Lesson 54 How to Properly Dress Your Bread


I know, odd title.  But it’s an accurate question.  How do you dress your bread?  Do you smear some good peanut butter on top?  Maybe you like it just with butter, or maybe butter, then  sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar.  I love a good slice of toast with butter and raspberry jelly.  You can even drip the bread in an egg and milk mixture and make French Toast.  There are thousands of ways to dress your bread.

In this lesson, I’m going to give you thee recipes, using the humble egg, and that wonderful bread from two lessons back, to create dishes worthy of royalty, but simple enough to serve to your best buddy after fishing a trout stream.  You could even serve then to your boss.

What’s that Hank, your boss is your wife?  That’s perfect.  Serve her any of these for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner and maybe she’ll give you a raise!

And just sos ya knows what your getting into, I’m posting pictures, unretouched of course, with each recipe.  Follow the recipes, and your results will look just like mine.

Are you ready Steve, Alice, Bartholemew, then let’s crack some eggs.

Basted Eggs:

Class, this particular fried egg technique is tasty indeed, with bacon, and hot-buttered toast.  Now there are some restaurants that will offer you basted eggs.  You get them and they’re rubbery, with half hard egg yolks.  What they do is to put a little oil on the flat-top grill, break the eggs on top, let sizzle for a minutes or so, then squirt some water next to the eggs, and cover with a lid.  Let me tell you, that’s not a basted egg.  It’s an overcooked, steamed egg,  not how I roll, if you know what I mean.

This is a picture of my basted eggs: Basted Egg4

What you’re going to need:

Tools: 1 heavy frying pan, 1 egg turner (spatula), toaster. Salt shaker, pepper shaker, pastry brush, or butter knife.

Ingredients:                                                                                                                                                   3 strips good bacon per person (streaky bacon for my Canadian Freinds)                           2 eggs per person                                                                                                                     1 slice potato bread, toasted and buttered                                                                               Salt & Pepper

Get the pan hot over medium high setting.  When it’s hot, carefully place the bacon stips into the pan.  This is easier, and more safe if you use tongs to handle the bacon.  Fry the bacon until it begins to shrink.  Flip it over and fry until it browns to your liking.  Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

There should be a significant pool of bacon fat in the pan.  Break two eggs into a small bowl and carefull pour the eggs from the cup into the hot fat.  It would be a good idea to wear long sleeves to avoid splashing yourself with hot oil.  I can tell you from experience, it might make you shout – oopey-dupey if the hot oil hits your skin.

Use the flat end of your egg turner to gently splash oil over top of the eggs two times.  Season with salt and pepper.  Continue to baste the eggs with the hot bacon fat until the membrane covering the yolk turns pink and the egg white is set.  Serve with the bacon, and hot, buttered toast.  That toast is just made for dunking, or dipping into that yummy yolk.  Now that’s a basted egg.

P.S. you can do the same thing, only with the melted fat from cooked sausage.  And about that whole cholesterol thing, pork fat (from bacon or breakfast sausage) has less cholesterol than does butter.

Recipe number two, Poached Eggs

I know what you’re thinking.  I can see it in your faces.  “I had poached eggs as a kid, at the hospital after they pulled my tonsils.  Those things were absolutely gross.

I have to agree with you.  I got them when they pulled my adenoids.  The eggs were bland, rubbery, and not good at all.  If I recall, the whites weren’t a hundred percent cooked either.  So why am I giving you a recipe for poached eggs?  Jerry, I’m glad you asked that question.  Cooked properly, poached eggs are sublime.  Wait, here’s a picture:

Water Poched Egg 5

Now tell my you wouldn’t dig into that.

Let me tell you a secret, but you have to keep it to yourself.  Those eggs are easy to make.  Now don’t tell anyone else.  Everyone things that poached eggs are impossible.  they break into a hundred pieces while the water is boiling, and you end up with this mess of soggy egg bits in cloudy water.  Now I heard of various techniques for making the perfect poached egg.  So I looked them up on-line, the funnel egg, the egg cooked in boiling water to which vinegar was added, etc.  I tried them all, and got that cloudy water egg with each.  Then I thought about how and egg reacts to heat.  I realized that boiling was just plain wrong.  You see, water boils at 212 degrees F. or so.  The egg white starts setting at 180′ F.  Why put the eggs in boiling water, which is just violent enough to tear them apart.

