How to Fry an Egg

Heather says:

Today we’re covering fried eggs -as new projects to procrastinate develop- I’ll also address: scrambled eggs, omelets, frittatas, quiche, and my as yet unnamed hybrid of the three techniques that feeds my family on a busy evening when I have no interest in effort.

 

How to Fry an Egg Tutorial

 

So what is a fried egg? Well there are five ways to have them, in this tutorial:

The Great Fried Egg TutorialGot that?

If you do not have a nonstick pan before you even pull the eggs out of the fridge, you have a little prep work. Grab a bottle of vegetable oil, a paper towel, salt, and your pan. Wipe the pan with a thin coat of vegetable oil. Heat the pan over medium high heat until it is very hot, but not smoking. Turn off the burner and let it cool completely. Your pan is now conditioned and primed for use.

You must do this if you are using a stainless steel pan or the eggs will stick in the tiny scratches and pits on your pan’s surface. The vegetable oil seals these cracks and lets the eggs fry without making a horrific stuck on mess. If some bits of egg do stick to your pan, scrub with a little bit of salt and a paper towel between batches. If you use soap and water, you’ll have to recondition your pan before cooking more eggs.

Now we’re ready to fry some eggs.

Whether the eggs are basted, sunny side up, over light (easy), over medium, or over hard they all start the same:

Gather your conditioned or nonstick pan, your fat -butter, bacon grease, coconut oil, or vegetable oil,- and a spatula. Flipping eggs without a spatula will be covered in a future post. Just hang tight if that’s your goal.

The amount of fat you’ll use depends completely on the size of your pan. You want 1/8″ of fat / oil, less than that and the eggs may stick with more, they may be greasy.

Turn your burner to medium or your griddle to 325F. Allow the pan and fat to heat. To check and see if the pan is ready sprinkle a TINY -you read that right? TINY- amount of water. It should sizzle. If it pops, turn the heat DOWN.

Oil that is too hot causes brown, crispy edges.

Oil that is too cool lets the eggs spread too far which makes them harder to flip.

Reduce the heat to low, unless you’re using a griddle, in that case just leave it alone, but know you’ll have to flip sooner.

Now here’s where the methods diverge.

Baste with a lidFor basted eggs, sprinkle a few drops of water over the eggs and cover. Cook just until the whites are set. The steam will create a thin film of cooked white over the yolk.

For sunny side up eggs cook slowly until the whites are set, then use a spatula to remove from the pan. This is boring, but effective.

To fry eggs over light, medium, or hard they must be turned.

Egg Flip Slide the tip of your spatula all the way around the edge of the white, to ensure the egg is not sticking the pan. Then, slide the spatula halfway under the eggs, in one motion lift up and turn over toward the side of the egg that does not have the spatula under it. That edge (marked in my ever so spiffy illustration with a blue arrow) should never lose contact with the pan.

Remember! Flip gently or suffer the consequence of broken yolks. Remember you will probably break a few before you get the hang of the turn.

Ready to flipFor over light / easy eggs leave them alone until the edge of the white is set, there will still be a pool of unset white surrounding the yolk. Let the egg cook for only a few seconds to set the rest of the white and transfer it to a plate to serve.

Over medium eggs should cook until the white is mostly set, then turned and allowed to cook for 15 – 20 seconds. The yolk should be thick and partially, but not fully cooked. If you break it with a fork, it should still flow, but not be super runny.

Break YolksFor over hard eggs, break the yolk with a fork, then flip and allow to cook until the yolk is completely set.

Enjoy!

Related Post:

How to Hard Boil an Egg

Hearty White Sandwich Bread

retrochick.JPGMichele says:

I’ll never forget the first time my childhood friend showed me how to make one of her favorite treats.    The recipe was simple: one piece of white bread, squished and squeezed into a compact ball.  It was kind of like a bread bonbon, and the thought of it horrified me immensely.  You see, I grew up eating sprouted wheat bread—the kind that can lead a child’s mind to wonder about the possibility of those seeds sprouting further during the digestion process—and it most certainly did not squish.  It crumbled.

When I moved out on my own, I was gleeful to be able to choose a big, squishy loaf of white bread for my sandwiches.  Upon my first bite, I was hit not with satisfaction and delight, but with questions.  Is it supposed to stick to the roof of your mouth like this?  Why does my sandwich stay squished after I take a bite out of it?  And, most importantly, why, oh why am I still hungry after six slices of bread and butter?  The answer to all of those questions was a simple one: air.

