“When you boil it down to the basics, creating new recipes is the art of cooking up chemistry experiments to feed our biology.”
– Michelle UluOla
Eggs are an excellent source of relatively inexpensive, high-quality protein, along with 30 beneficial nutrients, and have been unfairly maligned by uneducated media and those with their own agendas. Eggs are one of Nature’s perfect, low-calorie foods, but that’s a blog for another day. [See links under Additional Information at the end of this one.]
Many people who live alone like I do, especially older folks who don’t do much entertaining, share a common dilemma: they either have too many eggs in stock or too few. Living in a rural area, I can sometimes get organic eggs from free-range chickens at local farms, but they often stop laying during the decreased day lengths of fall and winter or during heat and drought stresses of summer. Pastured chickens are not vending machines; so there again, it’s a matter of over-abundance or scarcity. Supermarkets are miles away, and between the high price of gasoline and icy roads in winter, I make it a habit to carefully plan my shopping trips to maximize my fuel savings.
Since I subscribe to the shamanic principle that “there’s always another way to do something,” I’ve been working on methods to get around all those challenges. And the older I get, the more I’m all about fast, easy, the fewest dirty dishes feasible…oh, and…the most chocolate consumable. Sometimes, I crack myself up; sometimes, I crack a bunch of eggs.
My strategy begins by purchasing lots of eggs whenever I have the opportunity, with the longest expiration dates I can find, and then, consuming them before they go bad. To alleviate the boredom of eating them the same way over and over, I’ve created recipes to suit my palate. I always purchase jumbo-sized eggs, which is just a personal preference. They have the added giggle of providing the occasional, surprise double-yolker—my mini version of winning the lottery or getting a Chinese, good-fortune-cookie kind of a smile. Yeah…I know…I’m easily entertained, huh?
Whenever I’m unsure about the freshness of my egg stock, I use a simple test that’s pretty accurate in determining their viability. Put the eggs in a pan and cover them with at least an inch of cold water. If the eggs lay against the bottom in a horizontal position, they’re fresh. If the eggs rotate vertically but still touch the bottom of the pot, they’re okay to use, especially for hard-boiling, as eggs that are a bit older tend to peel easier after cooking and quickly cooling. But if an egg floats to the top of the water, that’s an indication that it’s outlived its usefulness and should probably be tossed–in the compost pile, not at someone!
The overall theme of this blog is my favorite places: the intersections of science and spirit and how to work with them. I try to walk my talk. So, before I share my recipes, I’d like to address the concerns of those individuals who will want to entertain all the various fears and warnings they’ve collected via the information they’ve absorbed from grandmothers, mothers, conventional health providers, and/or orbiting on the Internet about both eggs and cooking procedures. Over the course of most of my adult life, I’ve heard or read them all, adjusted my behavior accordingly and lived in a state of frustration over the contradictions. I’ve done the go-ahead-back-up cha-cha-cha, and I’m done with that dance. I’m over letting other people tell me what I should or shouldn’t do. As I entered my sixth decade, I decided it was time to stop just “liking” the metaphysical gems and start actually living them. So, I have a policy of applying this quote to everything in my life, including cooking and eating, and recommend it to others:
“Do not believe anything because it is said by an authority, or if it is said to come from angels, or from Gods, or from an inspired source. Believe it only if you have explored it in your own heart and mind and body and found it to be true. Work out your own path, through diligence [and common sense].”
– Guatama Buddha
Also, for me, life experiences have validated wisdom gleaned from shamanic teachings:
“The world is what you think it is: what you believe the world to be is what you will experience. Positive thoughts attract positive people, things and events, and negative thoughts attract negative people, things and events.”
“Energy flows where attention goes and everything is energy. What you resist persists, and the energy of resisting actually gives more energy to whatever you’re resisting. Thought is energy and one kind of energy can be converted into another kind of energy. Thoughts, feelings and words have power.”
From those principles, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that as long as I don’t entertain all those negative, Old World fears and beliefs, I can create food that is healthy for me with my intentionality. This is not, I can eat and drink anything I want, but rather, about balance, listening to my body, using as many healthy ingredients as I can, and being mindful. There is copious research showing that our emotions and words affect how our bodies and DNA use what we put into them. So, I add one other component from my spiritual path and work with energy modalities: before consuming any food or drink, I place my hands around it, and with love and gratitude-in-advance, while envisioning Light energy, bless it for my vibrant good health and the delight of my taste buds. Amama!
Use your own discernment in everything, including trying the recipes below. Read through each before beginning so as to garner any extra tips. And have fun doing your own lab experiments!
