, that's a lot of egg recipes, I'm exhausted. You've just scrolled through 10 years of egg recipes from my food blog.

And if you want even more egg facts then click here to view a fun video.

Cooking with eggs is cheap. While not as inexpensive as they used to be, it's still affordable, especially when you use any of my creative and tasty recipes listed above.

Also, have a chocolaty Good Friday and Easter.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Poaching a Chicken Breast - Video Recipe

I think everyone can do this one. Plus, a Poached Chicken Breast is so suited for many recipes.

I like Poached Chicken Breast in a mayo-based Chicken Salad with chopped celery and pickle relish. Add a few slices to your favorite green salad for extra protein. Use chopped Poached Chicken in a stir fry, or many pasta recipes - cold pasta or hot.

Plus as a bonus, you have a rich flavorful chicken broth for soups or pots of slow-simmering beans.

I poach chicken breast for half an hour, covered in water. A lot of poaching recipes call for the addition of salt, pepper, and a mirepoix, which is a chopped veggie mix of onion, carrot, and celery, plus aromatic herbs.

This version is simplified so the chicken flavor is front and center. To me, any extra flavors will come when chicken is added to your salad or other side dish/entree. It's easy enough to sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over Poached Chicken Breast before serving.

White meat is easier to handle than dark meat. For this recipe, I removed the skin and bone, but you can leave them on (you gain extra flavor, but also some fat - which is easy enough to skim off later.)

You can use cheaper dark meat if you like. Try leg plus thigh, or leg quarter. It takes more work to remove the bone so it's okay to just leave it in; add another 10-15 minutes of cooking time, too.

Poached Chicken is done when the internal temp is  165 degrees Fahrenheit. But I check for doneness by slicing into chicken and making sure there are no pink or red juices.

When chicken breast comes on sale, stock up and freeze an extra breast or two for later. Almost every grocery store around has sales on chicken, especially during holidays. I use poultry from my local Latin market, but you can use free-range, hormone-free from Whole Foods, or any favorite grocery.

Click on any photo to see larger.

My latest recipe video will come in handy for you, so do check it out. It can be used as the start of many recipes. Plus you can freeze Poached Chicken Breast to use anytime. And make sure to use the fresh and flavorful chicken broth too.

Poached Chicken - Video

Play it here. video runs 1 minute 30 seconds.

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.

  • 1/2 chicken breast - Okay to use cheaper leg quarter dark meat (cook an extra 15 minutes). Also okay to use a whole chicken breast (add another 15-20 minutes of cooking time).
  • Water - enough to cover chicken breast. 
  • Salt to taste - optional. About 1/8 teaspoon.
I removed skin and bone from the chicken breast. It's okay to leave both on. You gain flavor but also add fat. Of course, you can skim off fat if you leave skin on.

Dark meat usually takes a little longer to remove the bone. It's okay to poach chicken quarter with the bone but simmer an extra 15 minutes to cook all the way through.

Add chicken to a pot and cover with water. Season with a dash of salt and pepper if you like. I usually leave out seasonings and veggies. When Poached Chicken is used later you can sprinkle on salt and pepper. And when added to a stir fry, salad, or pasta, I'm sure there are plenty of veggie flavors then.

Bring water to a boil and low boil for 15 minutes. After fifteen minutes turn over the breast and low boil for another 15 minutes. You can cook the chicken with or without a pot lid on.

After, remove the chicken and check for doneness. Poached chicken is done when the internal temp is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Or slice into the breast - there should be no red or pink juices. It is easy enough to let it simmer for another 5 or 10 minutes. It's cooking in water so the breast won't dry out.

When chicken breast is done remove and let it cool for for 5 minutes or so. You can store it in the refrigerator whole, or go ahead and shred or chop it up.

Use the Poached Chicken Breast in salads, pasta, or stir fry.

And save the chicken broth to add to a favorite soup or pot of beans. That's a lot of extra flavor.

