THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

Archive for Eggs

TIP OF THE DAY: Quail Eggs Are Festive (& Have No Salmonella)

Quail & Chicken Eggs
[1] Quail eggs and chicken eggs. Quail eggs are one bite, chicken eggs are four bites (photo courtesy Petrossian).

Blini With Quail Egg
[2] Blini with quail eggs, trout roe and crème fraîche. Here’s the recipe from Martha Stewart.

Quail Egg Stuffed Mushrooms
[3] Quail egg stuffed mushrooms. Here’s the recipe from Bite Delite.

Quail On A Branch

[4] The quail herself (photo courtesy Red Ted Art).

 

To some fine chefs, small is better: from miniature vegetables to more “elegant”-size portions overall.

Quail eggs fit right in.

For years, we’d only seen quail eggs at Japanese restaurants, on top of an uni (sea urchin) or tobiko (flying fish roe) gunkan-maki.

Since better supermarkets now carry them, it’s time to take a closer look at quail eggs.

  • Quail eggs taste like chicken eggs…maybe a bit richer since they have a larger yolk-to-white ratio.
  • Quail Eggs Are Barely Healthier than Chicken Eggs! Compared to chicken eggs, quail eggs are slightly healthier if

  • You cook them the same way: boiled, fried, scrambled, deviled, egg salad, etc. If you luck into a lot of them at a bargain price, make an omelet.
  • > For soft-boiled eggs, gently place the eggs in boiling water (with a spoon) and boil for three minutes and place in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process.
    > For hard-boiled eggs, boil for 4-5 minutes. Test one after 4 minutes.

  • Four quail eggs equal one large chicken egg.
  • Quail don’t have salmonella in their digestive tract, so the eggs can be used raw—in Caesar Salad or Steak Tartare, for example. This is due to an increased amount of lysozyme, an antimicrobial enzyme that forms part of the immune system of the quail*. It kills harmful bacteria.
  • >The body temperature of quail is also higher than that of chickens: another reason why quail don’t harbor the same harmful bacteria.
    >Here’s more on the health benefits of quail eggs.
     
     
    HOW TO SERVE QUAIL EGGS

    You can garnish a green salad, serve three boiled eggs with asparagus, make Scotch eggs, stuff mushroom caps (photo #3), garnish a mini-latke with smoked salmon and a boiled quail egg.

    You can pickle quail eggs, turning the white exterior into a vivid red (from beet juice). Don’t say what they are: Let guests be surprised.

    You can pop fried quail eggs onto ramen, make breakfast tartlets, top an avocado tea sandwich, serve them raw with steak tartare…whatever your palate desires.

    Here are some ideas from D’Artagnan:

  • Little Devils. Deviled quail eggs have a wow factor. Consider a trio of flavors: plain with smoked paprika, topped with with bacon and thyme, and a truffled egg.
  • Teeny Blinis For an elegant hors d’oeuvre, crown a blin (singular for blini) with a dollop of crème fraiche, half of a hard-cooked quail egg and a spoon of caviar (photo #2).
  • Toad-in-a-Hole. Instead of a conventional slice of buttered toast with a chicken egg in the center (recipe), use a small slice brioche with truffle butter and a quail eggs.
  • Golden Egg Ravioli. If you make ravioli, nestle a raw quail yolk in a little mound of herbed ricotta as the filling. The yolk will cook gently when the pasta is dropped into boiling water, its center still molten upon serving. A delicious surprise!
  • Petite Niçoise. Add poached quail eggs instead of halved or quartered chicken eggs to a classic Niçoise Salad. Ditto with bacon lardons in a Lyonnaise Salad or a Frisée Salad.
  • Spiced Bites. For an easy hors d’oeuvre, roll peeled hard-boiled quail eggs in a favorite spice mixture. A tiny slice off the wide bottom of each egg will ensure they sit upright on the platter.
  •  
    Quail eggs are pricey, so they are [for most of us] a special-occasion treat.

    When you find them at a good price, get ready to pounce!
     
     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EGGS

     
    ________________

    *Lysozyme is present to a lesser or greater extent in other animals, as well.

     
      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Truffled Scrambled Eggs

    Truffled Scrambled Eggs

    Truffled Scrambled Eggs

    [1] If you have to ask, you can’t afford it: a bounty of white truffle shaved onto scrambled eggs (photo George Guarino | Eataly Chicago. [2] The affordable version (photo courtesy Saveur, along with their recipe to make perfect scrambled eggs).

