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Monthly Archives: March 2010

Omelette: The Eggy Difficulty!

Omelette’s an incredible treat to have, but they can be difficult and, like the poached egg, require something of a slight of hand.

The particular French omelette experience about which I’m writing I learned from Julia Child- again, as with most television chefs, the ease she shows in making something like an omelette comes from, assuredly, plenty of experience.

The best omelette requires 2-3 eggs.

Personally, the 2 egg omelette has proven most effective for me.

Beating two eggs, add a small amoutn of water or milk to them, along with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Heat a skillet to the highest heat, and add a Tablespoon of butter…or EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil), depending on your preferences.

As a trick, add salt to the pan before heating to keep the butter from spattering.

When the butter has completely melted and bubbled up and sizzled but before it browns, add the eggs.

Now, you have to work FAST.

This part should take no longer than 20 or 30 seconds.

Please read that carefully- your egg will be done in 20 or 30 SECONDS, not a few minutes.

Holding the skillet (with a potholder, of course), swirl the egg around. After it sets (solidifies a bit), begin jerking the pan towards you. The further part of the egg should begin to flip towards you. If you can’t get this right, don’t worry- I’ve yet to master it yet, so I recommend using my best friend in making omelettes, the spatula.

You can, of course, add filling, which should ideally be cooked a bit beforehand. From personal experience, if you don’t prepare the contents just a bit before, then they won’t be in the pan long enough to cook, and the filling will be a bit cold.

The first omelette at Caleb’s turned out like this:

This omelette contained spinach, mozarella cheese, and garlic. I garnished with ketchup and parsley- eggs are very good with ketchup.

The second omelette, cooked at about 1 AM, was far more elaborate. I used three eggs, though this was a mistake, along with the aforementioned filling, and added diced tomatoes. On top of that, I made a cheese sauce, which was probably the most difficult part of the whole process- it included milk, butter, flour, and sharp cheddar, but I’m still not sure how I exactly that recipe came about, so I’ll mention it later when I’ve perfected it.

To tell the truth, this meal was absolutely delicious, and actually so large that I had to force my friends Dusty and Caleb to consume part of it because I couldn’t finish the whole thing myself.

Well, that’s all for now! Happy making omelettes, because they can be eaten for any meal of the day and are relatively quick, especially if you’re making plain omelettes. Best garnishes include tomatoes, cheese, and parsley.

So, to everyone, until next time, I hope you enjoyed my blog and please, keep your good appetites.

With more desire to cook than you know and loving every minute of it!

Stevo

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Posted by on March 28, 2010 in food

 

Choices, Choices: The Electric Stove versus Gas Stove

In the most recent ventures of cooking, I’ve discovered a few things, and a few topics are becoming popular among my friends.

I’m sure a great debate exists about whether an electric stove or a gas stove is preferable- so we’ll address that in this blog!

Basically, the only time I had used a gas stove previously was at my friend Courtney’s house. The stove was odd, though, and the pilot light had to be blown upon to fully light things.

At my parents’ home and my aunt’s house and in most I’ve been in, we have electric stoves- so I’m accustomed to using those and have generally preferred them.

Until now.

At Caleb’s house, a very efficient gas stove can be found. Turning it to “Lite” actually lights the flame, and then voila, we’re ready to cook.

Water boils in no time at all, and the heat is immediate. If you turn it up, you immediately have more heat. If you turn it down, you immediately reduce the heat. It’s amazing, this idea of immediacy. Electric stoves take a long time to heat up, and if you turn the heat down, it takes a long time for the heat to actually come down…absolutely ridiculous.

My friend Heather, who lives in Japan, has informed us that most Japanese kitchens are equipped with gas stoves, which she prefers.

Doc has said much the same thing, even going so far as to say that one can only cook properly over a gas stove!

The downside, of course, is that the potential danger of a gas stove. A gas leak, while not inevitable, may happen, and more than one home has burnt down because of it. This danger does not exist with an electric stove.

