Posts tagged: Egg

Green Eggs and Ham Quiche

Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss

Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss

This dish was inspired by a request from a Fackbook fan and my recent article on eggs (I made a reference to Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham“). These are great traditional quiches and a great treat for the kids.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon shortening
  • 1 cup chopped or diced ham
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 Roma tomato, thickly sliced

Directions:

Prepare 4, 4 inch x 1 inch crust as described in Cheesy Quiche Crust.

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

Prepare the custard by mixing spinach and onion in a food processor. Add eggs, milk, flour and shortening and mix thoroughly.

Green Eggs and Ham Quiche

Green Eggs and Ham Quiche

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place all 4 crusts on a baking sheet for ease in handling. Bake crust for 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and fill with custard. Bake custard for 15 minutes, then remove from oven. Top each quiche with a thin to moderate amount of cheese. Finish topping with chopped or diced ham. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Plate with slice of Romano tomato.

Eggs Eggsamined

I started this article thinking it would be a simple table of egg grades and quality factors. But as I started researching the matter, I found that there is a lot of interesting information regarding eggs. I examine the structure of the egg, the effects of freshness, actual grading, and even dispel some common misconceptions regarding free-range and organic eggs and brown verses white eggs. So, which is a better egg, Grade A or Grade AA, brown or white, free-range, organic or neither? Let us find out.

Basic Egg Facts

Composition of the egg

Inside the egg

Inside on an eggDiagram courtesy of Alberta Egg Producers

Air Cell

The air cell can be the first indicator of egg quality. Air cells of no greater than 1/8 inch in height are of grade AA quality. Larger air cells up to 3/16 of an inch may be classified as grade A, air cells greater than 3/16 of one inch can only be grade B.

Albume

Albume is better known as the egg white. There are two distinct albume: a thick and a thin. Albumen accounts for most of an egg’s liquid weight (about 67%). It contains more than half the egg’s total protein, niacin, riboflavin, chlorine, magnesium, potassium, sodium and sulfur. The albumen consists of 4 alternating layers of thick and thin consistencies. From the yolk outward, they are designated as the inner thick or chalaziferous white, the inner thin white, the outer thick white and the outer thin white. Egg white tends to thin out as an egg ages because its protein changes in character. That’s why fresh eggs sit up tall and firm in the pan while older ones tend to spread out.

Albumen is more opalescent than truly white. The cloudy appearance comes from carbon dioxide. As the egg ages, carbon dioxide escapes, so the albumen of older eggs is more transparent than that of fresher eggs.

When egg albumen is beaten vigorously, it foams and increases in volume 6 to 8 times. Egg foams are essential for making souffles, meringues, puffy omelets, and angel food and sponge cakes.

Chalaza

Chalaza are strands of egg white that anchor the yolk in place in the center of the albume. They are not imperfections or beginning embryos.

Germinal Disc

The germinal disc is the channel leading to the center of the yolk. The germinal disc is barely noticeable as a slight depression on the surface of the yolk.

Shell

The shell is the egg’s outer covering which is largely composed of calcium carbonate.  It accounts for about 9 to 12% of its total weight depending on egg size.

Shell strength is greatly influenced by the minerals and vitamins in the hen’s diet, particularly calcium, phosphorus, manganese and Vitamin D. If the diet is deficient in calcium, for instance, the hen will produce a thin or soft-shelled egg or possibly an egg with no shell at all. Shell thickness is also related to egg size and the hen’s age. Older hens, for example, produce larger eggs with thinner shells.

Seven to 17 thousand tiny pores are distributed over the shell surface, a greater number at the large end. As the egg ages, these tiny holes permit moisture and carbon dioxide to move out and air to move in to form the air cell.

Yolk

The yolk (or yellow portion) makes up about 33% of the liquid weight of the egg. It contains all of the fat in the egg and a little less than half of the protein. A characteristic worth noting is that it is responsible for the egg’s emulsifying properties.

