Friday, November 8, 2013

Lowered Eggspectations - Part 2





Since last time we looked at cooking an egg without the trimmings, in this edition, we'll be looking at more complicated stuff like egg salad, scrambled eggs, devilled eggs, fritatas, and quiches.



Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs and Fried Rice


Of all the ways to prepare eggs, this is by far the easiest. It is in part 2 because it requires a little mixing and adjusting according to personal taste.

Here's How You Do It

Equipment

1 Mixing Bowl

1 Fork or Whisk

1 Frying Pan

1 Spatula

1 Measuring spoons - IF using milk

From the Fridge

2 Eggs

Butter - OR - From the Pantry - Canola oil or a mixture of both

Milk or Cream - To taste (optional)

Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and beat with a fork or whisk until the eggs have turned into yellow liquid. You can now cook them as is, or add some milk or cream and whisk again. According to Chef Martin, milk isn't necessary for scrambled eggs, but it does add bulk, so it's really a question of preference.




Add your fat of choice to the frying pan and heat it on the stove on medium for a few seconds. Dump in your eggs or egg and milk mixture and stir constantly with a spatula (see below) until the eggs are solid but not dry, or, in other words... they look like scrambled eggs.


Once you have mastered basic scrambled eggs, the options are limitless! Try mixing some salsa into your raw egg mix for cheaters' huevos rancheros, or pesto for green eggs. You can even dump in crumbled or finely chopped leftover cooked meat or vegetables, or your favorite grated cheese! 



How to make Devilled Eggs

Devilled Eggs Garnished with Green Onions


A devilled egg is a hard-boiled egg that's been shelled, halved, and then had the yolk scooped out, flavored, and put back in the white. It's one of those things that looks fancy, but is easy to make. They make great breakfast or brunch items, and appetizers at a dinner party.

Here's How You Do It

Equipment

1 knife

1 fork

1 spoon

1 mixing bowl

Measuring spoons

IF ya wanna get fancy   

Piping Bag

From the pot

Hard-boiled egg(s) - see Lowered Eggspectations, Part 1

From the Fridge and Pantry

Mayonnaise or Jarred Salad Dressing i.e. Miracle Whip

Flavoring(s) of choice i.e. grainy, yellow, or dijon mustard, pesto, prepared horseradish (from the store - usually found in the kosher section of the grocery store), fresh chopped dill (it's an herb) - to taste

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Garnish of choice (optional) i.e. paprika, the green part of a chopped green onion, chives, parsley, dill, or cooked bacon, chopped into tiny pieces

Peel and cut the hard-boiled egg or eggs in half.

Using a spoon, carefully scoop the yolk (the yellow part) out of the white part of the egg, and dump in a bowl.

For every yolk you use, add 1 teaspoon of mayo or jarred salad dressing.

Mix well using a fork and add your desired flavoring a little (say a 1/4 teaspoon) at a time, until you like the taste, and mix again, mashing the yolks at the same time, until relatively smooth.

The filling is ready when it is creamy and thick.

If it's too runny, no biggie, it'll taste good just the same.

When the filling is ready, carefully scoop it back into the whites,

OR

IF ya wanna get fancy, squeeze it in using a piping bag. To use the piping bag, simply attach your desired metal tip, fasten securely, carefully put your yolk mixture into it - ideally without making too much of a mess - and then squeeze the top of the bag using your whole hand, slowly working your way down. Many piping bags come with instructions to guide you in their use.

Please note that in order for the piping bag to work, your yolk mixture has to be as smooth as possible, which may take a little more effort than putting the mix back into the white with a spoon.

Top with a pinch of paprika, or a little of any of the aforementioned garnishes and serve!

Egg Salad

Egg Salad with Grainy Mustard


Egg salad is ridiculously easy to make. It therefore always comes as a surprise to me that people are willing to pay up to six bucks for a sandwich consisting of little more than said salad, some lettuce, and bread!

