I have been meaning to write this post for ages, but as usual the time just got away from me. Now with Easter less than two weeks away, time is of the essence. Y’all have to know how to get perfect hard-boiled eggs, so you can make deviled eggs! And color eggs for the Easter bunny! But most importantly, make deviled eggs!
I usually only have deviled eggs a few times a year, not because I’m not “allowed” to make them (Fred loves them as much as I do), but because I just don’t think to make them. You better believe we’ll be eating deviled eggs on Easter day!
By the way, “hard-boiled” is not an accurate description, because you’re not going to be boiling them in water – you’re going to be steaming them. I happened across this post on HenCam a few months ago and was skeptical because haven’t we all seen posts swearing up and down that the “perfect” hard-boiled eggs are done this way or that? For the past several years I’ve been making my eggs by adding a little olive oil to the water, boiling the eggs for 12 minutes, then adding baking soda to a bowl of water, putting the eggs in the water, and filling the bowl with ice to cool down the eggs.
If this were an infomercial, we’d be cuing the picture of me surrounded by containers of baking soda and bottles of olive oil and dirty dishes everywhere, my hair all frizzy, and looking disgusted and overwhelmed. I’d probably have flour in my hair, too – you know how those infomercials are.
The first time I did this, I took eggs that were less than a day old – some of them only hours old – and gave it a try.
You don’t need to rinse your eggs – I only did because a couple of them had nasty stuff on the shells, so I went ahead and rinsed them all.
I put the steamer basket in the pot, then added water ’til it came almost to the bottom of the basket. Then put the eggs in it. By the way, there are lots of different steamer baskets out there. This is the one I’ve had for years and use all the time. Can’t beat that price!
Put the lid on, place the pot on the stove, and then turn the heat on high.
Once the water starts boiling and things get all steamy, set the timer for 20 minutes.
It doesn’t hurt to check the water level a couple of times during that 20 minutes just in case, because you don’t want the pot to boil dry, but I didn’t have any problems.
Once the timer goes off fill a bowl with water, add the eggs, and then fill with ice. Give it half an hour or so before you try peeling the eggs, though you could likely do it sooner.
As you can see, the eggs aren’t completely perfect, but considering that they’re only hours old, that’s much better than I’ve been able to accomplish in the past. I made egg salad with those eggs, because we love eggs around here (which is a good thing, given the number of chickens we have.)
Though I don’t have pictures, I then “aged” some eggs for a week, and gave it another try. They were completely perfect, with no pulled-off spots, and I made deviled eggs with them.
Since the eggs that you get at the store are about 10 days old by the time they make it to the store (or so I’m told), you should do okay with eggs that you just bought. It doesn’t hurt to let them age for a week, though.
So, to recap: age your eggs about a week, steam them for 20 minutes, cool them down, and peel. The printable recipe is below. Happy Easter if you celebrate it – and happy deviled eggs if you don’t!
Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Family Circle’s Strawberry Jelly Roll found over at Recipe.com. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.
This week’s recipe was Nance’s choice, and when I saw what it was, I was like “Yes, please!” I’ve never made any kind of Jelly Roll, and rolling up a cake seems like a life skill that would come in handy. I won’t deny, I was a bit nervous because I was sure I’d mess it up, but I was willing to give it a try!
Ingredients for the cake:
Egg whites, cream of tartar, granulated sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla, and cake flour (don’t be jealous of my fancy label. Hey, at least this one’s not written with a Sharpie on masking tape!)
Dump your egg whites and cream of tartar in a mixing bowl, and beat until foamy. Then add 1/4 cup of sugar (NOT the entire 3/4 cup, which I very nearly did because I can never manage to pay attention to anything I’m doing for more than 10 seconds) and beat until soft peaks form.
Do not be mistaken that this is going to be the quick and easy part of the recipe. I had to keep stopping the mixer to check for soft peaks, then start the mixer again, stop it a few minutes later to check, etc. When I hit the “I’m pretty sure I fucked this up and I am NEVER going to get soft peaks” stage, soft peaks finally formed.
