Scrambled Eggs

Yes, scrambled eggs. Eggs are wonderful. They get a bad rap from a nutritional standpoint but remember the DA’s motto – In Moderato.

Treat eggs like, well, a treat. Treat eggs gently and well. The best eggs I have ever eaten were at the Hilton Hotel at the Rome Airport. I had been robbed in the Cinque Terra by a herd of young ladies, got back safely to Rome and just wanted a hot bath and a warm bed. The breakfast eggs sent me on my way home to the US with most pleasant memories. I’ve tried to duplicate them ever since.

After much research and testing, my scrambled eggs do best when I:

1) Preheat my skillet on gas mark 4.

2) Don’t use a lot of butter. Just enough to coat the pan.

3) Don’t overbeat the eggs. I think I read that from Julia Child.

4) Add just a pinch of salt to breakdown the protein. Per Larousse Gastronomique.

5) Don’t use a whisk. Just a fork. Not sure why except maybe the whisk aerates the mixture too much.

6) Cook slowly. Very slowly. Allow at least 10 minutes for good creamy eggs that are like a lumpy custard rather than dry curds. It takes a least six minutes, occasionally stirring the bottom of the pan with a fork for the eggs to start setting. Don’t rush the process. If you are in a hurry, don’t eat scrambled eggs.

7) Don’t use milk.

8) For a little extra tang, I disperse one teaspoon of cream cheese in small pieces in the eggs. But this is not always necessary.

Scrambled Eggs for One

Ingredients:

3 large eggs, preferable, cage free

1/8 tsp salt

Start heating your skillet at gas mark 4 which may be medium on an electric range. You will need to test your own range. I butter my skillet using an butter wrapping, placing it in the skillet and “painting” the butter around the skillet with brush.

Butter your pan quickly and remove

Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the salt. Gently stir the eggs in a bowl just until mixed and egg whites are incorporated – not stringy. You should not be able to lift egg white up and out of the mixture.

Pour the egg mixture into the pan and let it set. If the edges started curling in and you are hearing a frying sound, your pan is too hot. Remove and allow to cool.

Every minute or so, GENTLY stir the bottom of the pan. Do not be vigorous. Allow at least 5-6 minutes for the eggs to begin to set. Don’t worry. The slower the creamer.

As the eggs begin to set, watch your skillet temperature. Continue to stir and begin to scrape and turn the eggs.

Your eggs should look like this:

Soft, luscious scrambled eggs.

OK, I agree. Three eggs are a lot. Split in half and save for another day. Just don’t reheat on High! Be gentle, reheat slowly in the microwave on level 2-3.

Enjoy! Happy eating!

Dark Chocolate Almond Protein Bars

Honestly, I really find it hard to get more protein in my diet without the saturated fat. Yes, I have absolutely no problem eating leaner meat, low fat yogurt, egg whites and cheese. All kinds. I enjoy protein shakes but they get a little old and non-interesting after a while.

So here’s a recipe to share that I modified from Laura Scudder’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Trail Bars. I had a jar of almond butter I needed to use up and it worked quite well. I’m down to, oh heavens, 1/2 jar of almond butter.

Enjoy – but not too many!

Dark Chocolate Protein Bars

3/4 cup Almond Butter

1/4 cup honey

5 tbl water

1 cup chocolate protein whey powder

3 cups granola cereal

1/2 c dark chocolate chips

Line a 8 X 8 square pain with foil and extend foil up sides of pan. Spray with non-stick spray.
Divide granola in to 1.0 cup and 2 cup amounts. Sprinkle 1/2 of 1.0 cup amount over bottom of pan.
Place almond butter and honey in a microwaves safe bowl and microwave on medium for 60 seconds. Stir. Microwave again on medium for 60 seconds. Stir until mixture is smooth.
Stir water and protein powder together until blended. Add protein powder mixture to almond butter mixture. Stir until smooth.
Stir in remaining 2.0 cups of granola and chips until evenly moistened. Mixture should be thick like cookie dough but not crumbly. It should not be “pourable” like cake bater. Some almond butters are thicker than others. If it is pourable, add a bit more granola cereal.
Spread or gently mash the mixture into the pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of granola.
Chill one hour or until firm.
Cut into 20 bars.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/recipes/dark-chocolate-almond-bars/#ixzz23eJCrfmL

What’s New with Celery

You know celery. You buy it, use a couple of stalks to create a base for a stew or gumbo and then it can sit in the veggie drawer for a couple of weeks turning brown and begging for attention.

