04/9/17

Chef Perry’s Favorite Leftover Easter Egg Recipes

leftover easter egg recipes

Okay, Easter is coming to an end and, if your house is anything like mine, you have some happy egg-dying junkies, and a whole heap of hard boiled eggs.

So, what to do with all those eggs?

Sure, you can eat a few, straight-up, with a salt shaker; take a couple outside and play with your new driver, and maybe feed a few to the dog (However, I REALLY don’t recommend this…)

OR…you can use them to make some delicious lunches and snacks this week.

Here are three of my personal favorite recipes for that pile ‘o eggs…

153735

Egg Salad BLT Pitas

4 Sandwiches

I’m a big egg-salad fan, but the traditional white bread presentation is both bland, and a little too messy for me. I like keeping my gooey egg and mayo mixture self contained (and off my shirt), so I use whole-wheat pita pockets.

1/4 cup olive-oil mayonnaise
3 tablespoons chopped shallot
2 stalks crisp celery, diced
3 tablespoons Mexican crema (sour cream)
2 teaspoons deli-style mustard
dash or two of hot sauce (optional)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 hard-cooked large eggs
4 large whole-wheat pita pocket halves, warmed
4 center-cut bacon slices, cooked and coarsley chopped
8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato
4 large Boston lettuce leaves, whole or shredded

Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well.

Coarsely chop the eggs, and add them to the mayonnaise mixture; stir gently to combine.

Arrange warm pita pockets on your work surface. Spread 1/2 cup of the egg mix inside each, then divvy up the bacon pieces, tomato slices (two each), and lettuce between them.

Serve immediately.

Of course, as go-to hard-boiled egg recipes go, good old fashioned deviled eggs are pretty freakin’ awesome….

151_deviled_eggs_p27My Mama’s Deviled Eggs

As I’ve mentioned before, Mama wasn’t a big fan of cooking, but the few dishes she made, she did very well. One of these was her Deviled Eggs, usually reserved for church pot-licks, and “covered dish” parties.

Oh, how I loved them.

Click here for the recipe.

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

 

Cigar del pinar with Yellow Sriracha Sauce

Lastly, here’s an awesome appetizer to keep the zombie hordes away from your grill (or kitchen) at the next cook-out. I’ve made this recipe a couple of times last year, first for a big foodie dinner, and – because it was so good – again for an appetizer for our hautemealz  Easter feast.

Eggs, ground meat, olives, onions, all rolled in a wonton wrapper and fried.

Cuban egg-rolls, baby…how could that not be amazing?

Click here for the recipe.

How about you? Any good old-fashioned, or new and hip, hardboiled egg recipes you’d care to share?  Always looking something fun and tasty…if only to keep them away from this dang dog!

Enjoy!

Chef Perry

 

12/2/14
Cleaning pans

DIY Kitchen “Miracle” Cleaner

Cleaning pans

Just like in a commercial kitchen, even the smallest home kitchens experience carbon and grease build-up, mainly on sheet pans, oven racks, and sauté pans but it can occur on any stainless or aluminum surface exposed to heat and fats, oils and greases (“FOG”).

Besides being unsightly, FOG build-up can effect the performance and heat distribution in your pans, as well as be a breeding ground for microbes.

Here’s how you can get your sheet and sauté pans lookin’ shiny and new with this homemade “miracle” cleaner…WAY cheaper than caustic commercial cleaning products!

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.
Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids.

Combine 1/4 cup of baking soda and enough hydrogen peroxide in a small glass bowl to make a thick paste. Mix well. Use a nylon scouring pad to rub the paste into the carbon build-up/stains/greases…and scrub in a small circular pattern with firm pressure.

Rinse well, repeat as needed, and finally wash with soap and hot water, in the dish washer if possible.

Any additional cleaning tips from YOUR kitchen?

Chef Perry
SimplySmartDinnerPlans.com


05/13/14

Three Tips for Choosing and Storing Avocados

Tips for choosing and storing avocados

It’s avocado season, baby!

One of my favorite foods, I look forward to the glut of fresh, tasty, reasonably priced avocados each Spring.

The only trouble it, it can be hit or miss picking a perfectly fresh avocado. Here are three tips:

Avocado RipenessConcerned that your avocado is too ripe?

Look at the skin under that dry little stem at the pointy end of your avocado. If it’s still green under there, you have a good one.

If it’s brown, you’re likely to find a slimy avocado full of brown spots on the inside.

Need to keep it fresh for a few days?

If you have more avocados that you can eat in the next couple of days (I know, that’s crazy talk) place the extras in the back of the fridge.

Refrigeration halts the ripening process. Just take them out and place them on the counter 24-48 hours (depending on ripeness) before  you plan to use them.

how to ripen avocados

Are they all unripe?

If you find a shipment that all feel like little green baseballs, and you need a nice, ripe avocado by the next day, try this: Place your avocado in a small paper bag along with a ripe banana or apple.

