Category Archives: Incredible Edible Egg

World’s Cutest: Doughnuts

I’m Facebook friends with the pastry chef, cookbook author, and busy food and travel blogger David Leibovitz, whose The Perfect Scoop is still, to me, the revealed wisdom of all things ice cream, sorbet and granita. Today David posted a link to the Serious Eats website, which proposes that the World’s Cutest Doughnuts  come from Japan. Like, surprise, surprise!

All photos: [Photograph: floresta_mama on Twitpic]









If I got to choose my doughnut, I’d ask for the bewildered calico kitty front left.


They’re made by a chain called Floresta Nature Donuts. Here’s the 411 from Time Out Tokyo website:

“Floresta, which also goes under the tag name of ‘Nature Doughnuts’, is a growing contender on a national scale, with shops now in locations as far flung as Kyushu and Hokkaido. With its main shop in Nara, the owners are a husband and wife team who wanted to make guilt-free donuts that they could feel good about giving to children, so the flour, eggs, salt and sugar used are all organic and domestically produced. Floresta avoids the large batch production that many other outlets use, and only makes donuts as needed, meaning that they may well be sold out if you don’t get there early.”









I like organic and domestic, but if theses had the ingredient list of, say, Little Debbies, I doubt that your kid would hesitate a minute before he wrapped his grubby little hands around one of those bunnies.

Here are some “guilt free” frogs:









Four of each, please! And if they give baker’s dozens in Japan, I think I’d like an extra frog.

Here’s the link:


Filed under Cheap and Cheerful Object of the Day, Cool Japanese Stuff, Food, Incredible Edible Egg

Homemade Ricotta: So cheap, so cheerful,and how easy is that?

I might have to put aprons aside for awhile and whip myself up a Cheesemaker’s Smock, like this classic from Folkwear Patterns: (I’m a longtime Folkwear fan, but that’s another post. My brother got married in a Mississippi Boatsman’s Shirt.)

The Cheesemaker’s Smock would be a a fashion overstatement — I’m not storing fifty pound wheels in my nonexistent cellar. I made under a pound today, it won’t last much more than a week, and I didn’t have to lure beneficial bacteria into my kitchen. (I like to think, of course, that all the bacteria in my kitchen are friendly — I’m delusional that way.)

Nope, I made a couple of cups of fresh ricotta.  It required five minutes of active time and the following equipment and ingredients:

An instant read thermometer. A saucepan. A strainer doublelined with paper towel. A slotted spoon. Four cups of whole milk, a half teaspoon of salt and four tablespoons of cheapo white vinegar.

Now, a purist will say, correctly, that ricotta is made from whey. I don’t happen to have a reliable retailer for whey, although I’m pretty sure my magical cousin Mary Fran could source me some raw milk whey should we do the illegal handoff at the Wisconsin line. No, this Little Miss Muffet made her own curds and whey.

So: put on an apron and pour four cups of milk and the salt into a saucepan. Lay the thermometer handy, measure out a quarter cup of white vinegar, and set the paper towel-lined strainer over a bowl. When the milk reaches a temperature between 170 and 190, add the vinegar to the milk and remove from heat. You’ll see the ricotta curds curdle — leave them alone for a couple of minutes. Then scoop them — gently! — with the slotted spoon into the strainer. Let it drip, draining the whey from the bottom of the bowl now and then to prevent it from touching the curds.

My friends, you’ve made ricotta. Ricotta without added gums, as most of the commercial products do. Tender, soft, mild (the vinegar disappears) and a tiny kitchen miracle.

I might order that Cheesemaker’s Smock pattern after all. I’m seeing it in seersucker over a pair of capris.


Filed under A Couple of Bucks, Food, Incredible Edible Egg

I Guess I’m Famous for my Deviled Eggs. Who Knew?

I had lunch with three dear friends from my Paychex days on Saturday, right here in the ‘Ville at the pub of the respected craft brewery Two Brothers. (David Chang has eight beers on his list at Momofuko — according to my astonished daughter, two are from Two Brothers.)

Gretchen and Jason both went through the excruciation of being my boss, and Jayne, an ex-teammate, is now a supervisor in her own right. It’s to their credit that they’re still friends with a payroll misfit like me.

When Gretchen slipped into the booth she gave me some awesome career news, and excited discussion ensued. After the fist-bumping died away her next words were: “James/Chad asked me to ask you for your recipe for deviled eggs.”

Why does this young man have a slashed first name? Paychex had an intelligent policy about the names of their Payroll Counselors: no two people at any branch could have the same first name. It sounds heavy-handed but it works: if, say, I’d screwed something up with a client, I could never say “Oh! You talked to the other Margaret — she’s new to the company.” ( I’d have loved to choose an alias like Esme or Jemima, but I digress.)

Chad’s real name was James and I remember him running alternate choices around the department as if it were as important as naming the new Space Shuttle. He plumped for Chad, and even though the other James left and he’s reclaimed his name, he’ll always be Chad to me. I haven’t seen or talked to him for four years.