Now here’s the part of the recipe that I refused to take pictures of. You’re supposed to use a jelly roll pan (10×15 inches), but I do not have a jelly roll pan, and I wasn’t about to go out and buy one. I whipped out the measuring tape and started measuring pans, and found that we had an old roasting pan the right size. So I used that, only it looks like complete and utter shit, so I’m not EVEN going to let y’all see it.
You have to spray the bottom of your jelly roll pan (or whatever kind of pan you’re using) with cooking spray, then cut waxed paper to the size of your pan, put that on the bottom, and spray THAT “lightly” with cooking spray. Here’s a tip from me to you: spray the hell out of that waxed paper or it’s going to stick to your cake. More on that in a minute.
Cook the cake for 12 minutes, then remove from the oven. Run a knife around the outside of the cake. Sprinkle 3 T of confectioner’s sugar over the cake, cover it with a clean dishtowel, cover THAT with a “slightly larger” pan (I used a cookie sheet) and flip the whole mess over. I managed it and I’m a klutz, so you should have no problems with that.
Then you’re supposed to remove the pan and the waxed paper. Except that my waxed paper stuck to the cake, and it did a good job of looking like it was PART of the cake, so I had a hell of a time getting all the waxed paper off. I think you can imagine how I did not swear at ALL.
I finally decided that since it was just Fred and I eating the cake, I wasn’t going to stress too much over whether I’d removed all the waxed paper. Obviously if I were bringing it to a party or something I would have been more careful, but in the end I think I only left a few shreds behind.
Once you get the waxed paper off the top (formerly the bottom) of the cake, start at the short end and roll up the cake. I thought for sure this was going to be where I ended up fucking it up, but it rolled up just fine. I left it seam side down on a wire rack, and wandered off to do other things while it cooled.
When the cake is completely cool, you mix up the filling. Ingredients:
Strawberry jam (from the pantry, made and canned by me, thus the fancy label), sour cream, room temperature strawberry cream cheese (I took it out of the fridge and left it on the counter once the cake was out of the oven), and chopped strawberries.
Dump the jam, sour cream, and cream cheese in a bowl, and mix it together well. Stir in the strawberries (which I chopped up in my onion chopper), then spread it on the cake, leaving about a 1/2 inch border on all sides (which I kind of didn’t).
Roll it back up, put it in the fridge for at least an hour, and then it’s ready to serve (or to stay in the refrigerator).
The verdict? It was… good. I have a serious sweet tooth, though, so I would have liked the filling to be sweeter. Fred thought it was okay, but thought a filling of whipped cream and chopped strawberries would have been better.
I probably won’t make this exact recipe again, but I can just about guarantee that I’m going to make the cake and mess around with different fillings. Maybe whipped cream, toasted almonds and… some kind of chocolate?
Even though I wasn’t super crazy about the cake, it’s nice to know that I can roll up a cake if I need to. You never know when there’ll be a cake-rolling emergency, and now you know who to call!
Nance’s take: I have no idea why I picked this recipe. There were a lot of things about it that annoyed me, but I had no idea because that would have involved me actually reading the recipe before choosing it. What? Do you think I actually research this shit? Hell, no! Robyn’s a tyrant (not to be confused with Dooce’s butler/assistant/whatever) about getting these recipes on the schedule. Don’t let that nicey-nice save all the kitty-cats in the world bullshit fool you, man. Y’all just don’t know.
The first thing that annoyed me. I hate depending on this stuff. I just don’t trust it even if it has been years since I’ve had a non-stick fail.
And then this annoyed me because I needed 8 egg whites and what the hell am I supposed to do with 8 leftover egg yolks? I don’t like wasting food and this could send a person like me right over the edge. What do you guys do with the egg yolks when you have a recipe that calls for only the whites? I will tell you that I actually stood in my kitchen and scrambled these bitches up for my dogs. And then I felt guilty. Not because I was standing there cooking food for my dogs, but because I was giving them yolks and everybody knows that the yolks are the bad part of the eggs and OHMYHELL, I may have just played a part in killing Fifi!
