25 August, 2009

The importance of not overcooking your boiled eggs

Lots of great new posts to come, but first I thought I'd write about the incredible, edible egg so let's "get cracking":

A. Theme songs have been catchy for a long, long time. But then, I've also watched this like 20 times in a row trying to figure out what the heck the kids in the first scene are eating - I'm sure they didn't have french toast sticks back in 1980!

It all starts with my older son, whom I fear may turn into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or maybe just peanut butter. In my quest to provide a wholesome and diverse set of lunch options, I have hit the brick wall otherwise known as childhood creature of habit and it's only week 2.

Recently I've had a hankering for egg salad; it is yellow after all. That's it! I thought. Big CL loves eggs, ergo he will like egg salad. Wrong! Luckily, I like egg salad - someone has to eat that large batch I whipped up. In fact, I'm waiting right now for my bread to toast so I can enjoy a nice sandwich.

I've consulted several sources to find a delicioso recipe because, let's face it, there are some pretty bad egg salad sandwiches out there and it's hard to imagine something worse than runny or gray eggs on soggy bread... Joy Of Cooking doesn't cut it - I'm actually quite miffed that one of my most beloved books utterly fails in this regard. The Joy's recipe would be the most bland one ever if not for the pinch of curry powder it calls for... So, I'm still on the hunt for that kick-ass preparation.

Most standard recipes call for Dijon mustard, paprika, celery and/or lemon juice along with mayo and S&P to taste. I always use celery, mustard (either Dijon or mustard powder) and lemon juice but am on the lookout for suggestions. Some of the more intriguing additions I have come across (that go in the egg mix and not just separately in the sandwich):
curry powder
shredded carrot
chopped cucumber
minced/chopped red or green onion
pimento-stuffed green olives
hot peppers

The horseradish reminds me of wasabi, which reminds me of tamago sushi. I'll have to try a Japanese-inspired version using furikake or just roasted seaweed (nori). I have also seen in several places and came to this on my own, too, the substitution of sour cream or Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise - definitely two thumbs up for Greek yogurt here.

A few little egg-cellent tricks I've picked up over the years that make all the difference:
  • Don't overcook your eggs unless you are serving Green Eggs and Ham. 8-10 minutes at a gentle boil is plenty (the moister the yolk, the less mayo you will need).
  • Place the eggs in the water when you set the pot on to boil and not after the water is boiling, or you risk cracking the shells. Better yet, use eggs at room temperature.
  • Dunk the eggs in an ice bath after removing from the water to stop the yolks cooking any further.
  • In terms of egg salad, toast your bread and it won't be soggy (especially if you are packing lunch for school or work).
While 80% of the egg salad sandwiches out there are horrid, a good egg salad on a pumpernickel bagel is very hard to beat, unless you add bacon and then it's game over.

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