Both bananas and apples release large amounts of ethylene, the hormone that triggers ripening in mature fruit (this is also why you don’t want to store apples or bananas in a fruit bowl with other fruit).

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)

It usually takes about 24 hours to convert that rock-hard avocado into one that’s perfectly soft and ready to eat.

Deconstructed Califoria Roll

Oh, and here’s my favorite way to prepare them, a “quick and simple” Deconstructed California Roll. This is about as basic as it gets, and it really let’s the flavor of a beautifully ripe Hass or California avocado shine through!

Enjoy!

Chef Perry
SimplySmartDinnerPlans.com

05/5/14

Choosing a New Grill: How Much Grill Do You Need?

Summer’s coming….and that means grill season! Father’s Day cookouts, graduation parties, 4th of July shindigs…the good weather/good food list goes on and on!

If you’re looking for your first grill, a new grill for a new space, or it’s just time to replace ol’ faithful… make sure you’re investing in a grill that will make your time outdoors a bit more memorable.

In a good way.

Finding the right grill for your particular lifestyle can be a challenge and there are many options to choose from. With so many choices out there it can be tough to narrow down your search and, before you know it, you’re staring blankly at your 200th website, in a full-blown Google-coma.

Never fear…if you keep a few simple things in mind, both the process of shopping for and buying your next grill should be much easier.

If I could only have one grill, year-around, I would go with propane. You can use wood pellets, chips, or chunks to get that smoke flavor, and, for the typical backyard griller, the conveniences all fall on the side of gas.

Most grills fall into one of three price ranges: 

Entry-level Grills:

These grills are your basic work-horse. One or two burners, a grate, and a lid. Cost is reasonable, starting at around a hundred, and moving up into the three-hundred-dollar range. In this class you’re not likely to find a lot of bells and whistles like rotisseries, or off-set burners. If you’re an occasional griller, single or with a small family, this is probably a good place to start.

Inexpensive doesn’t mean you want to buy junk. I’m a big believer in the “wiggle test”. Place you hand at one corner of the grill and give it a gentle shake. If there’s a lot of shimmyin’ and shakin’ going on… it’s probably not very well built, and you might want to keep looking.

Mid-level Grills:

These are a bit more expensive, but offer more features than the entry-level gas grill. Prices from three hundred fifty to around a thousand dollars. In this range you’re starting to look at long-term grills, built to withstand heavier use, and including multi-control burners and some of those “convenience features” we just talked about.

This type of grill will typically handle anything that the griller of a medium to large family is going to throw at it.

Deluxe Grills:

The cream of the crop! Starting at around fifteen-hundred, and going up, and up, and up.

These high-end grills often feature big BTU ratings (BTU stands for British thermal unit, which indicates the amount of gas that a grill is able to burn, which corresponds to how much heat it can put out), enough cooking space to feed the whole team, and enough high-tech hardware to launch the space-shuttle. If you like to throw parties, and do some high-volume grilling…and you’ve got the swag, well…life is short!

One guy’s opinion…I’ve owned a LOT of grills over the years, and when it comes to gas grills it’s always best in the long run to choose an established manufacturer in order to get a quality product. This is one of those cases where you really do get what you pay for.

Enjoy!

Chef Perry
SimplySmartDinnerPlans

04/17/14

Tips & Recipes for an Amazing Easter Dinner (and leftovers!)

It’s almost Easter!

Here are some of the best recipes, menus, and leftovers tips we’ve put together over the last few years…

Just click on the picture to view each post!

Happy Easter!

Chef Perry
SimplySmartDinnerPlans.com

Lamb Easter Dinner

Garlic and Rosemary Leg of Lamb, Potato, Leek, and Asparagus Gratin, Strawberry Spinach Salad, and Petits Pots de Crème au Chocolat.

Easter Ham Dinner

Honey Baked Ham with Roasted New Potatoes & Green Beans

Reheating Turkeys and Hams

Reheating Turkeys and Hams

Leftover Easter Egg Recipes

Leftover Easter Egg Recipes

02/21/14

The Secret to Winter Grilling – The Rotisserie

Rotisserie Grilling Tips
“Spit-roasting is one of the world’s most ancient and universal forms of grilling, and there’s nothing like it for producing exceptionally moist meat with a crackling crisp crust.” – Steven Raichlen

Okay, it’s cold out there, and grilling might be the last thing on your mind, but never fear…you CAN have your delicious, flame-kissed goodies, and still keep feeling in all of your fingers and toes…

The secret is that unsung hero of the backyard bbq…the rotisserie!

You can literally run out to the grill, fire it up, run back in and prep your food, then run back out, load it up, close the lid and go back inside until your timer goes off! The rotisserie just chugs away out there, evenly cooking and self-basting your dinner while you chug your cocoa (or hot toddy) and warm your toes in front of the fire!

