Curing

Gloom, Doom, and a Cookbook Giveaway!

I think we can all agree about this– we’ve had some truly wacky weather all over the place this winter. In 2014, we’ve moved way past Snowpocalypse and onto Polar Vortex. Add onto that the Velveeta and Sriracha shortages (not weather related but just as foreboding), and I’m pretty sure Armageddon is just right around the corner.

Or maybe I’m being Hyperbole Girl, and I should just simmer down and make my own sunshine.

Enter… Salt preserved Meyer lemons. I was inspired by this post on Northwest Edible Life. She found a way to make this process a lot less drama than it could be, which I love. When I found Meyer lemons on sale at Whole Foods, I assumed it was The Universe telling me “This is how I want you to use that cute little pint jar left over from your last canning adventure,” and went for it.
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I was going to do a walk-through here, but honestly, she explains it so well I’d just be repeating everything she said. The whole process (click the link!) was super easy, and I now have a lovely jar of preserved lemons that I can throw into pasta dishes, or maybe these Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Local Kitchen. You can just use regular lemons if you can’t get your hands on Meyers. Meyers just have a milder flavor that lends itself to this treatment. I completely recommend having a jar of preserved lemons around at all times… but if you’re one of those people who needs to have a specific reason for a little project like this… maybe I can help.

Remember that awesome cookbook from Faith at an Edible Mosaic that I got in the cookbook swap? Faith is so awesome, she’s letting me have a copy to give away to one lucky reader! How cool is that?

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A quick search on my Kindle tells me there are quite a few recipes in there that call for lemon or lemon juice, and I’m guessing many of them would be amazing with the little extra hit of lemon flavor you can get from a little bit of preserved lemon thrown in– sort of upping the lemon ante, if you will.

But trust me, lemons or no lemons, this is a cookbook you want on your shelf. It’s such a wonderful resource for those of us with an interest in authentic Middle Eastern cooking, even if you don’t cook from it often (Why wouldn’t you?!?!), it’s a seriously interesting read.

I’m keeping this giveaway super low tech so it’s easy to enter, and in addition to the book, I’ll hook you up with some great Middle Eastern spices from my favorite Denver spice shop, Savory. All you need to do is go like the I’m Gonna Cook That! Facebook page OR follow me on Twitter, and then come back over here to the blog and let me know in the comments. For one extra entry, just share this post with your friends on Facebook, and leave a separate comment to let me know.

Easy peasy, right?

The winner will be drawn at random, and I’ll announce the winner on March 15th. Good luck!

An Egg-cellent Adventure

Just get used to punny titles, folks. I sincerely cannot help myself.

It’s been awhile since I performed any true kitchen experiments, and it was starting to get a little sad around here. The part of my brain that thinks about food (most of it) craves excitement (don’t think for a second I didn’t want to say “egg-citement” just then) and adventure was crying out for the thrills and chills of an “I dunno what’s gonna happen here, but let’s do it anyway!” moment.

Enter, this little gem from Hard Corps Foodie. It’s instructions on how to salt cure an egg yolk. I’d never heard of such a thing, and then once I did, it seemed like they were showing up everywhere. They’re being grated over salads, and pasta dishes, and all sorts of things.

What are they? Well, it’s pretty much like it sounds. You basically bury egg yolks in a salt-sugar mix, let them hang out for a few days until the salt pulls out most of the moisture, then hang them to dry somewhere cool for another week. You can play around with the ratios, and even add other spices into the mix to further manipulate the flavor of the final product.

I was dying of curiosity, so I set out to cure my own egg yolks last Saturday. I’ve just started the “hanging” phase today, but I thought I’d show you what it looks like so far, and I’ll give you an update in a week or so when they’re ready to use, and then, you know, use them, because what’s the point, otherwise?

I actually used a mixture of about 30% sugar, 55% sea salt, and 15% hickory smoked sea salt.

I just cracked a couple of eggs, dumped the whites and gently plopped the yolks into the cure.

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Then I buried them as well as I could, put the lid on, and stuck the container in the back of my fridge and pretty much ignored them until this afternoon.

When I took them out of the cure and rinsed them with cold water, this is what they looked like.

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So, yanno… like dehydrated yellow things. Kinda shaped funny, but that’s probably because the burying process was a little tricker than I had anticipated. I wanted to make sure they were both closer to the center and not touching the sides of the container, and that took a little manipulating. I can’t imaging being a funny shape would impact the taste at all. It was a lot weirder to me that I could actually hold this crazy dehydrated egg yolk under cold running water without it just totally falling apart.

And now, as I mentioned, we’re just at the hanging up stage.

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I’ve read that you can cure yolks in pretty much anything salty… like miso and even soy sauce, so if these work out I will definitely become obsessed with doing this all the time, just to see what it tastes like.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m super impatient sometimes… I really hate waiting for the good part, so I’m trying to slow myself down during experiments like this and think of all of it as the good part, so I can really notice what’s happening along the way instead of just being so fixated on the final goal. That’s another thing my food obsessed brain needs– reminders that the process should get just as much attention as the end result.  It’s all about eggs-periences, right? (Sorry. I couldn’t resist!)