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Posts Tagged ‘eggs’

Gastronomically yours,

March 26th, 2017

Egg-zactley!!
I remember watching Rocky Balboa drink raw eggs while training for his big fight. If Rocky only knew that humans can only absorb about 50% of the protein in raw eggs, whereas the proteins in a cooked egg have a 90% bio-availability he may have had this scene deleted from the movie.

Eggs are one of the most versatile ingredients used in the kitchen. We commonly use eggs from chickens but duck, and goose eggs, are frequently used around the world by many cultures. Quail eggs are considered a delicacy and are commonly used in Japanese preparations where they may be served raw or cooked in sushi. Colombian’s enjoy quail eggs as a topping on hot dogs and hamburgers. Although wild birds’ eggs are edible they are often protected by laws which prohibit collecting or selling them.

Chicken eggs intended for human consumption are unfertilized as laying hens are usually kept without roosters. Fertilized eggs can be consumed as refrigeration prohibits cellular growth delaying the development of the embryo. Egg shell color is determined by the chicken. White feathered chickens typically lay white eggs with the brown feathered chickens laying brown eggs and on occasion a bird will lay both colors.

Egg yolks are often used as a binder or emulsifier in the kitchen. The albumen, or egg white, is high in protein but contains little or no fat and can be aerated to a light, fluffy consistency. Beaten egg whites are used in desserts such as meringues and mousse.

Sometimes when boiled eggs are overcooked, a green ring can appear around the yolk. This is caused by iron molecules reacting with sulfur compounds within the egg. It is not always a sign of the eggs being overcooked as it can also occur when there is an abundance of iron in the cooking water. The green ring does not affect the egg’s taste.

Locally farmed eggs are usually at most a week old compared to those from large-scale producers, which could age up to two months in cold storage. Fresh eggs have egg yolks that will stand up more firmly when cracked open onto a surface and often surpass the grade “A” standard in yolk form and shape, as well the yolk exhibits a richer mango colour.

 

Many residents in the City of Peterborough and outlying areas had their feathers ruffled by city council when they proposed to ban the practice of raising chickens within city limits. The debate was passionately defended on all sides but before questions as to why chickens cross roads, and to whether the egg or the chicken came first, common sense and a contemporary approach in thinking prevailed with everything going to the birds. As many urban centers across Canada allow backyard chicken farming I’m nothing short of confused as to why this became an issue let alone a dramatic discussion. I will forgo entering the cats on leashes arena for all culinary intents and purposes.

The best thing that came out of this political process was that it brought more awareness to urban animal husbandry practices and has increased interest in raising chickens in our own yards and empowers you to control what your chickens are eating and their living environment while producing a perfect source of protein. You will also be able to quickly process your kitchen scraps and lawn trimmings into compost which in turn can be used to propagate your own vegetable gardens. For those of you familiar with Disney’s The Lion King, it’s a circle of life thing Simba.

The daily chores involved with raising chickens is about as intensive as having an unleashed cat, feed them every morning, provide them with plenty of fresh water, let them out in the morning and put them in at night. Every couple of months you will need to change the litter or shavings in the floor of the coop and run. A coop is the house that your chickens will live in which and must be designed to protect the birds from the elements and any predators. Position the coop in a shaded area, allowing 1 cubic meter per chicken.  Nesting boxes could be incorporated into your design as it promotes the chickens laying their eggs in the same spot making them easier to find. If you plan on raising your chickens year round you will need to insulate the coop with a venting system for sufficient air circulation. The floor should be covered with shavings which will need to be changed over every couple of months and will provide your gardens with ample free fertilizer. You will need to have a run attached to the coop which is a fenced-in area that will contain the birds and protect them from daytime predators.  Allow 1 sq meter per bird when constructing the run.

