Tricks for Better Hard-Boiled Eggs

egg

It’s easy to make perfectly-cooked hard-boiled eggs with yellow yolks, which look much more appetizing than badly-cooked yolks with green edges.  For failure-proof success, cover eggs with cold water in a saucepan, put a lid on the pan, and bring the water and eggs to a boil.  The second the eggs start bouncing and tapping on the bottom of the pan, take the pan off the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water of the pan for 13 minutes.

After the eggs have cooked, drain the hot water and cover the eggs in the pan with cold water.  Once the eggs have cooled for about 3 minutes, they will be very easy to peel.  If you don’t peel them right away, the eggshell will cool and contract and stick to the egg white, and you’ll be tearing off chunks of egg white with the shell.

For a warm egg salad, mash up the eggs just after you  peel them, add mayonaisse to taste, one green onion that’s been chopped, salt and pepper, along with any other ingredient that is traditional with you.  The simpler, the better.

Don’t forget to toast the bread if you are making a sandwich, as the crunch of the toast is a good contrast with the smooth creaminess of the egg salad. We like a thick piece of French bread that’s been Texas-toasted.

Deviled Eggs

We like very simple deviled eggs, with not much effort.  Simply slice hard boiled eggs in half, lengthwise, and remove the yolks.  Smash up the yolks with a fork, and add some mayonnaise (Japanese Kewpie if you have it), some salt and pepper, with some minced scallion and maybe some paprika or any other red chile pepper sauce.  Spoon it back into the holes of the removed yolks, and serve.  Make sure to keep them cool, because you know what’s going to happen if they get too warm.

Pan-Grill Hot Dogs for More Flavor

Sure, it’s easy to boil a hot dog and get decent results. After 4 to 5 minutes (package directions), the dogs will be soft and not too hot.

For the added flavor of lightly browned skins, grill them in a pan.

1.  Put a few drops of water in the skillet, turn heat to medium, and wait until the water boils away.  The pan is now hot enough.

2.  Put hot dogs in pan, cook for a minute on medium heat, turn the hot dogs 1/4 turn, and cook for a minute more. Turn 1/4 turn again, cook 1 more minute.  You get the idea. Turn and cook, turn and cook, 8 times, until all 4 sides of the hot dog have been cooked twice for 1 minute each.

3.  Keep the hot dogs next to each other in the pan, to keep them from rolling around. Don’t worry if a side or two doesn’t get properly browned.

4.  If you want, lightly butter the inside of the bun, turn heat down to medium-low, and put buttered down side for 2 minutes.  The buns will be Texas-toasted.

Texas-toasted bun

For easier hot dogs, boil a few inches of water in a saucepan, drop in the frankfurters, cover, turn off heat, and let them cook in the hot water for 10 minutes.  They will be firm, and 180° F inside.

Toppings

Mustard, pickle relish, onions (pictured) – a favorite

Onions, cheese, mustard – superb

Sauerkraut and mustard (New York Style) – classic

Sauerkraut, pickles, mustard (German Style)

Chili, mustard, coleslaw (Carolina Dog)

Mustard, chopped onion, relish, cheese, and Cholula – great!

Mustard, chopped onion, relish, chili, cheese, and Cholula – even better!

Mustard, slaw, and relish (South Carolina Style) – tasty

Mustard and slaw – good

Grilled onions, kraut, and mustard (Deli Style) – excellent

Grilled onions, grilled peppers, and jalapenos

Green chile, mustard, Swiss cheese

Kimchi – slice into thin strips

Kraut, tomatoes, mayo, avocado (Chilean Style) – interesting

Cholula Hot Sauce – simple and delicious

Soft cream cheese and chopped onion (Seattle-Style) – good, unbelievably, though not unbelievably good.  Thanks, Hanna Raskin.

Notes: I used KFC slaw, Wolf Brand Texas Chili (no beans!), Wickles relish, and Sabretta refrigerated sauerkraut.  Use whatever mustard you like, and if you like ketchup, do it, no matter what anyone says.

 

 

 

The Best Heat For a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

chesand

Making a grilled cheese sandwich may seem easy as boiling water, but I’ve seen plenty of burnt ones, carbonized like Han Solo on the outside, with cold cheese in the middle.

The key to grilling cheese is medium-low heat. It takes 5 minutes per side, but always results in a gorgeous golden crust and gooey warm cheese inside.

The other key is to completely butter the bread all the way to the edges, to prevent dry spots.

If you don’t have pre-sliced cheese, then shredding the cheese makes it easier to distribute on the bread. Some will fall in the pan, but at medium-low heat the cheese bits will turn deliciously crusty.

My favorite is a double slice of Havarti, or a single of Cheddar, but any cheese will do.

Directions

  1. Preheat skillet on medium-low heat for 1 minute.
  2. Place a piece of bread, buttered-side down, in the skillet. Add slices of cheese on top. Yes the skillet is hot, but not dangerously so.
  3. Add condiments, if you wish, on top of cheese. I recommend Wickles Relish.
  4. Place other slice of bread, buttered-side up, on top.
  5. Let it cook for 5 minutes. You may wish to lift it with a spatula to check at the 4 minute mark, because not all pans and stoves are alike.
  6. Flip it with spatula, cook 4 to 5 minutes more. Maybe 6 if you like it that way.

Of course, pair it with tomato soup. Campbell’s replaced sugar with high-fructose corn syrup in the now-inferior Tomato Soup, but Campbell’s Harvest Select Tomato with Basil is made with sugar and it’s delicious.