Tidewater Kitchen - July 2008

Incredible Eggs

by

Pamela Meredith-Doyle

   Eggs are not just for breakfast. They are wholesome and filling, usually quick to prepare and are a great change of pace for dinner. I often take leftover vegetables and add them to fresh eggs to create amazing frittatas.
    The entire family enjoys eggs because they can be prepared in so many different ways. Eggs can be baked, fried, poached, boiled, scrambled or turned into omelets, frittatas, quiches, puddings , or even savory custards. The possibilities are almost endless.
    If you’re trying to eat healthier, health advisors have given the go-ahead to enjoy eggs regularly. For less fat, use only one egg yolk for every three whites when scrambling them. You can also use egg substitutes for quiches and frittatas. When you blend the whites with just a small amount of yolk, the eggs will seem much richer than they actually are.
    Egg whites alone can be fabulous in omelets, too. Toss in some sharp cheddar or fresh vegetables and the result is a dish fit for lunch, dinner or even a late-night snack.
    Large eggs are used in most recipes and should be 65° to 75° (room temperature) before using them. Leave them out of the refrigerator for about 20 minutes for room temperature.
    If a recipe calls for beating and/or folding egg whites, start with room temperature eggs and separate them carefully, keeping the egg whites free of any yolk. The whites will not increase to maximum volume if there is any trace of fat in them. Even the bowl and beaters must be scrupulously clean and dry. After beating egg whites, carefully fold them with a wide wooden spoon or spatula into dry ingredients, trying not to break them down.

TOMATO and HAM QUICHE
A quiche is a timeless dish to serve for breakfast, lunch or even dinner.

2 9-inch pie crusts
1 T. butter
½ cup red onion, finely chopped
¾ cup chopped ham
½ cup tomato, seeded and diced
1 cup Parmigiano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
6 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 425°. Lay out the pie crust dough on a counter covered with flour. Use a cookie cutter or plastic cup larger than your muffin tin, then gently cut circles to lay in the tin. Place the muffin pie crusts in the oven for 5 minutes.
While the crusts are baking, heat the butter in a pan and add the red onion. Add salt and pepper. Cook until tender and sweet – about 6 minutes. Do not brown the onion.
Spoon the cooked onion into a medium bowl and add the ham and tomato. Stir gently to combine. Add the cheese and stir it all together.
In another bowl mix the eggs, milk and cream until whisked together. Fold all the ingredients together.
Lower your oven temperature to 375°. Add about ½ cup of filling to each muffin pan with crust. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until they are golden brown and don’t jiggle.

VEGETABLE STRATA
This vegetable strata is much like a savory bread pudding and is a wonderful dish for a breakfast brunch or light meal for family and friends. If you want to serve it as part of a meal add a crisp green salad or a small cup of soup to the menu. And, for those hectic mornings, it can be put together the night before.

8 cups French bread, cubed
2 T. olive oil
Non-stick cooking spray
1¼ cups milk
5 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup onion, chopped
1½ cups red pepper, chopped
1 t. oregano
2 small zucchini, sliced into rounds
1 T. fresh mint, chopped
2 cups crumbled Feta cheese, plus a little for the top of each strata (I like herb flavored)

Preheat oven to 325°.
Place the cubed bread on a cookie sheet in an even layer. Bake the cubed bread in a preheated oven for 10 minutes to slightly dry the bread out. You don’t want it to brown.
Increase the oven temperature to 350°. Grease the muffin tins well with butter or spray oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs and season with salt and pepper. Add the bread cubes to the egg mixture and toss to coat. Allow them to soak in the mixture for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 1 T. olive oil in a medium-heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the oregano. Pour these ingredients into the bowl with the bread and egg.
In that same pan, add another tablespoon of olive oil and add the zucchini slices. Cook until tender – about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the zucchini to the bread mixture. Stir in the fresh mint and 2 cups of Feta cheese.
Pour the mixture into the muffin pans and sprinkle the remaining Feta cheese on top. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until puffy and golden brown.

CROISSANT and CHALLAH FRENCH TOAST
This luscious and richly decadent version of French toast will surely satisfy any crowd. The sliced almonds offer a crunchy texture to contrast with the tender croissant and challah bread. This is a great way to use any slightly stale bread you may have around the kitchen.

