There are so ways that you can go spectacularly wrong with an egg, even after you’ve chosen the perfect specimen. But there can be nothing more satisfying than tucking into a perfectly prepared egg atop a slice of Ancient grain toast.
In this simple video I walk you through the essential steps for starting your day sunny side up. I recommend that you watch and study the video several times before attempting the actual procedure.
For more of my instructional videos visit Bryce Chartwell on YouTube.
The Joy of Lobsters:
There’s nothing more satisfying than sucking the last gobbet of meat from the skillfully disassembled carcass of a fresh lobster. Unfortunately some people remain wary of preparing such a feast, intimidated by either the steps needed to prepare it or the panoply of equipment needed to eat it. Such concerns, in my opinion, are hugely overblown. With a little bit of care and attention fresh lobster can become a welcome addition to your list of everyday recipes.
A deep stainless steel pot
Tungsten seafood tongs
A French or French-Canadian lobster
Basic Cooking Steps:
- Select your lobsters with care – avoid specimens with any hint of asymmetry, a roving eye, or a lack of enthusiasm.
- Prepare your workspace ahead of time – you’ll need two pans, a large cutting board, and an extra-large pair of tungsten seafood tongs.
- Fill each pan with triple-filtered spa water, add a pinch of salt, and boil vigorously.
- Lower each subdued, but still live, lobster into the first pan – the so-called live pan.
- After about fifteen minutes transfer the lobsters deftly with your tungsten seafood tongs to a second pan of boiling water, the so called dead pan.
- Continue boiling the lobsters for about another two minutes until they are completely cooked. Wait until their shells reach a deep red – pantone #fb551c
- Remove, drain and serve immediately with an extensive array of tools.
Variations on Basic Theme:
Several variations claim to calm the lobsters prior to cooking. This can help to improve the overall taste and mouthfeel of the seafood:
- Lobsters Labrador – For Canadian lobsters only. Cook the lobsters over a wood-burning stove and in the presence of a large, docile dog.
- Lobsters stevedore – Lift the lobsters into the live pan pan using a specially designed lobster harness. Empirical evidence is sketchy at best on the merits of this technique.
- Lobsters toreador – A Spanish variation, though acceptable for lobsters from all points of origin. Hold a kitchen towel in front of the pan to shield the lobsters from their impending fate. Swiftly pull back the towel immediately prior to introducing the lobsters to the boiling water.
- Lobsters troubadour – Appropriate for French and French-Canadian lobsters. Play soothing background music in the presence of the lobsters for at least thirty minutes prior to their termination. Smooth jazz or Gregorian chants apparently produce the best results.
A Few Words On Steamed Lobsters:
- Some people prefer their lobsters steamed – an approach which I personally abhor.
- In the hands of anyone less than an expert like myself, this method can produce a mottled lobster with a flaccid, rubbery texture.
- In my opinion you should avoid this method at all costs.
With a little practice and attention to detail lobsters can make a regular appearance on your household dinner menu. I personally try to eat them at least once a week – I hope you will too.
Cooking with eggs is one of life’s simple pleasures – right up there with spatchcocking a Cornish Game Hen or pit-roasting a Highland Cow.
However you plan to prepare your chef d’oeuvre the first step is always to select your eggs with extreme care. Creating the perfect dish is made all the more difficult if you start with shoddy materials.
1. Packaging Distribution: Open up the egg carton and carefully review the placement of eggs within. Ideally you should choose eggs that are evenly distributed both laterally and vertically throughout the packaging. This ensures that the effects of any tipping and / or bruising in transit are minimized.
2. Aspect Ratio: The precise dimensions of your chosen egg will make a significant difference. Using Vernier calipers, measure the height and breadth of your egg several times. Average out each set of measurements and then calculate the ratio of height to breadth. For best results you should always look for a so-called “Golden Egg” – one whose dimensions approaches that of the Golden ratio.
3. Circular Consistency: When viewed from above your egg should be a perfect circle – lacking any obvious bumps or dimples. Place your egg inside a small circular container such as a measuring cup, and then take a photo from above. A careful visual inspection should then be sufficient to weed out any eggs that are suspiciously deviant in this regard.
4. A Balanced Posture: As a final step place a small amount of Kosher salt in the base of your measuring cup. Place the egg with minimal adjustment onto the salt and observe its natural posture. Any eggs that have a tendency to tip should be discarded immediately. However, those with a natural inclination away from the vertical of more than ten degrees should also be shunned.
1. Select a balanced distribution
2. Choose the Golden ratio
3. Reject circular imperfections
4. Choose a natural vertical posture
- Expect to reject approximately 65% of any store bought eggs.
- Always look for eggs with an even distribution of color and a pleasant hue.
- Never use eggs that have been jostled or mishandled in transit. Avoid eggs whose carriage has included traveling on a bicycle, riding on public transport of any kind or crossing over a cattle guard.
Following these easy steps will allow you to approach your egg-based dish with confidence and enthusiasm.
Many novices simply don’t have a clue how to prepare a slice of toast. At best their naive fumblings produce an undercooked and over-buttered mess. At worst they can permanently damage their taste-buds and ruin any high-end kitchen equipment.
In this short video I guide you lovingly through the best way to produce perfect toast every time.
For more exceptionally helpful instructional videos visit Bryce Chartwell on YouTube