Buying, handling, storing eggs Alternate buying white and brown eggs, so you always know which ones are oldest. An older egg will slosh around in its shell, as some of the liquid will have evaporated. Its air cell will also be larger than that in a fresher egg. 1 medium egg = 3 tablespoons 1 large egg = 31%u20444 tablespoons The white, or "albumen" contains half of the egg's protein, but none of the cholesterol. That's all in the yolk. Keep eggs in the coldest part of your fridge -- not in the door. If you're worried about the age of your egg, lower it into a bowl of water. If it floats (due to gas build-up), toss it out. That white, stringy thing is the chalaza, which anchors the yolk in place. For Poaching: The older the eggs, the thinner their whites. Use the freshest ones you can find, cold from the fridge, so yolks and whites hold their shape. A tablespoon of vinegar in the poaching liquid also helps congeal the surface more quickly. Set a timer for three minutes for medium yolks, and less or more for runnier or more solid centers. Recipe: 1. Break each egg into a small bowl. Fill a large, straight-sided skillet or Dutch oven with 2 inches of water; bring to a boil. Add vinegar. Reduce to a gentle simmer: the water should be steaming and small bubbles should come up from the bottom of the pan. 2. Submerging the lip of each bowl into the simmering water, gently add the eggs, one at a time. 3. Cook for 4 minutes for soft set, 5 minutes for medium set and 8 minutes for hard set. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to a clean dish towel to drain for a minute. The poaching pot is much easier to clean if it's still warm from cooking. Food Safety Note: If salmonella is a concern in your area, be sure to cook your eggs until hard set. Fried Eggs Place a lump of butter in the middle of a skillet, and let it melt on very low heat until it pools, but doesn't crackle. Crack an egg onto a saucer, and then slide it into the butter pool. Cover, and cook at low heat to desired doneness. Hard Boiled Eggs Brown shells are thicker than white shells, and thus more crack-resistant, making them ideal for hard boiling. There's no other differences between white and brown eggs -- they just come from different breeds of hen. Read what food egg-spert Marion Nestle has to say about Brown vs White. Cover the eggs with an inch of water, and then remove the eggs. Bring the water to a boil, and lower the eggs into the water with a spoon or tongs. The boil will die down, but when it resumes, lower the heat and simmer the eggs to your desired doneness. Experiment with timing to find what works best for you. A pinhole in the tip of the egg will keep the shell from cracking due to trapped air. Soft Boiled Eggs The procedure for cooking a soft boiled egg is essentially the same as for a hard boiled egg, but a standard 4-minute boiling time is sufficient for most people's tastes. Why start the eggs in water that's already boiling? It helps keep the shells from sticking to the eggs -- which is what makes them difficult to peel. For "toast soldiers", cut a slice of buttered toast into strips, and then cut the egg's top off with a knife, or gently crack it, set it vertically unto an egg cup, and dip the toast into the yolk. Egg in a bag Ingredients 2 heaping tsp meat (I pre-cooked bacon, pre-cooked sausage and some ham) 2 heaping tsp cheese (Any kind will do, I Mexican four cheese blend) 2 eggs 1 large (gallon size) Ziplock bag Directions: Beat the eggs well. Add meat and cheese. Mix well. Pour mixture into Ziplock bag. Seal bag and place into lightly boiling water. Boil for 8-10 minutes, or desired doneness. Baked Eggs Baked eggs are also called shirred eggs. Yolks take on a greyish tinge when they're cooked or beaten in aluminum. Stick to glass, ceramic, silicone and stainless steel cookware. For classic French oeufs en cocotte, break one or two eggs in indivdual buttered ramekins or baking dishes, and cover with a tablespoon on milk or cream. Bake in a 325 oven for 10-14 minutes, or until the whites have firmed, and the yolk has thickened, but not hardened. Top with salt, pepper, cheese, or any other desired toppings, and serve in individual dishes. Meringues Cold eggs are easier to separate than those at room temperature. Tap the side of the egg as few times as possible on a flat surface, and either pour the contents from shell half to shell half, draining the whites into a container, or lay a slotted spoon across a vessel, and pour the egg in the bowl of the spoon, and jiggle gently until the whites seep through the slots Allow the white to reach room temperature before beating them in a completely dry, grease-free bowl, with a pinch of cream of