In perhaps my most persnickety tip yet, did you know that when a recipe calls for a drop, pinch or dash of an ingredient, this can be translated into an actual measurement? 60 drops yields one teaspoon, 1 dash is equal to 1/16 of a teaspoon and 1 pinch is 1/8 of a teaspoon. Now, try to get your head around the fact that someone, somewhere actually took the time to measure these things out.
After years of struggling to perfectly poach an egg, I discovered I could get much of what I liked about them from soft-boiled eggs, with a zero percent failure rate to boot. My technique is just like that of my hard-boiled eggs, except I drop the boiling time down to 6 minutes. This assures a solid white and soft yolk, and the pinnacle of deliciousness spread over buttered toast and topped with a pinch of salt.
There are about as many techniques for hard-boiling eggs as there are eggs out there, but I use the method my mother showed me: submerge a large egg in enough cold water to cover it and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it begins to boil, set the timer for 10 minutes. Plunge the egg into cold water to get it to stop cooking; plus, cold eggs are much easier to peel.
I hope you’re sitting down for this. Depending on how you measure a cup of flour, you might end up with as little as 4 ounces and as much as 7 ounces in it, a terrifying thought when using a recipe that demands accuracy. The generally accepted measuring method–and the one you should use for the funny reason that it is the one that the person who wrote your recipe used–is to lightly fluff a canister of flour with a spoon, then scoop the flour into your cup until it is over the top and level it with something flat, trying your very best not to compress it in any way. The most accurate way to measure flour, however, is to weigh it, so if you have a recipe that includes a weight, consider it a plus.