Thursday, April 23, 2015

Do You Have Trouble Boiling Water?

Don’t be embarrassed.  The kitchen can be a mysterious place and just as dangerous as a chemistry lab.  On the plus side, you are unlikely to explode.  But you can burn yourself, cut yourself, even poison yourself if you’re not paying attention.  Weapons of death are within your grasp. 

There’s a famous short story by Roald Dahl, who wrote “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” about a woman who bops her husband over the head with a frozen leg of lamb.  She then destroys the murder weapon by cooking it and serving it to the policemen investigating the death.

But my purpose here is to keep you safe and your stomach full, so let’s start with how to boil water. 

What does boiling water look like?  The surface of the water is filled with big bubbles, and it gives off steam.  If it’s bubbling only on the edges, that’s called simmering.  Wait another minute, or until the bubbles are everywhere.

How much water you start with depends on what and how much you’re cooking.  The more water there is in the pot, the longer it will take to boil.  I’ve learned that spaghetti does not need a full pot of boiling water to cook.  Filling a large pot 1/2 full works just fine for a pound of spaghetti.  Filling it 1/3 full is okay if you’re using half the package or less.

Sounds simple, but you can go wrong.  Don’t be like my friend who decided to make spaghetti by putting a 1-pound package of noodles into a frying pan, adding 2 inches of water, turning the temperature to high and leaving the kitchen for 30 minutes.  Not only did he have to eat out that night but also he had to throw away the frying pan.

Here is my Quick recipe for:
Spaghetti Topped with a Fried Eggserves 1
1/4 pound spaghetti
1 teaspoon olive or canola oil or butter
1 large egg (2 if you’re really hungry)
1-2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (or more)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Fill a large pot 1/3 full with water, cover and begin heating over high heat.  When the water comes to a boil, add the spaghetti and cook according to directions.
About 3 minutes before the spaghetti is ready, add the oil or butter to a small frying pan and begin heating over high heat.  Carefully break the egg(s) into the pan so that the yolk remains intact and turn down the heat to medium high.  Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the white is firm.  Turn off the heat.
Drain the spaghetti and transfer it to a large plate. Carefully remove the egg(s) from the frying pan, place on top of the spaghetti and serve.  Break the still-runny yolk(s) and stir into the hot spaghetti.  The heat will finish the cooking.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and season with salt and black pepper.