Cooking With Eggs

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We use eggs in so many recipes. They are a staple in the kitchen.

An egg can be cooked alone  boiled, poached, fried, scrambled.
Or used as an ingredient in baking, batters and cakes.
Alternatively use an egg to thicken sauces or to add air to lighten dishes.

The egg is truly amazing. And without it  well our menus sure would be dull.

But do you know much about the egg?

Chances are that you have never even given it a thought. Well it is time you did.

When first laid, the egg has barely any air inside a tiny air pocket. However, because the shell is porous, it allows air to penetrate. And as time passes, air moves inside the egg and the air pocket grows.

As this air pocket enlarges, the moisture in the egg evaporates. So, as the egg gets older the yolk becomes less plump and flatter and the white separates and spreads.

And this all impacts on cooking. Depending on how you intend on using the egg determines how fresh an egg you should use.

If you fry an older egg, you will end with a flat ‘pancake’ instead of a neat rounded egg.

The more stale an egg the more fragile and difficult to separate it will be.

As opposed to the fresh egg, which has a tight and tough inner skin. This makes peeling the shell off the boiled egg very frustrating. As the egg ages with skin relaxes allowing the shell to peel much easier.

If you are lucky enough to have your own hens, then you know how old your eggs are. But what if you have to buy them?

The easiest method of tell how old an egg is, is to put the egg in a dish of water.

If it sinks and lies horizontally – very fresh.
If it sinks but tilts slightly – about 1 week old.
If it sinks but stands vertically – older, stale.
But if it floats – it’s off and be careful not to crack the shell.

Some people prefer brown eggs and some white. But nutritionally they are the same.

The yolks will also vary in color depending of the diet of the hen.

Do you find your eggs crack when boiling? Well, follow these simple steps to get perfect eggs, every time.

Use 2 week old eggs and ensure they are at room temperature. Make as pin prick in the rounded flat end of the egg  this allows any steam that might build up to escape.

Use as small a saucepan as possible, so the eggs fit in snuggly  you don’t want to much space otherwise they may bounce around and crack.

Bring to the boil but only simmer do not boil vigorously. Follow these tips and your eggs won’t crack.

So, for frying and poaching use as fresh an egg as possible. When the recipe calls for eggs to be separated, use fresh eggs as well. But if you want easy to peel eggs use the older ones. And when it comes to scrambling, fresher is best but older ones will do.

 

10 Great Tips On Cooking Meals

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If you are as busy as most people you are always looking for ways to feed your family in convenient, fast, yet not too expensive ways. Try the following suggestions:

1. Cooking several meals for the week at one time. It may take a few hours of your time up front but will pay off in the long run when you come home each evening and have a meal ready to eat in a short amount of time. Try cooking a roast and using part of it as a main meal and then using some for sandwiches, beef stroganoff or as part of a stir-fry. Fry several pounds of hamburger and make a casserole, taco meat and chili to freeze for use later in the week.

2. After you return home from the grocery store clean all the fruits and vegetables you can. When it’s time for a meal all you will have to do is cook them or add them to a salad or soup.

3. Get ideas from the cooking shows on T.V. There are great shows that show you how to make a healthy meal in a short time.

4. Develop a revolving recipe file. If you get bogged down by the idea of having to plan 30 meals a month the recipe file is for you. Let family members choose some of their favorites and put the recipes in a monthly file. Flip to day five or fifteen and there is the meal just waiting to be cooked.

5. Enlist the help of the members of your family. As soon as the kids are old enough divide up the cooking responsibilities. Let everyone take turns with specific tasks or the whole meal. Pair these meals with fruit and veggies that have already been washed and cut-up and you are ready for dinner.

6. Share the cooking with friends or neighbors. I’ve known people who cook four or five of the same meal and then trade with four or five other people. This works best when people share the same basic ideas on what they like and don’t like. It’s a great idea though for a very easy week of evening meals.

7. Save coupons for those convenience things at the grocery store. They have entire entrees and dinners either fresh or frozen. Sometimes they are rather pricy but with the coupons they are good to have on hand for an evening when everyone is running in different directions and time is of the essence.

8. It’s O.K. to eat out from time to time. Clip coupons for these occasions and if you have kids keep a look-out for the places that have special prices for children. Some of the fast-food restaurants are trying to offer item choices that are a little more healthy.

9. Many larger cities have businesses that prepare food for the evening meal. They seem expensive at first but are so convenient and available for one person or entire families. There are many menu choices and meals cooked for special diets. When you calculate the groceries you buy and the times you eat out each week, this may work for you.

10. Combine several of the above ideas into a plan that is best for you.

It is possible with a little planning to cook meals that are quick and easy without spending hours in the kitchen every day.