The previous post in this series introduced you to DaVinci sugar-free flavored syrups. In this second installment, let’s have a little change of pace and instead of a food product, let’s go with a gadget that makes keto and low carb just a little bit easier. Or, depending on your egg boiling skills, it might make your life a lot easier.
Up today: Electric egg cookers!
(Note: I’m linking to the general category for these products, since the model I own, from Krups, appears to have been discontinued, which is why it’s going for $140+ on Amazon. These things should absolutely not cost more than about $20-$30. Most of them work exactly the same way, so it doesn’t matter much which brand you buy unless you’re looking for unique features that only certain models have.)
There are two kinds of people in the world: those born with the genes for cooking eggs perfectly, and those born without. If you are in the former category, and your eggs come out perfectly every time, then move along. Nothing to see here. On the other hand, if you fall into the latter category—as I do—and you haven’t mastered the art of boiling eggs so that both the white and the yolk are cooked to your preferred consistency, and you don’t lose half the white during a totally mangled and botched peeling job, an electric egg cooker will be your new best friend!
There are approximately five kazillion different methods for making hard or soft-boiled eggs, but none of them have given me the consistently good results of my egg cooker. (Okay, to be honest, I’ve probably only tried like two or three out of those five kazillion methods, but once I found this gadget, I saw no reason to continue bumbling my way through the rest.)
I realize it’s a little ridiculous to buy a kitchen gadget dedicated to one purpose and one purpose only. For those of you who are fans of Alton Brown, as I am, I agree with him that “unitaskers” are mostly a waste of money. Tools and “stuff” you buy for cooking should all be multitaskers, which is why you never see dumb
shit things like kale strippers
in the kitchen of a true chef. (As Alton
says, the only unitasker that belongs in your kitchen is a fire extinguisher.) Again, if
you have mastered the mysterious craft of egg boiling—and peeling!—then all you need is a pot. But if this dark art eludes you, this is truly
the best $30 you’ll ever spend as a low carber.
I’ve had my egg cooker for 8 years and it’s still going strong. There was a period of time where I used it every day for probably 2 or 3 years and I never had a problem with it. So it’s definitely a sturdy little workhorse. But besides staying power, what else makes this thing so great?
This little gem of an appliance boils up to 7 eggs at a time, and you can set it to soft, medium, or hard—however you like ‘em. My mother was a fan of dry eggs. And I mean DRY. Until I started cooking on my own and watching more cooking shows on TV, I only knew eggs a la mom: stiff, rubbery whites, and yolks that were dry and powdery to the point where they were basically a choking hazard. Ick. It was only in my own kitchen that I discovered the glory of boiled eggs the way I like them: with the white just set, and the yolk nice n’ runny. Creamy, silky smooth, and unctuous. (It helps that I’m not scared of raw eggs. I think that’s probably why my mother cooked them beyond recognition and always asked for her eggs to be “well done” in diners. In some cases, the apple does fall far from the tree.)
I’ve only ever used the soft and medium settings on my egg cooker, so I can’t vouch for the results of the “hard” setting, but if the soft and medium are any indication, they’d be hard boiled, but perfectly hard boiled. Seriously, they come out perfect, almost every time.
The reason they come out perfectly almost every time is that this gadget comes with a tool you use to pierce a tiny hole in each egg before setting it in the tray. This hole allows steam to get between the shell & membrane and the actual egg, so that when it’s time to peel the eggs, the shells slip off very easily. I say they’re perfect almost every time because once in a while the magic doesn’t quite work and you’re left to pick tiny bits of shell away, piece by painstaking piece. But the vast majority of the time, the shells come away quickly and easily, and you’re left with beautiful, pristine boiled eggs.
If you’re making egg salad or some other dish where the condition of the eggs doesn’t matter, then none of this matters. If your eggs are mangled and pockmarked and resemble the surface of the moon, no problem! You’re gonna mash them up anyway. But if you’re serving deviled eggs, or you want to impress your family or guests with aesthetically pleasing boiled eggs at breakfast or brunch, do yourself a favor and get one of these electric egg cookers.
