Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Late Night Cooking: The 65° Egg

I just got done with the night's Wii Fit.  It's a terrific game, and wildly succeeds in its mission to get my tush off the couch and moving more.  Go get a copy if you can find it.

But anyway, this blog is about my culinary adventures, so on with those.

When I was reading through Lynne Rosetto Kasper's excellent new book How To Eat Supper, I saw mention of a little bit of molecular gastronomy from HervĂ© This that one could easily do at home: The 65° egg.  You see, proteins in eggs set at different temperatures, starting at 142 degrees Fahrenheit.  So, if you cook an egg at a low enough temperature, say around 65° Celsius (149° Fahrenheit), you can get the white to softly set, and the yolk to be still soft.  As a bonus, you can cook the eggs as long as you want, even overnight.  So, tonight, I've decided to try the 65° egg.  Before I started up the Wii tonight, I set my oven to right around 150 degrees, and rather unceremoniously placed some eggs in there to cook.  This was about an hour and a half ago.  Now that I'm getting hungry, I'd say it's about time to get them out of there.  I just fixed up some toast to go along with them (Archer Farms whole wheat from Target, good stuff).  The eggs are a bit tricky to get out of the shell; they're set, but very soft and quivering.  I have to dig around the inside with a spoon to get the whole thing out in one piece.  It looks pretty much like any other hard boiled egg.

Now, for a taste.


Mmm.  These eggs are good.  I think the oven has a cool spot near the front, as the yolk is set firmer than the recipes I've seen suggest.  Still, the yolk is tender, and the whites are ever so softly set.  I'll definitely be making these again.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Went to Sprinkles today

One of these days I'll write another real article, I swear.

One of the managerial folk at work had his last day today, so I couldn't resist springing a mess of cupcakes from Sprinkles on the whole gang.  I figured it would be a good excuse to try out the cupcakes that chowhounds all over town have been swooning over.  The setup in the store is simple.  Behind a wall of glass are wooden cupcake racks holding the day's 11 flavors of the 21 that they make throughout the week.  To the right of that is the counter where you place your order, and to the far right is the cash register hiding behind wood paneling.  On the side wall is a selection of retail items, including DIY cupcake mix ($14 for enough to make a dozen) and T-shirts ($25 to $40, ouch!)  Six flavors are made all week long, and the rest have a regular rotation, always appearing the same days every week.  So far, I have tried the Cinnamon Sugar, Red Velvet, and Peanut Butter Chip, and can say that these are some of the best retail cupcakes around. Their Red Velvet borders on legendary.  They're very moist cupcakes, almost *too* moist: After a couple of hours in the box, the fat in the cupcakes managed to soak through not only the wax paper cupcake liner, but also the waxed paper lining the box, and the cardboard box itself.  I'm starting to think that their recipe starts with lots of butter, adds just enough sugar to make it sweet, and then only adds enough flour to keep everything held together through the oven.  A few minutes after eating one, I feel sort of like I just ate a stick of butter.

Alas, Sprinkles falls squarely into the same trap as gourmet peanut butter sandwich purveyor PB Loco: The price is absolutely ridiculous.  It's $3.25 for *one* cupcake.  If you get a whole dozen, they have the decency to drop the price to $36, only $3 each!  If it was, say, $2.50, you would likely find me there two or three times weekly.  At their prices, once a month tops.  I'll leave Sprinkles to the chichi Scottsdale Desperate Housewives crowd with their bleached blonde hair and oversized sunglasses with white plastic rims, and just make my own cupcakes at home.