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Ryder: The ordinary egg is worth celebrating |

Ryder: The ordinary egg is worth celebrating

The ordinary egg is truly awesome: It comes in its own package, is incredibly adaptable to a wide range of uses and is a powerhouse of nutrition. 


Look at it this way: An egg contains all the nutrients necessary for transforming a single cell into a live baby chick. 

Raw materials for that baby chick include 13 essential vitamins and minerals, a good dollop of high-quality protein (6 grams in one large egg) and all nine of the essential amino acids. All of those are needed for strong muscles to a healthy memory.

It isn’t too surprising that the egg has its own special day of celebration. National Egg Day is June 3, and World Egg Day is celebrated the second Friday in October. If you’re especially keen on deviled eggs, Nov. 2 is their special day. 

We’ve already missed out on National Egg Cream Day, which was March 15. That one worried me a bit because, although I’ve had eggs more ways than I can count, egg cream didn’t ring a bell. I didn’t even know of anything that might reasonably be called egg cream. However, a little investigation cleared things up. Seems that egg cream is a soda fountain drink containing neither eggs nor cream, so we can wait and worry about that one next March. 

Meanwhile, the egg is so well appreciated that it has its own special month, which just happens to be the merry month of May. 

The Indiana State Poultry Commission is marking National Egg Month with recipes for egg dishes. Every Monday, they post a week’s worth of recipes at http://www.inpoultry.com/nationaleggmonth. 

If you’d like to liven up the menu, it’s a good way to go. So far the commission’s offerings have ranged from an easy classic flan to sriracha avocado eggs. 

I’ll keep their recipe for frozen vanilla custard ice cream on hand for summer but for now, I’ll celebrate by expanding my egg-poaching skills. I’m tired of seeing notations such as “two eggs, any style,” on restaurant menus only to be told, when I request poached eggs, “We don’t do them that way.”

I avoid poaching eggs at home. It isn’t difficult, just labor-intensive. That’s because I use the special pan made for poaching eggs. It’s absolutely foolproof. It’s also the one-egg size, small enough to be easily lost in the pots and pans drawer of my stove. By the time I find it, I’m sitting on the kitchen floor surrounded by pots, pans, skillets and lids of all sizes. 

Poached eggs have been described as “boiled eggs without the shell,” which is sort of true. For boiled eggs that peel easily and neatly, you want eggs that are not too fresh. For optimum results when poaching eggs, fresher the eggs hold together better while cooking.

One popular method uses 2 to 3 inches of water in a skillet or saucepan. Adding a tablespoon of white vinegar for each liter of water helps the whites hold together while cooking. Bring the water to a low simmer (160 to 180 degrees), but don’t let it boil. Boiling water toughens eggs. 

While the water heats, crack the eggs into small individual bowls. When the water is ready, hold a bowl at the surface of the water and slide the egg into the pan. Be careful not to crowd the eggs.

Cook, undisturbed, until the egg white is set and the yolk is covered by a thin layer of white (3 minutes for medium eggs, 4 for firm). Remove eggs with a slotted spoon, letting them drain over the pan.

I’ve also seen, but not tried, instructions for poaching eggs in a microwave oven. Half a cup of water is measured into a coffee mug and one egg cracked into the cup. Cover the cup with a saucer and cook on high until the egg white is cooked through and the yolk still soft, about 30 to 60 seconds. If the white does not appear to be cooked through, continue cooking in 10-second increments.

Mary Ryder is a food columnist for the Daily Commercial. Email her at practicalpotwatcher@cfl.rr.com.

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