Store bought bread is the jet puffed marshmallow of the grain industry.  Its shoddy ingredients and short production time don’t allow for a proper rise, so the dough is “helped out” with the addition of a quick puff of air.  It bakes up airy and light, but the many shortcuts are evident the second you take your first bite and find the bread dissolving on your tongue—and even more evident when you find yourself rummaging through the cupboards for a post-lunch snack an hour after your meal.  So-called whole wheat bread isn’t much better, and yet, despite its lack of quality and nutrition, most of us keep buying it.  It’s a sweet, carby comfort food, and it’s not like we eat sandwiches every day, right?

We may not eat our daily bread, but what about our children?

How often do they eat toast, sandwiches, or plain old slices of bread in hand?  If children today are anything like children twenty-something years ago, the answer is probably pretty darn often.  So, what can we do?

Ban bread?

I suppose that’s an option—but before you petition congress, how about you give homemade sandwich bread a shot?  Sure, it takes more time and costs more money than the store bought loaves, but what would you rather pay for: time and real ingredients, or convenience, air, and possibly an attorney to write your anti-bread petition?

(Hint: the correct answer is A.)

Homemade White Sandwich Bread

Hearty White Sandwich Bread

Notes: This recipe is skipping many of the step by step pictures that were shown in the post Easy Italian Bread, so pop over there if you’re unsure about something or if you just want some photo reassurance.  If you prefer wheat bread, you can substitute up to 1 ½ cups of the flour with whole- or white-wheat flour.  Just remember that it will be much denser than the loaf made with all white flour!  I cannot stress enough the importance of tightly rolling your bread in step 8.  If you don’t pinch hard enough, you’ll end up with bread that you can unwind like a cinnamon roll.  Don’t worry about hurting the dough by pinching or squeezing too hard!

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 teaspoons (or 1 packet) yeast
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 ½-3 ½ cups bread flour (or high quality all purpose flour)
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) melted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Step 1: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 cup of warm milk, 2 teaspoons of yeast, and 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Allow the yeast to sit until frothy or “proofed” (as shown).

Step 1: proofed yeast

Step 2: Using the dough hook as a spoon, stir 1 cup of flour into the proofed yeast.  Continue to stir until you can no longer see any dry flour.  Attach the dough hook to the mixer’s head.  (As seen in step 2 of our last bread post.)

Step 3: Add 4 tablespoons of butter, 1 large egg, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, and 1 cup of flour to the soggy doughy mess.  Lock the mixer head and turn your mixer on to its lowest speed.  Let the dough mix until all of the flour is integrated (you may need to hold your mixer’s head down if it tries to “walk” off the counter).

Step 4: Turn off the mixer and poke the dough.  Chances are it will stick to your finger.  Don’t worry; it’s supposed to do that!  If your dough is very wet, add an additional cup of flour.  If the dough is only slightly sticky, but isn’t wet, add an additional half cup of flour.  If the dough is almost perfect, add a scant quarter cup of flour.

Lock the machine, turn it on to the lowest speed, and let it mix in the additional flour until the dough forms a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl.  (As seen in step 4 of our last bread post.)

Step 5: Turn off the mixer and poke the dough (again).  Does your finger leave an indentation that slowly goes away?  If it doesn’t, allow the dough to mix for an additional 2 minutes to further develop the gluten; repeat the test.  Repeat step 5 until the dough passes the poke test.

Step 6: Grease a large bowl.  Quickly knead your dough into a ball on a very lightly floured counter top.  Place the ball of dough into the bowl and roll it around to coat the surface of the dough with oil.  Top the bowl with a greased lid (if it has one) or plastic wrap.  Allow the dough to rise at room temperature until it has doubled.  It took my dough about 90 minutes at a room temperature of 69 degrees.

Step 7: Uncover the dough.  Punch the dough down with your fist, folding the sides of the dough over as needed to form another ball.  Recover the bowl and allow the dough to double again.  For me, the second rise took a shade under 2 hours at 69 degrees.

Step 8: Uncover the dough and punch it down.  Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and form it into a 12 x 8 inch rectangle (just eyeball it!  Don’t worry about breaking out the ruler).

