Posts Tagged ‘Eggs’

Omelet

My dad used to make amazing omelets. He went through a bit of a phase, studying Julia Child’s omelet method, and cooking omelets for all of us on the weekends. His omelets were always filled with one ingredient:  sharp Cheddar. To this day, my mom swears she only likes eggs in two forms (weird, I know):  hard-boiled and Dad’s omelets.

As I sat down to watch the Good Eats omelet episode, I realized that I had never before made an omelet. While I have cooked eggs pretty much every other way, somehow I had never before attempted the omelet. It was time to give it a go.

Alton’s omelet recipe begins with heating three eggs in hot water for five minutes; omelets are more tender when they are cooked quickly, and beginning with warm eggs helps this process.

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Three eggs, warming in hot water for 5 minutes.

Crack your warmed eggs into a bowl or large mug, beating them with a fork (Alton says a whisk will add unwanted air). Add 2-3 pinches of salt (not Kosher) and beat some more.

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Three warmed eggs, cracked into a mug. Ready to beaten, along with some salt.

Place a 9-inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat. If you have an infrared thermometer, you will want to heat your pan to 325 degrees. If you do not have an infrared thermometer, heat your pan until butter foams briskly in the pan.

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Non-stick skillet, heated to 325 degrees.

Once your pan is hot, lube the pan with butter, distributing it evenly with a pastry brush.

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Heated pan, lubed with butter.

Pour the eggs into the center of the pan and stir them vigorously with a rubber spatula for five seconds.

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Eggs poured into pan and stirred.

When a mass of curds begins to form, lift and swirl the pan, allowing uncooked egg to flow beneath the omelet edges (Alton calls this the “swirl and sweep” step). Using your spatula, go around the edges of the omelet, loosening them from the pan and forming a nice, round shape. This is when Alton tells you to walk away for a solid 10 seconds, letting the omelet just cook on the burner, but if your eggs are sputtering, turn the heat to medium-low.

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Omelet after “swirl and sweep.”

When your omelet is cooked to your desire (it should still be somewhat wet/soft on the top), jiggle the pan to ensure that the omelet is not sticking. Now it is time to fold the omelet. Lifting up the far edge of the pan, snap the pan back toward you, so the omelet slides toward you. Then, use your spatula to fold 1/3 of the omelet over the center from the side nearest you.

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1/3 of omelet folded over center.

Finally, change your grip on the pan handle to underhand and slide the omelet onto a buttered plate, letting it flip over itself as it rolls onto the plate. I will be honest that the whole flipping process did not go as easily for me as it did for Alton, but I made it work with a lot of help from my spatula. Add some more butter to your omelet, sprinkle it with some chives, and enjoy!

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Omelet, flipped onto buttered plate. Chives sprinkled on top for a garnish.

This was a good, but very simple omelet. It was light, fluffy, and tender on the inside. Alton’s method made it very easy for me to cook a decent omelet, so this was a great way to learn. I do, however, like to have some extra pizzazz in my omelets, so next time I will add some fillings.IMG_4259

Omelet for a Crowd

When I saw the title for this recipe, I was envisioning a giant omelet. Instead, this is Alton’s method of prepping enough eggs to make several omelets in rapid succession. Oddly, in this recipe, Alton did not warm the eggs as he did for the previous recipe. For this recipe, you will want to allot 5 eggs plus 1 ounce of water for every two people. Place the eggs and water in a blender, adding a heavy pinch of Kosher salt and some fresh herbs, such as basil, dill, parsley, tarragon, or chives (I used basil and parsley). Blend everything together until smooth.

Meanwhile, heat a 9-inch non-stick pan to 325 degrees (or until butter foams) over medium-high heat. Once hot, lube the pan thoroughly with butter. Using a 4.5 ounce ladle, place one ladle of eggs in the center of the pan and stir briskly for five seconds with a spatula.

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One 4.5-ounce ladle per omelet into a hot, buttered pan.

Next, lift and swirl the pan, letting any loose egg run under the omelet to cook. Let the omelet cook until it is still soft in the center, but set on the bottom, and add any desired fillings (I used Greek olives, spinach, grape tomatoes, and cheese) over the 2/3 of the omelet furthest from you.

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Fillings added to 2/3 of omelet.

Lifting the pan to slide the omelet toward you, use a spatula to flip the 1/3 of the omelet nearest you over the center of the omelet. Change your grip on the pan handle from overhand to underhand, and flip the omelet onto a plate, letting it fold over itself.

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Omelet, flipped onto a plate.

