Author Archives: charlesprogers
Post by Alison Hein.
Ever wake up late, hungry, but not quite wanting breakfast? Perhaps not quite wanting lunch as well, but not in the mood for a fussy brunch? That’s when you should break out the egg salad. Hard-boiled eggs, chopped and mixed with mayonnaise and fresh herbs, always hit the spot. Guaranteed to go fast, I strongly recommend cooking a few extra eggs. You can always use them for a quick snack, to top a Russian salad, or for a sixties-style deviled egg appetizer. Perhaps let your kids have a go at making egg salad (no cooking required), and let them serve you in style.
I like my egg salad sandwich on a crusty roll, but feel free to use soft brioche or lightly toasted white bread. Thick rich rye and pumpernickels are also wonderful – a nice contrast of thick, grainy bread against creamy, herbed eggs.
Ever versatile, try these egg salad change-ups:
- Spice it up – chop up some jalapeño peppers, add a splash of hot sauce, or a dash of cayenne. Serve on tortillas, if you like.
- Select various herbs – depending on your palate, parsley, rosemary, thyme and fennel are all good choices. A heavy hand of paprika (reminiscent of deviled eggs) is always pleasing.
- Serve open face – spread neatly on some mini-rye bread slices, and top with thin cucumber rounds and sprigs of fresh dill.
- Skip the bread altogether – delicately mound egg salad on baby greens, or Boston lettuce. Garnish with cherry tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes.
Whatever your pleasure, I hope you enjoy and savor your late, not-so-breakfasty breakfast in bed!
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 roll, sliced
Handful of baby arugula
Place eggs in a small heavy saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil on high heat and continue to cook eggs for 10 minutes, until hard-boiled. Cool and peel. Finely chop eggs and place in small bowl. Stir in mayonnaise and fresh dill. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spread egg salad mixture on one half of roll. Top with baby arugula and serve.
Makes 1 serving.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
We all have those nights when we can barely keep our eyes open, but we’re also familiar with those evenings when we can’t seem to get to sleep no matter how many sheep we count. Few people realize that diet can play a significant role in our ability to fall and stay asleep until the alarm buzzer sounds in the a.m. Avoiding caffeine-filled foods, alcohol, and heavy meals too close to bedtime can make dozing off less troublesome.
Above and beyond these things we shouldn’t eat, try eating those foods that help promote a healthy night’s sleep. Read on to see if any of your favorites made the list.
Known for its share of vitamin B6, which is needed for our bodies to produce melatonin, salmon encourages a good night’s rest, as does halibut and tuna.
Did you know that calcium deficiency can keep you from sleeping? Yogurt and milk are rich in calcium, so regularly including dairy products in our diet could make a difference in our sleep habits.
Foods like barley, millet, and bulgur are rich in magnesium, which has been known to keep us fast asleep through the night.
Those cute little beans that we often eat in salads and use to make hummus are jam-packed with tryptophan, a natural sleep inducer. In a nutshell, keep dipping those veggies.
Usually considered a breakfast food, bananas release natural chemicals needed to relax before falling fast asleep. Rather than drinking a cup of warm milk –– the classic bedtime remedy –– try a half banana instead.
Post by Alison Hein.
While I was researching historical material for Milk Toast for last week’s post, I became engrossed in Maria Parloa’s The Appledore Cook Book. Leafing through an online copy, the recipe for Allie’s Cake intrigued me, as my husband and his family call me “Ali”. Who was Ms. Parloa? Who was Allie? As usual, one food mystery begets another, but here’s what little I learned:
Ms. Parloa was born in Massachusetts on September 25, 1843 and little is known about her early life. She became an orphan at a young age, and learned to cook in private homes and small hotels. She died at age 65, and during her lifetime accomplished many impressive feats, especially for a woman of her era. She:
- Wrote several cookbooks.
- Began two cooking schools and was associated with the Boston Cooking School.
- Is credited with the first published tomato soup recipe – Tomato Chowder – which appeared in The Appledore Cook Book.
- Was part owner of the Ladies Home Journal, and wrote regularly for it from 1891 on.
- Spent several years in France studying cooking techniques.
- Raised two orphaned girls in her home in her later years.
Of “Allie”, there was no further word. Setting out to modernize the recipe, I made several changes. First off, ingredients and preparation steps had to be separated. Next, I added a couple of eggs (who bakes a cake with no eggs?), swapped out saleratus (the predecessor of baking soda and baking powder) for baking powder, and reduced the amount of raisins (Allie wanted to use almost 4 cups!). I also determined that a “moderate oven” would be 350°, and specified a baking time.
The end result was a rich and dark, moist and fruity cake – an engaging cross between gingerbread and scones. Somewhere during this process I think “Allie’s” cake became “Ali’s” cake, and breakfast in bed became an ode to Maria Parloa and the mysterious Allie.
¼ pound (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups raisins
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until thick and creamy. Add eggs one at a time until well-blended. Mix in molasses and buttermilk.
Mix all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and salt) together in a separate small bowl. Stir dry ingredients into the batter, about one cupful at a time, until thoroughly blended. Stir in raisins.
Pour batter into a greased cake pan. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from the side of the pan. Let cool on rack for 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan and invert onto serving plate.
Makes 1 large cake, about 20 slices.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Okay, I admit it: I have a soft spot for the LEGO universe. I think their cartoons and movies are fun, entertaining, and kind of hilarious. I also enjoy their video games and my son is (like every other child on Earth) a big fan of the building blocks. Naturally, when a new mini-movie came out, he was dead-set on watching it and I was a total pushover about it.
LEGO Justice League vs. Bizarro League is silly, action-packed, and even a little bit meaningful. If you don’t know about Bizarro Superman, here’s what you need to know: he was a Lex Luthor creation, meant to equal Superman but he ended up being this weird, backwards version of Superman who does everything backwards. Tell him to put something down and he’ll pick it up. You get the idea. He is a major headache for Superman. But when Bizarro Superman decides to make his own version of the Justice League, it goes out of control and they are sent to some faraway planet to live their Bizarro lives.
My favorite is Greenzarro, the backwards Green Lantern who can only conjure a giant green teddy bear, that he uses to comfort him in the face of danger.
There is a whole plot line involving alien planets and someone named Darkseid who is mining the Bizarro world of all Bizarro Superman’s “friends”.
This is a great movie to watch when you realize it’s much later than you thought it was and still wanted to squeeze in a family movie night. It’s only about 45 minutes long.