Sunday, April 7, 2013

Making Deviled Eggs Using the Oven Baking Method

I've been craving Deviled Eggs ever since Easter last week.  That would be the normal day I would eat them, but we went to Ian's Family Easter, and they had pickled beats and eggs, but not deviled eggs.  I'll have to make a mental note to bring them myself next year!
I tried a new way of making my eggs.  I baked them in the oven instead of boiling them! I started with the instructions from this blog. I decided to go with the higher heat of 350 degrees, because my eggs had just come out of the refridgerater.  I was afraid they wouldn't get done at 325.  (You can see how perfect her eggs turned out!)
Here's how mine turned out.
Eggs in the Cupcake Tin
I started by putting my eggs in the cupcake tin and putting them in the oven at a 350 degree temp.  I set my timer for 30 minutes, and went away! 
Brown Speckled Eggs!
When my timer went off, I went to get them out of the oven.  This is how they looked!  
Cold Water Rinse
I imediately put them under cold water.  The blog I was using said to use ice in the water, but I skipped it.  I just let the water run for about 3-5 minutes.  Then, I left them sit in the bowl for about twenty minutes. 
Then, I started peeling them. 
Burned Eggs?
Once I started peeling them, I started seeing the brown spots.  I panicked!  What the heck?!  Are they burned?  The original post I looked at had none of this!  I decided to look at another Pinterest post where there were the "Alton Brown" instructions to make the eggs.  In this post, she explains that that eggs will have brown spots on the shells and on them when they are peeled!  This eased my mind a little! So, I decided to forge ahead and make deviled eggs!
*From now on, I'll stick with the 325 degree oven temp. 
12 Hard Boiled Eggs (Or even baked!)
1/2 Cup of Whipped Salad Dressing (Miracle Whip!)
2 tsp Yellow Mustard
2 tsp Vinegar
2 pinches Sweetner (Sugar if you prefer) 

Yolks Separated from Whites
First I dried the eggs off with a paper towel.  Then, I separated the egg yolks into a bowl, and put the whites onto my pretty tray... that's for only six eggs.  But hey, I'm making it work! I mean, why would someone only make 6 deviled eggs?!  Why did I not notice if was only for six when I got it off of the clearance rack?!  They answers, we may never know! 
Mashed up Yolks
First I mashed up the yolks with a fork.  You can mash them to the consistantsy you like!  My sister even does this whole process in her food processor.  This may be one of the secrets of hers I'm not supposed to tell, along with the whole, using Miracle Whip is always better for deviled eggs than mayo! Oops... hope she doesn't mind! 
Ingredients in the Bowl
I am not a good ingredient measurer!  I learned the hard way that, deviled eggs need to be pretty close to exact, or they turn out pretty awful!  I mean, get just too much vinegar or mustard and these, and it's hard to correct! Put all of the ingredients in the bowl except for the Paprika.
Mix together with a Fork
My preferred method of mixing this is with a fork!  Then, if I need to get a few of the bigger lumps out, I can.  Take a little taste after it's mixed, and adjust as needed.
Sandwich Bag Method
If you want to get all fancy smancy, get out a cake icing decorating bag and a pretty tip.  Put your egg yolk mixture in there, and fill the eggs.  I, on the other hand, didn't want to dirty a cake icing decorating bag this morning.  So, I put my mixture into a sandwich bag. I cut a small hole in the tip of the bag.
Filling the Eggs
I filled the eggs whites with the egg yolk mixture by squeezing/piping it onto each egg.  If you don't want to even get that fancy, spoon the mixture into the eggs! 
Deviled Eggs
Here's what my deviled eggs looked like when they were filled.  They actually turned out really good!  
I personally like paprika on my deviled eggs.  It's mostly for decoration.  It doesn't change the flavor a lot.  I have an aunt that likes to put red pepper on her deviled eggs.  The sad thing is, paprika and red pepper look exactly alike when on an egg in the middle of the buffet table, but taste completely different! My mom and sister would always warn me when she brought the eggs to the family parties, "Remember, that's PEPPER!"  
These eggs are going to go really well with our left over Easter ham from last week!  I can't wait! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Harry & Izzy's North in Indianapolis

