In Ovis Apalis

(Roman Boiled Eggs)

Roman Eggs

April 21: Birthdate of Rome (753 BC)

Highlander chose to spend his 50th birthday in Italy (Rome, Florence and Venice) a few years ago as a most memorable milestone trip. We went all over The Eternal City (churches, piazzas, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum, the Vatican, cafes and more) and were awed by the history, art, architecture and culture!

On Capitoline Hill, we saw the famous statue of the she-wolf suckling twins Romulus and Remus, the mythological symbol of the founding of Rome. According to the popular legend, the unwanted twin sons of the war god Mars and a Vestal “virgin” were cast off into the River Tiber. A she-wolf found the babies and nursed them as her own, until a shepherd came and raised them. When the brothers grew up, they fought over a site where they were to establish a city. Romulus killed Remus and became king of the Italian capital that bears his name.

Romulus and Remus

In observance of the birthdate of Rome, we ate an ancient appetizer called In Ovis Apalis (boiled eggs with a pine nut sauce). There is an old Latin saying “ab ovo usque ad malum” which translates to “from the egg to the fruit,” suggesting the courses of an Italian meal from the beginning to the end (or from antipasti, primi, secondi and all the way to dolci).

Do as the ancient Romans did and eat In Ovis Apalis to celebrate Rome’s birthday!

Recipe

(Adapted from PBS)

Ingredients

  • 4 boiled eggs
  • 2 ounces stone pine kernels (pine nuts)
  • 2-3 tablespoons vinegar (we used white wine vinegar)
  • 1-2 teaspoon honey
  • pinch of ground black pepper

Directions

Boil the eggs. Cool down. Remove the shells. Cut them in half lengthwise. Set aside to make the sauce.

Roman Eggs

Toast the pine nuts by sautéing them in a pan till lightly browned (about 5 minutes or less). Remove to cool. In a measuring cup or little bowl, combine the vinegar, honey and pepper. Stir in the pine nuts. Place the sauce in a small dish or serving boat to accompany the boiled eggs. Pour the sauce on the eggs and eat immediately to avoid making the yolks soggy.

Roman Eggs

Notes

  • In Ovis Apalis is also a good recipe to use up leftover boiled Easter eggs.
  • Ancient Romans added a pinch of lovage (celery leaf) to the sauce recipe.
  • We toasted the pine nuts to accentuate its flavor. Soaking them in the sauce somewhat tones down the acid in the vinegar.
  • Highlander’s birthday is on April 20. Our trip to Italy for his 50th year coincided with Roman (and national) celebrations around the week of April 21. Several museums and public events were free or discounted then, allowing us to take advantage of what the country’s tourism industry had to offer.
  • Search our blog for other Italian recipes.

Chick-in-Eggs

Chick-in-Eggs

April: Easter Week

We dress up deviled eggs as little devils after Halloween, on November 2, National Deviled Eggs Day. But around the Easter season, we make special spring chicks because they look so cute cracking out of their shells.

Eggs are festive food this time of the year as they are symbolic of transformations. The dead of winter is reborn into the hope of spring; the rising of Jesus from the dead represents new life; yolks turn into yummy appetizers.

Do deviled eggs differently during Easter Week and decorate them as spring chicks! Blessings to all our blog readers on Easter!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 hard boiled eggs, cooled and shelled
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (or to taste)
  • carrot sliver
  • black food gel tube

Directions

Boil, cool and shell the eggs. Slice a little piece off the bottom of an egg so it could stand on its own. Slice the egg 1/3 from the top, making the bottom 2/3 larger.

Chick-in-Eggs

Remove the yolks to a mixing bowl. Use a sharp paring knife to cut triangular “cracks” from the top and bottom of the egg whites. Set aside. Add mayonnaise and curry powder to the egg yolks and mash with a fork until smooth.