See that little hole in the cream of tartar jar? I needed 1/2 teaspoon and my 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon wouldn’t fit in that little hole. I was so disgusted that I just dumped it out until my 1/2 teaspoon spoon was filled up. Oh yes, I DID! And it felt good. That’s what being an adult is all about. My mother couldn’t yell at me because I was all, “Shut the hell up, Shirley. I’m a grown ass woman who can waste all the Cream of Tartar she wants, dammit!” And that’s exactly what I did…while fretting over egg yolks at the same time. Just hush. The crazy train has already left the station.
I have no idea what soft peaks mean. Seriously. It’s all soft to me because what the hell, it’s egg whites. I just quit when it looks like this. Y’all can explain the difference to me in the comment section (and don’t forget to include what you do with your leftover egg yolks).
While my egg whites were soft peaking (or over peaking) I read the rest of the recipe that mentioned the fact that I needed to beat some other stuff together. I lost count of how many times I’ve been annoyed so far. Trust me when I say that I was pissed that I had to go find my other mixer (since the KitchenAid was busy with the egg whites).
I started out by folding my egg whites into the flour mixture as instructed, but then I decided to throw caution to the wind and just tossed this whole mess into the big bowl of egg whites and folded it all together.
This is me dumping the whole mess into my jelly roll pan (which is really only a big cookie sheet). No, I am not anal like Robyn. I do not own a jelly roll pan (that I know of) and I sure as hell didn’t go measuring any pans to see if I had a match. I decided to play the game called close enough and hoped for the best!
Please note how I work in a neat and tidy area, putting everything away and cleaning up after myself as I go. Ahem.
This is what it looked like when it came out of the oven.
This is what it looked like when I inverted the whole mess. Didn’t stick. Didn’t break. I called that a win.
I don’t have a fancy dish towel like Robyn had to wrap mine in. I just had an old flour sack towel that Shirley hates with a passion because it’s too big for drying dishes and I refused to cut them. Good thing I put my foot down, huh?
After it was cooled and un-rolled. I noticed those cracks on the right and figured it was a disaster. Then I decided that the filling would cover it and focused my fretting on whether or not the cake part would be stuck to the towel.
The filling. I could have just ate that with a spoon and called it a day, but I had an obligation.
This was what it looked like when it was rolled up. I didn’t trim the edge like it said to because I didn’t want to waste any of it. Okay, that’s an outright lie. I didn’t trim it because I skimmed the recipe (too many words!) and only noticed the trimming when I saw that Robyn trimmed her edges (much nicer picture, huh?) and read the recipe before uploading.
It was pretty good and everyone here in the house liked it, but I would have preferred more cream cheese to give the filling more creamy thickness (fat fatties unite!). The cake itself was good and relatively fool-proof (if I can do it, anyone can) so I agree with Robyn that it would probably be a good base to use with just about any type of filling you could imagine. All in all, I would do this recipe again and that’s saying something considering how annoyed I was with it. Heh.
Strawberry Jelly Roll - Robyn & Nance try the same recipe
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with nonstick vegetable-oil cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with waxed paper; lightly coat waxed paper with cooking spray.
Cake: Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in large bowl until foamy. Gradually add ¼ cup granulated sugar and beat until soft peaks form.
Beat together oil and remaining granulated sugar in second large bowl until well mixed, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla.
Stir cake flour into oil mixture. Gently fold in a quarter of the egg whites until completely blended, then gently fold in remaining egg whites. Spread the batter evenly with a spatula in the prepared pan.
Bake in 375 degrees F oven for about 12 minutes or until top is very lightly browned and springs back when lightly touched.
Run knife around edge of cake to loosen. Sprinkle top with 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar. Cover with clean kitchen towel. Top with slightly larger baking sheet; invert. Remove pan, then waxed paper. Starting at shorter end, roll up cake in towel. Cool completely, seam side down, on wire rack.
