Saturday, April 28

The Incredible Edible Egg

                                                                                     
Cracking an egg opens up a window to all kinds of possibilities. The egg yolk emerges in a perfect glowing orange dome nestled in its rich bed of clear egg white. Super fresh raw eggs smell deliciously of omelettes, frittatas, soufflé and an endless parade of desserts.

I frequently go to eggs. I like them cooked almost any way. While most people normally eat them for breakfast, they often make a dinner appearance here at Porter South. When I don’t want to make a complicated dinner I will whip up omelets for the P's. In a pinch, I keep frozen chopped spinach, onions and mushrooms on hand and any good quality cheese. Eggs are one of  the most nutritious foods you can buy on a budget.

The Fresh Test

Take your eggs on a swim to determine their freshness. A simple bowl of cold water will do the trick. The freshest are those that sink and lie on their sides. A week old egg will tilt up, it's larger end rising because the air pocket inside expands as time passes, and the yolk and white have begun to separate. Week-old eggs are fine for eating, and peel perfectly when hard-cooked. At two weeks old, an egg's air pocket has expanded all around the inside of the shell, and the larger end will point directly up when in water. If your egg floats, it's usually 3 to 4 weeks old and more than ready to be thrown out!

Keeping Eggs

A fresh egg stored at 75 degrees F loses almost 50 % of its nutritional value in one day. The perfect temperature for eggs is around 40 degrees F. Store eggs with the small side down, allowing the yolk to settle into the egg white which has antibacterial properties. Who Knew?


Super Nutritious

Eggs are super rich in vitamins and minerals. Folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12, calcium, zinc, sulfur, magnesium, carotenoids, and choline are just some of the super healthy things to be found in eggs. Some organic farmers are offering Omega-3 eggs which are laid by birds fed organic flax seed. Egg protein is the most nutritious readily-available, complete protein known. All of the essential amino acids, building blocks of protein, are present in egg protein. Even with all these nutrients, a large egg contains only 80 calories. Super food!


Perfect Scrambled Eggs

                                                                                  


Making the perfect scrambled eggs isn't difficult. The key is whisking the eggs thoroughly and vigorously before cooking them. Whisking incorporates air, which produces fluffier scrambled eggs. And fluffier is better!

Overcooking is a common problem with scrambled eggs. For starters, scrambled eggs should never be even the slightest bit brown -- that means they're burnt! I have tried for 25 years to get Mr. P to understand this concept. Needless to say our eggs are NEVER cooked together. The perfect scrambled eggs should be soft and just a little bit moist.

One last thing: Eggs should always be cooked in a nonstick sauté pan. And for that reason, you should always use a heat-resistant rubber spatula.

Ingredients:



  • 8 eggs


  • 2 Tbsp butter

  • Salt and ground pepper, to taste


  • Preparation:

    Crack the eggs into a glass mixing bowl and beat them until they turn a pale yellow color.

                                           

    1.Heat a heavy-bottomed nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the butter and let it melt.

    2.Add salt and pepper to the eggs. Grab your whisk and whisk like crazy. You're going to want to work up a sweat here. You're trying to beat as much air as possible into the eggs.

    3.When the butter in the pan is hot enough to make a drop of water hiss, pour in the eggs. Don't stir immediately, let the eggs cook until the bottom starts to set, less than a minute.

                                                                                      
    4.With a heat-resistant rubber spatula, gently push the eggs into the center of the pan, while tilting the pan to allow the still liquid egg to flow in underneath.

    5.Gently stirring and turning the eggs until all the uncooked parts become firm. Turn off the heat. Don't break up the egg, though. Try to keep the curds as large as possible. If you're adding any other ingredients now's the time to do it.*

    6.Transfer to a warm plate when the eggs are set but still moist and soft. Eggs are delicate, so they'll continue to cook for a few moments after they're on the plate.
    This is my favorite way to eat eggs.
    Scrambled with crunchy toast!
                                                                           

    * There's no limit to the variations you can create by adding ingredients to this basic scrambled egg recipe. Some schools of thought hold that for the sake of simplicity, you wouldn't want to add more than one additional ingredient. Then again, rules are made to be broken!

