Dairy

PERFECTLY BAKED SAUNA EGGS

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SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN 50~55 MINUTES, IS THE FIFTY SHADES OF YELLOW

OK, I admit.  For someone who has, more than once, cried sympathy for her egg-allergy, I spend an unnatural amount of time studying the perfect way to cook them.  Not just on my shortcut – 15 seconds to be exact – to creamy and velvety scrambled eggs, but there are up to this point… THREE POSTS in total, solely dedicated to detailed ways of making onsen tamago, aka hot spring eggs.  There was the genesis-post (where my heartbreaking journey on losing one of my favourite things to eat was well documented), then a second one, then a third one.  And now, here’s the fourth.

But, this post isn’t technically about “onsen/hot spring” eggs, where the eggs are submerge in a hot bath of a constant temperature at 158F/70C.  If I may, this is more about something I’d like to call, the sauna eggs.  And this could proven a revelation for those of you out there, who aren’t particular keen on babysitting a thermometer and a pot of hot water, because these, these are baked in the oven.

This mad scientific conduct came after I spotted this on Pinterest a few days ago.  But instead of omg-this-is-genenius-!, I said to myself, holy-shit-what-a-waste-!.  I mean, if someone were to look for a no-fuss method of cooking something, it shouldn’t be applied to what’s already the most fuss-less thing to do on earth, like hard-boiling an egg…  Instead, it should be calibrated, fine-tuned, solely dedicated to achieving the most elegantly beautiful transformation of a single ingredient, this mother earth has to offer.

So I set out my expedition on Wednesday.  Three cartons of eggs and a few disappointments later, I’ve arrived at the truth.  Now, there are obviously 2 major factors at play here, being the temperature, and the cooking time.  The temperature, in this case a less interesting subject, is found to be sitting slightly higher than the hot bath-method, at 175F/80C ~ 185F/85C.  But the cooking time is what’s really interesting here.  Somewhere in between 50~55 minutes, is where the fifty shades of yellow happen.

Judging purely from the appearance of the cracked eggs, you may think there isn’t much difference between 45 to 55 minutes.  And that’s because the difference lies within the yolk.  At 45 minutes, the yolk is still very runny and almost completely raw.  Then at 50 minutes, the yolk has thickened slightly, runs slower, but still hasn’t hit the sweet spot of resembling thick custard.  But in the next mere 5 extra minutes, you can see how the yolk has completely solidified, overcooked, looking more like a soft-boiled egg than what we really want.

The conclusion?  A very specific 53 min at a temperature between 175F/80C ~ 185F/85C.  Little, precious, opaque jewels of deliciousness with a texture lurking between the lines of fluid and solid, jelly and custard.  They are perfect, worth every pain of a one-way infatuation from afar, well, for me at least.  For you, it’s gonna be a full-blown romance.

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COLD AND WARM SALMON SCRAMBLED EGG ROLLS

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HERE’S A GUEST POST OF MINE THAT APPEARED ON A CUP OF JO, AS ONE OF THEIR BREAKFAST SERIES.  JUST IN CASE YOU’VE MISSED IT…

When I was little, and by little I mean before my family moved to Vancouver when I was 12, before the unveil of a whole new alien-world of eating orders, I had always believed that a hot dog-bun… was solely designed for holding scrambled eggs.  Because that was how it was always given.  And that was the way it was always perfect.  Even after many years, after such belief had endured the discoveries of freezer-sections hot dogs, sidewalk hot dogs, gourmet sidewalk hot dogs to fancy restaurant hog dogs, it had not faltered.  In fact, my stubborn childhood “fetish” had only been reenforced through diversity and comparisons.  Before college, I stood even more firmly on my ground, that the perfect thing to go between a toasty bun, was the one and only – creamy scrambled eggs.  It wasn’t a childhood-thing to me anymore.  It was the truth.

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MAGIC 15-SECONDS CREAMY SCRAMBLED EGGS

THE PREVIOUSLY-THOUGHT-IMPOSSIBLE SCRAMBLED EGGS-FANTASY

SPEED, AND CREAMINESS.  ALL TOGETHER

We all think we know how to do scrambled eggs.

