Monday, February 24, 2014

Cooking by the Egg Moon

 The days are becoming longer, though the cold is lingering on.  A brisk day to X-country ski today, with temps around 21° plus wind chill, and yet we are moving into the time of year some cultures refer to as the Egg Moon.  As the days grow longer hens naturally begin to produce more eggs unlike factory farms. These factory farms (sometimes referred to as fecal-factory farms) trick the hens by using artificial light year-round. To stimulate even more production, antibiotics are used.  A dangerous contribution to antibiotic resistance in humans.
     The healthy, farm-raised, free-ranged chickens produce eggs that are one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can find.  Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are almost in balance in a free range egg. Nutrition is only one of many reasons I choose farm eggs over factory-farm eggs. Knowing the farmer is also very important. I have been to these farms and have seen their chickens, cattle and gardens.  Why would anyone trust a supermarket over a farmer's market boggles my mind.  I am keeping my dollars local and casting a vote for small sustainable farms.  We have three wonderful farmers markets in the area so after all these years you would expect to see nearly everyone utilize them. Funny how folks would rather trust plastic shrink-wrapped and mass produced packages over actually knowing who made their loaf of bread, raised that flank steak or grew that sweet carrot??
     I once read somewhere that it is illegal to sell a washed egg in France. Yes, apparently eggs have a natural bacterial film that keeps them fresher longer. Americans, we always want things sterile, clean, sanitized, but in doing so, often undue the benefits designed by nature herself.
      Sure I pay more for my farm eggs but it still comes out to less than .21 per nutrient dense, perfect food Egg!  Note how much you are willing to pay for breakfast at a restaurant?  Priorities, people. 
  Besides the many uses for eggs in cooking, baking, and beverages, I bring hard-boiled eggs for my kids to munch on before and after grueling Mountain Bike Races. Protein rich, nutrient packed eggs the are an excellent recovery snack. Better than any junk food or manufactured processed power bar. They keep well and travel easy.  
     So this post is dedicated to the wonderful folks who raise the chickens that produce those fabulous eggs at farmers markets everywhere.

Here are my recipe picks for the Egg Moon time of year:

 I am going to go backwards today. A tasty beverage first! When I arrived home from X-country skiing on this brisk Michigan U.P. day, I needed a warm post-ski drink before I settled down to work on my laptop.

Amaretto-Eggnog Latte
1 egg
4 oz. heavy cream
4 oz. whole milk
1/8 c. brown sugar

1 oz. amaretto
8 oz strong hot coffee

Put first (4) ingredients into a frother and follow the directions to make a Syllabub in my 18th Century post.
Remove the whip and heat just the eggnog in the stainless pot until hot but do NOT boil.  Remove from heat and add the amaretto, coffee and a few grates of nutmeg, replace whip and froth for around 1 min.  Pour into two mugs, mircroplane some nutmeg over the top and enjoy!!

Quiche Lorraine
8 oz. of good natural cured Bacon, diced
1 pastry shell, partially baked (see pie crust recipe)
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 tea sea salt
1/2 tea fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tea. freshly grated nutmeg
1 c. grated Swiss cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°

In a bowl, beat the eggs, whisk in the cream, milk salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour into the pie shell and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean (about 1 hour).  Allow to cool about 30 min before serving.  

Serve Quiche Lorraine with classic scalloped potatoes and spring greens

Classic Parmesan-Cheddar Souffle

2 Tbs. fine grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. flour
1 C. whole milk
 2 oz. grated Cheddar cheese
2 oz. grated Parmesan
4 egg yolks
6 egg whites at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 400° F.Prepare a souffle dish or deep baking dish by rubbing the insides with butter and the sprinkle 2 1/2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese in, roll it around to coat the dish evenly.Make a collar from parchment paper to fit around the dish, as souffles often need support  as they bake. Tie the parchment collar around the dish with food-safe, cotton butcher string.  

   Next, melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook until flour turns a pale tan color.  Stir in the milk gradually and cook until sauce is thick. Stir frequently to avoid lumps. Add cheeses and season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Stir in the egg yolks and set the sauce aside to keep warm. 

  Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  Remove saucepan from heat and stir a fourth of the egg whites into the sauce with a spatula.  Fold in the remaining whites very gently into the sauce and immediately pour into the prepared souffle dish.  Place in the upper half of the oven.
Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake until the souffle is puffy and lightly browned, a knife inserted into the center should come out moist but clean. 25 - 30 minutes. Serve immediately. 

Wonderful light dinner served with mixed baby greens and a light Chardonnay. 

These are a few of my favorite recipes for quick, healthy, inexpensive meals using the versatile egg.  Hope you will try them, they are easier than they look. 

Happy cooking and remain well, 


Here is some wonderful information about eggs:

No comments:

Post a Comment