Let’s Talk About Eggs

I’m taking a break from discussing writing methods or how nurses are dealing with the COVID-19 virus. 

For this week’s post, I’m talking eggs. 

I went to the North Carolina Farmers Market last Friday to drop off an empty egg carton and buy another dozen jumbo “free range” eggs from the Cox farm stand. 

Janie and Robbie Cox sell their eggs at the Farmers Market every other Friday. The Thursdays before, Janie Cox texts her regular customers—over 175 strong—to tell us where the egg stand will be since the stand doesn’t have an assigned spot. 

On this sunny Friday morning, I wait while Janie chats with a customer—keeping my 6 feet distance. Frequently, there are other customers before me when I come to buy eggs.  “I know I jabber on,” the customer smiles at me as she leaves. I have already decided that my next post will be about food, most probably eggs, and I want to take pictures of Janie and Robbie Cox and their stand at the Farmers Market.

I enjoy visiting the Farmers Market because in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, the environment there feels safe. The market is outside. Directional arrows on the floor encourage customers to observe social distancing and hand sanitizers are placed in strategic locations. Wearing a mask is mandatory. The greatest danger for me is to buy more produce than I can possibly cook. 

After I explain that I would like to include Cox eggs in my upcoming post, Janie and Robbie agree to let me take their picture. Janie tells me she will email more information about their business. I leave with my purchase: a carton of eggs and a few sunflowers that the grow wild on their five acres of land. 

Robbie and Janie Cox

What I learned about the Cox’s and their businesses:

The Cox’s raised race horses for 20 years. Then they started a full-time fresh produce business. After 15 years, Janie and Robbie celebrated their retirement by buying 500 Rhode Island Red laying hens.

For the next six years, they have come to the Farmers Market every other weekend selling 4 sizes of eggs: X Large; Jumbo; X Jumbo and XX Jumbo. The smaller egg sizes are sold at other markets and at a home delivery service. The chickens are all “pasture raised/free range.” Janie tells me that the chickens “come and go as they please.”

My attempt at impersonating a roving reporter at the Farmers Market allows me to expand my knowledge about all that involves food, a topic dear to my heart. Plus, it’s fun to interact with the vendors. I’ll continue to hone in on my nascent interviewing skills. 

N.B. Those who follow my Blog know that I am a city girl. However, when I was two years old, I knew my way around chickens, and, as you can see, ducks, too. I’m standing in the back yard of Aunt Sophie’s house in Long Island. My older cousins refused to eat the chickens that Aunt Sophie, their mother, had killed for dinner.

More about eggs:

At just 78 calories each, eggs are an efficient, rich source of protein and vitamins. A large egg contains about 6 grams of protein. Eggs also are a good source of other nutrients, including vitamin D (which aids bone health and the immune system) and choline (which helps metabolism and liver function, as well as fetal brain development).

Egg yolks also can be good for the eyes; they are significant sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been found to reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people 55 and older.

The American Heart Association

What to do with eggs:

Omelette

Frittata

Beans

I don’t make New Year resolutions anymore. I have given up losing and gaining the same ten pounds over and over my whole adult life. However, I do want to eat more healthy: less red meat, more veggies, omit sugar, and reduce my reliance on processed food.

In an effort to meet my goals, I am expanding my cooking repertoire. Melissa Clark who writes for the New York Times has tips for eating less meat. Her first suggestion is to eat more beans and the second is to use high protein grains, and, she adds that pasta counts. Who doesn’t love giving pasta a thumbs up!

I made her Indian Butter Chickpea recipe the other day. If you’re interested, try making it. It’s easy and the ingredients are not exotic. See below.

 

Note: Melissa Clark writes beautifully about her interface with food. I always enjoy her columns in the NYTs.

 

Happy New Year and healthy eating!

 

David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

EASY

Indian Butter Chickpeas

MELISSA CLARK

  • YIELD 4 to 6 servings
  • TIME 1 hour 10 minutes

 

A vegetarian riff on Indian butter chicken, this fragrant stew is spiced with cinnamon, garam masala and fresh ginger, and is rich and creamy from the coconut milk. You could add cubed tofu here for a soft textural contrast, or cubed seitan for a chewy one. Or serve it as it is, over rice to catch every last drop of the glorious sauce. You won’t want to leave any behind.

Featured in: The Meat Lover’s Guide To Eating Less Meat.
Indian
BeansCurriesButterChickpeaCoconut MilkGaram MasalaGarlicGingerTomatoEasyWeekdayMain CourseVegetarian

INGREDIENTS

  • 4tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1large onion, minced
  • 1 ½teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 4garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • 1tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2teaspoons garam masala
  • 1small cinnamon stick
  • 1(28-ounce) can whole peeled plum tomatoes
  • 1(15-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2(15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained
  • Ground cayenne (optional)
  • Cooked white rice, for serving
  • ½cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, for serving

PREPARATION

  1. Melt butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until golden and browned around the edges, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. (Don’t be tempted to turn the heat up to medium-high; keeping the heat on medium ensures even browning without burning the butter.)

  2. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook another 1 minute. Stir in cumin, paprika, garam masala and cinnamon stick, and cook another 30 seconds.

  3. Add tomatoes with their juices. Using a large spoon or flat spatula, break up and smash the tomatoes in the pot (or you can use a pair of kitchen shears to cut the tomatoes while they are still in the can). Stir in coconut milk and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and continuing to mash up the tomatoes if necessary, to help them break down.

  4. Stir in chickpeas and a pinch of cayenne if you like. Bring the pot back up to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

  5. Serve spooned over white rice and topped with cilantro.