My friend, Olga, has guest posted here before. She’s expressed an interest in contributing more frequently, and so I’m happy to introduce her as a regular guest blogger here on FoodRetro! –Anne
Since you’ll be seeing more of me on FoodRetro, I thought I’d introduce myself properly. My name is Olga. If you’re interested in reading my stories about life abroad, raising kids with several languages, check out my blog, The European Mama. I also love cooking and baking and performing hair-raising experiments in my kitchen.
Thank God nothing has exploded yet.
Because I like to start with a bang, let me tell you a story about exploding eggs. My brother was visiting us in the Netherlands, and we wanted to have a nice breakfast in one of the many restaurants in Delft. We ordered breakfast. It was actually a 2-course menu and it started with soft-boiled eggs.
I was excited for the gooey yumminess when my brother noticed that his egg offered some resistance when he tried to break it open. He didn’t think much of it and continued to open the egg… when it suddenly exploded. A hot mass of chicken-smelling stuff landed all over the place, missing our then 6 months old daughter by centimeters.
The staff apologized and brought us new eggs. And then it happened again. After a while, they brought us scrambled eggs. Luckily, no further eggs exploded during that dinner.
What happened? Well, the waitress blamed the farmer. She actually said that he made a mistake and the words “beginning of a chicken” were uttered.
So basically, the eggs we usually eat are not fertilized. This means there was no rooster involved. USUALLY. In the US and Canada, eggs are kept in the fridge to protect from bacterial growth–but this also has the side effect of preventing an accidentally fertilized egg from developing embryos. Then, there’s this thing called candling– shining a light through an egg, to see how it looks like inside.
In any case, there are ways to make sure that eggs do not explode when cooked because they’ve been fertilized.
These particular ones came from a farmer who apparently couldn’t keep his rooster away from his hens, and the resulting eggs were kept in room temperature resulting in the aforementioned incident. Although, since we’re talking about yucky stuff, in some cultures- such as the Philippines, fertilized eggs–in this case, duck eggs–are considered a delicacy called balut.
Another great way to get eggs to explode is to put them in the microwave: take egg, place it in microwave, and enjoy hours of cleaning!
Jokes aside, here’s some cool info about eggs.
Chicken eggs are the most popular, but eggs from other birds are also edible, including quail, duck and ostrich eggs (did you know they weigh around 1.4 kilograms?). Quail eggs are smaller and covered with black spots and considered a delicacy.
They’re packed with nutrients and protein. They can perform a million super complicated and various functions in your food. They’re a great meat substitute. Eggs are perfect breakfast food and they’re so variable: scrambled, sunny-side up, boiled (hard or soft?), or poached. They come in omelettes and tortilla (in Spain, tortilla is actually a kind of omelette with potatoes). If you have noodle leftovers, put them in a baking pan, add some julienned vegetables, and add a mixture of eggs and whipping cream and mix. Then cover with cheese and bake.
They can also perform way more complicated actions in your kitchen.
Eggs are made of whites and yolks. The egg white can be beaten into a wonderful light white foam. You can use a mixer of do it by hand- although the first method is way easier. Just make sure that the bowl you’re beating the eggs in is clean and preferably made of steel. If you want to know why it’s so important, here’s a great explanation. If you’re afraid of salmonella, you can buy pasteurized eggs.
Egg foam is used to make meringues, pavlova, and chocolate mousse but also to make cake or pancake batter fluffier and lighter. Remember that, when folding egg foam into batter, mix 1/3 of the beaten egg white into the batter and then, take a spatula-full of the egg foam and gently fold it into the batter. Some of the peaks should still be visible. Another great recipe with beaten egg whites is Brazo de Mercedes which is basically soft meringue rolled-up and filled with vanilla custard cream. There are three types of merengue: Swiss, Italian and French.
Now, the egg yolks have the exact opposite function: where egg white expands, yolks contract. They’re used to thicken sauces and homemade mayonnaise (just make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature!). They’re also used in pastries, although sometimes recipes call for whole eggs. The egg yolks provide a beautiful yellow colour, like in these noodles.
Whole eggs are often used in cakes, but if you use baking soda/powder, you can substitute them with apple sauce or mashed bananas. They’re also used in meatloaf/balls to bind the meat together and give it some moisture. And that’s just a little taste of what eggs can achieve.
Of course, you can be allergic to eggs- such allergies are actually pretty common. Depending on the function of the eggs in the recipe, you can use a substitute. Or skip them entirely, like in this crazy chocolate cake.
Personally, I think eggs are real magicians in your kitchen. They’re responsible for many of the most amazing food the world has to offer. Eggs are your friend! Don’t let my exploding eggs story frighten you. With a very high probability, I can tell you that it won’t happen to you.
Now, go to your kitchen and get cracking!