when you have backyard chickens you discover the divine pleasure of a perfectly cooked, fried egg straight out of the nesting box. and by perfectly cooked, i mean crispy edges with tender whites ( not snotty! not overcooked! ) and runny yolks. it’s a tough trick to get the trifecta of crispy, tender and runny and i could never get it consistently until i read this cooks illustrated fried egg recipe ( great magazine, highly recommended ).
it explains that yolks and whites set at different temperatures. yolks set at 158F and whites set at 180F, so the trick is getting the whites to cook before the yolks. you can get the whites to set first using the “hot and fast” method by using a fat with a high smoke point. drop the eggs in a sizzling hot, hot, hot pan and the whites set before the yolks know what hit ’em.
the cooks illustrated recipe recommends using a vegetable oil, but what has a higher smoke point than almost any vegetable oil and has a delicious buttery taste that you want with a fried egg? ghee ( aka clarified butter )! throw in a few tablespoons of butter into the pan right as you add the eggs to add a boost of extra butteryness. awesome eggs every time.
you can take this general philosophy to its logical conclusion and jump right on the crispy egg train.
2T purity farms organic ghee
2T organic valley cultured butter
2 organic valley eggs ( or from the backyard if you’re that lucky )
salt and pepper
– preheat ghee in skillet on low heat for 5 minutes
– crack 2 eggs in bowl and season with salt and pepper
– turn up heat to medium-high until sizzling hot ( and! i! mean! sizzling! )
– add butter and quickly swirl around pan ( this is a little tricy because you don’t want to burn the butter. act fast and don’t burn yourself ).
– pour eggs from bowl into skillet ( they should just about explode when they hit the oil )
– cover skillet and cook for 1 minute ( that’s right, just 1 minute )
– remove from heat and let stand covered – about 30 seconds will get you runny yolks, 60 seconds will get you soft set yolks and a few minutes will yield medium set yolks.
i typically let sit until the layer surrounding the yolk turns white which is a good indicator the whites are completely done and i avoid serving snotty eggs. at that point the yolks are right between runny and very soft-set.
thanks to a tweet from xeni jardin i discovered that homemade soft pretzels are easy to bake and while i try to live a pretty-much-mostly-gluten-free lifestyle i love a soft pretzel as much as anyone else, so i had to give it a try. and, yes, they are ridiculously easy to make. and super tasty.
odin and discovered that the only thing better than a soft pretzel straight out of the oven is one slathered in melted organic valley butter 🙂
here is the recipe we followed. king arthur has a similar sourdough pretzel recipe that i’m going to have to try soon.
Jason and Hannah’s pretzel recipe
2 1/4 cups AP or bread flour
¾ cup of warm water
1 tsp bread yeast
1 Tbs brown sugar
⅛ tsp salt
Additionally: Baking Soda, and Salt
Pre-heat your oven to 400ºF.
Mix yeast and brown sugar in the ¾ cup of warm water and let proof for 10 minutes.
Put flour and salt in large mixing bowl. Add liquid. Knead until the ball of dough has picked up all the loose flour and is smooth.
Start a 3-5 quart pot of water boiling. Add 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda. Let boil.
Roll out pretzels. I suggest taking golf ball sized balls of dough and rolling them in your hand until the string of dough is about the diameter of a grease pencil or sharpie. Then twist into pretzels.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or your favorite non-stick method. Boil pretzels in the baking soda water mixture for 10-15 seconds each. My rule is to let them sink to the bottom and then retrieve a few seconds after they float to the surface. Place the pretzels on the baking sheet.