     

    For the wealthy gourmet, there are truffled scrambled eggs that consist of the richest, butteriest, farm-fresh eggs scrambled and topped with pricey truffle shavings.

    You can pay a supplement of $100, $200 or more, depending on the amount of truffle. After all, for the 2016-2017 winter truffle harvest, white Alba truffles from Italy, considered the zenith of truffles, cost a small fortune:

  • The smallest size were $229.50/ounce, $3,672.00/pound.
  • Large truffles were $2,880 per ounce, $11,520 per pound.
  • Extra-large and colossal were even more!
  •  
    Black Périgord truffles, our personal favorite from France, are a bargain by comparison:

  • Small Périgord truffles were $100/ounce, $1600 per pound, and up.
  • Large Périgord truffles were $805/ounce, $3220 per pound, and up.
  •  
    If you’re drooling at the prospect but lacking in cash, you can feel better because fresh truffles won’t be back until November.

    TRUFFLES FOR REGULAR FOLKS

    We’ve gotten around our challenged purse for years with the following work-arounds. Delicious scrambled eggs can be made with:

  • Truffle butter. You can buy it for less than $12 for a three-ounce tub. It provides the aroma of fresh truffles, and some of the their flavor.
  • Truffle oil. If you don’t want to cook your eggs in butter (but in our opinion, there’s no substitute for butter with scrambled eggs), Urbani white truffle oil is about $30 for 8.4 ounces. Black truffle oil, by comparison, is $18.75 for the same size.
  • Truffle salt. Replace your regular salt with truffle salt. It isn’t a huge impact, but every little bit helps if you’re using the butter or oil. We use Casina Rossa’s Italian Truffled Sea Salt from Italy. It’s $36.75 for 3.4 ounces. That’s a lot, but since you use a pinch at a time, it lasts a long time. You can split the jar with a fellow cook.
  •  
    All prices are from Gourmet Food Store.

    And of course, each of these products has uses beyond scrambled eggs.
     
     
    GOT TRUFFLES?

    If you’ve been saving a jar or can of truffle shavings, it’s time to put them to good use.Another variation of truffled scrambled eggs follows, courtesy of Maille mustard.

    Ideally, you need to infuse the eggs the day before.

     

    RECIPE: TRUFFLED SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH MUSTARD

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 6 jumbo organic eggs
  • 2.5 teaspoons Maille Mustard with Chablis white wine and black truffles
  • 2 teaspoons black truffle shavings
  • 1/2 cup sweet almond oil
  • 2 teaspoons silvered almonds
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 3.5 tablespoon cream
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ teaspoon espelette chile powder*
  • Bread of choice (we like brioche)
  • ________________

    *Espelette, a.k.a. piment d’Espelette, is from the Basque area of France and Spain. Substitute Aleppo pepper if you can find it: It has the smoky sweetness that epelette brings to the table. Otherwise use cayenne, but the heat and flavor profiles are quite different. Cayenne is much hotter (30,000 to 50,000 SHU) so use less. It is much more neutral in taste, without the smokiness.

    Preparation

    1. BREAK the eggs into a large bowl at least 1 hour in advance, or overnight. Add the truffle shavings and mix gently. Place in the fridge in a tightly sealed container to infuse. The next day…

    2. BEAT the eggs, seasoning them with a pinch of salt and the espelette, add the sweet almond oil and the mustard.

    3. ROAST the almonds in an anti-adhesive frying pan until golden, then chop them. Melt the butter in a casserole dish. Add the eggs and cook slowly with a wooden spatula or spoon, so that the eggs do not stick to the pan. When the eggs are scrambled…

    4. STOP the cooking with the liquid cream and add the slivered almonds.

    5. SLICE the bread into fingers and toast in a non-stick pan with a drizzle of almond oil. Coat slightly with some mustard and sprinkle with black truffle shavings. (Note: We simply made toast, understanding that a short cut means shorter flavor.)

    6. ASSEMBLE in the dishes of choice, with the toasted bread fingers.
     
     
    MORE TRUFFLES

    What Are Truffles

    Types Of Truffles

    D’Artagnan Truffle Butter

     

    Truffled Scrambled Eggs

    Maille Truffle Mustard

    Espelette Pepper

    [3] The dyed black eggshell is dramatic, but we’re happy serving our truffled eggs on a plate, in a ramekin, or for fun, in a champagne coupe (photo courtesy Maille). [4] Maille Chablis Mustard With Truffle (photo courtesy Not Quite Nigella). [5] Espelette pepper from a chile grown in the Basque region (photo courtesy Pepperscale).

