Friday, February 03, 2012

Breakfast #54: Scrambled Eggs

Zen enthusiasts say that we need to live in the moment more.  Focus on the present.  Shut out extraneous noise.  Feel the air on your skin.  We are always rushing around.  We need to stop, live, exist, feel the right now.

I am no expert on Zen, nor on meditation, but I do appreciate the benefits of hitting the pause button and just…being.  Looking back, I think I enjoyed it long before I even thought to articulate it.

Take for instance my bath.  Or, more accurately, my shower.  That’s my pause button.  When I shut the rest of the world out and focus on nothing more than, well, bathing.  I don’t have a fancy bath, nor do I crave one.  All my bathrooms have been relatively small and my past hides a long trail of unused bath gels and special shampoos forgotten.  What I need in a bath is simple: A strong shower (no gentle rain showers for me, I need something that can beat 16 hours of work off my back), scalding water, and, preferable, a window that lets in a little sunshine.  Hot water melting away my worries, striking me with enough strength to burst into a halo of tiny diamonds shining in the sunlight – in these moments I think of nothing else but the moment.  And suddenly, for a while at least, everything in right in the world.

These eggs?  Will make you believe it.

Scrambled Eggs
(adapted from How to Make Better Scrambled Eggs by Ruth Reichl for Gilt Taste) 
  • 2 eggs, the best you can find or afford
  • 2 tablespoons butter, I may have put more (most probably), cut into bits (the best butter you can find or afford)
  • Fine sea salt

- Break the two eggs in a bowl and mix them well with a fork.  Add sea salt and mix to incorporate.
- Pour the eggs into a small saucepan.  Place the saucepan over a low flame.  Start stirring your eggs (I use a wooden spatula), adding the butter slowly, bit by bit.
- Keep stirring and adding the butter bit by bit.  The eggs will start to thicken. You can add more butter, I won't tell. Just keep stirring until you reach a soft velvety consistency.
- Transfer immediately to a plate and enjoy without disturbance.

I piled the eggs onto a warm piece of pan de sal (a local bread traditionally baked in a brick, wood-burning oven) I had just bought at the market, but it would be equally good on its own or with your preferred toast.  No more though as you don’t want to detract too much from these incredible eggs.

Good things come to those who wait, and this dish is a prime example of that.  Keep stirring.  Keep the heat low.  Add the butter slowly, lazily.  Do not rush.  Keep stirring.  Do not worry that you should have used your non-stick skillet and, oh, how the eggs might stick.  Do not answer the phone, toast your bread, or get the milk out of the fridge.  Keep stirring.  Stir gently but make sure that you are scraping the bottom of the pan and getting to all the sides.  It’s a bit like making custard.  Keep stirring.  Focus on the eggs.  Live in this moment.  It’s scrambled egg Zen.

Then you taste it.  And I don’t really know if this totally devastates your Zen or drives you deeper into it, but it does something so intense that even the first time you (I) saw Daniel Craig pales in comparison.  In my book, that means just beyond criminally intense.  You lose yourself and find yourself all at once.  And suddenly, for a while at least, everything is right in the world.  Yes, eggs can do that if done rightly.  And if you let them.

It’s amazing how losing ourselves in such simple moments can make us feel richly rewarded.  Maybe the Zen enthusiasts really do have something going there.  Or maybe we could just all use a pause button…preferably one that involves butter.


Juan @ Blue Sauger Coupons said...

Those look delicious, a little bit of fresh scrambled eggs with [with a hint of parsley on top] is really a great way to start a morning.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those look perfect and creamy! I love scrambled eggs.



Jessica said...

Ever since my husband started making scrambled eggs for me with this method (and using farm pastured eggs), all other scrambled eggs pale in comparison. He also adds a dollop of creme fraiche (or sour cream) at the end and tops with a sprinkle of chives. Heavenly. I'm requesting them this Saturday morning!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Beautiful in the moment thoughts. Thank you Joey!
Great looking eggs too!

Bernie said...

Looks delicious. I'm with the comments -- topping with parsley and some chives... yum. Also, serving with bacon is a must... perhaps.. even mix in some bacon bits in the end?

chef_d said...

Oh butter with scrambled eggs sound so divine!

Anh said...

:) I have a "pause" moment, too. On the train, with my book. it's a moment that work and housework cannot get involved!

Midge said...

I was reading Julia Child's My Life in France a few weeks ago and your entry sparked a memory of the chapter where the mentor at the Cordon Bleu was teaching her how to make proper scrambled eggs.

It's a truly comforting dish and, when done as gorgeously simple as yours, it's just sublime.

Midge said...

I was reading Julia Child's My Life in France a few weeks ago and your entry sparked a memory of the chapter where the mentor at the Cordon Bleu was teaching her how to make proper scrambled eggs.

It's a truly comforting dish and, when done as gorgeously simple as yours, it's just sublime.

[pinkc00kies] said...

i love eggs w/ toast!!

Kelly-Jane said...