Chick-in-Eggs

Generously fill the bottom of the egg whites with a mound of the yolk mixture (we used a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip). Cap off with the top egg whites. Peel a small part of a carrot. Cut out into tiny triangles for the beaks. Position them on the egg yolks. Lightly touch the tip of the black tube frosting to make the eyes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chick-in-Eggs

Notes

  • Thanks to Lisa L. for the idea of decorating our deviled eggs into spring chicks.
  • Knead the black tube icing and squeeze out the excess liquid on a napkin before decorating the chick-in-eggs to avoid runny smears on the yolk filling.
  • Search our blog for other Easter and egg recipes.

Tortang Talong (Eggplant Omelet)

Eggplant Omelet

June 3: National Egg Day

Islander’s Daddy grows eggplants in the backyard of their house in Hawaii and then sometimes Mommy makes them into omelets. Tortang talong is a simple Filipino dish that Islander’s family ate most often during Lent Fridays when abstaining from meat. Islander also makes these omelets for an easy meal occasionally when she can find the specific type of eggplants at a few mainland grocery stores.

Eggplant

The eggplants used for tortang talong are the long, slender Asian style vegetables (although they really are classified as fruits/berries) and not the rounder, plump variety. Combining eggplants with eggs double the deliciousness of this dish, especially on National Egg Day!

Recipe

(From Mommy and Daddy)

Ingredients

  • eggplants (long, Asian style)
  • eggs (2 eggs per eggplant)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • vegetable oil or cooking spray

Directions

Wash and dry the eggplants. Pierce the eggplants all over with the tines of a fork.  Grill or broil the eggplants until lightly charred and soft (at least 15 minutes).

Eggplant Omelet

Cool before peeling off the skins of the cooked eggplants, leaving the stems intact. Spread out on a plate. Season with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Pour over the eggplant.

Eggplant Omelet

Heat a pan with oil or cooking spray. Carefully place the soaked eggplant in the pan, spreading it out, and pour the beaten eggs over it. Cook over medium-high heat until the sides of the omelet begin to solidify. Use a spatula to turn the eggplant omelet over and continue cooking until brown. Cook the other omelets, adding a little more oil or cooking spray as necessary.  Transfer the eggplant omelets to a plate. Serve hot with rice.

Eggplant Omelet

Notes

  • Egg substitutes (such as Egg Beaters brand) may replace real eggs in this recipe.
  • Salamat (thanks) to Daddy for being our guest chef for this eggplant omelet blog post.
  • May is also National Egg Month. Search our blog for more egg recipes.

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict

April 16: National Eggs Benedict Day

Highlander’s brother Stuart P., is the designated cook for a family favorite—Eggs Benedict—whenever everyone gets together for a rare reunion or holiday visit.  While in the kitchen, he has an assembly line to toast the English muffins, fry the Canadian bacon, poach the eggs and blend the Hollandaise sauce. He is surprisingly efficient in churning out a hearty brunch for a hungry crowd in a timely manner.

When we make Eggs Benedict for the two of us at home, we divide the duties between us. Islander prepares the Eggs Benedict components while Highlander makes the Hollandaise sauce, or visa versa. Because it is a rich and filling food, we sometimes eat Eggs Benedict for lunch or even dinner!

Whether for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, Eggs Benedict make a good meal, especially on National Eggs Benedict Day.

Recipe

(From Highlander’s Family)

For the Eggs Benedict

  • Canadian bacon or thick-cut ham
  • Tomato, large (optional)
  • English muffins
  • Butter or margarine
  • Eggs, poached

Directions

Fry the Canadian bacon/ham in a skillet till lightly browned. Slice the tomato into thin rounds. Toast the English muffins and butter them. Keep the Canadian bacon/ham and muffins warm until ready to assemble the Eggs Benedict.

Eggs Benedict

Poach the eggs. If using an egg poacher pan, boil the water on the bottom, lightly grease the wells/cups, crack an egg into each cavity and cover. Cook for a few minutes until the whites are set but the yolks are soft. Carefully remove from the egg poacher pan.

Eggs Benedict

If using a microwavable egg poacher, mist the wells/cups with cooking spray, place ½ teaspoon water in each cavity, crack an egg, pierce the yolks and whites and cover. Microwave for 30 seconds on high, let stand and microwave in 20 second intervals until the whites are set but the yolks are soft. Carefully remove from the microwavable egg poacher.