     

      

    Comments off

    TRIVIA: National Egg Month

    May is National Egg Month, a time for some consciousness-raising.

    We look for Certified Humane eggs and don’t mind paying the premium for them. You’ve no doubt heard the horror stories of mass egg production.

    We buy from Pete and Gerry’s whenever we can: eggs produced on small family farms with a commitment to the humane treatment of the chickens.

    Pete & Gerry’s eggs are also USDA Organic, OU kosher and B-Corporation Certified: committed to sustainability.

    They shared these fowl facts with us:

  • There’s no nutritional difference between brown and white eggs. The color of the egg is actually determined by the color of the hen!
  • Young hens produce smaller eggs. The medium-size eggs come from pullets, hens that are less than a year old.
  • The smaller the egg, the thicker the shell. This makes them easier to crack (no fragments to fish out) and, for hard-boiled eggs, easier to peel.
  • What creates a double yolk? In a young hen that is just learning how to lay eggs, two eggs merged before the shell was formed.
  • All eggs aren’t equally flavorful. Aside from freshness (e.g., farmers market eggs), the tastiest eggs come from free-range hens they have real access to grass, where they can peck for worms and other insects that contribute to the flavor.
  • Fresh water, the space to roost and access to earth so they can dust-bathe are also essential. Cage-free and conventional hens spend their lives crammed together indoors. Cage-free hens aren’t confined to sit in a tiny cage, but are crammed onto the floor of a building with no room to move.
  • What’s the deal with cholesterol? In the 1980s, news warned against the consumption of eggs for people with high cholesterol. But the new news is, research has returned to the side of egg consumption. Don’t steer clear of eggs because of cholesterol. (If you have an issue, consult with your healthcare provider).
  •  
    That’s good news, because…

  • The egg is a nutritional powerhouse, with 7 grams of high-quality protein, iron, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids, including the disease-fighting antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin and the macro-ingredient choline. Yes, there are 5 grams of fat, but only 1.6 grams are saturated fat (types of fat). And all for just 75-78 calories per large egg.
  • The sell-by date, is not the expiration date. The eggs should be edible for a 3-4 weeks after that date. If you’re not sure an egg is still good, crack it. Your nose will perceive an unpleasant odor if the egg is no good.
  •  

    Natural Hens' Eggs Colors

    Tufted Araucana Chicken

    These eggs are all natural in color. The colors come from different breeds of hens. Those breeds don’t produce eggs as economically as breeds that produce white and brown eggs, so they are not sold commercially, except by some farm stands (photo courtesy The Egg Farm). [2] This tufted arcauna chicken, originally from South America, lays pale blue eggs (photo courtesy Awesome Araucana.

     
    Now for the fun trivia:

  • Why are eggs sold by the dozen? In England and other European countries from as early as the 700s and continuing until around 1960, the Imperial Unit System was used. There were twelve pennies to a shilling, which meant that an egg could be sold for a penny, or a dozen eggs could be sold for a shilling, with no change-making required.
  • By the Elizabethan period (1550-1600), selling eggs by the dozen was the standard practice. The English who emigrated to North America brought the system with them. Other countries have their own standards.
  • The world’s largest egg was laid in England in 2010, measuring a hefty 9.1 inches in diameter (photo).
  • The average American eats 250 eggs per year. If you eat a three-egg omelet every morning, so that means roughly 1,095 eggs per year .
  •  
    TIPS

  • To crack an egg: The best technique is to tap it on the counter, not on the rim of the bowl. You’ll avoid fragments, splinters, or whatever you call those exasperating little pieces that drop into the bowl.
  • To check if an egg is fresh or stale, raw or hard boiled: Just spin the egg on the counter. If it wobbles, it’s raw. If it spins easily, it’s hard boiled. A fresh egg will sink in water, a stale one will float.
  • Egg sandwiches: A fried egg sandwich with bacon was popular in our youth. These days, one of our go-to quick meals for breakfast, lunch or light dinner is a sliced hard-boiled egg sandwich on rye toast. We buy the eggs pre-boiled and peeled (a great time saver!) and use an ever-changing variety of seasonal fixings (a favorite: roasted red pepper (pimento) with baby arugula) and mayo flavors. For weekend brunch: a slice of smoked salmon.
  •  
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EGGS

    If you think of eggs as either white or brown, check out the different types of eggs in our Egg Glossary. There are 10 choices in chicken eggs alone!
     