I haven't made scrambled eggs for so long, and I love them too!

You are right about stopping and seeing the moment, I really need to do that more.

jewelsandstuff said...

I thought of you when I read this from Ruth Reichl :) tried it last week and am converted.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Juan! Eggs are always a great way to start the day :)

Hi Rosa! I love them too...I'm ecstatic that I found this recipe!

Hi Jessica! That sounds heavenly...both the eggs and your husband making your breakfast!

Hi Tanna! Thanks to you as well! Glad you enjoyed the post :)

Hi Bernie! I will never say no to bacon! ;)

Hi Chef d! It is! This is my new favorite way to may scrambled eggs :)

Hi Anh! When I was working in Europe the train was my pause moment too!

Hi Midge! More proof that the simple can truly be sublime :)

Hi pinkc00kies! Me too!

Hi Kelly-Jane! I have to really be conscious of giving myself that time to just pause and appreciate the moment...we all need reminding :)

Hi jewelsandstuff! Did you really think of me?? That made me smile :) We are fellow converts :)

Luke said...


My name is Luke. I’m a student at Harvard Business School and am working on an idea for a business with Ferran Adria’s ElBulliFoundation. I’m reaching out to you because I’d love to speak with you to get your perspective as a food blogger and amateur chef.

Basically, the ElBulliFoundation (what has grown out of Ferran’s successful, but now closed restaurant), is looking for ways it can help and inspire those interested in food and creative cuisine (like food bloggers and amateur chefs) with the work they do. I’m looking to know what, if anything, would be interesting to people like you. Should they set up a blog? A sort of facebook for food lovers? A youtube channel with instructional videos? Something more?

So, I’d love to speak with you about why you food blog, why you cook, what you enjoy about those activities, and what sort of other online sites, books, stores, etc you visit/think about. And then what, if anything you might think would be cool that Ferran Adria / ElBulli could do to inspire you.

If you have 10-15 minutes to speak with me via phone, please let me know via email (luke dot allen dot langford at gmail dot com ) . I’m not in a position to be able to compensate you except with my gratitude

Hope to hear from you,


PS. I'd be happy to speak with others who might read this comment to, if you blog about food, just read lots of food blogs, and/or love cooking.

mjauQi said...

omg, am in love in scrumbled eggs!

betty q. said...

Hey Joey! As a food lover esp. BACON in any have to try making BACON SALT!...if you can get applewood smoked bacon, low sodium...much better or DOUBLE SMOKED BACON ( my boys prefer Tiroler Bacon). I crisp them up in the microwave just like my boys do..over paper towels, then when cool enough to handle, break into pieces and blitz in food processor till finely ground together with coarse sea salt! That's it!!! I sprinkle it on everything from salads to sunny side up eggs to scones, etc. I know I can buy them at specialty sotres but I am not going to pay over $5 for a 30 gm. package. For a little over $5, I can buy a WHOLE POUND OF APPLEWOOD SMOKED BACON PACK!!!!

kaoko said...


KATH said...

Definitely going to try this out!

Since you put in a pinch of rocksalt already, does the butter have to be unsalted?

Katrina said...

This sounds like Mark Bittman's recipe for weekend scrambled eggs. I have to try it this way -- you know that I love the fact that it has all that butter! :-D I know that this method takes a while longer than the usual scrambled eggs. How long did it take to make?

Katrina said...

Also, believe it or not, I don't have a saucepan! I have a nonstick frying pan, a wok, and a steel pot. Which should I use, or does it really have to be a saucepan?

Michelle said...

Great reminder of how yummy just EGGS and BUTTER really are!

Bom said...

I thought this was a foreign blog until I got to the pan de sal part. Amazing how something so simple can be so drool-worthy.

Marjorie Gavan said...

the picture alone makes me drool, will try this one.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Luke…will send you an email!

Hi mjauQi! I love them too :)

Hi Betty Q! I wish I had access to that bacon! I would love to try my hand at making bacon salt…you know I am a big fan of bacon-anything!

Hi Kaoko! Believe me…I too sighed when I took my first bite!

Hi Kath! I use unsalted butter but go ahead and use salted and just use less salt :) Enjoy!

Hi Katrina! Mine took shorter than the original recipe, as Ruth Reichl herself mentions (that it can take shorter than original cooking time)…you can use the smallest pan of the three :) Hope you liked it!

Hi Michelle! See how little it actually takes to experience bliss? :)

Hi Bom! Sometimes it’s the simplest things that are the best!

Hi Marjorie! Thanks! Hope you like it! :)

Katrina said...

I made this yesterday, and, although I made a mistake and the pan was too hot in the beginning, I was sort of able to rectify it before it was too late. I'm sure it can still be better, but for now, it is the best scrambled eggs *I've* ever made! :-) And to think, it didn't even have any milk or cream, as Mark Bittman's recipe does -- but I did put a ton of butter. :-D Thanks, Joey!!!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Katrina! So glad you enjoyed it! :) What I do is put the egg in the pan before putting in on the heat...then I just stir (and add butter, little by little) and wait for the magic to happen :)

Soma said...

