Saturday, February 23, 2013

Enjoy Your Eggs

Folks in New England Prefer Brown Eggs

For years, talking about egg dishes you enjoyed was tantamount to saying, "I want to die young from a heart attack." Eggs were maligned, because they tend to be high in cholesterol and people thought that they raised your heart attack risk. Then a funny thing happened; research showed that people who ate moderate amounts of eggs actually had had no more heart attacks than other folks. The egg was exonerated, and now I can announce to the world that I eat them regularly. They have many virtues: they are inexpensive, versatile, last for weeks in the refrigerator, and are a good source of protein and other nutrients.

True, some eggs transmit salmonella, but I always buy Country Hen eggs, which advertise that they have never had salmonella on their farms. (The rise in salmonella, I believe, is due to the miserable conditions in which some chickens are raised.) So I never worry about my eggs poisoning me if they are not hard cooked.

In general, I'm not a huge fan of eggs for breakfast, or at least not breakfast as soon as I get up. However, I love eggs for lunch and dinner. I often make a quick omelet if I have small odds and ends of meat, cheese, or vegetables. A quarter of an onion, a single mushroom, and a few tablespoons of spinach might look pitiful to you, but to me they are the perfect filling for a 2-egg omelet. If I had a bit more of one or more of these foods, I might make a quiche or a souffle.

A souffle is really just glorified scrambled eggs with added air; they are simple to make if you follow two rules. First rule: fold in the beaten eggs whites in thirds. Fold the first third in thoroughly; fold the second third in less thoroughly; fold the third third in very quickly and lightly. Second rule: make sure oven is preheated before folding in the egg whites, and serve the souffle immediately after removing it from the oven.

In summer, I usually hard boil a few eggs at a time. Two or three become egg salad, and one gets chopped up into spinach salad. My egg salad is very simple. I chop the eggs fine; I add a tiny bit of grated onion; a stalk of crisp celery chopped fine; a heaping TBSP of Hellmann's mayonnaise; and salt and pepper. It's great on sandwiches, crackers, or stuffed inside tomatoes.

To learn how to hard boil eggs successfully, or cook them in any of the ways mentioned, visit Eggs 101 How To. Their instructions are clear, simple, and accurate.

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