Welcome to the Circle B Kitchen! 
We love that you're here and hope you'll browse the site and grab some recipes.  
The Circle B Kitchen has been blogging since September, 2009.  We have loads of recipes and thoughts on food to share in the coming weeks and months, so come back and check in often!  We love hearing from you and hope you'll leave a comment or shoot an email our way.  Whether you have questions about a recipe or the site in general, please let us know...    Contact me at      pberry@circle-B-kitchen.com


Find a Circle B Kitchen Recipe 

Some of Our Favorite Things for Spring!

   Pesto Salmon Burger (YUM!)

Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair Pasta

Mediterranean Fish Fillets

   Greek-ish Salmon Salad

Spaghetti with Artichoke Sauce

 Chive Risotto Cakes with Lemon Aioli

Southwestern Salmon Tacos

Asparagus with New Potato Salad, Grilled Salmon and Buttermilk Dressing

Pasta with Asparagus and Egg

Mediterranean Shrimp Salad with Artichokes and Chickpeas

Sauteed Chicken with Clementine Salsa

 Grilled Chicken Kebob Salad

Grilled Bread and Shrimp Salad

Swordfish Provencal

Shrimp Salad with Avocado, Clementines and Pomegranate

And just in case you were wondering...

       

 

Our oldest daughter, Erin, has been riding, training and showing horses since she was a teenager.  She graduated from Colorado St. University with a degree in Equine Science and is now Financial and Administrative Manager for HETRA (Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Association), which provides therapy through horseback riding for children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, brain tumors, head injuries, blindness, autism, and strokes.  For more information or to donate to this amazing cause, please visit http://www.hetra.org/ .

 

 

Sunday
May032015

Shrimp or Salmon Avocado Spring Rolls with Hoisin-Peanut Dipping Sauce

It's spring!  Let's have rolls!  How 'bout some spring rolls?!  Interestingly enough, they're also called summer rolls.  Whatever.  I'm so ready for anything not called winter.  Spring comes late to this part of the country, but it's finally working its way into the landscape and I'm working it onto our plates, most recently in the form of these delectable little spring rolls. 

I was actually surprised at how easy these were to put together.  Once you've decided what you would like to stuff into your spring rolls (I've chosen a nice collection of flavors and textures), they're a snap to make and actually sort of fun. 

I settled on a couple of different spring roll versions...one with salmon, avocado, cucumber, carrot, mint, cilantro and herb lettuces; and then just swapped out the salmon for some roasted shrimp on the others.   

As good as these little rolls are, it’s the dipping sauce that makes the party.  I tried a few different recipes before creating this hoisin peanut sauce that I think is pretty killer. 

So without further adieu, let’s make some spring rolls.

First of all, you must purchase some of these spring roll wrappers.  I think most stores carry them anymore.  I found these at Whole Foods, but I’ve seen them at Target and I’m sure Walmart and other grocery stores have them.  Anyway, once you have all of your ingredients prepped… 

You’ll want to take one of those wrappers and soften it in some warm water. 

I soak mine for about 15 seconds or so.  It will continue to soften as you fill it.  And you will have the added advantage of not having to take photographs while you do this, so they won’t over-soften on you either.  You will want to work rather quickly. 

Place your soaked wrapper on a kitchen towel (I used a cloth placemat), but don’t try to work on a table or countertop, because these little wrappers are sort of sticky.  They’ll want to stick to most surfaces.  Some people have had success with a plastic cutting board, but I prefer the cloth surface.  A flour sack towel would work great. 

Then just start placing your stuffing ingredients in the center of your wrapper, keeping them in sort of a neat little pile.

Then fold the wrapper in at the sides 

And then over the top, 

And start rolling.

And then you’re done! 

 Now you can make your dipping sauce, which I totally encourage you to personalize.

I start with equal parts peanut butter and hoisin sauce and then add about half as much soy sauce and enough chili paste (sambal olek) or sriracha to create a bit of a kick, but add however much you think will fit your taste buds.  If you would like it a little sweeter, add more hoisin, more salty, add more soy; more peanutty, add more peanut butter.  And then thin it down with enough water to make a nice dipping sauce consistency, which again, is totally yours to personalize.

