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The Basics: Cooking 101

Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...

Cracking the mystery to cooking eggs

Just in time for springtime celebrations like Easter and Passover, this Cooking 101 guide will have you expertly whisking, poaching, boiling, and frying eggs in no time.

Woman frying eggReady to get crackin'

Once you've gone shopping and selected the type of eggs you prefer, you'll be ready to get cracking, whisking, poaching, boiling, and frying! With a little practice and the following tips, you'll be ready to whip up the perfect egg dish.

Hard boiled eggs

Just in time for Easter! Who doesn't need a dozen or so hard boiled eggs to color and display for all your guests to admire (and hopefully eat)? Aside from coloring hard boiled eggs, there are several ways you can serve them any time of year (try Roquefort Deviled Eggs with Watercress).

Follow this process for perfectly set hard boiled eggs:

  • Place your eggs in a pan of cold water (make sure they're covered by the water);
  • bring to a boil;
  • once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 7 minutes for small eggs, 8 to 10 minutes for medium-sized eggs, and 10 to 12 minutes for large eggs;
  • once cooked, drain and put them in cold water; shell them when you're ready to use them, then rinse them under water to make sure all pieces of the shell are removed.

Poached eggs

Poached eggs are used in traditional breakfast favorites like eggs benedict. To impress your guests or family, try this recipe for Simple Classic Eggs Benedict. Use very fresh eggs for poaching, and remember to use a gentle touch when cooking. Follow these steps for poaching perfection:

  • Use a sauté pan deep enough to hold 2 to 3-inches of water (enough to cover the entire egg);
  • boil the water then reduce it to simmer and add about a teaspoon of vinegar to the water for each egg you're cooking (this helps the egg whites solidify and keeps the yolk intact);
  • carefully crack your first egg into a shallow cup then gently tip it into the water; carefully add the remaining eggs in the same way;
  • if you'd like, you can use a spoon to gently gather some of the egg white and spoon them over the yolk;
  • cook the eggs for 2 to 3 minutes, undisturbed; then,
  • use a slotted spoon to gently remove the eggs from the pan while draining the water.

Fried eggs

Fried eggs can take mealtime from simple to simply marvelous just by adding herbs, vegetables, cheese, and breads. Frying an egg is very easy and you have options from over easy to over hard, depending on how runny you like your yolks. You'll need the following items and techniques to make your fried egg fierce:

  • A nonstick pan works best to fry your egg, along with a rubber or silicon spatula;
  • use either light vegetable oil or butter to coat the pan over medium heat;
  • crack your egg into the pan and let it settle and spread a bit;
  • cook until the egg white begins to turn solid.
  • If you like your eggs Sunny Side Up (very runny yolk), cook for about a minute or two, don't flip the egg, but carefully remove it and serve. For Over Easy eggs, carefully flip the egg after about 2 minutes and cook for another minute or so. For eggs Over Hard, flip the egg after about 3 minutes, and cook for another 3 minutes for a harder (not runny) yolk; season with salt and pepper.

To pump up the delicious factor of your fried egg meal, add bacon, grilled asparagus or tomatoes, a slice or sprinkle of cheese, fresh chopped herbs and toasted bread.

Scrambled eggs

Similar in the yum-and-ease factor as fried eggs, scrambled eggs (try Mexican-style Scrambled Eggs) can make a great, quick meal with a variety of ingredients.

  • Beat 3 eggs until well blended and add seasoning;
  • heat about 1 tablespoon of butter or light vegetable oil in a nonstick pan over low to medium heat;
  • add the egg mixture to the pan and stir frequently over medium heat for a few minutes (until eggs are lightly set but creamy).
  • You can add things like cooked ham or shrimp, red peppers, spinach, cheese, or potatoes to the egg mixture for a more substantial meal. Serve with toasted bread.

Eggs are nutritious, tasty, economical, and can be a convenient option for just about any meal. Once you get the hang of working with eggs, you'll be confident to crack just about any recipe challenge you find.

More than food!

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Learn how to make a homemade mask to treat dry skin using bananas and egg whites.

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