Monday, December 15, 2014

Recipe: Creamed Eggs (Our "secret" family recipe)

Creamed Eggs (Our "secret" family recipe)

Creamed Eggs over Toast           Photo Courtesy of Dustin Beach

I grew up eating this.  I was recently asked by my son for the recipe, so our family tradition continues.  I think someone could open up a breakfast restaurant featuring this...or maybe it is just my childhood comfort food and I have a biased opinion?  I have always tried to serve this as a special treat when I have house guests. This can be done at home or while camping.  It keeps great on the stove in case there is a delay in sitting down to eat....just keep it warming and stir frequently to keep it smooth and creamy.

The way it is served provides great presentation too.

This makes about a serving for 2 pieces of toast, enough for one person.  Multiply as needed.  Refrigerate leftovers because they are just as good warmed up.

2 Hard boiled eggs

Slice eggs in half and place the yellows in a bowl and mash with a fork while adding a couple pinches of salt.  Fluff with a fork to separate the mashed yokes so they look something like course corn meal.  Set aside until serving.

Dice the Whites in ½ inch chunks and place in another bowl and set aside.

Hard boiled eggs prepped for the next step      Photo Courtesy of Dustin Beach

Prepare Medium to thick Basic White Sauce
·  In a small, heavy saucepan, melt 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons of real salted butter over low heat.
·  Blend 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons of flour into the melted butter.
·  Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
·  Cook over low heat, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes. Cooking for this length of time will minimize 'flour' taste. This will be a thick bubbly paste.  You are making a roux.  Do not heat too high.  You do not want to burn or brown this at all.
·  Slowly add 1 cup of milk to the bubbly butter flour roux, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
·  Continue cooking slowly,whisking frequently to avoid bottom burn and lumping.  Continue until smooth and thickened (Don’t let it boil or it will curdle and lump).

Once the white sauce has thickened stir in the diced hard boiled egg whites.  Continue to stir for several minutes to thoroughly heat the diced whites.  The whites seem to further thicken the sauce.  Test taste and adjust salt to taste adding a little at a time. 

White Sauce thickened and diced Egg Whites added         Photo Courtesy of Dustin Beach

If the sauce is done correctly it will be slightly thicker than gravy.  It should mostly stay on the toast and not be so thin as to run off the toast.  If too thick simply whisk in additional milk in very small quantities and cook for another minute while constantly whisking the sauce.  If the sauce is too thin this may mean cooking an additional amount of butter, flour, and salt together until you have a bubbly roux.  Then slowly add the hot milk mixture into the hot butter flour roux while whisking vigorously .   Do Not Mix it the opposite way.  As with any flour based white sauce roux, never add dry flour, or the cooked butter flour roux, to the hot milk mixture.  If you do it will immediately cook on contact and form tiny cooked balls of dough and ruin your entire sauce. Many make this mistake when trying to make gravy.  Have you ever had lumpy gravy?

Once your Egg White sauce is to your liking, ladle the Egg White Sauce over hot buttered toast.  For a large group consider making a big batch of toast in your oven.  Top by sprinkling the yellow mashed egg yoke over the toast and Egg White sauce.  Garnish the top of the sprinkled yellow yoke with ground black pepper.  
It's breakfast or brunch, but also looks like art!

Creamed Eggs served with a garnish of Black Pepper      Photo Courtesy of Fawn Beach

Sunday, December 14, 2014

RECIPE: Turkey Carrot Chili

Turkey Carrot Chili

Turkey Carrot Chili  - Shown with Cast Iron Skillet Old Fashioned Buttermilk Cornbread with Cheese and Cilantro
This is the basic recipe.  You can tweak this to create your own favorite:  Add additional Chili powder, Hot Chili Powder, Jalapenos, etc.  Omit the carrots.  You can substitute ground beef, ground venison, or cubed beef that has been roasted to tender, and numerous other variations.  The Turkey Carrot version is nutritious and probably the most healthiest version.

Bake a batch of our Cast Iron Skillet Old Fashioned Buttermilk Cornbread for the perfect side. Add a 1/2 Cup of shredded Mex Mix Cheese and 1 Tbsp. Dried Cilantro Flakes to the Cornbread batter for another variation.