Our general consensus has shown a preference, even by yours truly, for the gas stove.

As a shocking point in watching Julia Child yesterday, Doc pointed out to me that she uses an electric stove. Talk about one’s mind being blown away!

If you’ve never cooked on a gas stove, I highly recommend trying it, to see the differences and advantages it offers. You may ultimately prefer the electric stove, but I’m sticking with the gas stoves as much as I can.

On another note, my friend Roxanne’s stove…slants. I’m not sure how to explain this, other than it appears the hot plates in the stove are pushed up and tilting forward (toward you if you were standing in front of it.) This ruined an omelette I tried to prepare the other day, though we’ll save that tasty little disaster for another blog!

Until then, with good appetites and that deep love for cooking, I bid you adieu!

Beaux

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Posted by on March 25, 2010 in food

 

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Lonely Southern Roads in the Middle of the Night

An oddity of living in the South is how far away things are, how far one has to drive if one lives in the country. The nearest city to my home is about half an hour going the speed limit.

I should take the time to inform everyone that more often than not, people in the South seem to ignore the speed limit and go whatever speed they deem necessary.

I don’t have the kind of money to spend on traffic violation tickets, so I obey the law and go the speed limit. Despite the taunts of others saying I drive “like a grandma,” no speeding tickets have accumulated on my record, nor have I caused any traffic accidents.

Most of my friends live at least 20 minutes away. That’s a lot of driving to do, especially considering the round trip I have to make back home.

But I don’t mind driving, especially out in the country, and most especially late at night. Driving after midnight on the old country roads is an interesting experience.

Some people may feel nervous at the idea of driving alone in the wee hours of the morning. What you really see when the veil of night has fallen over the world is a different world altogether, a peaceful world where things are stiller than normal and the people and creatures who are awake march to the beat of a different rhythm, of a different drum.

The lonely Southern roads in the middle of the night are really the only time I’m alone.

And I’m fine with that.

My late-night drives are when God and I get to know each other a lot better. I can rock out to the radio, sing as loudly as I want, and pray and say what I need to, unbeholden to anyone else, to anyone’s judgment, to any thought patterns or energies or any rhetoric from outside sources.

The world of night is beautiful. Sometimes, it’s cold, sometimes, rainy, sometimes, sweltering, and I would really be upset if I had a breakdown at nighttime and had to wait on someone to come get me. No scenario, it can be said, is perfect.

But on those late-night drives, I have a deeper sense of myself, a deeper sense of the world, a deeper knowing of why I’m alive. I feel free, free to explore the mystery of the rolling hills, the lakes, the stars in the night sky, and the distant mooing of yet wakeful cows.

Yes, even cows stay awake late. Ever heard of a night cow?

If you ever have a chance to drive the lonely roads of the South, do it. You may just find yourself, find God, find something more.

Stevo

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Posted by on March 24, 2010 in food

 

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Holy Poached Eggs: From Ideal to Real

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My poached eggs had taken a brief hiatus, so it seems.

Forgive the obsession, but they taste really, really good. Sometimes new foods incite cravings for a while!

Here’s the order of events in today’s cooking session.

First, I used white distilled vinegar and heated it in a pan with water.

I used two Eggland’s Best eggs.

Once the water began a slight boil, I added the egg.

I noticed that if you have a lot of vinegar in the water, it becomes rather frothy. A strange phenomenon, but at least you know you’re getting somewhere.

Unfortunately, I lost the egg a few times.

Both eggs still turned out beautifully, though.

I use a utensil that’s a cross between a spatula and slatted spoon- it works extremely well for the poached eggs.

Once you drop an egg in the water, also make sure you that try to roll the whites over the yolk, ever so gently. Try to keep the egg cooking a specific spot. The result will be…

…delicious poached eggs on toast.

I put salt, garlic salt, and pepper on my eggs.

