Saturday, October 8, 2011

Egg in the Bread - a cute and simple presentation for Eggs and Toast




My freshman year of college, I attended, for just one semester before transferring to another school, a small Christian college up in Wisconsin.  The building was formerly a very old Catholic church, with some pretty ancient areas that were boarded shut.  With no experience in cooking much at all, other than helping my mom now and then in the kitchen, I landed a job through the student work program as a breakfast and lunch cook.  Underneath the kitchen in the basement were some of the older areas of the school, with tunnels leading from the church up the street to another church or monastery.  Many rumors, of which I have no idea were true or not, circulated about some findings in the tunnels when the church was purchased, which indicated the nuns and monks were not as saintly or as celibate as they claimed.  It was an interesting place, to say the least.






Every morning I woke up around 4:30 am, trudged through the freezing cold and wet snow (have I mentioned this was in Wisconsin), to unlock the kitchen, get the ovens going, and start cooking breakfast with the help of just 1-2 other people.  At that time, there were only 700-800 students, but still, cooking breakfast for that many was a big job for an 18-year old who had never cooked for more than 5-6 people at a time, and even then, not without the help of my mom.

That semester I got pretty talented at cracking eggs (no egg beaters product in that kitchen) - after a few weeks I could crack two in each hand at a time into a 10-gallon bucket, and get them all whisked up with the biggest whisk you can imagine in no time flat.  I cooked heaps of scrambled eggs with a massive metal spatula on a flat-top grill, then smothered them with grated cheddar cheese, salt and pepper.  I mixed gallons of waffle batter.  Hundreds of pancakes were measured out on that same flat-top grill - by the time I finished measuring out the last dollop of batter, it was time to go back to the first one and start flipping.

I didn't mind cooking breakfast, except for the waking up so early part, and I fell asleep in the library while studying more times than I can remember.  Lunch was much worse, though, especially on hamburger day.  After dragging about 20 heavy boxes of frozen hamburger patties from the walk-in freezer (of which I was in perpetual fear of getting locked into), I worked over the hot grill, flipping hamburgers for an hour as grease literally covered my hair, my arms, the bottom of my skirt - any surface that wasn't covered by my apron was saturated in grease.  The clothes I could change out of, but how do you rub all that sweat and grease off your skin and arms and hair before heading off to an afternoon class?  I usually went to class smelling like a hamburger on those days - my classmates probably thought I never washed my hair.  I'm glad my days of flipping hamburgers and cooking breakfast for that many people is over.





The other day, I saw an episode of Pioneer Woman, where she made Egg in the Hole - simply a piece of bread with a hole cut in the middle, fried on a griddle, with a whole egg dropped in the hole.  I've seen many people do this, although my family never did since my parents like scrambled eggs.  But I love the simplicity of the idea, turning something like eggs and toast into something so cute and whimsical.

We made our Egg in the Bread for breakfast last weekend, and I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter instead of a round - I just love those little pieces of toast shaped like a heart.  I could have used butter, which I'm sure is more flavorful, but I used just a little olive oil for a healthy, easy breakfast of whole wheat toast, eggs and sliced tomato, sprinkled with a little salt and pepper.  It couldn't get more simple than that.





Egg in the Bread
  • 1-2 pieces whole wheat sandwich bread per person
  • 1-2 eggs per person
  • olive oil or butter
  • salt and pepper
Preheat the griddle and add a small amount of butter or oil to the griddle.  Using a cookie cutter, any shape, cut a hole out of the center of each piece of bread.  Lay the bread and the cutouts on the griddle.  Crack a whole egg in the middle of each piece of bread.
Cook until the bread is golden brown and crisp on one side and the egg is starting to set.  Carefully flip over and cook the other side.  I like mine with the egg yolks still runny.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.