Cut & Measure Unless I'm really familiar with a recipe, I usually prepare as much as I can ahead of time like measuring and chopping, so I can remain calm during the cooking process. Store your ingredients in ramekins and small bowls according to the order in which they are added to the recipe.
My Favorite Pan My favorite pan is a twenty dollar cast iron pan. I remember vividly how my step-father coveted his iron pan and warned us about not using soap to clean it. Seasoned and maintained properly, an iron pan can last forever. It is better than any non stick pan and far more durable. It's thick base holds heat better than any pan in my arsenal and prevents food from burning by dispersing the heat.
I have a small obsession with eggs. Fried eggs, poached eggs, scrambled, hard boiled, etc. They are one of the most satisfying foods in the world, all by themselves. It's essential to have good techniques for all egg cooking methods and soft boiled eggs are no exception. I like mine peeled and broken over buttered toast with salt and fresh ground pepper but raise your aristocratic pinky and eat them in an egg cup if you like.
The simple egg is sometimes overlooked but it is such a great meal all by itself. I started my love affair with the egg eating them fried. Next was poached and now I am enjoying the soft boiled egg. I have tried many techniques. One that works great is boiling the water, dropping the eggs, turning off the heat and cooking for 6 or 7 minutes. The egg comes out perfect but cold eggs in hot water don't always mix well. I broke more than my fair share of eggs before they even started cooking.
I prefer to place the eggs in a pot, fully covered with room temperature or cold tap water and then heat them to a boil. No problems with cold meeting heat anymore and the technique works just as well. Once the water comes to a boil, turn off the heat, cover the pot and let it sit for approximately 2 minutes. Timing is very critical here and will vary depending on your speed and pot type. Once you get the technique down, you'll find the ideal time that works best for you.
As soon as the eggs are done, rinse them in cold water if you want to peel them. The cold water will separate the shell from the membrane, making it easier to peel. Some people even like to shock them in a bowl of ice water but that seems way to much work. Just rinse them the eggs in the pot several times till everything cools. Then, fill the bowl with tap water and let it sit for a minute. The eggs should peel very easily.
You still need to be careful when you are peeling a soft boiled egg or you might get yolk all over your hands. I haven't broken one yet but I always wonder when it will happen. You know you have your soft boiled egg is done when it feels like a woman's breast. If you place it on a flat surface, it will flatten slightly, indicating a runny but warm yolk.
Place your soft boiled eggs on top of buttered toast and break them with a fork, careful to ensure the yolk spreads on the toast. A couple pinches of salt and fresh ground pepper and you have yourself an awesome breakfast that will keep you filled till lunch!