A bad egg

good_and_bad_eggs.jpg

Another kitchen mystery. This one is about whether some eggs past their date might be bad or good. It gets a bit philosophical about what we really mean by being good or bad and how that applies to eggs. Not to worry, there's some solid, practical advice around the end.

Incidentally, looking through the archives, roughly 1/6 of all my articles are egg-related. We have:

  1. The Party That Is Egg Foam
  2. Cooking Eggs with Sugar Alone
  3. Cracking the Boiled Egg Mystery
  4. The Best Scrambled Eggs
  5. Egg sizes and substitutions
  6. Dried Egg Pasta: Hidden Danger or Perfectly Safe?
  7. Ingredient Temperatures - Not technically a Kitchen Mystery, as this appeared in the magazine, but still.
  8. Too Hot for Hollandaise
  9. Splitting the Egg
  10. Not All It's Cracked up to Be
  11. A Bad Egg

So be sure to read through all of these to learn more about the majesty of the egg in its inscrutable white shell.

Latest FineCooking.com Article: The Party

Another extended metaphor completed, this time explaining how to stabilize egg white foams. As with most things eggy, egg foams are somewhat complicated. Significantly moreso than whipped cream. This question came, not from twitter, but from a comment on this site, so there are plenty of ways to ask me questions for the Fine Cooking articles. meringue.jpg

How to cut baking prep time

Or:

How to make your baking turn out better.

Or:

Nothing to see; move along.

WarmingEggs.jpgThe title of the article is different depending on what kind of baker you are. When I bake, I rarely either have time to or remember to set the ingredients out to come to room temperature first. It's a really good idea to do so, unless what you're making specifies otherwise (pie crust, for example). I'm not going to go into the why right now, we'll discuss that another day. Let's assume for the moment that you want to and you don't at the moment. The big culprits for room temperature neediness are generally eggs and butter. Everything else is easy. Butter melts like a wicked witch on a water slide, and eggs cook when anything remotely warm is applied to them. So, what to do? Here water is your friend. Many of you may know that, in order to thaw meat in a short amount of time, the best way is to put it in circulating water that's right around room temperature or a bit warmer. The same works for eggs and butter, but it's easier. The eggs you can just put into water straight and they'll be warm in moments. For the butter, you might want to wrap it in plastic wrap first to keep the butter from touching the water. I will admit, though, that I happen to know that a fridge-temp stick of butter in my current, tiny microwave will behave properly if I put it in for 15 seconds, but that will be a trial-and-error procedure with you if you want to try it yourself. More powerful microwaves might require lowering the power setting, or lowering the time, or both. If you're willing to sacrifice the structural integrity of a couple of sticks of butter to keep from having to handle plastic wrap, it'll save you time down the road. Now, for all of you who put their ingredients out well ahead of time because you're with it and actually prepare for your baking, well, I hope you enjoyed the bit about the wicked witch. The rest of us will go about our extemporaneous ways.

Egg Nog

Nog. Right. They way I figure it, there are roughly 5 types who are reading this article. The first will be ready to read and make this recipe immediately, enjoying the nog and perhaps sharing with friends. Excellent. The second type already has a nog recipe, and may compare notes a bit, but there would be at most tweaking. The third through fifth do not like the nog. The third because of some manner of allergy, which is understandable. The fourth type, and perhaps most common, believes that it does not like nog because it has only had the carton stuff. I say fie on the carton stuff. It's like saying you don't like steak because you've had a McDonald's hamburger and you didn't like that. The fifth type doesn't like egg not because they are outcasts from society and, and I say this without any sort of judgement you understand, the fifth type doesn't like egg nog because it's a freak. No judgement, remember. We can still hang out and play cards together. I know all kinds of people from different walks of life. We're cool. Read on to find out how to make proper Egg Nog. Note: This recipe contains raw eggs. They are pasteurized eggs, so should be perfectly safe, but if you have an allergy, or if you have a somehow weakened immune system, it would be wise to go with another recipe that cooks the nog to kill the critters inside. Also, you'll end up with a bunch of egg yolks at the end of this, because I don't like to add whipped egg whites to my nog. You can either make a heart-healthy omelet, or you could pour the egg whites into an ice tray (an empty ice tray) and freeze them for later use. Equipment
1 large mixing bowl
1 mixer (stand or hand)
2-3 small bowls for separating egg yolks and whites
Ingredients
8 egg yolk, pasteurized
1 cup sugar
½ gallon whole milk
1 pint heavy cream
5 oz. bourbon, (Or to taste - I'll generally add a bit more) (Well, I say a bit...)
1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated In the bowl of a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until the yolks lighten in color and the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon, and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Chill and serve. Or, as I generally do, just drink it right then and there.