Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Your guide to eating cheap including tips, recipes and techniques

Archive for May, 2010


5/25/10 | Tea Eggs


[ Currently Eating: Dharmalars ]

Tea Eggs - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

I am an egg paranoiac.

I admit it. Yes, you may have seen one of those obsessive-compulsive, sweatpants-clad egg fondlers at the market just a few weeks ago.

That was ME fondling your eggs Mr. Stater Brother.

I open up a box of eggs and then set them up on the shelf to check and see if they’ve slipped any fake candy eggs in the box. These things happen sometimes at the egg factory, especially around Easter time.

I smell the eggs for any hints of radioactivity. I rub them for good luck. Then I place them, lengthwise between the 2nd back molars on the right side of my mouth and tilt my head toward the light to see if any pictures of Spock are transmitted into my brain. (Walter Bishop told me to do that, you know, just in case. In case of what, I’m not sure…)

Then I roll them across the floor to make sure the yolk distribution is correct.

The trajectory on the floor must inscribe a certain parabolic arc, and if it does not, then I put them back in their container and start all over again with another box. You see, you must never, ever mix up the eggs that come in a box. They are meant to be together and CANNOT be separated.

If they are separated, an immediate high frequency coded signal will begin to be transmitted from a hidden circuitboard embedded at the base of each cardboard box of eggs. This will contact a base station at the factory and immediately alert the chickens to which these eggs belong. The chickens will then start to run around clucking as if their heads were cut off.

The factory manager, noting the obvious egg space-time continuum disturbance, will then send out sleek Lincoln towncars filled with men in black to the supermarket where the signal has come from.

They will be instructed to apprehend any bad eggs.

LOL.

The above scenario, while not exactly true, is not exactly false. I do check my eggs before buying, because I’ve gotten some cracked ones before. It’s good idea to at least open the box, hidden microchip circuitboard or not.

Recently, we came into an overabundance of eggs due to the perfect storm of an egg fire sale at the market and a shopping list gone awry. I was just going to boil ‘em up and make an enormous egg salad sandwich the size of an alligator. But then I decided to try out a recipe for a type of egg that I’ve never made before. These are tea eggs.

I’ve been a tea egger (a consumer of tea eggs) for awhile now.

No, not a tea bagger. A tea EGGER.

These tea eggs are pretty much just boiled eggs that have been infused with various spices. While most recipes I’ve seen call for particular separate spices, I think there’s actually a packet of stuff that you can buy at specialty markets to make tea eggs – something similar to a “five spice” taste. I decided to make it from scratch because we happened to have the star anise and the cinnamon in the pantry.

Tea Eggs - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

One of the coolest thing about the tea eggs is the spiderweb lines that appear on the surface. This comes about because you crack the eggs lightly after boiling and then put them into a liquid mixture. The area where the cracks are gets darker, resulting in the lines.

This can be really cool if you take a few eggs to lunch and tell your unsuspecting (soon to be ex) friends “Did I ever tell you about the alien chicken at home that lays eggs? Here’s proof…”

Guys: This is also a great conversation piece at bars. You accost a pretty girl, whip one of these bad boys out, and say “Hey baby – let me peel my egg for you.” You can also follow this with: “Now imagine what the rest of me looks like!”

Well, without further ado, and with much trepidation, here is a recipe of sorts:

Tea Eggs

6 eggs — $1.00
2 tbsp loose tea (or 2 tea bags) — $0.25
1/2 cup soy sauce — $0.50
2 tsp sugar — $0.05
3-4 star anise pods — $0.25
1 cinnamon stick — $0.10
1 tsp pepper — negligible
optional salt — negligible

Total: $2.15

You get a pot. You fill it with water. Then you lay your eggs. (Dang. I’ve been trying to use a nice pun about laying eggs in this post, but it just never worked its way in.)

Boil the summabitch. Well, get it up to boil anyhow. Then turn the heat off, and put the lid on. Let it sit for 12-15 min. I don’t know if this is really necessary for this recipe, but this is how we usually make nice boiled eggs that don’t have a powdery center. Thanks Martha Farking Stewart…

Take the eggs out with a spoon or whatever, and put ‘em in a bowl. Run cold water on it if you don’t want to burn off your fingerprints. Then lightly crack the eggs. I just cracked them on the sink, but I heard sometimes it’s better if you whack ‘em with a butter knife or heavy spoon. Whatever. You just need to make sure they’re cracked enough so the flavor can enter the eggs.

Put ‘em back in the water in the pot. You can use new water if you want. Add tea, soy sauce, sugar, star anise, cinnamon and pepper. You might need to add some salt. Or, you could just add more soy sauce.

Get the thing up to boil again, then reduce the heat to low and simmer it for 2 hours or more. I think it depends how strong you want the flavor. During the cooking process, you might need to chuck some more water in there. To make sure you don’t end up a dry pot with exploding eggs, and trust me I have done that on occasion while boiling eggs.

When done, let the eggs cool, crack ‘em and eat. You can fridge them for a few days at least too.

Tea Eggs - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

You can increase or decrease the amount of spices to taste. The batch I made for the first time didn’t seem to have enough flavor, so I returned the eggs to the pot and cooked for another hour or so. They tasted better after that. I didn’t add salt, but many recipes I’ve seen call for both soy sauce and salt. You should play around with the proportions.

