Friday, March 30, 2012

Eggs Over Easy--Stop Making It So Complicated!

Last night, after making myself some eggs for dinner, I decided to do a quick Google search for how to make the perfect Over-Easy Egg. Like all things internet, there's more advice out there than anyone should know what to do with. And also, like all things internet, everybody says it's EASY. You just won't believe how easy. Easy-peasy... er, and something else that rhymes with easy. Trouble is, it's not that easy to flip over an egg without breaking the yolk. I mean, it's possible that it really is easy, and I'm just a f*ckwit, but, like everybody else who posts their opinions on the internet, I'm going to assume that it's not that.
As every single other advice article will explain (for very little reason), the insides of an egg has three parts: the yolk, the inner white (which goopily clings right around the yolk and cushions it from the heat), and the outer white (which is the part that sprawls across the pan if it can get away with it). Other advisors will tell you that you should simply monitor your egg until that inner white is firmed up and opaque, then, oh-so-simply-and-easily flip it over. This maneuver is mostly facilitated by copious amounts of grease, a non-stick frypan, a magical spatula, AND a lifetime of hand-eye coordination and practice. Sounds SUPER EASY so far, right?
Well, if you troll around some more through discussion boards and the Ask.coms and About.coms out there, there's usually a few still, small voices of reason peeping through the din out there. And now I'm one of them. Rather than peep, I'm going to shamelessly pronounce to everyone out there (all 5 of my readers) that I cannot flip an egg for nothing. Oh, sure, every now and again I get lucky and the flip results in one perfect egg, but certainly not if there's more than one egg in the pan.
So here's what I do, and it works, and it really is easy. Heat up your pan on a low to medium heat, spraying it with a little cooking spray (yes, even if it's a non-stick pan, eggs are the stickiest things on the planet!). I like to cook more whites than yolks (since I'm not that big of a fan of atherosclerosis), so my trick is to crack all of my eggs into a measuring cup first, so it can all go in at the same time and cook at the same rate. If you like to keep your eggs all segregated from one another, well, that's between you and your egg maker, and you'll just have to figure something out. Mostly, I just use the spatula at the end of cooking to separate the blanket of whites into my eggs and The Honey's eggs. In my example, I was just cooking for myself, so the whole thing went onto my plate (The Honey is out of town... :-( ...).
Once your pan is heated up and your eggs are all cracked and/or separated (for my example, I just used one whole egg and one white), pour your eggs into the pan. Some sources say that it shouldn't be so hot as to make the sizzly, crackly sound when it hits the pan, but mine does, and nothing bad ever comes of it. Have a big enough pan for your eggs to spread out nicely--it'll ensure that they cook evenly and make it easier to separate, if you decide to share. So now, while you let it cook on one side for a few seconds (say, 30-ish?), add any seasonings you may want on your eggs. I put a little salt, freshly ground pepper, and a sprinkle of onion powder.

Sizzle, crackle, pepper-grinder-noise, salt-shaker-shake...

Now here comes the magically easy part: Put a lid on it. I chose a lid that is smaller in diameter than my pan, but not so small as to touch the eggs themselves. That way, I have neatly enclosed my eggs so they can steam for a few seconds. If you only have a properly-fitting lid, that works too, but your eggs might need a few more seconds, as now you have a bigger steam-chamber to heat.

Looks funny, works like a charm

So now you stand there for a few seconds (again, like, 20 to 30 maybe?), eating your bacon first (shut up, everybody does it), buttering your toast, or toasting your tortilla on the adjacent burner (advanced maneuver--I have never succeeded in doing these two things at once. Either the eggs or the tortilla pay the price for my insolence.). Now peek at your eggs and see if they are done, which they probably are! Now you only have to get them from the pan to the plate without breaking the yolk, and that I can't help you with. Use a spatula. You'll be okay.

Perfect egg, jiggly photo.

So, like everything in life, this takes a little practice. However, you must admit, this is pretty easy, compared to flipping the eggs over! The only real variable is cooking time, and that, I'm afraid, just takes practice. Nowhere near the amount of practice it would take to master the Alton Brown Flip-in-the-Air method (my dogs would really appreciate all the failed attempts, though, unless it all wound up on the inside of the fume hood), but practice. And, unlike Alton's outtakes, my errors are probably still edible and free of dog fur.
Oh, and yes, I am aware that these eggs really aren't Over Easy, since you haven't actually flipped them over. Either stop being so pedantic, or make up a catchy new name for this type of egg yourself. Short answer: Shut up and eat your eggs before they get cold.
Also, if you enjoy the sunny image at the top of the post, it is my artwork! You can go purchase it, in ACEO-size or 5" x 7" size, in either my WePAY store (5" x 7" is on page 2) or my Etsy shop. I hope the rest of your day is truly Over Easy! (No spatula required!)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Food Porn! Okay, Not Really...

