One of the areas I’d like to emphasize in the relaunch of Wait! I’ll Eat That is how to make cooking for one interesting, fun, practical, healthy (sometimes!), and economical. After several years of sharing my cooking with roommates and family members, I am now back to mostly solo kitchen adventures (nights out or having friends over notwithstanding). On average since August, I have cooked for myself at least three nights a week, a routine that’s reminded me of every cooking inconvenience from food waste to tiring of leftovers. I hope my upcoming posts will help you avoid some of the same issues, saving you money and time while keeping meals exciting.
Of course, you don’t have to be “me against the world” with three jobs and a tiny kitchen to appreciate the tips. I’d like to think even if you’re feeding an army on a daily basis, you can extrapolate some wisdom from some of my best and worst ideas.
I Shall Defeat You!
To kick things off, let’s focus on what is arguably my cooking arch nemesis and how I may or may not have finally defeated this culinary supervillain. See, I can somewhat successfully cook most anything with a little practice, but no matter how hard I try, I am unable to correctly hard boil an egg. I’m beginning to think it’s in my genetic code because I’ve tried every trick ever known to work for just about every chef ever to plop an egg into water.
Food Network suggests removing from heat and covering for 8-10 minutes, which, in my case, resulted in runny egg slime.
Simply Recipes ups the time, recommending a “turn off the heat and cover for 10-12 minutes” method.
The great Martha Stewart also suggests the 12-minute cover and sit method.
For me? Nope! Results have featured everything from that pesky green ring from overcooking to an egg somewhere between hardboiled and soft-boiled.
Adding vinegar or salt to keep from cracking à la Genius Kitchen?
Not a chance. Egg ooze all through the water. Vinegar-flavored egg ooze. This is a bad look.
You’d think the Incredible Egg site would have a method that works, right? Sure. Maybe for most people, going with a hot water over boiling water approach might work. Not for me!
I even tried one of those little egg-shaped timers you put in the pot that changes color when the eggs are done. Turns out, in my (in)capable hands, it’s an adorable egg-shaped paper weight.
Bon Appetit provides a slightly different take and points out the “pro tip” of using old eggs. I’ve tried it this way, and I’ve used eggs of nearly every age.
It has failed.
Don’t get me started on cracking them. Neither you nor I have time.
Give up? NEVER!
I figured I could just live a life devoid of hardboiled eggs, but that’s no way to live, right? The hardboiled egg should be a close ally of the single and overworked. It’s easy (in theory!), keeps for days, meets a couple health goals, and is somewhat portable (please don’t sneak boiled eggs onto the Metro. If you do, please don’t sit by me). Think about how easy breakfast can be all week if you just hard boil some eggs on Sunday and pop them in the fridge! Add some fresh fruit and a grain if you like, and you’re set. Preparing breakfast takes precisely the amount of time needed to toast an English muffin. That means you can get up a bit later or, in my case, drink a pot of coffee and spend more time arguing with guests on CNN and laughing at my morning buddies, Alisyn and Chris, on New Day (please don’t hate me if you’re a Fox News or MSNBC fan. Everyone is welcome here! We all have to eat. Politics be damned!).
Well, after that lengthy buildup, let me introduce you to the kitchen gadget that just might make those quick breakfasts a reality!
Meet…the Dash Rapid Egg Cooker!
I ran across this cutie on accident while killing time reading BuzzFeed lists (specifically this one on Amazon products with over 1,000 reviews. Side note: I also bought the meat claws for my brother for Christmas. He loves them).
For 15 bucks (the price ranges from 15 to 22 dollars, depending on—of all things—color), I had nothing to lose (I’ve thrown away AT LEAST that much worth of eggs over the last couple years) so I bought it. There are other brands at various price points, but I can’t vouch for any of them.
Excited about the prospect of properly boiled eggs, I didn’t even notice it also came with a poaching tray and an omelet tray. Those were pleasant surprises in the event I might want a hands-off omelet or poached egg (that’s the whole point of this thing; it’s hands off). Maybe. We’ll see. I still didn’t quite trust this thing. Cute as it is, I wasn’t certain it hadn’t pledged allegiance to the dark side.