Eggs Benedict

For the Hollandaise Sauce

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3-4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons hot water

Directions

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter slowly, taking care not to brown or burn the bottom of the pan. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Stir in the lemon juice. Add the salt and cayenne pepper.

Eggs Benedict

Slowly pour the melted butter and two tablespoons hot water into the mixture and keep stirring to avoid cooking the egg yolks. Transfer everything back into the saucepan and mix well on low heat until thickened. Keep warm or use immediately. Yield: About one cup.

Eggs Benedict

Assemble the Eggs Benedict by placing a slice of tomato (optional) on top of a buttered and toasted half of an English muffin. Layer with one or two slices of Canadian bacon/ham. Add poached egg on top. Pour hot Hollandaise Sauce over the egg. Sprinkle chopped parsley and paprika (optional) and salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Eggs Benedict

Notes

  • Traditional Eggs Benedict do not include a slice of tomato in the layers. But Highlander’s family adds it for color contrast and extra flavor. This then is a variation of the similar Eggs Blackstone, which substitutes the Canadian bacon or ham with bacon.
  • Stuart uses a blender to mix the Hollandaise sauce. But we were lazy and just used a hand whisk so we did not have to wash up too many dishes.
  • Plan ahead when preparing Eggs Benedict and the Hollandaise sauce. Some components of the recipe may be kept warm while cooking the other ingredients.
  • We purchased our pans to make poached eggs from JC Penney and Williams-Sonoma. We bought our microwavable plastic egg poacher from Walmart for significantly less cost!

Greek Red Easter Eggs

(κόκκινα αυγά)

Greek Red Easter Eggs

April: Easter Season

Christos Anesti! Christ is risen! This is a beautiful Greek greeting on Easter morning exclaiming that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is alive in our hearts!

Eggs are a popular symbol for the spring and Easter season because they represent rebirth and resurrection. Many are dyed in vibrant hues but traditional Greek eggs (kokkina avga) are red as a reminder of His Precious Blood shed for all.

We used natural instead of commercial dyes to color our eggs—by boiling them with the liquid extracted from red onion skins! Red eggs may be placed in a pretty basket, hidden for an egg hunt, used to decorate a braided bread or simply eaten on Easter.

The Greeks sure got a great idea to use red eggs for evangelization! Happy Easter!

Recipe

(Adapted from About.com – Greek Food)

Ingredients

  • red or yellow skins from 5-8 onions
  • 3 -4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 6 eggs
  • vegetable or olive oil (for polishing the red eggs)

Directions

Peel off the skins from the onion and place in a large stainless steel pot full of water. Add the vinegar and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer for half an hour. Strain the red liquid into a glass bowl.

Greek Red Easter Eggs

Allow the red liquid to cool. In a pot, place the clean eggs in one layer. Pour the red liquid over the eggs to cover them. Boil the eggs for 10-15 minutes but no longer than 20 minutes.

Greek Red Easter Eggs

Carefully transfer the red boiled eggs to a glass bowl. Pour the remaining liquid over them and cool to room temperature. Gently dry the eggs on paper towels. Lightly polish the shells with a little oil. Refrigerate the eggs until ready to use.