tartar. If you're beating by hand, use a copper bowl, and you can skip the cream of tartar. Scrambled eggs and Omelettes When scrambling, low & slow is the way to go. If possible, use a double boiler so the cooking surface and heat source have hot water between them. Keep the eggs moving while they're cooking -- a rubber or nylon spatula is ideal. A tablespoon of water beaten in for each egg results in a light, fluffy scramble, and the same measure of cream makes them deliciously rich. Which is better? That's completely up to you. An omelet pan is hot enough when a drop of water will roll around on it, but not immediately steam. Mexican Potato Omelette Ingredients 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 1 cup frozen hash-brown potatoes or diced cooked potatoes 1 4-1/2-ounce can chopped mild green chiles 4 large eggs 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste Freshly ground pepper to taste 1/2 cup grated pepper Jack or Cheddar cheese 1/4 cup chopped scallions 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley 1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and cook until golden brown, shaking the pan and tossing the potatoes from time to time, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in chiles and transfer to a plate. Wipe out the pan. 2. Blend eggs, hot sauce, salt and pepper with a fork in a medium bowl. Stir in cheese, scallions, cilantro (or parsley) and the potato mixture. 3. Set a rack about 4 inches from the heat source; preheat the broiler. 4. Brush the pan with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil; heat over medium heat. Pour in the egg mixture and tilt to distribute evenly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the bottom is light golden, lifting the edges to allow uncooked egg to flow underneath, 3 to 4 minutes. Place the pan under the broiler and cook until the top is set, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Slide the omelet onto a platter and cut into wedges. Scrambled eggs and tofu 1 large egg 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon Dash of hot sauce, such as Tabasco Pinch of salt Freshly ground pepper to taste 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil 2 tablespoons crumbled tofu (silken or regular) Blend egg, tarragon, hot sauce, salt and pepper in a small bowl with a fork. Heat oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add tofu and cook, stirring, until warmed through, 20 to 30 seconds. Add egg mixture and stir until the egg is set, but still creamy, 20 to 30 seconds. Serve immediately. Mexican Chocolate Meringues 1/2 cup slivered almonds 1 cup sugar, divided 5 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder 3 tablespoons cornstarch 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 4 large egg whites 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon almond extract 1 1/2 ounces semisweet or bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate Cooking Instructions 1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread almonds on a baking sheet or pie plate and bake, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted, 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool. 2. Reduce the oven temperature to 200°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. 3. Pulse the toasted almonds with 1/3 cup of the sugar in a food processor until finely chopped. Add cocoa, cornstarch and cinnamon and pulse just until mixed. 4. Beat egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed just until frothy. Add cream of tartar, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 2/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until the whites form firm but still moist peaks. Add vanilla and almond extracts and beat just until blended. Gently fold the cocoa mixture into the beaten whites in 2 additions, just until blended. (A few streaks of white may remain.) 5. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of the batter, 1 inch apart, onto the prepared baking sheets, or pipe the batter through a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Bake, using both oven racks, for 1 1/2 hours, alternating the position of the pans halfway through the baking time. Turn off the oven and let the meringues cool in the oven for 1 hour, then peel them off the parchment paper. 6. Melt chocolate in a small bowl set over a pan of almost simmering water or in the microwave. Use a small pastry brush to apply a thin coating of chocolate onto the flat side of the meringues. Let the meringues stand, chocolate-side up, until the chocolate has set. Ingredient Note: For these meringues, use Dutch-process cocoa, which has a mellower flavor than American-style.