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Best St. Patrick's Day Recipes

St. Patrick's Day is the time to dress in green and put on your yarmulke? That's if you're combining the cuisines of the Emerald Isle and the Promised Land. And you'll feel like you've found that leprechaun pot o' gold at the end of the Western Wall when you try my luscious Jewish recipes using Irish Corned Beef, that's now on sale this week, like the loaded deli classic Corned Beef Sandwich pictured below.

I like traditional Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage and it's easy enough to make, but for the money, I like my Corned Beef between 2 slices of rye and topped with a cabbage Coleslaw, Jewish deli-style. So just keep on reading to see my tasty recipes below for Deli Corned Beef and Homemade Pastrami.

If you didn't notice, this week is the time of cheap hunks of Corned Beef -- starting at $1.99 per pound! I usually clear out my freezer for this St. Patrick's Day beef celebration and stock up on a few Corned Beef briskets. They freeze well and I like to smoke them during my patio summer cookouts.

Traditional Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage is easy to make. Boil the whole Corned Beef brisket for about 3 to 4 hours until the meat is tender. Next, remove the corned beef and cook chopped cabbage, carrot and potatoes in the salty broth. I like to dump half the brine/broth as it's very salty and replace with regular water. When the veggies are tender, return the corned beef to the pot to reheat. That's it, just pile on your plate a thick slice of Corned Beef with tender veggies. Check out my video below.

Easy Homemade Corned Beef with Cabbage - VIDEO

You'll want a batch of Coleslaw to go along with my Homemade Deli-Style Corned Beef Sandwich. Especially when cabbage is selling for pennies a pound this week. Just click here to get a cheap$kate Deli Coleslaw recipe.

Our most famous deli in Los Angeles is Canter's Deli on Fairfax Boulevard. They are especially known for Pastrami and Corned Beef Sandwiches.

For their 60th Anniversary at this location, they served Corned Beef on Rye Sandwiches for 60 cents! If you don't believe me, then just watch the video below as proof positive.
Canter's 60c Corned Beef Sandwich- VIDEO

And if you have any meaty leftovers then add them to a caloric breakfast scramble of Eggs and Pastrami or Corned Beef (my recipe is a click away here.)

Now, if you really want the wildest use of leftover Pastrami then go no further than the next video, on the making of an Oki Dog.

It is basically a burrito with hot dogs, cheese, chili and pastrami. Yes, it's a cholesterolic artery clogging tortilla-wrapped depth charge that will literally take your breath away. Just watch the video below to see it being assembled (and click here to read it's Japanese origin story.)
Oki Dog with Pastrami - VIDEO

In my  Homemade Pastrami Recipe Video link here, I show you how to brine a beef brisket in the refrigerator for a week. But if you buy a package of corned beef, you can skip that stage and go right to cooking it like in the video below.

So keep scrolling down to see my Corned Beef and Pastrami recipes (you can also click here to see more Pastrami Recipe photos and text.)

Keep an eye out for that yarmulke-wearing leprechaun with a tzitzit under his green jacket. If you catch him make sure one of your 3 wishes is one of my delish dishes.

This St. Patty's Day post is all about the beef. So stock up on corned beef and get to cooking. You can be sure that the Blarney Chef is not full of it this time - these are some of my best and favorite recipes.

Easy Homemade Deli Pastrami - VIDEO

Play it here. Video runs 2 minutes 42 seconds.

Ingredients for Corned Beef and Cabbage
  • 1 corned beef - I use cheap point-cut corned beef on sale. They usually weigh 3 to 5 pounds. You can follow package directions for cooking corned beef. 
  • 1 whole cabbage - chopped. They have a tough root stem you can remove, but it will tenderize. I only remove if it's discolored brown and extra tough. 
  • 1 carrot chopped - You can add another carrot or two, depending on the size. Sometimes I like more veggies.
  • 2 red potatoes chopped - You can boil red potatoes whole, but they will take an extra half hour to cook. Okay to use white or russet potatoes. Also, add more potato if you like.
  • Water to cover corned beef - When corned beef is cooked, taste broth for saltiness, if too much then replace half the broth with fresh water and taste again.  

Directions for Corned Beef and Cabbage
Corned Beef is a thick and tough piece of meat, so you need to low boil it for about 3 to 4 hours until tender. Time will vary depending on the size of whole Corned Beef. Mine was about 4 pounds. Cheaper cuts of Corned Beef can be fatty, is so it's okay to trim off some of the fat.