Step 8 - stretch out the dough

Make sure the long side of the dough is facing you, then tightly roll the dough twice as though you were making a jelly roll.  Use your finger tips to pinch along the seam of the dough until it stays pinched and stops trying to roll open.

Step 8 - roll the dough

Repeat until your dough can only be rolled one more time.  Before your final roll, fold the short edges of the dough in (like a burrito) so that the outside edges are smooth and rounded.  Be sure to pinch the edges like we have already been doing for the rolls.

Step 8 - fold in the sides like a burrito

Tightly roll and pinch the dough into its final log shape.  Press the dough seam-down in a buttered metal 9×5 inch loaf pan, making sure to smoosh the dough enough so that it touches all of the sides of the pan.  (It’s okay if the dough shrinks back some after you move your hands.)

Step 8 - form the dough into a loaf

Using a paring knife or sharp kitchen shears, cut a quarter inch deep slash down the middle of the dough to give it room to rise.  Brush the dough with melted butter.  Dampen a large lint free towel or napkin and cover the pan and dough.  Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk.  It took my dough an hour at 70 degrees.

Step 8 - scored dough pre-rise

Step 8 - dough post-rise

Step 9: Preheat the oven to 375.  Remove the towel from the unbaked loaf and, if desired, brush the dough with more melted butter.  Bake your bread on the middle rack of the oven for 35 to 45 minutes (checking through the oven window every two minutes after 35 minutes) or until the bread is golden brown, sounds hollow when you rap it with your knuckles, and smells like bread.  (Skip that second test if you don’t have fireproof hands like me.)

Step 9 - baked bread

Using a dry lint free towel or napkin, transfer the bread from the pan to a cooling rack.  Allow the bread to cool to room temperature before slicing.  Store in a bread box or bread bag, and keep in mind that the bread keeps longer if you only slice it as you need it.

Step 9 - cooled and sliced

Makes one 9×5″ loaf or about 16-20 hearty slices.

Michele Newell is a housewife turned blogger turned Home Ec 101 contributor.  You can read her near daily ramblings at Dreams Unreal.

Balsamic Marinated Chicken Thighs

Heather says:

This recipe for balsamic marinated chicken is sort of a repeat. Why? Because sometimes you don’t want to cook a whole chicken and grab the super-value pack of chicken thighs or leg quarters when they go on sale. Like the garlic and soy chicken thighs, this recipe is simple, the only drawback is it’s much better with a longer marinating period. This is a marinate the night before kind of recipe. Sides can be super simple. I went with baked sweet potatoes and oven roasted okra -I tossed the okra in vinegar and rosemary, with a little olive oil, it was okay, but nothing to write home about. I think lentil pilaf may have been a better choice.

Looking for other chicken recipe ideas: here’s a guide to cooking and using chicken

Balsamic Chicken Thighs

: Chicken Thighs Marinated in Balsamic Vinegar

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary – or 1 tsp fresh, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 – 4 lbs chicken thighs
  • salt / fresh ground pepper

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the first 8 ingredients. In a shallow, non-reactive container (ie glass or plastic, or even zippered plastic bag) pour all of the marinade over the chicken thighs.
  • Cover and place the container in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for several hours or overnight. Turn the pieces once in a while to ensure they all have a reasonably even coating. (This is where the large zippered bag is handy, check the seal and hand it to a minion to shake)
  • Preheat the oven to 425F and make sure one of the racks is in the middle position.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off any excess. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place the chicken skin side up in a as small a baking dish as possible. The point is to ensure the skin is nicely browned, but the chicken isn’t spread out so far that it will dry out before it reaches a safe temperature.
  • Roast for approximately 35 – 50 minutes -this depends on whether or not you took the chicken out of the fridge as recommended in Cooking for Geeks -the whole don’t skip a temperature stage idea) Use a meat thermometer and remove the chicken from the oven as soon as it hits 165F.

Cooking time: 35 – 50

Number of servings (yield): 6

 

Easy Italian Bread


Michele says:

A little over ten years ago today, I enrolled in home economics as a school elective.  To say I was excited would be an understatement, and I showed up for my first day of class eager to learn anything and everything I could about sewing, cooking, cleaning, and—most important to me—baking.  The pace was slow; by the middle of the semester, we had barely made a batch of cookies!  I finally got up the courage to ask the teacher when we’d learn to make, say, a simple loaf of bread.  My courage was rewarded with a “Hah!” worthy of The Simpsons’ Edna Krabapple.  Deflated and embarrassed, I gave up on baking and spent the rest of the course sewing stuffed animals, taking breaks to thread my classmates’ needles.