You can refrigerate your spring rolls for a few hours before serving, which is pretty convenient.  They make a great starter course for any Asian meal you might have planned, or a nice, light meal by themselves.  

We're deep into the joyness of springtime around here.  It's beautiful, it's green, it's warm and sunny when it's not raining, but mostly it's just not winter, which means it's time to put a little springtime on your plate.  I give you spring rolls...

Shrimp or Salmon Avocado Spring Rolls with Hoisin-Peanut Sauce

Click here for a printable recipe

The ingredients listed below are as much suggestions as anything.  You may be able to make more than 12 with these amounts, but then again, maybe not.  You may certainly switch up the ingredients as your tastes desire - feel free to make them vegetarian and leave out the seafood altogether.  For sure make that dipping sauce taste just the way you like by adding more or less of each ingredient until you've got it just right for you!

To make 1 dozen spring rolls you will need...

12 spring roll wrappers
12 oz of cooked salmon or about 24 small-ish cooked shrimp (or some of each if you’re making both kinds)
1 large avocado, each half sliced lengthwise
1 hothouse cucumber, cut into matchsticks
3 carrots, peeled and grated
A good handful or two of spring mix or herb greens
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup chopped fresh mint
A little rice vinegar 

For the dipping sauce...

1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/3 cup peanut butter
3-4 tablespoons soy sauce (or to taste)
1 to 2 teaspoons of sambal chili paste (or to taste)
A little water if needed for thinning 

Prep your stuffing ingredients.  I like to brush the avocado with a little rice vinegar to keep it from browning while you make your spring rolls.  This also adds some nice flavor to the spring roll. 

Dip one of the spring roll wrappers in warm water (a 10-inch pie place works well for this) for about 10 to 15 seconds.  It will continue to soften as you work with it.  Place it on a kitchen towel or cloth placemat. 

Place a bit of the salmon or shrimp in the center of the wrapper and place a little of each of the other ingredients on top. 

Fold the wrapper in on both sides so they meet in the center and then fold down the top of the wrapper over the middle.  Roll it up and then place it on a try lined with parchment paper. 

Continue stuffing and wrapping until you have them all filled and then place another sheet of parchment paper over the top of the spring rolls.  Cover this with plastic wrap and then refrigerate until you’re ready to serve them.  You may slice them in half for serving, but they serve a little neater if left whole.

To make the dipping sauce, stir all of the ingredients together, adjusting the flavors as needed.  Thin with a little water if needed to make a good consistency for dipping.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment

Saturday
Apr252015

Quinoa Tabbouleh with Feta Cheese

  

Grilling season is upon us and in an effort to be as accommodating as possible, I am herewith offering up a super scrumptious side dish to serve alongside whatever the heck that is you're grilling.  Tabbouleh can be a side dish or a salad, and it can very easily become the main course with the addition of some grilled shrimp or chicken.  It's bright and tasty and good for you and requires a fair amount of chopping.  If you're handy with a knife, you'll not mind this a bit, and if chopping stuff is your culinary nemesis, well, I think you should just give it a try anyway.  Some of it can be done in one of those little choppers, but it's probably best to just sharpen your knife and get into it. 

If you've not had the pleasure of tabbouleh yet, I will just tell you that it's a Middle Eastern dish that traditionally is made with bulgur wheat, but it's often made with couscous as well.  Right now the quinoa version is all the rage, and being nothing if not current, I thought I'd give it a try.  I do love quinoa and I absolutely love tabbouleh, so this really isn't much of a stretch for me. 

I used to make tabbouleh quite often back in the 80's and 90's (the bulghur kind), but it seems I sort of forgot about it for a couple of decades.  I'm not really sure how that happens, but it's not all that unusual for me.  Recipes come and recipes go, which is why I created this blog.  I need some stability in my life. 

