Lesson 2 Everyone. Eggs! Everyone loves eggs. The incredible edible eggs.

They say the creases on one of those tall chef hats represent all the way you can make eggs. Sounds like a crock of bullshit to me, i mean those hats come in all shapes and sizes and eggs are used in countless things and there are numbers of varia... oh right, we were talking about eggs.

Most of the egg items we will make today are fairly easy, ranging from scrambled eggs, to egg based custards. My peers thought maybe we should do omelettes, which we can go over, but the hardest part omelettes is flipping them. Honestly once you learn that flick of the wrist thing which applies to most things you can cook in a pan, life becomes much easier. It takes practice, every once in a while i miss that omelette flip and make a mess all over the stove.

Supposedly eggs and egg products are in a bit of a pinch these days, something about a bird flu and destroying chickens. From what ive seen at work though the tables have turned and things are becoming available. Which is good because do you know how annoying it is cracking and splitting eggs to get two pints of egg yolks? It seems like it takes forever and then you gotta figure out what to do with those egg whites and got forbid you accidentally get some of the yolk in the whites cause then you basically can only use them fo...rr......

Im having trouble staying focused today, arent I?

But anyway, lets get down to some cooking. Thats why were here, isnt it? Keeping most of you college/mom dependent kids in mind, we will start off with simple scrambled eggs.

Theres skill even in the cracking of the egg you know. For instance you know how you always see those housewife ladies on food network? The ones like Ree Drummond on Pioneer Woman, or Giada Delaurentis on... what was the name of her show.... Everyday Italian? Yeah thats it. I mean i really shouldnt mock Giada, she went to Le Cordon Bleu, a very well known Culinary school and if i remember correctly has been on iron chef. The Pioneer woman though, my mom and I like to joke about how her show plays out. Have you ever seen it? They live on a farm in the middle of nowhere. We like to joke that the kids are worked to the bone doing farmwork. She makes good shit though, ill tell you that. My mom is a big fan of her show and I have to say, I would love to have a kitchen like hers. Even though its all probably just a set. What was I talking about? Cracking eggs?

When you crack eggs, its bets to do it on a flat surface. When the side of the egg hits the surface, generallly it cracks along its "equator" enableing you to simply seperate the two halves and minimize shells getting in your food. If you hit it on the side of a bowl, it usually just makes a big dent and shatters the egg where you hit it. We dont want egg shells in our scrambled eggs.

So how we doing? Lets go get some eggs out of the fridge and make some scramblies. Oh look, some shredded cheddar cheese! This will go nicely with our eggs. Grab that for me, will you?

Alright.. If your a growing boy like me, you usually want more than a measly two eggs for breakfast. I mean what are these breakfast restaurants thinking? Perhaps the bacon, toast, grits, and homefries or hashbrowns make up for it. Mmmm hashbrowns.... So lets crack a few eggs into a bowl. How many would you like? Five? Six? Lets not go crazy. Start with two. This way we have more eggs left over for more practice! Hold the egg in one hand, and tap it on the counter top just hard enough to crack it.

Inb4 all you shmucks who comment with pictures of eggs broken all over the place, you smartasses.

Good, we managed to do that without making a mess. You can do this with a whisk, but i generally use a fork. Beat the eggs with your utensil of choice until you are happy with them. Generally about a minute will do you just fine. Now, remember what we learned about salt in lesson one? Salt draws out flavor of food. Some people will tell you that they dont add salt to the eggs so that they can let the person eating them control how much they salt them, if at all. I respect that, but I throw some salt and pepper in my eggs before i cook them. Just a pinch, I mean its only two eggs.

So two eggs wont require that big of a pan. Usually the smallest one(unless for some reason you have a pan thats like 3 inches in diameter). Now heres were we have more options. Some people will just spray the pan with a little nonstick spray. I personally prefer a little butter, or if its right next to me, a little oil. You can get a variety of different end products depending on what cooking medium you use. The flavor of olive oil will be present in your eggs as opposed to plain canola or vegetable oil. Butter is butter, and gives it a great taste. The pan spray is for you "health conscious" freaks. Fat is flavor people, live a little.

Most of my egg cooking expert friends say the most importan thing in cooking eggs is heat control. At my favorite job and place ever, what they do is put a soaking we towel down in front of the burners(THE STOVE IM TALKING ABOUT IS SET UP FOR THIS, DONT ACTUALLY DO THIS AT HOME) and if the pan gets too hot, they set it down on the wet towel to absorb some of the heat out. They also say that properly cooked eggs should have no browning on them. I believe it. I seen lots of places that make you omelettes, and how brown some of them are looks no where near as good as a perfectly cooked, unbrowned omelette.

So lets grab that pan, grease it up lightly with your fat of choice, and put it over a medium flame/heat. Now remembering what I literally just said five seconds ago, we heat control is the most importan thing. Eggs cook quick! We dont want that hot of a pan. If you use butter, once your butter is melted and starts to bubble a little bit, your ready. If your using oil, once the little amount that you use (a tablespoon is more than enough) stats to "shimmer" slightly, your ready. Remember to swirl the pan a little bit to spread your fat around and coat the pan. If your using spray, just spray the inside untill its got a light coat on it once your pan is up to temp.

