Happy birthday to one of my favorite people on earth: BETTY WHITE! 98 years young! I've been a fan long before The Golden Girls... mostly thanks to appearances on The Tonight Show and reruns of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Today I finally finished a project I've been working on all year long (ha!), so I decided to leave a couple hours early so I could bake bread and do some cooking.
Namely, trying to figure out the perfect egg bite recipe.
There are dozens of recipes on the internet, possibly even hundreds. I've gone through a lot of them and have cooked many of them. Eventually I started experimenting on my own, combining recipes and adding my own ingredients.
Some things I've learned...
Which brings us to...
Dave's Spicy Egg Bites.
Start by dumping all this in a blender...
Blend on medium speed until well-mixed. Then add...
Pulse-blend on slow just until mixed, don't pulverize the peppers!
Spray silicone egg cups with cooking spray (I know they say you don't have to, but they always stick if I don't). Evenly divide egg mixture amongst cups. Place a cup of water into the bottom of your instant pot then lower the silicone bite tray into the pot with the wire steam rack. Most recipes say to put a circle of foil on top of the egg tray so condensation doesn't drop onto the eggs. I don't bother.
I have an 8-quart Instant Pot. I have no idea if this makes a difference if you have the 6-quart, but I often have to increase cooking times from recipes I find. There are two ways I've tried to cook these things. There doesn't seem to be a big difference. I prefer to steam because they seem softer, but I am including the pressure-cook version which also works...
If you don't eat all of them, you can put them back in the silicone egg cups and use the provided plastic lid to store them in the refrigerator for a few days. I just pop them on a microwave-safe plate, cut in half, then cook for 30 seconds to warm them.
If you're not going keto you can chop them up and eat them on toast, which is my most favorite way to eat them. Also delicious? Chop up, mix with crispy hash brown potatoes and more cheese, put in a steamed flour tortilla with salsa.
These are pretty good stuff, if I do say so myself, and it's the Queso Blanco which ended up being the key. I didn't find it on any recipe I dug up, which is strange. Adding it seems obvious, it was the other factors that took a lot of time to figure out (I wasted many a batch with different onions and cottage cheese until I got rid of them completely).
I'll keep experimenting and post any changes if I find out they work better.
Snow may have arrived here, but Blogography will go on as usual, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Who's Watching... ... the Watchmen? Welp, tonights episode was genius. As was every episode prior. So long as Damon Lindelof doesn't screw this up at the end (as he has a history of doing) this will easily be my favorite show of 2019...
I love a show that's able to jerk the rug out from under you with each new episode. Watchmen excels at this. Probably because HBO doesn't force a 21 episode season and is happy to let the creators determine how many episodes they need to tell the story they want to tell.
• Mando! And then there's The Mandalorian over on Disney+... which is vying for the No. 2 spot in my "Best of 2019" list. I love that Disney spent the money and got all the right people to make this show work. Friday's episode was filled with action and, of course, more scenes with the terminally-adorable Baby Yoda...
Interesting to note that there's this massive social media explosion going around where Werner Herzog saved Puppet Baby Yoda from going CGI. The truth it more interesting. But, then again, the truth usually is.
• Asshole Implosion. On behalf of my friends and co-workers who died from AIDS/HIV-related illnesses... and all those persons, INCLUDING CHILDREN, who have perished thanks to the inaction of those who came before you... those who wrote off AIDS as "a gay disease" while laughing in the face of all who were left behind begging for action to be taken... fuck you, Donald Trump Jr., you inhuman piece of shit...
You and yours are absolute garbage with no redeemable qualities. Nothing more than a blight on all humanity possessing neither compassion nor empathy while recklessly using your power and influence to diminish, discard, and persecute people... all in the name of drumming up book sales. If there is any justice in this world or the next, then you'll be burning in a hell of your own making. I hope I live to live long enough to see these kinds of people in power implode with their homophobia, racism, bigotry, and general assholery. This reprehensible bastard has had every possible privilege handed to his worthless life and this is what he chooses to do with it? Disgusting.
• Festivo Doble. This year Hallmark is introducing a new Christmas movie which also has Hanukkah in it called Double Holiday. Needless to say, the "Real Christians™®" are having a field day. How dare Hallmark acknowledge other beliefs at Christmastime!! HOW. DARE. THEY! DECEMBER BELONGS TO CHRISTMAS AND NOTHING ELSE!!! My favorite comments are not the outright hate... those are too easy... it's the passive aggressive "Über Christians" who have Jesus as their profile picture. THOSE comments are priceless. This one is my favorite so far. The movie is Double Holiday so they say "We are looking forward to Christmas Holiday!" Just to let you know that they will not so much as acknowledge that other holidays could possibly exist and have no plans on watching a movie that implies otherwise...
How weak these people's faith must be that they feel the need for this kind of nonsense to prove just how "Christian" they are. Well, don't worry. Hallmark developed the movie for a year where Hanukkah is late enough in the season that they'll barely have time to repeat it. This year, anyway.
• Sweetness. And speaking of Hallmark Channel... every once in a while I am completely knocked back by how good some of their movies can be. While eating my Thanksgiving dinner of bread stuffing, cranberry jelly, mashed taters with butter, steamed green beans, baked butternut squash with maple brown sugar, and chunky applesauce crumble, I put on the movie Like Cats & Dogs (from 2017)...
You can read my write-up on my Hallmark Movie Page for 2017, but suffice to say that I enjoyed it quite a lot.
