Excerpt from Operatic Divas and Naked Irishmen: An Innkeeper's Tale
I love making breakfast at my Inn. I'm always challenging myself to try new things: Gateau of Vegetable Crepes, Spinach-herb Quiches, Croissants Au Gratin, Tarragon Eggs in Puff Pastry...all wonderful gourmet dishes. Most of my guests love it too. But every now and then, a guest or two, or three just wants down home biscuits and gravy or plain ole scrambled eggs. Well, I can do that too. In fact, I've got the scrambled eggs thing down pat.
When I first started doing breakfast for 8-10 people on a regular basis, I discovered I needed a few menues that would be easy to do for a large group, or in a situation where my help hadn't turned up, or I had come downstairs late in the morning, with only ten minutes to get it all together. Or maybe I forgot to go shopping and the only ingredients I had dictated the only kind of breakfast I could make. Enter: scrambled eggs!
Most people like scrambled eggs, adults and kids alike. Some like them plain, some with cheese, and some with ketchup or chili sauce. Some even like sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes, or spinach stirred in. Kids usually prefer plain or with cheese. Most don't want cream cheese, or feta, or goat cheese. They want plain ole American or, maybe, mild cheddar. Well, my specialty is scrambled eggs with cream cheese, onion, chives, basil, and dill......my interpretation of Gourmet eggs. They are fabulous! And my guests, except for the kids, love them. I get a lot of positive feedback.
I think the feedback had to do with more that the flavor and ingredients of the eggs. It is also has to do with the consistency and the appearance. To me, making scrambled eggs correctly is an art. When I was first exploring the best way to prepare them, a fellow innkeeper suggested microwaving them. They did puff up nicely and look appetizing, but they were rather insipid. For some reason, the microwaved cooked the flavor out of them. Besides I wanted more control, and they way to get that is with a wrought iron frying pan and a rubber spatula.
There are several things you must and must not do when preparing scrambled eggs. First of all, if you cook for over 4 people, you should mix them in the blender......not too long...you want air in them, but you don't want them to be overly foamy. Secondly, never water them down with milk or even cream. Next, always melt a liberal amont of butter in the pan and have the pan very hot.........not too hot, you don't want the butter to turn brown. Test the pan with a sprinkle of cold water. If it sizzles, add the beaten eggs.
Now, this is one of the most important parts. Start with flame on high, but gradually lower it, as you slowly cook the eggs. Scrambling does not mean swishing the eggs around furiously in circles. The proper motion is a pushing motion...........back and forth slowly, as the eggs begin to coagulate. Be sure you're scraping all the way to the bottom of the pan. Let's say we're cooking for kids, so we're using shredded cheddar cheese. I hate American! Do not add the cheese until the eggs are almost finished. You don't want them too wet or too dry. They should look like little yellow mounds of whipped cream or they will be more firm. As you're finishing up the cheese will be melting, so fold it in carefully.
Now if you're doing the cream cheese version, start out the same way. Sprinkle on the herbs, as the eggs begin to coagulate, then add 3 or 4 large dabs of Philadelphia cream cheese with chives and onions. Place the cheese in different places around the pan, so it will be easier to work in and distribute. If you're eggs finish before your family or guests are ready to eat, you may leave them in the hot pan and cover with tin foil until ready to serve. Don't finish them completely, if they will be sitting in the pan a while, as they will get hard. You want them firm, but not hard or, on the other hand, not wet and runny.
Serve your eggs with ham, bacon or sausage and hot buttered toast or croissants.
Do Not let them get cold. Cold scrambled eggs are terrible!
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