My plan to cook something new and interesting once a week has been horribly derailed by life. 2012 is off to the worst start I could possibly imagine. Severe extended family health issues; extreme personal poverty due to our own health expenses; our car breaking down in the middle of one of California’s busiest highway on-ramps and left my wife stranded in horrible freeway traffic for an hour (and has left me scrambling to find the money to pay for repairs); Cat missing a flight to visit her family due to a traffic jam (which cost us even more money to rebook); agonizingly difficult business decisions to be made; a giant chunk missing from my thumb; and more! All in less than two weeks. 2012 may or may not be the end of the world, but I feel like I’m going to be lucky to live through the year.
I’m not trying to complain or dredge up sympathy; I just want you to understand that in light of all of this, I’ve cheated a little in order to maintain my commitment to blogging about food once a week. Instead of cooking something new, I whipped up something old that I mastered while Cat was sick over the past couple of years. She’s perfectly fine now, but while she was sick (for quite a while) she rarely had much of an appetite and I could often only to convince her to eat her default comfort food, eggs over rice. Not the absolute healthiest of foods, but at least it contains enough protein and carbs to keep a body going in tough times. As many times as I made this meal for her, I have become quite good at making perfect eggs and flawless steamed rice. The latter is something I’m especially proud of, because it is knowledge that is meant to be forbidden to the white man. I am the pale Prometheus of the kitchen.
Unfortunately it’s very difficult to make semi-cooked eggs look appetizing with a camera phone, but trust me when I say that these are amazingly delicious. Cat taught me her technique, and I improved on and perfected it; much like Darth Vader, now I am the master (which of course means now I get stuck doing kitchen duties whenever she has the craving for these).
Here is the process:
1. Crack x number of eggs into a bowl. It can be one, it can be a dozen (though for health’s sake you’d better be cooking for several people if you drop a whole carton in there).
2. Season to taste. The mix I’ve arrived at is as follows: one dash each of ground black pepper and coriander per egg. 1/2 dash each of finely ground red pepper and dried orange zest per egg. A few drops of e.v. olive oil and Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam) per egg. The fish sauce serves the role of salt and adds a little kick. Be super careful with it, though; if you use too much, the eggs will smell fishy, taste inedibly salty, and turn an unappetizing grey color.
3. Add one splash of low-fat milk per egg. This is important! It makes the eggs fluffy.
4. Warm iron skillet over medium heat.
5. Whisk the eggs rapidly until they’re frothy — at least 30 seconds, preferably a full minute.
6. Your skillet is the correct temperature when you flick a little water at it and the water beads up instead of simply hissing and evaporating. Once it’s reached this point, quickly dry the water out and pour in a splash of olive oil — just enough to heat the pan.
7. Pour in the egg mixture before the oil begins smoking. Use a spatula to pry and flip the cooked egg and heat the raw part evenly. Or if you want to impress the rubes, shake the pan rapidly as the egg begins to cook to keep it from sticking and flip it by flicking the pan upward once the top side of the egg has cooked enough not to splash everywhere. Julia Child did it this way; I’ve gotten it to work successfully once. Usually I just make a mess. There’s no shame in using the spatula.
8. Remove from heat when the eggs still display only the faintest hint of wetness. They’ll continue to cook for a little while, so pulling them off the heat before they look fully dry will keep them from being too dry and hard once you eat them.
9. Serve with rice or bread or bacon or whatever and be amazed that the humble scrambled egg can be so damn good.