What you will need when cooking eggs is a spatula. Not a spatula like you flip burgers on the grill with, but one of those "rubber" spatulas that you would scrape the side of a bowl with. The thing you need to watch out for though when using a rubber spatula is if it is heat-proof or not. The silicone ones are heat resistant up to 500 to 600 degrees fareinheigt I think. All other spatulas usually are not heat resistant, and may melt! Dont worry though, they can still be used. We just dont want to leave them in contact with the bottom of the pan for extended periods of time. You can, if you so choose, to use that fork that we beat the eggs with, if you are using anything other than a non-stick teflon pan. When using teflon coated pans, you should never use metal utensils. The metal will scratch the teflon coating, and if bits of it get into your food, its toxic. Now adays you see the ceramic non stick pans instead of teflon coated ones. Ive never used these personally, but if they work, as far as I know, you can use metal on them.

So our pan is hot(but not too hot) and we have our tools and eggs. Lets be ready, because this will be done relatively quick. Take the bowl of eggs, and pour them in your pan. If your eggs start to sizzle loudly, you pan is probably too hot. If they dont sizzle, your pan could have heated a little longer. Its not the end of the world if your pan was too hot or too cold. If it was too hot, just turn the heat down, and using your stirring utensil constantly keep the eggs moving. Another very important thing to remember, is eggs will carry on cooking even after they are out of the pan. So as soon as you think your eggs are *almost* to the doneness you like them, take the pan off he heat and get your eggs onto your plate. If by chance your pan was one of the cooler ones when you put your eggs in it, then just turn the heat up a bit and keep your eggs moving as well. You wont need to stir as fast as the hot pan guys, because you want to give your eggs a chance to cook. Since you turned up the heat they will progressively cook faster, so like i mentioned before, as soon as you think your eggs are *almost* done, go ahead and shut the heat off and plate your eggs.

Now earlier before we cooked our scrambly actions, I had you get the cheese. If its shredded, you can do one of two things. You can add it to your eggs while their cooking in the pan so they incorporate into the eggs, or you can top your eggs off with the cheese after they are done cooking and in the pan. The heat from the pan will help melt the cheese.

So we made scrambled eggs! Easier than making that rice last week, huh?

How about something a little different. What do you think of your baking skills? Lets try making use of that oven. Im going to give you a simple recipe for a quiche. Quiche if you dont know, is kind of like egg pie... its filling is eggs and either milk, heavy cream, or sometimes half&half. which if you also didnt know, is equal parts of milk and heavy cream. The easiest bonus is to put some chopped bacon in it, beacuse who doesnt love bacon.

What we will need for this, and what you probably have lying around somewhere, are:

A 9 inch or larger pie dish. (glass, tinfoil, metal, they all work)

1 pie crust. You can use one of those frozen ones from your local supermarket, just let it thaw, and then you can unroll it into your pie dish.

4 Eggs

1 cup of half&half. Cream is heavier, milk is lighter, depending on how rich you want your quiche to be

Salt and pepper, to taste. To taste, incase you havent heard it before, is how much you think is necessary.

However much bacon you like

1/2 cup-1 cup of shredded cheese. kind of cheese is up to you, i prefer cheddar. swiss works well too. The 1/2 cup range here is for those who like it more/less cheesy.

Okay. So some of you will need to take a trip up the block to the gas station that has that nice little convenience store you love to pick up a few things, but once you have all of that, we can begin.

Before we get started though, Preheat your oven to 325 degrees(farenheight for those uk gentlemen we have. What is that in celcius, around 150?)

The first thing we will cover is what kind of pie dish you will use. Glass ones will make the crust take a little longer to brown on the bottom. Tin foil disposable pie dishes will take the least amount of time usually, because they are so thin, Saves you a dish to wash though, right? The metal one is similar to the tin ones as they brown almost as quickly. Keep in mind though, your primary concern is going to be making sure your eggs are cooked.

If you choose to put bacon in your quiche, then what i reccomend, is to just cook it in your microwave. Saves you the mess you will make on the stove, and its way quicker. Just lay some pieces on a plate, and cover the plate with something like a sheet of paper towels, or if you have one of those plastic food covers that keep it from spattering all over the place for your microwave, then that works great too. Microwave it for a minute or two, or until its how you like it. some peole like crunchy bacon, some people like chewy bacon. I dont mind either way, but the crunchier stuff is easier to get into bits to put in the quiche.

So we have bacon. HEY! *Slaps your hand* Dont eat it! You wont have any left for the quiche! Next, in a large bowl, crack your eggs into it. Now another variable here is what size eggs you use. If you use anything smaller than large eggs, use 5 eggs. Ive seen some people use jumbo eggs, but in my opinion I would rather have it eggier than creamier, so i dont cut down if they are jumbo. Beat the eggs with a wisk. You will want to use the wisk for this, because the fork wont let you incorportate the milk/cream we will add next. Go ahead and pour that in. Add your cheese of choice also, and give that a whisk untill its all incorportated nicely.

