Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easy Creamy Scrambled Eggs for a Crowd

From my family's cookbook, a great brunch recipe, scrambled eggs for a crowd. All the prep is done ahead of time, leaving just the cooking for last-minute. The eggs hold well for a short period in the oven or on a warming tray. A crowd favorite!

Easy Creamy Scrambled Eggs for a Crowd
To rush would be a crime
'Cause nice and easy
does it every time.
- from the 1960 song 'Nice'n'Easy'
arranged by Nelson Riddle,
performed by Frank Sinatra.
If you like, listen on YouTube.


“Nice ‘n’ Easy,” said the white-coiffed woman to the man beside her at a Frank Sinatra tribute concert late last year. “That was our song back then, honey. Remember how I was worried you were so serious, so fast?”

He moved his hand resting on the the bend of his cane onto her knee and patted it gently, his worn gold ring too large for bony fingers.

“Fifty-seven years,” she chuckled. “Nice and easy, alright.”

The trick to these easy scrambled eggs is cooking them ‘nice ‘n’ easy’ – that means slowly at a low temperature so they’ll turn out moist and soft and utterly delicious, perfect for Easter brunch or Christmas morning or even an after-church gathering some Sunday.

Will the recipe last fifty-seven years? It just might, it’s a good one.

ALANNA’s TIPS Two dozen eggs don’t “seem like a lot” once cooked, they barely fill a large casserole dish. But the eggs are rich, a small serving is plenty satisfying. Besides, the leftovers are great tucked into tortillas for breakfast another day. To double the recipe, cook in at least two skillets. Some times I substitute all or part bacon grease for butter. To prep ahead, mix the eggs and cook the sour cream mixture the day before, then do the cooking just before serving. I had great hopes that this recipe would work for a really big crowd, 75 – 100 people, say. But it doesn’t. Even cooking two large skilletsful at a time, the first eggs dry out before the last batch is done.

EASY CREAMY SCRAMBLED EGGS
for a CROWD

Hands-on time: 15 minutes plus occasional attention throughout
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 12
  • 24 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup sour cream (low-fat works great)
  • Fresh herbs, optional – parsley, chives, oregano, sage all work beautifully, especially for aesthetics

In a blender, mix the eggs, salt and pepper until well combined.

In one or two wide flat non-stick or well-seasoned skillets (or in one skillet in two batches), melt 2 tablespoons butter on low heat; if needed, spread with a spatula to cover the entire bottom. Gently pour in the eggs. Slowly cook the eggs, scraping the cooked part off the bottom to the side every minute or so.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter with flour on medium heat, let bubble a minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream.

When the eggs are nearly cooked, gently stir in the sour cream mixture and if using, fresh herbs. Let cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Transfer to a warm serving dish and serve immediately. Otherwise, transfer to a warm serving dish, cover with foil and hold in a 180F-200F oven for up to 30 minutes. For a buffet, keep warm on an electric warming tray.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per serving, made with reduced-fat/full-fat sour cream: 208/222 Calories; 14/16g Tot Fat; 7/8g Sat Fat; 441mg Cholesterol; 272/274mg Sodium; 3g Carb; 0g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 13g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 5/6, PointsPlus 6
Adapted from a recipe in our family cookbook, one from my dear Auntie Gloria, who was married to Uncle Clarke for 54 years. "Live, Love, Laugh" was their motto. And so they did.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe breakfast recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2012

Hot Cross Buns (<< this week's family favorite) Armenian Easter Bread (Choereg) Twice-Smoked Ham Ham 101: What to Know Before Buying a Ham Nana's Raisin Sauce for Ham Real-Food Brisket

This Week, Elsewhere

Maccheroni Larghi (Pork Rib Ragu) from Mad Tomato
My Weekly Column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Asparagus Recipes - Alphabet of Vegetables
A Veggie Venture

An Easter Brunch Menu

Baked Bacon
~ Easy Creamy Scrambled Eggs for a Crowd ~
(recipe above)

Winter Fruit Salad
Banana Streusel Muffins

More Easter Inspiration

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Hot Cross Buns Choereg, Aremenian Easter Bread Asparagus Whole Wheat Bread Pudding
Grape Salad with Almonds & Cilantro Savory Orange Slices Mexican Fruit Salad

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)





© Copyright 2012 Kitchen Parade



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Real-Food Brisket

Somehow I missed the brisket gene and only recently cooked my first one. The trouble? The family recipe calls for dried onion soup mix and a can of mushroom soup, not what a "real food" cook like me wants to use. Lucky break - The Brisket Book to the rescue. Now I can make brisket with 'real food'. No more canned mushroom soup! No more onion soup mix!

Real-Food Brisket

When I cooked my first brisket a while back, I was primed to use the family recipe, the one my dear cousin Sharon makes all the time.

You see, Sharon’s brisket flew off the platter at a family party when her daughter was married. Oh, it was so tender and good! In the back of my head, the column for what I would call “Wedding Brisket” was already half-written, including the family trick to freeze the brisket before slicing, ensuring thin slices and great flavor.

