banana chocolate crêpe




I made a very stupid mistake. I had a tub of what I thought was chocolate whipped cream, somehow I convinced myself it was chocolate whipped cream, that is what the tub was holding before it was emptied and then filled again with chocolate frosting from the ice cream cake made earlier. ¡Gack! Oh well. I was in it now, might as well follow through. Turned out to be not so bad. Children would love it. But it is bad for you. Bad. Bad. Bad. Nom nom nyom. Bad, I said. 

A very small batch of crêpe batter, which is close to pancake batter except thinner and with no baking powder or baking soda. Nothing was measured per se, although a measuring cup was used to add ingredients into a bowl so I suppose in the end things actually were measured, but not precisely or scientifically. 

1 regular size egg
1/2 cup flour, sifted, but not all the flour was used, about 2 tablespoons flour was returned to the bag, 
≤ 1/2 cup a/p milk, let's say 3/8 cup.
1/4 water
pinch salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

The batter could be a little thinner than what this turned out. No harm. 

steak, lima beans







ARTS ! 

experiment, pressure cooked hard-boiled eggs





ARTS !  ↕


I dun read something interesting in a book. A book!

Per Jeff Potter in Cooking for Geeeks pg. 183, eggs that are hard boiled commercially are steamed at 7.5 PSI for ease of peeling.

This experiment tests for peeling of hard boiled eggs steamed at pressure. The pressure cooker goes to 15 PSI. It has two red lines on the pressure gauge indicating target pressures. Presuming one is max and the other the half-way point, which could be wrong, the pressure seems to build beyond the second red line. I figure if the pressure is kept at the first line then that will translate to 7.5 PSI, but I honestly have no idea, and I can't be arsed to dig out the user manual right now, which I guess shows how serious I am about ...

SCIENCES !

Three eggs were brought out straight from the refrigerator and held in a glass jar filled with hot water for as long as it took the water at the bottom of the pressure cooker to come to a roiling boil which was about 1 minute. The eggs were gently lowered onto the pressure pot's trivet, the lid clamped down, and the pressure carefully monitored for 8 complete minutes. The pressure was held at the half-way line by releasing pressure via the valve, the pressure wavered slightly between the first red line and slightly above it.

The 8 minutes steaming time was pure guess.

Ordinarily, I hold eggs in 190℉ / 88℃ for appproximately 12 minutes. That is, the water is brought to a roiling boil, which at Denver altitude is 201℉/94℃, the eggs lowered into the water and the pot removed from the burner. So the water begins to cool immediately. How far it cools depends on the size of the pot, the amount of water, the number and temperature of eggs entering the water. All that together translates to a rather broad margin of differentiation between cooking episodes. No matter what, the eggs are always a total bitch to peel, and the result of peeling a complete mess.

Jeff Potter explains there is a dispute about proper home cooking methods for hard-boiled eggs.

1) Gradual temperature rise of eggs with water from cold to hot makes sense for uniform cooking from the outer portion of the egg to the inner portion of the egg. Apparently they taste better.

2) Shock and Awe, where cold egg go directly into boiling water which shocks the outer portion of the egg resulting in easier peeling, but uneven cooking between outer and inner portions.

So, which is valued more, better tasting or easier peeling hard boiled eggs?

Jeff makes a case for using both methods. Shock the egg in boiling water for 30 seconds and then in another pot bring the eggs up to temperature along with the water for the duration of the cooking period.

These eggs were shocked as much as possible in the pressure cooker. It does take a minute for the pressure to build up inside to 7.5 PSI. They are also shocked out of pressure by spraying the whole pot with cold water, the lid removed quickly, more quickly than by releasing the pressure via the valve, and much more quickly than allowing the pot to cool down on its own, which would amount to full minutes of further cooking.

Conclusion: Pressure cooking eggs is brilliant. Thanks for the idea Jeff Potter! One of the eggs cracked around its equator and began peeling itself, which I think is the point of the whole thing. The two uncracked eggs peeled easily and flawlessly. These were the easiest to peel hard-boiled eggs that I ever peeled, almost, except for those few that I peeled when I was a kid that virtually shot out of their crumpled shells. I've been trying to relive those precious moments ever since and this is the closest I have ever come.

Maybe more pressure would would be even better.

Also it would probably be more shocking if the eggs went in completely cold. I only warmed them out of habit of treating eggs kindly.

As to taste and texture, the eggs cannot be faulted. They were not rubbery. They were uniformly cooked. Yolks were perfect. 8 minutes was as good a guess as any. Dousing the eggs in cold water prevented the iron within the yolk from migrating to the surface of the yolk and thereby discoloring it.


Halp! A Potteralanche!  Welcome Jeff Potter's Twitter and Facebook friends from around the globe. Do feel free to have a look around. Use that search up there at top to find pretty much anything. 

chicken and dumplings



This is a package of chicken thighs from which the chicken scallopini was made and with which something must be done. The remaining thighs are seasoned heavily and broiled. I might have ruined one of the Silpats there. Oops. Should have used aluminum foil, I guess. It will still work fine, it is just become very ugly. 




Oh nooooos! Mah dadgum potato dun sprouted! I have only one potato and it is starting to grow branches. Whenever I see a thing like this I think I might had just turn it into a bonsai potato, you know, provide it a shallow tray and a little mound of dirt. 