Anyway, this here is Ina Garten's version and it's pretty killer.  The addition of feta cheese is pure genius and now I'll have it no other way.  It cozies up to the cucumber and herbs and tomatoes and lemon, bringing that creamy salty thing it does and balancing out the lemony herbaceousness, and the crunchiness of the cucumber next to the chewy quinoa.  Sounds sort of confusing, doesn't it.  Well it's not; that's just my writing, and I apologize for that.  There isn't anything confusing about tabbouleh. 

You really don't have to make this as a side dish for grilled meats, although it seems designed exactly for that purpose.  It happens to also make the most awesome salad to haul to the office for lunch.  It transports so well cuz it doesn't get soggy and keeps for days in the fridge, which also qualifies it for picnics and pot lucks.  And the fact that it’s a healthy kind of thing is a huge bonus when we’re talking about portable lunches, no? 

But before I let you go so you can sharpen your knife, I just want to talk about cooking quinoa for a minute.  It’s super easy, but it seems to me that there are outside forces at work conspiring against us to make it seem anything but easy.  So I’m just going to recommend that you not read the back of your package of quinoa for cooking instructions.  Most of those instructions are devised to create soggy, gross quinoa, not the fluffy stuff of quinoa dreams.   Has this happened to you?  Is this why you don’t cook quinoa?  I just don’t get it, cuz the same thing happens with the package cooking directions for rice.  Too much water...not good eats.

If you're just about to send me an "informative" email or comment stating that you always follow the package instructions and get perfect quinoa every time, then I would, of course, reply that there are exceptions to every truth in this life.  Even Ms. Garten's recipe asks you to cook your quinoa in 2 cups of water, but then has you draining it.  This may cook your quinoa adequately, but I fear that you're not going to get fluffy, beautiful quinoa from this method.  But lest I find myself being a bit too opinionated here, I'll just conclude my quinoa dissertation by saying that you should cook it in whatever manner makes you feel complete in life.  I will forthwith share with you what I feel to be the most perfect way to cook it. In my humble opinion. 

So here’s the Circle B 411 on cooking quinoa… rinse it really well.  Like 3 times or so in a strainer set into a larger bowl so you can swish it around and really get that yucky stuff off the outside of it.  This removes the bitterness that maybe you’ve had personal experience with or heard people complain about. 

Further ignoring the package directions (unless you’ve bought your quinoa from an enlightened producer), place your now nicely rinsed quinoa (1 cup) into a pan with 1 ½ cups of water and ½ teaspoon of salt (or to taste) and bring this to a boil.  Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer for 10 minutes.  Did you notice how your package said to cook it in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes?  And then they said fluff it with a fork?  They lied.  This does not happen.  I tried it several times and not once did the quinoa absorb the water and not once did it ever fluff.  It was soggy and most definitely quite yucky.  

So after you’ve simmered your quinoa for 10 minutes, it should be quite done, but don’t lift the lid.  Just scootch your pan off of the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes untouched.  THEN you can lift the lid, and yes, people, you can now fluff it with a fork.  It will be very fluffy.  And so lovely and delicious. 

And now it will be ready for some extraordinary tabbouleh or whatever else you would like to use it for.  

A couple of days after I made the tabbouleh, I had some quinoa in  the fridge and decided to mix it with some of the leftover tabbouleh which sort of lightened up the tabbouleh and flavored the quinoa and made it sort of like tabbouleh-ish quinoa (instead of quinoa-ish tabbouleh), and oh it was just ever so good.  You could try that if you like, just add a little more quinoa to this recipe and make it more quinoa-ish.  This has been my lunch for the past several days and I’m going to be very sad when it’s gone. 

Alrighty then, I think I’ve gone on long enough here.  Time for you to get your knife sharpened and get to chopping.  Here’s the recipe…

Quinoa Tabbouleh with Feta Cheese

Click here for a printable recipe

This is surely one of the best tabbouleh recipes I’ve had in recent memory.  The flavors really pop and the feta cheese brings a wonderful briny, salty, creamy component to the mix.  Please do not use a pre-crumbled feta cheese here.  Find a nice, creamy block of Greek, French or Israeli feta for maximum flavor and creaminess.  Pre-crumbled feta cheese tends to be drier and more grainy.

