roasted roots

In the zillion years we've been using heat to cook food, how is uncertainty possible when it comes to roasting vegetables?

Listening to a recent @atkradio podcast, Chris Kimball asks Mario Batali for his favorite goto fast dish.  Batali describes a bunch of 1-2" square chopped vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper roasted at 425F for 30 minutes.  In my hands, using mostly root vegetables, this yielded an inconsistently cooked bunch of veggies.

Slowing things down a bit, I used an enamel-coated steel pan filled with root vegetables (yellow beats, russets, carrots, green onions), roughly 1" cubed and tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin (peppercorns and cumin crushed coarse) and some rosemary.  This was baked at 325F for almost an hour and a half (no convection) and was followed by the addition of a coarse chopped plum tomato and baked for an addtional 20 minutes. This produced a uniformly cooked bunch of veggies with plenty of tooth and some crunchy bits.  A great meal where no one noticed the absence of meat.

feel free to click and see the englarged and still unfocused decadence


multiple poached eggs

Ease of cooking influences my food choices at home.  I love poached eggs, but at my skill level, I can cook a single one per pot of water.  Serving up a single poached egg at a time when 2 people want 2 each makes for a pretty crappy breakfast.

I  spent some time thinking about getting an egg to vortex itself in place so I could get a bunch cooked in one pot of water.  After 3 pages of doodles and  many trips to the thrift store trying to imagine a solution, I ended up with a simple tomato paste can - top and bottom removed - to keep the egg in place while it starts to firm up in the boiling water.  The can is lifted off the egg during cooking and the eggs stay separated.  This video shows the tomato paste can in action.  It's not perfect, but in the 3.5 min vid, I was able to produce 3 pretty perfect eggs for our breakfast.  I'll keep thinking about it, but good for now.


panko and butter: crispy topping for your casserole du jour

The weekday casserole: tuna/mac/veggies, mac n cheese, etc. They all need a final touch to make the mundane special.  Only a few decades late to the scene, I finally realized the beauty of panko and often use that for a final topping.  But, it still needs some fat to get the top coat good and crispy, but how to get a smattering of fat uniformly distributed over the crumbs before going to the broiler?  Frozen butter on the big holes of the box grater!

 Click for a larger image.  This is frozen butter put through the big holes of a box grater uniformly spread over the panko topping for a recent mac n cheese.

Tossed in a broiler for a few before serving.  Pretty cool.