Archive for the ‘Eggs’ Category

Natural Dyed Farm-Fresh Eggs

April 05, 2012

When I first started getting eggs from my own backyard chickens, I didn’t feel the need to decorate them come spring and Easter time. In fact, I was proud that I had my own naturally decorated eggs, the delicate blue, green and suntanned-brown eggs looked gorgeous simply placed in a bowl. But after several years of displaying eggs au naturel, I’m having fun exploring the possibilities of using natural dyes to color eggs. I am thrilled by the depth, colors and designs I can get from dyeing and decorating my backyard flock’s colored eggs.

I prefer using all natural dyes when decorating my homestead eggs, as the results are spectacular and occasionally unpredictable making it lots of fun. Follow the chart below to create your own dyes from common ingredients. White, brown or colored eggs can be dyed. White eggs produce the most intense colors while brown eggs produce a deeper and richly earthy version of each color. Light brown eggs will yield a stronger color than darker brown eggs. I’ve found that holding brown eggs overnight in dye in the refrigerator produces a deep brilliant color.

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Backyard Egg Salad Sandwiches

February 15, 2010


Glorious Cleo the Egg Layer

I’ve never felt the need to Twitter any chicken news, until today. What could be so important that it had to be instantly shared across the world? Well, today I witnessed something that I wanted to immediately tell everyone I knew: Today I watched Cleo lay an egg!

This afternoon when I went into the coop to collect the eggs, there was Cleo sitting in the nest cooing and making all sorts of soft maternal sounds. She didn’t seem bothered by my presence, so I settled down in the coop and proceeded to wait and watch. It can take a chicken 20 to 30 minutes to lay an egg, so I had no idea how long I’d have to wait. In the meantime, I patiently sat there wishing I’d brought the camera.

She cooed and wiggled her butt, used her head to throw nesting material around and a few times repositioned herself to get the perfect position, all the while keeping up a low gentle murmur. Finally, when my legs were starting to cramp and I wondered if I should leave her to it, she raised her legs and rear keeping her head low, and in an instant out popped an egg. The egg was shiny and wet with the bloom that dries quickly but keeps bacteria from entering the shell. She instantly went to work moving the egg with her beak into the corner of the nest, presumably to protect it and keep it safe.

At that moment, as I watched her gently and carefully move that unfertilized egg that would never hatch into anything, I felt an overwhelming sadness that maybe I shouldn’t be snatching her precious eggs and eating them for breakfast. But of course, they will never hatch and tomorrow she will lay another one and such I guess is the life of a chick. However, her gentleness and care was a good reminder to me of the precious gifts my chicks give.


Cleo’s Egg

I do personally thank each of my chicks every day for the eggs they lay, but I especially thanked Cleo today for letting me witness her miracle. I’ll eat that egg with extra blessings and wonder.

Cleo’s eggs are beautiful. They are olive green on the outside, but blue on the inside! The color of an egg will not change the flavor, but it does make it more interesting to peel. Lulu’s eggs are light blue inside and out, while Roxanne’s eggs are brown on the outside and white on the inside.

Sometimes the best way to enjoy backyard eggs is the simplest. Today for lunch we had egg salad sandwiches. Yum….it added a touch of spring to this sunny winter day.

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Scrambled Egg Breakfast Wraps

July 25, 2009

Garden Salsa:
½ small tomato
¼ cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot sauce to taste

Wrap:
1 or 2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tablespoon butter
1 flour tortilla
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream to taste

Combine all the salsa ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl until frothy. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a small nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Pour in the eggs and cook over medium to medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the eggs begin to form large curds but are still very moist. Spoon the eggs down the center of the tortilla.

Sprinkle the eggs with the cheese. Top with the sour cream and a couple of spoonfuls of salsa; roll up.

Serves 1

Toad in the Hole

July 25, 2009

1 tablespoon butter
1 slice bread
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste

Butter both sides of the bread. Cut out a circle in the middle of the bread using a glass. Place the bread, along with the cut out piece, in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Break an egg into the center hole of the bread and season the egg with salt and pepper.