Chickens are highly social creatures so you should have a minimum of three birds. Heritage breeds like Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, and Ameraucana are easily tamed and will behave more like pets. They are considered to be excellent layers that will begin laying around 4 – 5 months of age where other breeds may take up to six months before they begin laying.  This selection of breeds provide a colourful variety of birds but an even greater variety in egg shell colours which will shift in hues between white, taupe, brown, blue and green.

Incorporating chickens into your urban farming practices is great way to way to educate your family on how are food cycle works and allows for hands on learning in a practical environment and is enjoyed by all ages. All of your chicken supplies and chicks can be sourced from local farm supply companies. They require advance ordering which allows you to plan and build your coop and run in a timely manner knowing when your chicks will arrive.

Gastronomically yours,

February 12th, 2014

So here is what one chef had to say about the eggs that my 4 and 1 year old daughters are harvesting from the chickens they are raising in an exceptionally sustainable way…

How to explain to someone who has never had farm fresh eggs over store bought??? It is hard!

I had my first Pixie Hollow farm eggs today and i must say I was delighted!!!
I like mine sunny side up or in egg in hole, of course both fried in bacon fat. I decided to compare the sunny side up with store bought, and what a difference.

Pixie eggs have nice deep rich orange yolk colour, store bought…plain yellow.

Pixie Hollow”s egg kept its shape and didn’t spread all over the pan when i cracked it, store bought well went running all over the pan.

Pixie Hollows eggs stood tall and proud in the pan, store bought just sort of slouched down and got flat.

The other amazing thing I noticed is i cracked the Pixie Hollow’s egg in pan first, then the store bought, and i had to take the store bought out first or it would of been over cooked and that crusty bottom. The Pixie eggs took a full minute longer to reach the way i like it.

Grocery store egg on the left, Pixie Hollow Farm Egg on the right.

Grocery store egg on the left, Pixie Hollow Farm Egg on the right.

But the flavour and mouth feel was amazing, both the white and yolk had a velvety feel on the tongue. The white actually had flavour, not just bland like store bought. The yolk well what can i say, when i cut into it is slowly ran out, and it was a deep velvety yoke flavour..
Can’t wait to use them in baking.

Moose Neilsen

Gastronomically yours,

January 15th, 2014

 

Sometimes we have to crack a few eggs when we talk about local food!
Eggs are laid by birds and reptiles alike; and we have been eating them since the beginning of time when we did more gathering than hunting. Since the domestication of jungle fowl in Asia, the chicken has evolved into one of the most commonly consumed egg producing creatures with quail, duck and ostrich eggs rallying for second place depending on one’s taste and geographic location.  Reptilian eggs are still consumed throughout the world but this practise is less common as many of the species involved are on endangered lists.

Although we may never be able to resolve the question of which came first, bird or egg, we can be certain in knowing the evolution of the countless ways to cook an egg. Eggs originally would have been consumed raw upon their harvest. With the discovery of fire we began baking and roasting eggs. Around 13 000 BC water was incorporated into egg cooking methods by boiling and steaming with cooking containers made from animal bladders and leather which was furthered by the use of stone pots around 7000BC. 2000 years later we were able to create pottery, which was succeeded by bronze, then iron.

egg carton photograph

With the evolution of humankind came more sophisticated cooking techniques. No doubt that the first eggs cooked in a pan without water became scrambled eggs which would have quickly evolved into an omelet which originally consisted of numerous eggs beaten and fried until firmly set. It was then sliced into wedges and served like pie. The origins of the omelet are generally thought to have originated in the Middle East around 500 BC. Its commonality travelled to Western Europe and each country created their own regional variation on this giving way to the Italian frittata, Spanish tortilla and the French quiche and omelette.

Nutritionally the egg is usually separated to consider both the yolk and the white. The yolks contain more than half the calories found in eggs and around five grams of fat depending on its size.  The whites are made up of mostly water with a significant amount of protein that is cholesterol free with very little fat if any.