My omelet was definitely not picture perfect, but it tasted good!IMG_4298 The method of cooking the omelets in this recipe is the same as for the single omelet above, though this omelet was “dressed up” a little more. I liked the additional flavor of the herbs in the eggs, along with the variety of fillings. This would be a fun/easy way to make customized omelets for a group. If you follow Alton’s method, it is very easy to produce tender, fluffy omelets.

Frittata

Alton’s frittata is last in this episode, and is also the easiest of the three, as there is no fancy flipping involved. For this one, heat your broiler to high and place a 12-inch non-stick skillet on a burner to heat. Once warm, lube the pan with butter and add 1/2 C roasted asparagus and 1/2 C chopped ham. You can use any ingredients you want here, but asparagus and ham were what Alton used. I added some pickled peppers also.

Regardless of what you choose to use, you want to have a single layer of filling. While your fillings heat, mix 1 ounce of Parmesan with 6 eggs and 1 t pepper.

Pour the egg mixture over the fillings, letting it flow between them.

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Beaten egg mixture poured over fillings.

Once the egg starts to firm on top, add some chopped parsley.

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Parsley added once frittata began to set.

Place the frittata under the broiler for 2-4 minutes, or until golden and set; my frittata took only two minutes.

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Frittata after cooking under the broiler for 2 minutes.

Slide the frittata onto a cutting board, cut it into wedges with a pizza cutter, and serve with some sour cream.

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Frittata, sliced with a pizza cutter and served with sour cream.

I had made a frittata previously, and this one was very good. The frittata was golden brown on the top, while light and tender in the middle. This would make a super easy weeknight dinner or a great breakfast, and you could customize it to your heart’s desire.

I was super stoked to prepare the recipes in the 30th episode of Good Eats. Why, you ask? Though I do love quiche and flan as much as the next girl, I was most excited to make these recipes because I got to use our brand new range for the first time. When we moved into our house, we were greeted with the original, 25-year-old, drop-in Tappan range (I had never even heard of the brand before!). I cook often enough that a range with roll-over numbers (stuck permanently at 4:44), a broken burner, and an oven door that would not shut just was not going to cut it.

The old range. You can't tell in this photo, but the oven light is permanently on since the door won't shut.

The old range. You can’t tell in this photo, but the oven light is permanently on since the door won’t shut.

Old range with a broken front burner.

Old range with a broken front burner.

Ta-da! Enter our new smooth top Samsung electric range.

Isn't she pretty?

Isn’t she pretty?

We considered putting in gas, but the venting, etc. just wasn’t going to be feasible, and we would have lost cabinet space. So far, we are loving our range!

Refrigerator Pie

The very first thing I cooked in our new oven was Alton’s recipe for Refrigerator Pie, AKA quiche. I had my share of quiche growing up, as it was something my mom made on a fairly regular basis. Alton’s version is particularly easy, in that it uses a frozen crust.

Ingredients:  frozen pie crust, spinach, cream, eggs, cheddar, cubed ham, Kosher salt, nutmeg.

Ingredients: frozen pie crust, spinach, cream, eggs, cheddar, cubed ham, Kosher salt, nutmeg.

To start the recipe, you whisk a cup of cream with two eggs (this is called “Royale”) and you place your frozen crust on a baking sheet (to avoid any spills in the oven).

The Royale.

The Royale.

You sprinkle your choice of toppings over the crust, mixing them with your hands; I opted for spinach, shredded cheddar, and cubed ham since that is what Alton did in the episode.

Spinach on the crust.

Spinach on the crust.

Topped with cheese.

Topped with cheese.

And ham.

And ham.

Ingredients tossed together.

Ingredients tossed together.

To your Royale, add a couple pinches of Kosher salt and a few grates of fresh nutmeg. My whole nutmeg seed decided to take a dive into my Royale, which necessitated fishing it out. Butter fingers!

Nutmeg and salt added to Royale.

Nutmeg and salt added to Royale.

Pour your Royale over your ingredients. The egg will expand when it cooks, so you do not want to fill your crust all the way to the top; I had the perfect amount of liquid for my crust.

Royale poured over toppings.

Royale poured over toppings.

Bake your pie in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes, or until it is set like Jell-O and no liquid comes out if you poke a small hole with a toothpick. My quiche was done in 37 minutes.

Obligatory dog shot.

Obligatory dog shot.

Baked Refrigerator Pie.

Baked Refrigerator Pie.

Great filling, but needs a better crust!

Great filling, but needs a better crust!

