So let’s talk eggs. Eggs are actually, when you break it down, a super food. First off its crazy inexpensive. Each egg only costs you about $0.20. So what does $0.20 buy you? Great question. For every egg you buy you are getting:
About 70 calories
6 grams of protein.
Overall not a bad deal for under two dimes.
Have you ever boiled an egg? Stop. That’s a trick question. So here is fun fact #1: You never want to boil eggs. Rather simmer them. Why? Because the only thing you should be boiling is your socks. But in all actuality the reason you never want to boil them is because eggs cook very fast. Have you ever peeled your hard-cooked egg, taken a bite, and gaged at the dry grayish tinted yolk? Me too. Me too. Eggs cook best at a simmer. I like to cook my eggs by:
Bringing them up to a boil
And turning them down to a simmer
For eight minutes.
Eight minutes is the magic number.
After eight minutes I like to take my eggs out
And cool them down in some cold water.
If you cook your eggs like this you’ll have a soft, creamy, and bright yellow yolk!
Now a days you might see on a restaurant menu an option for a soft cooked egg. I just had one in a bowl of homemade ramen. It looks like a hard cooked egg on the outside but when you cut into it the yolk is runny, like an over easy egg. You can achieve this type of egg by cooking it three to four minutes. About half the time for a hard cooked egg. We actually put together a video to show you the progression of the egg as it cooks. From a one minute egg all the way to an eight minute egg.
And finally, why would cooking change the color of the yolk? That is another really great question! It happens because there is iron in the egg yolk and hydrogen sulfide in the egg white. When the egg is cooked, the iron in the egg yolk and the hydrogen sulfide react with each other. This is completely harmless but the trick is really just cooking the eggs the right amount of time. Not too little and not too much!
Sometimes the best advice you can give yourself is, “Not to get yourself into a twist.” That is, if you aren’t making pretzels! We all sat down and had a little chat and the general puzzling thought was, “Why haven’t we talked about pretzels yet?” Let’s be honest. Who doesn’t love a warm, soft, fresh out of the oven pretzel. I think we can all agree that having one of those right now sounds wonderful. So let’s talk pretzels.
Where did they come from and when and maybe even why. Pretzel are a German food. To get that specific tangy pretzel flavor, people would use a lye wash (this can be dangerous though and I don’t recommend it) but more common now is a baking soda wash. Now there are all sorts of unreliable rumors, tales, and legends that talk about where the pretzel comes from.
This one is my favorites: Around the year 610 AD this Italian monk was looking for a way to reward children who studied hard and learned their prayers. Fresh off his brain and out of the oven… the pretzel! He calls the strips of baked dough that were folded to resemble arms crossed across the chest, “pretiola’ or little rewards. Is it true? Maybe? Are they delicious? Absolutely. Now stop reading and get baking!
Soft Pretzel Twists:
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
kosher salt, for topping
In a bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 1/4 cup warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. Knead the dough until windowpane stage. Oil another bowl and place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375f degrees.
In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in 4 cups hot water; set aside. When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda-hot water solution and place pretzels on baking sheets. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
Earlier this week you were asked about what you do for Easter. I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian. I am also mostly Eastern European. Wrap these two together and you get into some seriously old school stuff. But how does being Eastern Orthodox make celebrating Easter? First, we don’t refer to Easter as Easter. We refer to it as Pascha. Or Passover. Or “The passing over”. Easter is the day that Christ rose from the dead. Pascha is the day that Christ rose from the dead. (Where is that eye rolling emoji when you need it?) Same thing. Is there a bunch of history behind this name difference? Yup. Do I know the history behind it all? Yup. Am I going to tell you the history of it right now? No. That’s another story for another time. You came for food.
Hrudka pronounced (hur-UT-ka) is one of the many foods that I eat every year. What is it? It’s a ball of egg referred to as Easter cheese. I kid you not. How did this come about? Great question. One answer could be that after giving up eggs, meat, and dairy for all of Great and Holy Lent people were craving some serious egg. Truthfully, if you think about it, the chickens didn’t stop laying eggs during Great and Holy Lent and needed to be used.
For Pascha, my family and I have always put a basket of food together to be blessed. That’s one tradition that’s a bit different from regular Easter norms. Why the basket? Because that’s what they had back then. They had baskets. So what kinds of foods are in this basket? Remember it’s a celebration. We’ve all been fasting and Christ is risen from the dead! Some of the foods that are in the basket are rich breads that are like cake, smoked sausages, cheeses, sweet farmer cheeses, Hrudka (eggball), hams, dyed eggs, chocolates, fresh fruit, and…..jellybeans (we added this). You gotta have jellybeans. Lol
Building this basket has been done in my family long before I was here on this earth and God willing it’ll be going on long after I’m gone. I hope you all get a chance to make this at least once. Its really good on a piece of homemade bread with a slice of cheese and sausage.
Hrudka (Easter cheese)
1qt whole milk
½ c of sugar plus 1tb of sugar
1tsp of vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
Sprinkle of salt
Crack eggs into a boil and beat with a whisk. Whisk in milk, sugar, and salt.
Cook over a double boiler on medium to low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula until the mixture fully forms curds and the whey separates. This will take around 10-15 minutes to cook.
Drain the mixture into a colander lined with several layers of cheese cloth. Use the cloth to shape into a ball and twist the top to remove the whey (the way is really good in homemade breads).