fresh eggs from The Girls are piling up. so eggnog pie for us ( uses egg yolks ) and macaroons ( uses egg whites ) for odin’s hockey team.
kris went out the coop at the end of the day to check on The Girls and happened to look in the nesting box and discovered they’ve started laying eggs! whooohoooo! fresh eggs!
it seems like just yesterday we were attempting to teach frida to not eat The New Girls.
when i lifted open the lesting box, The Girls were all “oh hey! we didn’t know it did that!”
so i’m standing, staring at the fridge wondering what i can whip together and a plan slowly comes together. a wonderfully tasty plan. a plan so wonderfully tasty that i can’t believe it had never occurred to me before – BACON AND BLUE CHEESE BREAKFAST TORTILLAS!
i scrambled some fresh eggs from The Girls and started a traditional omelette, then added a bit of cooked and crumbled of organic prairie bacon and organic valley blue cheese and folded it and let it cook for a bit while steaming some sonoma organic, yellow corn tortillas until soft. for a spicy finishing touch, i added a few drops of hot sauce.
i’m not sure the picture does the amazing taste of the bacon and blue cheese breakfast tortilla justice.
it’s definitely going into regular breakfast rotation.
some time ago we gave away The Old Girls to a nice farm in the country. after two full years of laying they weren’t producing many eggs anymore and were old enough that they probably wouldn’t have tasted any good on the dinner table. as luck would have it, a local organic pumpkin patch was looking for friendly hens who were used to being handled by children to add to the friendly farm ambiance for their customers. a win-win for old girls!
we wanted to get some new girls that were close to laying age and got a tip that if we hung around the poultry barn at the end of the county fair we could probably pick up some 4H hens after the poultry competitions were over from kids who didn’t want to take their chickens home. so we did! and we did! we got the blue ribbon winning blue-laced wyandotte and an americauna that took second place. later, we bought two year-old black marans to round out the flock.
i haven’t taken many pictures because right after we got them they went into moult, lost a bunch of feather, stopped laying ( this is a perfectly normal seasonal process ) and looked rather pathetic.
but now after about 2 months, they’ve got their feather back and have started laying again! so we’re very, very happy to once again have a supply of super fresh, super tasty and super colorful eggs ( the americauna lays blue eggs, the black marans lay the chocolate brown eggs and the wyandotte lays regular browns ).
as soon as i saw this video for bacon wrapped eggs i knew i had to try it. i mean, how possibly could you go wrong with bacon, eggs and cheese? and it’s really simple, as it doesn’t really take much longer to make than regular ol’ bacon and eggs.
first, you brown some bacon ( pssst! organic prairie uncured bacon. ) – but don’t get it crispy! then you place a full strip around the wall of the cup of a muffin tin and a few more bits in the bottom. crack and egg in the cup, sprinkle with a titch of salt and pepper and add your favorite cheese ( today we used organic valley raw sharp cheddar ) on top.
of course, if you wanted to fancy it up you could add some sauteed garlic or chives or whatever strikes your whimsy.
then, place in it a preheated 400°F oven for about 10-15 minutes. how long depends on how thoroughly cooked you want the yolk. i like runnier yolks so i put it in for 10 minutes.
after a bit, they should come out like so. it might be hard to tell, but two of them don’t have cheese added because, weirdly, odin said he didn’t want any. i swear, sometimes, i wonder if he’s my kid at all.
part of a complete breakfast! or at least a breakfast complete with spelt bread in an attempt to sort-of abide by my gluten free lifestyle ( spelt gives me less “trouble” than wheat ).
bacon wrapped eggs with cheese makes a plate smile
since The Girls are always producing eggs and odin loves to help in the kitchen, we’re always looking for fun and simple egg recipes that he can help make. recently, i ran across this recipe for egg nests and thought i’d give it a try.
first, of course, you want some fresh eggs. we have those aplenty.
oh, and preheat the oven to 450°F.
grate some cheese, about a 1/4 cup for every 2 eggs. the recipe calls for gruyere, which i used, but there’s no reason you couldn’t substitute something else to your liking.
separate the egg yolks from the whites. put the whites in a mixing bowl and the yolks in individual bowls to help you later on when you have to place them carefully in their nest.
whip the egg white with a quarter teaspoon of salt until stiff. i might have overwhipped these whites, but whatever.
gently fold the cheese into the egg whites, being careful to not collapse the whipped goodness.
create little mounds of the egg white mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. you want the mounds shaped like nests so they can hold the yolk, so be sure to make indentations in the center.
put the egg white nests in the oven for about 3 minutes and then pull out the tray and carefully add an egg yolk to the center of each nest.
