6 Rules for a Perfect Grilled Cheese, Every Time

“So make your late-night, five-minute grilled cheese as many times as you’d like. We’re not stopping you. But in the light of day, when you’ve got ten minutes, a jar of mayo, and the desire to treat yourself to a little something extra, this recipe’s here for you.”

-Emma Wartzman, “6 Rules for a Perfect Grilled Cheese, Every Time.” Bon Appetit. September 24, 2019

tl;dr:

  1. Be patient
  2. Use mayo
  3. Spread the mayo to the edges
  4. Use a melting cheese: American, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Gruyère, Fontina, Provolone, Taleggio, or Raclette
  5. Use bread with a tight crumb, i.e., lots and lots of tiny holes like in sandwich bread
  6. Carefully consider your fillings, i.e., nothing watery or that you wouldn’t eat raw

If you like this kind of thing, you might also consider the perfect omelette.

Laura Olin’s Grandmother’s Berry Tart Recipe

Use blueberries, raspberries, or really any combo of berries you like:

Tart:
– 2/3 cup (5 oz) butter or margarine (one stick and a bit of another)
– 6 Tbsp sugar
– 1 egg
– 1 cup flour
– 1 tsp baking powder

Topping:
– 2 cups blueberries, not exact measure, can mix other berries, too
– 6 Tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 400 F. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy (just mixing well with a spatula works, too), add egg and mix well. Add baking powder to the flour and mix into the margarine/butter/egg mixture.

Grease pie pan or similar dish and spread mixture onto the bottom, spreading all the way to the sides. Spread blueberries on top of the mixture and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400F for about 30 minutes, checking now and then so that the sides don’t burn. 

From Laura Olin’s newsletter.

The Best Way to Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs Every Time, According to Waaayyy Too Many Tests

“In all eggs, the whites and yolks had a pleasant texture—no rubbery whites, here. The six-minute egg was an especially creamy specimen, if you’re into a soft-boil. In one (the eight-minuter), the yolk weirdly sank down to the bottom of the white, though this didn’t affect anything other than appearance. Overall, this was the most straightforward method with the best bang-for-your-effort-buck results.”

-Ella Quittner, “The Best Way to Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs Every Time, According to Waaayyy Too Many Tests.” Food52.com. June 19, 2019

Let’s just say that I understand Ella’s motivation. Bookmarking for future reference.

Valentine’s Day Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of light or dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecan bits
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 1/2 cups of old fashioned rolled oat

Recipe

Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together.

In another bowl, preferably an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars. Beat in vanilla and then eggs. Add the flour mixture, a tablespoon at a time. Once all blended, fold in coconut, pecans, chocolate chips, and raisins. Then, fold in oats.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, use a tablespoon and place the cookie batter in dollops. Makes sure there is at least one inch between them.

Cook for 12-14 minutes. Take out of oven and cool on sheet for 5 minutes. Cut cookies and place on wire rack to cool completely.

Kancha Moong Dal

Makes four servings

250g moong dal
salt
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of butter or ghee
1 1/2 teaspoons of oil
2 dried chilis
1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons of grated ginger
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon sugar

1. Start boiling 750ml of water
2. Rinse moong dal, squeezing it in handfuls until the water is clear
3. Add moong dal, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of salt to boiling water
4. Reduce heat to simmer, partially cover and cook for 40-45 minutes.
5. If using butter, melt it. (I put it in a dish by the dal)
6. 5 minutes before dal is done, heat 1.5 teaspoons of oil in frying pan
7. Put 2 dried chilis in oil and cook until they start turning black
8. Add 1 teaspoon of whole black mustard seeds
9. As soon as the seeds stop sputtering, add 2 teaspoons of ginger and 2 bay leaves
10. Stir for one minute, then add ghee (or butter) and cooked dal to frying pan
11. Add salt to taste and a little sugar (I’ve been adding about 1 tablespoon)
12. Keep on mid-high heat for three minutes and remove

If you want a thinner dal, add between 250 ml to 500 ml of water. That’s it!

Boudin King Cake

A few days ago, I learned of Boudin King Cake. I did a little research, but every recipe had elements I wanted to change. So, I made a few notes, and I plan on doing something along the lines of the below the first chance I get. I’ll add some commentary once I’ve made it.

