EGG-citing Times

A question occurred to me the other day: What is my favorite culinary ingredient? Duh, butter! But besides butter.

It is hands-down the incredible, edible egg. No other product in our culinary arsenal offers the versatility of these little all-purpose gems. Eggs are the superstars of world cuisine. If the Heisman Trophy were awarded to food, the egg would crush the competition every year. Maybe the Jags should draft an egg next year?
Just sayin’.

Even the novice cook has to be impressed by all the ways eggs are incorporated into our diets. From breakfast to dessert, eggs play a crucial role in the great show known as “The Delicious Days of My Life.”

Here’s the opening act: Two light brown eggs, one in each hand, are expertly cracked and slipped into a warm buttered omelet pan. They begin to sizzle ever so gently. After several minutes, which seem as an eternity to the famished cook, the whites begin to coagulate. What magic. Nature’s sorcery at work. They then begin to transform from opacity to a brilliant whiteness. Perfection!

All that is left to do is to quickly, with the uttermost dexterity, transfer them to the waiting plate without breaking the yolk. This scene is not to be performed by shoemakers. The perfect sunny-side-up eggs are executed only by a well-practiced craftsperson.

Act two revolves around lunch. This one is a bit more complicated: the pâte brisée (pie dough) is rolled to a mere 1/8 of an inch, then immediately snuggled into a pie pan. Meanwhile the custard — consisting of beaten eggs, Half-and-Half and a dainty pinch of nutmeg — is gently combined. A ham, herb and gruyère cheese garnish is laid upon the pâte brisée. Now, without further ado, the custard is poured into a prepared pie shell and sent to the preheated oven. Ever so soon a magnificent Quiche Lorraine will emerge from the oven in all its delicate, sumptuous glory.

Let us move on the closing scene. The butter is now being creamed in the mixer to a gorgeous light and fluffy state. As this fascinating process occurs, the dry ingredients, including seasonal spices, are sifted into a cloud-like texture and are ready to meet the aerated butter. But, wait, don’t forget the brown sugar and molasses! Now it’s time to add all the ingredients together, including our star, the eggs.

Here’s the full recipe for gingerbread cakes, and remember to applaud the egg-citing star of the show!
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Chef Bill’s Gingerbread Cakes
Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound butter
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1-1/5 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Directions:

  1. Combine boiling water and baking soda in a small bowl.
  2. In another bowl, combine flour, ground spices, salt and baking powder.
  3. Cream butter in a mixer, beat in brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in molasses and grated ginger, then baking soda and water mixture, then flour, spices, salt and baking powder mixture, and lastly, the eggs. Mix to combine.
  4. Pipe into pans and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out dry.

Until we cook again,

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Contact Chef Bill Thompson, the owner of the Amelia Island Culinary Academy in Fernandina Beach, at [email protected]; send him your recipes or ask him culinary questions, to find inspiration and get you Cheffed Up!

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