Eggs are for spring
Monday, May 06, 2013 4:03 AM
Eggs are a wonderful food that is filling and a good source of protein. They are the stuff that lighten and hold cakes and cookies together, but on their own they perform well in omelets. Boiled in their perfect shells, there's another range of ways they can be presented, sliced or chopped in salads or simply tucked whole in a lunch bag.
If I could pick my favorite way to have eggs, I will admit egg salad sandwiches or deviled eggs are my favorites. It was from a special cookbook for creating stuffed or deviled eggs in an amazing array of flavors, that I discovered how to cook a perfectly boiled egg.
Egg salad and deviled eggs are similar because one uses similar ingredients, but end with a different form of presentation.
To me egg salad sandwiches are a picture of spring. Free-range chickens are getting out to find bugs, grubs or the first tender green growth of spring. My son's chickens enjoy the leftovers from my kitchen - they relish a diet of seeds from the innards of a cantaloupe.
Dressed in hues of brown, white or light green shells, the yolks inside have a rich, healthy, dark yellow hue.
Chopped radishes or celery with snipped parsley and chives create egg salad with a spring-like taste. Spread on wheat bread and topped with deep green leafy lettuce, they create a picture of spring.
I will admit that with the odd spring we have been having, one almost needs to hallucinate over the picture of a spring-like sandwich to give the sense of spring.
We have waited a long time for winter to let go. My neighbor told me one day as I walked home from work that spring was just going to explode. (But I was freezing cold and wished I'd remembered to bring a hat.)
When it finally warmed, it seemed like her prediction was coming true.
But now snow is predicted again. What! It is May for crying out loud! It's prom season and Mother's Day is almost here. In a few weeks local farmers markets will be opening. Farmers should be out in the fields, but as the weeks tick by, the need for planting corn that matures in less time increases.
We were at our cabin over the last weekend. The lake was still frozen, with just a bit of thawing along the edges. When we stopped for Friday night supper in town, we overheard a conversation describing 14 inches of snow in the last two weeks. It has been three since we were there and it had snowed then.
I had planted seeds in my raised bed outside, and could not see that anything had germinated. But when I pulled a hand rake over the surface, a few germinating seeds popped up. Not discouraged, I added two short rows of snow peas along the two trellises (that are supposed to disguise the natural gas tank).
We walked through snow down to the edge of the lake, so I could photograph the dock pieces for my husband. He is hoping to extend our dock out a bit and needs it to match with the new section. Last year when the water level had dropped by the end of the summer, the height of the boatlift made it difficult to get the pontoon into dock.
But now, the edge of the lake is much higher. While we were up there, the temps were balmy and the last patchy drifts of snow shrank before our eyes. But only the lilac near the house had swelling buds.
Underneath a thick layer of dry leaves, just now appearing from snow cover, I found an oregano plant that had survived with green leaves through the winter. At home, my pots of herbs on my deck look to be quite dead and in need of being replaced with live plants. Our tough winter was hard on the more tender, exposed perennials that weren't covered and insulated like my oregano plant up north.
I've started cleaning my beds outside and am happy to find some shoots starting to grow. I want to start my outdoor growing projects, but the warm days are still a tease and fleeting.
Just now, after eating that egg salad sandwich I photographed for this story, I feel better. Because I make egg salad without a recipe, I will do my best to create one for you to follow. It's a basic mixture of chopped hard-boiled egg, mayo, vinegar and mustard with the addition of a crunchy veggie and snipped herbs for color and flavor.
Inspired, you might stop by a local farmers market to pick up farm fresh eggs and other ingredients for making egg salad sandwiches.
Today a group of vendors for the Eyota Farmers Market met and planned for our opening day on May 21. This year we will also be accepting EBT cards for produce, home canned goods, baked items and vegetable bedding plant purchases.
I am hoping for some warmer weather for our Tuesday evening markets, held 4 to 7 p.m. at West Side Park along Highway 42 in Eyota.
The Perfect Hard-boiled Egg
Choose eggs that were laid by a hen a week or two before. Really fresh eggs don't peel as easily. Gently create a layer of 6 to 9 eggs in the bottom of a deep saucepan. Cover them with cold water, so they have about an inch of water over them.
Turn the heat on under the pan, heating the water until it just starts to boil. Cover the pan, shut of the heat and start the timer for 15 minutes. When the time buzzes, remove the lid, pour off the boiling water in the sink, then start a steady stream of cold water into the pan. Let the water pour over the sides of the pan and keep adding water until it stays cold. Allow the eggs to sit in the cold water to cool completely.
Egg Salad for Sandwiches
6 to 9 boiled and cooled eggs
2 stalks celery or several radishes
Fresh parsley and/or chives
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon flavored white vinegar
1 or 2 teaspoons mustard
Freshly ground pepper
Sea salt to taste
Crack the eggshells by rapping them all around on a hard surface. Gently peel away the shell, rinse the egg and dry a bit with a paper towel. Using an egg slicer, slice and put into a bowl- continue shelling all the eggs.
Using a fork or pastry blender, chop up the eggs until whites are coarsely chopped. Add finely sliced and chopped radishes or celery. Snip a handful of fresh chives and/or parsley and add along with mayo, vinegar, mustard, pepper and sea salt. Stir together, taste, and adjust flavorings, if needed.
Spread on bread, spread another slice of bread with a light layer of mayo, add lettuce leaves and top your sandwich.