Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Low and Slow for Perfect Eggs? Skip the microwave.

Temperature and timing is everything.

At least in cooking it is.  It is the difference between turning sugar and water into syrup and turning it into candy.  Or just carbonize it into a blackened mess.

The back story is simple, my diet has changed.  I'm having a lot of scrambled eggs lately because I am "home". 

For a while I was just stirring them in a bowl and then microwaving the bowl.  Stop that, it made for something I could patch a tire with.

So I thought "Hey, you are a better cook than that, what is going on here?".

Hens Eggs stirred and then heated, or really more like warmed, will cook and firm up.  But what you truly want are those rich custard like eggs that you can get when someone who knows what they are doing to them is at the stove.  Adding in cream or milk will change the texture and make things richer but if you use too much heat your results won't be any better.

This is basic, but basic cooking is what you have to get to get your results so you can build.  It's the same for any skill.  Put the time into it and turn the heat down and you'll be surprised.

I took three eggs, and threw them indifferently into a bowl and pressed the 30 second button.  Repeated twice more.  I ended up with a sulfurous yellow blob.  Sure it looked like a souffle and rose quite a bit but that is not what I wanted. 

I thought ok, I have the same eggs.  I can repeat next time.  Again I added no salt, scrambled them in a mug, and poured them into a skillet.  The heat was at low-medium - just enough to toast the bread I was serving with. 

Pushing things around with my trusty Halloween inspired Frankenstein Spatula, (Thanks, Patty,) I noticed I was getting the results I wanted.  Sunny Yellow Egg Custard.

It was perfect.

The next day, the temperature of the skillet was higher.  High enough to begin to tan the surface of the eggs.  It was not as good.  So this morning, less heat. 

This is not the only food that works this way.  It is why you have a candy thermometer.  You cook Meats the same way, to a specific temperature internally.  Steaks at a low internal temperature are rare, at a high one they are burned, sorry, well done.  Pork shoulder cooked to 210 is perfect, 180 is tough.

That last one is due to the toughness of the fibers in the muscles of the pig.  In that case, you need to allow the time at a gentle heat to break the collagen down so that the muscles break down in the sauce to make a soft and pull apart pork dish.  Pulled Pork.  Perfect for a crock pot.

So take your time.  You'll find the results are much better. 

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