Monday, January 28, 2013

Cooking With Eggs, Separating, and Folding


Eggs are a great source of protein and can be prepared in a variety of ways to suit just about any taste.

Personally, I am do not like eggs, but I make sure to eat them as often as I can because they are such a perfect food, and one of the absolute best sources of protein. I have learned to prepare eggs in a way that makes them appealing to those who do not like the flavor of plain eggs. Usually, when people find the taste or smell of eggs offensive, it is when they are hard boiled, or cooked solid. My European family did not cook eggs as hard as Americans do, and I discovered that when eggs are soft boiled, or over easy, the taste is milder, and a lot more pleasing to my taste. Before we go much further with recipes, now would be a great time to make sure you can separate an egg, beat egg whites to a fluffy merengue, and folding egg whites for gourmet dishes, as these are skills you must master to truly feel competent with many recipes that require these protein packed goodies.
If you are a beginning cook, eggs are a great food to develop a solid cooking foundation, especially if your family loves breakfast.

Separating An Egg

Many recipies require separated egg whites and yolks, and this immediately turns people off. Separateing an egg is not difficult. The yolk tends to stick together and the white naturally goes its own way, just follow these simple steps.

  • hold the egg in one hand above two bowls.
  • Crack the shall on the side of one of the bowls lightly.
  • Pry open the eggshell with both thumbs avoiding any excess pressure, lest you puncture through the shell with your thumbs.
  • When all the white is in the bowl, carefully transfer the yolk to the other bowl

Beating Egg Whites

Beaten egg whites make souffles rise.
Before beating egg whites, make sure that your mixing bowl and beaters are clean and dry. Even a speck of oil, or egg yolk can prevent the whites from fluffing up stiffly. Make sure you have only the whites, and beat them slowly until foamy; then increase the beating speed to incorporate as much air as possible until the whites form smooth shiny peaks. If you are making a souffle, you should start beating in the sugar at this point. (After the whites form peaks.)
Avoid using plastic bowls when beating whites. Fat and grease adhere to plastic which can diminish the volume of beaten whites, while a glass bowl tends to support the shape of fluffy egg whites by remaining cool and dry.
If you over beat the eggs so that they lose their shine and start to look dry and grainy, add another egg white and beat briefly to reconstitute.

Folding Egg Whites

To fold egg whites into a batter, a souffle base, or any other mixture;
  • being by stirring about one-quarter of the beaten egg whites into the yolk mixture. This is a way of lightening the batter.
  • Then pile the remaining egg whites on top. use a large rubber spatula to cut down through the center of the mixture, going all the way to the bottom of the bowl.
  • Pull the spatula toward you, and flip the yolk mixture up over the whites. Repeat this plunging, scooping motion at least 10 times, until the whites and yolk mixture are combined. Do not to over blend, or the beaten whites will deflate.

How to Enjoy Eggs When You Can't Stand them

As I mentioned earlier, I much prefer the less pungent soft eggs than I do scrambled or hard boiled, but I still do not particularly enjoy them plain. I have come up with a list of tasty ingredients that I have added to eggs, and found myself going back for more.
  • Chorizo, A fresh sausage made from chopped pork and fat, and seasoned. It is usually considered picante (hot) or dulce (sweet). This is your personal preference. I like spicy sausage, and a good kick is perfect for drowning out the flavor of eggs.
  • Sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese
  • fresh basil
  • dill and chopped tomatoes
  • capers and carmamelized onions

Blood Spots in the Yolk

Sometimes blood spots appear in the yolk, as a child I thought that it meant the egg had been fertilized, however, the blood spots are actually just a ruptured blood vessel on the surface of the yolk and do not affect the flavor, and are perfectly safe to eat.

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