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Mikey’s kitchen tips

Happy Friday folks. I had this idea to come up with some kitchen tips for you, some that I learned quite a long time ago when my mom and brothers taught me how to cook; some from knowledge I gleaned on my own. Anyway, here are three tips and we’ll try to do this once a month or so…..

Perfect scrambled eggs–I can’t believe how long it took me to figure out how to properly cook eggs. In the past, I would scrambled the egg in a bowl and add it to a frying pan and almost seem like I was racing against time to try and cook the egg. Then for whatever reason, it struck me that scrambled eggs did not have to be rubbery and/or burnt around the edges. Maybe I saw Gordon Ramsay yelling at some chef on MasterChef or Hell’s Kitchen. Maybe I just figured it out on my own. Regardless, here is what to do–scramble the egg lightly and add a pinch each of Kosher salt and pepper. You can add a splash of milk too if you like, but I typically don’t. Anyway, heat the pan over medium-low heat and spray with cooking spray or add a tiny bit of butter. Add the eggs and stir gently, not leaving the stove. Just as the eggs begin to set, turn off the heat and stir a little more until just set and I mean JUST set. The result should be creamy and awesome eggs.

Soup add-ins–Lately I’ve had an obsession with raw jalapenos. If you’ve ever had pho, you might have had it with sliced jalapeno like this, but when I saw it done, I had to do it myself. But I took it further. I add raw, very thinly sliced jalapeno pepper to all of my soups, even if I make canned chicken noodle. It adds a great blast of heat, but natural, clean heat. Another thing I like to do is to add steak to soup, generally a soup that is already beef-based or a vegetable soup. I like to use tenderloin or sirloin, and the trick is to sear it on a grill or grill pan, for a minute or two on each side, and the key is to make sure it’s still not cooked in the middle. Of course, I’m not advocating to eat raw meat. Slice it very thin, and then add to your soup just as you’re about to eat it, and let the hot soup finish cooking the meat. That way you don’t have rubbery steak in your soup.

  

More pizza and eggs

Chef JimI recently whipped up a kickass omelet using cut up pizza as the filling. It’s a combination that I’m not sure why it’s not done more. So when I was in upstate New York last week visiting family, and had the most awesome pizza from Bud’s Place, I commented that this pizza was so good, I might have to have it for breakfast with my eggs in the morning. And I wasn’t joking.

So the next day, I heated up a slice of pizza (my sister showed me that the best way to re-heat pizza is in a frying pan, and she was right). Then I fried an egg, sunny side up, and slipped that right onto the pie. Pure heaven. Seriously, I wasn’t hung over but if you can think of a better hangover food combination, tell me what it is.

Man, I’m hungry now. I wish I had some pizza on hand!

  

Low carb doesn’t have to suck

I am in need of having to shed a few pounds again, this time more than ever…oops.

So I’m eating low-carb again for a bit….and started this morning with this creation I came up with on the fly–an overeasy ham omelet. Here is how you do it….

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Put two thin slices of ham in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, flipping every 30 seconds until crispy. Then crack an egg over each ham slice, sprinkle with salt and pepper and let cook for about 2-4 minutes, or until whites are almost all opaque. Then gently flip the ham slices over each egg yolk as if it were an omelet. Cook for another 30 seconds and serve.

My yolk was still runny, exactly what I wanted to achieve with this. And with the crispy ham, it was perfect and made me feel like I wasn’t even eating what you might call “diet food.” Give this one a try, especially if you’re doing South Beach or something similar.

  

Easy Fried Rice

I made this fried rice twice last week and it was awesome. If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, they have easy and delicious rice in their frozen foods section. You just nuke a bag of it for three minutes and you have perfect rice–either brown or jasmine or white rice. You can also buy the Uncle Ben’s or other easy microwave rice packets that are sold in the rice/pasta section, but trust me–this Trader Joe’s rice tastes better. I use the brown variety but either would work fine.

So after you nuke the rice, set it aside. Chop a small or half a large onion. Chop some baby carrots, and put them along with a handful of frozen peas (and/or frozen corn) in a small pot and cover with water and boil for a couple minutes. Crack an egg and cook that in a small, nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray for a minute or two until set.

Then, take a large nonstick skillet, swirl in a tablespoon or so of cooking oil such as canola. Heat over medium heat for a minute, then add the onion and rice. Stir fry for a couple minutes or until the onion is cooked and translucent. Drain the peas and carrots and add those. If you have any cooked pork, chicken or beef, chop that up and throw it in. Chop the scrambled egg and add that. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add a couple tablespoons of soy sauce. Continue to stir fry for another minute or so. If you have any cilantro, chop that and add in at the end (or green onion, or both).

That’s it. It is easier than it felt typing it all out, trust me. And it’s delicious and not too greasy as most restaurant fried rice is.

  

Sometimes ya gotta love the French

Sometimes the French get a bad rap. Even sometimes in our American minds, when the stereotype of skinny, stuck up wine-drinking cheese eaters conflicts with the vision of our core audience on Bullz-Eye.com, which is more chubby, loud, beer-swilling, bratwurst and Velveeta folks.

But let’s face it–the French make some damn good food, and we sometimes need to give them some love for it.

Such an instance reared its head in my world this past Saturday, as I was heading to the eye doctor. I’d never been to this doctor, and his offices are located in a strip mall here in Madison. Before I walked in, I noticed a French bakery next door, and it was hopping. So as I’m having flashing lights shone in my eyes, and puffs of air shot at my eyes, and having to read these tiny letters on a chart, and picking out glasses (by the way, when did the price of eyeglasses become akin to buying a television?)–all the while I’m thinking about that bakery and wondering what they might have. It didn’t help that my eye appointment was at noon and I was starving.

I went into the bakery and literally the women behind the counter all had thick French accents. This place was REAL. It’s called La Baguette, by the way. First I noticed some fruit tarts….something I don’t normally eat, but they looked amazing. Then I noticed these croissants…real ones, not the thin grocery store croissants. But next to those were something sort of round and croissant looking. I asked one of the ladies behind the counter what they were and she replied in her French accent, “chocolate croissant.” Are you kidding me? Count me in. I bought one of those, two plain croissants and a pear tart. Then I noticed the row of baguettes, and had to have one. It was warm and right out of the oven. Wow. I told the lady I would buy more if I stood there longer, and she said, “Please take your time!”

Needless to say, the baked goods from La Baguette were amazing. I managed to not eat all of it on the ride home, so my wife and I made a nice sandwich with the baguette, and we ate the chocolate croissant for dessert. The next morning we split the pear tart, and then while my wife ran out to an appointment, I made a fantastic breakfast sandwich using a croissant (see photo). I made some bacon, and cooked an overeasy egg and put those right on the croissant, and it was amazing. It helped that I had the perfect vehicle, but the bacon and egg came out perfectly, and that doesn’t always happen.

So hey, for right now anyway, I salute the French and their food. I also salute La Baguette, where I will return when I pick up my glasses next week.

  

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