The vegetables are oiled and seasoned exactly like the thighs and broiled similarly. 



The thighs begin their boil in the largest pot, while the vegetables are broiling which will be added to the pot later, so the broth is started incrementally. These two things are broiled separately to caramelize their surfaces, the chicken by Maillard and the vegetables by simple caramelization, to layer additional complex flavors and to concentrate those flavors which will then be diluted in water. 



Not pictured: broth in largest pot. It is just a bunch of stuff boiling in a pot. Nothing to see, actually. It is not interesting. 

The broth does not have the advantage of the whole chicken carcass, the bone and its marrow. (Although the option still exists to include homemade chicken broth that was made previously and which is still available. It will depend on how well this broth develops)

Bay leaf is added to the broth, but no other additional seasonings. All the seasonings are present on the roasted chicken thighs and on the vegetables.

Now all the chicken thighs and the vegetables are in the largest pot with water. They are bubbling away and softening. The chicken is removed and shredded with two forks and then returned to the water. The broth is taste-tested. Surface oil is removed.

Thick broad egg noodles are prepared. Along the line of pappardelle except broader and in the shape of squares and not ribbons. 



The dough relaxes for twenty minutes. 



The Atlas is attached to the work surface. Its rollers will enable more uniform pasta than possible by hand-rolling. Only three of the four dough balls were rolled because -- what? -- do you think I'm insane?

The Atlas cranks from 1 most thick to 7 most thin. These noodles are rolled to 4, which is rather thick for a pasta noodle. If they rolled to 7, the dough would stretch beyond the length of the work surface. The machine has a motor, and it works fine, but it is a lot more fun to hand-crank it. 



The strips are cut in half lengthwise then all three pairs are cut into squares. One-by-one, the squares are carefully placed into the simmering broth .

Finally, a bag of frozen peas is added to the pot. The peas need not cook. The noodle soup is ready as soon as the peas are warmed through. 

Chicken 'n Dumplings

This chicken noodle soup resembles, but not exactly, the way my dear mum, bless 'er, made what she calls chicken 'n dumplings. That was in the days of yore when she cooked, but she is completely beyond all of that now and hasn't turned on a stove in an age.

It is most likely not what you would call chicken 'n dumplings, her dumplings were actually egg noodles, pappardelle specifically, except broader than that and large thick squares instead of broad ribbons. I loved them, especially when they stuck together in a stack and cooked incompletely with a somewhat raw interior where they connected. That was due to the thick pasta squares being carelessly layered into the pot.

The bench flour covering the pasta carried into the broth thickens it.

Mum simply boiled a whole chicken until it fell apart, along with the customary mirepoix vegetables, although she never called them that, along with potato and also peas. It was one of my favorite things that she made. Eventually I discovered that other mum's dumplings were actually like round floating wet scones and I liked that better. I completely forgot about all this until one day I was visiting my sister's family and she announced she would be making chicken 'n dumplings. Expecting actual dumplings I was surprised then to see her produce this dish with these egg noodles exactly as we were both familiar.

Today I am imitating Mum's dumplings but not her chicken. These are chicken thighs that are roasted, not a whole chicken that is boiled. Plus a few of the leftover scaloppini thighs from before. This finishes that entire package of thighs, and it does take me back to those halcyon days of youth when everything was made for me by someone else. Come to think of it, what a drag that must of been for someone who really wasn't cut out for such a role and whose heart really wasn't entirely lastingly in it. Mum, thank you for hanging in there.


Previous similar chicken soups:


Pacific salmon, green beans








ARTS !


The mushrooms were sautéed in olive oil and butter in the same pan before the salmon. Green beans added after the mushrooms began to caramelize. The vegetables were removed to bowl, covered and reserved. 

The salmon was fried then plated and covered while a sauce was prepared in the same pan. 

The sauce is diced onion sweated in butter and olive oil then doused with white wine and the juice of one whole lemon. A full tablespoon of capers with its liquid brine was added to heat through. Additional butter to finish. Some cooks insist on rinsing capers of its harsh salty liquid so that the more gentle flavor of the capers can come through, but in this case I wanted the salty liquid to contribute to the sauce, so no additional salt was added. Pepper, of course. 

Savory and tart with the taste of salt, somewhat unctuous. Nothing sweet, nor capsaicin hot, nothing bitter, nothing particularly spicy and no herbs. 

The place smells of fried fish. The windows are open, the air purifiers are on full blast. 

Previous salmons: 

pork tacos


The tacos make use of the pork chile made earlier. The filling can be anything at all, beef, chicken, fish, bison, elk, iguana, hummingbird, earthworms. Okay, possibly not those last three. These tacos do not contain cheese. If the taco shells were fried flatly instead of bent, which would be easier, then the result would be tostadas instead of tacos. There is something to be said for tostadas, they can be piled up impressively or kept simple with, say, a smear of refrito, whereas tacos are limited by what can be fit between the two sides. Plus crispy tacos tend to split, spilling their contents. 

It is not necessary to make taco shells, of course, but then some manufacturer gets to have all the fun of making them. The tortillas needn't be crispy shells either, for that matter, simple floppy tortillas will do as well, either corn tortillas or flour tortillas, crispy or soft. It's all good. So given that, the following steps shown below can all be skipped. I'm only doing it because I want to. 










ARTS ! ↕




Previous tacos

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