Nom Nom Paleo

Egg-stravaganza!

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Eggs: they’re pretty magical. They’re amazingly portable, wonderfully versatile, and my favorite emergency protein by a mile. Like me, Henry loves eggs, no matter how they’re prepared: scrambled, poached, soft-boiled, over-hard, you name it. (My pun-loving husband might even describe them as eggceptional, but that’s going a yolk too far.) Plus, eggs are quite possibly the most nutrient-dense super-food around.

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[Photo: Bacon-Topped Deviled Eggs from my iPad® app]

Yes, we’ve all heard about eggs and cholesterol. But as Liz Wolfe writes in Eat the Yolks, “[t]he notion that cholesterol causes heart disease has been abandoned by many physicians and scientists. Why? Because after decades of studies and spin, there’s still no hard evidence to prove the hypothesis.” In fact, lowering dietary or blood cholesterol hasn’t been shown to prevent cardiovascular disease at all.

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I love how the late, great Nora Ephron put it

I have friends who eat egg-white omelettes. Every time I’m forced to watch them eat egg-white omelettes, I feel bad for them. In the first place, egg-white omelettes are tasteless. In the second place, the people who eat them think they are doing something virtuous when they are instead merely misinformed. Sometimes I try to explain that what they’re doing makes no sense, but they pay no attention to me because they have all been told to avoid dietary cholesterol by their doctors.

According to yesterday’s New York Times, the doctors are not deliberately misinforming their patients; instead, they’re participants in something known as an informational cascade, which turns out to be a fabulous expression for something that everyone thinks must be true because so many reputable people say it is. In this case, of course, it’s not an informational cascade but a misinformational cascade, and as a result, way too many people I know have been brainwashed into thinking that whole-egg omelettes are bad for you.

Seriously: most folks need not fret about limiting their egg intake. So listen to Liz: “Eat egg yolks with abandon—they are a health food. Why? Because the cholesterol in real food, like egg yolks, is not just a powerful antioxidant. It’s also packaged with other nutrients we need.”

Yolks aren’t just chock full of awesomeness—they’re the tastiest part of the egg, too.

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On average, our family of four goes through about four dozen pastured eggs each week—and we never get bored with ‘em. Want to be an eggspert in eggceptional egg cookery? Here are a bunch of ways to keep your palate eggcited and eggstatic! (I promise to stop with the egg puns now.)

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Paleo Sausage Egg “McMuffin”

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Paleo Sausage Egg "McMuffin" By Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

In honor of Father’s Day, I created this recipe for my Pop. He’s a lifelong fan of breakfast sausage and eggs…and, um, English muffins. But who needs bread when the filling’s the best part?

To make this breakfast sandwich resemble those from a certain fast-food joint (you know: the one with the freaky clown mascot), you’ll need some special equipment—namely, stainless steel biscuit cutters—but if you’ve got ’em, this recipe’s a snap. Plus, you can totally eat these sammies with your hands.

Paleo Sausage Egg "McMuffin" By Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Here’s what you’ll need to make one “McMuffin”:

  • 2 tablespoons ghee, divided (plus more for greasing the biscuit cutters)
  • ¼ pound bulk raw pork breakfast sausage
  • 2 large eggs
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon guacamole (optional)
Here’s what to do:
Grab two stainless steel 3½-inch biscuit cutters, and grease the insides well with melted ghee. Place one cutter on a plate and fill it with the sausage meat. (You can also easily make your own bulk breakfast sausage. Here’s Jen Cereghino’s recipe. I also have a Maple Breakfast Sausage recipe in my forthcoming cookbook.)

Paleo Sausage Egg "McMuffin" By Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

(If you don’t have bulk sausage handy, just cook up some bacon. I just Instagrammed a photo of a Bacon Egg “McMuffin” this morning—and if you’re not already food-stalking me on Instagram, you really should.)

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Paleo Chawanmushi (Savory Egg Custard)

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Poke a spoon through the delicate, quivering surface of these savory Japanese steamed egg custards, and you’ll find a treasure trove of ingredients inside: diced seafood, poultry, and veggies. With just a few adjustments, I’ve come up with a flavor-packed Paleo version of chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し) that you can steam on the stove, bake in a water bath, or pop into a sous vide cooker.