When setting out to create a new recipe, I begin with the idea that if I like each of the separate ingredients, chances are I’ll enjoy them in combination. My personal caveat is not combining savory elements with sweet ones, but that’s also an individual taste. I’ve never cared for sweet pickles or sweet and sour dishes. The recipes below are guidelines, as I consider cooking to be akin to chemistry experiments and make up things as I go along, taking notes so I can duplicate the successes or correct the failures. I never buy liquid milk, so cook with non-fat powdered and make a lot of things sugar-free. I use butter, as it’s a natural ingredient that enhances the flavor of eggs and onions. I also cook with virgin olive oil or organic coconut oil, but only when their flavors work better. I don’t add salt during or after cooking, as my body doesn’t tolerate excess, and herbs and spices add plenty of flavor.
Now on to creating with eggs.
Conventional directions for hard-boiling, scrambling, frying, making omelets, freezing, etc. can be found under Additional Information at the end of this blog. There are also recipes and health and safety tips there. Never cook an egg in its shell in the microwave, as it will explode, which totally negates quick, easy and fast cleanup. Here are my recipes:
Scrambled Eggs with Sautéed Onions:
Place a handful of fresh or frozen chopped onions in a casserole dish along with three pats of butter (approx. one tablespoon). Cover and microwave on high for about two minutes or until onions are soft. Crack two or three eggs into the dish and scramble them into the onions and butter. Stir in preferred flavorings like onion powder, basil, chives, pepper, Italian or Mexican seasonings. Cook covered on medium (50%) power for three minutes. Stir and continue cooking just until set, one to three minutes depending on your machine’s power. If you like cheese, put thin slices on top of eggs and re-cover for a minute or two until melted. Eat as is or use to make sandwiches or to chop for casserole dishes. Or, top with pasta, marinara or salsa sauce. Have it your way!
Cooking Noodles in the Microwave:
The first two recipes below start with a base of cooked noodles. In keeping with my goal of having the fewest pots and pans to clean, I cook pasta and macaroni in the microwave. In a 1 ½ quart Corningware or deep-sided glass casserole dish, stir together two cups of very hot water and one cup of chosen type of noodles. [For extra nutrition, I like to use Barilla Plus brand, as it’s much higher in protein and fiber than others and has added, beneficial Omega-3.] I’ve never tried this with string spaghetti, as I prefer noodles that are less messy to eat, but don’t let that stop you. Cook uncovered on high for approximately eight minutes; stir, un-sticking any clumps; add the extra ingredients in the recipe; and continue cooking until the noodles are done, approx. six more minutes. Every microwave is different, so adjust cooking times depending on the power of yours. Drain off cooking water using a colander, or by just pouring it off using a slotted spoon to hold back the contents. Obviously, the pot will be very hot, so use caution and hot pads.
PLEASE NOTE: To maintain the health of your microwave, immediately after boiling noodles (or anything else that creates steam) use a paper or cloth towel to dry the interior of your oven, especially the ceiling that will be covered with droplets of condensed water—it only takes a minute. The efficiency of a microwave is diminished if the inside is covered with food splatters, so this procedure has the excellent, added benefit of steam cleaning and sanitizing, as food particles easily wipe away. With this method, you never need to use chemical cleansers with residues that could contaminate cooking food.
Egg and Noodle Casserole (with lots of variations):
Cook one cup of elbow noodles (or any type of pasta) using the above directions. At the eight-minute point, gently separate any clumps and stir in your choice of fresh or frozen veggies—peas, green beans, corn, onions, diced or sliced carrots, broccoli florets—whatever goes best with your selected dressing. Continue cooking another six minutes or until everything’s done to your preference. Drain.
Finish the dish by dressing it with your choice of mayonnaise, olive oil or tomato-based sauce and seasonings. Stir in chopped, hard-boiled eggs (or flaked tuna, chicken chunks, sausage, mini meatballs, etc.). Garnish with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Macaroni and Eggs:
I created this recipe in lieu of macaroni and cheese. It’s completely adaptable to personal tastes and available ingredients.
Melt a tablespoon of butter in a glass measuring cup in the microwave—only takes about 15 seconds on high; set aside.
Using instructions above, cook, uncovered, one cup of elbow macaroni in microwave for 13 minutes, adding (optional) raw or frozen chopped onions halfway through. Noodles should be slightly undercooked, as they will finish with the eggs.
Scramble three eggs into melted butter.
Drain cooked macaroni, stir in scrambled eggs, onion powder, (optional) Italian or other seasonings and several heaping spoonfuls of grated Parmesan cheese. Cook, covered, in microwave on medium (50%) power for 3 minutes, stir, and continue cooking until eggs are set, 1-3 minutes. Optionally, finish by stirring in a big dollop of mayo or sour cream for added flavor or some shredded cheddar or other cheese.
Chocolate Scrambled Eggs:
Okay…at first blush, chocolate scrambled eggs might sound a bit wacky. But if you’re a chocoholic like I am, trust me, these are a delightful way to start the day. They’re a decadent addition to the brunch buffet table next to French toast, waffles and pancakes. They just might be the bribe needed to get kids to eat eggs. And with a little imagination, they can also be a low-carb dessert–I haven’t tried it yet, but perhaps topped with a dollop of whipped cream and some chocolate shavings?