Then I thought about how bland poached eggs that I’d had were.  I realized that they were bland because they were unseasoned.  So I added salt to the water.

Now you know something of why so many people fail at making good poached eggs.  Here’s how to do them right.

Tools: 1 quart saucepan, slotted spoon.

Ingredients:                                                                                                                                                   2 large eggs per person                                                                                                           1 tbs. salt                                                                                                                                   1/2 tsp. butter                                                                                                                           2 cups cold water

Spread butter all over the bottom of your saucepan.  Add the water and salt (you can add pepper if you want too).  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.  When the water just starts bubbling, turn the heat back to simmer and let the water become still.  Break the eggs into a small bowl.  Then, gently pour the eggs from the bowl into the water.  Let them just sink.  Leave them alone for about three minutes.  Then, gently move them with the slotted spoon, sliding the spoon edge underneath the eggs to make sure they’re not sticking to the pan bottom.  Look at them as you gently move them.  You can see if the white has firmed up enough, as it won’t look like the lava in a lava lamp anymore.  It will hold its shape.  If they aren’t done yet, continue to check them about once a minute until they are done.  Remove them with the slotted spoon and place onto hot, toasted, buttered potato bread.  Serve something good on the side.

If you put a slice of gently fried ham onto one half of a toasted, buttered English Muffin, put a poached egg on top of the ham, and cover it all with Hollandaise sauce, then you have Eggs Benedict.  Either way, it’s elegant, tastes amazing, and is so easy to make.

Egg & Toast Recipe #3 – Poached Eggs.

Now wait, didn’t we just make poached eggs?  Yes we did.  But we will use a very specialized pan for these poached eggs.  You can get an egg poaching pan, either on line, or from most stores that sell good pots and pans.  And the pan isn’t expensive.

I know, you don’t like to have tools that aren’t multi-tasking in your kitchen.  Neither do I.  But I have soft spot in my heart for these eggs.  My Grandpa used to make them for me, along with a plate of pancakes, every time I stayed at his home, on weekends.  The eggs are also so very tasty, it’s almost ridiculous how good they are.

Here’a a picture of these beauties.Poached Egg 4

Look at how perfectly round they are.  These eggs are lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, and cooked gently in butter and steam.  Oh yeh, they are amazing.

Tools: Egg poaching pan (comes with four or six non-stick egg cup inserts).

Ingredients:                                                                                                                                                  2 large eggs per person                                                                                                            1 tsp. butter per egg cup                                                                                                          2 cups water

Add the two cups of water to the pan, and place over medium heat.  Bring the water to a boil.  Butter each egg cup to be used.  Fill unused egg cups with water.  Place the tray with the egg cups into the pan.  Crack an egg into each egg cup.  Cover.  After the eggs have been coking for three minutes, remove the lid and gently giggle the egg cups.  You will be able to see of the egg white is completely set.  If they are done, remove and place on top of the buttered potato bread.  If not, cook another thierty seconds with the lid on, then check them again.

For whatever reason, I like these eggs with breakfast sausage links.  I dip the links into the yolk.  A 2nd slice of toasted potato bread with butter and your favorite fruit jam, or preserves really completes this dish.  Oh, and please pass the ice-cold milk.

I have recipes for perfectly, fluffy, moist and delicious scrambled eggs, They aren’t quite elegant enough for this lesson.  And remember those first poached eggs, try putting them on top of lightly seasoned pasta, or a good beef steak.  It takes that humble egg to a whole different level.  But I still like them best on that yeasty goodness that is potato bread especially toasted.

May your hot things be hot, you cold things be cold, and your cheddar be served at room temperature.

“No other success can compensate for failure in the home.”