Boudin King Dough Ingredients

2 (4 1/2 teaspoon) packages dry yeast
3/4 cup water (100-110 degrees F)
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup shortening, cubed
1/3 cup butter, cubed
4 cups flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Boudin King Dough Preparation

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast and 1 tbsp of the sugar in the warm water. Let sit until foamy – 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine remaining sugar, salt and 3 cups flour. Once yeast is foamy, stir in beaten eggs followed by shortening and butter. Next, add flour mixture and stir. Turn out onto floured surface and slowly add the last cup of flour, kneading to achieve a smooth, elastic consistency. Be careful not to add too much flour.

Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top of the dough. Let rise in a warm place (85 degrees F) until doubled, overnight (slow) or about 1 1/2 hours (fast).

—Adapted from “Copycat Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.” Genius Kitchen.com.

Then, make the boudin, or alternatively, substitute Italian sausage.

Boudin Ingredients
One (4 pounds) pork roast
Water, for braising and boiling
One pound pork liver
2 large yellow onions, diced
2 cups of Basmati long-grain white rice
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 bundle of fresh thyme, tied
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 cup diced green onion tops
1 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Dash of hot sauce

Boudin Preparation

Preheat the oven to 220ºF (for slow) / 400ºF (for fast).

In a heavy pot with tight-fitting lid, char the bay leaf in ghee. Then, add the pork roast and thyme. Fill the pot with water to a depth of 4 inches. Cover, place in the hot oven and braise the pork roast, overnight or greater than 8 hours (for slow), 2 hours (for fast). In both cases, the meat should be falling apart.

Remove the pork from the pot reserving the cooking liquid.

In a pot with water over high heat, add the liver and boil until well done, about 10 minutes. Remove the liver and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Add the onions to the liquid and let cook for 2 minutes. Strain the onions and reserve.

In a rice cooker, make the rice and keep warm until ready to use.

In a food processor pulse the meat and liver along with the onions and garlic until it reaches a smooth, yet chunky consistency. Be careful not to over process to a pasty, mushy stage.

Incorporate the cooked rice in a ratio of 80% meat mixture to 20% rice. Gradually add some of the cooking liquid until the mixture is moist. Add the seasonings and green onions. Add salt, black pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Evenly incorporate ingredients together.

Split into four portions, freeze three and save the fourth for your Boudin King Cake.

—Adapted from “The Great Boudin Debate.” The Acadian Table. February 3, 2014 and “Boudin Recipe.” Nola Cuisine. April 16, 2012.

Then, move on to the Boudin King Cake.

Boudin King Cake Ingredients

½ cup red pepper jelly, such as Tabasco
1 tablespoon water
1 pound boudin
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, cut into planks
1 Copycat Pillsbury Crescent Dough recipe (above), cut into two and rolled into dough sheets
1 large egg, beaten, for brushing
Kosher salt
½ cup crumbled bacon
½ cup diced green onion tops

Boudin King Cake Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

For the glaze, in a saucepan over medium heat, add the red pepper jelly and let cook until it softens and begins to melt, about 2 minutes. Add the water and stir until it thins out. Turn off the heat and keep warm.

Separate the boudin meat into 4 quarter pound portions. Put one portion of boudin meat on one edge of the dough sheet, add half the cheese, then add another portion of boudin meat and roll it up. Cut off the excess and pinch the ends closed. Repeat a second time with the rest of the ingredients.

On a metal baking tray sprayed with non-stick spray, place the 2 dough-wrapped boudin cylinders and join them together at the ends to form a circle. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with salt.

Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven.

With a spoon or brush, drizzle and paint the pepper jelly over the top of the hot pastry. Sprinkle the top with crumbled bacon and diced green onion tops.

Serve on the baking tray by slicing the boudin king cake into portions and calling your guests while it’s piping hot.

—Adapted from “Boudin King Cake.” The Acadian Table. January 25, 2016.

The Dirty Secret of ‘Secret Family Recipes’

“…true originality is rare. Multiple cookbook authors have stories of asking people to send in family recipes and receiving dozens of nearly identical versions. “A lot of that has to do with [recipes sharing] very common ingredients,” says Stephanie Pierson, who wrote in to describe her experience asking for brisket recipes.

—Alex Mayyasi. “The Dirty Secret of ‘Secret Family Recipes’.” AtlasObscura.com. February, 27, 2018.