Many people put butter on their toast prior to adding the egg, and while I usually do, I abstained today.

So there you go, an up-close and personal explanation of the magical, mystical, and often difficult poached egg.

Happy cooking everyone!

Sincerely and with lots of love,

Stevo

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2010 in food

 

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The Cultural Abuse of the Glorious Potato: Stevo’s Thoughts

 

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Something that, as of late, has unfailingly proved a nuisance to me is the way people neglect the power of the potato or at least abuse its many uses.

Consider the number of potatoes that are consumed daily in the USA, which is probably a higher number than most of us care to count. What form do you suppose most of them are taking?

If you guessed “French fries” and “potato chips,” you would be correct.

To me, this is devastating, because there are many other far more delectable methods of preparing potatoes than frying them.

At the same time, there appears to be a near universal cultural bias of not putting potatoes, in any form, in sandwiches. What sense does that make? Potato chips are fine as a side to a sandwich, to a meal, but for some reason, if you suggest putting the chips directly on the sandwich, people cringe.

Let me give you a small secret of one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever made: cole slaw and potato chip sandwiches with spicy yellow mustard. (Cheese is optional.)

Oh. MAN.

That was definitely one of the best ideas I’ve ever had, if I do say so myself. Cole slaw and potato chips go together well.

None the less, this entry is meant to oppose the feeding of the potato chip frenzy, so let’s get cracking, shall we?

Mashed potatoes, also known as creamed potatoes, are an excellent way to eat potatoes. The process can be a bit time-consuming, so I understand why making mashed potatoes may seem daunting and not worthwhile to some.

The story of the excellent mashed potatoes I ate last night and today begins out in the country, isolated from even neighbors by huge stretches of land, dirt roads, and cows.

Enter my friend Caleb, and enter my friend’s grandmother who is affectionately known to all as Maw-Maw.

I wasn’t planning to leave home last night, but at Caleb’s insistence of wanting to try out my Wii, along with the bribery of Maw-Maw preparing her famous mashed potatoes for us, I left semi-reluctantly from house and drove over. After playing Wii for a while, Caleb and I began cooking.

I sauteed mushrooms while Caleb peeled potatoes.

Before…

…and after:

Of course, there were far more potatoes than these.

Also, we decided to make cheese biscuits with leftover biscuits Maw-Maw made earlier in the week at another great feast at their house.

In the South, we have a tradition of putting our biscuits in a basket, then putting a kitchen towel in the basket to cover them up. I have no idea where this practice originates. I do know that I’ve seen it done in several old Southern homes, and it’s definitely creates a sense of familiarity to have the bread in a basket and towel.

There is no after photo of the biscuits- because we burnt them. Badly. That’s what we get for not paying attention and putting the oven on broil…

Prior to being prepared, mushrooms obviously have a drier look to them and a lighter color:

The mushrooms were cooked by yours truly in olive oil, with salt, pepper, garlic salt, and soy sauce. After I finished them, I had to add more garlic salt for taste, because they were a bit bland, though not terrible.

After preparation, sauteed mushrooms should both be darker in color and have a glossier look to them.

Maw-Maw took the potatoes, placed them in a pot, and then worked her magic, which includes using a good handful of salt to boil the water and lots of garlic in the potatoes.

In addition, she used mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, salt, and pepper.

The result is a delicious, creamy treat that makes you want to do a rain dance, slap a puppy, and praise Jesus all at the same time.

Mashed potatoes and sauteed mushrooms as the finished product can be seen above. That’s actually my plate, and I went back for seconds and thirds of the potatoes. Even better, I got to take home half of the mashed potatoes with me, and that turned into another adventure, one that I haven’t totally finished yet, and about which I’ll blog tomorrow!

Yeah, you know you’re looking forward to it.

With Regards and a Great Appetite,

Stevo

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2010 in food

 

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Speaking of Poached Eggs

Last weekend, some folks came to visit us all the way from Mississippi. A guy named Vincent cooked something I’d never had the pleasure of eating- poached eggs.