Cook the bread and egg 2 to 3 minutes or until the bread is toasted and the egg is set on the bottom. Very carefully turn the bread with the egg and the cut out piece of bread over, and cook until the bread is lightly toasted.

Serves 1

Do-It-Yourself-Deviled Eggs

July 25, 2009

1 hard-cooked egg*
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 to 2 teaspoons sliced green onions
Your choice of seasonings to taste (use very small amounts to begin with and taste before adding more)
Options: Curry powder, Asian sesame oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, hot sauce, mustard, smoked paprika, chutney, garlic, cheese, lemon or lime, etc.
1 teaspoon chopped fresh herbs (such as cilantro, parsley, dill, tarragon, basil)
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel the egg. Slice the egg in half lengthwise. Gently scoop out the egg yolk and place in a small bowl. Reserve the egg whites. Mash the yolk using a fork until finely crumbled. Stir in the mayonnaise until blended. Stir in the green onions.

Stir in any seasonings to taste, if desired.

Stir in any fresh herbs if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the egg yolk mixture back into the egg whites.

Serves 1

*To hard-cook the egg, place the egg in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. When the water is just starting to boil, turn down the heat until small bubbles form and boil gently for 9 minutes. Immediately place the egg in ice water or very cold water and let sit until cold.

Goat Cheese Stuffed Eggs with Fresh Herbs

April 07, 2009

(photo taken by Stafford Photography)

Goat Cheese Stuffed Eggs with Fresh Herbs

This recipe of mine was first featured in the April/May 2008 issue of Cooking Pleasures magazine. Goat cheese adds creaminess and a slight tang to these deviled eggs.

6 hard-cooked eggs, halved, separated
2 ounces soft goat cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons mayonnaise (I prefer Hellmann’s)
2 teaspoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon, chives, chervil, dill and/or basil
⅛ teaspoon salt
pinch freshly ground pepper

Mash egg yolks in a medium bowl with a pastry blender or a fork until well-crumbled. Add the cheese and continue to mash until blended. Blend in the mayonnaise until smooth. Stir in the shallots, herbs, salt and pepper.

Pipe the yolk mixture into the egg whites using a pastry bag and star tip or spoon the mixture into the whites.

Makes 12 deviled eggs

Spring is Here

March 11, 2009

Even though we’ve just had another snowstorm and the calendar indicates the equinox is over a week away, the girls have declared spring is officially here. They marked the occasion Saturday by each laying an egg! It’s the first time in months we’ve had all three girls laying. Whoopee!

The Perfect Egg

March 04, 2009

The value of eggs is rising like a soufflé.

The pair of cardinals that mate every spring in our yard are back singing love songs. I know this because the lusty singing starts very early in the morning and wakes up the chicks before it’s barely light. By the time I trudge out to the coop the girls already are cackling at top volume telling me the day is half gone.

The girls must also feel spring is on its way because they’ve been nesting. Not sitting over eggs in their nest, but rather creating nests wherever they feel like it. Lulu is developing quite a skill. In spite of having a clean nest box every morning, she has lately decided to play “Find the Egg” with me. She’s laid eggs in the straw at the end of the run where I can’t reach them. She’s laid eggs under the evergreen tree next to the coop and she’s laid eggs in the snow to crate a frozen variation. I almost stepped on one the other night because it was dark and I had no idea it was there.


Nesting Under the Evergreen

Maybe the girls are trying to hide their precious eggs. The latest news shows that the value of eggs is rising like a soufflé. New studies point to evidence that eggs not only lower blood pressure but are good for the heart. Even dieticians are recommending one egg a day as a great way to add protein to your diet at little cost. (On a side note, with the economy sinking, the value of backyard chickens appears to be rising. There was a local theft of five hens this past weekend causing all of us to rethink our coop security.)