I still have hesitations about posting these 3 dollar and under recipes. I know they’re a lot of fun for people and very popular, but I sometimes feel like I’ve gotten myself backed into a corner with them. It’s really hard to come up with recipes for $3 or less, because I haven’t adjusted for inflation. Or for people who write in complaining that I don’t know the price of [insert food item].

It’s also harder for keep the comedy going with recipes like this because I feel the need to actually write something of use to people.

In any case, that doesn’t matter because I’m going away.

Yesterday, I went to Fresh & Easy and randomly swapped out 5013 eggs between boxes while the workers weren’t looking.

The men in the Lincoln towncars are coming.

They’re coming to take me away, HO HO HEE HEE HA HA to the funny farm.

Where life is beautiful all the time.

[Editor's Note: If you didn't understand that, then you should probably listen to this song. Also, you are probably why I didn't make the obvious joke about how tasty my "star anise" is in this post. I thought it was too easy, and I don't want to offend all the star anise fans out there.]


[ Currently Eating: Molecules of Moles ]

Truthfully (and when, good peoplepersons, have I ever NOT been truthful?), I’ve been thinking hard about this review for the past month or so.

Thinking hard has gotten me exactly nowhere.

So I decided to sum up what few thoughts these few brain cells have squeezed out about White Castle Microwaveable Hamburgers in two sentences:

John Cho is, like, a god to me.

and

These square hamburgers are rather small.

The End.

I would elaborate more on the first sentence, but I don’t think it’s really worth your time see me heave my enormous Jabba the Hutt bulk up on a soapbox. Or maybe it would be, if I had a fat wormy body like Jabba the Hutt. Jabba the Hutt would probably also have something nice to say about mini hamburgers. OK, I’ll stop saying Jabba the Hutt so you won’t jabba me in the hutt. I mean butt.

Superb. Butt-jokes in a hamburger review.

But if I could just make one little observation: John Cho, and of course Kal Penn (he is also, like, a god to me), have done more good for Asian Americans and White Castle hamburgers than any mortals from this multiverse have ever done.

I speak, with reverence bordering on the supernatural, of that peculiar pelĂ­cula known as Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.

Definitely one of the top 20 films of all time.

I have watched it 813 times, 26 of those in a row while sitting on the couch while eating Pocky and drinking Boba milk tea.

If you have not seen it, you have not lived. Or at least identified heavily with a film about two Asian American guys who don’t kungfu-fight (and also don’t travel through “time and space” with a bad accent) who just want a fricken hamburger. Plus, man, does John Cho has a way with ladies of different persuasions.

You go, Cho.

But all that is water under the bridge, meat under the table, and so on. This is a review about hamburgers. According to the movie (and nearly everyone from the East Coast with a heartbeat), they are supposed to be the shiz. Or is it the shiraz? I’m not a wine person, so you’ll have to excuse me. Or excommunicate me.

To those east coasters who say that I can’t possibly write up a review on White Castle hamburgers without having flown over there and tried the Real Deal, I say, “You’re absolutely correct. Now get on a plane and fly over here and have a real hamburger at In-N-Out.”

No really, I can’t say that. I’m sure White Castle does indeed rock the cow. It’s just that a lot of people from the other side of the continent have a highly disturbing way of dismissing In-N-Out hamburgers as hippy California Pizza Kitchen surfer burgers.

As if, dude.

But in any case, I didn’t expect making these little burgers in the microwave to compare to getting the real thing. Although, they sure look VERY similar. I’m not used to “slyders” or “sliders”, unless you mean the great TV show that they should bring back starring, guess who – John Cho.

I don’t even know if they’re supposed to have what amounts to raw onion chunks sprinkled on each one. I didn’t really enjoy that part so much. Also, I could’ve used some cheese on them. And tomato and lettuce. Heresy, yes.

They came in three 2-packs of hamburgers. You just open up the plastic on a pair of the burgers and separate them. Then you nuke for 60 seconds from frozen. I had a little trouble getting the little buggers, er, burgers, to cook completely. Your mileage may vary, especially if you’re a frequent flyer.

The taste is – not so great. The meat was sort of lifeless (on second thought, that may be a good thing!) and a bit pasty from the steam. I can’t understand what it is with people liking the hamburger and the interior side of the bun to be all sopping wet and melded together. Maybe it’s a West coast thing, but I really like them distinct and separated. I realize that large “Helen of Troy”-type wars have been fought over different hamburger styles, so I’ll just stop there.

The bun itself was OK, but nothing to write home about. I really could not get past the onions – scraping them off proved helpful, yet messy.

The price is the straw that broke the cameltoe’s back for me. At 60 cents each, these just weren’t worth it. I don’t even know – how much do these cost normally at the actual restaurant? I feel they should be a quarter at most for the amount of meat inside. Oh sure, you’re getting authentic White Castle hamburgers. But I’m not sure why anyone would pay the premium unless they’re nostalgic for them. Or, like me, you’ve watched the movie too many times and you just have to try them, and you don’t want to fly across the country.

And now, it is my great pleasure to end this narrative WITHOUT a picture of my original idea for this review which was a photo of my naked chest with two White Castle Hamburgers covering my mannipples like pasties.

Eek!

Price: $3.69 for 9.5oz (6 slyders)
Found At: Fresh & Easy
Cheap Eats Score: 3/10

[Editor's Note: Any fools out there who would like to have a picture of me fondling White Castle Hamburgers on my mannipples, please send $9.95 to "Burger Pasties, 31539 Scam Street, Burger City, CA" Thank you.]




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