Greek Red Easter Eggs

Notes

  • We acquire extra onion skins that fall off in the bins at the grocery store and place them in the plastic bag with our onions.
  • For deeper color eggs, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the eggs in the red liquid for a few days. We recommend dyeing the eggs on the day Jesus died (Good Friday). Then refrigerate in the red liquid. On the third day, the red eggs are ready when the Lord rose (Easter Sunday).
  • The natural dye will stain plastic or wooden utensils and plates. Use stainless steel or glass when coloring the eggs and paper towels when wiping spills or polishing with oil.
  • When our friend Olga W. came to celebrate Easter with us, she and Islander played a Greek game with the red eggs. Although she was influenced by the Russian Orthodox Church, she is familiar with some Greek Orthodox traditions, such as tsougrisma. Two players tap each other’s red egg in an attempt to crack it. The winner whose egg did not crack first is believed to be blessed throughout the coming year. (By the way, Olga won.)
  • Olga brought over braided bread and decorated it with red eggs for an edible Easter tradition in both Russian and Greek Orthodox churches.
  • Eastern (Greek, Russian, etc.) Orthodox Easter is celebrated on a date different than Western Christian churches; sometimes the dates coincide with the Julian and Gregorian calendars. Check the chart for future dates of Easter.
  • Easter eggs may be naturally dyed in other colors using a variety of vegetables, fruits, spices, herbs, etc. See the “ingredients” list on About.com – Chemistry site.
  • Search our blog for other Easter and egg recipes.

Scotch Eggs

Scotch Eggs

May: National Egg Month

Scottish festivals are fun! We enjoy watching the parade performances of the bagpipe and drum corps; meeting Highlander’s possible long-lost (royal?) relatives at the clan tents; looking at the lovely lightfooted lassies dance the fling; being amused with the athletes overturning a tree trunk at the caber toss tournament; petting the terriers, collies, deerhounds and sheepdogs; wondering what the Scotsmen are wearing underneath their kilts; and eating a variety of Scottish foods (except haggis, a traditional organ dish cooked in the sheep’s stomach). We usually graze on meat pies, sausage rolls, shortbread cookies and Scotch eggs.  For National Egg Month, we feature the latter for our blog recipe post. Our home-cooked Scotch eggs taste just like those at the Scottish festivals, and they are “eggs-cellent” as a quick breakfast, hearty snack or savory side dish!

Recipe

(Adapted from The Book of Afternoon Tea by Lesley Mackley)

Ingredients

  • 6 small hard boiled eggs, shelled
  • ½ pound ground pork sausage
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • oil for frying

Directions

Boil, cool and shell the eggs. Season the ground pork sausage with salt and pepper then divide into six patties. Prepare an “assembly line” work station with three mixing bowls—one for the flour, another one for the beaten egg and the last one for bread crumbs. Dust the hard boiled eggs in flour before covering them with the ground pork sausage.

Scotch Eggs

Mold the ground pork sausage around the eggs, sealing the seams well. Dredge each of them in flour.

Scotch Eggs

Next, dip the meat-covered eggs in the beaten egg.  Finally, cover the entire egg with bread crumbs.

Scotch Eggs

Deep fry the eggs in hot oil for 5-10 minutes. The outer covering may turn brown, but make sure that the sausage meat is cooked through. Drain the eggs on paper towels. Slice in half or in wedge quarters. Serve with hot mustard, ketchup, gravy, ranch dressing or hot sauce (optional).

Scotch Eggs

Curried Egg Salad Sandwich

Curried Egg Salad Sandwich

The Week After Easter: National Egg Salad Week

With all the egg-stra hard-boiled eggs left over from the Easter season, we do not want to let them go to waste. So we make egg salad sandwiches for a simple meal. We also add a bit of curry powder to an ordinary recipe to give it an egg-straordinary flavor. Make curried egg salad sandwiches during the week after Easter—they are an egg-cellent way to use up hard-boiled eggs and observe National Egg Salad Week!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 hard boiled eggs, cooled and shelled
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon onion, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons curry powder (to taste)
  • slices of bread (white or wheat)

Directions

Roughly chop or grate the boiled eggs into a medium mixing bowl. Mix in the mayonnaise and mustard until smooth.

Curried Egg Salad Sandwich

Stir in the onion and curry powder. Spread the mixture onto a slice of bread. Press another slice of bread on top to make a sandwich. Cut into bite-sized rectangle or triangle pieces and trim the crusts off (optional).

Curried Egg Salad Sandwich

Notes

  • Feel free to add lettuce or other green vegetables between the slices of bread to make a heartier curried egg salad sandwich.
  • Lowfat yogurt may be substituted for the mayonnaise.
  • Search our blog for other recipes featuring eggs as the main  ingredient.