I blamed it on being clutzy, but I often have trouble getting leftover food into a resealable bag. But we all need a little help sometimes. That’s where Bagwell comes in.
A new invention called the Bagwell baggie rack will rest securely on your countertop and hold a resealable bag open for you, giving you free hands to fill and seal the bag. What a great idea!
You can see a video and get more questions answered at thebagwell.com.
Most of the month, I’ve been harping on how this is “National This Month” or “National That Month.”
I find it amusing that every cause, disease, product, food and everything else you can think of has claimed a month of its own.
However, knowing what month goes with what food makes it easier to write about food. It gives you a starting point for collecting recipes.
Another one of the themes that January can claim is National Egg Month.
Unless you’re allergic to eggs or just out-and-out hate them, eggs are great for many reasons. Each serving is premeasured and delivered in its own, disposable and biodegradable container.
Eggs have only about 75 calories, and for an average of just 12 cents each, eggs provide varying amounts of 13 important nutrients, including high-quality protein, choline, riboflavin and vitamin B12. Eggs have just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.
Eggs are so versatile and easy to cook.
The website thenibble.com answered some questions I’ve had about eggs:
Question: Is there a nutritional difference between brown eggs and white eggs?
Answer: No, they have the same nutritional value. The shell color is a function of the color of the hen: White breeds produce white eggs and brown breeds produce brown eggs. The reason brown eggs tend to be costlier is that brown breeds are larger and require more feed. The color of the yolk is based on the feed. A diet of wheat and white corn meal would produce an almost colorless yolk; but adding yellow corn meal and/or marigolds produces the deep yellow yolk preferred in the United States.
Question: How long are eggs fresh after purchase?
Answer: Eggs can be stored in their cartons in the refrigerator for four to five weeks beyond the carton’s date.
Question: What’s the best way to store eggs?
Answer: Eggs should be refrigerated at 40°F. THe USDA advises that eggs left out for more than two hours may be subject to bacteria growth, and should be discarded. (It is fine to let raw eggs come to room temperature before using — 20 to 30 minutes. But they should be used and cooked or re-refrigerated within two hours.) Leave the eggs in their carton on an inside refrigerator shelf where temperature does not vary — not on the refrigerator door. The carton insulates the eggs from loss of moisture.
Question: What’s the story about salmonella in eggs?
Answer: In the 1980s, a specific strain of salmonella bacteria was found growing in the reproductive organs of egg-laying hens. It is rare, but in one in 20,000 eggs, the Salmonella bacteria may infect an egg. Cooking destroys the bacteria, which is why people are advised not to use raw eggs in egg nog, steak tartare, Caesar salad, etc. To use “safe raw eggs” in recipes, the USDA recommends heating the eggs in a liquid from the recipe over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 160°F. Then combine it with the other ingredients and complete the recipe.
Here’s an egg salad recipe from thenibble.com, with some variations.
BASIC EGG SALAD
6 large or extra-large eggs
1 to 2 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 stalks celery, washed and finely chopped
1⁄2 medium sweet or red onion, minced
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh dill
1⁄2 bunch chives, finely chopped
2 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Lettuce and tomato
Chop hard-cooked eggs. (Directions for perfect hard-cooked eggs.) Some people like a chunkier egg salad, some people prefer it fine or even mashed. You can try a different cut each time to see which you prefer.
In a large bowl, mix chopped eggs, celery and onion. onion and salt and pepper. Mash well with a fork or wooden spoon.
Toast bread. Serve on bread as a sandwich or over crisp lettuce as a salad.
Egg Salad “Mix & Match” Ingredients
It’s more than just eggs, salt and mayo: You’ll get a pretty boring egg salad with that recipe. Instead, make your egg salad come alive by mixing and matching these add-ins:
Binder: First, pick your binder. Beyond mayonnaise there’s aïoli (garlic mayonnaise), flavored mayonnaise, a mayonnaise/Dijon or honey mustard blend, Russian dressing, Greek yogurt and the vinaigrette of yore.
Raw Vegetables: Add crunch and flavor with two of the following: bell pepper, carrot, celery, cucumber and onion (red, Spanish or sweet).
Pickles: Capers, sliced pickled vegetables (not just pickled cucumbers but pickled cauliflower, dilly beans, okra, red pepper, etc.), pickle relish, and their “cousin” on the relish tray, olives.
Spices: Celery seed, Chinese mustard, curry, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, nutmeg, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper.
Add-Ons: Crumbled bacon, sliced almonds, blue cheese, raisins, you-name-it.
Garniture: Arugula, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes in olive oil.
Bread: Egg salad and whole-grain bread are a natural pairing, but a bagel, challah, croissant, pita, wrap and artisan loaves also make great sandwiches (if you must have egg salad on supermarket white bread, toast if to add some character)
Bread Alternative: Serve the egg salad in a scooped out tomato or red bell pepper, or in lettuce leaf cups
Garnish with radishes, gherkins and other favorites, and serve with a side of crudités.
Never mind what they say about real men not eating quiche — it’s a delicious dish that’s appropriate for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This easy one, from all recipes.com, has just a few ingredients but tastes just right.
“This is best served warm, so allow enough time to cool (approximately 1 hour),” says the contributor. “This quiche is just as good cold! This quiche Lorraine has no cheese in the listed ingredients, but you may add up to 8 ounces. When adding cheese, reduce liquid by 1⁄2 cup.”
1 frozen single pie crust
1 tablespoon butter
1⁄2 pound slab bacon with rind removed, diced
11⁄2 cups heavy cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pinch ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Fit the pie crust into a quiche pan or 9-inch pie dish, and cover the crust with a sheet of aluminum foil. Fill the crust with pie weights or dried beans.
Bake the crust in the preheated oven just until the edges begin to turn golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and take out the pie weights and aluminum foil.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook the bacon until browned, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain, then sprinkle the bacon into the partially-baked crust. Whisk the cream, eggs, salt, black pepper, and nutmeg together in a bowl, and pour into the crust.
Return to oven, and bake until the filling is set in the middle and the quiche is puffy and golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool until warm, about 1 hour, to serve.
While I don’t claim to be an expert cook, I do like to cook and love to eat. Readers are encouraged to send questions about food and cooking; I’ll try to find the answers. Also, if you’re looking for a specific recipe, send your request, or if you can offer a recipe to someone looking for something specific, please send email to email@example.com.