    SOME EGG-CELLENT LINKS

  • Egg Salad Recipes & The History Of Egg Salad
  • How To Make The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg
  • Egg Nutrition
  • Quail Egg Recipes
  •   

    Comments off

    FOOD FUN: Fried Eggs (And More) In Pepper Slices

    We saw this photo on Tajín’s Facebook page, but couldn’t find a recipe.

    Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to slice bell peppers and drop an egg inside each slice—along with some mildly spicy Tajín seasoning (it’s a cayenne, lime and salt blend).

    We thought: What else can we make with a bell pepper rim?

    Cooked Foods

  • Burger patties
  • Melting cheeses (see list below)
  • Grains (mounded inside)
  • Savory pancakes
  •  
    Uncooked Foods

    If the food isn’t cohesive enough to be mounded, make the slices taller; or trim a bit of the bottom of a half or whole pepper so it will stand.

  • Ceviche
  • Sashimi
  • Tuna and other protein salads
  •  
    ABOUT TAJÍN SEASONING

    In Mexico, this spice blend of cayenne, lime and salt is used on just about anything, savory and sweet:

  • Fruits: raw, cooked, sorbets and ice pops: citrus, cucumber, melon, and tropical fruit (mango, papaya, pineapple, etc.)
  • Beverage glass glass rimmers
  • Eggs, grains, potatoes (including fries), vegetables
  • Snacks: popcorn, mozzarella sticks
  • Proteins: fish, meat, poultry, tofu
  • Just about anything else, from angel food cakes to salad dressings
  •  
    GOOD MELTING CHEESES

    Good melting cheeses include, among others:

  • American muenster
  • Asiago
  • Cheddar
  • Colby
  • Edam
  • Gruyère and other Alpine cheeses (e.g. emmental, comté)
  • Fontina
  • Havarti
  • Hispanic melting cheeses (asadero, queso blanco, queso chihuahua, queso di papi, queso oaxaca, queso quesadilla)
  • Monterey jack
  • Mozzarella
  • Provolone
  • Reblochon
  • Taleggio
  •  

    Fried Eggs In Bell Pepper Slices

    Fried Egg Veggie Bowl

    Tajin Seasoning

    [1] Slice the pepper, drop in the egg. [2] Enjoy as is, or in the center of a yummy bowl of greens (photo courtesy Hope Foods). [3] Tajín seasoning: cayenne, lime and salt (photos courtesy Tajín.

      

    Comments off

    RECIPE: Fried Egg Quesadilla & Quesadilla History

    We don’t know what Chef Ingrid Hoffmann is making for Cinco de Mayo, but we’re breakfasting on our adaptation of her Fried Egg Quesadillas.

    A simple Mexican snack food. A basic Quesadilla are a Mexican snack food: a turnover (photo #1) made with an uncooked tortilla and a variety of fillings—beans, cheese, meats, potatoes, then folded and toasted on a hot griddle (comal) or fried.

    Regional variations abound.

  • In the northern states, it can be filled simply, with strips of Chihuahua cheese (queso Chihuahua—photo #3), a soft white cheese made in braids, balls or rounds and similar to mild white cheddar or Monterey Jack—all good melters.
  • The cheese originated in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. (Interestingly, in Chihuahua, where it originated, it is called queso menonita after the Mennonite community that first produced it.)
  • In central Mexico, the preference is for braided Oaxaca cheese (photo #4), some leaves of fresh epazote, and strips of peeled chile poblano.
  • A favorite filling is potato and chorizo; the “deluxe” versions contain sautéed squash blossoms or huitlachoche, the highly-esteemed corn blossom fungus.
  •  
    RECIPE: FRIED EGG & AVOCADO QUESADILLAS

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large whole-grain tortillas
  • 1 ripe Hass avocado, peeled, seeded and mashed
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts or pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Optional: ½ jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced (optional)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional garnishes: crema (sour cream), salsa
  •  
    Preparation

    There are more complex tortilla recipes, including a “sandwich” style with a top and bottom tortilla, cut into wedges (photo #2).

    It can be served with sides of crema (sour cream), guacamole or salsa for customization.

    This recipe (photo #1) is a much quicker version.

    1. BRUSH a small nonstick skillet with the oil and heat over medium heat.

    2. ADD the eggs one at a time and cook sunny side up about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer to a plate. While the eggs are cooking…

    3. WARM the tortillas in a separate, hot skillet (no oil needed).

    4. ASSEMBLE: Spread the warm tortilla with half of the mashed avocado, tomatoes, pine nuts, cilantro and jalapeño.

    5. TOP with an egg, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Fold over and serve.

    If you’re making multiples, quesadillas can be kept warm in 300°F oven on a baking sheet, until ready to serve.
     