    Some ingredients you could add include:

    • Chopped fresh herbs
    • Grated cheese
    • Diced and sautéed onion (sauté the onion separately and then add)
    • Chopped cooked bacon
    • Diced ham
    I find the trick to creamy scrambled eggs is a good amount of butter and most importantly, a constant movement of the eggs in the saute pan without allowing any of it to stay on the bottom. Takes a little longer but the taste is well worth the effort.


    Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs   

    Hard-boiled eggs are good cubed in salads, sliced in sandwiches, deviled eggs or simply eaten whole with salt and freshly ground pepper.


    Ingredients

    • 12 large eggs, room temperature

    Directions

      Place eggs in a large saucepan. Cover them with cool water by 2 inches. Slowly bring water to a boil over medium heat; when the water has reached a boil, cover and remove from heat. For cooking time see chart below.
    Soft Cooked (Boiled Eggs)

    Soft Boiled Eggs ~ Let set in water 3 minutes. A soft-cooked egg has a firm white and runny yolk. To serve in egg cup, place egg in cup small end down, slice off large end of egg with knife and eat from shell with spoon. 

    Medium Cooked (Boiled Eggs)

      Medium Boiled Eggs ~   Let set in water 7 minutes. A medium-cooked egg has a firm white and a slightly firm yolk.


    Hard Cooked (Boiled Eggs)
    Hard Boiled Eggs ~ Let set in water 13 minutes. A hard-cooked egg has both a firm white and yolk.  Refrigeration is necessary for hard boiled eggs if they eggs are not consumed within a few hours. Hard-cooked eggs in the shell can be refrigerated up to one week.

    Transfer eggs to a colander; place under cool running water to stop the cooking. Eggs can be peeled and served immediately. Or pop them in the fridge for later.

    7 minute egg on a toasted English muffin.
                                                     

    Deviled Eggs


    1 dozen eggs
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    1/2 cup Hellman's mayonnaise
    1 good size spoonful of brown mustard
    2 green onions, finely chopped
    1/2 cup Oscar Mayer real bacon bits
    1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
    1/4 tsp salt, maybe less, taste mixture before adding


    Place eggs in large stock pot, cover with cold water and lid. Place over high heat. As soon as you hear the eggs boiling remove from heat, keeping lid in place. Set a timer for 12 minutes. Drain; place them in cold water, adding a few handfuls of ice to keep the eggs from continuing to cook. When cool, peel, half and put yolks into mixing bowl. Mix in all other ingredients except the green top of the diced onions and salt. Mix well, taste for salt adding if needed. Fill a zip lock bag with yolk mixture, cut off the corner and pipe filling into egg halves. Using the tops of the chopped green onions, sprinkle over eggs. Refrigerate until dinner....YUM!

    The Umami Egg

    One of the foods we P's are incorporating more regularly into our days is eggs. Mainly boiled eggs. You can always find a bowl of boiled eggs in our fridge. Always. Egg white are protein, and the yolks contain vitamin A, B12 and a good source of omega-3s. They also boost your good cholesterol. Of course, aside from all that, eggs are just tasty, too. Especially hard boiled eggs that are dressed up with salty soy sauce, spicy sriracha, and nori komi furikake. These items can be found on the ethnic food isle in most grocery stores.
    Umami Hard Boiled Egg

    Ingredients

    • hard boiled eggs
    • soy sauce
    • sriracha hot sauce
    • nori komi furikake

    Directions

    • Slice hard boiled eggs in half, length-wise.
    • Carefully add a few drops of soy sauce to each yolk, making sure the soy sauce doesn’t spill over, instead soaks into the yolk. Add a dollop of sriracha to each half, then sprinkle with nori komi furikake.
    • *Mr.P and our son love these eggs. I am not a huge fan.

