Posts Tagged ‘hard-boiled eggs’

Eggs: Great Healthy Food in a Hurry


Lately I’ve been thinking about the miraculous nature of backyard chickens. They are lovely to see, fun to hear, and all their waking hours they convert stuff you can’t eat into stuff that you can. I can’t keep mine loose because we have a large tribe of local coyotes, but every time I walk by their roofed yard and hear the pleasures and squabbles of chicken life, I feel better. Chickens fit easily into nearly every backyard and enrich soil, nutrition, and QOL.

Then there are the eggs. I feed my chickens a ton of fresh alfalfa and other green stuff in the summer. This time of year, their diet includes dandelions, mustard leaves, kale, and grass. The yolks are a glorious deep yellow and they are very delicious. I’m fond of eating them hard-boiled for snacks, often just shucked out of their shells while still warm and eaten with salt and pepper. Sometimes I want something a little more elaborate but not much, and that’s where an egg salad sandwich tastes just right. It can be made in less time than it takes to read about it if you keep some hard boiled eggs in the refrigerator. You will also need bread, mayonnaise, and some herbs.

My sandwich is a display of what eggs can do, because the base is a low-carb flatbread based on eggs and flaxseed and the mayonnaise is my homemade type. But you can use Hellman’s and any bread of your choice.
Egg salad can be elaborated with all sorts of stuff in it, or it can be a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise with a small handful of suitable herbs snipped in; I used tarragon, green onion, and garlic chives in about equal quantities. Slice in two hard boiled eggs, stir and mash, and spread on the bread. I think it isn’t real egg salad without a lavish sprinkle of powdered chipotle chile on top, but use paprika instead if you prefer.

So my real point is, find a source of great eggs and eat them. Even the best eggs cost, at most, about 50 cents each, and they will make you healthier and simplify your life. If you hard-boil a dozen at a time, they are always waiting to be converted into egg salad, or other types of salad, or deviled. Asian salads with lots of herbs, some lime and fish sauce in the dressing, and a sprinkle of peanuts are especially good.  I love them sliced on top of a Thai jungle curry, or as the center of an Indian dish made by forming a large meatball of spiced meat around a hard-boiled egg and frying it. I can recall making a Mexican dish twenty years ago that involved soft corn tortillas filled with a green toasted pumpkin seed pipian and sliced hard-boiled eggs. I can even imagine making the basic egg salad above and plopping spoonfuls of it on very good crackers with some chopped kalameta olives or even caviar on top, as an easy and delicious appetizer.

If you need more ideas, there is a marvelous cookbook by Michael Ruhlman simply called “Egg” that every eager cook should read.



The Greens of Spring: a meal on a pita

Halloumi cheese from Cyprus grills beautifully, and make a wonderful meatless “barbecue” to combine with your garden produce. It’s a great way to reduce your meat intake, if you want to do that, or just have a lovely and healthy meal.
First, catch your salad. You need a goodly quantity of the freshest salad greens, and it tastes best if some sharp flavors like young mustard, arugula, and herbs are included. My choice for this meal is a smallish bunch each of young mustard and arugula, with a few baby lettuce leaves (preferably red, for contrast,) about a quarter cup of a finely chopped combination of parsley and cilantro, a few fronds of fennel chopped, and about a teaspoon of thyme leaves. If I were using store-bought greens, I’d use half young letture and half watercress, plus the herbs, for a sharp but not aggressive taste. Commercial mustard greens are too mature and strong to use in salads. A handful of chopped chives or shallot greens is a great addition. Remember, herbs are loaded with antioxidants, and they taste great. For two people, you need about a quart of mixed salad greens, tightly packed.

Now locate your Halloumi. La Montanita Co-op and Whole Foods both have it in our area. Then you can proceed with the cooking part:

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
5 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ cup lemon juice
6 teaspoons chopped cilantro
4 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup capers (rinsed and soaked if salt-cured)

Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in your mortar and pestle (see my recipe page under Herbs for more about this) Pound until nicely amalgamated. Set aside. If you use the food processor instead, be careful to leave it with a vigorous texture. Avoid processing to mush.

2 ¼ pounds Cypriot Halloumi cheese, cut into 16 cubes
A few tablespoons of olive oil

Preheat a gas barbecue to medium heat, or let a coal barbecue heat until all coals are mostly white. Coat the cheese lightly with the olive oil. Grill the cheese cubes until they have caramelized on at least two sides. If you don’t feel like grilling, cook them on the stove in a heavy, hot skillet.

Meanwhile, lightly toast two or four whole wheat pitas, depending on appetite.

While the cheese finishes browning lightly, put the hot pitas on plates, two to a plate if you’re really hungry. Toss the greens and herbs with some of the sauce, pile them on the pitas, and distribute the hot cheese cubes on top. Drizzle with more of the sauce and eat. Even an avid carnivore is unlikely to feel shortchanged.

You will probably have a good bit of leftover sauce, and can use it to dress a little pasta for a quick one-person meal. Crumble on a little feta or Kefalotyri if you like.

A delicious variation is to hard-boil two or three eggs per person and slice them. Spread the slices over the dressed greens, and dribble on the sauce. It makes a nice post-Easter lunch, when you’re sick of looking at those eggs.

ADDENDUM: A friend who follows my blog gently pointed out that the sauce in the picture couldn’t be the one in the recipe. Major oops: I posted the wrong picture. But the pictured dressing is delicious on grilled halloumi too, so I decided to leave the picture and add the recipe for Tahini Dressing. Crush a clove of garlic in a mortar and pestle with half a teaspoon of salt. Add the juice of half a lemon and two tablespoons of tahini. Stir untilwell amalgamated, and add enough olive oil to give the consistency of thick cream. I usually use about 3 tablespoons, or a little more. Use a little plain olive oil to dress your greens, arrange them on a pita, and scatter the Halloumi cubes on top. Drizzle over the dressed greens and grilled Halloumi.