When I want to truly savor the fresh taste of these precious eggs I opt for something simple. Lately I’ve been on a quest to find the best soft-cooked eggs. Perfecting the soft-cooked egg is a bit of an art form. The whites should be firm but still very tender. The yolk should be creamy on the outside and soft and runny in the center. Unlike other egg dishes, there is no way to tell if you’ve got it right until you slice off the top and slide your spoon in—then it’s too late to make any changes.

I’ve tested numerous methods by chefs and home cooks alike and have had success with two very different methods. Choose your favorite.


Perfection

Perfect Soft-Cooked Eggs

Tips: Start with cold large eggs.
Choose the smallest saucepan that will fit the number of eggs in one layer.
Use gentle heat, never boil the eggs rapidly.

Method #1: Gentle Simmer
Bring a small saucepan of water to a full boil over high heat.
Gently lower the eggs into the boiling water and immediately turn the heat down to medium-low keeping the eggs at a very soft gentle simmer.
Cook the eggs for 5 1/2 to 6 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary.
Run the eggs under cold water for about 30 seconds to stop the cooking and serve.

Method #2: Off the Heat
Place the eggs in a small saucepan and barely cover with cold water.
Bring the water to a full rapid boil over high heat.
Immediately remove the pan from the heat and let stand, uncovered, 4 minutes.
Run the eggs under cold water for about 30 seconds to stop the cooking and serve.

Brown-Buttered Eggs

January 15, 2009

With cooking, simpler is often better. It’s especially true with freshly laid eggs. Lulu is my prize-winning egg layer. In spite of her cranky disposition, she lays more eggs than either of the other two. Right now, she’s the only one laying in this cold spell we’re having.

With fewer eggs, every single egg is precious. We eat the eggs with little embellishment to truly appreciate their fresh flavor. This recipe is a great example: A simple fried egg topped with nutty-flavored brown butter and a splash of lemon over toasted artisan bread. Delightful!

Brown-Buttered Eggs

2 eggs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 slices artisan bread, toasted and lightly brushed with extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat just until the pan becomes warm. Add ½ tablespoon of the butter to the pan, letting it slowly melt while swirling the pan to evenly coat the bottom. Add the eggs and cover, lowering the heat to medium-low when the butter and eggs begin to bubble—a sign they’re cooking too fast. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until the whites are just set but the yolks are still runny.

Arrange the eggs over the toasted bread. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the remaining ½ tablespoon of butter. Melt the butter while swirling the pan and cook briefly, about 10 to 20 seconds, until the butter begins to smell toasted and turns a nutty-brown color. Watch carefully as the butter can over-brown very quickly. Pour in the lemon juice but stand back as it sizzles and spits. Immediately pour over the eggs and toast and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serves 2

Brown-Buttered Eggs

January 15, 2009

With cooking, simpler is often better. It’s especially true with freshly laid eggs. Lulu is my prize-winning egg layer. In spite of her cranky disposition, she lays more eggs than either of the other two. Right now, she’s the only one laying in this cold spell we’re having.

With fewer eggs, every single egg is precious. We eat the eggs with little embellishment to truly appreciate their fresh flavor. This recipe is a great example: A simple fried egg topped with nutty-flavored brown butter and a splash of lemon over toasted artisan bread. Delightful!

Brown-Buttered Eggs
Print This Recipe

2 eggs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 slices artisan bread, toasted and lightly brushed with extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat just until the pan becomes warm. Add ½ tablespoon of the butter to the pan, letting it slowly melt while swirling the pan to evenly coat the bottom. Add the eggs and cover, lowering the heat to medium-low when the butter and eggs begin to bubble—a sign they’re cooking too fast. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until the whites are just set but the yolks are still runny.

Arrange the eggs over the toasted bread. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the remaining ½ tablespoon of butter. Melt the butter while swirling the pan and cook briefly, about 10 to 20 seconds, until the butter begins to smell toasted and turns a nutty-brown color. Watch carefully as the butter can over-brown very quickly. Pour in the lemon juice but stand back as it sizzles and spits. Immediately pour over the eggs and toast and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serves 2