It’s no secret that I enjoy cooking and eating more than I do writing. However, blogging does have its benefits, so when the nice folks over at Storey Publishing reached out and asked if I would like a copy of Jennifer Trainer Thompson’s newest book, The Fresh Egg Cookbook, I jumped at the opportunity!
I like cookbooks that inform and inspire, as well as instruct, and Jennifer Thompson is a natural storyteller. She generously shares her experiences along with helpful tips and insights about raising chickens, cooking fresh eggs and the history of a recipe, when there is one to be told.
There are dozens of recipes in this book, and I plan to try most of them, however the very first recipe that called to me where the popovers. What caught my eye was how easy the ingredients and instructions were – popovers are typically made with simple ingredients you’re sure to have on hand; eggs, milk, flour, butter, and salt.
We made a batch this weekend and had them for breakfast with jams, butter and cheese. We liked them so much we made them again for dinner, which included grilled pork chops on a bed of sauteed cabbage & apples – both servings were delicious! (Btw, did you know that the most famous version of a popover is the Yorkshire Pudding?)
Popover recipe from the Fresh Egg Cookbook:
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375øF. Butter a six-cup popover pan – I used a 12-well muffin pan instead. Add 1/2 tablespoon of the chilled butter to the bottom of each cup and put the pan in the oven until the butter melts.
Beat the eggs until foamy. Beat in the milk and melted butter. Add the flour and salt and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Fill the prepared (pan) wells no more than three-quarters of the way with batter and bake 25 to 35 minutes (time will vary depending on oven), or until puffed and well browned. Serve hot!
Tips for to great popovers:
Make sure the pan is hot before you pour in the batter
Is it just me, or does the thought of making a souffle conjure images of the slapstick antics of Lucille Ball and as such spell disaster in the kitchen? For whatever reason I can’t exactly put my finger on, baking a souffle has always intimidated me.
It wasn’t until we had our own flock and an extra 3 dozen eggs sitting in the fridge that I found the courage to give it a try, it seems that 30-some-odd eggs was the motivation I needed to overcome my fear of the souffle flop.
According to Wikipedia, the word soufflé is ‘French for souffler which means “to blow up” or more loosely “puff up”.’ Of course that ‘puff’ is the trademark of a successful souffle. And there lies the mystery, the challenge and the intrigue of the souffle, the puff. (See video below of a time lapse taken every 5 seconds of a souffle rising in the oven.)
Now perhaps I’m oversimplifying matters but it seems to me that all souffles are made from two basic components; an egg custard base made from the yolks (fat), and a meringue, made from the whites (protein).
According to Chef Jeffrey Buben, ‘When you beat egg whites, you’re basically mixing air into them. The protein in the egg whites forms a kind of skin around the bubbles of air. But if there’s any fat present (yolks), the skin can’t form and the air leaks away.”
Tips for a successful souffle:
Eggs separate more easily into yolks and whites when they are chilled
Carefully separate your egg whites from the yolks. Any traces of fat from the yolks will keep the whites from beating up properly.
Bring the egg whites to room temperature before you beat them, they will foam more rapidly and to greater volume
It’s best to use steel or metal bowl for beating egg whites
Always start with a clean dry bowl to whip the white
There are two major kinds of souffles, savory and sweet (aka dessert souffles), here are a couple of popular recipes, given them a try and tell us what you think.
Deviled eggs are easy, fast, delicious and bite sized. They are great for lunch, snacks, appetizers and parties; and like the classic egg salad, deviled eggs can be made dead simple or gussied up with personal style and/or cultural flair. In all honesty, I’ve never met a deviled egg I didn’t like.
The basic recipe for deviled eggs is simple, here are the main ingredients:
Farm fresh eggs
Favorite brand mayonnaise
Mustard (I prefer Colman’s Dry Mustard)
Salt & pepper
Listed below of some of the more interesting variations of deviled egg recipes that I’ve found. Try a few and tell us what you think.
FoodNetwork.com describes eggnog as follows, “A homogeneous blend of milk or cream, beaten eggs, sugar, nutmeg and usually liquor of some kind such as rum, brandy or whiskey.”
How scientific! But where did this ‘homogeneous blend’ come from and what’s a ‘nog’ anyway? According to Wikipedia, it’s believed that eggnog originated in England, and the ‘nog’ part of its name is probably derived from the word ‘noggin’, a “Middle English term used to describe a small, carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol.”
Wikipedia also goes on to inform us that, “In Britain, the drink was popular mainly among the aristocracy; dairy products and eggs were rarely consumed by the lower classes due to their high cost and the lack of refrigeration. Those who could get milk and eggs mixed it with brandy, Madeira or sherry to make a drink similar to modern alcoholic egg nog… ”
Today, eggnog is a popular beverage around the holidays, from Thanksgiving to New Years. And if you’ve never had homemade eggnog, well then boy oh boy are you in for a treat! With or without the spirits, fresh homemade eggnog is a rich and delicious indulgence. And if you’re the least bit concerned about consuming raw eggs (even your own), several recipes below have ‘cooked’ versions that are just as delicious and nutritious. Cheers, and happy holidays!