Back in the kitchen this week with Harvard's online Science and Cooking class. One of this weeks subjects was the indelible, incredible egg.
Smarty-pants applied math Professor Cutie Pie was also back waving his arms all around again asking the simple question, "What is cooking? What actually happens when we apply heat to food, and is heat the only way to "cook" an egg?" (Answer ? no you can also "cook" eggs by changing their pH. Example - a pickled Chinese Century egg).
Scientifically what occurs when we heat eggs is the molecules move from jiggling around each other to whizzing by, colliding and breaking up bonds that hold their long protein chains intact. The proteins unwind, than tangle up together in a harder mass. The key is not to add too much heat, or you run the risk of taking the tangling too far. For soft, delicious results ? don't overcook your eggs.
This lesson is very important when making my Spooky Spider Eggs (eggs with legs). We can't add pictures to these blogs yet, so go over to my website blog and search for the Halloween post if you want to see how cute these look (or send me an email and I'll send you the picture). When making them ? please remember that a hard-boiled egg should be tender, not rubbery. Egg proteins effectively coagulate at 70°C (158°F), so the trick is not to actually boil a hard-boiled egg. If you do - beware! You'll get a result that is really scary!
Question: What temperature does water boil at? Answer below.
Spooky Spider Eggs
1 can (or fresh) pitted black olives
8 hard-cooked (NOT boiled) large eggs, cooled and peeled
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced green onions
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
Cut 8 olives in half length-wise. Slice 16 additional olives in half length-wise, then slice each half into 4 skinny "legs." Set aside.
Slice each egg in half lengthwise; gently scoop out yolks and place in a bowl. Push yolks thru a fine strainer to break up any lumps, then stir in mayonnaise, green onions, mustard and cayenne. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon or pipe about 1 tablespoon yolk mixture into the hollow of each egg-white half. Center an olive half on top of the egg mixture, and then place 4 'olive legs' on each side of the half to make a spider.
Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 4 hours.
A: Water boils at 100°C or 212°F