• Later, Tater. And speaking of Thanksgiving mashed taters... that $35 Instant Pot Clone mis-mark that I got makes pretty amazing mashed taters...
Two Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered with a cup of water. Pressure Cook 12 minutes. Drain. Add a half-cup of sour cream and a quarter-cup of butter. Mash... then whip... with a table fork. Add a pat of butter, a little ground salt, and a lot of freshly-ground pepper. Cost me under $1 and is fantastic. The only mashed potatoes I've ever made have been those dehydrated boxed flakes. These are a magnitude better. And cheaper! And, to be honest, easier. Seriously, no need to drag out the hand-mixer. All you need is a fork to mush them up!
And so the snow goes on...
I have always resisted the "Instant Pot" pressure cooker craze because it seemed as if it would be a waste of money for me. There's simply not a lot of things I would use it for. I don't make many soups, my sauces don't call for one, I already have a rice cooker and, since I don't eat meat, all those recipes for "the moistest, most succulent meat you'll ever eat" are lost on me. It's not worth the $120 they cost when I'll barely use it.
But then I got one of those bargain shopper emails which had an 8-quart Instant Pot imitator on sale for $35 and I thought "why not?"
For one reason and one reason only... hard boiled eggs! I am tired of buying a carton of eggs, having to wait weeks and weeks so they'll be "old enough" to peel easily, then inevitably be disappointed because one or two of them still don't peel that great. And every time I've complained... EVERY TIME... a dozen people perk up with "You should get an Instant Pot! The shell practically falls off the egg!"
And so... I ponied up the $35 to see what all the fuss was about. At best I had the most amazing egg cooker money could buy. At worst I blew $35 on something I'd use twice a year...
After I got it, I was shocked at how huge this thing is. It's massive! I was not expecting something this gigantic for $35! So I went back to the site and found out why... somebody made a boo boo. The 6-quart was supposed to be $35, the 8-quart was supposed to be $70. At first I was wishing that I would have gotten the 6-quart so I had space to store it in the kitchen... but after thinking about it, I was happy to have the larger capacity in case I have to cook for a crowd. I'll just have to find a spot in the garage to store it.
Seriously, this thing is huge!
The manual, which they insist you read from cover to cover before operation, is pretty serious. You can get burned. You can release the pressure wrong. You can die. That kind of thing. And so... I was sure to read everything. Twice.
And then? Bring on the eggs!
Except... first of all, THERE'S A CAKE BUTTON?!? And, second of all, where was the hard boiled eggs button on this thing?
Umm... there wasn't one. And so I went online to look up at how to do this. The instructions were not rocket science. Dump in one cup of water, let cook for 5 or 6 minutes on low pressure, then drop the cooked eggs in an ice water bath. Simple. Except... where is my "low pressure" button? Apparently you have to use low pressure or else your eggs will crack open. So I read the manual again and... unlike a pricey Instant Pot, my knock-off doesn't allow you to set the pressure.
Apparently with my pressure cooker you are forced to select a "recipe button" and adjust it. I went with "Vegetable Steam" and reduced the timer from 8 minutes to 5 minutes. Then I pressed the start button. Much to my dismay, the timer didn't start. Instead lights were chasing each other on the display. Back to the manual. Apparently this is what happens when the cooker comes up to pressure... then the timer starts. Okay then.
Once the cooker beeped I clicked it off and unplugged it so it wouldn't stay on "Keep Warm" forever. Then I turned the release valve to let the steam blow out and waited for the little pressure valve to drop. At which point I opened the lid and expected to find a bunch of crushed eggshells stuck in a giant egg pie. But the eggs were intact and looked perfect. So into the ice water bath they went! Ten minutes later it was time to peel them.
THE SHELL REALLY DOES FALL OFF THE FRICKIN' EGG... EVEN FRESH EGGS!
Alrighty then! $35 well-spent! So happy I didn't throw that money down the drain. And then I cut one open and... BOOOOOOO! It wasn't cooked all the way! The yolk wasn't runny, but they weren't done. This made me mad because eggs aren't free, and I was having to throw out a half-dozen of them. Except... they're still edible, right? Back to Google, where I found out that what I had were medium-cooked eggs. Cooked, but with a soft center instead of a firm center. Something I have never had before. So I sprinkled on some freshly-ground salt and pepper and...
HOLY CRAP! THESE ARE AMAZING!!!
Egg chart taken from Mamabee... the arrow is pointing to what my eggs look like.
I HAVE BEEN EATING BOILED EGGS WRONG MY ENTIRE LIFE!!!
Medium-cooked eggs have creamy yolks... not dry and pasty. Medium-cooked eggs have whites that are soft... not firm and rubbery. And I could not stop eating them... I downed four of them for dinner right then and there. Then I sliced a fifth one to put on an English muffin for dessert.
I've since found out that I should have let them sit for five minutes in the cooker after releasing pressure before dumping them in the ice bath so the yolk finishes cooking. Then I'll get the firmer hard-boiled eggs I need for potato salad and stuff. I'll figure it out eventually. In the meanwhile... I would not be opposed to more "failures" like my first batch. Delicious!
I'm excited to try mashed taters next. Apparently mashed potatoes are amazing when pressure-cooked, and I do love me a good mashed tater.
And chili. Vegetarian chili would be great!
Oooh... and what about risotto?
And... CAKE(!?!) of course.