I really like Harry & Izzy's.  There's only one problem: it's out of my price range! Once a year, usually in January, the downtown location joins the Devour Downtown promotion.  That's when a restaurant has a set menu for a set price, that is usually cheaper than eating at that restaurant normally.  We missed Devour Downtown this year, and I was a bit sad!  But then, we heard a commercial for the North Side Nights promotion!  We realized that Harry and Izzy's on the north side was included, and decided right then, we were going to go!
Harry and Izzy's North Side Nights menu was $35 a person.  It's still a pretty steep price, but I feel it was well worth it.  I have no idea what the meal would have cost without the special, but I just looked at the menu and tried to add it up quickly.  It would have been around $100!
Garlic Rolls
We started out with the Garlic rolls.  This have a really great garlic butter flavor.  I great starter to a meal. 
World Famous St. Elmo's Shrimp Cocktail
You could choose a cup of soup or the World Famous St. Elmo's for the appetizer.  We both chose the shrimp cocktail.  It was a single serving of three shrimp in a cocktail sauce that will definitely clear the sinuses! This is worth the try though. Every one should get this dish at least once to see what the rest of the world is talking about!  I really like it!  (Even though, I had tears in my eyes from the burning of the horse radish!) 
12 oz New York Strip
Ian ordered the 12 oz New York strip steak for his dinner. It came with Green beans that had red peppers and onion mixed in them, and mash potatoes. Ian really enjoyed his dinner.  The steak was cooked perfectly medium.  He took his time enjoying his meal. 
6 oz Filet Minion 
I ordered the filet minion for my meal. It also came with the green beans and mash potatoes.  I asked for my steak medium.  I probably should have gone for a medium well. I have to remember that for the next time I go.  It was a little more bloody than I thought it would be.  That didn't stop me from devouring the entire steak!  The steak had a great flavor.  The green beans were a bit crunchy, but still good.  The mash potatoes were creamy. 
Ian and Cheese Cake with Raspberry Sauce
For Ian's dessert course, he got the cheese cake with raspberry sauce on it.  He like it! It was on the "just ok" side of cheese cake, but he still enjoyed it.  (We are a little spoiled with my sister being a professional baker, and cheese cakes being one of her specialties!)
Me and My Creme Brulee
If I ever have the choice of creme brulee, that's what I'm going to choose! It's one of my absolute favorite desserts, and I have seemed to have mastered making it at home yet! The Harry and Izzy's creme brulee does not disappoint! The creme brulee had the great sugary crust on top and a fresh strawberry. The creme was so creamy! The strawberry was very sweet. I will get this again!
I really enjoy eating at Harry and Izzy's!  It's owned by the same people that own St. Elmo's Steak House.  I have not been there yet.  It's on my list of places to go! 
I will definitely be waiting to eat at Harry and Izzy's when Devour Downtown or North Side Nights are happening.  Those specials definitely help cut the cost.  I give Harry and Izzy's three and a half pizza pies.  It's awesome food puts it up there.  I don't know if the atmosphere at the north side location is worth the price.  The downtown location has a quieter atmosphere.  The north side location feels like going to any other casual dining restaurant, except the servers are dressed nicer.  We went on a Saturday during a special, so, that might be way it was extremely busy while were were there.  People also had very young children in the room that we were sitting in.  Not that I have anything against children, but listening to a child cry while we were supposedly on a romantic date, isn't quite so romantic! (We did make reservations for two ahead of time.)  There were two different tables with very young children in the room we sat in.  I guess if we're going for romantic, we'll stick with the Melting Pot, where if you tell them you're on a date, they will probably give you a private room.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

