Category Archives: recipes

How To Cook Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs Every Time

Not too long ago, I was sitting with a couple of my teacher friends and we were talking about Pinterest.  Those of us that are on it (you can find me here) were explaining how we use it and why or why not others might want to get on board.

Somehow, the conversation turned to talk of making perfect hard boiled eggs.  Now I will admit, for years and I do mean YEARS, I had no idea how to hard boil my eggs. I’d over cook them.  I’d under cook them.  Nothing worked.

Then one day, I was watching Rachel Ray and she shared her secret.  Since then, I’ve never had a bad batch of boiled eggs.  Which means, we’ve also been enjoying egg salad (with lots of dill…yum!).

So here’s what I learned from Rachel.  It’s so simple you’re going to wonder how everyone doesn’t know about this.

  1. Put your eggs in the smallest pot they can all comfortably fit into, cover them with water (no lid) and turn the heat on high (meaning, the flame heats the bottom of the pot, not the bottom and half-way up the sides).
  2. Let the water get to a rolling boil.  It should look something like this *
  3. Turn off the heat and cover the pot (I use a silicone lid, but you can use whatever works).
  4. Leave them for about 15 minutes, covered, without heat (you can even remove them from the stove – I usually don’t).  I’ve actually left them on the stovetop for hours and they were still fine.
  5. Now you can do whatever you want with them: paint them for Easter baskets, peel them to eat or to cut, make deviled eggs, make egg salad, the choice is yours.

In the time it took me to write this, my eggs are now ready for me to turn into egg salad…yum!

* photos to come

Recipe: Vegetarian Black Bean Soup

With all the rich foods of the holidays – ham, cookies, rum cake…oh the rum cake! – we needed to lighten things up tonight.  So I thought I’d try making a black bean soup.

I found this Black Bean and Vegetable Soup recipe on All Recipes (it had great reviews), and tweaked it a bit. I cut down on the veggie broth (reviews said it was way too much), added an extra can of beans (pinto as it was all I had on hand), used roasted diced tomatoes with garlic and I didn’t have chili powder so I used red pepper.  And if it matters, one can of black beans was a Trader Joe’s cuban black beans (already seasoned so I didn’t rinse them much).

Even cutting down the broth it was still a little too runny.  I’m thinking that next time I’d add some rice to thicken it up.  And yes, it was a little too spicy for me, but it was so yummy.  And let’s face it, with enough sour cream, nothing is too spicy!

And no photos as I’m not a food blogger here 😉


  • 1 tablespoon butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 (8.75 ounce) can whole kernel corn
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • a sprinkling of pepper flakes


  1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, garlic, and carrots, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Add chili powder and cumin; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add stock, the beans, corn, and pepper; bring to boil.
  2. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30  minutes or until carrots are tender.
  3. Puree with an immersion blender or save one can of beans to blend/puree with the tomatoes
  4. Serve over rice, with sour cream & a sprinkling of jack cheese

It’s Time For Tea


I don’t know if you know this about me, but I love tea.

I’ll take a good Irish Breakfast tea any day.  The sweeter, the blacker and the creamier it is, the more I like it. I think half the fun of my trip to Ireland was drinking entire pots of tea throughout the day.  Yes, I love it that much.

Unfortunately it’s really only something I drink at home (unless I’m going “to tea”) and usually only when the weather is cooler…which is any day now here in LA.

A few years ago, when I was involved with Constant Chatter (check out the new magazine that we’ve got going!) I participated in a couple of our tea swaps.  And I loved having the chance to try out some new teas.  Many of which were very new to me (really, I’m pretty traditional with my black or assam teas).

So when one of my online friends (and fellow Tranquilista classmate) Melita over at Gussying Up the Tuttle posted that she was organizing a tea swap, I had to sign up to participate.  And I’m so glad I did.

Not only did I get some fun new teas to try (like a super yummy citrus camomile – dealing with a cold, so I’m avoiding the milk and hence, the black teas), but thanks to Melita’s fun survey she sent each of us, I also got some fun gifties.  My new tea swap friend,  Julie from Savvy Eats sent along some freshly baked pumpkin scones (which the hubs proceeded to eat – these could be them) and some interesting season salts from Garlic Gold Nugget along with my teas (which I haven’t yet tried).

Out of all teas she sent, I think I’m most excited to try the Chocolate Orange Rooibos from and the Green Tea Chai, both from The Whistling Kettle (in NY).  She also included some other interesting greens to check out. While I enjoy green tea, it’s never something I really search out.  So I’m looking forward to trying something new.

Of course, I sent my own package out a little late (oopsie).  I sent along a fun (if not spiritual) read which I don’t recall the name of at this moment and bunches and bunches of tea.  No really…I mean bunches!

A friend ordered me a bag of assam tea from her co-op last year and I didn’t realize quite how LARGE a one pound bag would be.  So I shared the wealth and filled an entire zippied sandwich bag…along with a few other fun selections.  I hope she’ll be happy with what she gets.

