Soft “Steamed” Eggs

I love a runny yolk. It’s like unadulterated custard….. mmmm (insert slightly sexual moan here). But I cannot stand a runny white. Gross times a million.

Eggs are delicate and can take years to learn how to cook them best. There are so many different ways to cook eggs, and probably just as many ways to screw them up.

Soft boiled eggs always seemed to elude me, even though I had tried many times. But the trick is to not boil them at all, but steam them in a simple vegetable steamer.

Soft Steamed Eggs

  1. Boil a half inch of water in a covered sauce pan.
  2. Once Boiling, place eggs in a steamer basket and place in the sauce pan, and recover with the lid.
  3. Steam for 6 minutes and 45 seconds exactly.
  4. Immediately place eggs in an ice water bath and swirl to cool rapidly.
  5. As soon as you can handle the eggs, peel them quickly, but carefully.
  6. At this point you can put them back in the steamer for another 15-30 seconds to rewarm if you want them hot.
  7. Eat sprinkled with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Mustard Caper Vinaigrette

I make my own dressings, almost on a daily basis. Me and my husband eat a lot of salads, as you can tell from my Instagram feed. I don’t believe in boring salads. Salad is good for you, but it can also be awesome if you take a few extra steps to #buildabadasssalad . Homemade dressing is essential to a Bad Ass Salad.

So I make a lot of salads at home, but we also have a few spots in Virginia Beach that we like to go out and get a salad from, like Taste. It’s a great, gourmet lunch spot, and it is very friendly to the gluten-free crowd. I love that you can build your own chopped salad with any ingredients you like. We like their Mustard Vinaigrette, and this dressing is my interpretation of that dressing. Mine has the addition of capers, which I love because they are brine-y like mustard, and delicious in salad. Me and my husband are also really big fans of mustard. I like this kind of Organic Dijon Mustard because it is spicy and intense, and I also really like their Whole Grain Mustard as well. (The links I included are 12 packs! Don’t think I am recommending a $37 mustard, haha!)Mustard Caper Vinaigrette

 

Mustard Caper Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
3 tablespoons of Whole Grain Mustard
1 tablespoon of Capers
1 tablespoon of Champagne Vinaigrette
1/2 cup of olive oil or avocado oil
fresh ground pepper
pinch of dried dill (if you like dill)
1 teaspoon of granulated garlic

Blend all the ingredients together with a whisk. If the ingredients are too thick, and not enough like dressing, stream in a bit of purified water until you get the consistency you desire. The salad above is my House Rub Roasted Chicken, Freshly Shredded Rainbow Carrots, Raisins, Avocado, Cucumber, Sliced Almonds and Baby Spinach.

BLACKENED WILD CAUGHT FLOUNDER WITH HOMEMADE SPICE BLEND

My husband and I eat this dish on a VERY regular basis on weeknights. Like, upwards of 4 times a week sometimes. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s cheap, and delicious. Check, check, check, and check. When trying to eat clean and slim down, we both find that if we eat a light seafood protein for dinner it really makes a difference.

Some people shy away from cooking seafood at home, especially fish. It can be intimidating, and if you buy fresh seafood from the seafood counter at the store, it can sometimes be expensive, especially if you prefer wild caught seafood exclusively, like I do. However, I have found that there are several varieties of frozen, wild caught seafood that are really delicious, and also VERY affordable.

For instance, I buy this wild caught flounder at Costco for $9.99 a bag and there are usually about 16 small fillets in each bag. That’s about 62 cents per piece. My husband usually likes to eat 3 pieces, and I like to eat 2 for dinner, and I think that 1 piece would be a great serving for a little kiddo.

Now, a lot of people turn their nose up at frozen fish… that’s just silly. A large majority of fish is processed and Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) on the boat when it is caught, making it incredibly fresh when thawed. In fact, a LOT of the fish that you see in the fish counter at the supermarket is simply frozen fish that the staff in the seafood department has defrosted for you, and arranged it all pretty in the glass case on crushed ice, and then charged you more for it. True story – I had a close friend who worked in the meat and seafood department at a nice grocery store, and he told me so. Now, if the fish is local, then it might actually be fresh.

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However, my point is, don’t be afraid of frozen fish – or cooking fish at home in general. I highly recommend you start with flounder. Flounder swim along the bottom of the ocean and eat little crustaceans, so they are naturally sweet and mild tasting, just like crab and shrimp. Flounder is a delicate, thin fish, so I found the best way to cook it is to sear on the bottom side, and instead of flipping the fish and inevitably breaking it, just broil the tops until both sides are cooked. They often use this technique in restaurants for delicate pieces of fish.

These little 2 oz. fillets can be thawed in the refrigerator like the package recommends, but I often thaw them on my counter in about 2 hours. Usually around 4 pm when I get home from work, I take out 5-6 fillets and place them in a single layer on top of a few paper towels on a large plate. Around 6 or 6:30 pm they are ready to cook. If you work a 9-5, you could probably put them in the fridge to thaw on a plate with a paper towel underneath before you leave for work, and take them out of the fridge to finish thawing on the counter when you get home.

Homemade Blackening Spice Blend

2 tablespoons of paprika
2 tablespoons of granulated garlic
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon of dried basil
1/2 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons of fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of pink sea salt

Blackened Flounder (serves 2 adults)

4-6 pieces of defrosted frozen wild caught flounder fillets, depending on appetite
about 2 tablespoons of Blackening Spice (above)
2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil

1. Turn your oven on to “broil” and let it warm up while you prepare the fish.

2. Season both sides of the flounder VERY generously with the Blackening Spice. There should be a good layer of the spice on both sides of the fish, almost like the fish is “dredged” in the spice blend.