An Open Letter to Taco Bell

Dear, Taco Bell.
I just want to let you know that the Sagamore Parkway Location in West Lafayette, IN is doing an awesome job!  I don't know if you hear that enough. 
My boyfriend and I took my mother there. She is 79 years old and suffers from hearing loss.  A young man/employee named Marcus saw us guiding her in and ran to the door and opened it for us.  He then kindly took our order, listening carefully to every word she said.  She wanted part of her meal to go, and he made sure to tell the rest of the employees/staff instructions of that.  After we all ordered, we went and found a seat to wait to be called up for our order.  Then, a nice young woman brought us our order to our table. 
While we were eating, my mom was saying that the hot sauce she grabbed was actually hot sauce and not the mild she had meant to get.  Marcus was out there cleaning up the drink station and condiment station and heard her say it.  He immediately brought her a few mild sauces!
This young man works very hard and is very kind and courteous! He deserves a raise and a pat on the back! 
Next time we are in West Lafayette, we will be visiting this Taco Bell Location again!
Thank you so much to Marcus, the Manager Michael, and the rest of the Sagamore Parkway location of Taco Bell!
Heather Pechin

Monday, April 1, 2013

Corn Chowder Like Boma's in Disney World

I found a recipe that claims it's the Corn Chowder recipe from Boma in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.  I've been looking for this recipe every since Ian and I went there in November in 2011.  I even asked the server if I could have the recipe, and he said, "SURE!" Then, he never gave it to me!
I got this recipe from here!

2 Chicken Breasts, cooked and diced
1 pound Russet Potatoes, cooked and diced
2 cups Corn Kernels (frozen)
1/8 cup Onion, diced
1/8 cup Red Bell Peppers, diced
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Milk
2 t. Sugar
2 t. Hot Sauce
1/8 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 Chicken Bouillon Cube

I didn't really need all of these ingredients by the time I got done, but this is every thing I started out with.  This soup took a lot more food prep than I was prepared for.  By the time the potatoes and chicken were cooked and chopped, and all of the other veggies were chopped, I was just about done! Before I even started, I realized, I had the wrong kind of chicken and my chicken was still frozen. I had to go to the grocery store and buy chicken breasts.  I also realized, after the prep, it still had to simmer for 40 minutes.  By then, Ian and I had cupcakes for dinner from the Flying Cupcake!
So, after going to the grocery store, I got started on the chopping and cooking of the potato and cooking the chicken. 

Boiling the Potato
I used one gigantic Russet potato.  I chopped it into cubes and put it in the pot. I put enough water to cover all of it and boiled it for around twenty minutes.
Boiling Chicken
I put the chicken in a pot with about two cups of water and started boiling it.  This took a little over twenty minutes to do.
Chopped Veggies
While the chicken and potato were cooking, I chopped up my onion, red pepper, and parsley.  The recipe only calls for 1/8 cups of these things, and as you can see, I had way more!  These bowls each measure a cup.  
"Chicken Stock"
I took the chicken out and cut it into cubes. In the water I had boiled the chicken in, I threw in the bouillon cube and a Knorr's condensed chicken stock package.  After I threw in the Knorr's condensed chicken stock, I realized that the package says "Equals Three Cups of Stock!"  Oops!  I probably should have noticed this and just used my can chicken broth, which I didn't end up using. I let the cube and stock dissolve into the water. 
I drained the water of the potato. 
Simmer Down Now!
I put all of the ingredients in the pot with the chicken stock except for the parsley.  The directions on the recipe say to simmer for 40 minutes.  I set a timer in twelve minute increments to remind me to stir it.  I would recommend putting a lid on it at this point.  I did not do that and lost a lot of the soupy fluids. 
Adding Fresh Parsley
After the 40 minutes of simmering, add in the 1/8 cup of fresh parsley.  I may have added a little much.  Mix this in and let it simmer for five more minutes. 
Corn Chowder
This is what it looked like right before I served it.  I don't know if it's because I didn't have a lid on it for the 40 minutes of simmering, or that I didn't have enough water or milk int it, but it wasn't very soupy.  I also think using the Knorr condensed stock gave the chowder a saltier flavor.  I remember the Boma chowder having a really sweet flavor to it.  I would recommend trying it with exactly the right amount of chicken stock. 
This corn chowder turned out really good!  Not exactly like the Boma corn chowder, but still, this had a great flavor!  I'm going to make it again some time and try to be more exact on my measurements. I might skip the parsley too.  Even though the parsley didn't make it taste bad, I don't remember that being in the Boma Corn Chowder when I had it.