The four of us had lots to talk about, and I forgot about Chad’s request until Gretchen forwarded me an email from him saying something like “So Gretchen, did you get Margaret’s Deviled Eggs recipe?” Gretchen’s a busy woman, and doesn’t need to field recipe requests. I promised her I’d get back to her today, and here it is. Chad, this is for you.

Margaret McArthur’s Deviled Eggs

  1. 6 hard boiled eggs (Chad: if you don’t know how to hard boil an egg, do some Googling.)
  2. 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  3. 1/2 t. salt
  4. lots of  fresh ground pepper
  5. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  6. Hot sauce, as you like it.
  7. a pinch of curry powder

Split the eggs lengthwise, and remove the yolks to a dish. Mash the yolks with a fork until smooth, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Spoon the yolk mixture into the hollows of the whites, and you’re done. It’s pretty to sprinkle the finished deviled eggs with paprika, or with a sprig of parsley. Like this:


Filed under A Couple of Bucks, Food, History, Incredible Edible Egg

The Zen of Poached Eggs

I’ve never met an egg style I didn’t like In fact, I was included in Best Food Writing of 2010 for a piece about my obsessive quest for the perfect soft boiled egg: Scrambled, fried, stirred raw into fried rice, omelettes, soft boiled, deviled, egg salad — name it, I love it. I especially love eggs when they’re mated with butter — oh, lots! — or bacon grease.

But then there’s the Vestal Virgin of eggs, the poached egg, so pure so fat free, so divalike in her means and methods. I used to love the perfect saucer-shaped poached eggs my mother produced when I was little, with the metal cups that fit into a steamer. (I think I have the same setup rattling around in the Goodwill box.) Julia Child instructed me in the whirlpool of acidulated water method, but even she, in “Mastering”  recommended an metal poacher that reminded me of an Thonet chair. I’m enchanted by the new generation of egg poachers, adorable silicone cups that bob in the water like coracles — but they’re steamed, in a covered saucepan, not poached.








I’ve fussed. In the last thirty years I’ve used

every truc and cute vehicle to a poached egg recommended by Julia or my mother. It was a big fail — this for an easy method for a cooked egg.

I love poached eggs. I eat a poached egg on toast for lunch every week, at least once. I love restaurant Brunchland Eggs Benedict, a poached  egg over a plate of corned beef hash, an oozy poached over a salad. It’s just an egg, cooked simply in water — any fat, like the butter on my toast, is aftermarket.

Six months ago I wanted a poached egg. I brought some water in a saucepan to a simmer (Yes, I added some white vinegar, and although there’s some new science that states the acid isn’t necessary, I’m not taking risks.) I slid an egg into a saucer, then into the water. I grabbed my slotted spoon and twirled  the whites around the yolk so they’re aren’t lacy bits in the water. I watched and waited. I waited for like, a big deal minute and a half.

Then I pulled the egg into the slotted spoon after a couple of minutes and poked the whites. If they’re too soft, I dunk the egg back into the slowly percolating water and test again until the white’s firm. It’s like being at one with your egg.  The toast is lying there, all buttery — I drain the egg on the slotted spoon and plop it on the toast — in this case an English Muffin, lots of pepper and, today, Himalayan Pink Rock Salt.








All those years fussing and fretting and wrapping eggs in plastic wrap, like the avant Spanish chefs. Such a waste. All I need is a pan, some water, an egg, a spoon and a little attention –and understanding that a poached egg isn’t science:it’s patience, calm, and attention.


Filed under Food, Incredible Edible Egg, Less than 50 cents

Shine on, Bright and Mysterious Objects

Laurie Colwin, wherever you’re lounging in Literary Valhalla — forgive me for bastardizing one of your best titles.

I’d planned to rent some skates today and ask Daddy to take some pix of me falling on my can as I attempted to glide along the beautiful Rideau Canal. Again God said “Hah! Not so fast, sister! ” and encouraged me to run a shopping cart over my left pinky toe. It resembles a baby eggplant and I can barely get my shoes on, let alone a skate. Perhaps it was Her way to remind me that I haven’t done the Hans Brinker thing for thirty years, and that a swollen toe heals faster than a broken leg.

So much for today’s plans, skate-wise and blog-wise — time to move the photography inside.I thought I’d share some of the objects from my parents’ silver collection and run a small contest. Some of them you’ll recognize and some may be mysterious. I’ll send a prize, made by moi, to anyone who achieves 100% identification of the mystery objects. None of today’s shiny things are the oldest or most valuable in the collection — they’re mostly Edwardian — but I love them. They’re mad cheerful, and for me they’re free;I get to use them and I didn’t pay a single pound sterling.

Here’s a snap of most of them to give you an idea of the scale:






I love engraving. Here I’m an Anglo Indian military bride:








I want to run out and buy Jordan almonds, licorice allsorts and wine gums to fill the little pans! The hallmarks indicate that it was made in Chester in 1908. The inscription reads:

Presented To

Capt. and Mrs. Farley


The NCOs & Men Of

“E” Company

2nd North Stafford Rgmt.

