Fresh eggs for daffodil season

By TINKY WEISBLAT

For the Recorder

Published: 04-14-2023 8:22 PM

Eggs are a staple of my diet. Their price has gone up, in part because of a nationwide egg shortage due to an outbreak of avian flu, and in part because the price of everything has gone up. Nevertheless, when one can find them, eggs still offer a relatively inexpensive source of protein.

They are also convenient because they can be cooked fairly quickly. When I have been working hard all day and do not have time to plan an evening meal, I can always turn to an omelet. I prefer to make my omelets with fresh, local eggs purchased from neighboring chickens, or rather their owners.

Fresh eggs always seem to feature yolks with a deep yellow or orange color. My neighbor David Rich, who has raised chickens on and off throughout his life, says that this hue comes from the hens’ diets.

When hens are allowed to wander around and eat a variety of foods (including insects) rather than just grains, they produce eggs that are richer in color, flavor and nutrition.

Although I love to obtain fresh eggs from people I know, I know myself well enough to know that I will never be hardworking enough to be a chicken farmer. I do admire people who raise them. I was consequently happy to receive a review copy of “The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook” by Lisa Steele.

Steele is the founder of a website called “Fresh Eggs Daily,” and has written several books about raising hens. She grew up on a farm but had no particular interest in cultivating hens and eggs when she was a child, she recalls early in the book.

As an adult she worked on Wall Street and then ran a bookstore in New York … until she fell in love.

Like the author of the 1945 book “The Egg and I,” Steele ended up falling for a would-be farmer. Her husband, who was stationed in the military in Virginia, was interested in raising goats. She found herself more interested in chickens, however, and soon became an expert on hens and eggs. She tells the reader that she has always loved cooking and baking. She consequently decided to write a book about using eggs in those activities.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Celebrating ‘being out and being proud’: Attendees fill Greenfield for Franklin County Pride Parade and Festival
Franklin County’s clerk of courts announces she won’t seek reelection
New trash hauler, new pick-up time in Montague
Shelburne Falls’ Kayla Lampe captures women’s division title at 63rd Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race
Details emerge in state’s massive climate bill
PHOTOS: Fight prompts brief traffic backup on Hope Street in Greenfield

She begins with advice for egg purchasers. She tells the reader what to look for on the label of a carton of eggs and how to tell whether an egg is truly fresh by shaking it ever so gently. Although she does not insist that the reader raise his or her own chickens (color me relieved), she argues that fresh eggs are the best.

“I highly recommend always cooking with and eating the freshest eggs possible. After your first bite of egg from a happy, healthy backyard chicken, who fills up on weeds and grasses, bugs, and edible flowers and herbs, you’ll immediately understand the difference,” she writes.

She goes on to describe basic egg techniques like scrambling, frying and poaching. I have not yet tried steaming eggs, but I hope to do that soon. According to Steele, it is the answer to the dilemma posed by fresh eggs. They are difficult to peel when you boil them, but she notes that when steamed they peel beautifully.

She goes on to share fun recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, from pancakes to Caesar salad to lemon meringue pie. A few look as though they would be a fair amount of work, but most seem doable. The photographs make them look homey and delicious.

The recipe I chose from the book to share with readers simply shouts spring, thanks to the inclusion of citrus. I have always loved the bright color and flavor of Avgolemono, the Greek egg-and-lemon soup. I think of it as the daffodil of the soup family.

“This soup is quick and easy to make with simple ingredients you likely have on hand, like chicken stock and rice — and of course fresh eggs!” Steele writes.

“Lemon juice and peel add a brightness to the soup, for a pick-me-up on a chilly evening. Plus, it’s super-creamy without any heavy cream, so it’s the ultimate comfort food without the guilt. And again, vegetable broth can be used in place of the chicken broth to make this a vegetarian option.”

Here is the recipe, taken from “The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook: Over 100 Fabulous Recipes to Use Eggs in Unexpected Ways” by Lisa Steele. Copyright 2022 by Lisa Steele. Used by permission of Harper Celebrate, harpercollinsfocus.com.

To purchase a copy of the book, order it from a local bookstore or visit a.co/d/3KbI3Jl.

Avgolemono(Egg Lemon Soup)

Ingredients:

■8 cups (2 quarts) chicken broth

■½ cup uncooked white rice

■Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

■6 eggs

⅓ cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

■Lemon slices for garnish

■Fresh parsley for garnish

■Grated lemon peel for garnish

Instructions:

■In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the broth and rice to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the rice is tender, about 12 to 14 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

■While the rice is cooking, in a medium-size bowl whisk the eggs and lemon juice until light and frothy. Slowly whisk 1 cup of the hot broth into the whisked eggs, then whisk the egg mixture slowly back into the saucepan to keep the egg from curdling.

■Cook about two to three minutes, stirring continually, until the soup thickens and bubbles form around the edges. Be sure not to let the soup come to a boil, or the eggs may curdle.

■Once the soup has thickened, remove it from the heat and season with more salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls. Add a squeeze of lemon for added zing, then garnish with the parsley, lemon slices and lemon peel. Serves four to six.

Tinky Weisblat is an award-winning author and singer. Her most recent book is “Pot Luck: Random Acts of Cooking.” Visit her website, TinkyCooks.com.

]]>