Despite being weary about eating eggs that don’t appear to be fully cooked, I bravely put the buttered toast and salt and peppered eggs in my mouth.

What followed was an explosion of pure taste.

Honestly, how I’ve lived this long without poached eggs is a complete mystery to me. I’ve made them three times now and even had a friend make them for me one day.

The first time I made them, I did it quite perfectly- the second and third times, something went wrong, that I can’t fully explain or grasp.

The trick to poached eggs, it seems, isn’t the adding of vinegar to the water- though that is absolutely crucial if you want the egg to not completely lose its shape and turn the pot into eggy water! The trick is to put the egg in at the right temperature. If the water isn’t hot enough, the egg will simply fall apart; if the water is too hot, it will cook solid before you can get the white around the yolk.

Also, when eating poached eggs on toast, make sure to use a thick bread. Regular, sliced, processed white bread is not ideal for several reasons- how bad it tastes being the foremost idea that comes to mind. Texas Toast, BBQ bread, or thick slices of French bread are ideal in my opinion.

To cook a poached egg, pour water and vinegar in a medium-sized pot. I suggest using a LOT of vinegar, as it helps keep the egg together. Salt the water, and wait until just before it starts boiling, and I mean JUST before. Crack the egg, drop it in, and then use a ladle to try to keep the egg together, very gentle moving it in the water. The white should cover the yolk; allow the water to come to a boil, and wait a few minutes for the egg white to completely cook. How far the yolk is done is difficult to tell, and I honestly haven’t figured out that trick yet.

Take the bread and toast it; butter the toast, place the poached egg on it, add salt and pepper to taste (I also add some garlic salt), and enjoy the delicious vinegary tasting poached egg. It’s magnificent, and if you haven’t tried it, I really recommend it- it’s not like any other kind of egg I’ve ever had.

You can cook the yolk to different consistencies- I prefer mine slightly runny, but not completely liquid. I never thought I would eat eggs that seem undercooked, but then, the vinegar’s pretty strong and likely kills anything undesirable.

Well, that’s two blogs in one day- I hope everyone’s enjoyed. I’ll do my best to bring daily updates, but no promises.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2010 in food

 

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The Journey of a Thousand Blogs Begins with a Single Letter

Seriously.

Taking up a new blog on an actual blogging site as opposed to MySpace blogs is a fairly frightening thing for me to do.

So, let’s have a brief introduction to my own personal blogging history:

I signed up to use DeadJournal at age 17. That was aeons ago, and later, when I got a MySpace, I switched to using its blog as my main blog.

For those of you who don’t use MySpace, and even for those of you who do, you probably understand just how terrible the site can be and has been. Addicting, yes, of course, but mind-numbingly awful. The single saving grace I’ve had on MySpace all these years is the blog feature.

Everyone has to grow up at some point in time.

I seriously have over 1000 blogs on MySpace that I have posted since the Spring of 2005 when I signed up. Not all of those posts are worth reading. In fact, I would say the first several hundred were nothing but my repeating myself again…and again…and again.

On to more important issues!!!

A huge problem with the MySpace blog, iChic, is that I could never quite make up my mind what exactly the point of the blog was. Provided, some would say that a blog can be about anything at all, and that’s fine and dandy- blogs that have a topic, a focus, a subject matter, tend to be the ones that succeed more so, don’t you think?

So, for this blog, the decision has come to largely focus on what life in the South is like.

But I’m not going to write from the perspective of someone who just absolutely adores every little thing about the South, nor am I going to give you the general rehash of Green Acres.

No, instead, I will bring forth the little gems of Southern living that no one ever discusses.

Trust me, I’ll likely rant about other topics from time to time, so don’t expect me to spew out only things about living in the South- but I promise, I’ll try to keep on topic.

With regards to whomever may be reading this first entry and with sincere appreciation,

Stevo

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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