Peshawar India 1910

On the Occasion of Their Wedding

I can’t provide the date and provenance of this basket of beauty because I’d have to root around to find Daddy’s copy of Tardy’s. It continental and clever– each cup sits on a little peg so that the maid can’t jiggle the soft-boiled eggs about on the way to your breakfast table.










I’ve never seen such a pretty piece of tea strainer engineering as this: The baskets turn to the horizontal when it’s time to strain a new cup, so that you can dump the leaves efficiently. Again, I’d have to find Tardy to check out the German marks. (I’ve hooked it over an epergne handle to give the general effect.)









Now I’ll move into the Mystery Item round. Number One, from Birks, a Canadian silversmith. It’s about seven inches long.




Number Two (Chester 1904)may be my favorite of the group because it’s just so plain weird. I’m sorry about the crappy picture ; when I decided to reshoot I found my battery was dead. You might want to consult the group shot above.











Number Three, Birmingham, 1902.










So, as they say, enter to win a Valuable Prize! And pray for me — I’ve been so accident prone I’m afraid I’ll fracture a finger flossing my teeth!


Filed under Art, Body, Cheap and Cheerful Object of the Day, Collections, Giveaway, History, Home, Incredible Edible Egg, Worth it anyway

Shopping the Warrenville Farmers Market

I dragged myself from the laptop and the sewing machine at about four o’clock, to go to the post office and drive the extra block from the PO to the parking lot of the ‘Ville Community Center. The lot is ample for the need, but please don’t imagine acres of chic chefly produce here –I didn’t count, but  I think there are no more than twenty tables. A depressingly large number of them are devoted to Tupperware, flea market odds and ends and all those mysterious “food” booths, which consist of nothing but glossy brochures and sign-up sheets. Not exactly the Union Square Greenmarket.

But the City Parents have improved it enormously since last year, when there were booth after booth of people selling American Girls doll clothes and exactly one produce seller. That seller, from way downstate, is back this year with an expanded selection. A baker from Geneva is there, and my two new favorites, which I’ll highlight first.

He explained to me that his poultry and the eggs they produce are not only organic and cage free and free-range — they’re pastured. Yep, out all day in fields, in at night so the foxes and coyotes don’t get them. His meat –pork, chicken and beef, are lucky animals too. I picked up another dozen of the best eggs I can buy, and forked out five bucks for them. Not cheap, but I’ll be cheerful every time I crack one.

I also bought a chunk of organic Wisconsin Wine Cheddar, which I intend to hide.

On to my favorite stall, tended by a glowing family from about an hour from the ‘Ville. Every single shopper was toting a six-pack of their corn, still hands down the best I’ve eaten this year in what’s been a great summer for corn. (All that rain and heat, I guess.) I added some baby eggplants, yellow pattypans, golden beets and huge tomatoes, picked that morning in their garden. It seems they hit a Farmers Market a day, but the lady confided: “I love being in Warrenville — it’s like some little tiny town no one knows about in these fancy suburbs.” Perceptive lady.

The moment that Made my Day: before I snapped their pic I introduced myself as the food writer from the local paper. A voice to my left said” “Oh my God, are you Margaret?” Wow. Seemed the impeccably chic lady beside me is on the editorial staff of the Village Chronicles . She said: “We just drool over your recipes when we get your stories.” That made me happy.

Here are a few pictures from the big “industrial” Farmers Market farm from way downstate, the one that was the only produce stand last year.

Aren’t those tiny multicolored marble potatoes pretty? I bough half a pound of the impeccable fingerlings.

For those of you who live in places with wondrous Farmers Markets, what do you think of the prices on these mushrooms?

I might ask about at City Hall this winter about plans for next year’s Farmers Market. I’ve seen a huge improvement over last year, and this heartens me. Hmmm — maybe I could get on a Committee ?


Filed under Food, Growing things, Incredible Edible Egg, On the Street Where I Live, The 'Ville, Worth it anyway

Fake Food II: Bacon and Eggs

I love real food so much that I love fake food too. I described this phenomenon back here: My origami fetish is well-documented. Five years ago I wrote about the bliss of Sunday bacon and eggs for The Daily Gullet:

How’s this for paper and egg Kismet?

This is a model from Peter Engel’s 10-Fold Origami — he occasionally cheats a bit on the fold count by inserting steps A and B. This was fun folding, involving some judgement from the reader. Next time I’ll fiddle about to make the yolk bigger.

This plate was my surrogate Sunday breakfast today. I mean, when you have a bowl of risen brioche dough in the refrigerator and clean oil in the fryer, why not fry up tiny brioche fritters? Right? Drowned in powdered sugar and served with  raspberry jam they were one cheerful, light, cholesterol and sugar bomb.


Filed under Food, Incredible Edible Egg, Less than 50 cents, Origami, Paper