I'm up to week 9, focusing on www.EverydayHealth.com's list of 13 super foods. Today, it's all about eggs, a food I must confess to not loving. I do like omelets and frittatas, but that's because there are so many other ingredients, the taste of egg is hidden.
The reason that eggs made the top 13 list: Eggs are the best protein source on the planet, consistently outranking milk, beef, whey, and soy in the quality of protein they provide. In addition to containing all nine essential amino acids, eggs are loaded with nutrients. As for the yolks, they contain choline, which helps protect heartand brain function, and prevents cholesterol and fat from accumulating in the liver. Of course, if you have heart disease, the American Heart Association says to limit egg yolks to two per week, and use plain whites or cholesterol-free substitutes the rest of the week.
Select fresh, clean eggs from refrigerated cases. Check each one for cracks and dirt, sure ways for bacteria to enter. Since the shell can contain bacteria, take care when cracking the egg, avoiding getting the shell in the bowl -- I know: Easier said than done. My mother never separated eggs by passing the yolk between the shells, because she said doing so can cause contamination. Because of mom, I always use an egg separator, or I carefully crack all the eggs into the bowl, wash my hands really well, and pluck out the yolks. And once you are finished with raw eggs, wash everything -- including your hands -- well.
Size matters: If a recipe does not specify size, use large eggs, especially important for pastry recipes, where amounts are exact. There is an approximate 3-ounce difference between sizes.
Color: Whether the shell is brown or white does not affect taste or nutritional value.
Store in the refrigerator, in their carton, as soon as you get home. I remember when all refrigerators came with open containers in which to store eggs. The problem here is that eggs absorb refrigerator odors, which will change the taste of your eggs. And check the packing date. Eggs stay fresh about 5 weeks after that date. Hard-cooked eggs stay fresh about 7 days if refrigerated.
Substitutions: 2 eggs whites equal 1 egg
And now for one of my favorite weeknight meals -- a terrific Frittata that changes weekly depending on what kind of leftovers are in the fridge. This is a basic recipe that can be added or subtracted to at will.
6 eggs (Recently, I've been using 4 eggs plus 4 egg whites and no one has been any wiser)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
Olive oil spray
About 1 cup chopped vegetables, meat or poultry, or a combination
1/2 cup Parmesan, Cheddar or feta cheese
Place eggs and pepper in a bowl and whisk well. Set aside.
Spray 10-inch oven-proof skillet with olive oil, and saute onion and garlic till tender Add the chopped vegetables or meat, and saute until cooked through.
Heat oven broiler.
Pour eggs over vegetables Cook over medium heat. As mixture is cooking, lift portions of the edges up so parts to the uncooked eggs will flow underneath. Continue cooking until most the eggs are almost set, but the surface is stil moist.
Sprinkle surface with cheese.
Place skillet in oven, about 4 inches from the heat source. Broil only about 2 minutes, until mixture sets and cheese begins to turn golden. Cut into wedges. It's supposed to feed 3, but since this is dinner, it's perfect for 2.