“Culinizing” Life’s Beginnings

These eggs were...to die for...

I never liked eggs. When I was a child, my father would offer to cook me eggs on many an occasion, but they would have, have, to be scrambled for me to acquiesce. Fried eggs were yucky, the thick runny yolks leaking all over the plate and making the toast soggy (and therefore, inedible). Poached? Evil. Hard-boiled? Bland and rubbery. Even worse were egg salad, potato salad, cobb salad: salads that contain eggs and mayonnaise, or eggs and dressings. Egg and egg by-product. Oh, the texture.

When I went to college, my palate underwent a dramatic alteration in its preferences and tolerances. I was able to muscle down peas, which once sent me running to the kitchen sink, spitting up vomit and half-chewed green bits as the sound of my gags echoed through the room. I developed an affinity for soy products, a perpetual stomachache and toilet-fest for all things incredibly fatty, and cravings for salad. On a less sunny note was the necessity of altering my egg habits. Refusing to eat the bottled, canned…prepared egg mixture that was supposed to pass as scrambled eggs tempted me toward other options. Upon eyeing the manufactured and unnaturally moist nature of the “imitation eggs,” I first tried a hard-boiled egg, lining the whites up on a piece of wheat toast and discarding the yolks as I’d seen my father do many times. I was surprisingly satisfied with the culinary arrangement between me and the eggs, until this bland alternative to scrambled began to get old and the cold graininess of the yolks after soaking in water for hours was not simply an unacceptable way to eat the whole thing.

So, fried eggs it was, and now, I simply cannot stop. I eat them on breakfast sandwiches “hard,” the fully-cooked yolk the perfect soft and buttery compliment to crisp, salty bacon and starchy bread. For eggs benedict, “soft,” the yolks oozing all over the plate just begging to be sopped up by skewered bits of super-absorbent toast. “Medium-hard” works best for eggs in a basket, my absolute favorite and most highly-requested egg/bread combination because the flavors just…blend.

After listening to my partner complain for days that we have been out of mayonnaise for sandwiches, and feeling adventurous, I decided to attempt homemade mayonnaise. This stuff is legit; with no electric mixer or blender in my house, there is no possibility for “cheating.” I beat egg yolks and oil for half an hour, just like Julia Child and countless others have for practically ever! My arm was tired, my counter covered in canola and olive oils, my sweatshirt spattered with the premature emulsion, but it was well worth it. Unlike the congealed nastiness that somehow passes for mayonnaise out of plastic jars in supermarkets, this mayonnaise was wonderfully vinegary, soft and supple peaks of utterly buttery yolks. I used no real tricks to make this recipe work; superstition and wive’s tales aside, I simply kept beating. And that’s really the only key to success when making mayonnaise.

I would highly suggest Julia Child‘s recipe, as it is highly informative and broken down for beginners to be truly successful.

Following the mayonnaise venture and our trip to Angelia’s on Saturday, I decided to make deviled eggs for the first time in my life. I ate my first deviled egg Christmas Day 2010 at my partner’s family’s party. I’ve always (and still do) hate(d) egg salad, and assumed I would hate deviled eggs as well. They are, however, a work of total genius. The batch I just whipped up (literally) are my third timers, and I must say: I have fallen completely head-over-heels for the egg. Veganism is most certainly out of the window for me permanently. You can’t turn liquid imitation eggs into les oeufs mimosas 🙂

I looked to many recipes for suggestions, but stuck with more simplistic eggs for my first round. They turned out absolutely delightful! The writers of deviledeggs.com were very helpful in establishing a way to make eggs that are easy to peel and end up “perfect” for presentable snacks where aesthetics are somewhat important. A few of my eggs ripped, but….they were consumed readily anyway for sure.

Deviled Eggs
6 eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I would recommend homemade – they are that much creamier)
2 tsp. dijon mustard (more or less to taste)
fresh ground pepper
herbs and salt to taste

-Place 6 eggs in the bottom of a large saucepan and cover completely with water.
-Cover pot with lid and place on the stove. Cook on high heat until the water begins to boil. IMMEDIATELY remove pot from the burner once it begins to boil! Set the pot on a cold burner and leave covered for 30 minutes.
-After 30 minutes, drain the hot water from the pot and fill with cold water and ice cubes to cool the eggs. This stops quickly the cooking. Cool for about 15 or 20 minutes.
-Drain the water. Gently “smash and roll” each egg, applying enough pressure for the shell to break into many pieces but not hard enough for the egg to split in half horizontally. The shell should resemble the desert when you are done “smashing and rolling.” Place eggs in water bath for 10 minutes to loosen the shells.
-Remove eggs from water and carefully peel each one. Cool in refrigerator for an additional 20 minutes to make cutting them easier.
-Remove from refrigerator and cut each egg in half. Scoop out the yolks and smash in bowl with mayo, mustard, and ground pepper. Fill the egg whites and arrange on plate. Sprinkle salt and herbs on to taste.

Many websites and sources suggest that the eggs must be fresh, that you should place them a certain way to get the yolks centered…I was too excited to make them, and used both fresh eggs and eggs that I did not arrange any special way in the pot or overnight in the container. Honestly, with the above cooking method, these eggs came out next to perfect! Easy to peel and easy to handle, I ran into almost no problems despite applying undue pressure and splitting an egg in half horizontally. Oh well – still delicious.

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3 thoughts on ““Culinizing” Life’s Beginnings

  1. Have you ever had hard-boiled eggs w/ pasta? It sounded appalling to me when I first heard of it, but man, it’s good. (Regular pasta of any shape, including spaghetti; any kind of good pasta sauce; a little parmesan; and a hard-boiled egg, roughly cut. Delicious.)

  2. Eggs seem to be the theme this week! My dad always loves to make me breakfast when I come home and I’m with you, they always have to be scrambled. I don’t understand how people can find the runny yolks tasty. They ruin the whites, the toast, everything is just no longer appetizing once the yolk breaks.

    I love that you’re using Julia Child as your reference! I’m reading her memoir on her time in France and theres a little section devoted to all the different ways she experimented with making mayonnaise. When I first think about mayonnaise it kinda grosses me out, but once you dissect it and realize what’s really in it, it’s not so bad. I’ve wanted to experiment with it and try making my own as well.

    Great post!

  3. When I think of store-bought mayonnaise, I get grossed out, and still do! Thinking of my own just doesn’t get me like the jar stuff does, maybe because I imagine all of the “other” things they put in it. For example, why is it white? I know they use egg whites in industrial mayo, but somehow I just don’t think that’s the only reason. And sugar? High fructose corn syrup? I don’t know, they’re not in my recipe. I am happy that I can officially stop having the heebie-jeebies over mayo with my own tupperware in the fridge hahaha lol

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