I like chicken just about any way it can be prepared, but for the juiciest, most flavorful bird, I’ll hang my hat on rotisserie grilling, even more so now with the grill accessories that are available. This even-heating, self-basting method ensures a perfectly cooked bird, with crispy skin all around. Using a grill (with a rotisserie burner) is especially convenient when cooking for parties or holiday get-togethers, as it frees up the oven and stove-top, and you don’t even have to remember to flip or baste your entrée!

Start with a good dry rub, end with proper treatment of the finished fowl, and you’ll have a winner chicken dinner that folks are going to remember!

Plus, rotisserie cooking is thought to be the oldest cooking technique known to man… so that’s pretty cool, too.

Here are 5 things to remember when grilling a chicken rotisserie style:

Dry rub 8-24 hours in advance

Rotisserie Grilled ChickenA dry rub is a combination of salt, spices, herbs, and sometimes sugars, that’s used to flavor meat in advance of cooking. Unlike a marinade or brine, a dry rub forms a crust on the outside of the meat when cooked.

The salt draws out the juices in the meat, making it more moist and tender, while the sugars caramelize and form a seal that traps in flavor and juices.

You can add just about anything you want to a rub (and you should experiment with some of your own favorite flavors) but here’s my go-to dry rub for chicken: 2 Tbsp. sea salt + 1 Tbsp. each: dark brown sugar, coarse black pepper, granulated garlic, smoked paprika, onion powder, and Italian seasonings. Combine all in an airtight container and mix until completely blended.

Once you’ve sprinkled, then rubbed the spices into (and under) the skin, and trussed it, wrap the whole bird in plastic wrap and refrigerate until 1-2 hours before you plan to start cooking it. Be sure to sprinkle some of your seasonings into the body cavity of the chicken or turkey, as well.

Truss the bird

3Trussing (tying up) a whole bird before cooking is always a good idea as it helps keep it moist and promotes even cooking (and a prettier presentation), but for rotisserie grilling it’s absolutely essential. A non-trussed bird will loosen up on the bar, legs and wings floppin’ ever which-a-way, and start burning at the extremities long before the rest of the chicken is cooked through to the bone.

Trussing isn’t particularly difficult, but it does take some practice to perfect. Google “How to truss a chicken” for any number of excellent videos and step-by-step guides to trussing.

Watch the heat

4I like to preheat my grill (burners on full, lid down) before putting the pre-loaded spit (the rod that holds the meat) in place. Watch the bird closely, checking every few minutes at first, and adjust your flame as needed to avoid hot spots or burning the skin.
Cook to the right temp

Figure about 25 minutes per pound to cook a chicken on a rotisserie, but what you’re really looking for in an internal temp in the thickest part of the thigh of 175 °F. A lot of variables can affect the number of minutes it takes a bird to cook to the bone, including starting temp of the meat, the heat of your grill, and the weather while cooking, but 175 °F is done regardless of outside influences.

Give it a rest

Once your chicken is removed from the heat, it’s vital that it be allowed to “rest” for 15-20 minutes, tented loosely in foil.

Resting allows the meat to relax and reabsorb its own juices back into the muscle fibers as they cool. The reason for tenting in foil is to keep the surface temperature from dropping much faster than the internal temp, which can lead to drying.

Once the chicken has rested go ahead and snip away the trussing (I use a pair of kitchen shears for this), cut the bird up as you see fit, and serve.

Oh, and be sure to save those lovely roasted bones and extra bits for making stock or flavoring soups or gravies. It’s gold!

Enjoy!

Chef Perry

11/11/13

Kitchen skills: How to hold a knife

How to Chop with a Kitchen Knife While Keeping Your Fingers Intact from Kaley Perkins on Vimeo.

This video was taken during an interview with journalist Kaley Perkins, and published on her blog, KaleyPerkins.com, as part of her post, “Local Chefs Fight Monsanto With Knives” November 9, 2013.

Click here to read the full interview and listen to the additional podcast.

08/30/13

Grilling a Gourmet Hot Dog

System Dog

I love hot dogs on the grill primarily because they taste great, but also because they are one of those foods that are almost idiot-proof. Heat…place in bun…top with something. Dinner is served.

Still, even if your Labor Day grilling involves dozens of hungry guests, there’s always something you can do to take an uber-basic food to the next level.

With the venerable hot dog…there are many, many things you can do.

Click here to read the rest of this post and see my favorite gourmet hot dog recipes on my Sears Grilling is Happiness page!

08/17/13

5 ways to outsmart snack cravings

cravings

First of all let’s get one thing straight:

Struggling with food cravings doesn’t mean your weak…let’s kick that notion in the butt, straight off. Most often, the foods we crave are processed carbohydrates, which change the brain’s chemistry by increasing the level of serotonin, our feel-good neurochemical.

food-cravingsOur brain will remember how that food made you feel and create neural pathways that trigger addictive cravings when you experience a similar stimulus.

Continue reading