Archive for the ‘Eggs’

The Jennings Sisters’ Boiled Custard

April 06, 2017
By Holly Jennings

 

Stir and chat. Chat and stir.

 

That is all you need to know to make a good batch of boiled custard. That and to completely disregard its name. If you bring boiled custard to a simmer, let alone a boil, you will have a lumpy scrambled mess on your hands.

 

The term boiled custard is an old-fashioned one that refers to the cooking process, done entirely in a pot over the heat, to distinguish it from its cousin, the set custard, which is gently baked, preferably in a water bath, to acquire a firm yet delicate texture. Today, boiled custard is more often called “stirred custard,” referencing the constant stirring required to ensure a smooth texture, or “soft custard” or “custard sauce,” describing its pourable, saucelike texture. Crème anglaise is a supreme example of this style of custard. In the South, though, the old-fashioned term lingers as does a particularly Southern way of enjoying it: as a traditional holiday beverage. Call it drinking custard. During the holiday season, you can find store-bought jugs of boiled custard in the dairy section of grocery stores, sitting right next to the eggnog, in some Southern states, Tennessee and Kentucky for certain. Leave it to Americans to transform an Old World dessert sauce the into a “big gulp.”

 

I know. It’s completely illogical to talk about southern boiled custard at the beginning of April, four months past its season, yet too early to capitalize on the strange Christmas in July phenomenon. But sometimes you need to run with what you’ve been handed, while the inspiration is still fresh.

 

At the end February, at a family gathering to celebrate my mother’s 80th birthday, my cousin Joseph, reminiscing about his grandmother’s cooking and holiday traditions, suddenly said, “Let’s make boiled custard!” Joseph, a Tennessean, was the sole family member there from my father’s side of the family—the Jennings side.

 

Joseph’s forty-six-year-old boyish enthusiasm is hard to resist, but (more…)


Potato and Egg Scramble with Pilpelchuma

June 26, 2013
By Holly Jennings

Potato and Egg Scramble with Pilpelchuma

 

Bulked up with potatoes, this Middle Eastern scramble is hearty and satisfying. I learned to make it from a Palestinian Muslim, sans pilpelchuma. This make sense because pilpelchuma, according to Jerusalem authors Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, is used by Jews from Tripoli. Ottolenghi and Tamimi go on to say that it’s great whisked into eggs when making scrambled eggs. I immediately wondered if a touch of the fiery hot pilpelchuma would be a good addition to the basic potato-and-egg scramble I learned to make years ago. It’s not just good, it’s addictive.

 

Serves 3 with hearty appetites

 

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium all-purpose potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice
1 tablespoon water, plus more if needed
¾ teaspoon salt, plus more if needed
4 large eggs
½ teaspoon pilpelchuma (recipe in the cookbook Jerusalem)
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)
3 pita breads

 

  1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick or seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the diced potatoes, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for few minutes, stirring frequently. Add the water and ¾ teaspoon of salt and cover. Continue cooking, stirring from time to time, until the potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes, adding a little more water if necessary to keep the potatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and pilpelchuma together. Add the eggs to the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently, to desired doneness. Adjust the seasoning, if needed. Sprinkle with the parsley, if using, and serve with pita bread. To eat, tear off a bite-size piece of pita bread and use it to scoop up the potatoes and eggs.  If you have leftovers, they can be lightly rewarmed and are good served as a sandwich in a pita envelope with salad greens.

Thai-Style Eggs, and the Hens That Laid Them

March 24, 2012
By Holly Jennings


The Eggs:

One of the plates of eggs shown above is for Jack Sprat, the other, for his wife. Both preparations—deep-fried eggs and steamed eggs—are found David Thompson’s Thai Cooking, the current DCCC pick, where they are presented more as method than recipe.

 

The process of making deep-fried and steamed eggs was an interesting novelty; the process of eating Mrs. Sprat’s clear choice opened a door in my egg-eating life. Deep-fried eggs represent a distinct category in the pantheon of egg preparations—scrambled, fried, poached, soft-boiled, and so on. Which means (more…)



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