Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day 2 - How to Boil an Egg

OK, I know everyone thinks they already know how to boil an egg. I know I did. You put an egg in a pot with water and boil it until you're 100% positive it's cooked through, i.e. about 10 minutes or so. Concern about over-cooking? Nah. It won't burn, it won't explode, it'll be fine.

But - is everybody listening? - this is EXACTLY what's so great about Martha Stewart's Cooking School! Martha is offering us tips that will elevate even the most mundane kitchen assignments.

How to Boil an Egg (p. 81)

Case in point: the hard-cooked egg. (Martha points out that "hard-boiled" is a misnomer, since hard-cooked eggs "should never actually be boiled for any length of time.") I followed Martha's lesson, which involved bringing the egg and water to a boil and then taking it off the heat and letting it sit for 13 minutes, and I was rewarded with a beautiful, tender, easy-to-peel egg. The yolk was solid, but still quite deep in color, as opposed to the dried up, chalky yolks of my waaaaay overdone BM (Before Martha) eggs.

There's also a little lesson in the margin about how to peel hard-cooked eggs, which was helpful and accurate.

Jeff: A
Martha: A

I know, I know, I should take some points off for ease. And I officially only did half of the lesson (haven't done soft-cooking an egg yet). But after getting my ass kicked yesterday on my debut meal, don't I deserve a little breather? And then there's the fact that my apartment is completely covered in plastic sheeting! (Electrical work = drilling into concrete ceilings = mucho dusto = I can live with the plastic for a couple more days.)

FYI, I ate my perfectly hard-cooked egg on a slice of the multigrain bread I baked yesterday, which, as I got to the center of the loaf, I discovered was undercooked. I was supposed to bake them until they were dark, golden brown and sounded hollow when tapped on the bottom, but I couldn't be sure if that sound screamed "hollow" or not. And the loaves had browned up so quickly that I was concerned that I would burn them if I kept them in the oven any longer. So I decided that that's exactly what hollow sounds like. I now realize that I have yet to experience the hollow sound of a thoroughly baked loaf of bread. (Apologies to Michael, my next-door neighbor, from whom I usually spare my lesser baking efforts.)

Incidentally, I know it must seem as if I'm leaving out major parts of these lessons and recipes, which I most definitely am. First of all, it would be boring if I tracked every step of the journey, and secondly, it would also be copyright infringement. I'm giving you the greatest hits of my experiences with MSCS, and it is my hope that you will be entertained and/or inspired to pick up this book, or any cookbook, and make a beautiful meal for yourself and some lucky others.

Until we eat again...


  1. I love this blog already. I just learned how to boil an egg. (seriously)

    Thanks Jeff! (And Martha!)

  2. No apologies needed, I didn't want to criticize an early effort, but since you mentioned it and apologized to me, I figured I'd comment.

    I cut the loaf in half and let it sit out for a couple of hours. The bread makes amazing toast; it dries it a little bit, but it's still soft enough to make a nice sandwich with.

    When I was in baking school, letting bread bake long enough was a gradual lesson I had to learn. You'll get the hang of it and it will sound hollow when you tap the bottom of it. Just know that if you add any kind of egg wash, the crust is going to get REALLY brown before it's done.

  3. Thank YOU, David! (Different David from the Roast Duck David, fyi.)

    Michael - another great tip! I've been enjoying it toasted, too. Meanwhile, you went to baking school?? How cool! No wonder you needed a new mixer. :-) By the way, I didn't put any egg wash on this bread.