Immediately before placing in the oven, sprinkle with salt to your preference. Bake for 18-19 minutes.
i made several batches of odin’s “Kick in The Asgard” hot sauce using starter fuel from our organic valley garden based on a “green dragon sauce” recipe. i ended up with about a gallon of sauce and will give most of it away to fellow gardeners. not knowing how hot the peppers were, i was happy to find that none of the batches ended up being “melt your face off” hot.
it’s analogous to a tabasco sauce – simple to make and tasty!
in the interest of full disclosure, odin doesn’t actually like hot sauce but i like the punny nature of the name. maybe someday his taste buds will change 🙂
20 peppers or so, stems removed, rough chopped (2 1/2 cups)
1 onion, chopped
3 or 4 or 8 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 cups water
1 cup white vinegar to taste
combine the peppers, onion, garlic, salt and oil in a saucepan over high heat. saute’ for 3 minutes.
add the water and continue to cook for about 20 minutes. Stir often.
remove from heat and allow to steep until mixture has cooled.
place mixture in food processor and puree until smooth.
with the processor running, pour in the vinegar through the feed tube in a steady stream.
pour into sterilized pint jar and seal.
let age at least 2 weeks before using.
can be stored in the refrigerator up to 6 months.
to can: pour into clean hot jars [no need to sterilize jars if water bathed for at least 10 min. and process in boiling water bath for 10 min.
bacon and jalapenos make for a simple and tasty way to spruce up a hotdog ( we love organic prairie’s 100% grass-fed organic hotdogs ).
simply cut a line down the length of the hotdog deep enough to fit several slices of jalapeno. precook some bacon so it’s tender enough to wrap around the hotdog. then secure the bacon with some toothpicks. cook on medium heat on a grill until the hotdog is hot and the bacon is crisp.
top with sweet pickle relish and mustard.
served with homemade fries spritzed with apple cider vinegar for a Delicious Flavor Bonanza ®
speaking of grassmilk i have long thought i should start a recipe series for “things that pair well with a Big Glass of Grassmilk”. i guess now is as good a time as any 🙂
make a chocolate mayonnaise cake and top with whipped cream frosting ( you could use something other than organic valley heavy whipping cream, but really, why? ). grab a glass of the cream on top grassmilk.
enjoy the perfect pairing. very much odin approved.
i have to admit i always thought “beer can” chicken was a gimmick. i had it once years ago and it wasn’t memorable experience. recently, my sister in-law was visiting and said we had to give it another try and i was amazed at the results. crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. we’ve made it a few more times and served it to some folks who really enjoy food, had never heard of the technique and looked on with skeptically raised eyebrows until they tasted it.
there some debate about whether or not the beer is actually doing anything but the folks america’s test kitchen give it their approval and my taste buds give it two thumbs up. do note that the beer increases the chances of undercooking the chicken so make sure to get the chicken to 165 degrees F throughout.
we haven’t used any rubs but i’m sure you could and it’d be mighty tasty.
1 (4-pound) whole chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 can beer
– heat grill to 410 degrees F. use indirect heat ( i.e. don’t turn on burner under the chicken ).
– prepare the chicken as you normally would. rinse chicken inside and out, and pat dry. then rub chicken lightly with oil and sprinke on salt, pepper inside and outside the bird
– open the beer can and drink half of it. some recipes recommend poking several more holes in the top of the can.
– place beer can in bird’s cavity. this can be tricky and it might require two people if you’re not coordinated.
– holding the beer can with an oven mitt place the chicken on the center of the hot grill and carefully balance the bird. i rest it against the grate on the back of the grill and use the legs and the beer can like a three legged stool.
– cook for 75 minutes or so until the bird has reached 165 degrees F throughout. take several measurements.
– carefully remove from the grill ( this can also be tricky and if you’re not careful you’ll end up with greasy beer all over the place ) and let rest for 10 minutes or so.
odin made his mother a nice card for mother’s day and he also knows that one of her very favorite things to have for breakfast is swedish pancakes ( sometimes known as nordic pancakes ) which are more like crepes than your traditional north american pancake.
odin created a handy mnemonic device to remember the recipe. 321 EMF! that’s 3 eggs, 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of flour. mix together and add a pinch of sugar and salt and you’re ready to go.
pour a thin layer of batter on a preheated skillet and cook for a few minutes ( until flippable ), turn and cook for a few more until golden brown. roll-up each pancake and serve with fruit and maple syrup.
super easy and super delicious!