Hard-boiled eggs that turn out right every time

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It’s amazing how some easy kitchen tasks can turn out to be difficult. For a long time, I had a hard time hard-boiling an egg correctly. The yolks would either have that gray line around outside, or the egg wouldn’t be cooked all the way through. It was frustrating, and I tried a few different ways until I figured out what worked consistently for me.

Since it’s Easter, many people will likely be decorating eggs, so I thought this was an appropriate time for this post.

Put six eggs (or however many you want) in an empty pot. Fill the pot with cold water to about an inch above the eggs. Place the pot on a burner turned to high.

When the water starts to have a rolling boil — usually about 8-10 minutes — turn off the burner and immediately remove the pot from the heat. Let stand for a minute or two. Then, using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs and place them in a bowl. Let sit until completely cool.

That’s it. Really. Happy Easter.

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Broccoli bites take snacks back to basics

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I recently saw this broccoli bites recipe on Pinterest. It seemed simple enough, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

This is a nice, basic recipe that only calls for four ingredients, which leaves plenty of room to experiment with other flavors and additions. It doesn’t require any special equipment, either. Mix it with your hands, form it into patties and bake. That’s it.

Next time I make these, I will likely use 1/2 cup of cheddar and 1/2 cup Parmesan, because I wanted more bite to them. Or, I might try a sharper cheddar — medium didn’t offer the flavorful punch I wanted.

The most difficult thing to figure out was what to serve them with. I tried sour cream, but it wasn’t quite right. So I tried a bit of mayonnaise with worcestershire, which was better; but I think ranch dressing might be the best option — I just didn’t have any on hand.

2broccolibitesFor something to snack on, these are pretty hearty and filling.

Ingredients
1 head of fresh broccoli, cut and steamed
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs
1/2 cup of Italian breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl. Form small patties and place on the baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, then turn over patties and bake for another 10 minutes.

Let cool for up to 5 minutes. Serve warm.

A versatile dish for any time of day

The best thing about quiche is that you can eat it at any time of day, at any temperature and with anything in it, as long as you have a good base recipe.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with quiche, it’s a simple egg dish baked in a crust. It usually contains cheese, vegetables and meat, but is also simple enough to improvise and include only what you want. The base recipe I use is from Joy. I know I’ve posted a few recipes from the book so far, but there’s a reason it’s an American classic. I use Joy’s Pat-in-the-Pan Butter Dough for the crust and the Cheese Quiche recipe for the filling.

Gouda is my favorite cheese to use and I like to add red bell peppers, crispy prosciutto and chives to the filling. I’ve found that sauteing the vegetables and herbs ahead of time helps them cook better. If you choose to use spinach, make sure you cook it before throwing it in the filling. The general rule of thumb is not to leave the pieces of chopped vegetables too thick and not to overload the quiche — don’t use more than about 1 1/2 cups total of additions. If you use more, there may not be enough egg mixture to hold it together.

Once the quiche is done, you’ve got a meal that you can eat hot or cold at any time. It’s a good standby to have in the fridge, whether you’re expecting company or just know you won’t have time to cook during the next couple days.

Crust
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into eight pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 beaten egg yolk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Stir flour and salt together. With your hands or the back of a fork, mash butter in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle heavy cream over the top of the crust and mix in until the crumbs look damp and hold together. Pat dough into a pie dish or tart pan. Prick crust with a fork so it won’t bubble up while cooking. Bake crust for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.

After the crust comes out of the oven, turn the heat down to 375 degrees and brush the warm crust with the egg yolk.

Filling
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (Gouda, cheddar, Monterey Jack and Swiss work well — you can use more than one kind if you’d like)
1 cup heavy cream
3 eggs
1/2 small onion, grated
1/8 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper
(1 1/2 cups total of any chopped vegetables, meat or other additions)

Sprinkle the cheese onto the crust. Whisk the rest of the ingredients together in a medium bowl until no streaks of egg white remain. Pour the mixture evenly over the cheese in the pastry shell. Bake until the filling is puffed around the sides and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.