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    • I've been playing with the 75 degrees/15 minutes technique this weekend.  Yesterday's 15 minute eggs still had the tiniest bit of slop to their whites, although the yolks were great, so this morning I went with 16 minutes.  Well, sort of 16 minutes - I forgot to immediately set the timer, then dawdled a little over taking them out at the end.  But it wouldn't have been much over 16, honest!
      Eggs in.  I find the seive very useful to stop them wandering around the pot:

      And eggs out.  A quick rinse under the cold tap helps make it possible to break the shells without burned fingers:

      Both whites and yolks were pretty close to perfect.  An observation, for what it's worth: I've always liked my poached or fried eggs to be nice and runny, so as to soak into my underlying toast.  Wifey, on the other hand, has always liked hers solid.  This method makes both of us happy!
      As has been pointed out above, don't think of these as poached or soft boiled.  They're sous vide, and proud of it.
    • Last night, it was the 2012 Holdredge Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
      This is the second bottle I've opened from a mixed case of John's pinots that we picked up on our swing through Sonoma last month. The first, a bottle of 'The True' Sonoma Coast, was spectacular. I served it to my winemaker father-in-law who just kept saying, "So well made..." after every sip. The flavors on this one were quintessential RRV, but I probably won't open another for a couple more years, it has the structure & tannin to age well beyond the expectations set by its $35 price tag, and I look forward to seeing it evolve.
    • We had Risotto (?) for Dinner. 
      If I could get a do-over I'd probably rename myself "ITryReallyHardToCookButIhaveNeverEatenTheseThingsBeforeSoIDon'tKnowIfI'mDoingItRight' - Catchy no? My food experience is extremely limited restaurant wise, all I have to go on are my beloved cook books and the Internet. So I don't know if this is Risotto, I don't know if I got the "slow wave" texture the recipe required (I've lived in the UK and Australia and only know 'No Waves' and 'Frick thats a big Wave'). 
      I used Arborio Rice, Homemade chicken stock (thank you freezer clearing post), white wine, enough butter to make James Martin proud and a (un)Healthy amount of Parmesan. Then I put in some peas because it looked like my Nannys rice pudding. I liked it, my carnivores said they did... have a feeling they were looking for the main course though.
      Edited to add: I don't think It's 'Gooey' enough... I know it's not quite runny enough.. it was gooey to me but, I'm ooze phobic. 

    • Last week at a local restaurant they served a fantastic appetizer of fresh pretzels with a warm beer cheese sauce.  I've always loved beer cheese soup, so why not take a try at homemade pretzels with beer cheese dipping sauce?  My first attempt at making pretzel rolls wasn't bad for a rookie effort, but I need some help from our pretzel bakers.  The crust didn't have a deep-brown color.  Texture good and chewy and a yeasty flavor, just didn't hit the color spectrum on my first try.
      For the beer cheese sauce, I used the Ninkasi Brewing Company Spring Reign Ale that I had used for the beer-battered onion rings.  Interesting how the character of the beer changed from being used in a batter to being cooked in a beer cheese sauce.  In a very good way in terms of flavor, the beer turned bitter, with a pronounced flavor and scent of malt and yeast.  I don't think the bitterness would suit everyone's tastes but I thought it worked well with sharp cheddar cheese.
      Pimento Beer Cheese Dipping Sauce-
      1/4 cup butter
      2 tbsp. chopped shallot
      1/4 cup flour
      1 12oz. bottle of beer
      1 cup milk
      2 tsp. Tabasco hot sauce
      1 tbsp. canned, chopped red pimento
      2 cups grated sharp cheddar
      1/3 cup chopped green onion
      Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
      Heat the butter in a saucepan and add the shallot.  Saute until the shallot is soft, then add the flour and stir to make a roux.  Don't let the roux cook too long, this isn't a traditional dark brown roux.  Once the butter and flour and combined, add the beer.  Let the mixture come to a low boil and add the milk.  Once the sauce thickens, add the Tabasco, pimento and cheddar and stir the sauce until it is smooth.  Reduce the heat to low, then stir in the chopped green onions.  Season with salt and pepper and serve with warm pretzel rolls or soft pretzels.