Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Poaching Eggs Easy with Breakfast Television, Dyeing Eggs Naturally and Planting in Eggs

Yesterday I went to Breakfast Television Vancouver  to do a segment for Egg Farmers of Canada, showing just how easy to poach eggs for a crowd.  

There are two ways to prepare poached eggs for a crowd that will be easier when getting everything on the table.

The first way that I show in the video clip is done using a muffin pan.

Muffin Pan Poached Eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  
  2. Put a tablespoon of water into each muffin cup.
  3. Break an egg into each cup and put in the oven for 11- 13 minutes. 
  4. Use a slotted spoon to remove eggs.
  • a darker pan will cook eggs quicker than a light pan
  • test this method ahead of time with just a few eggs.  Put a bit of water in the cups you are not using so the pan does not ruin. 
  • Every pan and oven will vary the cooking time.
  • this method works best if you prefer your eggs on the soft to medium side as opposed to runny.
  • the egg will leave a little egg residue in the muffin pan that can be easily cleaned off with a kitchen brush.  The egg itself will come out of the pan quite easily with a bit of gentle coaxing with the edge of the slotted spoon. 
Poach Eggs the day before

  1. Bring a pot of water to a simmer. 
  2. Crack eggs into a custard cup and then slip into simmering water.  Poach up to half a dozen at a time. Stir very gently.
  3. Poach three minutes and transfer to a bowl of ice water using a slotted spoon. 
  4. Store in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. Just before serving, put the eggs into a pot of simmering water for 1 minute or until the yolks are done to your liking.  
  • Lift the egg out of the simmering water with a slotted spoon and press the yolks with your finger to know how well done they are.  
  • Use paper towel to blot the water from the eggs 

Decorating eggs doesn't have to include using dye.
I used a non toxic white fine tipped pen to make some simple designs.

When you do your baking for Easter,  don't throw the eggs away.
Open the egg by using an egg topper or tapping the top with a sharp knife and breaking away the shell gently with your fingers.

To make a grass filled egg you will need wheat berries which can be purchased at a health food store.
Put a bit of soil in the egg and sprinkle wheat berries on top.  
Keep the soil damp by spraying several times a day with water.
Wheat should start to sprout in three days. 

It is fun to dye eggs using natural food.

To make eggs Robin Egg blue, cook two cups of chopped red cabbage for 30 minutes in enough water to cover cabbage.  Strain, add 1 tablespoon vinegar and allow to come to room temperature.

Dip hard boiled eggs in red cabbage dye for about 30 minutes. Leave the eggs longer for darker eggs.

To make Yellow eggs bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Add 2 tablespoons of turmeric and 1 tablespoon of vinegar.  Stir to dissolve. Simmer several minutes. 

Place eggs in Turmeric Dye and check every few minutes.
The undissolved  turmeric will add speckles to the eggs, adding to the natural effect.

To make green eggs, place in the turmeric dye first and then place into the red cabbage dye.

Play with the different colors.  Add a bit of gel food color into the different dyes to add yet another layer of color to your eggs.  I added a bit of red to the red cabbage at the end to change the color of  a few of the eggs in the photo above.  The residue of turmeric added a natural effect.  

I made this inexpensive centerpiece by planting a little spring flower  commonly called Grape Hyacinth in each egg.  I went to the garden store and bought the littlest ones I could find.  They can be started by planting bulbs but I didn't test that and they would have to be watered for weeks.  Planting little flowers already in bud is much easier. 

After they have bloomed, let them dry out and plant them in the garden this fall to let them bloom again in spring.  Crack the shell first at the bottom before planting.  

Using the white non toxic pen...
I'll write the names of my family and give them each a place of honor at our Easter Buffet!

Thank you Breakfast Television for sharing this segment with us. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pina Colada Fruit Dip

Add a taste of the tropics to your buffet table by serving a pina colada dip with a fresh fruit tray.  It goes over well any season of the year!

  • 1 jar (7 ounces / 200 ml) marshmallow creme
  • 1 tub (8 ounces / 250 gram) spreadable cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup drained crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  1. Whip the cream cheese until smooth. 
  2. Add the marshmallow creme and beat until fluffy.
  3. Fold in pineapple and coconut.
  4. Cover and chill until serving.
  5. Top with toasted coconut.
  6. Serve with fresh fruit or cubed cake.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bread for the Journey

For thirty years my Mom prepared the crafts for her two year old Sunday School class.  For Palm Sunday she made these simple construction paper palm trees for the little children to wave as they sang. She loved teaching even the youngest children to sing praises to Jesus and knew that those early lessons would be a stepping stone for their understanding of the whole Easter story. 

The triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem happened just as Zechariah had prophesied hundreds of years earlier. 

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
 Zechariah 9:9 

Some people put their coats on the ground and others took branches and covered the ground as they sang "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Hosanna in the highest."

The same crowds that were waving palm branches and making a path of palm branches for Jesus singing Hosanna, were calling for his crucifixion five days later.  

Let us go into this week with praise and thanksgiving for Jesus and for his sacrifice on our behalf!
Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Southern Fried Chicken

Are you thinking of what to make for Sunday lunch tomorrow? You can make this today and just heat in the oven when you come home from church for a few minutes. This chicken will stay nice and crispy.
My mom got this recipe from my aunt way back in the 70's. I have made some minor changes since then to the original recipe, but it still has that crispy crunch that I enjoy. It can either be pan fried in a bit of butter and olive oil so the butter won't burn, or baked in the oven brushed with a bit of melted butter. This photo shows that it was pan fried. Make the seasoned flour and keep unused flour for another use. Try it with pork chops too.

Seasoned flour mixture:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
Combine all the ingredients above and store in an airtight container.
  • 3 lbs of boneless chicken thighs ( I am a fan of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, they are often more economical than breasts and always moist.)
  • 2 eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • oil and butter for frying
  1. Have three pie pans ready, one for the flour, one for the egg and water mixture,  and one for the breadcrumbs.
  2. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour mixture, then the eggs, followed by the bread crumbs. 
  3. Brown the chicken until golden brown and is cooked all the way through in medium heat in the frying pan. 
  4. Alternatively brush the coated chicken pieces with melted butter and bake in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Lemon Loaf - Flash Back Friday

I originally posted this recipe in 2011. I had mentioned at that time that one of our grandsons would ask me to bake "Wemon Woaf". Four years later he's still asking me to bake his favourite...."Lemon Loaf". 
Easter, pretty colours, lemon and special treats just go together. I baked these sweet little loaves up this past week and made some deliveries. 
(I divided the batter between 5 smaller disposable pans. Baking time adjusted to size of pan being used)
  • 1 lemon supreme boxed cake mix
  • 1 99gr package jello instant lemon pudding powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup water
  1. Put all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and beat together for 3 minutes.
  2. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans, and bake @ 350ยบ for 45-50 minutes. To test insert a tooth pick and if it comes out clean it is done.
  3. Let rest in pans for 5 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack. Glaze immediately.
Glaze: (optional)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Stir together until smooth, and paint top of hot loaves allowing the glaze to run down the edges.
Freezes well.

Once cooled, add a thin layer of icing made from powdered sugar and a little bit of lemon juice or warm water. Stir until smooth, and pour over loaves. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

This salad is put together quickly and tastes even better the longer it sits to blend the flavors and you don't have to worry about it getting soggy. A good make ahead salad for potlucks or having extra in the fridge for lunches.

  • 2 - 15 oz cans of chickpeas 
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 english cucumber, cut in quarter and sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup of diced red onion, or 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 red or green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of black kalamata olives
  • desired amount of feta cheese (optional)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Roasted Mushroom Soup

If you've told yourself a long time ago that you do not care for mushroom soup, you simply must try again! I'm speaking from personal experience here and I love, first, the aroma that comes with the roasting and cooking of this soup and, secondly, the fresh homemade flavor. The ingredients are simple and mostly good for you!

  • 1 - 1 1/2 lbs mushrooms of choice (about 5 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup light cream (coffee cream)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth 
  • fresh lemon juice and pepper
  1. Clean and chop mushrooms in half. Drizzle with olive oil and roast at 400 F for 15-20 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet and cook onion, stirring until golden brown. Add crushed garlic and thyme, stirring for one more minute. Set aside.
  3. Add roasted mushrooms to onions and continue to cool down with cream. 
  4. Blend in blender or food processor until just blended.
  5. Pour into medium sized pot or back into skillet. Add broth and bring to boil.
  6. Just before serving, add a squeeze of lemon juice and freshly ground pepper.
* freeze fresh thyme and simply strip off as much as you need for a recipe
* peel dry mushrooms to remove dirt
* for broth, try using better-than-bouillon in a jar and dissolve in boiling water. It keeps well in the fridge and is always fresh.
* this recipe serves 2 - 4 as a meal, with a sandwich, or 6 - 8 as an appetizer