You do not want to overcook this. Ideally, allow the quiche to cool for about 15 minutes before eating. The filling on this quiche was the best I have ever had because it was so much lighter and fluffier than any other quiche I have had. We liked it so much that Ted made one for breakfast a few days later. My one complaint was about the crust, as it wasn’t as crispy as I would have liked. Alton did not mention pre-baking the crust, so I did not pre-bake mine either, and it seemed a little doughy. When Ted made his quiche, he did pre-bake it, but it was not significantly crispier. I did buy a generic brand of pie crust, so maybe a different brand would yield better results. Seeing as we will be making this again for sure, I will have to play with different crusts. The filling, though, is already a winner. I foresee that we will be making this when our refrigerator is poorly stocked but we still want to eat something good! Seriously, best quiche filling ever.

Flandango

And what was the second thing I made with our new range? Alton’s flan, of course. For some reason, my only childhood association with flan is of an unpleasantly jiggly, overly gelatinized, dessert served at bad Mexican restaurants. I have a distinct memory of my family going to a Mexican restaurant with another family, and at the end of the meal the other family got super excited to order flan. I had no idea what flan was, but their enthusiasm made me think I SHOULD know what flan was, so I feigned excitement and ordered a flan. I should have gone with the churros. Creme brulee has since been my custard of choice.

Still, I was excited to make Alton’s flan, as I figured that pretty much everything Alton made on Good Eats was fantastic, so this was likely to be my best opportunity to have, and make, a good flan.

Flan ingredients:  whole milk, half and half, vanilla, sugar, eggs, blueberry jam, and fat-free (doh!) caramel.

Flan ingredients: whole milk, half and half, vanilla, sugar, eggs, blueberry jam, and fat-free (doh!) caramel.

For this recipe, combine whole milk, half and half, sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat at a bare simmer.

Whole milk, half and half, sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan.

Whole milk, half and half, sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan.

Milk mixture at a bare simmer.

Milk mixture at a bare simmer.

Meanwhile, add 1-2 T of your chosen topping(s) to eight ramekins, and place them in a roasting pan that allows an inch between them.

Caramel and blueberry jam in ramekins.

Caramel and blueberry jam in ramekins.

Ramekins in roasting pan.

Ramekins in roasting pan.

For my toppings, I chose caramel ice cream topping and Alton’s blueberry jam I wrote about here. Unfortunately, I made the horrible error of accidentally purchasing fat-free caramel. Yuck! I did not have time to make a homemade caramel, so I had to go with the fat-free junk and hope for the best. In retrospect, I probably should have opted for plain flan. In a bowl, whisk three eggs and three egg yolks until they are thick and light.

Three eggs and three yolks.

Three eggs and three yolks.

Eggs and yolks whipped until light and thickened.

Eggs and yolks whipped until light and thickened.

Slowly drizzle about a quarter of the cream mixture into the eggs, whisking. The key here is to go slowly. Once the eggs are tempered, add the egg mixture back to the cream, whisking again.

Tempered eggs.

Tempered eggs.

Tempered egg mixture added back to milk mixture.

Tempered egg mixture added back to milk mixture.

Strain the custard to get rid of any curdled egg or any chalazae (the tough “strings” in eggs that keep the yolks suspended).

Strainer to remove any lumps.

Strainer to remove any lumps.

Strained custard.

Strained custard.

Pour the custard into the ramekins and place the roasting pan in the middle of a 350 degree oven.

Custard in ramekins. I wonder which ones are blueberry? So much for mystery.

Custard in ramekins. I wonder which ones are blueberry? So much for mystery.

2-20-15 030 Pour boiling water into the roasting pan, bringing it up almost to the level of the custard in the ramekins.

Water up to almost custard level.

Water up to almost custard level.

Bake for 25-40 minutes. Alton explains in the episode that the slower you cook the custard, the lower its setting temperature will be. My flans were done right at 40 minutes. They are done when they wobble and a pairing knife comes out cleanly. Remove them from the water bath with tongs, allow them to cool to room temperature, wrap them tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate them.

Flans after 40 minutes in the oven.

Flans after 40 minutes in the oven.

Completed flan.

Completed flan.

2-20-15 034 When ready to serve, you can eat them straight from the ramekins, or you can run a pairing knife around the outside and invert them onto a plate.

Caramel flan.

Caramel flan.

Caramel flan.

Caramel flan.

