February 26, 2015

Cookbook: The Perfect EggAuthor: Teri Lyn Fisher & Jenny ParkPublisher: Ten Speed Press

The egg is having its day. Truthfully, it has been having its day for quite some time now. #PutAnEggOnIt and #YolkPorn are top Instagram hashtags for foodie 'grammers and those who just really love looking at luscious egg dishes. Capitalizing on the national momentum, authors Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park (who have written two other books and also blog at Spoon Fork Bacon) delve into the world of the egg and challenge readers to forget what they think they know about the humble food. Unique, re-invented, and globally-inspired egg recipes are beautifully showcased throughout this gorgeous publication.

The pair's third book is divided by time of day (Morning, Afternoon, and Night) with additional chapters dedicated to Snacks and Sweets. You'll see as I did, however, that these lines are easily blurred. Just because the dish seems better suited to breakfast doesn't mean you have to eat it in the morning. The Eggs 101 section is particularly strong. The bloggers' tips for frying, poaching, and scrambling eggs are solid and easy to collect in your memory for future use. In fact, I found those recipes to be the most helpful for my purposes.

Recipe Impressions

1. Tea EggsFisher and Park call these snacks "complex" with "great visual appeal." The unique tea mixture (soy sauce, Oolong tea, star anise, orange, and cinnamon) is potently flavorful. After steeping hard-boiled eggs in the mixture for 6 hours (you can soak longer if you like), I peeled the eggs to reveal gently stained eggs. The warm heat of the spices and the tang of soy sauce were mild—delicate, even. A longer steep time might have created a stronger flavor. The shells were beautiful, but next time I make these, I'll follow my tried-and-true hard-boiling method so I don't have any whites leaking from the shell during the steeping. I love their idea for reheating the hard-boiled eggs, however. "Place a few of [the eggs] (with shells intact) in a heatproof bowl, pour in boiling water to cover, and cover the bowl. Let the eggs stand for 10 minutes, then remove them from the water, peel, and serve."

2. Croque-MadameOf all the Croque-Madame sandwiches I've had (and that's quite a few), this one hit a spot in my heart few other foods have. The combination of the sharp, tangy whole-grain mustard with the creamy, luscious Mornay Sauce was a dream. Though it required many steps, the recipe was well written and easy to follow (as were all the recipes I tested). I think the portions are a bit big here—the 3 tablespoons of mustard and the sauce could easily have made three sandwiches instead of two. Might as well spread the eggy love around.

3. Gyeran BbangOne part pancake and one part fried egg, Gyeran Bbang is a Korean street food favorite. I think the proportions were off for the mini loaf pans I was using, so the pancake portion of the food was more spongy than fluffy. That being said, it gave me a great idea for a future recipe, and if nothing else, all cookbooks should inspire you to think and become more creative in the kitchen. The Perfect Egg has certainly done that for me.

Recipe I Want to Try: Pavlova with Creme Anglaise and Berries The ultimate test of your egg-cooking skills is the pavlova, a fluffy, cloud-like confection that's crispy, billowy, and alludes many cooks like myself. I've tried. I really have, but the pavlovas I make look more like a flattened wig than a treasured dessert. The pavlova calls for several egg whites, and the creme Anglaise calls for the accompanying yolks. It's a great way to make sure you're using the whole egg (no waste) and showcasing your kitchen prowess.

Takeaway: The recipes are easy to follow, and the ingredient set-up is great for creating your mise en place. The Eggs 101 section provides great tips for basics, and the photos are beautiful and inspiring. The Perfect Egg is a good book for people of all cooking levels. If you aren't comfortable with the harder recipes, the easier recipes will get you started and help you feel more comfortable with all the egg's many uses.

You can pre-order Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park's The Perfect Egg on Amazon, Random House, and at independent book sellers. The book will be on sale March 3.

Please be advised that the cookbooks featured in Cooking Light's Review Series do not necessarily meet Cooking Light nutrition standards.

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