Eggs: The perfect food unit
I love eggs as much as I hate green peppers, which is to say quite a lot. Really, can you think of any other food that is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner, stays fresh indefinitely and costs so little? Not even the mighty brownie, though a perfect meal at an time of the day or night, can last more than a week, even in the fridge. On the other hand, if I’m being frank, and I do try to be, brownies never last more than about an hour in my house anyway, so freshness is really not an issue. The egg, however, lends itself to infinite uses and when properly prepared is both tasty and nutritious, so let’s talk eggs.
First, quality. I’m willing to pay for free range, hormone free, vegetarian feed eggs, but I draw the line at organic. Seems unnecessary to me, but you may feel differently, and if so, go ahead and pay for them. The conditions at big chicken farms are notoriously dreadful and even though I’m not over fond of birds in general, it’s just not right to treat any of God’s creatures inhumanely, so I support the little guys who do right, or as right as can be expected, by their livestock, which is also karmically sound in my opinion. And when it comes to karma, I really can’t be too careful though, of course, I can’t speak for you.
Cold or room temp? I don’t freaking know. I keep reading that you should leave the eggs out on the counter and allow them to rise to room temp before using them, but who really does that? It demands a level of forethought and planning that is just beyond me. I always end up cracking them cold and it seems to work out fine.
Boiled eggs: My mother always poached eggs free hand, that is she just cracked the shell and casually dropped the egg straight into simmering water and it somehow emerged whole and perfectly cooked. Owing to a certain lack of dexterity, this has never worked too well for me, and I am unwilling to add vinegar to the water to make the white hold its shape because you then have to rinse off the vinegar before you eat the egg. I’m breaking a sweat just thinking about it, but maybe you want to give it a try. Instead I use one of these handy egg poachers. Just set it in a pan of boiling water, drop the egg into one of the little compartments and it does everything but digest the finished product for you!
As for timing, it takes about four minutes in boiling water to set the white but leave the yolk runny. If you want the yolk cooked any more than that, you might as well hard boil the thing. For perfect hard-boiled eggs, put the whole eggs in a saucepan and cover them with water, bring it to the boil, then turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the water with a lid on the pan for ten minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Works every time.
I can’t tell you how to make sunnyside up eggs, because I never have. They creep me out, so you’re on your own with that. And if you need help with scrambling, well, you’ve got bigger problems than either of us can reasonably hope to solve here.