The Amazing Egg
My sister is blessed to live in a neighborhood with a “chicken infestation.” She takes regular walk and knows where some of the hens lay their eggs. She’ll gather eggs while on her walk and will float them when she returns home to determine which eggs are fresh. These eggs are different than the ones typically found in the grocery stores in that the shells are much thicker; the yolks are almost fluorescent orange (vs. yellow), the color of the shells vary and the flavor is fantastic and rich.
The humble egg is incontrovertibly one of nature’s most incredible edible foods. Its versatility and variety of cooking uses makes it a favorite food by itself or as an ingredient in producing countless dishes. Eggs are a nearly prefect food all by themselves. Eggs are a good source of protein and Vitamins D, B2, A, selenium and iodine, and are an important and essential ingredient in so many food items and dishes consume every day. Whether making cakes, pastries, salad dressings, ice cream, sauces, mayonnaise — all use eggs in their composition. Of course, eggs alone can also be cooked in just about any method you care to think about, from frying to steaming to boiling to poaching.
Odds are you have some eggs in the fridge right now. Eggs are so fundament to almost every cuisine that I devote an entire class to the humble egg in my Kids’ Culinary Boot Camp series. Whether the traditional deviled egg appetizer, or egg salad sandwich for lunch, the lowly egg provides great opportunities for creativity.
Stewed Berries on Crispy Meringues
6 egg whites, from Extra-large eggs
1/4 teaspoon(s) cream of tartar
½ to 1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
1/2 pint blueberry, fresh
1 1/2 pinches raspberries, fresh
1/2 pint strawberries, fresh
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons brandy, framboise (raspberry brandy) OPTIONAL
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small glass and a pencil, draw 8 (3 1/2-inch) circles on each piece of paper. Turn the paper face-down on the baking sheets.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a large pinch of salt on medium speed until frothy. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar and raise the speed to high until the egg whites form very stiff peaks. Whisk in the vanilla. Carefully fold the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar into the meringue.
- With a large star–shaped pastry tip, pipe a disc of meringue inside each circle. Pipe another layer around the edge to form the sides of the shells.
- Bake for 2 hours, or until the meringues are dry and crisp. Turn off the heat and allow the meringues to sit in the oven for 4 hours or overnight.
- Combine the blueberries, one-half pint of raspberries, water, sugar and zest in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the
- heat and cook uncovered over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. The juice will become a syrup
- and the berries will be slightly cooked. Off the heat, stir in the remaining raspberries and strawberries and the framboise.
- Set aside to cool.
- In a chilled bowl, whip the cream until soft peak form. (A hand or stand mixer works best, but a balloon whisk will work as well but requires more time.)
- Add the sugar and vanilla extract and whip until firm peaks form.
- Spread some of the sauce from the stewed berries on each plate. Place a meringue on top and fill with whipped cream.
- Top with berries and serve.
Egg Salad with Attitude
12 large eggs, hardboiled, cooled, peeled and diced
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced shallot
1 ½ tablespoons stone-ground mustard
2 or 3 yellow chilies
1/3 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste.
- Pierce the chili peppers with a knife and microwave for 60 seconds to steam them in the skin. Remove and allow to cool.
- Once cooled, remove the stem from the chilies and mince.
- In a bowl add all the ingredients and gently fold together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Chill for 1 hour.
Serve in lettuce cups with sliced tomato or in sandwich form. Either way it’s wonderful.
For more, visit www.thymeforachef.com