Over the past weeks, northern Vancouver Island has been awash in eggs.
With restaurants closed, the usual egg deliveries are being donated to Nanaimo-based Loaves and Fishes food bank. Loaves and Fishes travels up island a few times a month to share the bounty with north Island communities.
The seniors centres, schools and food banks have been passing on the eggs with wild abandon. Which raises a question: how can a small town use up so many eggs?
The Gazette spoke to some of the people hawking the free donations around town to find out their favourite ways to eat eggs. Port Hardyans have strong opinions about eggs, whether they should be hard or runny, made into desserts or breakfast — and whether fried eggs can count for dinner!
Here’s a round-up of some of the best ideas the Gazette gathered. The recipes below are loose instructions, and almost any ingredient can be substituted with what’s on hand.
Let us know if we missed your favourite.
Whisk eggs in a bowl with shredded cheese, diced ham or bacon, diced bell peppers and salt & pepper. Bake in greased muffin tins until the eggs set. Egg bites freeze well, so make them ahead of time and re-heat for easy breakfast snacks.
Frittata (or Crustless Quiche)
Whisk eggs with heavy cream and set aside. Chop all the veggies you like: spinach, kale, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, potatoes, mushrooms, onions, it all works. Start cooking them in a skillet. Once the veggies start to soften, add minced garlic and fresh herbs for a minute or so. Add a layer of shredded cheese, let it start to melt. Pour the egg and cream mixture on top and cook until the eggs set. If you have an oven-proof pan, you can finish it in the oven.
Poached Eggs on Salmon
Canned salmon was included in the Loaves & Fishes delivery this week, which is delicious on toast with a poached egg. Gently crack an egg into simmering water and cook four minutes for a runny yolk, five for a harder yolk. In the meantime, toast bread and spread with canned salmon. Scoop the eggs out with a slotted spoon, plop onto the toast, sprinkle with salt & pepper. (Soft boiled eggs is another great option here that’s a bit easier.)
Eggs aren’t the main ingredient here, but they are critical. For a graham cracker crumb crust, mix two cups of graham crumbs, two tablespoons sugar and ⅔ cup butter. Press into a spring-form pan. For the filling, beat three packages of cream cheese with a cup of sugar, and one teaspoon vanilla extract. One at at time, beat in three eggs. Pour the filling over the crust and bake at 350F for 35-45 minutes. Let it cool completely before serving. Try adding flavours to the mix, like berries, cocoa or lemon zest.
Many seniors have been using this trick to preserve eggs: boil the eggs until hard — about 10 minutes — peel, and pop into a jar of pickle juice (after the pickles are finished). Feel free to add garlic cloves or dill stalks to get more flavour.
Meringue pie topping
This recipe is not the easiest, but the payoff is huge. Separate the egg whites from two eggs (save the yolks for garlic aïoli sauce) and beat them on high in a bowl with a pinch of salt until they get frothy. A little at a time, add four tablespoons of sugar. Keep beating with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Separately make a pie (recipe not included here). Spoon meringue over the pie, fluffing it into peaks. Bake at 350F for about 12 minutes until the tops are browned. Meringue can also be baked without a pie. Scoop six to eight heaps of meringue onto a cookie sheet, fluffing the tops. Bake the same. Voila! It’s egg-white cookies.
Garlic Aïoli Dipping Sauce
In a blender or food processor, combine two garlic cloves, two egg yolks, a tablespoon of lemon juice, a half-teaspoon of mustard and a pinch of salt. Slowly add a half-cup of olive oil to the blender. Serve as a dipping sauce for fresh veggies.
Beat eggs and milk — just over half a cup of milk to every two eggs, but it doesn’t need to be precise. Add pinches of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla extract. Soak bread slices in the egg batter. Melt butter in a frying pan and transfer the egg-soaked bread. Fry on both sides until golden. Serve hot with icing sugar, maple syrup or fresh fruit.
Fry an egg to your liking, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, whether runny, hard or somewhere in the middle. Toast bread and spread with butter or mayonnaise. Add slices of cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, fried bacon, avocado, alfalfa sprouts – or none of that! Transfer the egg to your sandwich and season with salt, pepper and your favourite hot sauce.
Egg Smear (a.k.a. Egg Salad)
Boil and peel eggs, mash together with mayonnaise, lots of chopped chives or dill, thinly sliced red onions and a touch of mustard.
Serve alone on bread, or make a full sandwich with cheese, tomatoes and lettuce. If you’re still overwhelmed with too many eggs around, you can crack them into ice cube trays and freeze them to use at your leisure.
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