I’ve made some changes to Ms. Garten’s original recipe.  If you would like to check out her recipe, just click on the link below.  I’ve cut back the salt a bit and provided what I believe to be a superior cooking method for the quinoa.  Any other changes have been noted in the recipe.  Enjoy! 

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten 

1 cup quinoa
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt 
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup good olive oil (I used 3 tablespoons)
1 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts (5 scallions)
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (2 bunches)
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and medium-diced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved through the stem
2 cups medium-diced feta (8 ounces)

Rinse the quinoa really well in a strainer set into a larger bowl.  Swish the quinoa around in the water and then drain.  Repeat this 2 or 3 times or until the water runs clear.

Place the drained quinoa in a pan with 1 ½ cups water and ½ teaspoon salt.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cover the pan and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing with a fork. 
 

Place the quinoa in a bowl and immediately add the lemon juice, olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste).

In a large bowl, combine the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, and tomatoes.
  Add the quinoa and mix well. Carefully fold in the feta and taste for seasonings (may add more salt and/or pepper at this point). Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.

 Click here to ask a question or leave a comment 

Saturday
Apr182015

Fettuccine with Arugula Pesto and Tomato Salsa

 

So the question must be asked “do we really need another pasta recipe on this blog?  I mean, aren’t 47 pasta recipes quite enough?   Yes, people, this is pasta recipe #48, and while I’m inclined to feel a bit sheepish in posting yet another, I hope to make the case for its inclusion in what has recklessly become a serious imbalance in the recipe index. 

To that end, I will tell you that the recipe came to me via Beryl, a reader from down under, in an email I opened after a particularly long day at the hospital with Mom a couple of months ago.  I think I had just had a bowl of popcorn for dinner.  Beryl sent a very dear “keep your chin up” email (my chin had most definitely not been up), and she sent this recipe and a photo and told me how she had been making this since 2001 and how it was so easy to throw together when you don’t feel like cooking and that it’s become a favorite family comfort food (they call it “green pasta”).  It would be a few weeks before I got around to making it, but somehow I knew that I would.   

Pretty glad I did, too.  Yes, it’s a quick and easy recipe, but it’s the flavors that will haunt and bring you back for more.  Yes, I did say haunt.  Maybe it’s just me, but I think pasta is at its most delectable when the sauce is assertive and bright and balanced and nuanced and this one is all of that and more.  And here I am in the third paragraph and I haven’t even mentioned that we’re talking about arugula (aka “rocket” to those Brits and Aussies) as the star ingredient here, and how that peppery arugula in all its brash, sassy cheekiness dares to out-flavor and overshadow its more demure pesto rivals. 

But it’s those little bites of sweet tomato and the heat from the chiles and the bright notes of lemon and well, cheese.  Yes, there’s cheese, and I think I’ll just stop right there.  The Husband loved it too and I believe he used the word “keeper” or something about making it again, I’m not really sure cuz I was stuffing a bunch of it in my mouth, but yes, I did make it again and that’s how the Circle B recipe index came to have 48 kinds of pasta.  Here’s the recipe…

Fettuccine with Arugula Pesto and Tomato Salsa

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly Vegetarian Cookbook (via Beryl, a reader from down under)

The flavors in this pesto sauce are just outrageously delicious.  I've reprinted the recipe mostly as it was written and noted the changes I made which were simply personal preference.  A couple of those changes had to do with the amount of olive oil called for (2/3 cup) and garlic (8 cloves).  I'm not terribly fond of oily pesto sauces and prefer to add some of the pasta cooking water to thin it down if need be.  And I don't mind a subtle hint of garlic, but 8 cloves sounded a bit like calling in the heavy artillery so I bumped that back a bit too.  If you're not a fan of raw garlic, I pop the cloves (unpeeled) into the microwave for a couple of seconds which softens the flavor a bit.

