By Sherrie Norris
May is National Egg Month, a celebration of the incredible, edible little oval food staple without which few cooks could make it through the day.
According to the American Egg Board, which is the US egg producer’s link to the consumer in communicating the value of the egg, it really is good for us, despite the contrary cholesterol-related data we’ve heard and read about in recent years. Studies now indicate that it’s really OK to eat eggs, without the worry of negative side effects. Those of us aiming for the low-carb, high protein way of life love this tidbit of information.
Also, the AEB tells us, eggs age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the fridge, and that white-shelled eggs are produced by hens with white feathers and earlobes, while brown shelled eggs come from hens with red feathers and red ear lobes.
Referred to by some old-timers as “hen fruit,” the egg is one of the most utilized kitchen staples, Currently, according to the egg board, each of the roughly 280 million laying birds in the U.S. produces from 250 to 300 eggs a year. In total, the U.S. produces about 75 billion eggs a year, about 10 percent of the world supply.
Each year, about 60 percent of the eggs produced are used by consumers, about 9 percent are used by the foodservice industry and the rest are turned into egg products which are used mostly by foodservice operators to make the meals we eat in restaurants and by food manufacturers to make foods like mayonnaise and cake mixes.
Using highly sophisticated technology, egg producers have kept prices low. While other food costs have skyrocketed, eggs continue to be one of nature’s best bargains among high-quality protein foods
We are also told that it takes a hen 24-26 hours to “lay” an egg, from start to finish — and 30 minutes later, she starts all over again!
Without the egg, we would never know the joys of omelets, soufflés or quiche, and it’s one of those things, so versatile in nature that it can be fried, scrambled, poached, baked, boiled and consumed in many different ways. Hope you enjoy a few of our ideas.
Quick and Easy Skillet Meal
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped sweet green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup skim milk
1 tsp. celery salt
½ tsp. Italian seasoning
¼ tsp. black pepper
3 oz. Neufchatel cheese, cubed
1 medium tomato, chopped
¼ cup cooked, crumbled bacon
Evenly coat 12-inch non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Over medium heat, cook onion, pepper, and garlic until tender. In medium bowl, beat together eggs, milk and seasonings; pour over vegetables. Sprinkle with cheese, tomato and bacon. Gently push pancake turner completely across bottom and sides of skillet, forming large soft curds. Cook until eggs are thickened throughout and no visible liquid egg remains. Serve immediately.
Baked Eggs and Ham
¼ lb. country ham, sliced, or 8 slices Canadian Bacon
½ lb. Swiss cheese, sliced
1 cup cream
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Pre-heat oven to 450; Line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with either the ham or bacon.
Top with a layer or Swiss cheese. Break eggs onto cheese, being careful not to break the yolks. Drizzle cream over egg white until the yolk peaks through. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake for 10 minutes more. Cut into squares to serve.
Spinach and Cheese Casserole
1½ cup Bisquick
½ cup milk
1 small onion, chopped
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups cottage cheese
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 cup cooked spinach, drained well and patted dry
¼ cup shredded Cheddar cheese for topping
In a large bowl, combine Bisquick, milk and two of the eggs. Add onion; spread mixture in bottom of greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. In a bowl, mix together the cheese, cottage cheese, garlic, spinach and remaining 3 eggs. Carefully spoon over first layer. Cover and refrigerate over night. Next day, preheat oven to 350; bake for 30 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and let stand for several minutes before cutting. Sprinkle each serving with 1 Tbsp. cheddar cheese.
Makes about 12 servings.
- To add a shiny glaze to the surface of pastries and breads, brush with an “egg wash” before baking: beat one egg with a Tbs. of water until just combined, lightly brush pastry or dough just before baking. For a golden color, substitute an egg yolk for the whole egg.
- When poaching eggs, add white vinegar to the poaching water (1 Tbsp. vinegar for each 2 cups water.) This helps the egg whites to coagulate, resulting in a more compact shape.
- Eggs separate more easily when cold. To separate an egg from the yolk, gently tap the egg against a hard surface, such as the kitchen counter or side of a bowl. Gently break the egg in half over a bowl, holding a shell half in each hand. Gently transfer the yolk back and forth between the two shell halves, allowing the white to drip into the bowl. Place the yolk in another bowl.