Filling: Stir together cream cheese, sour cream and strawberry jam in medium-size bowl. Gently fold in strawberries.
Assemble: Unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake, leaving ½-inch border all around edges of cake. Carefully re-roll cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To serve: Place cake, seam side down, on serving platter. Trim ends of cake. To garnish, sprinkle roll evenly with confectioners' sugar. Fan thin strawberry slices down center of cake, if desired.
Every week, we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Healthified Italian Sausage Egg Bake, from Eat Better America. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.
I made Fred choose this week’s recipe (it was my turn), because he’s such a pain in the ass about what he will and won’t eat during the week and I was damned if I was going to make something he’d turn his nose up at, because that drives me nuts. I think every meal I make should be greeted with gratitude and raving about what an amazing, wonderful cook I am, even if he has to secretly run into the bathroom and puke after he’s eaten it. If left to my own devices, I would eat cereal and salads at every meal and never cook again.
(Okay, that’s a lie. You can only eat so many bowls of Cheerios before you die from scurvy.)
Anyway, Fred chose this, I looked it over, it looked easy enough, and I sent it off to Nance for her okay. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized that you have to put the casserole together and let it sit in the fridge 8 hours to overnight but NO LONGER than 24 hours. What a pain in the ass. So at 8:00 at night, I was putting this thing together. Helpful tip: don’t do this when you’re tired. You will make a stupid mistake and want to go on a killing spree.
(Please ignore the random shit on the counter. This recipe does not include dish soap or a bottle of Magnesium supplement.)
The recipe calls for 12 ounces of lean Italian turkey sausage with the casings removed. Since we have ten thousand tons of sausage in the freezer, I opted to use a pound of ground sausage. Which, right there, takes away that whole “healthy” idea, doesn’t it? It also calls for red bell pepper, and I’m sorry – I don’t do bell peppers. So I used extra chopped onion instead. Then there’s garlic, frozen chopped spinach, frozen shredded hash browns, Italian cheese blend, parmesan, eggs, skim milk, basil, salt and pepper.
(That picture kind of sucks because I didn’t include the milk, and you can’t really see the Parmesan, which is hiding behind the hash browns.)
The first part of the recipe is simple (we like simple!) – brown the sausage, add the onion (and bell pepper if you’re using it), cook ’til the veggies are crisp-tender, and then add the spinach.
So once all that’s done, you’re meant to mix the sausage mixture, hash browns, and cheeses. But I hate mixing stuff in the baking dish – I always make a mess – so I decided to mix it all together in a bowl, then put it in the baking dish. Easy, right?
Not if you’re an idiot like me. See, the stupid recipe reads as follows: 4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes (from 30-ounce bag), thawed.
My stupid, stupid, STUPID brain translated that as “use this entire bag of hash browns!” It was after I’d mixed the sausage mixture with the cheeses and added the hash browns that I started to wonder how the hell this was going to fit in a 9×13 baking dish. So I looked at the MOTHERFUCKING bag of hash browns, and I found that one 30 ounce bag of hash browns does NOT contain 4 cups of hash browns. It holds over TEN FRIGGIN’ CUPS of hash browns. I’d mixed everything together so well by that point that I couldn’t pick out the hash browns.
I might have lost my shit at this point, ranted and raved and swore to Fred, threatened to throw the whole mess to the pigs, and ranted and raved and swore some more.
When I had calmed down a little, Fred said that he thought if we split the mixture between two dishes and froze one of them for later use, then just added the eggs and milk to one dish, it would turn out fine. So I did that, split the mixture between two dishes, beat the eggs together with the milk and basil, and poured it over the hash brown mixture, and put it in the fridge to sit overnight.
Look at all those hash browns. YEAH. SUPER healthy!
With the egg mixture poured over the top.
The next afternoon, I took the covered dish out of the fridge and stuck it in the preheated oven. The instructions say to bake for an hour, covered, then uncover and bake for 15 – 20 minutes longer or until the center is set. Which I intended to do, but when I removed the cover after an hour, I saw that the center was already set, so I forwent the extra time in the oven.
