in which i discover the science of eggs

i wish i would've known about the food lab as a tiny elementary school student. if my science classes revolved around figuring out why bacon cooks better on a rimmed baking sheet than wire racks, why kale is brighter and less bitter if you massage it, chop it, then wash it, or why the perfect level of hydration matters so much when making pizza dough...i'm fairly certain i could've been the next marie curie. (more likely I probably would've just had a deeper appreciation for dunkaroos and gone right back to reading ramona quimby, but still.) all this is to say that i have developed a fascination with science that i never really had as a child, and that is all thanks to cooking and inspired by j. kenji lópez-alt

it was through this recipe, created by the new york times' melissa clark, that i discovered the science of boiling and peeling eggs.

if this recipe intrigues you, may i direct you to two wonderful resources to enhance your cooking through the empirical method?

  • the food lab - amazing site (and book!) dedicated to "unraveling the mysteries of home-cooking through science." the food lab is game-changing and is invaluable in bringing your cooking to a whole new level of fantastic.
  • the cook's science - also incredible. also a site and a book! i heard molly birnbaum and dan souza speak at the smithsonian food history festival last weekend and was totally hanging by their every word. they're super smart and super entertaining. 

and one last note before we dig into cooking. the recipe below calls for thinly sliced avocado, but if you really want to wow your guests - or just treat yourself to something fancy schmancy and simple, why not try an avocado rose instead? this easy-to-follow guide is from healthy nibbles and bits.

quinoa and rice bowl with kale, kimchi and egg

recipe by the new york times

what you'll need:
salt, to taste
⅔ cup brown rice
⅔ cup uncooked red or white quinoa, well rinsed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons finely chopped peeled ginger
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
¼ cup peanut oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 8-ounce bunch kale, thick ribs removed
4 large eggs (prepared the night before)
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
1 cup coarsely chopped kimchi, or to taste
 sliced scallions, for serving
 sesame seeds, for serving
 crumbled dried seaweed snack sheets, for serving

what you'll do (for the eggs) with 100% credit to j. kenji lópez-alt. this is his recipe

  1. bring a medium pot of water to rapid boil, then reduce heat so that the water is simmering. take your four eggs out of the refrigerator and immediately lower into pot of simmering water. set a timer for six minutes.
  2. while eggs are simmering, prepare a medium sized bowl of ice water. when timer goes off, use slotted spoon to remove eggs from water and place into ice bath.
  3. let eggs rest overnight in water bowl in refrigerator. but if you must have your eggs right now, let them sit in ice water in fridge for at least fifteen minutes or until completely cooled. 
  4. now it's time to peel! rather than rolling your eggs all around a hard counter surface to crack the shell, use your knuckle to tap all around the egg to crack the shell gently. then, hold the egg cold running water, gently removing shell. it should come off easily now that you've worked *the magic of science.*
  5. once ready to serve on top of quinoa and rice bowl, slice in half from top of egg to bottom.  

what you'll do (for the quinoa and rice bowl) with 100% credit to melissa clark. this is her recipe.

  1. in a large, boiling pot of well-salted water, pour in your rice. cook for about 30 minutes, then drain excess water. put rice back in the pot, covering with a lid for 10 minutes. while it's resting, in a smaller pot boil 2 cups of well-salted water to a boil, then pour in quinoa. cover and simmer for 15 minutes. remove from heat, allowing your quinoa to rest and cook for 5 more minutes. 
  2. while your grains are resting, it's time to make the dressing. whisk together soy sauce, ginger, vinegar and salt to taste in a small bowl. set aside. step back to your resting grains and give 'em a little fluff with a fork.
  3. place a steamer basket in a large pot filled with an inch or two of water. then *tip from cook's science* --> massage your kale, then chop it into large pieces, then rinse it. after those steps - in that order - place kale in steamer basket. cover pot and cook over medium heat until kale is tender, about 7 minutes.
  4. time to serve! grab four bowls, and spoon in a combo of the quinoa and rice. place in even amounts of kale in each bowl over the grains. place thin slices of avocado in bowl, followed by two halves of an egg. spoon in kimchi, sprinkle scallion, sesame seeds and seaweed over top. lastly, spoon soy-ginger dressing over each bowl and serve.