For storing, I’ve found the best methods are to cut and store in water, or cut, roll in wet paper towels and store in a ziplock bag. Anything to delay browning before you can think of something clever to use it for and usually that thought passes rather quickly when there are so many other interesting veggies in your bin.

I do keep celery on the counter while cooking. My husband says I eat a whole meal before eating just through the tasting, retasting and third-tasting of dishes. So the celery gives my fingers something to do and really does limit my tastings.

Last night I was challenged to create something unusual with celery. As I was cutting the celery, I realized it was rather like iceberg lettuce. Light green, crisp, full of water, and a little limited on nutritional value as compared to other dark green or colored veggies. So what to do to dress it up?

I mentally reframed celery as a salad base like lettuce instead of an addition. Chop up celery and then add other interesting items you have in the fridge.

For me:

Kalamata olives

Feta cheese

Grape tomatoes

Green onions

Add in a quick and easy white balsamic viniagrette and sprinkled with your choice of herbs. Salt and pepper to taste.

Voile! A nice healthy lunch, more celery to go in me and less to go in the composter.Enjoy!

A Summer Treat – Emerald Pluot Jam

One of the main purposes of this project is to share ideas in managing the home in an efficient yet pleasing manner. I admit- I enjoy food. The foods we have available to us now are absolutely amazing and growers/hybridists (is there such a word?) are creating some of the most beautiful, tasty fruit in the plum/apricot family.

Honestly, I haven’t always been a plum girl – always reminded me of the basic purples I grew up with. But who knew there ever be gorgeous emeralds, mangos and pomepluots to choose from? So, although still working on my self-control factor, the plums lay there in all their glory in the fruit bins, calling to me to buy not one, but four. And then I go to Savannah for a speaking engagement and three are left in the basket to ripen very nicely over five days.

What to do? Don’t want to waste them. Can’t eat them all in one day ( could but I have to watch my daily fruit intake.) I wish to enjoy them in some manner so using the rapid cycle process improvement or idea generation technique, try something interesting with one pluot. If it works, try with a larger batch.

I love jam. I don’t eat a toasted item everyday for breakfast so a jar lasts quite a long time. I’ve been known in my past life to make too many jars of jams that go to waste because two people in a household really don’t need to eat  12 jars of raspberry and 10 jars of blackberry rosemary jam and one only has so many friends to give them away to. So, for small households, let’s try one jar at a time. Savor the “fruit” of summer.

Single Pluot Jam

One ripe emerald pluot

1-3 tsps of sugar to your taste

2 tsp water (a small splash if you don’t feel like measuring)

One quick squeeze of a lemon slice (not too much. You want the taste of the pluot, not the lemon. This is just to brighten the flavor and preserve the color. If you are the measuring sort, 1/8 tsp is enough.)

Peel, half and  pit the pluot. (Don’t sweat the peel too much. It will slide off during cooking.) This is supposed to be easy, enjoyable and creating a controlled amount to enjoy. Slice and coarsely chop the pluot and put in a small saucepan.

Add 1 tsp of sugar initial and the water. Simmer the mixture on medium for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and watch to  make sure it doesn’t burn. Taste occasionally and add 1-2 tsps of sugar to your taste and to manage the tart/sweet nature of your pluot.

Keep simmering until the mixture thickens as the sugar will carmelize, the water content reduces and your jam is transforming to a thick, sticky consistency that will be spreadable but not runny.

Pls, no comments about my pot. 🙂 It’s the BEST pot!

Cool, jar and refrigerate. Enjoy!

Any more jam would be too much