Tonight's post is in response to all the Food Porn pins I've been making lately on Pinterest. Ever since I started attempting to lose a few pounds, every time I see some yummy, indulgent, nutritionally-worthless food pin, I indulge in it for a few seconds, then pin it to my Food Porn board. I've even gotten to the point where I find yummy-but-healthy food links and pin those on in there, too. Tonight at dance class, one of the other dancers (who also follows my pins on Pinterest) told me to please stop pinning Food Porn late at night, which I was totally guilty of, and it was doing me utterly no good either. So, tonight, once I got home (ravenous after dance class, of course), I decided to make some food just for me. It started looking pretty promising, so I'm recording what I did here, and if it is as good as I think it might be, I'll not only publish this blog post, but pin it to the Food Porn board! (Right now, I'm scurrying back and forth, two dogs in tow, between the kitchen and the computer to check on the food.)

It's important to drop food on the floor while cooking, the voices in my head tell me.

So tonight's impromptu recipe is Curried Quinoa with Chicken!
In a smallish saucepan, measure out 1 c. Bob's Red Mill Quinoa (because it's already rinsed, otherwise, go rinse the quinoa) 1 c. water, and 1 c. chicken stock. Turn on the heat (medium-high-ish) and start adding some seasonings. I added about 1.5 Tablespoons of curry powder, 1/4 teaspoon (couple big shakes) onion powder, a delicate shake of garlic powder (whatever that means), a couple shakes of ginger powder (grated fresh ginger would be better, but whatever), a sprinkle of dill or lemongrass (I found the lemongrass bottle first), and salt to taste. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze that sucker in there, too (I used about 1/4 a lemon, as it was this insanely huge, Palm-Springs-grown lemon from my friend Lisa, who runs a lovely Bed and Breakfast here, and is a much better cook than I am.) If you happen to feel so inclined, you could also zest a bit of the lemon zest in there for good measure. I decided to slice up a carrot (very thinly, so it would cook quickly) and dumped that in there so it could cook with the quinoa. Now that I think about it, I also added a teaspoonish squeeze of Blue Agave at some point as well. Stir it up and let it reach a boil, then turn it down to simmer, cooking for 12 or so more minutes. Once it has cooked for that amount of time, turn it off and put the lid on it to let it swell up.

I wasn't kidding about the big freakin' lemon

While it's simmering (and almost done, really), get out a small saute pan and spray a little cooking spray on it. Open a can of chicken breast (or if you want to be all fancy, cook yourself up some chicken by method of choice) and drain the water off. Dump the chicken into a small mixing bowl, then add to it a couple teaspoons of curry powder, salt and pepper to taste, and a little drizzle (let's call that a teaspoon or two) of Blue Agave nectar (or honey, if you want). Mix it together with a fork, breaking up the biggish chunks of chicken into manageable chunks. Now throw that into your pan and saute it up until it is warmed up and you've got a little browning going on.
By now, your quinoa is all fluffy, so all you need to do is toss everything together, and enjoy!
Here's a horrid picture of my result!

We all know it's the ugliest food that tastes the best.

The end verdict is that is was pretty tasty! I added a bit too much salt, so, you know, don't do that and you should be okay. It would have been good with a sprinkle of raisins in it, but I'm out.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lovely Giveaway of Vintage-Style Jewelry!

I was just looking through Facebook, when I chanced upon one of the many giveaways. Mostly, I do not find them interesting, but this jewelry designer has some rather lovely styles! For my entry into the drawing, I had to choose my favorite necklace, and it was very difficult! Take a look at some of these choices:

Have I posted too many good choices? It's ridiculous to try and choose, right? Personally, I chose the coral and white one, but if I win, I might see if I can change my mind to the top one with the black and white swirly beads. As I said, tough choice!

Go here for all the rules on how to enter! Artistic Blend Designs Vintage in Color Giveaway!