Monthly Archives: April 2012

Sunny Side Up


Can something be both a wonder and wonderful? Consider the egg.

Fresh Egg

Here’s a question for you. How many eggs do you think this country produces each year? Think big. No, bigger. Bigger still…

You’re not even close. So, I’ll tell you.

75 billion, yes billion! That translates to 241 eggs per year for every man, woman and child in the country. That’s just the amount of eggs that are produced in the U.S. alone. China is the worlds largest egg producer and their hens lay about four times more eggs than ours. That’s a ton of eggs. Actually, 62.1 billion metric tons worldwide! I think it’s fair to say everyone LOVES eggs.

Fried Egg

What in the world is going on here? Why the egg obsession? For one thing, I don’t think there is anything the egg can’t do, it’s versatile. Think about it. It’s equally as comfortable as an ingredient as it is being the star of a dish. You can cook it in more ways than we have space to list. And, most importantly, they taste delicious.

Jennifer Trainer Thompson has penned an homage to the humble edible orb. The Fresh Egg Cookbook, takes you from “chicken to kitchen”. Contained in the pages is a treasure trove of information on all things egg related. Jennifer raises her own hens. Not all of us can do that. The information on what to look for and how to buy the best eggs is super helpful. You’ll really appreciate it the next time you find yourself at the local farmers market.

BUY IT! - The Fresh Egg Cookbook: From Chicken to Kitchen, Recipes for Using Eggs from Farmers' Markets, Local Farms, and Your Own Backyard

The recipes? Yes, there are recipes, lots of them. One hundred and one to be exact. These pages are loaded with great food and great photos.

I figured at this point you might be ready for a dish. Here’s one you may not have come across before, Pickled Eggs.

Here’s How To Do It.

Pickled Eggs

Ingredients
12 hard boiled eggs
3 cups malt vinegar
1 cup water
1 small dried chile, split open
20 black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks, 4 inch
2 bay leaves

Method
Peel the hard boiled eggs and pack them into a sterilized jar with an airtight lid. Leave an inch at the top for the liquid. Heat the vinegar, water, chile, peppercorns, cinnamon and bay leaves in a saucepan until the liquid begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool at room temperature.

Strain the liquid and pour it over the eggs in the jar. Cover them completely by one inch. Seal the jar and store in the refrigerator for 2 weeks before eating.

Makes 12 eggs
Recipe excerpted from The Fresh Egg Cookbook (c) by Jennifer Trainer Thompson, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

The Bottom Line: Everybody loves eggs. And, Jennifer has put together a great collection of eggcellent (sorry) facts, tips and dishes. These recipes can be easily executed by home cooks of all experience levels. It’s hard not to love Jennifer’s genuine enthusiasm for a topic which she knows so well.

It’s a great excuse to break a few shells. Come on, let’s get scrambling!

BUY IT! - The Fresh Egg Cookbook: From Chicken to Kitchen, Recipes for Using Eggs from Farmers' Markets, Local Farms, and Your Own BackyardAuthor: Jennifer Trainer Thompson
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing
ISBN-10: 1603429786

BUY IT! - The Fresh Egg Cookbook: From Chicken to Kitchen, Recipes for Using Eggs from Farmers' Markets, Local Farms, and Your Own Backyard

 


If you’re looking for some more egg recipes we can certainly help. Check out some of these titles.

Eggs: Fresh, Simple Recipes for Frittatas, Omelets, Scrambles & More The Good Egg: More than 200 Fresh Approaches from Breakfast to Dessert The Farmstead Egg Cookbook 101 Things to Do with Eggs


A Brisket By Any Other Name

Poitrine, bringa, bryststykke. No matter how you say it, it’s still a brisket.

BUY IT - The Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes

WARNING: This book is not suitable for vegetarians, vegans or herbivores of any stripe. However, if you love slow cooked, tender and delicious meat, grab a plate and get your fork!


It’s a cut of meat that slices across ethnic and cultural lines. A specific cut of meat. Not just a burger or a steak, it’s more than that. At first blush you would think, “How many ways could you possible cook that?”. You would be surprised.

In Texas, it is held aloft as a piece of BBQ lore and legend. Worthy of a battle for a medal, trophy or plaque. On St. Patrick’s Day, we can’t get enough of it served with a side of cabbage, potatoes and maybe a Guinness (or two). It has starring role on the other side of the world in Vietnamese Pho. And, it’s nearly impossible to imagine any Jewish holiday without a moist and flavorful brisket served on a big platter to a waiting table of family and friends.

Stephanie Pierson affectionately calls her cookbook a “love story with recipes”. When The Brisket Book hit my desk I thought, “OK, here’s another collection of the same re-tread brisket recipes”. Boring… This is a prime example of why you shouldn’t jump to conclusions. It is not possible to have been more wrong. Boring is the last thing this cookbook is.

I thought I knew about brisket. After all, I have cooked a small truckload of them. But, what I didn’t know about this versatile cut of meat could, well, fill a book. And Stephanie filled it up!

I love the list of “50 Things About Brisket That People Can Disagree About”. Example: #5 Electric Knife? You may as well give one person a can of gasoline and the other person a match and see how long it takes them to set each other on fire. People are just that insane about the topic.

Of course, I have to cook one of these versions. I opted for Chef Todd Gray’s, Classic Braised Beef Brisket. Anything classic should be a good test.

Here’s How To Do It

Classic Braised Beef Brisket

Ingredients
2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 3lb beef brisket, trimmed
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 quart veal stock
1 cup dry red wine
½ cup balsamic vinegar

Method
Pre-heat oven to 350⁰. (Note: the recipe in the book does not specify an oven temperature. I used 350⁰, it seemed safe)

Mix together the salt, paprika, mustard seed and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the brisket all over with the spice mixture. It will look like this.

Classic Braised Beef Brisket

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat until hot. Brown the brisket evenly on both sides. About 5 to 7 minutes per side.

Classic Braised Beef Brisket

Transfer the browned brisket to a large oven proof baking dish or Dutch oven. Add the rosemary and thyme sprigs. Also, add the garlic, stock, wine and vinegar. Cover the dish with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake in the oven until fork tender. About 3 to 4 hours.

When the brisket is cooked, transfer to a cutting board and cover with foil. Strain cooking liquids into a pan and reduce over medium heat to about 2½ cups. Slice the brisket against the grain and drizzle with the sauce.

Serves 6

Classic Braised Beef Brisket
Recipe adapted Classic Braised Brisket, Chef Todd Gray. The Brisket Book, Stephanie Pierson, Andrews McMeel Pub.

TIPS: I used beef stock instead of veal stock. It still turned our fantastic. This is a super easy brisket recipe. A home chef of any skill level should have no problem at all impressing their family and friends with their brisket expertise.

The Bottom Line: This book hits all the right notes. Not only is it a great collection of new (and old) brisket preparations, but, it also serves as a great resource. It’s a fun read. The contributions from professional and amateur chefs make it interesting on a lot of different levels. Writing a single subject cookbook can be tricky. Stephanie avoids the common mistakes that make these types of books a little on the dry side. Well done!

BUY IT - The Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes

Author: Stephanie Pierson
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
ISBN-10: 1449406971

BUY IT - The Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes

 


If you like The Brisket Book, here are few books from the Cookbook Man’s list that might interest you.

Backyard BBQ: The Art of Smokology Smoke & Spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue Texas Eats: The New Lone Star Heritage Cookbook, with More Than 200 Recipes Big Green Egg Cookbook: Celebrating the World's Best Smoker & Grill