You can follow Corned Beef package cooking directions. Usually, you cover Corned Beef with water, about 5 cups worth. Most times you have a small packet of spices and herb included, so open and empty the contents into the water.

In a large pot, bring the Corned Beef in water to a boil, lower to a low simmer or low boil and cover the pot. Cook about 3 to 4 hours. Check on the pot every hour or so to make sure liquid does not cook out, and add more water if needed. It's okay if the liquid cooks out by half, this will make an intense broth for the veggies.

After about 3 hours you can chop the cabbage, carrot and potatoes.

When the Corned Beef is done, remove it and set aside. Taste the broth to see how salty it is. More than likely it's too salty, so pour out half the broth and add an equal amount of fresh water. Now taste to see if the broth is milder. Repeat this step if necessary to reach your desired flavor.

Once the broth meets your tastes, then add the chopped veggies. Bring to a low simmer, cover the pot and cook veggies about 20 minutes.

If you like crunchy cabbage, then cook carrot and potato first, about 15 minutes, then add chopped cabbage. Cook until cabbage reaches desired crunchiness, usually 10 minutes or so.

Finally, return the cooked Corned Beef to the pot with veggies and let it reheat for about 5 minutes.

This is a one-pot meal, so just slice off hunks of Corned Beef and serve with the cooked veggies.

When slicing the corned beef for sandwiches make sure to cut across the grain of the meat. Of course, you'll want to try out a slice to see how yummy it is. Notice the lean meat and its rosy color inside.

For a Deli-style Corned Beef Sandwich just add mustard to rye bread. Layer on your favorite cheese, corned beef and coleslaw. From a 2.67 pound of corned beef brisket, I made 3 sandwiches. I served them to my wife, mother-in-law and our neighbor Deb -- they all raved how delicious it was. I hope you will like it too!

Directions for Cooking Easy Pastrami Recipe
Remove corned beef from the package and follow the cooking directions.

Typically you add corned beef to a large pot with a cover and fill it with water to just above the meat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, cover and simmer for at least 3 hours. Check on it from time to time to make sure the water doesn't cook out (the water can cookout by a third, that's okay, as the meat will continue to steam.)

When finished boiling, remove the meat and set it to drain. Make a dry rub to coat the meat for smoking. Mix the pepper and coriander and coat all sides of the brisket.

Dry Rub Ingredients for Smoking
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander - they are the tan brown seeds in the herb package that normally comes with corned beef. You can sometimes find ground coriander in grocery spice racks, too.
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper - okay to use less. Sometimes black pepper can overpower everything, but I like my pastrami that way.
  • Wood chips for smoking the pastrami in a BBQ grill -- about 4 cups.

Now time to smoke it. You mainly need an outdoor grill with a cover. I have a 2-burner gas grill. The object is to smoke the meat with indirect heat. That is, place the meat as far away from the flame as possible. The meat is already cooked, so you just want to smoke it at this stage. If you have a simple outdoor charcoal bbq grill then build a fire way off to one side.

The flame is under a pan of wood chips. You could even loosely wrap a large handful of chips in aluminum foil and place over hot coals or a gas flame.

Depending how large and hot the flame source is, the wood chips should start smoking in a couple of minutes. When the smoke starts, place the boiled brisket as far away from the flame as possible and cover the grill tightly.

Check every 10 minutes or so and replace the wood chips with fresh ones as they cook away, if needed. I smoked my pastrami for an hour. Even a half hour of smoking will give the Corned Beef great flavor and create a crunchy crusted Pastrami.

In the hour of smoking I had to replace the blackened wood chips a couple of times. The meat will still heat up and brown, even away from the heat.

If you are using a coal burning grill your smoking time may be shorter, as they often burn hotter than a more controllable gas grill (about half an hour of smoking?) The length of time it takes for the wood chips to stop smoking is all the time you really need.

After the pastrami is smoked, place it on a cutting board, slice across the grain, and make a big fat Pastrami Sandwich - your way!

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