Eggs

Start Saying Hanjuku Tamago

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a plate photo!

Full Disclosure: I can’t think of any other phrase that would properly articulate the joy of reading, “Welcome back!” in text messages responding to plate photos being sent to them for the first time in far too long besides “Thank You. Thank you so, so much.” Y’all rock.

Okay. On the off-chance you thought the title of this post referred to some sort of complicated methodology you wouldn’t dream of attempting, think again. For the trivia lovers, non-Japanese-Americans, and the few who don’t make a regular habit of consuming ramen, (By the way, please start consuming ramen if you don’t. Find your Ramen Wonderland, go forth, and be centered. I digress.), hanjuku tamago just means “half-boiled egg.”

A dear friend of mine recently purchased a sous vide immersion circulator, (Google it), and told me about his ability to make the liquid-yolk eggs of my fantasies consistently as a result, and I’ve since been in search of radioactive spiders to bite me, in hope that they will provide me with this superpower.

The concept of cooking eggs in sous vide immersion circulators being hyped as the ideal means of execution brings about the angsty teenage rebel in me. This may be true, but if restaurants without such technology can make it happen on a regular basis, then why can’t I do the same at home?

The way I prepare hanjuku tamago (get used to it, start using it) is not the same way I prepare hard-boiled eggs. Don’t start groaning, yet. The end will justify the means.

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat, then add a large pinch of salt. (Remember, you only need enough water to cover the eggs, so a smaller pot is fine. Just remember to account for water displacement once things start getting hot.)

Use a slotted spoon to lower the eggs into the water, (Trust me when I say dumping water out of an egg while peeling it just feels yucky.), and let them sit there for 6-8 minutes. The eggs photographed below were cooked for 8 minutes, then sat around for a bit while I made the plate look halfway decent.

When time is up, gently drain the eggs into a colander, then immediately run tap water as cold as you can get it over them. Scandalize and shock those eggs into not cooking any further. Keep running the water and turning the eggs until they are cool to the touch, then gently crack and peel them. When it’s time to serve them, slice them in half with a sharp knife, otherwise yolk will ooze everywhere in something more tragic than choosing to take the 405 in Los Angeles at 5:00 PM – that’s not sexy.

This amazing cookbook, written by the American wife of a Japanese egg farmer, recommends dipping hanjuku tamago in both soy sauce and mayonnaise. With this in mind, the dipping sauce/salad dressing used here consisted of the following:

  • soy sauce (low sodium, please)
  • sesame oil
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • garlic
  • green onions

Mess around with the proportions. Quite honestly, I wasn’t keeping track, but I’d recommend one tablespoon of sesame oil for every two tablespoons of soy sauce for getting started. The amount of olive oil is a matter of preference. I only added a splash, because I was worried the dipping sauce would start tasting too greasy. Fling a dollop of mayonnaise on the side, and if you’re into this sort of thing, a raaare steak on top. (Seriously, just walk the cow through a warm room with some flame-throwers, and I’m good.)

hanjuku tamago

For all you Spotify guys and gals, the playlist for this one went as follows:

“Miss Jackson” – Panic! At the Disco
“Stereo Hearts” – Gym Glass Heroes & Adam Levine
“Mind Your Manners” – Chiddy Bang
“Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” – Jay Z
“Stacy’s Mom” – Bowling for Soup
“Stroke Me” – Mickey Avalon
“All Star” – Smash Mouth”

Too Much Time with Runny Yolk Folks

Is it possible to remember a time before eggs with varying degrees of runny yolks were put on top of everything?

Okay. It’s not that bad, but you catch my drift, yeah?

The first time I remember seeing an egg added to a dish in the matter-of-fact way tinsel gets added to Christmas trees was in December 2006, on an episode of “Top Chef: Season 2.” Elia Aboumrad, who ended up tying for third place that season and now is a co-owner of Gorge in Los Angeles, won a breakfast challenge after preparing a waffle topped with ham, cheese, and a fried egg.

Sounds delicious, right? I mean, I’m down for that. It’s not like fried eggs are a novelty, though. They’re eaten for breakfast all over the world, and society has coined at least four descriptive phrases for this particular cooking method, making the precision and consistency required a source of anxiety and “reasons we don’t go there for brunch.”

(Informal Survey: Do you take your fried eggs sunny side up? Over easy? Over medium? Over hard? Let me know. If you’re vegan, how do the important people in your life who consume eggs like them to be prepared?)

