| || |
Food Prep 101: Eggs are exactly what we need
April 8, 2013 - Anita Hanaburgh
This week’s lesson is going to be about eggs. Eggs? You ask. Why a whole category all by themselves? Well, eggs are unique, with properties different from those of any other food. And it’s Easter.
In food preparation, we use eggs as:
= Thickeners, as in custards and sauces. The protein coagulates or hardens when cooked, causing the liquid to thicken.
= Leavening agents. Whipping eggs white incorporates air, causing a structure that is light and airy, as in omelets, souffles and angel food cake. Egg yolks or whole eggs can be beaten to incorporate air also. To whip egg whites, bring eggs to room temperature for 30 minutes or in warm water for five. Separate eggs, using care to keep the yolk out of the white, as the fat will keep the white from fluffing. I use three bowls in case I mess up. I separate eggs using my hands, allowing the white to fall between the fingers. Eggs whip best in a clean bowl. An acid such as lemon juice or cream of tartar will strengthen the whip. Do not over mix.
= Baked food structure. When eggs cook in batter, the protein causes a structure that holds the flour, sugar, etc. Without eggs, the structure would be flat.
= Flavor, color, richness. The golden egg yolk adds color, fat and flavor to baked products, sauces, casseroles. Think of a yellow cake versus a white cake. Think of French bread vs. Challah bread. Think of Hollandaise sauce.
= An emulsifier. Eggs often are used to bind ingredients together, as in stuffing, meat loaf, mayonnaise, etc.
= A separate food item. We eat eggs as a single food item for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The principles of cooking eggs require a low temperature with accurate timing. High heat will cause the egg protein to shrink, squeezing (weeping) out the liquid and making a rubbery or browned product. Sulfur develops when the heat is too high.
Some ways of preparing eggs:?
= Cook in the shell: Typically called “boiled” eggs, these eggs should never be boiled but simmered. Start at room temp and time carefully. = Fried:?Cooked in a small amount of fat, starting at low temperature. Flip carefully to cook the yolk side.
= Poached: These are my faves. I start with boiling water, then remove the water from the burner, causing it to still. I add the eggs and let them set before returning to the burner to simmer. Use a spoon to ladle the hot water over the top.
= Baked. A great method for company. Using small cups, put in butter and crack the egg. Bake eggs at 350 to desired doneness.
= Scrambled. These eggs are beaten together, added to melted fat/butter in a low pan, then stirred as they cook. For safety, they should be cooked until no visible liquid is seen. I like mine soft and shinny. “Dry” scrambled eggs lose their taste.
= Omelets. The classic French omelet is basically scrambled eggs that are not scrambled. Items such as cheese, broccoli, etc., can be added for flavor. An omelet can be finished in the oven or flipped to cook on its other side. A fluffy omelet has had its whites whipped.
Eggs are made up of a yolk surrounded by the albumin or the white. The yolk nutrients are connected to the white by the chalazae — that little, white, harmless speck. The shell is hard and brittle but is porous. Air and odor can penetrate it. The membrane that coats the inside of the shell pulls away from the shell, causing an air pocket as it ages. An older egg will float as more air seeps into the shell. Try it. As an egg ages, it gets smoother and shinier on the outside. A fresh egg is dull and pebbly.
The eggs we buy at a store are unfertilized and all Grade A. Eggs are inspected for freshness and flaws by holding each one up to a light source. This is called candling, as candles used to be the original light source used.
One dozen large eggs weigh 24 ounces; therefore, each egg weigh approximately two ounces. The yolk and the white weigh approximately one ounce each. Egg sizes move up and down in increments of three ounces. Jumbo is 30 ounces per dozen, extra large is 27 ounces, large is 24, medium is 21, small is 18, and peewee or pullets are 15 ounces. In baking, most recipes assume that you are using large eggs.
Remember when Easter eggs were real eggs? I loved my mom’s hard boiled eggs, and they were hard boiled. She put them in to the boiling pot and let ’em rip. She would walk away and turn them off when she got around to it. I think I was 25 before I realized that the green ring around the hard egg yolk was not there naturally. The eggs were rubbery and stinky, but we loved them. On Easter Sunday, we would peel the very pale colored shell. The green or blue or orange had seeped through the shell and created a crackle design on the white. The eggs tasted best sprinkled with a little salt, right out of the basket, fresh from the hunt.
Task To Try: Pickled Eggs
12 hard cooked Easter Eggs peeled
2-3 cups cooked beets and beet juice (or can with juice)
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 onion, sliced
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon black pepper seeds
1/2 cup granulated sugar (or more)
Cold water to cover
In saucepan, blend ingredients. Heat to boiling, cover, simmer 10 minutes. Cool the liquid, then pour over eggs. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours. These will keep in the fridge for three weeks.
Answer to last week’s quiz: Water added to Yeast should be: B) 100 to 110 degrees F.
This week’s quiz: The key to a flaky crust is what? A) don’t overmix, B) use room temperature ingredients, C) melt the butter ahead of time, or D) bake at a low temperature.
Comments? Readers may write to email@example.com.
An almost real-time look at the stages of whipping egg whites and making meringue. From egg whites, froth and foam, to creamy meringue.
No comments posted for this article.
Post a Comment
News, Blogs & Events Web