So my son got a Belgian waffle maker for his birthday from my parents (this might seem like a strange gift for a tween but he loved it). On that first night, he wanted waffles, so I looked up Belgian waffle recipes and most of the recipes involved yeast. Though I did actually have yeast, ( I was planning on trying to make that no-knead bread Mark Bittman wrote about a few years ago) that seemed like too much work. I stumbled across another recipe that did not involve yeast but did involve separating eggs and whipping egg whites. Now you might think that yeast is much less scary than separating eggs but for some reason, not for me.
Which brings me to my point. How do I know how to separate eggs and whip egg whites (without a mixer, I might add)? It’s funny because I do actually have these pockets of knowledge, like an idiot savant of ill-prepared housewives. I specifically remember my mom showing how to make gravy for Thanksgiving and my dad teaching me how to make his spaghetti sauce (which I still have not mastered) but I am positive no one taught me how to separate eggs. Additionally, I know I have never actually beaten egg whites before (I would have remembered how tired my arms got). Where did I learn this? Maybe by some sort of osmosis? Who knows, but it is something to remind myself of when the laundry is piling up and I can’t find my car keys – at least I can make a recipe with egg whites!
In case you don’t know how to separate eggs here is a quick lesson:
Step 1: Carefully crack the egg in the middle so you have two roughly even sides (make sure you do this over a bowl)
Step 2: Using the egg shells as two little holders, tip the egg yolk back and forth between the two sides. The egg white will drop out into the bowl (that you have hopefully put under the eggs)
Step 3: Put the yolks in another bowl. If the yolk breaks and some gets into the egg white you will have to start over. (I do remember learning that from a cooking show, the yolk effects the ability of the egg whites to “peak.”)
Step 4: If you have a mixer you can put the egg whites into that and mix that way. However, if you don’t, just get a whisk and beat the whites. The egg whites will get frothy and then start getting thicker, sort of like when you whip cream. This is a labor intensive task but you will eventually be rewarded with whipped egg whites (and potentially some really yummy Belgian waffles)
Some people just use their hands/fingers to separate eggs but I find that I end up making a big mess that way. I am sure there is some doodad that supposedly separates eggs easily as well but this way is really gets the job done quickly and easily.