Friday, May 7, 2010

Easy, Cracker!

So I'm going back to an oldie but a goodie again, but for two very good reasons that all happened yesterday. Yesterday morning while my fiance was making me some post-birthday hangover eggs, he asked me for help on how to crack an egg without getting shell in it. And then last night while I was up late obsessing over this cool new show called Future Food, I saw an infomercial for a product called the EZ Cracker. It's a little plastic contraption of sorts that cracks an egg for you without getting the shell in it. Here's what they claim:

EZ Cracker is the new and easy way to crack and separate eggs. It cracks eggs, separates egg whites, and strip shells from hard boiled eggs in just seconds. Now you can enjoy eggs without any mess or hassles. You no longer have to worry about tiny pieces of egg shells getting into your food.

Right, because I stay up late at night, losing sleep, worrying about tiny egg shells in my food.

One of the first questions I received when I started this blog, was "What's the proper way to crack an egg? I always get pieces of shell in mine." I'm going to rewrite that blog here so that you can learn how to crack an egg with your own two hands, like a big boy, without having to shell out $20 bucks (Pun Alert!) for a plastic piece of shit that sounds like its a large African American man, yelling at me. "Easy, cracker!!"

1. Use a FLAT surface to crack the egg. If you use the lip of a bowl or the corner of the counter top, the edge just causes more unnecessary breakage that create tiny broken pieces of shell. What you're trying to do is create one simple broken line so that you can put your thumbs in there and open up the egg. You don't want to smash the daylights out of it. Then you'll look like one of the stroke victims in the commercial who act like they only learned hand-eye coordination yesterday. So just tap the egg on a flat counter, and put your thumbs in the crack to open up the shell. Easy peasy.

2. Don't be an idiot and bang things against the egg like in the commercial. Seriously, don't. The "actor" (I wonder how much she got paid) was banging a fork against an egg and it cracked all over the place and made a mess. Its just you, the egg, and a counter top. Leave the foreign objects out of it. (And why a fork?? Why not something substantial, like a meat tenderizer or something?)

3. If you get shells in your egg, use a big piece of shell to get the little pieces out. I know, it tempting to stick your fingers in there and chase that piece of shell around for like 10 minutes because "I can grab it, just wait a second," but swallow your pride and use a piece of shell. It works the fastest, every time.

4. If you're baking something and you have to add eggs to a recipe, crack the eggs in their own bowl first. Then if there's any shell in it, you can pick them out first before you add them to your Aunt Tillie's morning glory muffins. If you try breaking an egg over the side of a bowl (that's your first mistake. I said to use a flat surface.) to add them right into your recipe mix, you're probably going to get shells in everything, especially if you're new at this whole cracking of the eggs dilemma. And then you'll be digging around the batter trying to find a piece of shell, when you could have followed my advice and cracked the eggs in their own bowl.

5. To peel boiled eggs, all you need to do is put those eggs in a bowl of ice water as soon as they're done cooking. I swear by this trick. Its called "shocking" the eggs. Let them chill in the water until cold and they'll take off their shells like they were on "Huevos Gone Wild."

6. To separate egg whites from the yolk, crack the egg on a flat surface. But then, when you break open the shell with your thumbs, keep the egg in the biggest of the two shell halves. If you tip the shell and jiggle it around a little, the white will pour off the side and leave the yolk in the shell. If that's too difficult, you can break the egg into a bowl, and then use one of the shell halves to scoop the yolk out.

** My Aunt read this entry and emailed me, reminding me that you can use your fingers to separate eggs. You can crack the egg into your hand, an let the white slip through your fingers while the yolk stays in your hand. While she's right, one of my mentors in a restaurant I worked at wouldn't let me do this. We saved all of our whites to make meringue and she insisted that the oil on our hands could interfere with how fluffy the eggs would whip up. Since her resume is WAY more impressive than mine, I've never been able to use my hands to separate eggs since.**

So, to sum up, you have to trust your own two hands here. If you create one simple crack in that egg, let your thumbs do the work and just pull the egg apart. You don't have to get violent. Because, as much as I love cool kitchen gadgets, I do not love unnecessary ones that waste your money. (Although I'm sure an arthritic old lady could benefit from an EZ Cracker, but she's in a very small minority.) I'm sure you could use that $20 for something much better, even if you really want the Bacon Wave that comes as a free bonus gift. Call me old fashioned, but we got along fine without it until now (and the Bump It... and the iPad...), so I think you'll survive if you just learn how to break eggs with your own two hands like a real man. Or woman. And I'm looking at you, Rachael Ray.