Nothing like a national stay-in to make you appreciate eggs.
Grocery provisions have been on all of our minds lately, and in my house, I’ve started keeping better track of how many eggs I have at any given time.
Any less than six and I start making plans to restock. The good news is that, although the price of eggs has gone up slightly since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., eggs are still readily available at many retail outlets, from traditional grocery stores and farmers markets to restaurants-turned-bodegas and the now-booming food delivery services.
With Easter and Passover upon us, you might be thinking about the significance of eggs in a new way. Depending on the cultural tradition, eggs can be seen as a symbol of fertility and new growth. Renewal. Investment. Fragility and strength.
My neighbors have been raising chickens for about a year, and as soon as we started sheltering in place, they dropped off a dozen blue eggs from their feather-headed Araucana hens. That thoughtful donation of resources started a back-and-forth exchange that has continued as the weeks rolled by. A jar of granola here, a tray of focaccia there. Powdered sugar for chocolate cupcakes, followed by a surprise delivery of said chocolate cupcakes.
One night, as I was lighting my backyard grill, I sent a text asking if they wanted me to throw anything on the fire for them. Lisa brought over and — with plenty of social distance — dropped off two racks of lamb, one for me to grill for them and another to say thank you for the favor. An hour later, I sent the meat back to their house with a side of grilled sweet potatoes, a “thank you” on top of a “thank you.”
We’re all taking care of ourselves and each other in entirely new ways these days. Well, sharing eggs with neighbors is actually a very old way of building faith in a community, but it’s one of many forms of connection that many of us, myself included, are rediscovering as we face unprecedented fears and uncertainties.
Whether the chicken or the egg came first is a conundrum that might not ever have a clear answer, just like what this coronavirus crisis as a whole means to all of us, but these small gestures of kindness and generosity are something I can comprehend.
What a gift those blue eggs turned out to be.
Frico and Polenta Fried Eggs
Frico is Parmesan cheese that is literally just melted until it’s crisp like a cracker. So simple, so delicious. I’ve taken the classic frico and layered it with polenta and a fried egg for the ultimate easy skillet breakfast … or late-night breakfast or dinner if you so please. The key is to cook the cheese first, until it begins to melt and crisp. Then spoon the cooked polenta over the top and crack an egg over the polenta. The cheese will turn golden and crisp while the egg fries up over the polenta. The greens round out the meal and add that ever-important touch of color to your dish. I like to use DeLallo quick-cooking polenta, which only takes 5 minutes, if I don’t already have leftover polenta on hand.
From “Half Baked Harvest Super Simple: More Than 125 Recipes for Instant, Overnight, Meal-Prepped, and Easy Comfort Foods: A Cookbook” by Tieghan Gerard (Clarkson Potter, $29.99)
¼ cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup cooked creamy polenta, warmed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup torn Swiss chard, baby kale or collard greens
Crushed red pepper flakes, for serving
In a small bowl, combine the cheddar and Parmesan.
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Sprinkle the cheese mixture into two 4-inch rounds in the bottom of the skillet and cook until the cheese starts to melt and become firm, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a small spoon, gently spread the polenta over the cheese rounds and make a well in the center of each polenta mound.
Evenly drizzle the olive oil all over the polenta, crack an egg into each well and season both with salt and pepper. Cook, rotating the skillet occasionally, until the egg whites set around the yolk and begin to crisp at the edges, about 2 minutes. Add the greens around the eggs, cover the skillet, and cook until the greens have wilted, 1 minute more. Remove the skillet from the heat and serve with red pepper flakes. Serves 1.
If I wrote a breakfast cookbook and did not include huevos rancheros, I think my mom would disown me. She likes the super-traditional version, but I prefer this modern California style. After all, I’m a Southern California girl. There is a little bit of smoke from the chipotle chile that does give the dish a nice traditional nod.
From “Sunny-Side Up: More Than 100 Breakfast & Brunch Recipes from the Essential Egg to the Perfect Pastry: A Cookbook” by Waylynn Lucas (Rodale, $24.99)
1 teaspoon chopped canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from the can
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon canned diced green chile
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or canola oil
½ cup chopped onion (about ½ onion)
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
1 to 3 dashes of Tabasco sauce, or more if you like it spicy
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
4 white corn tortillas
4 large eggs
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained, rinsed and warmed
Crumbled cotija cheese, for garnish
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
½ avocado, chopped, for garnish
In a blender, combine the chipotle chile, adobo sauce, diced tomatoes and green chile. Blend until somewhat smooth but still a little chunky.
In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium to high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion begins to soften. Add the tomato mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.