1 lb fettuccine
8 cloves garlic, quartered (I used 2)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil
120 grams (About 8 cups or 4.25 oz) arugula, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup olive oil (I used a little more than 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 red thai chiles, thinly sliced (I used a bit more than 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

1.  Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water for about 9 minutes or until al dente.  Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.

2.  Meanwhile, blend or process the garlic, basil, lemon juice, arugula and olive oil until it becomes a smooth paste.

3.  In a large saucepan, combine the cooked pasta with the pesto and the rest of the ingredients.  Toss gently to combine, adding a little of the pasta cooking water if needed to thin the sauce.

4.  To serve, top with the remaining pine nuts and extra parmesan cheese.

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment

Saturday
Apr112015

A Baguette of Your Own (In Only 4 Hours!)

Lest you’ve already decided that you have no time for such folly – let me just say that this is most definitely 4 hours well spent, especially if you've ever thought (fantasized) about turning out bakery-quality baguettes from your own home oven.  And let me tell you, I was once as skeptical as you most likely are at the moment.  But this is actually a really great baguette and you heard me right… 4 hours start to finish, and several of those hours require absolutely nothing from you.  This discovery has been a total game-changer here at the Circle B Kitchen where just about every baguette-type of bread I make takes at least 2 days.  My sourdough takes 3 days.  So 4 hours - phhhttt!  That's nothin' in the world of bread-making.

So you can imagine my glee (really happy emoji with the big teeth) when I saw this recipe on the Food 52 website.  They got it from a Saveur magazine article on American bread making featuring Dan Leader, the inventor of this incredible loaf.  The point is, one of the most highly respected bread makers in the country has devised this fool-proof method for turning out a no-fuss baguette at home, and I for one think we ought to take him up on it.  You in?

Right before Mom went into the hospital, I was making these baguettes on a fairly regular basis.  But then, of course, life happened and I’m just now getting back into the kitchen and I’m happy to report that the freezer is once again supplied with a good stock of baguettes at the ready.  Homemade bread in the freezer is a very good indicator that things in the Circle B Kitchen are sort of approaching normal.

So when I say 4 hours, I’m not even kidding.  This is about as quick and simple as baguette making gets.  There’s no fancy folding of the dough to create the perfect baguette shape, no tricky kneading steps, no fussy stuff at all really.  Yes, there will be kneading, but if you have a dough hook on your mixer, this is a non-issue.  If you don’t, then you’re facing 10 minutes of kneading, which is isn’t such a big deal.  C’mon… it’s just 10 minutes.  

Beyond that, this bread practically makes itself.  OK, that’s not really true, but I’m trying really really hard to make a point here, people – you can do this!  We can do this!  Bakery baguettes!  Fresh from your own oven!  The beautiful aromas of fresh bread permeating your home; soft butter melting on a still-warm slice of fresh bread, and you made it!  I think you'll be hooked too.  Here’s the recipe with some step by step process photos…

4-Hour Baguette

Click here for a printable recipe without photos

Recipe adapted from Saveur Magazine via Food52

This is a super easy recipe that turns out an incredibly great baguette.  I've given you the recipe here as it was originally published in 2012, but there are a few little things that might make it even easier for you.  Although the recipe asks you to mix and knead this by hand, if you have a standing mixer and dough hook, this works equally well for that.  And might I suggest that you NOT use your cast iron skillet for the ice cubes in step 5.  This will de-season (un-season?) your skillet and leave an unsightly stain on the bottom.  I use one of those store-bought foil cake pans and it works great.  ALSO Mr. Leader suggests that if you don't have a baking stone, you can turn a large baking sheet upside down on your rack and use that instead.  I use my baking stone, but for this post I used the baking sheet method and it worked great.  So no worries if you don't have a baking stone! Any other changes I made are noted in the recipe itself. Have fun!

