Tag Archives: dinner

How Do You Like Your Eggs ?

How do you like your eggs ?

 That’s a question that gets asked at countless diners & restaurants across our country on a daily basis. I travel a lot for work so I get asked that question a lot. My answer is almost always the same too. I bet that’s the case for a lot of people but I would also bet that the results aren’t always the same either. It was a bad result the other day when I was in a chain restaurant that prides itself not only on their food but also on their kitschy country store that you must navigate with children on the way in & on the way out that got me thinking a little bit more about eggs. About how we order them and about how we eventually eat them.

 I love eggs. You can fry them, scramble them, poach them, hard boil them and soft boil them. You can just use the yolks or you can just use the whites. They can be whipped into stiff white peaks or they can be chopped into a salad or made into  a sandwich . They even come in their own custom made fragile containers and if you are so inclined, you can even juggle them.

 (Just make sure you still have enough for breakfast if you break them all and that your wife isn’t around when you start flinging food around your kitchen.)

 My favorite way to have my eggs is fried – Over Easy with hash browns & a side of wheat toast. I love it when you poke the yolk with your fork and the yolk slowly oozes out onto the plate so you can use your hash browns and/or toast to sop it all up. While I do understand Over Medium (still dark yellow but no real ooze) and I can somewhat understand Over Hard (looks like a fried egg but acts like a hard boiled), I can’t understand the undercooked eggs I was served  the other day. These eggs were lily white when they came out of the kitchen. They had no color to them at all. It looked like the chef had tried to cook them as fast as he could so he wouldn’t have to clean his pan. When I poked into the yolk it was like puncturing a water balloon and the yolk shot everywhere onto the plate at once. There was so much liquid that my hot sauce got lost and my dry biscuits (instead of toast) could barely contain it all.  I wasn’t in a mood to complain and the waitress seemed nice so I ate what I could and left but it bothered me for the rest of the day. So how hard is it to cook an egg ? Let’s try and figure this one out, shall we ?

 Fried Eggs – Personally I melt some butter/margarine in the pan or spray with a non-stick cooking spray and then let the pan heat up to almost Medium High. When the butter starts to bubble a little I break the two eggs into the pan and hope that the whites will start to cook before they spread too far. I like to try and make sure the eggs are loose in the pan and not sticking to the edges. I’m not brave enough to try and flip two eggs at one time in the air but once I see a bubble in the yolk or see the yolk turning a deeper yellow, I slide my spatula in for the flip. I then slide the eggs back & forth in the pan a few times and before I slide them out of the pan and onto the waiting plate. I used to put hot sauce on my eggs while they were cooking sunny side up but once I started using Ghost Pepper Sauce I had to stop. My wife & kids claimed that the Ghost Pepper stayed in the pan no matter how many times you washed it so everything was becoming too spicy. Now as you can see in the photo below, I drown my eggs in hot sauce AFTER they hit the plate.

 Scrambled Eggs – I have been making scrambled eggs for as long as I can remember. I used to pull the kitchen chair over to be able to see over the counter when I was younger. I loved scrambling the eggs first with an eggbeater when I was younger and now with a fork. It’s always been a splash of milk (whole, 2%, 1% – doesn’t matter – just no SKIM) and eggs whipped & mixed by hand. Pour it into a pan with melted butter and stir them so they don’t stick but not so they turn mushy. Once I moved out on my own, I started adding cheese to my eggs and now I can’t make them any other way. I prefer chunks or shavings of cheddar but I’ll use whatever cheese I can find. I do find that American is a little too creamy and that mozzarella & swiss tend to get stringy but you can work with all of them.

 Hard Boiled Eggs – They aren’t just for Easter and they aren’t just for pickling – which leads to all those very nasty scenes in movies where people try to eat too many of them. (Cool Hand Luke – my stomach hurts thinking of that). When I hard boil an egg it’s either for a salad or for deviled eggs. When I make Deviled Eggs, the yolks always get mixed with mayo, mustard, cheddar cheese, bacon bits, salt, pepper & a dusting of smoked paprika over the top for color & presentation. It’s hard to screw up hard boiled eggs other than forgetting you had them on and all the water boiled away. (No comment)

 Soft Boiled Eggs – Why ? Seriously. Why ? It’s nothing more than an over easy egg still in the shell. My Grandfather like soft boiled eggs and he tipped his toast points in them with every bite. I always thought it was ridiculous myself. I am sure that someone out there will give me a reason to re-think my position on this cooking method but as of right now, fuhgeddaboutit.

