Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Back to Basics : Scrambled Eggs

Everyone has their own way of making scrambled eggs, it seems. When I took a poll at work before writing this post, I got everything from high heat/constant stirring, low heat/curdle and stir, even microwaving for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between.

I guess my method is kind of in between the high heat - low heat methods. It's what has worked for me over the last several years and it's quick and easy- heat, pour, set, stir, fold, stir, flip, done. Probably takes about 3-4 minutes total, which is essential when I'm getting up in the morning at 0430 to be at work by 0600 and have to actually be functional, not just physically present! Protein is important, and eggs are one of the easiest, portable and flexible ways to deliver the essential nutrient to your body.

I remember growing up reading about how bad eggs were for you- it was the 90's and the "fat is bad" phase was on its last leg. Now nutritionists say that the right fats are good for you, and should be valued more than they were in the past. So, eggs are back en vogue, which is just fine by me since they're tasty and the ultimate breakfast food.

Each egg is about 90 calories, and the yolk is high in vitamin b12 and riboflavin, both of which are utilized by your body to help convert food into fuel. The yolk is high in cholesterol, but some of the articles I've read about the egg controversy point out that other forms of saturated fats have a bigger effect on raising our blood cholesterol LDL (the bad cholesterol- the one you want to stay Low) than egg yolks do. Interesting, huh?

So if it comes down to eating one egg scrambled with a piece of whole wheat toast, or a bagel with cream cheese or butter on it, I'll take the egg and toast any day! Protein and fiber with less calories than half a bakery sized bagel... no question.

If you're truly concerned with how much fat and cholesterol is in the yolk, you can buy Egg beaters- they taste pretty darn close to whole eggs, but are made with mostly egg whites. Alternatively, buy a carton of egg whites and scramble 1/4 cup of egg whites with one whole one. That will bump the protein and volume and you can split the final scramble between two people, resulting in less fat and cholesterol you will ingest since you'll only be eating about half of the yolk.

I do both methods listed above. I definitely keep a carton of egg whites around to put in smoothies or recipes what just call for an egg white. That way I don't have to waste a nutrient dense yolk. There are pins on Pinterest that say you can freeze the extra yolks, but I don't have the freezer room for that. I DO have lots of fridge room, so the cartons work better for me.

Anyway, back to the scramble at hand. I did not want to include a picture of the finished eggs to cloud your imagination- you can basically use them in anything though- burritos (wait patiently for tomorrow's post!), stir fry, casseroles, breakfast sandwiches or panini, or even a funny take on bruschetta by topping slices of Italian bread with eggs, sliced tomatoes and diced chives.

The world is your cracked eggshell! (Oyster didn't really fit the theme this morning, people.)

Butter Than Toast's Version of Scrambled Eggs

make 2 very large or 3 medium sized servings

2 large or jumbo sized eggs
1/4 cup egg whites (from a carton)  or 3 tablespoons Egg Beaters
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a small, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk eggs and liquid egg product of choice together, adding salt and pepper. Beat well, as this will add small bubbles to the mixture and help the eggs stay fluffy during cooking. 

Place your hand 6 inches over the skillet- if it feels pretty warm, the skillet is ready. If this method freaks you out- put a drop of two of water in the skillet- if they dance and sizzle, it's ready. 

Spray the pan with cooking spray, and pour the eggs in. They should sizzle immediately and the sides should set immediately (see very top picture). Count to 5.

1.    2.    3.    4.    5.     Please do not count Mississippily. That would be too long. 

Now stir with a spatula, let sit another 5 seconds. Stir again. This time fold the eggs onto themselves, creating a messy omelette looking pile, like the second picture in this post. Gently flip over the omelette pile, and break up with a spatula into small pieces. As you flip, this point, turn the heat OFF. The residual heat of the skillet will finish cooking everything. Break up into whichever size pieces of egg you like, serve as you like, and enjoy!

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