Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs.....
I've been making hard boiled eggs since I was a 19 year old bride. I did it like my mom and step-mom did -- over-cooked! When I was asked to bring deviled eggs for Easter, I cringed a little because I have such a devil of a time peeling the eggs. I've tried all kinds of tricks but my dear mother-in-love used to say that you need to use old eggs, not fresh for best results. Well, when you live in the country and have laying hens, you mostly have fresh eggs. It makes me wonder how old the eggs at the grocery stores are. While waiting up last night for my son to come home, I was looking at some of my favorite cooking blogs. I found the "recipe" for the perfect hard boiled eggs here! And mother-in-love was right!
A friend, Abby, told me about this. She said while staying at a ski lodge in Colorado this winter, the lodge supplied pitchers full of fruity ice water. I thought I'd try it at home. I filled my glass with a couple frozen strawberries and some lemon slices and added ice and fresh water. What a treat. Subtly sweet and refreshing and pretty to look at. Throughout the afternoon, I just added more water and ice to my glass. Think of the fruity combinations you could try. Another friend, Joyce, said to try cucumbers. I haven't yet.
Speaking of fruity water, this reminds me of frozen fruit. I just love the stuff. Since I live a good hour from a grocery store, I don't dash to the store for fresh fruit. I buy fresh when I can, but I stock up on frozen too. I use it for breakfast smoothies (strawberry, banana, orange), for my Strawberry-Yogurt Scones, for fruity water, to top my breakfast yogurt, to top plain cakes, to make jam and syrups, and to eat right out of the bag. It's always there, always fresh, and never spoiled.
"Good broth will resurrect the dead," says a South American proverb. Some members of my family have been suffering from nasty head colds or some strain of flu so I decided it was high time to make some good stock. I make mine mostly out of beef soup bones, but you can make good stock out of any bones, not just soup bones. Chicken, and turkey make delicious stocks and so does lamb and pork although pork carries quite a bit more fat which can be removed after chilling. Homemade stock is loaded with vitamins and minerals that come from the bones which break down under slow cooking. Stocks have been made for centuries to nurse the ill and to build healthy families. My favorite recipe for beef stock comes from Karey Swan's cookbook, Hearth & Home which is now out of print, but available through used book sellers.
Browned Beef Stock
In a large stockpot add:
6 lbs of beef soup bones (neck, shin, shank or marrow bones)
1 large onion
2 medium carrots, cut up in chunks
Place these in a 450* oven and let them brown evenly for about 30 minutes, turning once. When beef is browned, add 3 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
1 large tomato, cut (opt)
8 whole black peppercorns
4 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
1-2 cloves garlic, halved
1 T. sea salt
12 cups cold water
(I also add any other veggie scraps or herbs you like and a splash of vinegar)
Bring all to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 4-5 hours or more. You can use a crock pot and simmer broth over night. Remove beef from bones and strain stock. Stock may be cooled and frozen into quart containers for later use.
When chilling homemade stocks, you will notice it turns to gelatin. That is GOOD!
For more good information on homemade stocks, click here and here.