Sunday, June 3, 2012

Happy Egg Day!

June 3rd is National Egg Day! Eggs are one of the most versatile foods in the world. They are involved in almost every culture's cooking, and best of all, they are super tasty! However, like any food, there are pros and cons depending on your diet:

The Pros: Eggs are a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B12 and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Protein and Selenium.
The Cons: Eggs are high in Saturated Fat, and very high in Cholesterol.

The good news is, by eating egg whites (removing the yolk) you can keep the health benefits, and get rid of a major amount of the bad stuff. But unless you are eating a dozen eggs a week, or are on a very strict diet for your health, I don't find it to be much of a problem.

So now, in honor of National Egg Day, I am going to share with you my top 5 favorite ways to prepare eggs!

5. Hard Boiled
Hard boiled eggs have been one of my favorite food for as far back as I can remember. I was that weird kid who collected the hard boiled eggs in the Easter egg hunt so i could eat those. I still picked up chocolate, but I had a lot more real eggs in my basket then plastic ones. Anyways, here is my fool proof way for cooking a hard boiled egg. Take your desired amount of eggs, and put them in the bottom of a sauce pan. Cover the eggs with water until there is at least an inch of water on top of the eggs. Place the pan on the stove, uncovered, and bring to a boil. When the eggs are at a boil, remove from heat, and immediately cover. Let the eggs sit in the water for about 12 minutes. Make sure you rinse the eggs in cold water before you crack them, to avoid burning your fingers. I found that this is the best method because sometimes when I am letting things sit, I forget that they are there. If you use a method of leaving the eggs on a low burner, you're more likely to overcook them, whereas I have left the eggs in a pan for up to 20 minutes before, and they were still not overcooked.

4. Deviled Eggs
I know this is a style of hard boiled eggs, but really, they have their own flavor, and many many ways of mixing them, so I decided they deserved their own category. You are going to start by preparing some hard boiled eggs. Remember that how ever many eggs you prepare, there will be twice as many deviled eggs in the end. Once all your eggs have been peeled, you want to cut your eggs in half the long way (like a hot dog, not a hamburger!) and remove the yolk. Put all the yolks in a mixing bowl and place all the egg whites on the plate you will use for serving. Be careful not to tear your egg whites as we will be adding the filling into them later. In your bowl of egg yolks, you are going to add about a tablespoon of mayo for each egg you boiled. I find that this is a good start for my mayo, especially if I am going to add something like pickles to my mixture, as I do not want it to get too runny. Season your mixture with salt and pepper, and at this point you can add or not add whatever you would like to the mixture. I like to chop up a dill pickle (or two, depending on the day) and mix that in. I also mix in some chopped dill at this point. Once your filling is to your taste, you want to put it into a disposable pastry bag. If you don't have one, you can always use a freezer bag. Cut the tip off of your pastry bag, and gently squeeze the filling into the empty eggs. You can serve as is, or you can do what I do, and sprinkle them with a little paprika.

3. Fried Eggs
Fried eggs are one of the easiest things in the world to cook, and make a great meal. I have found over the years that there are 2 key elements to making the perfect fried egg. The first is your pan. I have a pan that is non stick, and I use nothing but soft utensils in it to make sure the surface is completely smooth. The second thing you need is good lubrication for your pan. I find olive oil or unsalted butter are the absolute best for this. So now that you have your tools, preheat your pan on a medium heat, and add your lubrication to the pan. Crack your egg directly into the pan, and cook until the whites are white. If you are concerned with bacteria, you can cook your yolk till it's solid, but I enjoy a little more runny yolks, so I never keep my egg in the pan long. When your yolk starts to get a darker orange, that's when it's cooking through. Serve alone, with corned beef hash, with toast, or on a toasted waffle. There are so many ways to eat a hard boiled egg! You can't go wrong!

2. Scrambled Eggs
Scrambled eggs are usually the first thing we learn how to cook on the stove. Kids love them because you can cover them with cheese, and adults love them because they are quick, easy, and taste really good. Here's my favorite way to prepare scrambled eggs. In a small bowl, crack two eggs and mix with a fork. add about a tablespoon of cream or milk, and mix well with the fork. preheat your pan, and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan with a super thin layer. Pour in your egg mixture, and immediately add any kind of flavorings/cheeses you would like. I find it's best to add the salt now, because adding salt to the raw eggs too early will change the consistency of the eggs. with a spatchula, continuously scrape the cooked eggs from the bottom of the pan, and mix it with the uncooked eggs. When eggs are fully cooked, serve on a plate, and enjoy! You want to eat the eggs ASAP as scrambled eggs are best when warm.

1. Omelets
Omelets are wonderful because there is an endless amount of things you can add into them. I love having leftovers from holidays because I always get up before the family the next morning and making omelets from the leftovers. It's become a tradition at the family holidays. I start off by mixing my eggs the same way I did with the scrambled eggs, and heating the pan in the same way. I pour the egg mix into the pan and tilt the pan so that the entire bottom of the pan is evenly coated in egg. Let the egg cook enough that you can gently slide your spatchula under the eggs, and the layer doesn't tear. take your filling, and line it down the middle of the eggs. Then, carefully, flip the edges of the eggs over the filling to wrap your omelet. This can take some practice, but one you get it, it's super easy! Serve warm and enjoy!

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