G.W.North

Lesson 52, Man Does Not Live By Bread Alone, But He Might Want To


I have written my thoughts, and appreciation for the potato-doughnut recipe in previous posts on a cooking website known as DiscussCooking.com. Last night, I was in the mood to make some bread. I have several good recipes for white, wheat, and multi-grain breads, all of which give me great results (especially since I now, usually add vital wheat gluten to the flour mixture). But instead of using one of my bread recipes, I decided to use the potato-dounut recipe, with a few tips I learned from paying attention to those who know how to bake bread. For those who don’t know, potato-doughnuts are a yeast-raised doughnut that incorporates mashed potatoes in the pastry dough.  The doughnuts are amazingly tender, and light, and absolutely scrumptious.  I’ve used the dough to make dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, and scones (yeast raised frybread).  Last night, for the first time, I put the dough into loaf pans and made bread.  And what bread it is.

The resulting bread was possible the best I’ve ever made. It is airy, light, moist, with a great yeasty, mildly sweet flavor that works perfectly with savory and sweet, such as gravies, or fruit jams.

Of course when it came out of the oven, DW (that’s dear wife) and I both had a slice of warm bread with butter. It came out so good that with the first bite, my eyes rolled upward with that overwhelming sensation of something rare and wonderful. This morning, I made a piece of thick toast with it, spread on butter, then strawberry freezer jam. No eye rolls this time, as I knew what to expect. Instead, I ate it slowly, to make every bite tickle my senses as long as possible. For me at least, this was the perfect piece of toast.

Now I’m not bragging, as I certainly didn’t creat the recipe. I’ve just used it in ways unique. It was originally a yeast-raised doughnut recipe. I’ve discovered that it is much more. And so, I give it to you. This recipe will make two loaves, with enough leftover to fry up some scones. Or, you can just make three loaves. I wanted three loaves. DW wanted some scones. I made two loaves with dough left over for a scones breakfast.

Here’s the recipe, so you can enjoy this wonderful bread. I’m thinking that you could make really great English Muffins with it as well.

[B]Potato Bread:[/B]

Ingredients:

1 lb potatoes (about 3 medium russets)
2 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 Large eggs
1 tbs. salt
1/2 cup cooking oil
8 cups all-purpose flour

Microwave, or boil potatoes until cooked through. Peel and mash until lump free. While the spuds a cooking, Heat the milk and sugar to a temperature of 110′ F. Stir in the yeast until dissolved. Let sit until a head of froth develops on top. Beat in the eggs, salt, and cooking oil.

Add the mashed potatoes to the milk mixture and stir until all is creamy. Add the flour. Knead for ten minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place in a 110′ oven, with a pan of boiling water and let rise until doubled is size (about 20 minutes). Punch the dough down and fill buttered bread pans 2/3rds full of dough. Place the remainder of the dough in a zipper-freezer bag and place in your fridge for tomorrow’s scones.

When the dough as again doubled, remove the pans from the oven and heat the oven to 375′ F. Leave the pan of water in the oven. Place the loaf pans in, on the center shelf position, and bake for 30 minutes. When the crust is golden brown, lightly thump the bread with your knuckles. If it sounds somewhat hollow, it’s done. Remove from the oven, and let cool for ten minutes. Remove the bread from the pans and let cool before bagging them.  And there you have it, one of the best breads you’re gonna eat. Enjoy.

May your warm things be warm, your cold things be cold, and your cheddar be served at room temperature.

“No success outside the home can compensate for failure withing the home.”

From the Kitchen’s of G.W. North

G.W.’s Good Grub, Lesson 50, Umami Continued


I have for you, my friends, another soup that uses umami to add robust and exiting flavor to your cooking.  This soup is far different that the last one in that it is hearty enough to be a meal.  It’ll warm your belly on a cold day, and make you feel all cozy.  You’ll think the world has just been made a better place.

What’s that Frank?  You say you ate so much canned soup as a boy that you really don’t care for soup any more?  Well believe me, this soup is nothing like the canned varieties you ate as a child, or even what today’s canned offerings give you.  You’re going to like this soup.  In fact, if you make it, that wife of yours just might want to snuggle up on the couch with you, and watch a hockey game.  Now that takes some good soup.