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Julia Child’s Rolled Omelet - Thai Style

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Julia Child's Rolled Omelet - Thai Style By Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I was recently asked to participate in JC100, a national campaign involving restaurants, chefs, bookstores, and bloggers, all celebrating Julia Child and her legacy. Each week from May 7th through August 15th (Julia’s 100th birthday), we’ll receive a recipe of Julia’s to cook (or adapt) and share. I couldn’t wait to participate. After all, Julia has been one of my culinary idols ever since I spied her on my parents’ grainy television screen three decades ago. 

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She fascinated me: A towering, warbly-voiced, grandmotherly figure who could quickly and casually whip up dishes that I’d never seen before in my mother’s Chinese kitchen. Julia was so relaxed in the kitchen — dropping food and picking it up, tasting dishes-in-progress with her fingers, adding butter when in doubt. She was so real (something I can’t say about most television chefs these days), and made even the most difficult recipes look effortless and goofily fun.

Julia inspires me to lighten up (not literally — fat rules!), chill out, and have a blast in the kitchen — regardless of the results. It’s just food, and if you make it with love, it’ll turn out wonderfully.

The inaugural JC100 recipe is Omelette Roulée or rolled omelet from Julia’s classic “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Because I’ve been crushing on Thai omelets (Kai Jeow) as of late, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to combine Julia’s omelet technique and my own Asian pantry ingredients — and ghee instead of butter to make it perfectly Whole30®-friendly. Win-win!

Here’s what to gather to feed one person:

  • 2 large pastured eggs
  • ½ teaspoon Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped scallions
  • ⅛ of a lime
  • 1 tablespoon ghee

Here’s what to do:

Grab a couple of pastured eggs… 

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…and crack ‘em in a bowl.

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Then, measure out the fish sauce

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…and add it to your eggs.

Chop the cilantro…

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…scallions…

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…and lime wedge. Look! There’s your mise en place!

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Puncture the yolks with a pair of chopsticks (or a plain old fork if you’re not down with the Asian theme)…

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…before whisking the eggs and fish sauce thoroughly.

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Add the herbs…

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…squeeze the juice from the lime wedge…

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….and mix until blended.

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Heat the ghee in a seasoned 8-inch cast iron skillet over high heat.

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Swirl it around to cover the sides of the pan, and add the eggs.

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Let the eggs sit undisturbed for a few seconds…

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…and then start jerking the pan back towards you at a 20 degree angle so the omelet begins to roll over itself at the bottom of the pan.

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Once it’s mostly cooked through, grab a plate…

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…and tip the omelet out of the pan.

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Garnish with additional cilantro and scallions, and dig in!

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Thank you, Julia!

Sous Vide Scrambled Eggs

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Scrambled eggs are so fast and easy to fry up, it never occurred to me to cook them in my SousVide Supreme. Who wants to wait twenty minutes for eggs to cook – not to mention the additional time it takes for the water oven to preheat? Not this lazy ass!

I finally made a batch today to test out our new reusable silicone cooking bag and I have to tell you, scrambled eggs cooked sous vide are fantastic! The eggs are a revelation – so tender, creamy, and custardy. Patience does pay off!

Here’s what I gathered to feed 2 people:

  • 4 large eggs
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Aleppo pepper (optional)

Here’s how I made enough eggs for 2 people:

I filled the water oven with hot water and preheated it to 165 F. In a medium-sized bowl, I beat the eggs with a large pinch of salt and four grinds of black pepper.

I poured the beaten eggs and butter into the silicone bag.

Using the water displacement method, I removed the air from the bag and sealed it tight.

Once the water oven reached 165 F, I dropped in the sealed bag…

…and set the timer for 10 minutes. After the buzzer went off, I removed the bag from the water and squished it around so the eggs wouldn’t form a brick.

I put the bag back in the water and let it cook for 12 more minutes. (In many recipes using plastic bags, the cooking time is only 10 minutes + 6 minutes but since the silicone is thicker, I soaked the eggs for five more minutes).

I removed the eggs from the SousVide Supreme…

…spooned it on a plate, and sprinkled on Aleppo pepper flakes.

My mind is bursting with ideas on how to incorporate these silky eggs into different recipes!