2     Tbsp. Olive Oil
1     Sweet Onion Diced
4     Stalks Celery Chopped
2     Cloves Garlic minced
1 ½ Cups Carrots sliced
1lb  Ground Turkey

1     Can Tomato Soup (Campbell’s Condensed)
1     Tomato soup can full of water
1     15 oz Can Fire Roasted Chopped tomatoes and liquid
1     15 oz Can Red Kidney Beans
1     15 oz Can Black Beans
2     Tbsp. Dried Cilantro Flakes
1     Tbsp Liquid Smoke
1     Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1     Tbsp. (About) Chili Powder - I use the plain, not spicy hot-
              Use your preference and start out with ½ Tbsp
              Then adjust per your taste.
Sea Salt to taste- adjust slowly (About a tsp.)
Ground Black Pepper to taste- adjust slowly (About ½ tsp.)

In a large deep covered pot place the olive oil, Onion, Celery, Garlic, and Carrot. Cook on medium low covered until carrots are tender.  Stir often and adjust heat to avoid burning.  If need be, add 1 Tbsp. water occasionally to keep steaming action going until carrots are tender.

Crumble the ground turkey over the cooking veggies.  Break up and stir until the turkey is cooked.  Add a few pinches of salt and one pinch of ground black pepper

Once the turkey is cooked add all the other ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Taste test and adjust your salt and chili powder to your preference.  I normally cook this with the regular chili powder (no spicy heat) then have a shaker of ground Cheyenne Pepper handy for those that like it “hot”.

After you bring all ingredients to a simmer, continue to cook for 1 hour minimum.  Stir and scrape the bottom often to prevent burning.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Equipment/Product Review: Mr Heater - Forced Air LP 75,000-125,000 BTU

I originally set out to purchase one of the new truly portable Mr Heater forced air heaters.  One that has a rechargeable battery to power the ignitor and the fan.    

I first eyed the Mr Heater Hero 35,000 BTU.  My need was for around the house and while camping.  Often we tent about 300 square feet for use as a group meeting area when it is cold or raining. 

A model (F227900) has a rechargeable battery that supposedly runs for up to 8 hours per charge.  It also states it runs 50% quieter than a standard heater.

I didn't think 35,000 BTU's would be adequate for all my uses.  With further research I found they have come out with a 60,000 BTU battery powered version  (F227964)

My problem was, while there were some 35,000 BTU units available locally, none of the 60,000 versions were available.  I had need of one, but didn't have time to order one on line using normal shipping charges.

I ended up settling on a LP version that did not have battery power.  This model requires household type 110 Volts AC.  This one has an adjustable output of 75,000 to 125,000 BTU's.  I figured for the odd times I had no 110 Volt household AC available, I had an alternative working solution.  For other situations requiring portable AC, I often use a Schumacher XP2260 portable jump start unit.  This unit contains a battery and its own 110V inverter.  See our additional blog article about solar and more details on the XP2260 .  I was happy during testing, it powered the heater I purchased.    

The Mr Heater that I put to the test was a model (MH125QFAV).  The heaters box advertises that it is 50% quieter too.

I found the heat produced would be more that adequate.  In fact we tested it on the patio in a large open space.  There was good heat 6 to 12 feet away.  We were setting up for a yard sale and moving in and out of the area of heat.  It was welcomed warmth. 

I have used the kerosene type torpedo heaters, the ones some describe as a jet engine.  These LP versions are the same concept.  I was kind of disappointed with the model I purchased since it was saying it was 50% quieter.  It is rather noisy too.  Also the electronic ignition continuously arcs the entire run time....that is a rather irritating noise too.  But I must say it is quieter than the kerosene version I have used in the past.

