Ode to the Egg

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Eggs come in handy for us college kids. Affordable, easy to cook with and a great source of protein, these beauties can be found in many a Berkeley refrigerator. Eggs have so much more potential than just the omelet-they can be used in countless ways, and served for just about every meal. Most importantly, however, eggs are complex in their simplicity; they are not for the shallow minded. That smooth shell holds secrets of dishes to come-all it takes is a curious mind, and maybe some butter, to unlock them.

To begin with, let's get over a few egg-related hurdles. Cholesterol is one oft-discussed egg issue. Some scientific studies suggest that frequent consumption of eggs may adversely affect the body's cholesterol profile, while other research shows no correlation at all. We think it isn't worth it to get caught up in this debate. Enjoy everything in moderation, and things will probably work out for the best. Besides, the health benefits of eggs are well proven. If you really cannot get over your phobia, using only egg whites is an option. The entirety of an egg's cholesterol and fat lies in the golden yolk (which we think is the best part).

On to the salmonella issue, which seems to be on everyone's mind. A recent study by the Food and Drug Administration found only 1 in 30,000 eggs to be contaminated. Furthermore, the salmonella amount in a contaminated egg would most likely not be large enough to harm a healthy adult. Of course, infants and pregnant women are advised to stay away from sunny-side up eggs, but for us college kids, there couldn't be a better time to enjoy cookie dough and authentic Caesar salad dressing.

Eggs can be enjoyed in a variety of ways: poached or scrambled, fried or baked-the possibilities really are endless.

One of our favorite egg dishes is chilaquiles. This breakfast is simple yet satisfying, and quite easy to make. Begin by frying roughly chopped tortillas in a pan with a bit of olive oil and butter. While the tortillas are frying, beat a few eggs lightly with a fork, perhaps adding a splash of hot sauce (we know all of you college boys keep hot sauce in your refrigerators). When the tortillas crisp up and turn a lovely shade of golden brown, it is time to add the eggs. Do you have half an onion lying around? Throw that in too. A jalapeno pepper would do wonders. As the eggs cook, add a few spoonfuls of salsa. Cook the egg and tortilla pieces together, stirring over low heat, until the egg is cooked through to your liking. Chilaquiles are delicious when served with a wedge of lime and a few slices of avocado.

If making eggs for lunch entices you, why not try an egg-salad sandwich? A childhood favorite of many, this humble fare requires few ingredients: eggs, mayonnaise, salt and a handful of olives, if you so desire.

The first step is boiling the eggs. Now, there are countless complicated recipes to create the perfectly cooked hard-boiled egg, and everyone you talk to will swear by one of them.

We have had much success with carefully lowering eggs into a pot of simmering water and letting them cook for 10 minutes. That's easy, right? Afterwards, remove the eggs and plunge them into a bowl of ice water, halting the cooking process. Lightly tap the eggs on the side of the bowl, letting the cool water run through the cracks in the shell. This will facilitate the peeling process. Alternatively, you could bang the eggs on the kitchen counter and release some post-spring break tension.

Roughly chop the cooked eggs and gently mix them in a bowl with a spoonful of mayonnaise, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Here is your chance to get creative. Think of a vegetable or spice that you love and mix that in too. You never know what crazy idea could become your new favorite combination. We love paprika, green olives and oven-roasted garlic.

Perhaps the most beautiful quality of an egg is its ability to highlight and enrich the flavors that are paired with it, be they vegetables, cheeses or even meats. This makes eggs the perfect ingredient to experiment with. Put your favorite sausage in an omelet. Or that crazy new vegetable you spotted at the farmers' market. Or even the remnants of that box of wine from last night. Or beer? You never know. That last one is out there, but that's how many of the greatest ideas get their start.

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Try a beer omelet with Graham and Maria at [email protected]



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