It's basically devilled eggs, but instead of handling egg white and egg yolk separately and then combining them at the end and adding a garnish (a garnish is a fancy topping used primarily for decoration), you chop up and mash both together until the mix is spreadable. That's why it always photographs so ugly!


I have included two ways of making egg salad: the lazy way, and the not-so-lazy way.

Here's How You Do It

Equipment

1 Knife + Cutting Board OR a Box Grater

1 Fork

1 Spoon

1 Mixing Bowl

Measuring Spoons

From the pot

Hard-boiled egg(s) - see Lowered Eggspectations, Part 1

From the Fridge and Pantry

Mayonnaise or Jarred Salad Dressing i.e. Miracle Whip

Flavoring(s) of choice i.e. grainy, yellow, or dijon mustard, pesto, prepared horseradish (from the store - usually in the kosher section), paprika, chopped fresh dill, chopped green onions - to taste

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

OR

IF YOU ARE FEELING REALLY LAZY:

FROM THE STORE: Caesar OR Ranch Salad Dressing - Please note that if you're vegetarian, use the Ranch dressing, as Caesar Salad dressing usually contains anchovies or anchovy paste - For those of you who didn't know this, I am sorry for ruining your favorite salad and/or grossing you out.

Take the shells off, and finely chop or grate your eggs, whites, yolks, and all, and put them in the mixing bowl.

For the lazy method, stir in your salad dressing of choice, a spoonful at a time until you reach the desired consistency, mix with a fork or spoon, and you're ready to go!

For the not-so lazy, just like for devilled eggs, use a teaspoon of mayo or jarred salad dressing for every egg you use. Add your flavoring of choice and some salt and pepper, mix well, and presto! You have egg salad!

This stuff can then be eaten as is, or on top of a leafy salad or bread, or in a sandwich.



Fritatas

Spinach, Goat Cheese, and Cheddar Fritata

A fritata (pronounced "free-tah-tah") is sort of like a quiche, and like a quiche, you can put just about anything in one.

To give you some ideas, I have included my recipe for a spinach fritata, but because almost anything goes in one of these, fritatas are a great way to recycle leftovers, provided they're not too liquidy.


Here's How You Do It

Equipment

1 Frying Pan (preferably one that can go into the oven)

IF your frying pan is not oven-friendly, you will also need a Baking Pan

1 Spatula

1 Whisk or Fork

1 Mixing Bowl

1 Regular Bowl

1 Strainer

1 Knife + Cutting Board

Measuring Spoons

Oven Mitts

1 Kitchen Timer

From the Pantry

Salt and Pepper (say a teaspoon of each)

From the Fridge

5 or 6 Eggs

Milk (optional)

Grated or Crumbled Cheese to taste (optional)

1/2 an Onion

1 Teaspoon of Pesto

1 Tablespoon of Butter - OR - From the Pantry - 1 Tablespoon Canola oil -OR -  A half measure of both

From the Freezer

1 to 3 Cubes of Frozen of Chopped Spinach

From the Tap

Hot Water

Put the frozen spinach in a regular bowl and pour hot water over it to thaw it out. Once it's defrosted (about 15 minutes) put it in a strainer to drain. 
 
In the meantime, peel and chop the onion into tiny pieces on the cutting board using the knife.

Turn your oven on to 350F (about 180 Celsius). It won't reach that temperature for at least a few minutes - the process by which the oven slowly reaches the heat you want is called "Preheating". While the oven is doing this, crack your eggs into a bowl and add the pesto and salt and pepper, and (if using) about 1/2 cup of milk, and a handful of grated or crumbled cheese. Mix it with a fork or whisk and put it aside.

Heat your oil or fat of choice in your frying pan on medium heat, and move the pan around to coat the inside with the oil. Dump in your chopped onion and cook them, moving them around with the spatula until they're soft and translucent. Dump in your spinach and cook for a minute so the spinach gets hot.