put the baking sheet back in the oven for about 3 more minutes and prepare yourself for eggy cheesy goodness! they are quite tasty but obviously only for going to be enjoyed by those who like “runny” yolks.
truth be told, i probably over browned these whites just a titch. be warned, they brown fast! but i don’t think it affected the flavor.
now that we have plenty of Gifts from The Girls, the obvious question is how to best store the eggs?
farm fresh eggs come with a protein coating called the bloom which seals the egg and protects it from going bad from bacterial contamination. supermarket eggs are washed which removes the bloom and forces refrigeration. but just how long can unwashed eggs remain edible without refrigeration?
we’ve heard anectodes from folks with backyard hens who claim 3-4 months! i’m not sure who would ever have the tasty gifts sitting around that long, but a 1977 study from mother earth news, “How To Store Fresh Eggs” seems to corroborate the anectode. according to the article unrefrigerated, unwashed farm eggs were still edible after 12 weeks, although they note that, “If we’d had our druthers, understand, we’d have eaten something else … but, under survival conditions, we could have lived on the completely unprotected 90-day-old eggs if we’d have had to.”
according to the study, an unwashed clean egg placed under refrigeration shortly after being laid can stay fresh for up to six months or more!
so, as strange as it might sound to folks used to fretting about how long eggs have been out of the fridge, keeping clean fresh, unwashed eggs unrefrigerated for a few months seems entirely plausible.
we don’t keep them around that long, but we do tend to have them out of the fridge for a few days before sending our surplus to happy homes and consuming the rest within 7-10 days of being laid.
the inevitable egg with a bit of manure is a little more problematic. washing it will remove the protection of the bloom, so any soiled eggs are handled with care and common sense. don’t put heavily manured eggs in fridge with other food and, as this article states, “Do not immerse your eggs in a sink full of water. The bloom is removed leaving the eggs surrounded by water that contains manure. I think you can see the problem here.”
one of peculiarities of having fresh eggs from backyard hens is that the shells are really, really hard and the membrane between the shell and whites is firmly attached to both after cooking which can lead much frustration when trying to make a when you hard boiled egg or egg salad sandwich since you spend your time picking away pieces of shell only to remove large chunks of the egg whites that are stuck to the membrane. no fun!
this is actually one of the better looking examples of a hard boiled egg using our normal method of cooking – put the egg in water, heat to a boil, cook for seven minutes after boiling begins and rinse in cold water. there must be a better way.
we polled various friends who have backyard birds and got a range of responses. the most common was to set eggs aside for a week or two ( plausible suggestion but seemed a pain to have to segregate eggs ). anothers suggested dunking the eggs in ice water after boiling ( we tried that, it didn’t work ) and others suggested adding a bit of vinegar to the boiling water to soften the shell ( didn’t like the idea of having to remember to add vingar and wondered if it would affect the taste ).
one person said the answer was stupendously simple. drop the eggs in the water after it had started to boil. it was so simple we had to try it.
first, drop the eggs carefully into boiling water.
boil for 6 minutes or so.
don’t rinse in cold water – let cool in ambient air for 10 minutes ( presumably the membrane is still cooking/breaking down ).
well look at that! a nice, clean peel! if you look closely, the membrane has cleanly separated from the shell and the egg white. amazingly simple!
after 6-ish minutes in boiling water the egg yolk is best described as “soft-boiled”. while this is perfectly cooked to my taste, if you like hard yolks, you might want to cook for a minute longer.
you might recall that a few months ago we were wondering whether or not we should light the chicken coop to maintain egg production from The Girls over the winter. eventually, we decided to light the coop for a hours if only to try to train them to lay in the morning before we leave for work so we can collect eggs before they freeze in the cold of winter. the theory being that hens will supposedly lay within a few hours of “day break”. if we have the light timer turn on a couple of hours before we leave for work, we hope that most of the The Girls will have laid Their Gifts by the time we leave. any effects on production would be a bonus.
so far, the production results have been great. we’ve heard from several families with backyard hen flocks twice the size of ours who are averaging and egg a day! we’re averaging seven eggs a day from eight hens which is just about the maximum you can expect.
but i can’t say we’ve trained them to lay before we leave for work. or at least not all of them. we’re tracking egg laying times and on a good day we get about half our eggs by 8 am and the other half by noon. it seems like they might be laying earlier and earlier as they get older but it’s hard to tell for sure.
with winter setting in, hopefully they’ll all get to laying by 8 am so we don’t end up with a buch of frozen eggs ( you can eat them after they’re frozen but they’re not as tasty )!