This tastes like a chocolate soufflé, but is fast and easy, skipping all the putzy, time-consuming steps of the traditional recipe.
1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup powdered milk OR 1/3 cup milk or cream
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Sweetener to taste (a very personal thing)–I usually use all Stevia, but sometimes add a little sugar, too. Obviously, you can use all sugar–start with about 1/3 of a cup (see directions below)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons ground Flaxseed (optional–good source of fiber and adds subtle, nutty flavor)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or ground cinnamon
3 eggs (I use jumbo)
In a 1 1/2 quart, covered casserole dish, heat water (or milk) in microwave on high for a minute or until hot (but not boiling); stir in and dissolve powdered milk, cocoa powder and butter–this step is needed to get cocoa powder incorporated and create chocolate.
Stir in vanilla or cinnamon, flaxseed and sweetener. Taste at this point, since the eggs won’t change the flavor and you want enough sweetening to make it taste chocolaty and not bitter. Scramble eggs into the mixture until blended. Cook covered in microwave on 50% power for 3 minutes, stir, and continue cooking just until firm, approx. 2 more minutes depending on power of your microwave. (Never cook eggs in the microwave on high power, as that destroys the protein and makes them tough.)
Of course, you can make this on the stove in a frying pan, beginning by heating and stirring the first four ingredients on medium heat until they’re dissolved and blended. Then, stir in other ingredients and beaten eggs. Finish in the same manner you cook regular scrambled eggs.
Once eggs get to their expiration date, viability can be extended another week by hard-boiling to make egg salad or deviled eggs, eaten plain or added to casseroles.
Generic instructions for hard-boiling eggs are not strict rules–you need to experiment to find what works for you, depending on where you live and what size eggs you’re using. Did you know that the boiling point of water depends on the atmospheric pressure, which changes according to elevation? The boiling point is 100°C or 212°F at 1 atmosphere of pressure (sea level), but water comes to a boil at a lower temperature (so faster) as you gain altitude (atop a mountain) and boils at a higher temperature (takes longer) if you increase atmospheric pressure (live below sea level like folks on Staten Island or in New Orleans). Thanks to the altimeter my dad had mounted on his car’s dashboard, I know my kitchen is at an elevation of 1365 feet above see level. That’s just a fun fact; I don’t need to know what the temperature of the water is when it comes to a bubbling boil. I have determined that it takes approximately 15 minutes for my covered pot of cold water containing a dozen, cold, jumbo eggs to come to a boil on high heat. I then switch off the burner, let the eggs sit in the hot water (covered) for 23 minutes, drain and quickly chill in a couple changes of cold water before drying and refrigerating. They turn out perfect every time.
My last eggsperiments were to extend the life of my stock beyond hard-boiling. The freezer section at the grocery store has frozen egg sandwiches, so I figured maybe I could do something similar at home. I tried making big batches of scrambled eggs with sautéed onions, freezing them in meal-sized portions, and then thawing in the microwave. I had mixed results: the flavor was okay, but the texture was a bit off. So, I moved on to freezing raw eggs so I can choose how I want to cook them later, and also, to have for baking. Here’s the technique I developed:
Fill a muffin pan with paper cupcake liners, crack an egg into each one, gently stir the yolk and white together with a fork (you don’t want to incorporate air), and then put the pan in the freezer for about four hours. Once the eggs are frozen solid, pop the cups out and stack them in a Zip-Loc freezer bag. To use, practice food safety by defrosting the eggs in a covered bowl in the refrigerator or on low setting in the microwave. The paper can be peeled away once the eggs start to defrost. Cook as soon as they’re defrosted to avoid bacterial growth and spoilage.
It’s said that the word “FEAR is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real.” One of the greatest attributes of the human spirit is creative imagination—use yours with no fear. You don’t need to depend on Martha Stewart or (the late) Julia Childs for all your recipes. Create your own! Not to worry—any flops can be fed to the critters—they’ll still think you’re a gourmet cook. And share your triumphs with the rest of us! Bon Appétit!
Chocolate Substitution Chart–How to substitute different forms of chocolate in recipes
Safe Food Handling Tips–scroll down menu for eggscellent advice on how to store and use leftover eggs.
How to freeze eggs, whole or separated, along with a conversion chart for measurements to use in recipes.
Eggs 101: Basic Cooking Techniques
How To: Hard-Boil an Egg
How To: Make Scrambled Eggs
How To: Fry Eggs
How To: Make French Omelets
Egg Recipes & More
Egg Nutrients: “The protein in eggs is the highest-quality protein found in any food.”
Cracking the Cholesterol Myth
For the freshest eggs possible, you can raise your own chickens.
Factors Affecting Egg Production in Backyard Chicken Flock
Explore links to research on how human thoughts and emotions affect the heart, mind and body at The Institute of HearthMath.
Intriguing article that speaks to why words of love and gratitude can increase nutrition of food: Scientists Prove DNA Can Be Reprogrammed by Words and Frequencies