To avoid destroying several eggs, I opted for boiling just two on the first go. If it worked, I’d cook more. If not, I was only out two eggs (roughly 30 cents).
Using the thing is quite simple. It comes with this little egg stabber and measuring cup so you just fill up to the line you need (the cup is labeled by function; sorry I didn’t get a photo of that) poke the eggs in the head (thicker side) and stick ‘em in the tray (pointier side down). I won’t pretend it isn’t somewhat cathartic to stab your arch enemy in the head, so I quite enjoyed this part.
I have to admit I’ve never poked a hole in an egg so, as much as I was looking forward to it, I was slightly skeptical about the task. I envisioned my hardboiled egg luck taking the form of me stabbing the egg a bit too hard and crushing it everywhere much like the unfortunate woman in the egg peeler infomercial (please enjoy her struggle). Seriously.
Pro Tip: This can happen, but it’s not as likely as you might think. Just be gentle. The needle is pretty sharp, and I trusted it was designed for precisely this task. All was well.
After you poke and position the eggies, you stick the cover on (do NOT lock it; emphasized repeatedly in the instructions) and push the one and only button on the contraption.
Then you wait.
You wait and make coffee and argue with senators and make your bed.
You do this until the alarm goes off.
We need to talk about this alarm.
Among the mostly glowing reviews for this device, there was an alarming number (!!) of comments about the sound of the alarm. I recommend reading them just for the beauty in the use of language to describe something so simple. I figured it couldn’t possibly be that bad, right?
Wrong. It’s the soundtrack of your nightmares. The dog hates it. I hate it. The neighbors four floors up probably hate it.
I am, however, willing to forgive it because, well, look!
My life has been forever altered! I will have egg farts for eternity! To be fair, I followed the advice of one reviewer who recommended leaving the lid on for about a minute after the devil alarm went off.
The eggs were easy to peel as well, so no need to buy the Eggstractor thing from the unfortunate egg cracker infomercial.
There Are Always Cons
So that’s the good about this little pod.
Nothing is perfect, though, so let’s talk about the down sides.
First, that alarm does really suck. There’s nothing you can do about it (unless you’re mechanically inclined).
Second, some reviews have said it stops cooking all the way through after a few months. Of course, I have yet to see this since I just got it. If that turns out to be the case, though, I may simply upgrade to a higher-end version of this since the concept of making perfect hardboiled eggs really does mean a lot to me. If I do that, I’ll provide another review so you can decide if you should do the same.
Third, it will develop a buildup from your water. Some reviews suggest getting around this by using distilled water, so that’s a possibility. Other reviewers recommend treating it the way you would a teapot. So far, I’ve simply wiped it down immediately after use.
Fourth, the poaching tray is not a gift from the egg god. I haven’t tried the omelet tray, but deductive reasoning tells me it’s probably going to provide similar results. When I tried the poaching tray, the whites were not set even enough to be considered “poached,” and the tops of the eggs were covered in water. I was committed to eating those particular eggs, though, so I just turned it on for a second round of steaming. That, of course, overcooked them. I suppose, in theory, doing this with the omelet tray might work, but by the time you run the device through two cycles, you could have simply cooked the omelet in a pan like a human being from the planet Earth.
Finally, I recommend storing all the pieces of the device together. I read a few reviews where people managed to lose their poking devices or one or the other of the trays. I’m a meticulous maniac about this kind of thing so prior to August, my first instinct would have been to ask what’s wrong with someone who just haphazardly stores random bits and pieces of a cooking tool. However, in my tiny kitchen (post soon!), I’ve learned sometimes a lack of space requires creative storage, and I can see how one might put the pieces in different spots around the kitchen. I’ve managed to find a spot to store it as a whole, but I can certainly see how that’s not a given. This thing does have several parts. To be precise, it has 7 parts. That’s a lot of parts for an egg cooking device.
To wrap it up, if you’re an egg genius, continue to hard boil your eggs the “normal” way (and always remember I hate you with the fire of a thousand white hot suns). If you’re not an egg genius, this might help you out. You can make up to 6 boiled eggs at a time, which is a sufficient number to last a couple days if you’re only cooking for one.