Your basically ready! Lets roll out our pie dough, and lay it in the pie dish. Center it ofcourse, and if there is any excess hanging over the edge(I imagine their would be), just roll it inward so its at the top of the pie dish. Were going to crimp it, so we have that nice "crown" around the edge of our quiche. Once you have the dough at the top of the dish, what you want to do is take your index finger or thumb on your right hand, and use it to push the dough into your index finger AND thumb of your left hand. This picture should help you see what im describing.


This method also works, for those not comfortable with that method:


Once youve went around the whole pie, what we will want to do real quick, is take a fork and just poke some holes in the bottom of the pie crust. This will help keep the crust from possibly trapping air unter itself, and making a nasty bubble under the pie.


We can give our filling another quick stir, and pour our filling into our pie dish. Assuming the rack in the oven is somewhere around the middle, go ahead and slide that bad boy into the oven, close the door, and set that trusty kitchen timer for 35 minutes. Now when I bake, I dont like to go by the time the recipe says it takes to decide when something is done. The recipe doesnt know if your oven has any quirks, so the slightest variation can throw the cooking process off. I generally set a timer for the minimum amount of time it could take, and if its not done, set it for another five minutes or something until the product is done cooking. I like to piss my mother off with this, cause she will ask how long it takes something to cook, and ill just tell her its done when its done. To her, everything has a set time to cook. I think this is false. A steak may take 5 minutes on each side on one grill, but 4 minutes on another grill because that one gets to a higher temperature. Same thing with baking. Some ovens are hotter or colder, some have uneven heating, and some are just perfect but not like the oven that the recipe was first tested in. Sometimes its a specific ingredient that throws it off. Ive seen some products at work that vary from brand to brand, like the thickness of some dairy products, to the water content in some meats. Anything can affect cooking time. So always set an approximate time and check from there.

So 35 minutes have passed, and were going to check on our quiche. Smells good, dont it? Im sure your mother has a cake tester lying around, and if she doesnt, a tooth pick will work fine. If you stick in in the middle of the quiche and it comes out clean, its done. Now, like i mentioned before, eggs like to carry over and continue to cook, so sometimes ill pull it out even if its the slightest bit over done. Now i know how to tell by touch too, and what ill do is feel the center where we would have poked it with the tooth pick. if it has that bounce to it, the eggs are set and its ready. if its still jiggly like it might not be solid in there, its not done. That method means touching a pie while its still 325 degrees in the oven, do i dont really reccomend that without some experience first.

So once our quiche is done, and our crust has a nice brown on it ofcourse, lets go ahead and pull it out of the oven. Dont forget the oven mitts! And make sure you put the dish down on something too, we dont want to ruin your mothers counter top, now do we?

It smells and looks delicious! I think were gunna enjoy that later. But there is one more egg based item that i want to go over with you, and that is a custard. Most custards I use commonly call for only egg yolks, but some call for whole eggs.

Decadent dessert items like creme brulee, all sorts of ice creams, and that filling that goes in most cream puffs or eclairs(Pastry cream) all use egg yolks. What does the egg do exactly? Mostly, its used as a thickening agent. Depending on the recipe, most of those things i mentioned use corn starch along side the egg for additional thickening power, but when you thicken something with corn starch, it almost becomes like jelly when it sets. The eggs help it maintain that creamyness. And the heavy cream that forms the base of those items, ofcourse. Later on when we build the skill, we will learn how to make these items, because it requires something called "tempering". The way items, like creme brulee for example, are prepared is by heating the milk and sugar, and in corporating the eggs into it through tempering. The tempering is when you take some of the hot milk or cream, and slowly wisking ladle by ladle into the eggs. What this does is keep the eggs from cooking the moment they hit that hot liquid. It will raise the temperature of the eggs enough that, once about half the milk is wisked in, the eggs can be added back to the milk/cream slowly and either be cooked to thickness then, or baked, like creme brulees are. Its kind of complex, so like i said, we will save it for a future time.

Im not sure what we else we can go over today that wouldnt involve a trip to the store. Besides, theres literally thousands of other things we could do with eggs. Id take up all the space on the forum if i went to cover it all. Id be here for about three years too.

I know some of you were wondering why i didnt cover more than scrambled eggs when we made them with things like "over easy" and stuff. I wasnt sure how comfortable you would have been with doing the flip in the pan. I will however give you a way to practice. Using that same pan we used to make our scrambled eggs. If you can find something in your kitchen or house that is about the same diameter as the flat part of the pan, then we can practice flipping. Im guessing maybe a tupperware lid would work. You want a little weight to it, whatever it is. What you want to do are two things. The first motion will be a short movement forward, and as you reach the end of that motion, flick the end of the pan upward an inch or two, and while your "flicking", pull your arm back a little bit. Theres gotta be a youtube video that shows a good example... If you find one and get enough practice, then we can move on to bigger and better things. And make omelettes!

Perhaps we will work with pastas next. Gotta keep that water boiling skill fresh. Or perhaps more baking? Let me know what you would like to see next. Hope you enjoyed eggs! and dont eat all that quiche in one sitting. Thatd be just gross.