It wasn’t until my husband and I were poor college students that I even thought about baking my own bread again.  I bought flour in 25 pound sacks and dove in headfirst.  Six months later, I had my own recipes for everything from sandwich bread to challah to naan to the sort of crusty bread that bakeries sell for $5 a loaf.  Today, I’m no longer forced to make all of my own bread, but I still make a majority of it.  But, why?  Isn’t baking bread a tedious, time consuming gamble?

No way!  Don’t believe the evil industrial bread empire’s propaganda!  Not only is it easy, it is also amazingly delicious, more filling than air-puffed store bread, and super frugal; as a bonus, kneading by hand is a great form of stress relief!  (And if you’re not stressed, you can use a stand mixer instead.)  Best of all, you probably already have all five of the ingredients in your cabinets—and you don’t even need a bread machine.

So, what do you say, Home Eccers?  How about we whip up a batch of bread before we continue with our sewing lessons?  (Here’s the part where I assume that you’re all donning your aprons in excitement.)  As long as you give the dough plenty of time to rise, this bread is downright impossible to mess up.  So, even if you’ve had not-so-good luck with bread in the past, just humor me and give this recipe a shot.  Your bellies (and your families) will thank you!

italianbread15

Easy Italian Bread

Notes: this recipe assumes you have a stand mixer.  If you’re baking by hand, do your mixing in a very large bowl using a sturdy wooden spoon until the dough comes together (as seen in step 3 below).  Add flour ½ cup at a time, and when you can no longer stir the dough, turn it out onto a floured counter.  Knead, using the heels of your hands, until it looks and feels like the dough described in step 6, or anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes.  Once the dough is ready to rise (as evidenced by the “poke test” described in step 5) you can continue to follow the recipe below.

  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (or 1 packet) yeast
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • About 3 cups of good all purpose flour

Step 1: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 ½ cups of water, 2 teaspoons of yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Allow the yeast to sit until frothy or “proofed” (as shown).

italianbread2

Step 2: Using the dough hook as a spoon, stir 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and 1 cup of flour into the proofed yeast.  Continue to stir until you can no longer see any dry flour.  Attach the dough hook to the mixer’s head.

italianbread3

Step 3: Add 1 cup of flour to the soggy doughy mess.  Lock the mixer head and turn your mixer on to its lowest speed.  Let the dough mix until all of the flour is integrated (you may need to hold your mixer’s head down if it tries to “walk” off the counter).

Step 4: Turn off the mixer and poke the dough.  Chances are it will stick to your finger.  Don’t worry; it’s supposed to do that!  If your dough is very wet, add an additional cup of flour.  If the dough is only slightly sticky, but isn’t wet, add an additional half cup of flour.  Lock the machine, turn it on to the lowest speed, and let it mix in the additional flour until the dough forms a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl.

italianbread6

Step 5: Turn off the mixer and poke the dough (again).  Does your finger leave an indentation that slowly goes away?  If it doesn’t, allow the dough to mix for an additional 2 minutes to further develop the gluten; repeat the test.  Once your dough is properly springy, give yourself a pat on the back because the hard part is over.  Congratulations!

italianbread7

Step 6: Oil a large bowl.  Quickly knead your dough into a ball on a very lightly floured countertop.  Place the ball of dough into the bowl and roll it around to coat the surface of the dough with oil.  Top the bowl with a greased lid (if it has one) or plastic wrap.  Allow the dough to rise at room temperature until it has doubled.  It took my dough about 90 minutes at a room temperature of 67 degrees

Before the first rise.

Before the first rise.

After the first rise.

After the first rise.

Step 7: Uncover the dough.  Punch the dough down with your fist, folding the sides of the dough over as needed to form another ball.  Recover the bowl and allow the dough to double again.  For me, the second rise took 2 hours at 67 degrees.

Before the second rise.

Before the second rise.

After the second rise.

After the second rise.

