Organic. Cage Free. Hormone Free. Brown. Vegetarian. Local, or Jumbo. These are just a few of the things we must look for when buying eggs today. To me, it is an accounting of sins confessed. The list of "don't haves," is a clear definition of all the horribleness wrought upon eggs and chickens since commercialism began. I believe if people knew what our poor little cluckers have had to endure, we'd all go out and buy a little yellow chick, and give it a Maserati as penance.
The fact that we have been so disconnected from our food is shameful. Plopped unceremoniously into a cold bowl we whisk, boil, poach, scramble and separate our eggs without a deep understanding about their role as a core magical ingredient in the kitchen. They are the reason food is so versatile; why puddings are so lush, why Bearnaise is so velvety, why cookies hold together, and why the name Benedict is recognized as more of a meal than a traitor.
When I was young I was lucky enough to know what it meant to go the hen house with my great grandfather, and actually gather fresh eggs for breakfast. It is a whole different feeling than standing before those shiny refrigerated shelves in the supermarket and grabbing a Styrofoam container printed with as many disclaimers as titles. You know what? Eggs come out misshapen naturally, or even multi-colored at times, and they're all different sizes; even from the same mommy. And when you break them open? The yolks are almost a dark orange, floating happily in the viscous clear liquid like pearls in the window of Tiffany's.
I'm getting so excited now so, in honor of The Incredible Edible Egg™ (yes, the name is trademarked!) this blog post is dedicated to two beautiful dishes. One, a delicious and easy Quiche Lorraine to begin the day. The other, a lofty, sweet and gorgeous Lemon Souffle that is perfect for the end of the day.
What is it about a quiche that is so romantic and elusive? Perhaps it is the way it rises into perfection in the oven in a nest of flaky crust. Or that you can add pretty much anything and everything to it so it reflects only your tastes. It can be filled with a half pound of bacon floating upon its yellow surface, or barely disturbed with only a bit of cheese and herbs. Either way it makes breakfast into a holiday. Check out the recipe below:
RECIPE: Bacon, Onion and Rosemary Quiche
Serves 4 - Click here for a printable version
6 extra large eggs
7-8 slices of thick cut bacon (I used Black Forest Ham flavored uncured bacon from Trader Joe’s)
1 nine inch flaky pie crust (either store bought or homemade.)
1/3 C finely chopped yellow onion
1 ½ t of fresh chopped rosemary
1 ½ t kosher salt
½ t pepper
1 5 oz tub plain, low fat Greek yogurt
1 C 2% milk
Butter for greasing pie plate if not using a ready-made raw crust
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Cook the bacon in a pan until almost crisp. Remove and blot the extra grease. Cut into large chunks and set aside. Now cook the onion in the bacon grease until very soft. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
To prepare the crust, butter the inside and sides of a 9’ pie plate. Mix and then roll out the pie crust as directed on package and place in plate, fit inside the dish so it touches the bottom surface, then create pretty edges if desired. (I actually pull the top edge of the crust off mine, after it is cooked when I serve it, but I like having crust on the bottom.) Now sprinkle the cooked bacon and cooked onion on the bottom of the pie crust, distributing evenly.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt, milk, salt, pepper and rosemary. Whisk very, very well. Pour the egg mixture into the prepared crust, and cook in the oven for 45-50 minutes (I ended up cooking mine for 52 minutes,) until the gloss is gone on the center and it all has an even looking texture on the top. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes. Cut into crescents and serve!
Now, for dessert! You know you want it. While baking, a souffle almost defies gravity for a few fairy tale moments before settling back into the ramekin and begging for sugar and toppings. But those moments in the middle -- between breaking and separating the eggs, and then when you see it rise in the oven -- make you feel like a wizard.
This version is for dessert and requires a bit of pudding-making-prowess at the onset along with a good stand mixer which is key to take those egg whites into the stratosphere. But it's worth it and doesn't take long to create. It is inspired by a recipe from PopSugar, which is adapted from Martha Stewart Living, and in addition to that respected pedigree, it is just so good.
There are certain protocols to a souffle. Like making sure you dust the greased ramekins with something that helps the egg slide up the sides without resistance. Sugar for sweet souffles, and usually cheese for savory ones. Then, you want to sort of level off the batter and make sure there isn't any curving over the sides of the ramekin, to insure success. And folding in the egg whites is actually kind of fun. I find that speaking softly and respectfully to the eggs while I roll them into the other egg mixture makes them want to do right by me.
Get all the little rules in your head and simply practice a couple of times, and then you can become a souffle-making machine!! -- Good luck with your next egg-cellent adventure!
RECIPE: Lemon Soufflés With Raspberry Coulis
Serves 6 - Click here for printable version.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the ramekins
1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided, plus more for prepping the ramekins
4 large egg yolks, plus 5 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus 1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup whole milk
Powdered sugar, for garnish
Raspberry coulis, optional
Brush the bottom and sides of 6 6-ounce ramekins with melted butter. Coat the insides of the ramekin with granulated sugar by adding a bit of sugar to a ramekin and then tilting the ramekin so that sugar falls on all of the buttered surface. Tap out any excess sugar into the next ramekin, firmly rapping against the bottom of the ramekin to remove any excess. Repeat with all the ramekins.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, flour, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon sugar, and salt until smooth.
Heat the milk until just steaming in a small saucepan. Gradually drizzle it into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the custard mixture to the pan, and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it has thickened to a loose pudding texture. Strain the custard base through a fine-mesh strainer into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon melted butter and lemon juice. Chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Whip the egg whites until frothy. Gradually add the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, with the mixer motor running. Whip the egg whites at high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form.
Mix about 1/4 of the egg whites into the custard base. This helps lighten the custard base, allowing for the remainder of the delicate egg whites to be folded in with minimal deflation. Add the remaining egg whites in three additions, folding them in gently until only slightly streaky before each addition. Fold until no streaks of white remain on the final addition.
Gently spoon the soufflé batter into the ramekins, dividing it equally among the ramekins. Gently smooth the soufflé batter with an offset spatula, wipe the rims of the ramekins clean, and cook on a half-sheet pan for 14 to 17 minutes or until puffed and light-golden brown.
Dust the soufflés with powdered sugar, and serve immediately with raspberry coulis, if using.
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style is one of combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.