HOW TO COOK PERFECT HARD BOILED EGGS WITHOUT REALLY THINKING ABOUT IT
I can say, with some confidence, after having cooked for over 3/4ths of my life, that the upside of having spent that much time in the kitchen is that there are certain things you can cook without really thinking about them. The flip side of that is, of course, that there are certain things you can ruin without really thinking about it.
Take eggs, for example. Take four of them. Cover them with water and put them on the stove to boil, fully intending to shut off the burner once a full boil is reached and then fully intending to let them sit in the hot water for about twelve minutes.
Now, instead of doing that, take a magazine and retire to another room to read without waiting for the water to boil. Do not bother to set a timer. Enjoy said magazine for, oh, three to four medium length articles, or until the rattling sound of boiling water jiggling eggs around a metal pan becomes loud enough to pierce your concentration.
Now leap up and curse. The cursing part is very important. It lets everyone around you know that it’s not really your fault for whatever is on the stove jumping around like that and making such a racket, and that you’re just getting up to handle this ruckus once and for all. The cursing gives you an “out,” if you need it. And you might, if the eggs have been boiling too long. You might have to curse a lot. Below is your recommended curse-to-egg tragedy ratio as a handy reference.
RECOMMENDED CURSE TO EGG-TRAGEDY RATIO
Not such a big tragedy: no water in the pan. Eggs dry. Cursing recommended. Points for creativity.
Could be bad, maybe even really bad: no water in the pan and an eggy, sulfurous smell starts to permeate the kitchen and nearby rooms. Eggs very dry, shells lightly browning. Cursing should be colorful commensurate to damage. Some stomping around required.
Extremely bad: Say goodbye to your favorite saucepan. It doesn’t matter now because it’s a mess. No water in the pan, eggy sulfurous smell because the pan was boiled dry long ago, and is now stuck firmly to the burner and ruined. Sad lumps of very crisp, brown-shelled eggs stuck in pan. Here is where all those curse words you learned at the Renaissance Faire come in handy. Stomping, banging and pan prying equipment required. Points for gaining sympathy from housemates.
In this scenario, I was relieved to find that I was just below a first stage egg tragedy. Cursing was optional.
When I heard the rattling I said, “What in the world is that funny sound?” That was because I had forgotten the eggs. You can shake your head sadly here. As I type this, I am.
I went back to my magazine, then, maybe thirty seconds later, I realized what in the world that funny sound was, jumped up and ran into the kitchen.
When I pulled the boiling water with the eggs in it off the stove, I noticed that only about 1/3 of the water had boiled off. I had no idea how long the eggs had been at a rolling boil, but I ran the pan under cold water, hoping the eggs were done.
And they were. They were absolutely perfectly done hard boiled eggs. Yellow yolks, white whites, and none of that greenish stuff that happens when you overboil.
I give you the recipe in case you are able to duplicate it.
INGREDIENTS FOR PERFECT HARD BOILED EGGS WITHOUT REALLY THINKING ABOUT IT:
1 sauce pan
4 eggs, large
Water to cover the eggs
Loose fitting pan lid
1 stove burner
1 easy chair
Place eggs in sauce pan. Cover with cold water. Set on high heat and partially cover with the lid so steam can escape.
Leave room and find a good magazine. Sit in your favorite chair and read without paying attention to what’s happening in the kitchen, until the rattling boil of the eggs distracts you or until you have read 3 or 4 articles.
Jump up, curse, run into kitchen. Find pan 2/3 full of boiling water, still boiling. Take off heat, set carefully in sink and run cold water over the eggs to cool.
Let me know how it goes.
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Pps. Please do not actually leave a boiling pan on the stove on purpose and leave the room!