Friday, November 21, 2008

Runaway Paprika - The Last Straw

My friend is having a party tomorrow. After a little discussion, she and I decided that I'd bring along a few goodies including a cheese ball, cole slaw, and devilled eggs.

I dug out my sister's rather-awesome recipe, only to be reminded that it isn't really a recipe at all. It's more or less an ingredient list with proportions varying from "a little" to "a lot." Well, I'd done it once before, and I knew I had to just keep tasting it as I went along. No biggie.

As I get ready to cook the eggs, I'm suddenly second-guessing the cook time. Is it seven minutes? Is it ten? Ah, shoot.

I turn to our favorite "food bible," The New Best Recipe published by Cooks Illustrated. I spotted a method for hard-cooking eggs that I'd never seen before, and decided it would be worth a try. Everything else in that book has proven to be nothing short of excellent with results exactly as promised.

I set to work. Cover the eggs in 1 inch of water, bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. From there, the eggs are removed from the boiling water and submerged in an ice-water bath for at least five minutes to arrest cooking.

I follow the steps to the letter, remove the first egg, and start peeling. What a bitch!!!! The recipe promised a shell that would "spiral off" once I got through the membrane at the wide end of the egg. No way. I had the shell and the membrane all right, but that thing wasn't giving up for anything.

When I finally get the shells off, my eggs are nicked and battered. Several were total losses in my efforts to peel them, with only the yolk being salvageable. I still have a respectable amount to serve, so I slice it through the first egg and discover -- uh-oh -- the yolk is only 3/4 cooked. It's not wet in the middle or anything, but it's a little too marbly looking to my liking.

Are you kidding me? All that nitpicky work and my eggs aren't even thoroughly cooked. I have to start over.

On the second batch of eggs, I cook 'em the old-fashioned way, by boiling the heck out of them, and thanks to my Joy of Cooking I have a reliable cook time (7 minutes). I should've gone there first. I cool my eggs, they peel with ease, and I start working on the filling, blending and tasting, adding something, blending, and tasting. I've gone through half of the spoons in the drawer with all of my sampling, and the damned things are still as flat as hell. I add one last little bit of extra, and zoooommmm-pow!!!!! The danged things are on fire. What the heck happened here?

There is way too much devil in my devilled eggs. I'm not sure what to do now. I have no more eggs. I can't add more mayo because it will make the filling too squishy. I resign myself to my disaster, praying that my friend's guests like spicy eggs, and fetch the paprika to sprinkle on my eggs for a little color.

Where's the paprika? I remember taking it out of the cabinet, but my paprika is nowhere to be found. Nowhere. WTF?

I've searched everywhere. I know it's here someplace. I've checked in other cabinets, on the floor, the fridge, the trash can. Dagnabbit, I had the darned thing in my hand. Where'd it go?

When/if it turns up, I'll let you know.

---- Edited to add: The paprika turned up in the cabinet where the spices belong. Huh? I have no recollection of putting it there. I had just taken it out of there, and I hadn't used it yet.

Now, this may not seem all that unusual to you, but I am one of those horrible people who perpetually neglect to put things away. By all rights, that paprika should still be sitting by the stove or on the kitchen table two days later.


Anonymous said...

I've missed you, thanks for the post.

Made me smile (in between yelling at the kids)....


Anonymous said...

Stacy says:
I use Grey poupon country style mustard in my eggs. It makes them decently spicy. I mix in the mustard first and then cream out with the mayo to make it smooth. I don't have exact measurements, sorry. But it's an idea if you want to try it one day. I also use a hand mixer to blend it all.

And BTW...I am now having hot chocolate because of your last entry. Hope you are happy.