Oh, one more thing... some small apartment ovens don't have a top heating element.  If this is the case with yours, place your baking rack near the top of the oven which will give your bread the best chance to brown nicely.  And make sure you give your oven at least 30 miinutes to get up to temperature (45 minutes is even better, especially if you're also heating up a baking stone).

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups (12 oz.) tap water, heated to 115°
1 tsp. (⅛ oz.) active dry yeast
3 ¼ cups (14  oz.) all–purpose flour
3 tsp. kosher salt
Canola oil, for greasing bowl (I use nonstick cooking spray)
½ cup ice cubes

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Whisk together water and yeast in a large bowl; let sit until yeast is foamy, about 10 minutes.  The recipe describes this as "foamy", but here's what it mostly looks like...

Add the flour and stir with a fork until the dough forms and all of the flour is absorbed; let the dough sit to allow the flour to hyrdate, about 20 minutes.  It will sort of look like a shaggy mess...

Add salt and transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes (or use your mixer/dough hook).

Transfer dough ball to a lightly greased bowl; cover bowl with plastic wrap, and place bowl in a cold oven or draft-free place. Let dough rest until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

2. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, and shape into an 8″ x 6″ rectangle. Fold the 8″ sides toward the middle, then fold the shorter sides toward the center.

Return dough, seam side down, to bowl. Cover with plastic again, and return to oven; let sit until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

3. Remove bowl with dough from oven, and place a cast–iron skillet (I use a foil baking pan) on the bottom rack of oven; position another rack above skillet, and place a baking stone or upside-down sheet pan on it. (But pretend you don't see the ice cubes down there;they don't go in yet).

OR


4. Heat oven to 475°. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, and cut into three equal pieces;

and shape each piece into a 14″ rope (I like to make mine a little shorter and fatter).  Flour a sheet of parchment paper on a rimless baking sheet; place ropes, evenly spaced, on paper.  Lift paper between ropes to form pleats;

place two tightly rolled kitchen towels under long edges of paper, creating supports for the loaves. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let sit until it doubles in size, about 50 minutes.

5. Uncover; remove towels, and flatten paper to space out loaves. (I cut around each loaf so they can be put into the oven separately instead of on one sheet). 

Using a sharp razor or paring knife, slash the top of each baguette at a 30–degree angle in four spots (I only do 3), each slash should be about 4″ long.

Using the corner of the parchment paper as a guide, slide the loaves, still on the parchment paper, onto the baking stone or baking pan. 

Place ice cubes in skillet (this produces steam that lets the loaves rise fully before a crust forms). (I put the ice cubes in the oven before I put the loaves in which gives them time to make a little steam before baking).

Bake the baguettes until darkly browned and crisp, about 20-30 minutes; cool before slicing.

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment

Wednesday
Apr012015

Closing in on Hard-boiled Perfection

 There have been many lessons to be learned from my experience with Mom over the last couple of months, and I hope to maybe talk about some of those at some point.  But not all of those lessons had to do with grief, death and coping with loss.  No, one of those lessons had to do with a major breakthrough in the cooking and peeling of the perfect hardboiled egg.  Hallelujah! 

As strange as that may sound, I have boiled and peeled enough eggs over the past few weeks to now consider myself something of an expert on the subject.  And with Easter on the horizon, I thought I’d share some of my new-found knowledge with you in case you might be gearing up for a little egg boiling, dying, hiding, peeling and eating this weekend. 

Early on in Mom’s hospital stay, I decided that eating hospital cafeteria food wasn’t going to cut it for me, even though they did have a killer salad bar.  No, I was going to have to bring my own food to get me through the day, and sometimes that meant food for Dad too.  And for convenience and nutrition, you really can’t beat a hardboiled egg, right?  Fortunately, Dad and I love them, so along with fruit and maybe some crackers or other healthy bits of things, hardboiled eggs became a mainstay of our hospital meals (that and tuna sandwiches). 