3. Heat the coconut oil up in a large stainless steel saute pan on medium high that can also go in the oven (this is the one I have).

4. Once the pan is hot, add the flounder fillets in a single layer, with the flat side of the fillet down. Use a silicone pastry brush to lightly dab some of the melted coconut oil from the pan on the tops of the flounder, being careful not to brush off the spice blend. Cook for about a minute on the stove, then transfer to the oven on the top rack.

5. Broil the flounder for 5-7 seven minutes until the fish is cooked through and the spices have “blackened” on top. The edges of the fish will be crispy and delicious. You can drain the cooked pieces of flounder on a paper towel if you want, but coconut oil is perfectly delicious and nutritious, so I don’t bother. (*I wouldn’t recommend olive oil as a substitution, because of the high temperatures from the sear and the broil, but Avocado Oil would also work.)

ALABAMA WHITE BBQ SAUCE

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In northern Alabama, they have a “BBQ” sauce that is truly unique: Alabama White. Instead of being mustard, tomato or vinegar based, this sauce is Mayo based. I was born in Alabama, and it is not hard to see why this sauce evolved. Most Alabamians, and most Southerners for that matter, fiercely love mayonnaise and put it in everything from salads to deviled eggs, casseroles and even cakes. This sauce is traditionally served on smoked chicken and sometimes smoked pulled pork. I developed a delicious smokey dry rub so I could achieve the same flavors without a smoker. Alabama White Sauce is also delicious as a salad dressing or a dip for fresh crudite. I like to garnish my chicken with green onions and lime wedges for an extra zing of acid and bite from the onions.

While I have a recipe for my own favorite homemade mayo, for this recipe I used a new mayo that is from Primal Kitchen Foods. It’s the first truly healthy mayo on the market, and I have to say, it tastes exactly like homemade. And that’s because the ingredients read just like a recipe. It uses healthy avocado oil, lemon juice, egg yolks, and salt, and the taste is just incredibly fresh, like no other mayo out there. I wouldn’t tell you so if it weren’t true. I hope you enjoy this Alabama White BBQ Chicken as much as me and my husband do!

Ingredients

For the Roasted Chicken:

6 Chicken Leg Quarters, Bone In and Skin On

3 tablespoons of Katy’s House Rub
1 tablespoon of Smoked Paprika
⅓ cup of Avocado Oil

For the Sauce:

2 cups of Primal Kitchen Mayo
⅓ cup of organic apple juice
⅓ cup of organic apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons of prepared horseradish
½ teaspoon of ground cayenne
1 teaspoon of fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon of spicy brown or creole mustard

2 teaspoons of granulated garlic

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon of raw, organic honey (local if possible)

For the Chicken:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 F while you prepare the chicken. Mix together the 3 tablespoons of house rub plus the extra tablespoon of smoked paprika, and thoroughly coat the chicken leg quarters in a thick layer of the spice rub – use ALL of the spice mixture.
  2. Spread the chicken quarters out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, skin side up. Using a silicone basting brush, dab the oil on the tops of the chicken so it is evenly coated. Make sure not to “brush” the oil on, but use a dabbing motion instead so that the brush doesn’t remove the thick layer of spice rub.
  3. Roast the chicken in the oven for an hour until a meat thermometer reads 165 F. During the last 10-15 minutes you may need to tent the chicken with aluminum foil to prevent the skin from burning. While the chicken is roasting, mix together the sauce.

For the Sauce:

  1. Whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl, and let the sauce chill in the fridge while the chicken roasts. The longer this sauce sits in the fridge, the better it gets, so if you can make this sauce in the morning or the day before if you wish.

To serve: Drizzle some of the sauce over the chicken, but serve extra sauce on the side for dipping, along with lime wedges and freshly sliced green onions, if you desire. The limes and green onions aren’t traditional, but they are my special touch! Enjoy!

for more information

bbqforge.com

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup {Tom Kha Kai}

When I lived in Atlanta, there was a great restaurant called Doc Chey’s. I used to always get the Thai Coconut Chicken Soup, and it was so satisfying and delicious. And I had no idea what was in it. Coconut, obviously, but what were all those other unique flavors? Why does the broth taste THAT good?

Well, I was telling my husband about it the other day, and I started getting on the internet to research it. I had found secret recipes from Doc Chey’s before, and I was able to tweak them to use some better quality ingredients to make a healthier version of their dishes, so I tried it with this one, and it is really yummy.

 

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

8 cups of homemade chicken stock
1 can of coconut milk chilled, so that the cream separates (only use the cream)
20 Stalks of cilantro
2 teaspoons of fresh minced or grated ginger
1 stalk of lemongrass, bottom half only, chopped
1/4 wedge of lime
3 T fish sauce (I use pure, Red Boat Fish Sauce)
1 Tablespoon of granulated cane sugar or coconut sugar
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
3 cups of softened rice vermicelli noodles or sweet potato glass noodles (found at Asian markets)
1 cup of julienne red bell pepper
1 cup of sliced green onions
1/2 cup of sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 cup of cooked, shredded and chopped chicken breasts
Garnish with Sesame Chili Oil, Lime Wedges and Thai Basil Leaves

  1. In a large pot, simmer together the chicken stock, coconut cream, cilantro, lemongrass, lime wedge and ginger for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain out the solids and return the flavored broth to the soup pot.
  2. Add fish sauce, sugar, and pepper flakes and stir to dissolve.
  3. Add in the noodles, bell pepper, mushrooms, green onion, and chicken and simmer for 10 minutes to lightly cook the veggies.
  4. Ladle into bowls and garnish with Sesame Chili Oil, Lime Wedges and Thai Basil Leaves.