some on chickens, more on eggs



so, sometimes during these holidays i got to hold a chicken. big deal, you might say, but i haven't had a chicken in my arms since new york and that was some time ago. this was a bantam, a tiny breed, very friendly, it didn't want to leave my hand when i tried to put it back down. so, yes, there will be chickens in my way of life again, soon, may be three or so, for their eggs. and i know it is cheaper by far to purchase eggs. it also would be, were it not for the farmer's daughter, fairly dull.



back to eggs: there are half a zillion ways of working an egg. alphabetically speaking: baking, boiling, coddling, devilllllling, frying, omeleting, poaching, scrambling, shirring, shoveling. the list could go on. even microwaving, though that seems kind of rude. i do hard-boileds and omelets, mostly. sometimes, when i am lazy, i do shoveled eggs, which really is of a scrambled variety. you break the eggs, yolk up, into a well buttered pan and when the white begins to settle you shovel the yolk into the white until the whole thing has just about cooked. that way the whites don't quite mix into the yolk, the result comes out sweeter, well, to my taste anyways.
you know i like an omelet. five eggs or seven, some for stephanie, some for me and one for the pan. lots of sweet butter. forking the eggs in a bowl lightly, fork mustn't touch bowl (confucius), and into the hot foamy butter. 'julia' shakes the pan and her busty affections, back and forth, with a tilt towards the far-away edge. the omelet forms quickly that way and you turn it over and out onto your plate a half minute later. me, i do my omelet the old japanese way, lifting the cooked part up and rolling the raw under. it makes for volume that way. i like my omelet fluffed, she does hers flat, the french way.
hard-boileds are tough to shell if the egg is all too fresh. so we keep two egg crates in our fridge: the yesterdays and the two-week-olds. these go into cold salt water. after a ten minute and boiling rumble i scare them into ice water and set them aside till they're cold. they'll peel easy that way, under the faucet, keeping the egg bellied and round, ready for the devil to turn up their yolk.
i think frying an egg is a sin. they deserve better and gentler. they are eggs after all. coddling is nice, for an egg and for me. stephanie owns porcelain pipkins which, once well buttered, are made to stand in boiling water and can coddle an egg in five minutes. the white will be firm, the yolk a creamery soft, perfect for breakfast, or splendid in a green salad lunch.
so, mostly that's what i do with my eggs. there is of course mayonnaise, lots of it in our house and bernaise for that new york strip and the occasional pursuit of fresh pasta, johnny cakes, less often meringues. and what would be pancakes without really fresh eggs, or for that matter any a batter for tartlets and tortes.
i promise, no more about eggs. at least for a while. and here is stephanie's picture of me with 'my' chicken.