    Easy Poached Eggs

    Fresh eggs will be easier to poach (they'll hold together better) than older eggs. Vinegar is optional, it will help the eggs hold together, but if you don't like the taste, omit. I OMIT, not a fan of the extra added flavor.

    Ingredients

    • Fresh eggs
    • 1 to 2 teaspoons vinegar, optional

    Equipment needed

    • Shallow saucepan with cover
    • Slotted spoon

    Method

    1. First bring water in a saucepan to almost boiling. If the water is already boiling, lower the heat until it is no longer boiling. At this point, you can add one or two teaspoons of vinegar to the water, if you want. The vinegar will help the egg whites to congeal more easily.
    poached-eggs-2.jpgpoached-eggs-1.jpg
    2. Working with the eggs one by one, crack an egg into a small cup, then place the cup near the surface of the hot water and gently drop the egg into the water. With a spoon, nudge the egg whites closer to their yolks. This will help the egg whites hold together.
    poached-eggs-4.jpgpoached-eggs-3.jpg
    3. Turn off the heat. Cover. Let sit for 4 minutes, until the egg whites are cooked.
    4. Lift eggs out of pan with a slotted spoon.

    The truly easiest way to make poached eggs is with an egg poacher. This is my chosen method. Simple and quick.
                                                                  egg-poacher.jpg
    Remove the cups you plan to use. Fill the bottom of the pan with 1/2 an inch of water. Bring to a boil. Crack an egg into one of the stick-free egg cups. Place in the cup holder in the pan. Cover. Wait 3-4 minutes and remove from heat. Lift up the handle of the egg cup and slide the poached egg out onto a plate. Sometimes we add a little dab of butter to the bottom of the egg cup before putting the raw egg into it to make it easier for the egg to slide out. Fast. Perfect poached eggs.


    Eggs Benedict Recipe


    Eggs benedict is also great made with slices of smoked salmon in place of the bacon. If you are in or around New Jersey, try it with Taylor ham.

    Ingredients

    • 8 pieces of bacon or 4 pieces of Canadian bacon
    • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish
    • 4 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons white or rice vinegar
    • 2 English muffins
    • Butter

    Blender Hollandaise

    • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter
    • 3 egg yolks
    • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • Dash of cayenne or Tabasco

    Method

    1. Start with the bacon. Heat a large skillet and add the strips of bacon or the slices of Canadian bacon. Slowly fry, turning occasionally, until the bacon is browned on both sides.
    2. While the bacon is cooking, bring a large saucepan two-thirds-filled with water to a boil, then lower the heat to a bare simmer.
    3. Make the blender hollandaise. To make blender hollandaise, melt 10 Tbsp unsalted butter. Put 3 egg yolks, a tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender, blend on medium to medium high speed for 20-30 seconds, until eggs lighten in color. Turn blender down to lowest setting, slowly dribble in the hot melted butter, while continuing to blend. Taste for salt and acidity and add more salt or lemon juice to taste.Transfer it to a container you can use for pouring and set it on a warm place on or near the stove top.
    4. Poach the eggs. Here is an easy method for poaching eggs. Essentially, working one egg at a time  crack an egg into a small bowl and slip it into the barely simmering water. Once it begins to solidify, you can slip in another egg, until you have all four cooking. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let sit for 4 minutes. Remember which egg went in first, you'll want to take it out first. When it comes time to remove the eggs, gently lift out with a slotted spoon.
    5. As soon as all the eggs are in the poaching water, begin toasting your English muffins. If you can’t get all the muffins toasted by the time the eggs are ready, gently remove the eggs from the poaching water and set in a warm bowl.
    6. To assemble the eggs benedict, butter one side of an English muffin. Top with two slices of bacon or 1 slice of Canadian bacon. You can trim the bacon to fit the muffin if you’d like. Put a poached egg on top of the bacon, then pour some hollandaise over. Sprinkle some parsley over it all and serve at once.
    Yield: Makes 4 one-egg one-muffin servings of eggs benedict.
                                                                                              

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