Hey, guess what? Around our house, there’s only one answer to that question:
And what comes from the aforementioned chicken butt? Hopefully you guessed eggs; the other options would make for… well, a much weirder post, let’s just leave it at that. So why eggs? By virtue of their usual job nourishing a growing chick, eggs are a nutrient dense food. They’re a good source of protein (including all the essential amino acids) and fats, several B vitamins, selenium and other nutrients.
Now, true, they also contain a good deal of cholesterol. But as I learned in Intro Nutrition, the cholesterol you eat does not head directly from your mouth to your bloodstream. Rather, the saturated fat in your diet has a much more direct effect on the cholesterol that shows up in your blood (see this brief explanation, also). So if you’re eating a balanced diet, you’ve likely got room for an egg or two with breakfast.
I appreciate eggs for all that nutrition-y stuff as well as their versatility in cooking and baking. But where they really shine is in the Ease of Preparation Department. You can crack a few into a hot skillet and have scrambled eggs in a matter of minutes. Poaching eggs takes maybe 5 minutes out of your day; tack on just a few more minutes and you can have a whole bunch of hard-boiled eggs ready to peel and eat at your leisure.
With that in mind, I made up a quick recipe for this egg-y week. I call it French toast barley because it combines the grain, egg and sugar flavors of French toast in a simple, three-steps-and-you’re-done breakfast that I could happily eat every day.
Granted, there’s some pre-work involved with this recipe to cook the barley and hard-boil the eggs. But once you’ve got those tucked away in your fridge, they pull together on the next morning like one:
Now, before we get to the rest of the recipes, a confession about the celery, feta and egg salad that I tried out for this week: I didn’t entirely dig it.
It wasn’t bad, by any means, and I ate the whole thing. But the various ingredients just didn’t mesh very well, in a way that reminded me of a middle-school dance (boys and girls occupying the same space, but never really mixing except for that one couple OMGDIDYOUSEEHE’SDANCINGWITHHERSQUEEEEE). Ahem. Anyway, I’d be interested to hear from anyone who gives it a try.
And having closed that weird little window onto my middle school experience, here’s the eggful list of recipes I promised:
- Asparagus soup with green garlic and eggs, from Martha Shulman/NYTimes (here)
- Celery, feta and egg salad, from Yotam Ottolenghi (here)
- Egg in a hole with mushrooms, from Serious Eats (here)
- French toast barley (recipe follows below)
- Ham and eggs, from Food & Fiction (here) – this recipe bakes little ham cups filled with an egg; genius.
- Poached egg with crispy polenta, mushrooms and tomatoes, from The Kitchn (here)
- Vegetable hash with poached egg, from Martha Shulman/NYTimes (here)
French toast barley (text file here)
This recipe is a cinch to throw together in the morning, but does require some prep the day before. I make the barley and eggs, store them in the fridge and have 2-4 days’ worth of breakfast on hand (depending on whether Mr. Eating The Week has some).
To cook the barley, bring 3 cups of water to a boil and add 1 cup of barley. Bring back to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. This will make four ¾-cup servings of cooked barley; store them in the fridge.
To cook the hard-boiled eggs, put 4 eggs out on the counter for 15 minutes to de-chill a little. Put them in a sauce pan and pour in just enough water to cover them all. Put the pan on high heat and bring to a boil. Let the eggs boil briefly (about 1 minute), then remove the pan from heat and let the eggs sit for 12 minutes. Drain the hot water and cover the eggs with cool water. Let them sit about 5 minutes, drain, store in the fridge.
I realize that French toast usually involves milk, but I didn’t include it in this recipe. If you’re a purist, toss ¼ cup of milk (cow, soy or otherwise) in with the barley before you microwave it.
(4 servings, approx. 290 calories each)
3 cups cooked pearl barley
4 hard-boiled eggs
4 Tbs maple syrup
For each serving:
- Microwave ¾ cup of the cooked barley for 1 minute.
- Slice one egg and spread on top of the heated barley.
- Drizzle 1 Tbs maple syrup over the top.
- Marvel at how quick breakfast was to make.