Now, let’s get cooking.

Tools: 3 quart pot, sharp chef’s knife, cutting board, large cooking spoon.

Ingredeints:

On Saturday, I started thinking about what I could throw together for lunches I could just throw into the microwave at work. I thought to myself that a good soup was in order. I looked in the refrigerator for possible leftover candidates. A couple of days back, we had a cheaper cut of beef steak. As my wife won’t doesn’t care for the gristle and fat, I had cut that portion off of the steaks and placed it into the freezer for a future soup. The week before, we had pork chops, with one chop left over, clearly not enough for a meal for my wife and myself. I found some cooked green beans, and cooked cauliflower that we’d had a couple days back. I knew that I had what I needed for some great soup. Here’s what I made.
Ingredients:
1 pork chop, with the bone
¼ cup fresh cauliflower
1/4 pound chuck steak, or sirloin, cut into half-inch cubes.  Don’t discard the fat or gristle.
2 carrots peeled and sliced into thin rounds
½ cup fresh green beans
¼ cup sauteed mushrooms
1@ onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed, peeled, and chopped
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. coarse ground black pepper
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. bacon fat
3 cups water

Cut the pork from the chop and cut into half-inch cubes. Cut the beef into small pieces. Peel and slice the fresh carrot.
Melt the bacon fat in a three quart saucepan. Add the pork and beef, and fry over medium heat until lightly browned. Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and gently boil (simmer) for 30 minutes. Serve hot with buttered bread.

May your hot things be hot, you cold things be cold, and your cheddar at room temperature.

G.W.’s Good Grub, Lesson 44– Fruits & Vegetables, Corn II


In our last lesson, I spoke more about what corn is, and exposed you to various ways to cook it.  So for today’s lesson, I will give you a lab exercise, in other words, I give you a recipe to make that features corn in a truly wonderful way.  Janet, what’s your favorite way to eat corn?  On the cob. with butter and salt.  That’s definitely a favorite of many.  Bill, how about you; what’s your favorite way to enjoy corn?  You like it mixed in to a salsa.  Interesting, and tasty.

So, have any of you had corn pudding?  No?  well you’re in for a treat.  This dish will combiner a couple of techniques that we have used.  We will be using flour and eggs to thicken the dish into a firm custard with great flavor.  If your enjoy comfort food, then this recipe is for you.  But I won’t tell you to make it often.  This is a dish to make for a special occasion, such as Thanksgiving, or a holiday.  It is rich and high calorie.  But then again, so is lasagna.

Veronica, do you have your 8X8 casserole dish, or a 9 inch cast iron pan?  Good girl.  We are ready to start making our corn pudding.  Here are the ingredients:

6 tbs. unsalted butter

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup heavy cream or whole milk

5 large eggs

1 teaspoon salt

5 large ears of corn, husked (If fresh corn is unavailable, use one 15 oz. can of sweet corn, and creamed corn.)

Preheat your oven to 350′ F.

If using fresh corn, coarsely grate 3 ears of corn into a large bow.  With a sharp knife, holding the remaining ears, one at a time, vertical, slice the corn kernels into the same bowl.  if using canned corn, and cream corn, simply pour each into the bowl.  Melt the butter and add it with the remaining ingredients into the bowl with the corn, and stir together to form a batter.  Pour the batter into the buttered casserole dish, or cast iron pan.  Place into the oven and bake for 45 minutes.  Serve directly from the pan or casserole dish with some good, fried chicken, or come country style pork ribs. 

And I know that some of you won’t yet know how to prepare fried chicken, or country style ribs.  We’ll get to that when we start talking about meats.  So this dish would be great to take to a pot luck, or family gathering, where everyone is bringing something.

Our next lesson will feature our final corn recipe.  What will that be?  Hmmmm.  I think we’ll use a kind of corn that you may be unfamiliar with.  I’m thinking that hominy will show you just how versatile this veggie is.

Until then, remember, eat healthy, eat well.  And don’t forget my favorite quote: “There is no success outside the home that can compensate for failure within the home.

G.W. North