Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Egg it up.
I really enjoy eggs. I always have, but I went a good long while without eating them. I'm glad I got over that. Eggs have been a very controversial topic over the years, but it seems it has settled down. Most nutritionists say one egg per day will not elevate cholesterol- if you don't follow it with loads of other high cholesterol foods and if high cholesterol isn't a problem for you. An egg has 270mg of cholesterol and we're supposed to keep it under 300mg per day.
When you just use the whites- which I do about half of the time- you get plenty of protein, but not much else. When you include the yolk, yes, you get cholesterol and fat, but you also get a ton (around 25% or more of your daily value) of Vitamin B6 and B12, folate, Riboflavin, Vitamins A and D, Selenium, and Phosphorus and quite a few others...
For more go here.
I've done my research on the purchasing of eggs and feel it more than necessary to be very picky. This also tends to mean I buy the most expensive- it's more than worth it. Not only do they taste a million times better, but it is much, much more humane. I won't go into detail about why battery cages (you know, where they are all cramped and can't move) are so horrible, I enjoy writing my blog and thinking of the research I've done and what I've learned brings tears to my eyes and I'm not even actually typing it. Spend a second looking it up- The Human Society has good information. Parts of Europe have already banned battery caging. Hopefully we will follow suit.
Cage Free isn't always cruelty free either, but it's a better bet. They can at least lay their eggs in nests and spread their wings. Know your company. I've found Organic Valley to have a very good reputation from my research. I also prefer the chickens be fed an organic vegetarian diet and I get all of that with Organic Valley. I'd eventually just like to find a farmer I can buy from directly.
So, that said, here are some ways I prepare eggs... I'm not going to go into technique, because honestly, it's just practice and every one likes their eggs a little differently anyway. Eggs are super fun to cook- I was surprised when I heard Bobby Flay say eggs were his favorite food to cook because I really just thought it was me being sort of... I don't know- fascinated with everything? :)
The top picture is a fried egg. I love fried eggs. Sometimes I just smash one up with a fork and put it on toast. But, I really love to put fried eggs over food. Here I put it on top a garden burger on Ezekiel bread. Romaine and Duke's brought it all together. Putting fried eggs over leftovers for breakfast is awesome. My favorite is any type of tomatoey pasta warmed up in the skillet so it gets a bit of crust... and then a fried egg on top... omg, tomato eggy pasta heaven. Try it on something you have leftover in the fridge right now- I promise, it will rock... I've never been let down and I have tried it on a lot of different foods.
Next is an omelet. Most of the time when I make omelets or scrambles, I use like 2 whole eggs to 1 egg white. For this particular omelet, I'd sauteed jalapenos, tomatoes, and onions. I'd also crisped up some Tofurky Italian Deli slices. My daddy taught me everything I know about making omelets. And rule #1 is that you ALWAYS cook everything you put in an omelet first. He was very persistent about this rule and after having a few in restaurants where they do not follow this procedure, I more than agree on its importance. For the cheese, I used a pepper jack. They were spicy and perfect for a morning following a few margaritas.
I will also say this about omelets. Beat the hell out of the eggs with a splash of cream or milk. You have to get some air into it and you have to have the whites and yolks come together for a nice even light yellow color. Watch some You Tube videos on the details if you are not comfortable with making omelets- they aren't hard, it's just practice and a good pan.
Up next was a soft scramble. I follow the same prep as mentioned about omelets- the cream and the whisking is also important here. I put smoked salmon and cream cheese in this scramble and topped it with fresh scallions and lots of smoked paprika. Killer.
The last picture is a rougher scramble. I used a smaller whole egg to egg white ratio b/c I was only cooking for myself, so it was one to one. I'd sauteed a bunch of veggies, reserving most for other uses, but leaving some in the pan for my current breakfast situation. I added in the egg and let it sit much longer than I would for a soft scramble. Once the egg browned a bit- I just like this consistency sometimes- I broke it all up and let it finish cooking. I ate rye toast slathered with Earth Balance alongside and it was heavenly.
Eggs are just such a great food companion. There is so much you can do with eggs. So many ways to prepare them. You can put anything in a scramble, omelet, or fritatta. You can put a fried egg on whatever you'd like or just eat it alone. Hard boiled and soft boiled just make salads more dynamic and interesting- no matter what other ingredients are along for the ride. Eggs are often called the perfect food because of their vitamin and mineral makeup and because they have all 9 amino acids, but I'm not sure that's the only reason.