And now, all this writing about tea has me craving a cuppa 😉

Summer is Right for Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

In the winter (or what passes for winter here in LA) I can’t get enough of tea.  Strangely enough though, once the warmer temperatures hit, I turn to iced coffee.  And while iced coffee may well be one of the least expensive things on your local coffee shop’s menu, it’s super easy to make at home. So easy, you’ll be rolling in the dough with all the money you’ll be saving this summer.

The key is to make sure you use good coffee (says the girl that’s just using whatever she has lying about).  I’ve noticed that when I don’t use good coffee, it can be a tad more bitter (think: Starbucks). The cool thing though, you can easily adjust the strength and the flavor – see my modifications below.

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

Swiped from Smitten Kitchen who adapted it from The New York Times

Yield: Two drinks

1/3 cup ground coffee (medium-coarse grind is best)
Milk (optional)

1. In a jar, stir together coffee and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or 12 hours.

2. Strain twice through a coffee filter, a fine-mesh sieve or a sieve lined with cheesecloth. In a tall glass filled with ice, mix equal parts coffee concentrate and water, or to taste. If desired, add milk.

My Modifications:

  • I typically make double or triple batches so I have a jug ready to go whenever the mood strikes in the fridge.  Consider yourself warned, I think this results in a much stronger blend so either add more water or milk. But it’s already chilled and doesn’t require ice.
  • I don’t measure the water, I just eyeball it.  I like mine with lots of milk, so I probably add more milk than the average person – so I use less water.
  • I like to sweeten the entire jug (at least lightly), so it’s totally ready to go.
  • I strain my concentrate just using a coffee filter.  It takes a bit longer (it’s one of those single cup brew cones), but it works just fine.
  • I’ve found that using a wide mouth jar (right now, a recycled quart canning jar) makes cleaning up after the sludge of leftover grinds MUCH easier (especially compared to the glass juice carafe that I used last year).
  • Using either flavored syrups like Torani or flavored creamer makes for a lovely, decadent coffee.
  • I tend to let my sludge concentrate do it’s magic overnight – though to be honest, I’ve never timed it.


And if you want something yummy to eat along with your high octane iced coffee might I suggest Blueberry Boy Bait (again from the Smitten Kitchen site).

I Have Muffins!!!

Image by Me!

Too bad it took 20 minutes of the screaming of the smoke detector to get them.  No matter, I have yummy muffins made in my brand new, non-gas-leaking oven!

The best part, the apartment doesn’t feel crazy hot.  Then again, that could be because I have every window open, three fans running and a window exhaust all going on so the damn smoke detector would shut the hell up.  But even so, this could be a good thing.

Of course my landlords were wondering just what I was doing to set the damn thing off.  The wife didn’t seem to believe that just by using the oven our alarm goes crazy.  The husband got it though since he knows the damn thing is directly in the path of the stove.

Who cares though. I’m going to eat a muffin!!

PS – man that photo does not do my muffins any justice.  They really don’t look quite so squatty in real life, I assure you.

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Help! I Need a Tortellini Salad Recipe ASAP

Well, maybe it’s not that big of a deal that I need to be all ASAP, but you I do need a recipe. I’ve got book club tomorrow in Santa Monica – no I didn’t read the book, but I did mean to – and I’ve decided to bring pasta salad. I have the cheese tortellini and can pick up anything else I might need, but really, I’m at a loss here.

Normally, I just use tri-colored pasta, add in some chunked veggies, some cheese, maybe some chicken or ham, and toss it all with some dressing or another by our good friend, Paul Newman. But this time around, I’m kind of stuck. I’m thinking that maybe something with a more creamy than vinegary dressing would be nice. But then what veggies? And no cheese because the pasta already has cheese, right?

Obviously, I’m going to flunk pasta salad making 101, so please, feel free to add any suggestions or ideas. Maybe I am a little desperate after all (it’s not like I can change my mind and bake something…we’ve got a forecast of low 90’s today and that means no oven!). So please, help a gal out…I’ll be your new best friend (she says in a sing song voice!) and I’ll be very, very grateful 😉

I Did It!!!

I made my very first scarf!!

My First Scarf

No before getting too excited, let’s remember that it’s a no-knit scarf. But I still did it! And I think I’m going to make one more too using this other bulky yarn that I have.

My suggestions, figure out a way to stick that baby still. I used binder clips to clip it onto foamcore. I was then able to hold the foam core between my legs (wrapping the scarf around as it got longer) while tying the knots. It reminded me of making those old embroidery floss, knotted bracelets back in middle school. Just like then, it took a bit to get the hang of the knot making, but once I got going it was easy work.

I also managed to bake 7 mini loaves of quick bread. I’ve got 2 banana nut, 2 banana and 3 orange cranberry (thanks Trader Joe’s for the mix). Now my freezer is nearly empty of our over-ripe bananas.

Holiday Loaves

I’d have baked one more batch, but I ran out of butter for the batter. Of course, I didn’t realize this before considering the entire reason I went to the store was to buy flour to make the damn bread – did I mention that I left $100 later?!?! Insanity, but I know have fixin’s for both Christmas and New Year’s dinners.

Post-Script – Gossip Girl is still one of my favorite shows this season.  I love it.