Locally Yours: Over-abundance of eggs calls for creativity
What a perfect time to write a column about eggs — the week before Easter. I have been thinking about and experimenting with eggs for the last several weeks. For one thing, somehow I managed to acquire five dozen eggs. I must have asked myself five times “do we have any eggs?” and come to the conclusion that we either had none or needed more.
Anyway, I ended up with a bunch of eggs to use and egg on my face.
The first egg dish I made was a lemon meringue pie. The recipe was one out of a commonly used red plaid cookbook. Fabulous pie. The recipe called for yellow food coloring to make the lemon custard yellow. Of course I didn’t have to use it because the egg yolk was almost orange. Three eggs down.
Then I roasted asparagus and dusted it with two minced hard-boiled eggs. Very good. Four dozen and seven to go.
Next I hard-boiled the eggs. Fresh eggs are notorious for not peeling well. Bob Bonk from Snow’s Citrus Court shared a tip with me. After the eggs are done, immediately place them in an ice bath and they peel like a dream. Thanks Bob, you were correct. We will use farm fresh organic eggs for our Easter egg hunt this year.
I still had a lot of eggs. The obvious thing to do was to make an angel food cake. The angel food cake recipe I have is from my Aunt Peggy. She made a delectable cake that calls for 1 1/2 cups of egg whites. I had a vague memory of making an angel food cake and finding the process to be difficult and not very predictable. I recalled dire warnings of the whites not stiffening due to grease on the beater, or someone slamming a door and the cake falling. But when I made it this time it was easy and turned out great.
I became curious. Why was it so much easier to make this cake than I remembered? The cake batter came together in a matter of minutes and I had a completed cake in under an hour, including the bake time. It seems farm fresh, free-range egg whites are easier to work with; using them makes a big difference in baking. Who knew?
Luckily there is a consistent supply of eggs at the markets. Blossom Hill Farms has been providing sized, certified organic eggs for many years, and CC Farms is new to the market this year. The egg supply is looking solid.
Try this angel food cake recipe with some fresh strawberry sauce for Easter brunch. For those of you who wonder what I did with the yolks, the Internet is full of recipes and beauty treatments that use just yolks. Combine them with the angel food cake recipe and you will be getting a lot of value for your dollar. I used some of the yolks to make a chocolate mousse and froze the rest.
My family is spending Easter at Santa Cruz this year. We will be eating our picnic of angel food cake, fresh strawberries, ham from Coffee Pot Ranch, and green salad from the Auburn Farmers’ Market while out on the beach at Natural Bridges State Park. We decided that our picnic will have better food, it will be less expensive than a restaurant, and we will have a chance to fly kites on the beach. Happy Easter Ed, Hudson, Amelia, and Aunt Mimi!
Carol Arnold is marketing manager for the Foothill Farmers’ Market Association. Contact her at foothill
Aunt Peggy’s Angel Food Cake
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided use
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups egg whites, about 12 large, room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour, measure. Add 1/2 cup sugar and the salt to the sifted flour and sift again, twice. Set aside. Beat the egg whites in a large, clean bowl. When the whites are foamy, add the cream of tartar and the lemon juice. When the bubbles are uniform start adding the sugar a few tablespoons at a time. Add the vanilla extract. Beat the eggs until they form stiff peaks and the sugar is dissolved (when you lift the beaters a peak will form and hold). Fold in the flour using a rubber spatula, using a down the side and up through the batter motion. When the flour is thoroughly combined but not over mixed, turn it into a very clean, grease-free 10-inch tube pan. Bake the cake for 50 minutes. Test by pressing lightly in the center, if it springs back the cake is done. Remove from oven and invert the pan until the cake is cool. The cake must be lifted an inch during the cooling process. This can be done by inverting the cake over a bottle. Remove the cake by running a serrated knife around the edges of the pan. Serve with strawberry sauce.
2 pints strawberries, one diced and one sliced
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Cook the diced strawberries, the sugar, and the lemon juice in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and cook for three minutes. Remove from heat, place in a covered bowl and chill for two hours.