We all know, I hope, that speedy scrambled eggs cooked over high heat will be grainy, rubbery… and worst of all, will ooze liquid out of themselves and ruin a good morning.  Thus we all know, that it’s almost only legal to cook scrambled eggs over a low-and-slow process, to get creamy or die stirring in the pursuit of that velvety wrapped-around-your-tongue texture.  Right, no news there.

So for the longest time, that’s what I did.  So for the past blissful decade, using my very scarcely inherited patience, I’ve abided by the rules in front of all those carefully guarded wee-flames, stirring and stirring until my mind started to wonder… on that last episode of Game of Thrones, on waitwas-that-mold-I-saw-on-my-broccoli?… on anything but asking if this was the only way to the perfect scrambled eggs.

But last week, in an attempt to feed liquid-food to my temporarily anorexic dog-son, I tried thickening an beaten egg with a bit of potato starch (or cornstarch) to make an egg-goo (which I rubbed on his mouth so he would lick it…).  And who knew, that unappetizing glob… lead me to one of my greatest kitchen-revelations realized.  I thought… wait a second… maybe… a thickening agent is the answer to the previously-thought-impossible scrambled eggs-fantasy.  Speed, and creaminess, all together.

And it is!  Just by adding a little mixture of milk and potato starch (or cornstarch), the water is forced to bind with the protein even if cooked over high heat, which solves the watery eggs disaster.  But better yet, it also creates a creamy and custardy texture with the bits of beaten eggs that aren’t completely cooked through, as if, YES, that they were done slowly over ow heat!  While in fact, 15 seconds!!  Ahem, friends, here’s how:

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LET’S CATCH-A-PURI

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MY THOUGHTS STIRRED, AS THEY STIRRED,

INTO A TANGIBLE STRINGY MESS OF RESTLESSNESS.

I thought long and hard about how I should talk to you about this.

I thought about it when I saw it glaring at me, all too long ago, from Tasting Table on their grinning newsletter.  I thought about it when I laid sleepless at night, combing through the mental steps of how, and when, I would realize this absurdity in my own kitchen.  I auditioned my blunt vocabularies, while pushing the apathetic shopping cart through the even-less agreeable cheese-section in my grocery store… gruyere (gooey?), gouda (gooey-er)?… mozarella (gawh, fuck it…).  And speaking of words, I ought to find out how this khachapuri is pronounced… catch-a-puri, catch-a-puri, kah-tch-a-puri?  Georgian, is it?  I thought I should probably google Georgia, right, I totally should, a place where I felt utterly disconnected from emotionally, and even more so, geographically, as I sank my palm over and over into the quiet, warm, springy dough.  I thought, given that it was unquestionably  non-traditional, about how I could explain the heightened savouriness and sharpness brought by the added black olive tapenade, as I smeared it across the supple dough.  Oh people should definitely hear how tall these cheeses mounted, yes, definitely, how promisingly they talked back through the folded window… reassuring.  Most of all, I for sure thought about it when I sagged myself over the hot vent of the oven by the handle, witnessing the yeasted dough puffed and browned, damming an increasingly fluid and active pool of melted cheese, I thought, and sagged, but I promise it was mostly thoughts.  Then, when that raw glistening yolk, that damn raw and glistening yolk that slipped over the hot cheese, and touched the cheeks of a chunk of topping butter… my thoughts stirred, as the pool stirred, into a tangible stringy mess of happiness and restlessness.

How, do I talk to you about this…?

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MINI BRIE + JAM PIE EDIBLE GIFT

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TO CLOSE FRIENDS, IN HEART, AND IN DISTANCE.

I guess it isn’t so out-of-place during the holiday season, but the other day, I started thinking about friendships.

Since the age of 17, I have been living in separations from all my best friends.  Some, separated by lands, but most, by oceans.  And even if when old ones came, or when new ones were made, soon after, was another almost destined departure.  After a certain number of years, I got used to the danger of not having any, and the jealousy for those who do.

