Category Archives: Basic Cooking

Hard Boiled Eggs

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I don’t eat eggs.  For that reason I always have to look up how to properly cook eggs for Easter.  Here’s how:

1. Place eggs in a heavy saucepan in a single layer and add enough cold water to cover the eggs by an inch.

2. Bring to a boil over high heat.

3. Lower to just below a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.

4. Immediately remove each egg with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl filled with ice water.  (This helps to make sure the yolks won’t get the unattractive green ring.)


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Filed under Basic Cooking, Breakfast, Eggs

Caryn’s Meatballs

I believe this is the final recipe from my “John & Caryn” collection.

Mix together:

1 lb ground beef

2 cloves garlic

2 eggs

1 cup Parmesan

1 1/2 T parsley

s & p

Then add:

2 cups bread crumbs

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (1/2 cup at a time)

Form into 2″ balls.

Heat 1 cup olive oil in a skillet and fry the meatballs in batches.  When very brown and slightly crispy, remove from heat to paper towels.  If they fall apart when cooking, cover.

Cook fried meatballs in tomato sauce 15 minutes.


Filed under Basic Cooking, Beef, Italian, Kid friendly, Mike's favorite, No oven necessary., Pasta

John & Caryn’s Pizza & Sauce (starring Rocky Balboa)

Be sure to place the pizza stone in the oven at least 1/2 hour ahead of time to make sure it gets good and hot.  475 for wheat dough or 450 for white dough. 

In a small sauce pan:

2 cans tomato sauce (15 oz each)

2 tsp sugar

shake of dry oregano

shake of garlic powder

salt (coat the entire surface)

Cook until it bubbles.

Here’s well, frankly, things get more stressful than I prefer in the kitchen.  The rest of the recipe needs to be done quickly so that the dough doesn’t stick to the counter or pizza paddle and so the sauce doesn’t make it mushy before the time comes to slide it on the stone.  I recommend a couple jogs in place and some neck stretches like Rocky would do.  Or you can just hype yourself up with this short video:

Now that you’re ready, roll pizza dough (such as Trader Joe’s) on a clean countertop into a circle. Use lots of cornmeal.  John’s tip: Think of the cornmeal as ball bearings so the pizza slides easily on and off the pizza paddle.

Quickly top that baby with sauce, cheese, & whatever toppings keep you happy.  Keeping with the cornmeal/ball bearings rule, slide the pizza on a pizza paddle and then slide it on the hot stone.  Remember: the oven isn’t cooking your delicious dinner–that burning hot hunk of pizza stone is. 

When it looks done it probably is.  Employ your pizza paddle for duty once again and serve your pizza up for dinner.  (Feel free to shout, “Adrian!” at any time now.)


Filed under Basic Cooking, Healthy, Italian, Mike's favorite, Pizza, Quick, Vegetarian Main Dish

Caryn’s Tomato Sauce

I just reread Caryn’s Eggplant Parmesan recipe since we received eggplant in our co-op, and realized I have no post for her sauce!  Hands-down, I get more requests for this recipe than any other.  We always freeze most of the sauce to use later.

First, cook 1 or 2 bone-in country-style pork ribs in hot water.  I usually do this the night before.

In a very large pot cook a small chopped onion and about 4 minced garlic cloves in olive oil.  This may sound obvious, but don’t let them burn!  If they do you need to start over so the entire batch of sauce doesn’t taste like burnt garlic.

Add in 2 cans of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz each) and cook for a bit.  Then pour in a gigantic, super-sized can of tomato sauce from Costco or Sam’s Club (6 lb, 10 oz).  Sprinkle salt over the entire surface of sauce.  Add some pepper red pepper flakes (I often use a packet that comes with pizza deliveries).  Cook over medium-high until bubbling. If the sauce looks too thick (if the surface resembles Labyrinth‘s Bog of Eternal Stench–video here), add a little water.

Place the cooked pork ribs into the sauce, cover and cook on medium-low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Add a bit of chopped, fresh oregano and a large handful of fresh basil, chopped.  Cover and cook 1/2 hour longer.  Be sure to test it before you’re done!


Filed under Basic Cooking, Comfort Food, Healthy, Italian, Kid friendly, Mike's favorite, No oven necessary., Pasta, Pork

Carmelized Onions

Makes 2 cups

3 T butter

2 T olive oil

2 1/2 lbs onions, thinly sliced

s & p

2 tsp sugar

1. In a large skillet, melt butter in the olive oil over med-high heat. Add the onions and 1/4 tsp each s & p, and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the sugar and cook, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan frequently, until the onions are golden brown, about 20 minutes.


Filed under Basic Cooking, Side Dish

BBQ Sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

2 T white vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 T chopped onion

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/8 tsp ground allspice

1/2 pinch celery sault

1/2 pinch mustard powder

Combine and simmer over medium low 5 minutes.

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Filed under Basic Cooking, Beef, Chicken, Grilling, Pork

Healthier Refried Beans

Rick Bayless made these on a show years ago and we’ve never gone back to canned refried beans.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet.  Saute some minced garlic cloves (we love garlic and use about 3 cloves for two cans of beans).  Add a can or two of black beans, undrained. Heat over medium or med-low heat, mashing occasionally with a potato masher (not electric–the old-fashioned kind). 
Beans will thicken the longer you cook them, and you can mash them to whatever consistency you prefer.

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Filed under Basic Cooking, Healthy, Mexican, No oven necessary., Side Dish, Vegetarian Main Dish