I'm here to help you live a better life. No, really, I am! As I've described in previous posts, I am a true hedonist and I love to indulge in the pleasures of this wonderful life. I travel all over the world and relishing in the experience of a new culture and the amazing people that populate this planet. I love the arts - theater, music, cinema and will often be caught sitting in my parked car singing at the top of my lungs pounding my dashboard to The Raconteurs, Radiohead or the like. I'll spend days planning a meal and enter a zen-like state while prepping and cooking. There is nothing that gives me more pleasure. So, to help you get your hedonism on, I am going to share one of my greatest pleasures. It requires a subtle shift in thinking and a sensibility to appreciate something so simple, so perfect. We're gonna have some pastured eggs. Now some of you are saying "been there, done that, I get'cha". I'll ask you to comment and share your praise and perhaps take a stroll down memory lane to the first time you remember experiencing the revelation. For those who are new to the concept, first a little explanation, courtesy of localharvest.org:
Grass-fed/pastured hens are raised on pasture, as opposed to being kept in confinement and fed primarily grains. Eggs from pastured hens contain up to 20 times more healthy omega-3 fatty acids than those their less fortunate cousins, factory hens.
Pastured hens' diets are naturally complemented with bugs, earthworms, and other such critters that give their eggs a huge nutritious oomph. Although not necessarilly organic, pastured hens are usually much healthier and happier than their space-restricted and antibiotic-pumped industrial cousins.
Pasturing is the traditional method of raising egg-laying hens and other poultry. It is ecologically sustainable, humane, and produces the tastiest, most nutritious eggs. Pastured eggs also have 10 percent less fat, 40 percent more vitamin A, and 34 percent less cholesterol than eggs obtained from factory farms.
What this means to the egg itself comes twofold: (1) the yolks are nearly orange! Not only does this mean they taste amazing, but they are actually healthier. Research shows that an orange-colored yolk is higher in disease-fighting carotenes. (2) the albumen has more heft. The white will literally stand up in the pan rather than spill out all over the place. Again, it makes for better tasting and more nutritious eggs.
So, here's the your homework. Everyone should do this. Buy a dozen pastured eggs. This doesn't mean "cage free" or "free range" or "organic". These are terms used by the farming industry to fool us into thinking chickens are treated nicely or fed proper diets. Often times there is just a strip of grass outside the coop that the hens will never see. Bullshit! Go to a farmer's market and ask a farmer for some eggs. Look him in the eye and say "are these going to be the best eggs I've ever had?". If he doesn't say yes, don't buy them. Every farmer I've ever met thinks he has the best eggs.
For this exercise, I'm not concerned about how you prefer your eggs - trust me. For the first batch make some fried, sunny side up eggs. Take a nice piece of toast and sop up the yolk. Don't be afraid if it's farm fresh. Runny is ok. On the next day, scramble them with a little milk. Keep scrambling in the pan until they start to set. Then use your spatula. With the remaining eggs (you should have 4 left if you cooked for your sig-o) make deviled eggs. I'll post a recipe another time. Try out your favorite here.
If you're not convinced after this exercise, we might have to break up and no longer be blogger, bloggee. The pastured egg is simply a gift. One worth treasuring. One worth savoring. I'd like to think there are hoards of little zealots out there, hovering over their counter tops, gently handling their eggs, anticipating the first bite, frying, scrambling, boiling.