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From Barnes & NobleThe Incredible Egg
Since May is National Egg Month, I felt that we should celebrate the oval wonder. There is perhaps no food that I love as much as I do eggs (well, perhaps cheese), and with a medically imposed heart-healthy diet, there is no food that I miss as much (except, perhaps cheese). For me, personally, eggs in any form -- soft-boiled, poached, scrambled, sunny-side up, coddled -- have always been my comfort food, so you can imagine what a void their lack has made in my diet. So it was with great delight and much longing that I vicariously read through Marie Simmons' newest cookbook, The Good Egg: More Than 200 Fresh Approaches From Soup to Dessert. This is a very timely cookbook as advocates for a healthy diet are now telling us that most people, those who are not genetically predisposed to heart disease, can frequently eat eggs with no increased risk to their health. And, along with the author, I would guess that many cooks no longer know what to do with one of nature's most perfect foods, the farm-fresh egg.
The Good Egg had its evolution in the sharing of food memories with a couple of colleagues. Marie Simmons' favorite childhood breakfast was a soft-cooked egg served with buttered toast fingers for dipping. Her reminiscence of her love of this special breakfast led to a conversation about how often an egg chore was a child's first kitchen job -- learning how to separate the yolk from the white, peeling hard-cooked eggs, cranking the manual egg-beater. And, then, since everyone was a passionate cook, the conversation flowed on to techniques of using eggs, the science of eggs, and, of course, to recipes. The more they talked, the more Marie Simmons realized that she could fill a cookbook with egg recipes. And, lucky for us, she did. I didn't ask, but I suspect that The Good Egg has been a rather long labor of love for Marie Simmons, since she has, in recent years, become very well-known for the light and healthy recipes featured in her monthly column for Bon Appetit and in her books (especially the Julia Child Award-winning Lighter, Quicker, Better).
Reading through The Good Egg, I came across so many familiar and much-loved and missed classic egg recipes that I had a hard time keeping myself out of the kitchen. When is the last time you had a creamy, rich spaghetti carbonara; a perfect, slightly runny omelette; eggs Benedict (with crisp Canadian bacon and real hollandaise); popovers; quiche Lorraine; egg custard; floating island? I could go on and on. Along with these old-timers, Marie Simmons has filled The Good Egg with a fine array of contemporary recipes using eggs in all of their forms. You will find such tasty meals as Cheddar Scrambled Eggs in Tortillas with Tomato-Avocado Salsa, Mom's Ciambotta with Baked Eggs, Leek, Sun-Dried Tomato and Brie Strata and Spinach, Egg and Feta Pie in Filo Crust. You'll note that I said meals, not recipes, 'cause once you mix the perfect egg with some vegetables, bread, or cheese, you have an easy-to-put-together and quite complete meal.
Along with the great "meal" recipes in The Good Egg, Marie Simmons does a roundup of sauces - old-fashioned mayonnaise, real hollandaise, aioli, and béarnaise among others -- and gives us some wonderful egg-enriched desserts. She also fills the book with tips on buying, storing, and cooking with eggs and egg safety as well as anecdotes, poems, and great introductory material that makes you want to once again embrace cooking with eggs.
Plus, once and for all, Marie Simmons will, I hope, put to rest two questions: 1. Brown eggs or white? Her definitive answer, "The bottom line: The color of the egg shell is purely a function of the breed of chicken; it has no bearing on the taste or the nutritional content of the egg." 2. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Well, she didn't really answer this question, but I would guess that, if you really pinned her down, Marie Simmons would say, "the egg."
After I read through every one of the 200 recipes and felt totally deprived, I decided that I should quit feeling sorry for myself and get into the kitchen. I began adapting Marie Simmons' marvelous egg recipes to my usual egg substitutes. I knew that my versions would not be anywhere near as delicious as those in The Good Egg, but I somehow felt that Marie Simmons would forgive me. With The Good Egg: More Than 200 Fresh Approaches From Soup to Dessert and a dozen eggs at hand, Marie Simmons has made it possible for any cook to make a perfect meal! So be a good egg and add this easy-to-cook-from book to your cookbook library. I guarantee that it will end up being one of your most used books.