Gordon Myers

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The Ten-Egg Challenge: Part 1

Hello world! After taking a several year hiatus from blogging, I'm back, but perhaps not with a vengeance. You may notice that my website looks nothing like it used to. For that, we have my good friend and coworker, Kristi Trefftzs, to thank. So a HUGE thank you to her!

Recently I was watching an episode of "Master Chef" where they had a challenge to the hopeful cooks to prepare an egg in four different ways: poached, sunny side up, soft boiled, and a 3-egg omelette. While some of the hopefuls were still relatively young, the masters insisted that anyone serious about cooking should know how to do eggs in all sorts of different ways by now. That got me thinking. I'm 27, and I've never cooked eggs in any of the ways they had called for in that challenge.

So, I'm setting out to fix this in what I'm calling the 10 Egg Challenge. This is a challenge that spans 10 days and should use exactly 12 eggs - assuming I don't break any. I'm going to challenge myself to learn 10 different styles of cooking eggs, and I'm going to chronicle my journey here on my blog.

Day 1: Poached Egg

This is something I'd never done before, and it's really not that hard. Admittedly, I suspect I'll probably be typing "it's really not that hard" every day of this challenge. But, you never know until you try it yourself. On every day of this challenge, I'm going to explain how to prepare the egg in this way. But before I do that, allow me to showcase a photo of the finished, poached egg:

Poached Egg

To make a poached egg, you will need:

  • A pot full of water,
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of white vinegar (can be white wine vinegar or rice vinegar),
  • A bowl,
  • A slotted spoon, and
  • An egg.

You want to make sure to fill the pot well, so that it's not too shallow; the egg needs some room to swim around in. Bring the water to a boil, and then immediately reduce the heat to a medium, or even low, simmer so that's it not bubbling any more. Then add your teaspoon(s) of vinegar. I didn't actually measure this; I just guessed. It doesn't need to be a precise science. But one thing to note: do not add any salt to the water! It will ruin the whole process if you do. Crack the egg into a bowl first (do not drop it directly into the water!), then hold the bowl just over the surface of the water so you can gently drop the egg in. Watch the egg. It should be fine on its own, but you can use the spoon to try to corral the whites around the yolk. But be gentle! You do not want to puncture anything.

Poached Egg

I found a number of websites that said you should keep the egg in the water for no more than 3 to 4 minutes. I kept mine in for about 5 or 6, though I may have used a slightly lower heat than others. Just watch it. Throughout the process, I would periodically take the spoon to lift the egg from off the bottom of the pan, still keeping it submerged in the warm water. After about four minutes, I gently picked it up with the spoon, out of the water, and lightly tapped it with my finger just to see if it was done yet. It wasn't. Thankfully I was gentle enough to not damage the egg, but I could tell it was still somewhat fragile at that point. After another minute or two, I tested it again, and it was more solid (though it still had some spring - which is good!). So at that point I turned off the burner, and used my spoon to pull it out of the water and onto a serving plate. There was an outermost perimeter of "messy" whites surrounding the inner solid whites. I used a knife and trimmed those off and threw them away, leaving only the perfectly formed poached egg.

Poached Egg

The results were delicious. The yolk was nice and runny, the egg whites tasted great, and I added the perfect amount of salt. I'm giving Poached Eggs a solid 9 out of 10. And in case you've ever wondered how to make "eggs benedict," you now know how. Eggs benedict is just an English muffin with ham and a poached egg (and usually Hollandaise sauce as well). So there you have it! So far I'm really liking this challenge. Check back tomorrow to find out what style of egg I'll make next!

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