I’m not trying to morph anyone into a makeshift short-order cook. Believe me, I’ve seen how tough those humans have it, and I know you parents and others with younger nuggets to care for are not up for opening a restaurant kitchen in your home when it’s time for dinner. It’s clear that this trend is going to be around for awhile, and I’d like to advocate bringing it into home kitchens to save you $3-5. Maybe this is just because I’m the loon who buys two-dozen eggs, then stands in my kitchen with a few frying pans and a large pot of boiling water.

Egg Cookery Hacks I’ve Learned from Various Food Sources That Actually Work:

A. If you’re making an omelette, once the eggs look like “curds” in your frying pan (like the fluffy soft scrambled eggs dreams are made of), let the eggs sit for 10 seconds. Seriously. Do nothing. This is what will make your omelet stick together. And FYI, your omelette should be soft in the middle. Don’t burn it, please. For the sake of humanity and the children. (For a complete omelette hack, check out this post.)

B. When poaching eggs, make a “whirlpool” in the pot of simmering water, and slide the egg into the center of the whirlpool. This will prevent the egg white from spreading out in the water, i.e. the difference between failure and success.  (Thanks, Alton Brown.)

C. Heat the plate you are serving eggs on. Eggs get cold obscenely quickly. Pop them in the oven on the lowest temperature. If your plates aren’t oven-safe, keep them ready in hot water. Cold eggs suck almost as much as flimsy bacon. If you serve me cold eggs, I will stare at you until laser beams come out of my eyes and damage your soul.

D. Use a rubber spatula for all endeavors in which you are cooking eggs in a frying pan. Respect the eggs. You’re not Christian Grey in his BDSM playroom.

E. If you’re looking for a runny yolk or soft scrambled eggs, your eggs are done the instant there is no excess liquid running around the pan. Stare at it and you’ll see what I mean. Thank me later, enjoy your eggs first.

My latest experiments are with half-boiled eggs. I (like most home cooks) do not have the ability to sous vide my eggs at 63, 62, or 61-degrees, (although I’m thinking about asking for the appropriate equipment from Santa in eleven months), so my eggs are less-than-aesthetically-stunning, but still taste delicious.

When I up my consistency level, you’ll be the first to know. In the meantime, what are you waiting for? Get your oeuf on. (It sounds so much sexier in French.)

Soft-Boiled

I Like Eggs

DISCLAIMER: This recipe will not make Jason Derulo appear for you to be the flight that you get on.

I feel like this website revamp is never going to finish, but I realize this is only because we’re at the beginning of it. Honestly, I’m pretty stoked on the direction things are taking. It feels good to have more fuel thrown on the internal cooking flames. (No, that was not intended to be a stove or oven pun, I just had to be at work at dawn, and am consequently loopy.)

The most difficult obstacle to overcome with redoing this website is getting Mr. Right and I into the same room at the same time to discuss anything. (Especially when lately, the only reason we’ve been able to venture from our respective projects into the same room is to watch a new episode of “Hell’s Kitchen.”)

Speaking of which, that show is terrible. Producers, please find a new writing team. I realize it’s how Gordon Ramsay became an American household name, but I can feel him internally cringing at the bad puns. He’s too intelligent and talented for you to keep giving him awful things to say.

Just let Mr. Ramsay ad-lib. It’s what he’s best at.

I digress.

Any form of Breakfast-for-Dinner is a wonderful thing. These were the dinners I looked forward to most growing up (thanks for the continuous stream of waffles, Mom.) The inspiration for this recipe comes from a combination of two things:

1. This month’s “Martha Stewart” waxing poetic about herbed mayonnaise and Greek yogurt for multiple pages.

2. The obscene prices Le Pain Quotidien charges for brunch tartines.

Oh, and in case you were wondering:

tartine (n.) – a fancy way of saying “open-faced sandwich,” usually consisting of a singular slice of bread.

Trivia: This phrase most likely comes from the Middle Ages in France or England, when thickly sliced peasant bread was used in lieu of plates.

Exactly.

The result was something like a deconstructed deviled egg sandwich? Which sounds incredibly pretentious? But more balanced? Try it for yourself.

Soft Boiled Egg Tartines with Herbed Mayonnaise

For the Mayonnaise:

  • 1/2 cup Arugula
  • 1/2 cup fresh herbs – whatever you have lying around – I used Parsley, Dill, Basil, and Chives
  • 1/3 cup Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons Low-Fat Mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Lemon’s worth of Juice
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

This part is easy, just puree all of these things together until smooth, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Maybe stir in-between food processor/blender/Magic Bullet/Vitamix pulses to make sure the texture is turning into what it should be.

For the Tartines:

  • 2 Eggs per person being served
  • 2 Slices of Toasted Bread (we used Ezekiel bread, but I have a feeling this would be spectacular with sourdough toast) per person being served
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Mayonnaise (See Above)
  • Arugula
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika

Place eggs in pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, and cook to your liking. (For the record, it’s 2 minutes on our stove for a perfectly soft-boiled egg.)

