Eat Local! Eggs
March 31, 2016
Eggs – arguably, the perfect food. Rich in protein and heart-healthy fats, eggs are a gold-mine of nutrients. But, you must eat the entire egg to benefit. For too long, America has throw away the yolk because of cholesterol fears. Yes, eggs are rich in cholesterol, but since 1958, we have known that dietary cholesterol does not raise cholesterol in your body. In fact, eating the cholesterol-rich part of the egg (the yoke), provides you with fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, and choline – an amino acid that actually helps our body use cholesterol and improve cognition.
Store-bought eggs should be stored in the refrigerator but farm-fresh eggs can sit out for up to 4 weeks as long as you haven’t washed them. By washing farm-fresh eggs, you destroy the “bloom”, the antibacterial coating that natural occurs on the egg. It’s best to simply dry brush them until you are ready to use.
Purchasing eggs. Of course it is always best to acquire eggs from your local farm or neighbor – there are many folks who raise chickens here in town! If you don’t have an “egg-person”, then purchasing eggs that are labeled “pastured” is the next best thing. “Pastured” is not a regulated term by the USDA (yet) but, it implies that the chickens have been raised on pasture – eating grass, bugs, seeds – a healthy chicken diet! They are allowed to move around freely, get exercise, sunshine and be happy chickens. This is precisely why they are also more nutritious.
In a study in 2007 by Mother Earth News, they did a study that compared confined birds versus “free range” (although that term was slightly less manipulated than now) and found that the eggs from the “free range” birds had 4 times the amount of vitamin E, less saturated fat and cholesterol, twice as much vitamin A, 8x as much beta-carotene and 3 times the amount of omega-3 fatty acids. If you can’t get local, pastured eggs then always purchase organic if you can so that you know the chickens have been raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics. “Cage-free” does not bear much weight these days. Large chicken farmers have adopted their practices to the term and although the chickens are not in cages stacked on top of each other, they are still jam-packed in barns with no room to nest, move or access the outside.
1 cup grated cheese, preferably a combination of Swiss and Parmesan or a sharp cheddar or a French blue
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
Pinch of nutmeg
Dash of cayenne pepper
Prepare an 8 cup soufflé dish: grease and build a “collar” to support the rising eggs from falling over the sides with parchment paper and butcher’s string. Preheat oven to 400F.
Preparing the yolks: In a medium to large ceramic Dutch oven or saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour. Whisk in the milk gradually. Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg yolks one at a time. Stir in the cheese, mustard, nutmeg and pepper.
Preparing the whites: Beat the whites with a pinch of salt until foamy, then add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and beat until stiff. Fold with a rubber spatula 1 cup egg whites into the yolk mixture. Then, gently fold that mixture from the saucepan into the egg whites.
Pile carefully into the prepared soufflé dish. Draw a circle through the batter with a rubber spatula about 1” from the wall of the soufflé dish. Place in center of oven and reduce heat to 375F and bake for 25 minutes.
After baking, remove collar, present your masterpiece and serve immediately. The soufflé will start to deflate after about 4-5 minutes out of the oven.
Spread soufflé apart with 2 spoons to allow steam to escape and serve.
Hard boiled eggs, cooled and peeled
Distilled or tap water
Garlic cloves, peeled (about 5 cloves per dozen eggs)
Fresh or dried dill weed
Half gallon mason jars
Place 2-3 cloves of garlic and a few sprigs of dill at the bottom of your mason jar(s).
Pack eggs into jar, adding more dill and garlic in layers.
In a pitcher or pyrex measuring bowl, mix 1 tsp kosher salt into 2 cups water.
Pour salt brine into your jar. Repeat these last two steps until the brine covers the eggs. Make sure to leave about 1 inch of head space at the top of the jar to allow for gasses to be released. Put the seal on top of the jar and screw lid on securely but not too tight.
Set the jar(s) in a cool, dark place for about 3 days. Check after 3 days for signs of bubbling. Ferment to taste.
Recipes provided by Paulette Minatre, March’s Seasonal Kitchen Cooking Series instructor.
Article by Darci Barman, MSN, RDN, LD, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist practicing “foods-first”, functional nutrition at Thyme for You Nutrition in Spokane Valley, WA. For more information, see www.thymeforyounutrition.com