February 6, 2013

Hipster Kitchen Drops Eggs Like They’re Hot

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In my experience, I’ve found that hipsters adhere to one of two distinct culinary philosophies: The highbrow or the lowbrow.

The former includes the twee cupcake-bakers and the bearded farm-to-table laborers, the scrupulous vegans and the New York Times dining critics. These people are the ones who casually drop phrases like “molecular gastronomy” or “artisanal fermentation” without feeling the need to explain what the hell they’re talking about. Meanwhile, the latter is a pallid, party-rocking set –– think malnourished models and nonchalant pseudo-bros, who wholeheartedly embrace fast food, comfort food and things that only marginally resemble food. As ’90s babies, they were probably into Gushers. Now, they wear ironic pizza t-shirts and consider PBR to satisfy their recommended daily intake from the grains section of the food pyramid.

If it wasn’t already blindingly obvious from the fact that I run a food blog, I sit pretty solidly into the highbrow category. However, the Achilles heel of my foodie status is my secret lust for greasy Chinese food. I like the authentic stuff, sure. But I’m also totally fine with 6.99 lunch specials (What’s up, Apollo’s). Nothing conjures up primal, childish satisfaction like a pile of General Tso’s chicken and a heap of slippery snow peas in sweet and sour sauce. Get at me, splintery chopsticks. Get at me, MSG. Get at me, heart disease. I’m yours.

For a long time, I thought that the unsophisticated joys of takeout could not be replicated at home. The homemade version of these dishes lacked the allure and pizzazz of their paper-boxed counterparts. And then I discovered the magic of homemade egg drop soup. It’s got three ingredients –– four, if you’re feeling fancy and decide to garnish the end result with some chopped scallions. It takes about five minutes to make –– meaning it’s faster than waiting for the delivery guy. And best of all, it tastes perfect –– as salty, silky and glutinous as egg drop soup should be. It’s lowbrow disguised as highbrow. Or highbrow disguised as lowbrow. Either way, it’s delicious, and you should make it tonight.


Adapted from a recipe by TheKitchn

This is a simple recipe, but the key here is technique. Luckily, we filmed it for you (see below), so you can see how it’s supposed to be done.

2 cups broth (chicken is classic, but anything works)1 egg½ tablespoon and ½ teaspoon cornstarch, divided

In a small saucepan, warm the broth over medium-high heat. When it is simmering, pour about half a cup of broth into a heatproof bowl or measuring cup and whisk in ½ tablespoon cornstarch until no lumps remain. Pour cornstarch broth back into saucepan and whisk to incorporate.

Crack the egg into a bowl and, using a fork, whisk with remaining ½ teaspoon cornstarch until lump-free. Place the fork across the top of the bowl and use your thumb to hold it flat against the rim. Then, pour the egg out slowly through the fork tines into the simmering broth, whisking steadily with your other hand. The egg should cook almost instantly. Serve immediately, garnished with scallions.

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Original Author: Clare Dougan