We ate the flans for dessert, and shared a couple with my parents. The caramel topping was indeed unfortunate, but the custard was really good. The only flan I have had previously has had caramel topping, so the blueberry topping was very different. My mom commented that the blueberry flavor really surprised her, as she too envisions flan with caramel. Though I would still opt for creme brulee, Alton has redeemed flan for me. The texture was smooth and silky, and the flavor was creamy, sweet, and slightly eggy. There is a pretty good chance that I will make this again in the future, though I will make Alton’s caramel sauce next time. If you are a flan fan, you likely would think this recipe is flantastic! Okay, that was bad.

Eggs Over Easy

The first recipe in the third episode is for over easy eggs. This recipe can be found here. As a frequent egg eater, I have cooked eggs in numerous ways over the years. Over easy eggs are, however, a type of egg that I do not frequently cook. We do not have a small non-stick skillet in our kitchen repertoire, so I utilized a large non-stick pan we have that has rounded, rather than squared-off, edges. This kept the contents of the pan in the center of the bottom of the skillet. After melting my butter, I added a single egg (rather than two eggs, as in the episode and recipe).6-10-2014 111 6-10-2014 112 As soon as my egg white was opaque, I flipped it over easily and magnificently with a simple shake and jiggle of the pan.6-10-2014 113 Oh, wait… that part didn’t happen. Upon realizing that it was going to be impossible to gracefully and successfully flip my egg in my large pan, I cheated and flipped it with a spatula.6-10-2014 114 Once flipped, I counted to 10, flipped the egg, again, and it was ready to eat. The result was a perfect over easy egg, with a cooked, but not rubbery white, and an intact yolk that just perfectly leaked when I cut into it with my fork.6-10-2014 116 I will use this method again for cooking over easy eggs. Now, I just need to get a small skillet with which I can master the toss.

Scrambled Eggs Unscrambled

Though considered boring by some egg lovers, I adore a good plate of scrambled eggs. In fact, they are usually my go-to. The unfortunate thing is that scrambled eggs are so rarely cooked correctly. I have, in my many years of scrambling eggs, become pretty consistently good at cooking them. Many breakfast joints serve scrambled eggs that are rubbery, chewy, have an artificial shade of yellow, and are often a single, flat mass. Perhaps that’s why they get such a bad rap. So, take note… if you follow Alton’s recipe from Good Eats, you will have a proper plate of delicious scrambled eggs.

Eggs with added whole milk.

Eggs with added whole milk.

The tricks with scrambled eggs are to start them over low heat, only switching to high heat once the curds begin to form, and as soon as there is no liquid left in the pan, remove them from the heat.

Eggs over low heat.

Eggs over low heat.

Curds beginning to form.

Curds beginning to form.

Time to remove from the burner.

Time to remove from the burner.

As Alton says in the episode, “If the eggs look done in the pan, they’ll be overdone on the plate.” I thought this recipe produced scrambled eggs that rivaled all of the others I have made successfully in the past. I added some grated sharp white cheddar cheese and hot sauce to mine, and I was good to go.

A perfect plate of scrambled eggs, topped with sharp white cheddar.

A perfect plate of scrambled eggs, topped with sharp white cheddar.

Lemon Curd

The final recipe in the third episode of Good Eats is for lemon curd. I had never before made lemon curd, so I was excited to make this one. Plus, just recently I had a delicious dessert at a restaurant that consisted of lemon curd, raspberries, and crumbled meringue. As far as desserts go, lemon curd is a quick and easy thing to make, using only a few ingredients. Be prepared, though, to whisk for several minutes. While the online recipe calls for the juice of four lemons, I only needed to juice two lemons to get the desired 1/3 cup of juice.

Zest

Zest

Lemon juice

Lemon juice

Eggs and sugar.

Eggs and sugar.

Butter, of course!

Butter, of course!

I used my double boiler to make my curd, whisking over low heat. The online recipe says it takes about eight minutes for the curd to be thick enough to remove from the heat. I, however, found that I had to cook my curd for several additional minutes, and truthfully, I probably should have cooked it even a little bit longer to get a bit thicker consistency.

Lemon curd in double boiler.

Lemon curd in double boiler.

Whisking in the butter, pat by pat.

Whisking in the butter, pat by pat.

Though it was a little bit thinner than I would have liked, the flavor of the curd was excellent. It was a vibrant shade of yellow, and had a great balance of sweetness and lemon tang. I described it as “bright,” and it was a perfect summer dessert. We ate it over pound cake (store bought, unfortunately) with good vanilla ice cream, and I had some the following morning over raspberries.

Finished lemon curd.

Finished lemon curd.

Pound cake with vanilla ice cream and lemon curd.

Pound cake with vanilla ice cream and lemon curd.

With some pound cake, ice cream, berries, and lemon curd still in our refrigerator, it might be time to get some dessert!