The following recipe is for a simple omelet to which I add cheese curds to increase its flavour profile and give it a rich mouth feel. Pixie Hollow Farm is my egg supplier.
Ingredients:

3 eggs from Pixie Hollow Farm, beaten

2 oz. of Empire cheese curds at room temperature

1 tbsp. Kawartha Dairy butter

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method:

In a non-stick or well-seasoned omelette pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat. As the butter melts, swirl it around the pan until it starts to bubble.

Pour the beaten eggs into the pan and turn down the heat to a medium-low setting. As the eggs begin to coagulate, push the omelet to one side of the pan with a high heat spatula.

Evenly place the curds along the middle of the omelet and season the omelet with salt and pepper. Once the omelette is completely set, gently slide it out of the pan so that it rolls onto the plate. Serve immediately.

These are my chickens at 3 months of age.Happy and healthy!

These are Pixie Hollow Farm chickens at 3 months of age.Happy and healthy!

Egg-zactley!!
Eggs are one of the most versatile ingredients used in the kitchen. We commonly use eggs from chickens but duck, goose, and quail eggs are used as gourmet ingredients and are generally used around the world by many cultures. Gull eggs are considered a delicacy in numerous countries throughout the EU. Quail eggs are considered a delicacy in many countries. In Japanese preparations they may be served raw or cooked in sushi. In Colombia quail eggs are so commonplace that a single hard-boiled quail egg is often a topping on hot dogs and hamburgers. Although wild birds’ eggs are edible they are often protected by laws which prohibit collecting or selling them.

Chicken eggs intended for human consumption are unfertilized as laying hens are usually kept without roosters. Fertilized eggs can be consumed as refrigeration prohibits cellular growth delaying the development of the embryo.

I remember watching Rocky Balboa drink raw eggs while training for his big fight. If Rocky only knew that humans can only absorb about 50% of the protein in raw eggs, whereas the proteins in a cooked egg have a 90% bio-availability.

Egg yolks are often used as a binder or emulsifier in the kitchen. The albumen, or egg white, is high in protein but contains little or no fat and can be aerated to a light, fluffy consistency. Beaten egg whites are used in desserts such as meringues and mousse.

Sometimes when boiled eggs are overcooked, a green ring can appear around the yolk. This is caused by iron molecules reacting with sulfur compounds within the egg. It is not always a sign of the eggs being overcooked as it can also occur when there is an abundance of iron in the cooking water. The green ring does not affect the egg’s taste.

There is very little difference between white and brown shelled eggs. I personally prefer the brown-shelled eggs, as they are more durable and the shell is harder to break. Locally farmed eggs are usually at most a week old compared to those from large-scale producers, which could age up to two months in cold storage. Fresh eggs have egg yolks that will stand up more firmly when cracked open onto a surface and often surpass the grade “A” standard in yolk form and shape, as well the yolk exhibits a richer mango colour.

Rasi and Eli Cajindos raise laying hens that provide them with free-range brown eggs in Youngs Point.  Pixie Hollow Farm eggs are available at the farm gate or by contacting 705.875.0428.

 

My laying hens enjoy playing in the autumn leaves!

The laying hens enjoy playing in the autumn leaves at Pixie Hollow Farm!

Let the kids make this recipe with some supervision.  It will work well for breakfast lunch or dinner.

 

Easy Breakfast Burrito

Two large potatoes

One cup of sausage or ham diced
Six Pixie Hollow Farm eggs
One red bell pepper diced

One cooking onion diced

Grated cheese
Tortillas as needed
Salsa as needed

Salt
Pepper

Cut the potatoes into bite size pieces and boil in water until soft enough to pierce with fork. Drain the water and reserve the potatoes.

Brown the sausage in a large skillet with bell pepper and onion until sausage is completely browned. Add potatoes to skillet and cook until the potatoes start to brown. Break eggs into large bowl and whisk. Pour the eggs into the sausage mixture. Continue cooking and stirring until the eggs are no longer wet and resemble scrambled eggs. Serve immediately with tortillas, cheese and salsa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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