I got an email today from my old roommate which inspired me to make one of the those Sunday breakfasts we’d share back in the day: soft boiled eggs, toast “solders” and bacon.
Not much of a food “fail” tip here…more just a tip on how to get your soft boiled eggs petty spot on. To start, submerge your eggs fully in cold water and try to keep them upright if possible. Then allow the eggs to come up to temperature with the water as it starts to boil. This will stop any cracking from the temp change dropping the eggs in once it’s boiled and creates a more evenly cooked egg. Once at a boil, count it out for 2 minutes and you should be all set.
Came out pretty well… see??
It’s true, I’m a certified carb-monster. Was dubbed so by my buddy Mark when we were in college. Name the carbohydrate and I want it: breads, potatoes, beans, rice, pastas — I can’t get enough. They also happen to be one of my favorite things to cook. Here are a few of the pastas currently in rotation along with a few fail tips you should know.
Pasta al Tonno :
Made famous and a bi-weekly staple for me by my old roommate Nino. This is one of those things that even the tuna adverse friends will come back for if you can trick them into eating it the first time. When done properly, all the salty qualities of the tuna sit perfectly in balance with the wine and parsley and melt into a lovely dish. Roman pastas are super simple and this is a classic!
Now given it’s so simple, you’d think — Oh I can nail this one. Good luck. Simple Italian food is some of the hardest to cook. Repetition is key! Past fails on this recipe:
1) Thought I was smart and could improve this with a few brined Olives - FAIL: Too salty
2) Forgot wine - FAIL the acid is SOOO needed to cut the salt and round out the palate. If you don’t have wine…don’t even attempt.
3) Parsley: always get more than you need. This stuff should be hanging from your teeth when you are done eating. It requires that much.
4) I cheat. I add Parm on mine (it’s a microplane so the cheese looks more substantial than it really is). Nino would kill me to know I put cheese on fish — understood Italian custom: No cheese on fish.
Anyways, here was a particularly good one:
Good Italian tuna (packed in oil)
Cheese (the cheat)
Another favorite that my current roommate likes to call “breakfast pasta”. One of those things again that is so simple that the odds of your screwing it up are almost 100% — it makes sense, I promise. This pasta took me about 5 years to “actually” get right. Simple, roman. Egg, pancetta (bacon), pasta, cheese, s&p. 4 “real” ingredients that you will mess up more times than you want to admit to people.
My Fails: Made it with cream in my egg mix, with onion in my bacon, with bacon in my bacon, decided to keep it on the heat and make scrabbled egg with pasta. You name it, I failed each time. Here are the secrets:
1) Cook the bacon early and let it rest off to the side and cool while pasta is cooking.
2) In a bowl, Prep one full egg + one additional yolk per person/portion of pasta you want to serve. This is your sauce.
3) Once the pasta is cooked, get it in the cooled pan and add the egg. Mix immediately and thoroughly—this should prevent the scrambling of eggs (an obvious issue with this process). Pepper to taste.
One more bright idea I had and failed…this pic right here:
Fail: Went to the farmers market with a few friends and got “inspired” by a bore pancetta I found along with some fresh pasta. Brilliant I thought—not so much. This pancetta was so salty your mouth just puckered up like a prune! Wow…tough to balance, but the concept was strong as was the execution…as was the speed guzzling of water after we ate this.
That’s all I have for now. More pasta’s and many many more fails coming soon. Sorry for the lag!
Also, if you catch the reference in my post title…we should talk.
We’ll go back to the beginning of summer and start there. Only reason being that was just after my “camera” (iPhone) crashed so it’s really all the images I have at this point.
Main: Steak and Shrimp Tacos with homemade pickled onions, grilled tomatillo salsa, and grilled avocado.
Salad: Grilled Pear and Mango salad with Feta, basil, mint and a balsamic vinegar.
Desert: Four Seas Ice Cream - Staple of Summer meals on Cape Cod!
As one is prone to doing at the beginning of the summer, we wanted to grill. And as one IS at the beginning of the summer, I was a bit rusty. So the bright idea to grill everything turned out in a few fails.
Fail #1: Most grilled fruit turns to mush - Don’t grill a mango! The pears turned out lovely. But overall salad took on a boogery texture from the stringy mangos. Might have better luck with younger mangos, but recommended to just peel and eat.
Fail #2: Grilling shrimp with shells on makes for a more flavorful product, but unless all your guests like eating the shells (as I do), peeling and eating is not great for a crowd. On the bright side, the steak turned out to a perfect temp.
Fail #3: The grilled tomatillos in the salsa were a great touch, but good idea to always get some extra ‘cause those little guys don’t provide as much substance as you think. Unfortunately no pics of the salsa or the onions, but they were a nice touch for the tacos (you might be able to catch a bit in the taco shot below).
Overall, good meal to kick off the summer months. Good people and too much wine made for a good night.
Meal one of many…Once I can get through the whole backlog, I’ll get more specific recipes and cooking temps up. This is my first time on this shit…so be cool!
You poor, poor saps are going to have to hear about all my personal issues with perfecting recipes. You are going to have to see multiple posts about the same freakin’ dish. You are going to see a host of bad photos. You are going to read boring stories about how to make these things…because I cook and make tons of mistakes. Now hear me vent!