Being a bachelor means cookin' cheap. It also means non-traditional styles of eating, that may diverge quite a ways from three square meals a day. One of the most common bachelor cooking products is what I call the "5+5 meal" -- you go in the kitchen and 5 minutes later you come out with food that'll take you about 5 minutes to eat. A little more than a snack, a little less than a complete three-course dinner. Herewith a favorite of mine, eggs on toast:

Amounts used may vary person to person and day to day, depending on appetite and tastes, but the general rules here should apply pretty universally.

Ingredients:

two eggs
two slices of bread product (ordinary bread is good; I like English muffins for variety)

If using a real toaster, put the bread in after starting the eggs; if using a toaster oven that only toasts one side at a time, put the bread in first. Adjust for how long it actually takes you to toast bread.

Eggs should be cooked until just beginning to brown around the edges (if you're making over-easy or sunny-side-up fried eggs) or firm but still a little bouncy and sticky (if scrambled). You can adjust this to taste, but you don't want the eggs so cooked that they slide right off the toast, or so runny that they soak in (ewww).

If using the toaster-oven method, and the eggs cool too much before side 2 is finished, put the burner back on low heat and place the frying pan back on it for 30 seconds or so (or hold it just above if using a gas stove). This should warm them without making them overcooked.

Once both eggs and toast are done, butter the toast to taste and add the eggs on top. Eat as an open-faced sandwich. If you scramble the eggs, you'll probably end up with about half an egg's worth left over that slides off the bread; eat that however you normally eat your scrambled eggs if you like.

Eggs on toast is great ten-minute-meal good for any time of the day. No matter what, there always seems to be enough stuff in the fridge to make it even when there's barely anything else edible in the house. It's quick, easy, and delicious and requires almost no clean up of messy pans or cooking utensils. Like any recipe, these instructions are just meant to be guidelines so feel free to experiment with quantities and cooking times and methods.

  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Slices of bread
  • Butter or Margerine
  • Hot sauce

    Fill a small pot with enough water to barely cover the eggs and bring it to a boil. Take two whole eggs (i.e. without cracking them) and place them in the pot. I prefer soft boiled eggs although you can cook them all the way to hard boiled and anywhere in between. If the water is at a vigorous boil when you put the eggs in, it usually takes about 5 minutes for the eggs to cook once they're put in the water. Feel free to experiment with times until you get the consistency of egg you like. Once you've started cooking the eggs, get your bread (or bagel or english muffin) and put it in the toaster. When the bread is done toasting, butter it immediately while it's still hot to make sure it melts and soaks into the bread.

    By the time you're done with the toast, your eggs should be nearly done. Take the eggs out of the pot (with tongs unless you're hardcore) and put them under cold running water to take the heat away and stop the cooking. Peel the shell from the egg carefully. If it's soft boiled, the yolk will still be liquid so try to make sure you don't puncture it. Once the eggs are peeled, put them on your slices of toast and dice them with a knife. The yolk should be a little runny and soak into the bread. Drip or pour your favorite hot sauce over the eggs (I use Cholula) and enjoy.

  • Eggs on toast are a satisfying, nutritional, economical meal. The last resort of bachelors, students and the otherwise cupboard-challenged need not be relegated to the ranks of mundane foods, however. Indeed, a perfectly poached egg on crust-free toast points is an empty canvas upon which the creative epicure can paint a luxurious feast given the right palette of ingredients.

    Flavor, substance and color can be achieved by the creation of a simple sauce with which to nap the eggs. Béchamel, the most versatile sauce in the French repertoire, elevates one's dish to "Creamed Eggs on Toast" (pass the freshly-ground black pepper!). The buttery, creamy sauce (preferably made extra-rich by using heavy cream and extra butter) in turn provides a canvas for garnishes:

    Minced Chives, Tarragon, Chervil or Scallions

    Finely (1/8") diced Smoked Salmon, Virginia Ham or other ham, Prosciutto

    Medium (1/4") dice or shredded cheese (the garnished eggs can be run under a very hot broiler to barely melt the cheese)

    Caviar, with or without finely minced sweet white onion

    Finely minced stuffed green olives, or pickled cocktail onions, or a combination of both

    Go to the supermarket and buy a packet of Knorr-Swiss's* fabulous Bearnaise Sauce or Hollandaise Sauce mix for a decadent treat. A slice of Canadian Bacon or ham underneath will turn your humble eggs into the popular Eggs Benedict. Substitute a few ounces of lump crabmeat warmed in butter and two cooked asparagus spears, atop the eggs and under the sauce, and you've got Eggs Oskar. (Eggs Oskar are even yummier when one insinuates a modest amount of caraway-flavored Aquavit into the sauce!) More Hollandaise-appropriate additions:

    Cook Porcini or other wild mushrooms and shallots in red wine; cook down until the wine evaporates but for a trace. Chop the mushrooms and add to the sauce.

    Chopped pimiento pepper

    Nonpareil Capers

    Medium-diced left over roast beef that's been sauteed quickly in olive oil with a bit of Rosemary.

    Make a fresh, zippy salsa from diced tomatoes, red onions and the hot peppers of your choice. Place on the eggs. Top with shredded Monterey Jack or similar cheese and run under the broiler to melt. You've just made a simplified version of Huevos Rancheros.

    Finally, for a hearty treat, dice some onions and some good, thick bacon and cook them together until the onions are browned at the edges. Stir in a pinch of Sage. Spoon this mixture onto your eggs and add salt and pepper.

    The medical community's not as hard as they used to be on eggs as a cholesterol source, particularly if the yolks aren't cooked hard. Why wait until the cupboard's bare to have an egg-venture!

    *Do not substitute another brand. Knorr-Swiss is the only prepared Hollandaise to use if you don't want the fuss of making it yourself.

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