    THE HISTORY OF MEXICAN COOKING & THE QUESADILLA

    The quesadilla was born in New Spain (what is now Mexico) during colonial times: the period from the arrival of the conquistadors in 1519 to the Mexican War of Independence in 1821, which ended Spanish rule.

       

    Breakfast Quesadilla

    Breakfast Quesadilla

    Queso Chihuaha

    Queso Oaxaca Ball

    [1] Quesadilla, loaded and ready to fold, grab and go (photo courtesy Chef Ingrid Hoffmann). [2] A more formal quesadilla presentation requires a knife and fork, is made between two tortillas and then cut into triangles (photo courtesy Cabot Cheese). [3] Queso chihuahua from Mozzarella Company (photo courtesy iGourmet). [4] Queso oaxaca, braided (photo courtesy Food & Travel Mexico).

     
    For thousands of years, the local cuisine had consisted of the area’s staples: avocados, beans, cacao (available to the rich and famous), chiles, corn (made into a variety of foods, including tortillas), papayas, pineapples, potatoes (which originated in Peru), tomatoes, squash (including pumpkin) and vanilla.

    Dishes included corn pancakes; tamales; tortillas with pounded pastes or wrapped around other foods; all flavored with numerous salsas (sauces), intensely flavored and thickened with seeds and nuts.

    The Spanish brought with them wheat flour and new types of livestock: cattle, chicken (and their eggs), goat, pigs, sheep. Before then, local animal proteins consisted of fish, quail, turkey and a small, barkless dog bred for food, the itzcuintli, a [plump] relative of the chihuahua.

    Cooking oil was scarce until the pigs arrived, yielding lard for frying. Indigenous cooking techniques were limited to baking on a hot griddle, and boiling or steaming in a pot. While olive trees would not grow in New Spain, olive oil arrived by ship from the mother country.

     

    Bean Quesadilla

    Steak Quesadillas

    Lobster Quesadillas

    [5] Basic quesadilla: cheese and beans (here’s the recipe from Taste Of Home). [6] Grilled flank steak tortillas (photo courtesy Kings Ford Charcoal).[7] Going gourmet: lobster quesadillas from Mackenzie Ltd.

     

    The Spanish brought dairying, which produced butter, cheese and milk.

    The sugar cane they planted provided sweetness. Barley, rice and wheat were important new grains. Spices for flavor enhancement included black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, coriander and cilantro (the leaves of the coriander plant), cumin, garlic, oregano, and parsley.

    Almonds and other sesame seeds augmented native varieties. Produce additions included apples, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, onions and oranges.

    While grapes, like olive trees, would not grow in the climate, imported raisins became in ingredient in the fusion cuisine—i.e., Mexican cooking.

    (Mind you, the peasant diet was still limited to beans, corn tortillas and locally gathered foods like avocados.)

    While the Spanish could not make wine locally, they did teach the Aztecs how to distill agave, into what was called mezcal.

    The pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica brewed a fermented alcoholic beverage called pulque (think corn based beer). With the barley they brought, the Spanish brewed their home-style beer.

    The development of the cuisine was greatly aided by the arrival of Spanish nuns [source].

    Experimenting with what was available locally, nuns invented much of the more sophisticated Mexican cuisine, including, but hardly limited to:

  • Buñuelos.
  • Cajeta, a type of dulce de leche made with goat’s milk. It is a type of dulce de leche.
  • Chiles rellenos, stuffed with beef, cheese or pork.
  • Escabeche, a variety of marinades for fish.
  • Guacamole (New Spain had the avocados, tomatoes and chiles, but Spain brought the cilantro (the leaves of the coriander plant) and the onions.
  • Mole sauce.
  • Rompope, an eggnog-like drink.
  • Lomo en adobo: pork loin in a spicy sauce. [source]
  •  
    So whence the quintessentially Mexican quesadilla?

    It’s half indigenous, half Spanish.

  • From the New World: the corn tortilla, hot sauce and other salsas.
  • From Spain, the cheese, beef-chicken-pork and the shredded lettuce…as well as the wheat for flour tortillas and the eggs for breakfast quesadillas.
  •  
    And it’s very, very popular, from Mexican street food to restaurant far in Mexico and the U.S.

     

      

    Comments off



    © Copyright 2005-2017 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.