Thursday, March 19, 2009

Day 3 - How to Boil an Egg, continued

Please don't give me a hard time. This is what my kitchen looks like today.

When I'm in there, I feel like The Boy in the Plastic Bubble Kitchen.

Which is why I tackled only the soft-cooked egg today.

How to Boil an Egg, continued (p. 81)

Truth be told, I've never been a fan of the soft-cooked egg. When my friend, Marcy, orders her scrambled eggs "runny," that kind of gives me the willies. I'm not salmonella-phobic, nor am I one of those texture freaks who won't eat anything mushy or saucy (you know who you are). But I've never been drawn to the loose egg.

When I was a kid, my mother would eat a soft-cooked egg in a bowl every morning for breakfast. It always seemed like there was no there there...

Well, today, after attempting Martha's soft-cooked egg, I feel completely... the same. That's nothing against Martha, of course. This is just one of those tasks that requires me to prepare something I'm not that excited about. (David, my grammar police friend, would correct me and say "you mean, it requires you to prepare something about which you're not that excited" but I say that blogs are more colloquial and a little bad usage is not just OK, it's mandatory.)

While we're on the subject of tasks I'm not that excited about, let me just say that I've been looking more closely at this book, and it's daunting. There are some recipes in here that involve 14 weeks of marinating, a butter churn, and the marrow from 12 spotted anteater carcasses. OK, I'm exaggerating, but the Soups and Stocks chapter alone is going to occupy a month of my life. Not to mention, I'm going to be making things that I would NEVER eat in a million years. Like grilled peppers. (Anyone out there hate bell peppers like I do?) And lemon curd. And tortilla soup. And okra. Which I guess is part of the fun of it all. But I digress.

My soft-cooked egg came out just fine. Interestingly, Martha tells us to do something I've always been told is a no-no: place the egg into rapidly boiling water. Isn't that supposed to shatter the egg into a billion pieces??? Evidently, it does no such thing. The egg performed brilliantly. Once it went in, the pot came off the heat, and the egg bathed for five minutes. Martha suggested four to six, so I went with the middle. If I were to do it over again, I would have gone with six, because I'm just not that into the runny thing. That said, as far as soft-cooked eggs go, this one seemed entirely respectable.

My only gripe is that Martha didn't give me any tips for handling the egg, which, after five minutes in that pot, is super hot. She did tell me how to crack it if I wanted to eat it out of the shell, and she did tell me how to crack it if I wanted to empty it into a bowl, however she did not tell me how to crack it without burning my hands on one incredibly hot egg. And for that, Martha, I'm going to have to give you an A-.

Jeff: A
Martha: A-

Note, this is the first time I gave myself a higher grade than I gave Martha. I'm guessing it may also be the last.

I'm doing some real cooking over the next few days, plastic bubble or not, so stay tuned!

Until we eat again...


  1. excellent work jeff. and very ambitious!
    as the designer of the book, i certainly learned a lot during the making of the book. i will follow along and see how well it goes for you and your guests. maybe my partner and i will be invited to one of your tastings?

    warmest personal regards, william van roden

  2. WVR, is this really you?? Holy $#!t! See 2/20's entry....

  3. Jeff,
    Love this post.. I'm playing catch up on my blog reading. I'm with you... can't stand the soft/runny yolk thing. It just seems wrong. Those people that dip their toast into a 'sunnyside up' egg... it just sends me over the edge. Love your blog. --Kenn

  4. I suggest you try grilling a pepper. I also am not fond of bell peppers because, as a teenager, I got food poisoning from eating a leftover stuffed pepper. (I guess just as with stuffed poultry, stuffing should be separated from its vessel before refrigerating to ensure thorough chilling of the stored stuffing.) I've put peppers on a gas burner until the outside is charred. The charred skin is easily removed and the remaining pepper has a sweet taste.