If you’re asking yourself how piercing a hole in a raw egg doesn’t crack the whole egg or cause the white to leak out, it just doesn’t. There’s usually a tiny bit of air space between the shell and the membrane, so most of the time, you only pierce as far as that space and the needle doesn’t touch the white at all. Once in a while, you do end up piercing the white, and it will come out a bit as the egg cooks, but it gets so hot inside this thing that the little bit of white that leaks out cooks almost instantly so there’s no messy cleanup. It’s not like there’s raw (or cooked) egg white all over the place. This is hard to describe unless you see it in action, but trust me, it’s all good. No problemo.
Besides making perfect boiled—or, rather, “steamed”—eggs, these handy things also make poached! They’re not quite your traditional poached eggs, in that the yolks do tend to set a bit, but if you want something other than a cooked-in-shell egg, the poacher gives you another option. You can even scramble an egg and add some ham, cheese, or diced onion & peppers all into the poaching trays to make a small omelet. (Be sure to grease the trays well if you want this to come out easily.) CAVEAT: the poaching trays are plastic. To be honest, I’m a little iffy about this, but not so iffy that it’s stopped me from using this feature. I don’t use it often, but I do use it. (I also drink scalding hot coffee poured into paper cups lined with who-knows-what kind of leak-proof substance, and occasionally from plastic Keurig pods, so I play Russian roulette with my health a lot more often than I realize. *Shrug.*) The whole egg cooker is plastic, in fact, except for the heating element, which is metal. But when you’re cooking eggs in their shells, the edible part of the egg doesn’t come in contact with the plastic. You’ll have to decide whether any of this is an issue for you. If you want the convenience of this gadget without the plastic issue, just stick to cooking eggs in their shells and disregard the poaching feature. That way, the part of the egg you eat (i.e., not the shell) never comes in direct contact with the plasctc.
Two other neat features – at least, these were on my Krups model. I can’t say for sure whether other models have these, but they likely do: (1) There’s a switch to toggle between cook and keep warm, so you can keep your eggs warm without cooking them any further. (2) There’s an audible signal when your eggs are done, so you don’t have to babysit this thing. You can be doing something in another room and you’ll hear a buzzing sound (a very loud buzzing, to be honest) when your eggs are ready. It will buzz for a while but then stop buzzing if you’re not able to turn it off right away. It would be nice if it also had an automatic shutoff, but the Krups model doesn’t. (Maybe others do.) So even though the buzzing stops, the cooking mode is still on, so you do need to get back to the kitchen if you don’t want your eggs overcooked. (And on the chance that anyone reading my blog happens to be deaf or hard of hearing, this “feature” is not exactly all that helpful for you.)
Is there anything not so great about this egg cooker?
My main beef with this gadget is that it cooks 7 eggs at a time. Seven eggs? Who came up with that? It seems to me six might be a rounder number, being a half dozen, or just make this thing bigger and able to accommodate a whole dozen at a time. I mean, why seven? Oddly enough, many other manufacturers’ models also accommodate only seven eggs (like this one from Hamilton Beach and this one from Elite Cuisine, as well as several others), so there must be some physics/thermodynamics-related reason for it, but I certainly don’t know what it is. I just found this double decker model, however, which makes 12 at a time. Looks like at least one company isn’t asleep at the wheel. The only drawback I see is that a larger gadget makes for more difficult storage, but if you use this thing as often as I do, it deserves a permanent place on your counter, and from the looks of the double decker, it’s only larger vertically, not horizontally, so it takes up the same amount of counter space. Nice!
Also, in case you’re confused, you don’t have to cook seven eggs at a time. You can do one, two, or any quantity less than seven. Seven is just the max. So if you’re in the mood for just one little egg, no problem. (Although as I mentioned in the post about making low carb more convenient by cooking in bulk, don’t waste your time making just one egg. Hard boiled eggs last a while in the fridge, and if you make a lot at one time, you’ll always have a perfect low carb snack ready to grab when you’re in a hurry.)
All in all, this thing has been a joy in my kitchen. My mother bought it for me before I started a new job in 2009, and even before she passed away, I thought of her lovingly every time I used it. Now, of course, I value it even more, even if I prefer my eggs prepared very differently than she did.
Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.