Add the garlic, pepper, oregano, Tabasco and salt. Reduce the heat to low and cover the skillet.
In a shallow pot or skillet, heat ¼ cup of the oil. Add 2 tortillas at a time and fry for about 1 minute per side, until the tortillas are somewhat crispy and lightly golden but still soft. We’re going for a crispy and chewy texture.
Place 2 tortillas on each plate. In a separate large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and fry the eggs sunny side up.
Top the tortillas on each plate with a good amount of black beans, a generous amount of the tomato sauce, then 2 fried eggs, then a little more sauce on top of the eggs. Finish with the cotija cheese, cilantro and avocado. Serves 2.
Technically, this recipe could be called “bibim-cauliflower,” but you won’t even miss the bap (rice) in this Korean staple. The flavors of chile-garlic beef and the kimchi balance this dish nicely with each bite of the veggie-packed base.
From “Cast Iron Keto: 75 Low-Carb One Pot Meals for the Home Cook” by Alex Lester and Lauren Lester ($21.99)
For the chile-garlic beef:
1-pound rib-eye steak, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chile-garlic sauce
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon tamari
For the mushrooms:
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
5 ounces shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
Sea salt, as needed
For the spinach:
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
6 cups baby spinach, loosely packed
Sea salt, as needed
For the eggs:
4 teaspoons avocado oil
4 large eggs
Sea salt, as needed
Black pepper, as needed
For the bowls:
3 cups cooked cauliflower rice
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup kimchi
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
To make the chile-garlic beef, place the steak in a lidded container with the chile-garlic sauce, oil and tamari. Refrigerate the steak for 30 minutes.
Heat a 10-inch or larger cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the steak and the marinade and cook it for 5 to 7 minutes, until its internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. Remove the steak from the skillet and set it aside.
To make the mushrooms, add the sesame oil to the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook them for 5 to 6 minutes, until they have softened. Season the mushrooms with the salt. Remove the mushrooms from the skillet and set them aside.
To make the spinach, heat the avocado oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook it for 30 seconds, then add the spinach. Cook the spinach for 4 to 5 minutes, until it has wilted. Season the spinach with the salt. Remove the spinach from the skillet and set it aside.
To make the eggs, heat the avocado oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the eggs and fry them just until the whites are set, 2 to 3 minutes. Season the eggs with the salt and black pepper.
To assemble the bowls, layer the cauliflower rice, beef, spinach, mushrooms, carrot, cucumber, green onions, and kimchi in individual serving bowls. Top each bowl with an egg and sprinkle it with the sesame seeds. Serves 4.
French Onion Quiche
Quiche is nothing new with the keto diet. It typically is not something that I really think about or crave. However, I do love French onion soup, so when the idea to merge quiche with the soup flavors popped into my head, I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen to try it. Be sure to take the time to allow the onions to fully caramelize; it’s what makes the quiche so delicious.
Place the crust in a standard pie tin, cover and keep in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling. To make this dairy-free or paleo, use butter-flavored coconut oil and coconut milk instead of heavy cream. Omit the cheese. Note: If you can’t find Organic Better Than Bouillon, it can be omitted from the recipe. However, you will lose a punch of flavor and may find some additional salt is needed. A bit of extra Swiss cheese could also help make up for the loss of flavor.
From “The Ultimate Keto Cookbook: 270+ Recipes for Incredible Low-Carb Meals” by Brittany Angell (Page Street Publishing, $32.99)
1 pie crust, homemade or store-bought
3 tablespoons salted butter or butter-flavored coconut oil
2 large red onions, sliced
½ teaspoon fresh or dried thyme leaves
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dry vermouth
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon bouillon, such as Better than Bouillon
1 cup heavy cream or room temperature unsweetened full-fat coconut milk (from a can)
1¼ cups shredded Swiss cheese, divided
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions, thyme, salt and pepper and slow-cook the onions for 20 minutes, or until fully caramelized, stirring every so often.
About 15 minutes into the cook time add the minced garlic. Turn off the heat and pour in the vermouth to deglaze the pan.
Set aside to cool.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a blender, combine the eggs, beef bouillon and cream. Blend on high for about 30 seconds, until frothy.
Place half of the onions on the bottom of the unbaked pie crust, spreading them out evenly. Add 1 cup of the Swiss cheese and spread it out evenly on top of the onions. Pour in the egg mixture, then add the remaining onions to the top of the quiche, spreading them out evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of Swiss cheese. Place carefully on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then cover the quiche with foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
Remove the quiche from the oven and serve warm or cold. Store in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 week