Thursday, March 13, 2008

How to Boil Eggs

With Easter coming up, you knew I'd have to do something with eggs. Eggs gained a bad reputation during the 1970's and 80's. The whole “avoid cholesterol” thing. The fact that the membranes of our cells are about 50% cholesterol, and that our body makes it's own cholesterol if it doesn't have enough, never seemed to enter into that conversation.

So now that we're on to newer diet fads, it's okay to have an egg or two once in a while.

Eggs are very inexpensive complete protein sources, and one of the easiest things to cook. One of the first things I learned to do in the kitchen, after making toast and peanut butter sandwiches, was to fry an egg. With Easter coming, we're going to boil them, instead.

I like boiled eggs. I remember my Dad eating a boiled egg with breakfast nearly every morning, when I was a kid. Soft boiled eggs and toast was a traditional breakfast dish for many families. They were so popular that people actually made little egg stands to hold the egg while they dipped the toast into the still liquid yolks.

Boiling Eggs

Remove the eggs from the refrigerator. A lot of people like to let them sit until they come up to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before boiling to avoid cracking. I overcome cracking in a less time consuming way.

Put the eggs into a small to medium saucepan, depending on how many eggs you want. Unless I'm cooking a dozen eggs for Easter, I don't cook more than two or three at a time. Add enough cold water to the saucepan to just barely cover the eggs. Just don't put so much water in that it will boil over. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Bringing the eggs up to temperature with the water helps avoid cracking the shells and you ending up with badly poached eggs.

Take the pan off the heat and set your timer. You're going to just let the egg sit in the hot water. The length of time depends on what kind of a boiled egg you want:

4 minutes for a soft boiled egg
10 minutes for a hard boiled egg.

Soft Boiled Eggs

Once cooked, remove the egg with a slotted spoon and slice across the top of the egg with a sharp knife to expose the cooked whites, and runny yolk. Sprinkle a little salt on the exposed egg and serve with toast strips for dipping.

Hard Boiled Eggs

After cooking, drain the water from the pan and then pour cold water into it, once again covering the eggs. This makes it easier to crack and peel the shell. Warm eggs are a great treat, but make sure you let things cool long enough that you don't burn yourself.

Smashed Eggs

I learned to eat eggs this way from my Dad. I introduced this to my seven year old the other day and now it's her favorite way to eat eggs.

Take a warm, hard boiled egg, remove the peel and place into a small bowl. Add a half-teaspoon of butter, and a dash of salt and pepper. Smash the egg into very small pieces, almost like a rough paste, with a fork, mixing it with the butter, salt and pepper. Enjoy!

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