Years ago my chef/farmer friend Catharine taught me to crack each egg individually into a bowl before sending it off to its final culinary destination. “You never know,” she said, “and egg surprises really suck.” So I have a small metal bowl handy for just this purpose. When you eat maybe 18-24 eggs a week as a household like we do it’s best to be safe.
Not that my egg-managing skillz aren’t superlative (they are). But chickens, especially bantams, can be really sneaky in their ovarian habits. I swear there are a few birds who purposefully cycle themselves so that they can lay their eggs far, far away during their daily release from confinement (AKA Happy Hour). And I will find their caches, eventually, squirreled away under the shrubbery, well beyond the Eat By date. (I have learned to gingerly retrieve these eggs, placing them into a bucket half-filled with water…explosions do happen, especially with the weather this hot. Best it happen under water and thus contain the pain.)
And it has been hot, hasn’t it? I have been going to great lengths to keep the house cool and avoiding the stove (it’s electric: lots of ill-managed, escaping BTUs). Yesterday was just such a day. I cooked a 3-lb. chuck roast in a crock pot on the back porch all afternoon (larded with persillade and poached in tomato chutney, with the day’s volunteer All-Blue potatoes , red onions, and some carrots for color). Crock pots, how 70s, how…redolent of my childhood; I had avoided them myself until my mom got me one (of course) a year or so ago. Useful things, I suppose, and they can’t on their own heat up the house like the oven or stove…plus they do a mean turn on tough cuts of meat like this chuck steak.
So I sat in my garden habit, sipping a cold glass of post-garden-rewarding Traminette, flipping through a stack of cookbooks for some inspiration. Slow-cooked meats yield lots of good juice and good juice needs something to sop it all up, doesn’t that follow? And no heavy bread, thanks. SO I picked up a handy Richard Olney tome and beheld Batter Noodles (Nouilles a la Poche). (Re: the late Mr Olney: Iowa has never, before or since, produced such a snippy pretentious bit of bombast in human form. *Love* that guy.) “Treated as a gratin, these rich, round, tender eggy noodles are quite astonishing–simply drowned in cream and sprinkled with grated cheese (or liberally sprinkled with meat or poultry roasting juices and cheese…).” (Simple French Food, NY: Wiley, 1974)
Four eggs, salt, a tablespoon of olive oil, and 1-1/3 cups of flour? Sold! You pipe it into gently simmering, salted water from a cone of parchment paper. I may have to turn on the stove to boil a pot of water for this, but…it’ll be worth it, I thought.
And then the second egg exploded as I cracked it, sending its contents onto me, the counter edge, and the floor. Yeesh. But the noodles were quite good! I had, you see, cracked that befouled egg into that handy little metal bowl. Better safe than sorry. Such an annoying truism.