Yeah, the pictures suck. I was holding a grudge against this recipe and refused to expose my poor defenseless kitties to this stuff.
I know you’re wondering how it was. Fred loved it, he raved about how good it was, he wants to run away with and marry it. I, only the other hand, will GRUDGINGLY admit that it wasn’t BAD, but because of the grudge I’m holding, I would also like it to go fuck itself.
My hatred for the writer of the recipe didn’t stop me from eating it for two meals (and there was enough there for four meals, but I just can’t eat the same thing for four dinners in a row), so I guess it was OKAY, and I know I’ll be using the other pan that’s sitting in the freezer, but I’ll be damned if I like it.
Robyn picked the recipe this week (she always gives me extra choices) so I totally went for this recipe (you can thank me for saving you from a healthified lasagna later) when I saw that it took sausage.
Look what just happened to be sitting in my freezer at just the right time. Truth is, my mother picked this up at the grocery store and apparently she forgot that nobody (including her) is a big fan of sweet italian sausage. I had to pick that recipe or this shit was going to be in our freezer until 2018. And another note: There was no way in hell that I would be able to pass off turkey sausage to these knuckleheads so you might as well shake those healthy thoughts out of your head right now, missy.
I had a new skillet that I was dying to try out (Sam’s Club, duh. I don’t do that fancy shit cookery when I have people in this house that believe a fried egg should be dropped into a skillet that has been filled with butter and set on HIGH for 15 goddamn minutes beforehand, hmph).
I was starting to get all bitchy about recipes being so bossy (12 inch skillet) so I grabbed a ruler and took a picture to make a point. Turns out that the point was that I shouldn’t have gotten so bitchy about bossy recipes because I really did need a 12 inch skillet. So yeah. Do what the recipe says this time.
This is my mother trying to make finger-flavored hash browns. This also probably explains a lot about why she was not the one that taught me how to cook. There is a video of her bitching during this and as soon as I get it uploaded to YouTube I’ll embed it here. Payback’s a bitch, Shirley!
Ran out of the Italian-Blend cheese so mixed in a little sharp cheddar. Please note how I tried to hide it. From MYSELF. GAWD.
Shirley pours out the hash browns. I take pictures because she says she’s unable to take pictures.
Unable to take pictures until she wants to, that is. This is me, totally icked out (please note bent legs) because I shoved my hands in that mess in order to mix it all up. My BARE HANDS. Fucking gross. Shirley was just snapping away then! Asshole.
We pour the egg mixture over it and (insert big fat yawn here) throw it in the fridge over night.
It was excellent. Everybody liked it (except Trey, who said it tasted too much like sausage, heh). This would be absolutely perfect for someone who needs to feed a lot of people (Christmas morning, etc.).
Healthified Italian Sausage Egg Bake - Nance & Robyn
12 oz. lean Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 c.)
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 9 oz box frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes (from 30 oz bag), thawed
(USE 4 C. OF THE HASH BROWNS, NOT THE WHOLE BAG. DON'T BE STUPID LIKE ROBYN)
2 c. reduced-fat Italian cheese blend (8 oz)
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
¾ c. fat-free (skim) milk
1 tsp dried basil leaves
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Spray 13x9 (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray
In 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook sausage over medium heat 5 - 7 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up sausage with spoon (I use a spatula), until no longer pink; drain if necessary. Add onion and bell pepper; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 - 2 minutes longer or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in spinach.
In baking dish, mix cooked sausage mixture, potatoes, and cheeses. In medium bowl, beat eggs, milk, basil, salt and pepper until blended. Pour over mixture in baking dish. Cover; refrigerate 8 hours or overnight but NO LONGER THAN 24 HOURS OR THE GODS OF COOKING WILL SMITE YOU.
Heat oven to 350º. Bake covered 1 hour. Uncover, bake 15 - 20 minutes longer or until center is set. Let stand 5 - 10 minutes before serving.