CONS: A few details somewhat lower my opinion.  The noise level is much higher than I expected.  The AC cord with the male plug is extremely short.  You have to plug and unplug to apply power or to shut down.  An extension cord is necessary for all applications.  The LP hose has a nut shaped connector on it, the connection to the heater, that requires a wrench to tighten it...though no wrench is supplied. (Take note from Camp Chef and their LP Outdoor stoves that comes with a wrench attached to its hose).  Further the hose connection on the LP Tank end is brass and nut shaped. That connection also requires a plastic hand "Acme" knob on that end of the hose, to allow tightening and un-tightening by hand.  The plastic carrying handle, sticks up several inches from the heater.  The handle makes it impossible to store the unit in most tote boxes I use, unless I remove the handle.  A simple metal collapsible handle that lays flat would have been a great feature.  I may make a modification to my heater to prevent removing and reattaching the handle when removing from storage, or placing back in storage.  The continuous electronic zapping noise of the ignitor is irritating.  This heater can empty a normal BBQ size LP tank (5gal) fairly quick.  But that is to be expected, I would assume, when trying to output 125,000 BTU's.

Heater LP Hose connecter requires a wrench

LP Hose connecter at the tank requires a wrench

PROS: The heat produced is great.  The fan moves the heat well.  The outside of the outer housing is cool enough to touch without being burned.  I was happy my external portable power source operates the unit and allows me to operate without household/commercial power.  This unit is light weight and there are no liquid fuel spill issues to worry about.  The LP hose is nice and long.  Long enough for any application I can think of.

We intend to operate the heater for a long length of time when powered by the portable power inverter.  We want to test run time, and what happens at the point the reserve DC battery charge level drops to the point the inverter can no longer provide 110V AC.  Check back on the article from time to time if this is of interest to you.

We do make a disclaimer that you need to check with the manufacturer to satisfy for yourself.  Is there any potential danger of running a heater off an inverter in such a configuration?  There may be, so do not proceed until you satisfy that question for your own safety and others around you. 
Never operate a direct flame heater such as this in an enclosed space.  Make sure there is ample ventilation to avoid depleting the oxygen, or to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.  Lack of ventilation can quickly lead to death. 

In this video sequence below, the Heater power plug is connected to an extension cord.  The extension cord is in turn plugged into a self contained Battery/Inverter package.  The inverter is turned on to produce 110V AC which powers up the heater blower and ignitor.  The Gas valve button is depressed on the heater to start fuel flow.  The LP ignites and the valve is held depressed for a few seconds to allow the thermocouple time to heat up.  The gas button is released and the heater continues to produce heat.

I am disappointed I was unable to put one of the newer battery powered Mr Heaters to the test.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

RECIPE: Country Beef Ribs

These can be slow cooked on the Stove, in the Oven, in a Crock Pot, or in a Dutch Oven.  This has a savory sweet and sour tomato base.

4-5 lbs         Country Beef Ribs
½                Onion  Chopped
4 stalks        Celery Chopped
4                 Carrots Sliced            
14.5 oz Can  Chopped tomatoes and liquid
6 oz Can      Tomato Paste
1 C              Water
½ C             Vinegar
¼ C             Brown Sugar
3 Tbsp.       Agave Nectar
2 Tbsp.       Cilantro (Dried leaves)
2 Tbsp.       Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tsp.         Garlic Powder
½ Tsp.        Sea Salt
½ Tsp.        Black Pepper ground

½ C             Water
3 Tbsp.      Corn Starch

Cooked Rice to serve 4 people  (Prepare the rice at the end of the rib cooking cycle)

Combine all the ingredients in your cooking pot, except the Thickener Water and Corn Starch, and the rice.  The thickener is added at the end of the cook cycle.   

Cook the Ribs and added ingredients 4-6 hours on a low heat about 275-300°.  A crock pot might require 8-12 hours depending on if the pot has adjustable heat, or a low and high cooking setting.  This is a great recipe to throw together and cook all day. Trying to speed up the cooking by using higher heat, will only produce tough meat. 

Taste test for sour or sweetness, plus the salt, toward the end of the cooking cycle.  If not sweet enough add more Agave.  If you like it less sweet and more tart add more vinegar in small increments to taste.  

Once the meat is tender, thickened sauce by whisking the ½ Cup of water and Corn Starch together…then whisk into the cooking ribs and sauce. Stir and let thicken.  Serve over cooked prepared rice.