Archive for July, 2008

Parents know best

July 5, 2008

Growing up, I always had the chance to have both my parents cook for us kids (and for themselves, of course!); but Saturday lunches were always (and still are) the meal most frequently cooked by my father.

The three staples of this lunch — egg, potatoes and fresh mushrooms — are always combined and served in a different form. His ultimate variation is his french-fries, which he serves with eggs sunny side up. And I am not even lying when I tell you that those fries are cut by hand, matchstick thin, and fried in a real deep-frying pot, not a machine. They are the most perfect fries ever, and I will never be able to cook them this way, because I am terrified of deep frying (Sorry to disappoint).

Another variation is ‘pommes de terre sautées’ (diced potatoes with mushrooms and parsley), and scrambled eggs. I know how to cook those eggs, because he taught me how, and told me the secret. The secret, my friends, to soft, fluffy, scrambley scrambled eggs is: DO.NOT.SKIMP.ON.THE.BUTTER.EVER. And always stop cooking the eggs, as soon as you think that they are just starting to look like they are coming together. But mainly, just use lots of butter, and you scrambled eggs will never be watery or gummy, or dry again, as the often are at any buffet or brunch place. ewww.
So, today our lunch was eggs and mushrooms, quite like any other Saturday lunch in my life. Nothing to see, business as usual!


Scrambled Eggs with Sauteed Mushrooms

prep time: 5 min/each cooking time 15 min total

1 frying pan, 1 saucepan with a heavy bottom

For the Mushrooms

1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
250 g fresh mushrooms
1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

Quickly rinse the mushrooms under cold water (there is no evidence, that they will retain water if they are rinsed as oposed to brushed clean). Slice them as thinly as you like

In a frying pan, melt the butter together with the olive oil and add the mushrooms. Cook at medium heat, stirring until the mushrooms start to soften and all the water has evaporated. Add the chopped parsley and reserve.

Scrambled Eggs

serves three

1 tbsp butter
6 eggs

Crack the eggs in a mixing bowl and gently swirl them togther to break up the yolk. Don’t beat them like crazy. In a your heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter at medium heat. When about half of it has melted, add the eggs. Wait for a light layer to form at the bottom of your pan, than keep gently scraping and swirling the eggs together, until all the eggs have somewhat cooked, but still look very shiny and runny. Turn off the heat, keep gently scraping and stirring. Serve.

Serve the two together, with or without bread and potatoes.


Physics 101

July 1, 2008

The sleeping arangements are much better, thank you for asking and to make my life even more delightful (if you blithely ignore the fact that I am currently in the throes of sinusinfection2008, the revenge), I am writing this from the speedmachine of my dreams, brought to me courtesy of generous loaners who prefer to stay anonymous and to whom I will be eternaly indebted (uhoh, I hope not!).

Ok – deep breath, that sentence was way too long! And speaking of length, I bring to you today, the gift of the shortest recipe ever. It is a recipe to make dulce de leche, or confiture de lait, made the dangerous way

My sister used to really like dulce de leche, while I was ony mildly impressed by it – you see, in the department of indulgent (read: never to be found at our house) breakfast foods, nutella reigned supreme. I have since been converted to the virtues of DdL and in making it, finally understood something about physics. My teacher Bruno R. would be so proud!

The dangerous way I made this thing was quite simply, by immersing a closed can of sweetened condensed milk in a pressure cooker and cooking it on high for 20 min. The can becomes a pressure cooker inside the pressure cooker, and as long as you don’t even think about opening the can unti it is completely cold (I mean it), it’s absolutely not dangerous. And delicious to boot. And there is virtually no cleanup involved, since the pressure cooker only had boiling water in it and the can stayed closed. What’s not to like? I ask you!

Dulce de Leche

prep time: 25min in a pressure cooker, 2 hours in a regular saucepan

pressure cooker or regular saucepan

1 can of sweetened condensed milk*

Immerse the can of sweetened condensed milk with water in your vessel of choice. If you are using a pressure cooker, close it tight, turn the heat on and wait for the steam to start Turn the heat to medium. The longer you wait the more chewy and dense the texture will be: if you want to spread it on bread or use it as a filing, 25 min is a good time. Once you have let it cook the desired time turn the heat off.

Run cold water on the top of the pressure cooker to stop the pressure and let the air escae through the vent. Open your cooker and let the can cool down in the water. Overnight is best, that way you can be sure noone will get hurt! Open the can once cool, eat the DdL and feel like a rock star because you made it the high pressure way

Now, if you are a wuss and do not own a pressure cooker, simply immerse the can in water in a saucepan over medium heat and let the water simmer around the can for about 2 hours. Keep checking on the water level to make sure the can is always immersed. Use the same caution when opening the can as with the pressure cooker method.

If you type in dulce de leche how to in your favourite search engine, I am sure you will come up with a way to make dulce de leche suiting your own kitchen (for instance using a microwave–no wait, that would be dangerous with the can). But I like it the rock star way using the laws of physics I missed in school.

* Kondensmilch auf Deutsch ‘Milchmädchen’ is the name on the can made by that big swiss company that also makes chocolates, babyfood and lots more, Lait concentré sucré en français.