Country Cook News – January 29, 2015

Hi Everyone!


Does an egg have more food value if its yolk is deeper gold color rather than light yellow?

Send your answer to to win a signed copy of any one of my books. Here’s a link to my Books page to choose the books you can win (scroll down to see the complete selection).

Congratulations to Karen Samford of Frisco, Texas, who correctly answered December’s question. She chose Pork Chops & Applesauce as her prize because, “The essence of that book (Pork Chops) on your blog is the reason why I am a subscriber. I am a dreadful cook, but I have so many wonderful food memories thanks to my mom. She was one of nine girls and her mother was an amazing cook. So much love came out of that kitchen.”


Eggs, Baked in Ramikin2


We traditionally have Baked Eggs for Sunday morning breakfast but during the winter, we sometimes have them for dinner. My recipe is hubby approved for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and it’s guaranteed to get you in and out of the kitchen in no time. I serve Baked Eggs with English Muffins and cottage cheese, fresh fruit, sliced tomatoes or baked beans.



This article, Hard Boiled Eggs Don’t Stay Fresh As Long As You Think They Do, from the HuffPost Taste section, serves up a big plate of food-for-thought.  



According to Saveur Magazine, January food favorites are sweet and sour shrimp, garlicky Italian broccoli, along with sweet and simple desserts like Thomas Keller’s coconut cake and classic chocolate chip cookies. Be sure to check out their 2015 recipe suggestions. My only comment is yuuuuum!



Bells and whistles went off when I discovered Penny’s Food Blog. She says, “so many recipes, so little time” which we all know is true if you love cooking and baking. Because I learned that January cooks are looking for quick and easy, I’ve made the link go directly to Penny’s 30-minute meals category. The One Pot Mexican Rice Casserole and the Tortilla Soup look amazing. Penny also features Valentine’s Day Candy Heart Mini Cakes and Valentine Truffles that look like they’re a shoe-in for winning your Valentines’ heart. I’d like to encourage you to sign up for Penny’s Food Blog Newsletter, she has recipes to share dating back from March 2010.



Split Pea Soup with Zabar’s Ham Hock is one of the ultimate winter comfort foods. I wouldn’t touch split pea soup when I was a kid, then I tasted it during a visit to my cousin’s house when I was 16. I’ve loved it ever since. Here’s a recipe for split pea soup from Zabar’s Tasting Bar in New York City.  Note to self: Make split pea soup next week.



Baked beans aren’t just for summer picnics. Here’s my mom’s recipe for Calico Beans that are made in the crock pot and they’re my favorite style of “baked” beans. They offer more variety than traditional baked beans and certainly more hardy with the addition of bacon and hamburger or sausage. In this same post you’ll see my recipe for Applesauce Cornbread, which also hits the spot on cold winter days.



Boil eggs for 3 to 6 minutes for a very runny yolk, 7 to 9 minutes for a soft yolk and 11 to 13 minutes for a hard yolk.



Valentine’s Day is only about two weeks away. Try making some Chocolate Cherry Pistachio Bark, it’s sure to set the stage for amore. It’s surprisingly simple to make, and a decedent treat for your love interest when made with white, dark or milk chocolate. ♥



Add 1/2 cup chopped, sautéed onions, 1 14-ounce can creamed corn and 1 or 2 8-ounce can(s) un-drained minced clams to 1 26-ounce can Cream of Potato Soup or New England Clam Chowder. Thin with a small amount of milk for desired consistency; garnish with chopped green onions, chopped cilantro or parsley, shredded cheddar cheese and/or bacon bits. Serve piping hot with oyster crackers. Yield: Approximately 4 servings



One of my most valued kitchen “bibles” is How to Break an Egg by the editors, contributors and readers of Fine Cooking Magazine. I receive numerous questions from my Country Cook News subscribers and this book makes me look like a kitchen wizard. I highly recommend it if you’re looking to ramp-up your kitchen skills in 2015. Find the hardcover at Amazon



When the first of the year rolls around, it seems everyone is on a new food program. Salad recipes I thought would be the most sought after come January, but it turns out, I was wrong. According to Kitchen Daily busy cooks are seeking recipes that are kid friendly such as savory Mini Chicken Pot Pies and Mini-Meatloaves, Pepperoni White Pizza Skillet and Buffalo Chicken Casserole.




Charlene asked:  Do you think it’s worth the extra money to buy organic food, particularly when it comes to eggs?

My answer: I think buying organic is well worth the additional cost. Of the organic products I’ve used, I actually see and/or taste the most noticeable difference in broccoli and eggs. Organic broccoli doesn’t seem as bitter as some non-organic (that’s before and after it’s cooked). When it comes to eggs, I will drive as far as it takes to find certified organic eggs.

Organic eggs are better all-around, they taste better, yolks are darker (although, according to Wikipedia, darker yolks do not mean the egg has higher food value but to me darker yolks look healthier) and organic cook-up nicer. The best part about organic eggs is that they don’t produce a foul odor when boiled or get smelly while stored in the refrigerator. Odor-free eggs tell me there is a huge difference in the quality of a chicken’s diet and/or its living conditions, so I only buy certified organic eggs.


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