Devilled eggs: no dish so readily conjures summers on the back deck, picnics, barbecues, church basements, impromptu patio gatherings…
As discussed in my poetically titled Simmering Eggs in their Shell post, old eggs are the only eggs that will peel easily. They are ideal for devilled eggs.
My personal recipe for devilled eggs follows, a little more complex than the standard mustard, paprika, and white vinegar. Mighty tasty with a beer or cider.
- 6 large eggs – preferably eggs that have been in your fridge for a couple weeks
- water for boiling those eggs
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp hot mustard
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp celery salt
- 1/4 tsp smoked hot paprika
- 1/4 tsp black
… Continue reading.
I am very interested in foods that I only knew in their industrial form for decades before I understood what they actually were. Mayonnaise may be the supreme example. It was a ubiquitous component of my childhood. I’ve written about this before, but I sat at many family suppers that featured three different mayo-based salads side by side by side, what I call the holy trinity of Ontarian side dishes: cabbage salad, macaroni salad, and potato salad.
Mayonnaise was such a ubiquitous part of my youth it wasn’t until my mid twenties that it even occurred to me that mayonnaise must be made out of components.
So, what is mayonnaise? Mayonnaise is a sauce, an emulsion of oil and … Continue reading.
Cooking an egg in its shell is proverbially simple. You drop the egg in hot water, set a timer, then remove the egg. That’s it. Commercial eggs are so uniform in size and shape that we can rely on the cooking times dictated by cookbooks. This is a very unique situation, as usually cooking times in cook books are completely useless. For instance, the time required to cook a piece of meat will vary wildly depending on the specific oven, stove, or grill being used.
The ideal characteristics of a hard-cooked egg:
- Firm-but-tender white.
- A set yolk. The exact texture can be anywhere between soft and gel-like, and firm and granular, depending on the application.
- Some say that a centred yolk is
… Continue reading.
Eggs are the single most versatile ingredient in the kitchen.
Think about the many diverse preparations that are based on eggs. Of course there are scrambled, fried, poached, coddled, shirred, hard-cooked, devilled, and pickled eggs, and yes there are omelettes and flans and frittatas, but there are also custards like crème brûlée and crème caramel, ice cream, sauces like mayonnaise and hollandaise, and sweets like meringue and angel food cake. Eggs are endlessly mutable because they contain two of the most fundamental building blocks of food – protein and fat – in relatively concentrated, isolated forms, in the whites and yolk respectively.
This post covers some fundamental egg info. Subsequent posts will discuss specific preparations and techniques.
How a … Continue reading.
The short version of this post goes like this: remember when we made crème anglaise? That sauce made from milk, cream, and sugar, flavoured with vanilla and thickened with egg yolks, gently cooked on a double-boiler? If you put that sauce into a well-chilled household ice cream churn, you can make pretty good ice cream.
The long version of this post is more like this:
There are two broad styles of ice cream: Philadelphia and French. Philly ice cream typically contains only milk, cream, and sugar, while French ice cream also contains eggs. In fact, the crème anglaise we made last week is very, very similar to some recipes for French ice cream mix. The only difference is that … Continue reading.
While crème brûlée is immediately identifiable by the crust of burnt sugar on top, the custard itself has a very particular consistency and flavour. Since it is eaten out of a ramekin, it can have a much softer, moister curd that, say, crème caramel, which is unmolded on to a plate and is therefore firmer, and eggier.
In fact crème brûlée used to be even more moist than it is now. According to Harold McGee, crème brûlée used to be completely liquid, like crème anglaise, and was poured into a very shallow dish, dusted with sugar, and burnt. Before blowtorches became the norm the burnt crust was made by taking a heavy, metal plate out of some very … Continue reading.
To make custard sauce we carefully cooked a mixture of dairy, sugar, and egg yolks over a double boiler so that the yolks thickened but didn’t curdle, which only occurs within a very narrow band of temperatures around 80°C. It was nerve-racking.
It turns out that if you add starch to the mix, the eggs will never curdle, even if you boil the custard vigorously. The starch granules absorb heat, protecting the egg proteins, and the dissolved starch interferes with protein linking. Of course, the starch also thickens the custard, so you end up with something that is more like pudding than sauce.
This preparation is called pastry cream, or crème pâtissière, and it begins exactly as crème anglaise… Continue reading.
I call these egg noodles to distinguish them from the eggless, dried, commercially-produced pastas like spaghetti and macaroni.
Let’s get to it.
You’ve no doubt seen nonnas or professional chefs mix pasta dough together right on the workbench by mounding up all the flour and making a well in the centre for all the liquid ingredients.
This is more than a parlour trick.
If you were to combine all the ingredients in a bowl at once and stir them together, you would find that they don’t come together; the dough will seem much too dry, and will stay crumbly and separate. It takes the flour a while to absorb the moisture in the eggs and milk. Slowly incorporating in this … Continue reading.
Scotch eggs are hard-boiled eggs that are wrapped in sausage meat, then breaded and deep-fried. They’re eaten cold, ideal for picnics and packed lunches. Actually if you watch the original British version of The Office you’ll see that Keith always has a Scotch egg for lunch.
Tonight is Burns Night, and we’re going to be serving little Scotch eggs made with quail eggs, instead of the traditional chicken egg, as savoury bar snacks.
Have a dram for the bard tonight.
How to Incorporate the Eggs. There are several different ways to put the “egg” into “eggnog.” For a few years I used this method:
- whisk egg yolks with some sugar until pale and foamy
- whisk egg whites with some sugar until soft peaks form
- fold the two egg foams together and stir into milk and cream
- add rum and nutmeg
The problem with this method, first of all, is that if it sits for even five minutes, the eggy foams separate from the milk and cream. I wouldn’t mind a bit of head on the nog, but the foams make up about 90% of the volume. Even during the brief moments in which all the ingredients are properly incorporated, … Continue reading.