Run under cold water immediately to stop the cooking process and separate the egg white from the shell membrane. (Otherwise the eggs will fall apart and look anemic and sad when you peel them.)

I recommend timing putting bread in the toaster to when you take the eggs off the stove and peel them…..because real talk, no one likes cold toast. That’s just wrong.

Assemble the sandwiches by brushing the toast with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, spreading the herbed mayonnaise on top, then topping everything with the arugula, sliced/peeled eggs, and salt/pepper/paprika to taste.

Try not to make these multiple days in a row if you’re having a busy week. It will be a challenge.

If I were incredibly pretentious, I’d call this a “Deconstructed Deviled Egg Sandwich.” Since that title is cumbersome, I’ll just call it, “Addicting.”

C’est Bien!: The Time I Discovered the Joy of French Omelettes

As everybody knows, there is only one infallible recipe for the perfect omelette: your own.”          – Elizabeth David

I’m not exaggerating when I say I’m willing to eat eggs with every meal. Me encanta mis huevos. Real talk. I’m writing this post while watching a breakfast challenge from Top Chef: Season 2.

What’s not to love? During a more frivolous time in my life in which I had……(ahem)……more than a few gentlemen and lady callers, I was always willing to scramble some fridge extras together or slide an over-easy egg onto a piece of toast before gently guiding them out the door…..What? I had class to attend.

No shame. Not even a twinge.

Aside from Dad’s hangover-curing scrambled “junk eggs,” I usually prefer eggs with any iteration of runny yolk: poached, soft-boiled, over-easy…..as long as I can use the yolk to sauce up whatever is underneath, I’m a happy girl.

Let’s return to the matter at hand: I’ve found an alternative to the runny-yolked egg in the French omelette. I feel as though I’ve been banging my head against a wall for the past two decades. Um, what makes a French omelette different from a regular omelette? I’m so glad you asked.

When cooking eggs in the French style, any form of color on the eggs besides fluffy yellow-white goodness means the eggs are burned. How true that statement is comes down to opinion, but French eggs should put one in mind of custard, and fluffy white unicorn clouds – simple, soft, and buttery.

French omelettes are stupid simple to make. It will take me way longer to write out the steps to make a French omelette than it will take you to make one yourself. This is the lightest and fluffiest egg dish I’ve ever paid for or made. Try it. Make it for your lovers. Use leftover fresh herbs that are about to go bad. Make it when you’re hungover. Make it when you’re not sure what to make. I really don’t care what your reasoning is….I can eat eggs at any time, and you should start doing so if you haven’t already.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs – room temperature, if you’ve got the time to leave them out for a bit
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter – half cut into cubes, half for greasing the pan
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped mixed fresh herbs – use whatever is leftover. In this case, I used basil and chives.
  • A large pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the teaspoon of water (it will help break down the butter later on). Whisk with a fork and STOP WHISKING when the eggs drop cohesively as a weird congealed conglomerate unit from the fork.

Seriously, don’t over-whisk the eggs. It’ll create drama in the pan later. And you don’t need a whisk. Whisks add way too much air and means the eggs will be runny and awkward.

Whisk in the butter and herbs while heating whatever pan you’re using over Medium-High heat for 30 seconds.

Place half of the butter (1/2 tablespoon) in the pan and swirl to coat. Pour in the egg mixture and LET IT SIT FOR TEN SECONDS.

We’re having a lot of serious moments in this post.

But seriously, don’t touch those damn eggs. Count to ten by Mississippis while the edges of the omelette set.

After ten seconds of tweedling your thumbs have passed, use a rubber spatula to stir the egg mixture in a figure-8 motion. In other words, keep moving the set edges into the runny edges. Do this for 25-30 ish seconds, or until the eggs are mostly cooked. When curds start to form, don’t stress about your eggs being scrambled – these suckers need to get fluffy, and these soft curds are making that happen.

If/when you see color starting to form, or there is only a small amount of uncooked egg in the middle, flip the omelette over and remove the pan from the heat. Have a plate ready, because by the time you slide the omelette onto the plate, those uncooked parts will be ready.

To make the prettiest omelette possible, tilt the pan away from you until the omelette slides to the edge, and pull to the center of the plate with the fork. Attempt to make a tri-fold, but don’t stress if it just falls onto the plate.

Add whatever you normally put on top of your eggs. Steal one last kiss from whoever you’re cooking for and wiggle your eyebrows in a provocative manner to suggest going back to bed after the meal is over.

Also perfect for a snack break in between rounds. Use your imagination.