3 eggs
1¼ cups milk
1 T. flour
1 T. sugar plus 2 t. sugar
½ t. baking powder
Salt to taste
1 t. vanilla extract
¼ t. almond extract
1/8 t. nutmeg
4 croissants, halved and then each half cut in half again
4 slices challah bread
2 T. unsalted butter, cut into 4 equal parts
2 T. vegetable oil
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Butter at room temperature
1 cup maple syrup, warmed
Powdered sugar and berries for garnish

Preheat the oven to 250°.
In a medium bowl, using a fork and whisk, beat together the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract, almond extract and ground nutmeg. Dip the halves and slices of bread in the egg mixture. Place on a jelly roll pan, or shallow baking pan. Pour the remaining liquid on top of the croissants and challah bread and soak for about 10 minutes.
In a large skillet over medium heat add 1½ teaspoons of the butter and oil in the pan. When the mixture sizzles add the almonds to the skillet and press the bread and croissants on top of the almonds. Fry for about 3 minutes. Turn and brown on the other side. Keep the cooked almond side up and place in the warm oven until all the bread is cooked.
Serve each person 2 croissant pieces and a piece of challah bread, and pass the butter and syrup. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and fresh fruit as desired.

SANTE FE TORTE
This is a unique dish. It reminds me of a quiche, but the end result is beautiful. When you remove it from the springform pan it looks like a desert flower. Serve it with sour cream, fresh salsa and garnish with cilantro.

2 T. unsalted butter
½ cup green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chop-ped
1 T. cilantro, minced
1 t. cumin
Dash of cayenne pepper
8 6-inch flour tortillas
6 large eggs (or use Eggbeaters)
3 T. milk
¼ t. salt
1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
4 oz. whole green chiles
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 lb. sautéed mushrooms
Optional: sour cream, salsa

Preheat oven to 350°.
Sauté the onions and garlic until tender. Add the pepper, cilantro, cumin and cayenne and sauté until just tender.
Line a 9-inch springform pan with foil. Grease the foil. Layer the tortillas over the bottom and sides of the pan. The edges of the tortillas should overlap the top of the pan by 1 inch.
Beat the eggs, milk and salt together. Pour half of the batter into the pan, top with half of the cheese, strips of green chiles and tomatoes. Pour the sautéed veggies over the tomatoes. Pour in the remaining batter and top with the rest of the cheese.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until set. Cool slightly and cut into six sections. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and fresh salsa.
You may need to watch the edges of the tortillas while cooking. If they start to brown, place foil around the edges.

CHEESE SOUFFLÉ
This is guaranteed to resist falling and should sit for a few minutes before serving.

8 slices bread, cubed (day-old is best)
½ lb. sharp cheddar cheese, cubed or shredded
2 cups milk
4 eggs
½ t. salt
Pepper to taste
½ t. dry mustard

Discard the crusts from the bread and put the bread and cheese in layers in a 9” by 13” dish.
Beat the eggs and add salt, pepper, dry mustard and milk. Pour this mixture over the bread and cheese. Let this stand in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat the oven to 325°. Bake the soufflé for 45 to 50 minutes. Cut into squares and serve. This is great with sausage links and Southern biscuits.

TUMBLEWEED PIE
This recipe is loved by both kids and adults, and everyone wants the recipe!

1 pkg. ground pork sausage
1 bunch green onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. salt
¼ t. pepper
1 pkg. frozen hash browns, thawed
4 large eggs
1½ cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Garnish: chopped tomato, sour cream

Cook the first 5 ingredients in a 12-inch ovenproof, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes or until the sausage is browned; drain.
Add the hash browns to the sausage mixture and cook over medium-high heat for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
Whisk together the eggs, milk and 1 cup of cheese and pour over the sausage mixture in the skillet. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of cheese. Wrap the skillet handle with foil.
Bake at 450° for 15 to 20 minutes or until set. Garnish, if desired with the chopped tomato and sour cream. Serves 8.

DEVILED EGGS
6 large hard-boiled eggs
½ t. salt
½ t. dry mustard
¼ t. pepper
3 T. mayonnaise
Dash of vinegar
1 T. chopped sweet pickle relish
Paprika

Peel the hard-boiled eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Put the yolks into a bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork. Mix in the salt, mustard, pepper, mayonnaise and vinegar. Add pickle relish. Fill the egg whites with the mixture. For a pretty garnish, sprinkle with paprika.
For a Maryland flair - try using Old Bay instead of paprika.

JOAN SNYDER’S DEVILED EGGS
I have many fond memories of going to Joan’s home in Oxford and enjoying her wonderful deviled eggs. They were the hit of every party!
Cut your hard-boiled eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and mash with a fork; mix with salt and pepper; stir in mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, sweet pickle juice and melted butter to form a smooth, thick paste. Pile the seasoned yolks lightly into the hollow of the whites. Garnish with paprika and parsley.