And while we’re big fans of the hardboiled egg, they’re actually not all that convenient if it takes 20 minutes to peel them, resulting in a pitted, gouged and mangled egg next to a pile of teeny, tiny shards of egg shell.  You all know what I’m talking about, right?  Well, what if I told you that the problem of unpeelable hardboiled eggs has been at long last solved and you no longer have to worry about that unsightly gray ring around the yolk either.  Oh, happy day, it’s true!  

I wish I could take credit for this momentous discovery, but no, that would be bad form.  All credit goes to the good folks at Serious Eats who did the pertinent scientific research and came up with this life-changing discovery, and here’s how it goes.. 

You know how we’ve always been taught to start the hard boiling process by placing our eggs in a pan of cold water and then bringing that water to a boil?  Well, as it turns out, that was all wrong.  Wrong, I tell you!!  The truth is, if you want an egg that peels like a dream, you must submerge it cold from the fridge into a pot of already boiling water.  

And no, the eggs will not crack if placed gently into the water. 

The pan is then covered and the eggs are simmered for exactly 11 minutes for a large egg

and then plunged into ice water for 30 minutes or so. 

 It may sound a bit violent, but these extreme temperature changes are what break down the membrane covering the egg white, which, if left intact, makes it nearly impossible to peel your egg.  I think this is very cool and am awfully grateful that someone (thank you, Kenji)  took the time to figure this out. 

And if you’ve been reading this blog for very long, you’ll remember a post I did back here in which I touted the wondrous benefits of baking your eggs instead of boiling them to achieve a nicely cooked, easy-to-peel egg.  And even though I’ve modified my stance just a bit on that, I am still on board with this method and here’s why… 

I understand now that placing an egg in a preheated oven does just about the same thing as plunging one into a pan of boiling water.  The extreme temperature change is at work in both methods.  But if you’re after a beautiful hard-cooked egg for say, deviled eggs, I’d go with the boiling water method.  These eggs come out so perfectly lovely.  But if you need to cook up a bunch of eggs for egg salad or potato salad or a similar recipe in which the eggs are going to be chopped, I’d go with baking them. 

Baking large batches of eggs in the oven is a breeze.  Just stick em in and let em go.  After about 25 minutes, you just take em out and plunge them into the ice bath and you’re done.  You can place them directly onto the oven rack or in a muffin tin, but where they touch the metal surface, there will be a small brown blemish.  Also eggs baked in the oven tend to have rather odd shapes as they do not move during the baking process and the egg sort of settles in the shell at weird angles. 

Conversely, while the boiling method turns out a nice-looking egg, it takes just a wee bit more babysitting.  Nothing too terrible, mind you, but you have to keep an eye on that water so that it stays at a nice, well-behaved simmer for the cooking time.  Once you get it there, you just have to check on it now and then to be sure it hasn’t gone from gentle simmer to raging tantrum while your back was turned. 

Now, here’s what makes me ever so doubly excited about all of this.  In spite of having 7 chickens out in the coop, I’ve always had to buy eggs for hard boiling because a fresh egg from the coop just will not peel properly.  I’ve never had any luck with it anyway.  Not until now, that is.  I’ve been hard boiling eggs from the coop by the dozens with this new method, and I’m happy to report that they’re as easy to peel as older, store-bought eggs  which saves me money, which makes me happy and want to cook up even more eggs. 

As to the photo way up top there, I pulled the eggs out of the simmering water at different times, starting at 9 minutes.  So the first egg was simmered for 9 minutes, the second one for 10 minutes and so on.  That last egg was cooked for 12 minutes, so you can decide how long to cook them depending on your preferences.  A soft-boiled egg will take 6 minutes.

So there you go, people!  Boil up as many eggs as you can this weekend.  Peeling just got a whole lot easier.  Here’s the recipe…

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Click here for a printable recipe

3 quarts water
1 to 6 large eggs

Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Carefully lower eggs into pot and continue to boil for 30 seconds. Cover tightly, reduce heat to low (water should maintain a bare simmer), and continue cooking for 11 minutes. Serve immediately if serving hot. If serving cold, immediately place eggs in a bowl of ice water and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before peeling under cool running water. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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