Pour your egg mixture over the contents of the pan and put the whole pan in the oven. If your frying pan can't go in the oven, put the contents in a baking dish that you've rubbed the inside with canola oil or butter, and pour the eggs over the contents.

Set a timer and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes. It's ready to come out when the middle is no longer liquidy. You can test this by sight, or by putting on the oven mitts, pulling it out of the oven, and  inserting a fork or toothpick (if you've got one) in the middle. If the fork or toothpick comes out clean, it's ready. This is called "The Toothpick Test", and can be used on everything from cakes, to breads, to muffins, and some (but not all) pies!


You can now eat and enjoy for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Serves 4 normal people, or 2 VERY hungry people.



Quiche




A quiche (pronounced "keesh") is a fancy word for a savory (meaning "not sweet") egg pie. It's basically a fritata with a crust.

Since quiches, like fritatas, can contain just about anything + eggs, I will include my recipe for spinach quiche, which is basically the previous recipe without onions, baked in a single pie crust. Feel free to experiment with different fillings. Cooked ham, cheese, and smoked salmon are popular choices.


Before I begin, please note that for those who think "Real men don't eat quiche", I say: Real men are comfortable enough with their sexuality to eat quiche and like it!

Equipment

1 Round Baking pan OR Glass or metal Pie plate OR Store bought aluminum pie plate (you can get a couple of the latter in the supermarket for about 3 bucks)

1 Fork or Whisk

1 Regular Bowl

1 Mixing Bowl

1 Strainer

Measuring Spoons

Scissors

Oven Mitts

1 Kitchen Timer

From the Fridge

5 or 6 Eggs  

Milk (optional)

Grated or Crumbled Cheese (optional)

1 Teaspoon of Pesto

From the Freezer

1 to 3 Cubes of Frozen of Chopped Spinach

1 Pie Crust

From the Tap

Hot Water

Take the pie crust out of the freezer and leave it out on the counter for at least 60 minutes, or until soft enough to unroll it.

In the last 15 minutes of the crust defrosting, put the spinach in the regular bowl and pour hot water over it to thaw it out, and then put it in a strainer to drain out the excess liquid.

Place the crust in your pie pan or baking dish, and press it down gently so that it touches the bottom and sides of the pie plate. If there is a lot of crust hanging over the edge (see the images below) use a pair of scissors, cut the extra bits off, and toss em', or save in the fridge to decorate another pie.



 


Using a fork (you can, as I did, use the same one you use to mix the eggs), press the tines into the edges of the pie crust that touches the lip of the plate and repeat until you've done the entire outer edge. This will create a fancy edge. You can do this either before or after adding the filling. See the image below. 



Turn your oven on to 350F (about 180 Celsius).

While the oven is preheating, crack your eggs into a bowl, add the pesto and (if using) about 1/2 cup of milk, a handful of grated cheese (if using), and a little salt and pepper (say 1/2 teaspoon each). Mix it with a fork or whisk and add in the thawed, drained spinach, and mix again. The quiche made above was made with 3 cubes of frozen spinach, but it's really a matter of taste.

Pour the mix into the pie crust, leaving some crust visible. This may not require all of the mix, it all depends on the size of your receptacle. If there IS anything left, it can either be used for scrambled eggs, or since pie crusts usually come in packs of 2, another quiche!

CAREFULLY, without spilling the contents, put the pie in the oven.


Set a timer and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes. It's ready to come out when the middle is no longer liquidy, and the crust is golden brown. You can test this by sight through the oven window, or by putting on the oven mitts, pulling it out of the oven, and  inserting a fork or a toothpick (if you have one) in the middle. If the fork comes out clean, it's ready.

Let it cool on the counter for about 5 minutes, and then...

Enjoy!

Serves 4 normal people, or 2 VERY hungry people!

Stay tuned for next week's edition when I'll be covering even tougher egg stuff! Be ready!

 -Samantha R. Gold

Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.






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