Adventures with eggs
I'm not quite sure what my brain is up to sometimes!
But yes, it is strange and difficult being ambushed by the desire to eat scrambled eggs at nine at night when a) one does not cook on anything even nearly resembling a regular basis, b) one does not usually like scrambled eggs, c) one has delusions of grandeur formed by watching 10 hours of Food Network a week (I have a life, I swear! I'm just, eh, not sure where I put it...), and d) one's kitchen is entirely understocked for stealth cooking ambitions.
So I dug out my copy of The Joy of Cooking (it's the new ed. Do not blame me! It was a Christmas present! I complain not about free books!) and looked up scrambled eggs. Directions are something like: the lower the heat, the fluffier the eggs. Beat eggs very well with some salt and pepper, heat butter, when butter foams, add eggs. Stir and/or fold.
I was somewhat confused, despite having seen the Good Eats "Egg Files" episode. I beat together four eggs with a bit of salt and pepper and dried parsley. With chopsticks! Even now, using a whisk or a fork to beat eggs seems wrong somehow. Had no butter, and since I had a strange egg craving at night, I wasn't about to go out and get butter, so I used olive oil instead (I figure, adds a bit of taste, low smoke point like butter, maybe is similar?). I think I added too much olive oil because it pooled up on the top of my eggs when I poured them in.
Then I realized that I was using my sauce pan instead of the sautee pan and the eggs looked more like soup than premature scrambled eggs. Oops.
So I stirred, and then I folded, and then I stirred again (just to cover all the bases). The eggs cooked veeeeeery slowly. Curds formed, only to be broken by me. After a while, the eggs sort of congealed. On the one hand, they were not rubbery or overcooked (I could tell because there were not lumps of egg in runny water). On the other hand, after some curds, the rest of the mixture refused to thicken and looked like the inside of a not quite cooked through egg yolk. I ate it anyway, and it was tasty, though now I fear I gave myself some horrible bacteria.
Analysis: potentially too much olive oil interfered with setting. Heat may have been too low (?) but I wonder because Joy said the French style was over a double boiler, and that's pretty low heat, right? Olive oil in and of itself may be bad for eggs. Pan may have been too small for amount of eggs. Cook may have been very lousy egg folder (quite likely).
By that time, it was too late to watch VMars, so I decided to try again, after looking up Alton Brown's recipe! It has more instructions. I like Alton Brown. Unfortunately, I didn't have the egg episode Tivoed so I couldn't actually see what stage curds were or whatnot (I figured out what curds were, but I wasn't sure how big they should be).
(this time it was only two eggs, so I figured I'd reuse the sauce pan anyway, and I still had no butter. A bit of olive oil on the bottom of the pan, turned the heat up a notch)
I was very good and followed all the instructions and stirred until curds formed, and then folded. The eggs congealed more this time, and there was less runny stuff. And all the recipes said to plate before the eggs looked quite done, since they should finish cooking on the plate from internal heat. And Alton Brown said they were platable if no more liquid was running around on the bottom of the pan... but I couldn't tell if the half-congealed thick egg yolky looking bits counted or not!
Results: more curds this time. Still yolky. Did not look fluffy at all. Were not cooked so long as to completely break all the protein bits and leave curdled masses of protein and water, at least.
Analysis: even in small degrees, olive oil may not be optimal for egg cooking. Cook's folding skills may be severely impaired. Cook's curd-checking skills may be severely impaired.
Need to try again! This time, I shall get butter! And eggs that haven't sat around for a few days. Apparently freshness is very important, according to Alton Brown and Joy, and that fresh eggs will be perkier (hee!). Stomach is a little upset today... not sure if it's from eating undercooked eggs or from eating too much milk product this week (I am very lactose intolerant one week out of the month... it should have been a few days earlier, but I suspect the wisdom teeth drugs may have interfered or something, so I think it's kicking in now). But I like the eggs anyway, so I don't mind eating my really ugly mess.
This is fun ^_^. You may all mock me mercilessly about my lack of egg skills.
This is why I need Good Eats DVDs, yes yes!