Step 8: Uncover the dough and punch it down (last time, I swear).  Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and form it into an elongated ball (think an American football only less pointy).  Transfer the ball to a large parchment- or silicone mat-lined baking sheet.

Using a paring knife or sharp kitchen shears, cut a quarter inch deep slash down the middle of the dough to give it room to rise.  Dust the dough with flour.  Dampen a large lint free towel or napkin and cover the pan and dough.  Let the dough rest for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 450.

italianbread13

Step 9: Once the oven has heated and the dough has rested, remove the towel from the unbaked loaf.  If the flour has magically disappeared, as it tends to do, sprinkle the loaf with a bit more flour.  Bake your bread on the middle rack of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes (checking through the oven window every minute after 15 minutes) or until the bread is golden brown, sounds hollow when you rap it with your knuckles, and smells like bread.  (Skip that second test if you don’t have fireproof hands like me.)

Using a dry lint free towel or napkin, transfer the bread from the pan to a cooling rack.  Allow the bread to cool to room temperature until slicing—or just tear off hunks like a caveperson and enjoy it warm.  If anyone dares give you guff, tell them that Michele says you deserve to eat because… you just baked bread!

italianbread14

Thai Inspired Beef and Cabbage Skillet

Heather says:

I’d like to thank Bobbie for helping out with the name of this quick beef skillet, I was staring at it last night and drawing a blank. This ground beef cabbage skillet recipe will feed six, more if you serve over cooked rice or noodles. Feel free to play with the ingredients as that would be exactly how I came up with this recipe. I found Cooking Light’s Thai Beef Cups. I used it as a framework to build this recipe for the cooking basics series I’ve been slowly building. If you’re looking for a more traditional beef and cabbage skillet, Bobbie and I both have versions: Bobbie’s Beef and Cabbage Skillet and Heather’s Beef and Cabbage Skillet. All three are great, quick meals, that are handy to have in your kitchen arsenal, cabbage stores for-freaking-ever in the bottom drawer of the fridge and if you’re not vegetarian I ask you why you don’t have at least one emergency pound of ground beef in the freezer. That’s pretty much required to stave off an emergency drive-through run.

As far as the cooking basics series goes, I know so far there are a lot of ground beef recipes, but don’t worry, we’ll start adding chicken, pork, and fish soon enough. I’m still sorting out the whole work life balance thing and not doing so hot at either, if you must know.

So, back to the skillet. Feel free to use red or green cabbage, heck you could use broccoli slaw or any cruciferous greens, as long as they are shredded pretty finely. Just remember the goal isn’t to cook this dish until it’s dead, but rather to keep a little crunch in there for texture. AND if you don’t want to use peanut butter, don’t, just use 1/4 cup of salted peanuts like the original recipe described. Someone swiped my peanuts, that’s the only reason I experimented with -and rather liked- the peanut butter in the first place. Skillets are experiments, give yourself permission to try something different once in a while, who knows you may have a new family favorite. (FYI the minions call any version of beef and cabbage skillet, Kung Fu Skillet as I got tired of them asking what’s for dinner and they were on a Kung Fu Panda kick at the time)

Thai Inspired Beef Cabbage Skillet Recipe

: Thai Inspired Beef and Cabbage Skillet

: A simple one dish meal with a ginger, peanut, twist

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, peeled and minced – substitute 1 tsp ground ginger if you need to
  • 2 TBSP lime juice -I didn’t measure, just a couple of GOOD squeezes, yes I used the store bought kind, this was a clean out the fridge kind of meal, if you have fresh… awesome.
  • 1 1/2 tbsp hoisin sauce -you can use fish sauce if you have it
  • 1 small head of red or green cabbage, sliced thinly or shredded
  • 1/2 cup or 1/2 a bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 TBSP peanut butter or 1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • Soy Sauce to taste – when served

  • Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, and ginger -fresh or ground. Cook, stirring frequently until the onions begin to soften. Reduce the heat if the garlic starts to turn golden. You don’t want to over cook this.
  • Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook until no longer pink. Drain well.
  • Return the skillet to the burner and completely stir in the lime juice and hoisin sauce.
  • Add the cabbage to the skillet and cook until crisp tender.
  • Add the peanut butter -if desired- and cilantro (yes, you can omit this, if you’re one of those).
  • Stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Serve immediately as is or over rice or noodles.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

Enjoy!