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Friday, November 18, 2011

PerfEGGtion

I love eggs and always have. Not just because they taste yummy, but they are also extremely economical, nutritious and versatile.

They are frequently an integral component of cooking and baking recipes, but even on their own, they can be enjoyed in a myriad of ways: poached, scrambled, sunny side up or down, boiled, etc.

For a while eggs got a bad rap because of their relatively high fat and cholesterol content but in recent years they've made a comeback as their nutritional value has begun to be better understood.

Although you should ALWAYS check with your doctor first, even if you have a health condition such as high cholesterol, most people can enjoy about 4-6 whole eggs a week without a problem. Egg whites, of course, are a great source of low calorie, fat-free protein and can be enjoyed in larger quantities.

Eggs are also an excellent food choice if you are trying to control your weight. Research studies have found that people who eat eggs as part of their breakfast are more likely to limit their calorie intake for the rest of the day because eggs help to control their appetite better than a high carbohydrate breakfast, such as a bagel or bowl of cold cereal. This doesn't mean eating eggs fried in butter with a side of bacon! There are a plethora of ways to eat eggs healthfully. Think soft or hard-boiled eggs, poached or scrambled with whole grain toast, or a hearty omelet filled with veggies and reduced-fat cheese.

One of my favorite on-the-go meals (for either breakfast or lunch) is 2 hard boiled eggs and a whole grain, home-made muffin. Hard boiled eggs, in particular are very portable, which also makes them perfect for a between meal or post-workout snack.

They are a great source of protein and full of nutrition. Two large eggs has less than 150 calories, 12g of protein and 10g of fat. You can choose free-range, organic and/or omega-3, depending on your preferences. Brown and white eggs have identical nutrition.

If you've ever made egg salad for a crowd (or hosted a Sedar), you know how difficult making (and peeling) the perfect hard boiled egg can be. In my opinion, if they are cooked until the yolk is pale and dry, they are barfy. Here are a few tips (Just note the cooking time following heat being turned off is based on an electric stove, and you may have to add a minute or so if you have a gas stove or induction cook top that cools quickly):

* Place eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water.
* Heat on high heat until water boils
* Turn off heat and allow eggs to sit on element for 5 minutes, then remove from stovetop.
* Drain water and refill saucepan with cold water
* As soon as eggs are cool enough to handle, roll them on countertop to break shells
* Carefully peel off shells, starting at one end of the egg, where there is space between the shell and the egg white
* Rinse off eggs to remove any remaining shell fragments and then gently pat dry. Use as desired.