By Dana Zia, The Golightly Gourmet
Spring time is egg time. I didn’t know this till I owned chickens. Eggs are always available year round in the store so it is a common misunderstanding that chickens produce eggs all year round. Not true.
You see, chickens are creatures of light. As the sun gets lazier in the fall the chickens get lazier about laying eggs. Egg laying slows to the sluggishness of the winter sun. The chickens use this opportunity to molt last year’s feathers and grow new ones. You are lucky to get one coveted egg a day. Then as the spring calls to the sun to return, the chickens respond with abundant egg laying. It is such a welcome wonder after the dark winter and so much fun to play with all those sun-orange yolked eggs that fill the fridge.
Eggs are a super food and nourish the winter doldrums right out of our bones. An excellent form of protein, they contain all the essential amino acids that the human body needs. Eggs also contain most of the minerals that the human body requires for health. In particular, eggs are an excellent source of iodine, required to make the thyroid hormone, and phosphorus, required for bone health. (One little note here, almost all of this nutrition is in the egg yolk.) And all this comes in one neat little packet, all signed sealed and delivered, whole food at its best.
Now egg yolks have a lot of cholesterol so for a long time they were villainized. It was considered unhealthy to eat too many. However, advice is changing on this as more research comes out. As of now, no evidence shows that eggs are in any way harmful to our health. It seems that this high cholesterol food raises our “good” cholesterol rather than the “bad”.
It very is easy to see how the egg became an enduring symbol of Easter. It provides the nourishment for re-birth and signals the return of the light. The myths and stories about how the egg became an inseparable part of Easter are as abundant as Easter egg hunts on Easter morning.
One of my favorites is of the Goddess Eostre or Ostara, who is the bringer of spring and fertility in many ancient religions. She had a humble furry friend, a bunny, who loved the Goddess with all its little heart. As the legend goes, he wanted to please her so much that he laid sacred eggs in her honor and decorated them in the colors of spring flowers. When the rabbit presented Eostre with his gifts, she was so delighted she desired all to share in her joy. She asked the little rabbit to go throughout the world and distribute these sacred gifts to signal the return of the light.
You fortunately don’t need an Easter bunny to deliver beautiful rich eggs, there are quite a few egg providers in our area. Make sure and try to get eggs from pastured chickens as they love to eat green grass and the chlorophyll in it produces the rich orange yolk that makes such a healthy flavorful egg. If the eggs you bought have a week yellow color, the chickens aren’t raised in grass no matter what the carton says. It’s that simple.
Eggs and strawberries are an unlikely combination but they come together brilliantly in this interesting half soufflé-half omelet recipe. Don’t let the word “soufflé” intimidate you as this dish is really very easy with brilliant results. Celebrate spring time and the return of the light with this beautiful dish. It makes a grand center piece for a Sunday or Easter brunch. Hoppy Easter!
Strawberry Soufflé Omelet
Serves 4-6 Make sure and use organic strawberries when possible as the conventional ones are toxic nuggets loaded with more chemicals than a nuclear waste dump. (Well, maybe I’m exaggerating but you get the point)
6 eggs farm fresh, separated
2 TBLS of organic sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
Few cranks of black pepper
1 tsp of vanilla
1/2 tsp of almond extract
2 TBLS of unsalted butter
1 pound or 3 cups sliced organic strawberries
1/2 tsp of almond extract sprinkled over the berries and tossed in
Powdered sugar and sliced toasted almonds for garnish
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and separate the eggs. (The best way to do that is to crack the egg and put it into your other hand, then barely separate the fingers and jiggle the egg whites through the cracks) Beat your eggs whites with an electric mixer on a medium speed until frothy then add the sugar and bump up the speed to medium high and beat until soft peaks start to form. Don’t overbeat the eggs or the Easter bunny won’t come. Pour out the eggs into another bowl for later.
In the same bowl, no need to wash it, beat the egg yolks with the salt, pepper and extracts on medium speed for about 3 minutes or until it is rich and very thick. Carefully stir half of the egg white mixture into the yolks till almost blended then pour the yolk/white mix into the remaining egg whites and gently fold with a rubber spatula until all folded in.
Now for the show! Melt the butter in a large non-stick skillet (I used a stainless skillet and it worked great with all the butter) over medium heat, swirl the butter to coat the bottom of the pan. Pour the egg mixture gently into the skillet and smooth the top. Cook for one minute there (resist the urge to stir!) then place the skillet (hopefully it is oven proof) into the preheated oven.
Bake for 10 minutes or until golden puffy brown. Make sure the center is set by touching in and if it springs back, it is done. Run a spatula around the sides and under the omelet and slide onto a large platter. Top with the sliced strawberries and sprinkle with the powdered sugar and almonds. Cut into wedges and serve with delight.