With the exception of riboflavin and niacin, the yolk contains a higher proportion of the egg’s vitamins than the white. All of the egg’s vitamins A, D and E are in the yolk. Egg yolks are one of the few foods naturally containing vitamin D. The yolk also contains more phosphorus, manganese, iron, iodine, copper, and calcium than the white, and it contains all of the zinc.
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Lemon Aioli

Nice and simple little aioli that I first used on a carpaccio appetizer.  It was inspired by Annabelle’s Bar & Bistro on a recent trip to San Francisco.

Aioli is, like mayonnaise, an emulsion or a suspension of small globules of oil and oil soluble compounds in water and water soluble compounds. Egg yolk is a commonly used emulsifier but mustard and garlic both have emulsion-like properties. Classic aioli is made without egg though many aioli recipes use it  including this one.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

Combine egg yolk, lemon juice, garlic, salt, zest, and pepper in a blender. With blender running, slowly drizzle in olive oil, and blend until an emulsion forms.

Carpaccio dressed with Lemon Aioli

Carpaccio dressed with Lemon Aioli

For presentation and storage, use aioli in a condiment dispenser bottle for best results.  May be kept in the refrigerator for up to a day in a covered container.

Ziti alla Carbonara

Like most recipes, the origins of the dish are obscure, and there are many legends about it. As the name is derived from the Italian word for charcoal, some believe that the dish was first made as a hearty meal for Italian charcoal workers. This theory gave rise to the term “coal miner’s spaghetti.” Others say that it was originally made over charcoal grills. Still others suggest that it is so named because the specks of bacon and pepper in the pasta look like bits of charcoal.

Usually made with Spaghetti, but occasionally Fettuccine, Rigatoni or Bucatini, I’ve used Ziti (a really big Bucatini) in this version, and keep true to the Italian preparation.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 ounces Panchetta
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 2 tablespoons freshly-grated Pecorino cheese
  • 16 oz long Ziti pasta
  • Fresh ground pepper

Directions:

Ziti ala Carbonara

Ziti ala Carbonara

Heat the oil and butter in a pan. Add pancetta and saute over medium heat until browned well. Beat together the egg yolks, cream, and cheese.

Long Ziti Pasta

Long Ziti Pasta

Cook the Ziti until just a! dente. Drain the Ziti well, and move to a serving dish. Working quickly, pour the pancetta mixture, then the beaten egg mixture over the Ziti. Toss quickly to coat the strands with the sause. The eggs will cook in the heat of the pasta. Top with fresh ground pepper and serve immediately while still hot.

Variants:

The following are frequently done in American preparations. Substitute bacon for panchetta, omit cream, or cook eggs and cheese for 30 seconds with panchetta (or similar).

Simple Pad Thai

Simple Pad ThaiA very simple and quick recipe for Pad Thai. Being single, I can whip this up pretty quick when I need a meal and don’t have a lot of time to cook.

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

2 oz Pad Thai noodles
10 medium shrimp, peeled deveined, tails removed
3 tablespoons pepper infused extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons Teriyaki sauce
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon Teriyaki Ginger rub (Adams Reserve)
Dried Cilantro leaves
Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

Directions:

Soak Pad Thai noodles in warm water for at least 10 minutes until soft, salt can be added to the water if desired. I put them in a medium sauce pan over low heat. While noodles are soaking peel, devein and remove the tails from the shrimp, chop garlic, and slice shallot. In a medium skillet or wok, over medium-high to high heat, add olive oil, garlic, shallots and shrimp. Saute until shrimp become pink and opaque. Remove and set aside, leaving oil. Add eggs to the skillet and scramble until cooked. Reduce heat to medium-low. Drain and add noodles, Teriyaki sauce, Teriyaki ginger rub, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir fry until thoroughly mixed and sauce is absorbed. Add back in shrimp, shallots and garlic. Mix well. Remove to dish and garnish with cilantro leaves and Sriracha sauce.

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