 Poached Eggs – I have NEVER been able to make these work for me. I keep thinking I can make a fantastic Eggs Benedict but I am kidding myself because I can never get the poached eggs to work for me and that is why when I make Eggs Benedict, they are ALWAYS Fried Eggs Benedict.

 Egg White Frittata – Technically not one of the classic egg preparations but it is one I do make for my wife on occasion. I sauté a mix of diced vegetables with butter and some sun dried tomato paste. I spread the veggies evenly and pour in the egg whites to cover. Then I drop in chunks of mozzarella sticks with the spices and cover while the egg whites cook. When the egg whites look done (start to solidify & bubble) and the cheese has begun to melt, I cover the pan with a plate and flip the whole thing in one motion. I haven’t dropped one (yet) and they look fantastic when served.

 So how do you like YOUR eggs ? I’m always open to new ideas & suggestions.

 And make sure to come back next time when we discuss something of what seems like relevant importance but is more likely to be trivial and not anything like we expected.

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The Birthday Dinner

 

I wish I had pictures to share with you of the dinner my most awesome wife put together for my birthday last night but by the time we even thought of a camera, we had attacked the table like the Fantastic Mr. Fox and his family.

As is the custom in our house, the one celebrating their birthday gets to decide on the menu for dinner that night. As always, I chose my wife’s Crab Cakes. I also requested a yellow cake with chocolate icing. As for the sides and or anything else, I left that up to my wife to surprise me.

When we first got married my wife pored over cookbooks (still does) looking for new things & ways to cook. She had been brought up in a very traditional italian family so her frame of food reference had been somewhat one dimensional. I was brought up on casseroles, baked chicken and hamburger every way you could. It wasn’t until I moved west that I started to think outside of the box and experiment with different flavors & styles. One of the first dishes my wife started to make & perfect was crabcakes. I have always loved crabcakes and I would order them almost every time I saw them on a menu. Now back when we first got married, the budget was bit tighter than it is even now and the crab began with a K instead of a C but they were still good. They were labor intensive but they were a labor of love and I think that alone made them taste better than any Krab with a K should ever taste. as the years went by, they got easier to make and the recipe got tweaked. The biggest change was our shift to the front of the alphabet back to Crab with a C. Well last night my wife nailed them again. She made me crabcakes that were soft, light & melt in your mouth. This time she even served them with a warm & spicy mango vinaigrette that raised them to yet another level. I was in heaven and so were my kids as the crabcakes disappeared quite quickly from the plate in the center of the table.

As one side my wife made an excellent corn & black bean salad from Allrecipes.com (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Black-Bean-And-Corn-Salad-I/Detail.aspx< ) that we have made over & over again over the years. I like to warm it up after mixing it all together and then letting it cool before serving. It kind of let’s the flavors meld together in a real nice way. I think the balsamic vinegar & the cumin help to give it a layer of complexity that you don’t really expect in a salad. It looks great on a plate and it is a great dish to take to any potluck picnic you mat attend this summer. The other side was more of an appetizer but also a favorite of mine and a standard dish for every Super Bowl. She made my Deviled Eggs with Cheddar Cheese & Bacon. The kids absolutely love these. Throw some leftover pasta on the table along with some Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips & Salsa and we were more than good to go.

There was one more addition to the menu that was strictly for me. For as long as I can remember my wife has been making me a cold Mango Cream Soup. It’s silky smooth and goes down like melted ice cream. Sometimes she throws in berries or peaches to change it up a little and I almost always throw in some Sriracha Sauce or some Tabasco Chipotle to, as Emeril says, kick it up a notch. Last night my wife had found two absolutely perfect mangoes for the soup and it was the best I can remember. I can’t wait to get home tonight so I can grab the leftover container and wolf it down while watching Modern Family.

As for the cake, I am traditional. I like a yellow cake with chocolate icing. My mother always threw a box of pudding mix into the cake mix to help make the cake moister and so does my wife. She must have also whipped that batter on high for more than the 2 minutes on the box because my cake was sporting a pouf that would have made Snooki jealous. My kids released their inner Jackson Pollack’s and decorated the cake in a kaleidoscope of colors & designs. The french vanilla ice cream was the perfect compliment to the cake and if I am not mistaken, the cake & ice cream combo is being requested for an encore performance tonight.

And that’s the view for now from Behind The Shades. Stop by again when we talk about how many leftovers you can throw into a tortilla before the kids notice and start to complain….swampy abides… 

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