I had two comments pertaining to foods I’d mentioned the entry I wrote yesterday: one, a request for my recipe for Crack, and the other a question about hard boiling eggs. Since I aim to please, here we go. (Also, I wasn’t sure I could think about anything else to write about, other than maybe that LC’s new show, The Hills, starts tonight on MTV. How much do I love LC? Sigh. Okay, but back to the food.)
First off: hard boiling eggs. Now, it’s been my experience that everyone has their own method for doing this, and I am no exception. What can I say, it works for me, even though it may seem kid of odd. First, I get a big pot and put about an inch or two of water into it. Bring to a boil. Add salt, a fair amount. (This part I learned from my friend Bob, who was the prep cook at the Burrito. Thanks, Bob!) Anyway, then you add in the eggs. Turn down the water, not all the way, but to a low boil, and let them cook for ten minutes. Turn burner off. Let sit another ten minutes. Dump out the water, let cool water run over, add ice cubes to water. Give ice cubes to dogs, who come running at the sound of the ice dispenser (If you don’t have dogs that do this, you can skip this part. I think the eggs will still be fine.) Let eggs sit a few minutes, dump water, then peel eggs. It’s been my experience that the longer you let them sit the harder they are to peel. If they’re still warm, the shells slide off really easily. Then, if you’re in the mood for deviling, cut the eggs in half, scoop out the yolks. Mash them up, add mayonnaise, mustard, some sweet relish and salt and pepper, fill the egg halves up, sprinkle with paprika and boom! You’re good to go.
Some people just boil the water, then turn it off when they add the eggs and cook them that way. Others boil them for longer, or shorter times. There is no right or wrong way: instead, like so much else in life—writing, for example—it’s a process, and you just have to find what works best for you. I’m sure someone out there reading this who is a real cook can probably offer a failproof method, but what’s the fun in that? There’s nothing like standing over a bowl of eggs, having to chip away at the shell, cursing aloud, to make you really appreciate when they just slide off, so easy. Aaah.
Speaking of easy, it just doesn’t come any more so, dessert-wise, than the sweet treat known as Crack. I got this recipe years ago from my friend Kim Bly (hi, Kim!) and have made it millions of times over the years for parties and events. It’s so simple, and yet it looks impressive, which is always nice. You can pretend it was very hard and involved all sorts of additional steps, if you want. I swear, people will believe you. Anyway, jennyhan, (author of Shug now in stores!), this is for you!
You will need:
1 c. butter (that’s two sticks, I know, I know!)
1 c. brown sugar
12 oz bag chocolate chips
small bag chopped pecans
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Get out a cookie sheet and cover it with tin foil. Then, lay saltines, end to end, to form rows completely covering it. Melt butter in a saucepan, then add brown sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring often, and let boil for three minutes. Remove from heat, then pour over the layer of crackers, spreading evenly with a spatula. Stick in oven and cook for 7 minutes. Then, take it out and sprinkle chocolate chips evenly across it, spreading them with the spatula until melted. Sprinkle on pecans and press them in gently. Chill in freezer for fifteen minutes or until hard. When you take it out, peel foil off of the back, and break into small pieces. Keep chilled.
And voila! (Or Wa-La! as my husband would say.) You have this very rich, decadent dessert, which looks lovely and fancy. People never believe the base is Saltines. It will rot your teeth out it’s so sweet, but who cares? As my dad would tell you, enjoy, enjoy.
Whew! Writing about cooking is hard. But then, writing in general is hard, and isn’t it always nice when you find out that’s not just the case for you, but for everyone? And especially someone you really, really, admire? Yeah. That’s how I felt reading this rare interview with Anne Tyler. Nice to know that while I’m down here, staring out the window with my laptop humming, freaking out because I can’t seem to get a scene right, she just might be up in Baltimore having the same problem. I wish I could let her know not only how much I worship her, but also how much I appreciate her being honest that it doesn’t always come easy. Maybe I should make her some crack. Hmmm.