You have captured the few simple moment to perfection and I think have given voice to many of our thoughts:) the shower- yes hard piercing shower is what I need.the kind that hurts and the tingle remains even after.

The egg is bliss; on a lazy saturday morning lost in the stirring cooking for my family. Lovely. and literally picture perfect.

Paz said...

Oh! So delicious-looking. I gotta try making it this way. Thanks for the recipe!

Junglefrog said...

O yes a good long shower will do that for me too! We do own a bathtub but never really use it. A shower for me is a lot better! As for these gorgeous eggs. I still need to make dinner and am considering making these instead!

Shalum said...

Eggs and butter. Simple luxury. :) By the way, where would you recommend good pan de sal. i have not been so inspired with the ones i tried here in the metro. sigh.

redmenace said...

I've never added the butter after I started cooking. Brilliant! xo

ChichaJo said...

Hi Soma! These moments are so important don’t you think? And they do make a big difference if you allow them to :) Stirring the egg on a lazy Saturday morning…perfect!

Hi Paz! Try it! It’s sooo good! :)

Hi Simone! I had a tub when before I got married and I hardly ever used it so when we got our flat we took the tub out :) These eggs are great any time of day I think :)

Hi Shalum! Yes, such a luxury for the price of two simple ingredients! I have not ever found a pan de sal I like as much as the ones I had when I was younger and we had an old pan de sal vendor come deliver it on his bicycle…the whole wheat ones here we got from the Salcedo Market, from the stall that sells the bagels and all the whole wheat bread products. It used to be the NY Bagel company but now they go by a different name. Although we like them, they are not like the old traditional pan de sal of my childhood…that I am still in search for!

Hi Redmenace! It really is quite brilliant…I am so happy I came across it!

katiez said...

Brilliant post - and great eggs (That's how I make them LOL) Sometimes, I had a tiny bit of yogurt to them, early on...

love cooking said...

Wow…This is so simple, yet so yummy. A piece of toast, scramble eggs and some salt and pepper. I can have it every morning and never feel bored. :)

katalinarosario said...

Hmm I never tried frying eggs with butter. I will definitely try this! :D

ngiti said...

hi! wow, now i love scrambled eggs even more after this post, which reads like an out of the body experience at the same time. i expected something more, like maybe mayo and parsley, but the way you wrote this makes it perfect the way it is.: )

ChichaJo said...

Hi Katiez! Oooh! Yogurt sounds like a good idea…will give that a whirl next time!

Hi love cooking! Sometimes the simplest things, prepared with care, are the best!

Hi katalinarosario! Butter makes life better! ;)

Hi ngiti! Sometimes the simplest way is best because it allows the natural goodness of the ingredients shine through :)

Jelly Bean said...

my pause button is the same as yours. long bath or shower. and i love shower gels.

eggs are my comfort food and im very picky on how my eggs are cooked. just recently i discovered how the french cook their scramble eggs thru laura calder (i adore her!). just eggs and butter and salt. nothing else. i think it's the same as your scramble eggs except she separates the yolk from the whites. i tried her method and i never look at scramble eggs the same way. i tried cooking the eggs on a sauce pan as she recommends but cleaning the pan with those sticky eggs is such a hassle so i tried with nonstick pan and still works. though you really have to be careful with the fire. it has to be on the lowest possible setting of your stove.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Jelly Bean! Wow, separating yolks and whites! Does she whip the whites until stiff? Gosh, I don't know if I could do that first thing in the morning, heehee :)

Kathie said...

I made these scambled eggs this morning and they were wonderful, so simple too. I have been trying to make the perfect scrambled egg forever, thanks for the recipe.

Kathie said...

I made these scambled eggs this morning and they were wonderful, so simple too. I have been trying to make the perfect scrambled egg forever, thanks for the recipe.

Rachel Reeves said...

I can't tell you how long I've been trying to make the perfect scrambled egg. My daughters will be so happy with this!

Deukap said...

These eggs look amazing and I really enjoyed reading your post. Focus on the eggs, brilliant!

Anonymous said...

scrambled eggs and great writing. what else does one want?

Anonymous said...

I live in the middle of Tempe AZ but we are lucky to have Agriculture zoned land among regular housing. I contribute my land to a Lady that loves to raise Horses and chickens. They are feed the best organic food/grains and eat lots of bugs and have 2 acres to run..
So, me and my neighbors get the best eggs in the world. The egg yolks are not yellow like even free-range or Omega, etc but are Orange and when boiled, the yolks are heavy and thick. My Cardiologist has said new science is eggs are safe even for heart patients like me.
I tell my friends not to buy reg coop raised chicken but they are not convinced until I give them a dozen. We have been conditioned by the Agra-business to accept poor replacement for profits. So, go to the best Organic Food store or your Farmers Market and give yourself a break.