But when I called Sharon for the recipe, I learned that after side-by-side comparisons, she thinks her brisket tastes better without freezing. So much for that trick.

And. Worse. Worse, at least for someone who cooks without processed foods.

The family brisket recipe calls for a packet of dried onion soup mix and a tin of mushroom soup. My heart fell. What would I do with the beautiful brisket waiting in the refrigerator?

The Brisket Book to the rescue! I started with a recipe that called for onions (after all, brisket and onions are obviously good buddies!) and made it up from there. I heeded Sharon’s welcome advice to cook the brisket slowly at low temperature. A Facebook follower offered advice about chilling the brisket to remove fat – thank you Shelia Hellman!

Since then, I’ve read the The Brisket Book clear through. Author Stephanie Pierson found herself obsessed with brisket. She says the best recipe for brisket is your very own. Well, people, now I have mine. Will it be yours? I gift it to you.

Remove Fat Three Times So yes, straight off the animal, the brisket cut naturally contains a lot of fat. We know that “fat is flavor” but too much fat is unpalatable at best and unhealthy at worst.

So I removed fat three times, leaving tender slices of good brisket:

From the uncooked brisket, cut off the thick outer layers of fat. A five-pound brisket can have a pound of fat to easily remove at this stage but there is no need to obsess, more will easily come off later.

Cook the brisket ahead of time, allowing time to refrigerate for at least four hours. Chilled, the fat rises to the top and hardens, making it easy to lift off and discard.

Before rewarming the brisket, cut into slices, at the same time cutting out the interior sections of fat that are newly visible. Once again, a good pound of fat can be removed.

ALANNA's TIPS A five-pound brisket yields about eight servings. The cut itself starts off large enough that I cut mine in half to cook in two Dutch ovens. In retrospect, I could have layered the two pieces in a single Dutch oven.

REAL-FOOD BRISKET

Hands-on time: 45 minutes up front, 15 minutes to finish
Time to table: 12 - 24 hours
Serves 8
    ONION BRAISING SAUCE
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 pounds yellow onions, trimmed, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 anchovies
  • 1 cup dark beer – stout, ale, etc.
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
    BRISKET
  • 5 pounds brisket (see TIPS)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

ONION BRAISING SAUCE Melt butter in a large, heavy pot on medium heat. Add onions as they are prepped, stirring to coat with fat. Stir in brown sugar. Let onions cook, stirring occasionally, until onions soften and begin to brown, about 45 minutes.

Stir in remaining ingredients and bring back to a boil.

BRISKET While sauce cooks, slice off outer layers of fat from the brisket. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, salt and pepper and pat all over the brisket.

Heat a large, heavy skillet on medium high, brown the meat on all sides.

Preheat oven to 250F.

Arrange meat on top of the Onion Braising Sauce. Cover and bake for 4 hours.

REFRIGERATE Transfer pot to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Remove and discard the layer of fat that rises to the top.

SLICE Lift the meat out of the pot. Cut into slices against the grain, slicing out and removing interior layers of fat.

REWARM Transfer Onion Braising Sauce into a shallow skillet. Lift meat slices into the sauce, holding the slices together as if still intact. Over low heat, gently rewarm.

SERVE AND SAVOR Serve tableside in the skillet or transfer slices to plates, sauce on the side. Good bread recommended for soaking up the wonderful onion sauce.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per 3-ounce serving with sauce: 332 Calories; 17g Tot Fat; 7g Sat Fat; 83mg Cholesterol; 518mg Sodium; 14g Carb; 2g Fiber; 7g Sugar; 25g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 7.5, PointsPlus 8 NOTES More than for any other recipe, I finagled this nutrition estimate to reflect my best estimate of the real calorie and points impact. Assumptions include: the brisket yields 24 ounces (8 servings) lean (for brisket) meat, 75% of the butter/oil removed, 75% of the alcohol cooked off. Yikes, that’s a lot of assumptions but I think it’s got us in the range.
Inspired by The Brisket Book by Stephanie Pierson, a love story of the lore and tradition of brisket. The book is a fun read! DISCLOSURE My Disclosure Promise

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Have you converted a favorite family recipe to real food? To share the recipe and the story, just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2012

Hot Cross Buns (<< this week's family favorite) Armenian Easter Bread (Choereg) Twice-Smoked Ham Ham 101: What to Know Before Buying a Ham Nana's Raisin Sauce for Ham

This Week, Elsewhere

St. Luke's Loaded Potato Soup from St. Luke's Hospital, St. Louis My Weekly Column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Crustless Quiche with Roasted Peppers
A Veggie Venture


More Ideas for Easter Main Courses

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Twice-Smoked Ham Mom's Roast Chicken Lamb Roast with Lemon & Oregano
~ more Easter recipes ~
~ more main-dish recipes ~

More Recipes for Easter Breads

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Hot Cross Buns Choereg, Aremenian Easter Bread Asparagus Whole Wheat Bread Pudding

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)





© Copyright 2012 Kitchen Parade