Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Angel Eggs

A perfectly hard-boiled egg is a thing of beauty. One that makes me reflect on the great tenderness with which God strews visual delights everywhere. Getting a perfect hard-boiled egg is another matter all together. But whether it comes out perfectly or no, transforming ordinary eggs into angel eggs makes them a fantastic treat. And a quick food at that.

So first, let me share some of the best secrets for perfect hard-boiling. I was blessed to learn how to make them growing up, though I no longer put the eggs in cold water, but put them directly into the water boiling. This is a multi-step process, but it really doesn't take that long. Oh, and a timer is your friend.

First - get some older eggs. The ones from your farmer are often fresher than what is carried at the grocery store - so let them sit for a while. Newer eggs will still work, but the white will stick to the shell more and they won't be so pretty.

Fill a pot with enough water to cover your eggs. Your best estimate is ok. If you didn't quite have enough water, you can add more. Turn the heat on medium-high.

This is the trick I learned growing up: use a knife to gently tap the eggs and just barely crack them. To do this, hold the egg in one hand, and (carefully!) the blade of a knife in the other. Then let the handle of the knife tap the egg gently until you just hear it crack. This lets the egg release air while cooking and not stick to the shell. After all the eggs are just barely cracked, your water should be ready.

Once the water is simmering, add your eggs with a ladle or spoon. Continue to let the water simmer - but not boil - until the eggs are done. For my medium eggs (though comparatively, grocery store size large) 10 minutes came out perfectly. Do slightly less time for smaller eggs, more for larger. Cooking mixed sizes will still be ok - though you may have yolks that are drier if overcooked.

Once the timer beeps - hurry! Turn off the heat, and gently pour off the hot water. Immediately put cold water in the pot, and dump in a full tray of ice cubes - being careful not to crack the eggs as the ice falls in though! Swish them around a little bit to stir in the ice.

The eggs should sit in the ice water for a while until they are completely cool. I usually figure 10 minutes, though often I get busy and it is much longer.

To peel, gently tap the egg all over on the counter, rolling it until the whole surface is cracked. This link gives a great demonstration. Using the side of your thumb helps to not dent the surface.

And voila!

For a different method (and this was my standard for a long time) Check out It's Fitting blog. Everyone's stoves and subtle differences require a little bit of tweaking to get consistent results.

Now, once your have these pearls all peeled and ready to go, open them up and put the yolks in a bowl. (If you're not ready to do this right now, they'll keep for about a week un-peeled, or a few days peeled.)

Does anyone else find that when they change their lives, they have to discover new ways of doing things, instead of just modifying the old? When I first switched to real food, I tried very hard to make deviled eggs the old fashioned way, but it just didn't work as well. Then one day I realized I could just use butter! (Of course, bacon fat wouldn't be bad either. )

To make angel eggs - add about equal amounts butter as there is yolk, and mash it all together. It may need more butter to get to the right consistency. A sprinkle of salt is good too. You did pull out the butter to soften before you started all this right?

And who says that the egg yolk filling has to be piped? Personally, I enjoy the contrast of the shiny smooth egg white and the rough chunks of egg yolk filling. Besides, these never last long enough to be eye candy.

This has become a favorite GAPS convenience food now - high protein, high fat, wonderfully delicious and beautiful to boot. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Thoughts on GAPS

This post is the fruit of many conversations with friends about GAPS. Just little tidbits of things I've learned and strive to keep in mind as I journey. These are tips for myself more than anyone, but I hope it is helpful to you.

•The quickest way to quit something is to simply eliminate it. Having it stare you down from the pantry every time you go in there is much more difficult that simply giving it away and moving forward. Eliminating the option to cheat is easier than leaving the rules vague.

•The quickest way to get started with something is to set a date and start regardless of whether you are ready or not. Pick a day, do it.

•The four meal pillars I always have in mind are: broth, fat, protein, veggie. The latter two are the most expensive. Keep that in mind. And don't forget your ferments!

•Detoxing wastes minerals. Lots and lots of minerals. Consume gobs of broth. Consume as much as you can make and tolerate. Don't be afraid to fill capsules with salt. Soak in salt, and salt everything you eat heavily. We do not realize how much salt we consume when we eat SAD food, because it is covered up with gobs of sugar. I find that people switch to real food and slack on salt. Salt is good! real salt has minerals. We do not realize how little salt we can end up using when we make things from scratch and only and always add salt at the end.

•Butter is your friend (if you tolerate it.) Top everything with butter. The only thing better than butter for everything is bacon. Mmm... bacon.

•No one says you have to make meals at normal times.

•Detox baths rock. Yes, they are kinda boring, but don't do GAPS without them. They have resurrected me from being a jittery zombie to feeling like a human being again.

•Nuts and fruit are beautiful things, and you can save hundreds of recipes that utilize them, but ultimately, they are nutrient poor expensive treats.

•Most people are deficient in Magnesium. It seems that deficiency is made more apparent when bread is removed and detoxing is had. Magnesium oil is your friend if you are ready for it.

•I still can't believe that I'm more energetic, have better body temp, and more satisfied without bread and starchy foods. So many walls have knocked me down and convinced me I just didn't do well without huge amounts of sugars and carbs, but the more I've healed, the more fat I can eat, and the less I feel dependent on starches. No, it wasn't a quick change. I'm still kinda in shock really.

•And GAPS Intro. It's not so scary or terrible. Of course, it can be. But what will you find on the other side?

This info-graphic for guiding you through intro is fantastic. Put it on your fridge. 

•Did I mention fat? It's delicious.
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