So this year, when the question of “edible gift” came, I started thinking about what I’d wish I could give.  If you are one of those lucky humans who enjoys close proximity of friendships, I think you should tell them, “I’m so glad I’m not too far away to give you this”.  Whole mini brie and jam wrapped in flaky, buttery pie-pastry.  Just like and therefore perfect for those whom this is made for, it doesn’t travel far.  It’s time and temperature-sensitive.  It’s warm, sweet, gooey and most importantly, immediate.

To close friends, in heart, and in distance.  Happy holidays.

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BREAKFAST SAUSAGE BISCUIT GRAVY CASSEROLE

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I know that you know how it feels, to be nagged by your tireless other half on executing tasks that the difficulty of which, he/she has absolutely no idea of.  This is no doubt an important subject that touches the very fabric of the marriage establishment, a possible and perhaps convincing argument made by the anti-commitment party, as one of the many fears that they don’t want to be trapped with.  But for the rest of us, I’d like to say I, I know how you feel…  To elaborate on such subject more personally, I’m once again, reminded that there’s a crucial member behind Lady and Pups whose profile, you may not have been properly introduced.

Jason, this is everybody.  Everybody, Jason my husband.

Jason my husband, who thinks it would be tremendously cool, you know as a side-hobby of this nocturnal creatureto invest every possible weekend-mornings on the driving-range together on his visions to become… the couple who golfs.  Jason my husband, who thinks it would be only fitting as our retirement blueprints, for me to finally open and run a restaurant/his personal whisky bar, and simultaneously, without saying of course, raise a whole ranch of organic kettles on the side.  Jason who doesn’t cook, but for the life of him, cannot understand why this house doesn’t serve freshly baked bar nuts.  Jason who thinks, since I already bake cookies and make pies, why not start producing, from scratch…

… our very own sausages.

THE KIND THAT WOULD TURN MY KITCHEN INTO DEXTER’S WET DREAM,

AND ME, THE THINGS HE STUFFS INTO PLASTIC BAGS.

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MISO CARBONARA W/ MINI SAUSAGE MEATBALLS

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THIS COULD VERY WELL BE, THE ONLY SENSIBLE THING THAT SHOWS UP HERE FOR THIS ENTIRE WEEK…

Jason is going away for this entire week.  This isn’t the first time it happens, nor is it a rare occurrence.  But what you’ll feel differently about this week, not including this particular post, is going to be somewhat of a breakthrough.  Thing is, if you had any presumptions about me, as someone who likes to cook and carries out every meal big or small, with a sense of class and dignity, for the next 7 days, you’ll find your theory… horrifiedly misguided.  Pretty scallion-oil chicken rolls on a pedestal?  Gourmet popcorns to accompany DVD-binging?  Pffff~ pleeease… you’re too cute.

The fault, is mine.  For I haven’t exactly been honest about what goes on in here, when there’s absolutely nobody watching.  Truth is, like comedians being freakishly quiet off stage, cooking for me, is a hobby that erodes with the absence of audiences.  Truth is, what I “cook” for myself and myself only, is inexcusably, for lack of better words, horrendous.  So here I am.  I don’t know where I found such commitment, but I’ve sternly decided that we (as, you and me) have entered a phase in our relationship, where “truth” is required for the hope of a sustainable future together…

Which prompted this new segment I would call, as previously mentioned:  The stuff Shit I Eat When I’m By Myself.

Do not be mistaken that these are products of desperations.  You’d hurt my feelings.  They are all – and it takes great courage to admit – “foods” that I sickeningly and hopelessly, love to eat.  Regardless the fact that you may find them only socially excusable, if I was a college student who just spent the the last $20 on alcohol school supplies.  Some of them may be accompanied with a “recipe”, as others may, thankfully, not.  But whatever you will take away from this, I hope that they at the very least, entertains you.

So enjoy this one before “The Shit” hits the fan, the last proper dinner I made before the “audience” decided to leave me to rot in the land of culinary-ruin, creamy and nutty miso carbonara with tiny sausage meatballs.  For this could very well be the only sensible thing that shows up here for this entire week.

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