Monday, April 25, 2011

Putting a Spin on Eggs...

Delicate quail eggs and more intense goose eggs are now in season at  the Fair Food Farmstand 

Having devoured a wonderful Lindt chocolate bunny on Easter Sunday, and smashed a cascerone on the head of my son, daughter, and bemused husband (being British, we're new to this particular Easter tradition from Mexico), it seemed fitting to turn our attention to the humble egg - a key ingredient in so many of our favorite dishes.
Thanks to the ladies at Reading Terminal Market, who painted and directed these confetti filled eggs (cascerones) to raise money for charities that assist children who are afflicted with AIDS. 

Over the next two weeks, we'll be sharing our favorite egg recipes, ranging from the sweet to the savory, while spotlighting the array of egg-based dishes available at the Market -- of course we had to start at the beginning with breakfasts on Wednesday this week!

Our Very Own Treasure Hunt
 Before embarking on this culinary venture, we took a light-hearted look at the eggs we spotted on an (Easter) egg hunt around the Market last week...

The lads at Profi's Creperie, were only too happy to rustle up a crepe for us.  Apparently this chicken, spinach, tomato crepe, with a sprinkling of mozarella, is their lunchtime best-seller:

We topped off the crepe with a lemon curd cupcake from Flying Monkey Patisserie.  This divine cupcake, topped with a light buttercream, just oozed the most delicious lemon filling when we cut it in half.    
Now we know why they need so many pallets of eggs!
Also, an honorable mention to the freshly cooked Japanese omelet, crammed with chicken, from Tokyo Sushi Bar. While we didn't actually get a chance to sample it, the chef assured us it was very tasty - it certainly smelled exquisite...

One thing we just had to try was A.J.Pickle Patch's pickled eggs.  Stained a very pretty purple-ly color (a result of them being pickled with the sweet baby beets), these eggs are good! 
We polished them off for lunch the next day, but could imagine them being chopped up and featuring in a very interestingly colored egg mayo salad. We may try this sometime during the Summer...

Following this egg hunt, we dipped into some of the traditions and folklore associated with eggs at Easter time.   Why are eggs are so closely tied to Easter?  

In Christian lore, the egg is viewed as being symbolic of the Resurrection - a symbol of rebirth, the cycle of Life and renewal.   Since medieval times, birds eggs have been painted bright, Spring-like colors, and given as gifts to friends and family.  In the course of our research, we cracked open some of the odd-ball customs associated with the non-chocolate kind of Easter eggs - many of these, such as egg-rolling, originate in Europe and the U.K.  My particular favorite - and I'm indebted to Mandy Barrow, writing on the website British Life and Culture for her insights here is egg jarping. 

Yes, that's right; there is apparently a sport called "egg jarping" in the UK.  This contest entails opponents bashing their eggs together - much like you would play the game of conkers (where you take the nut from a horse chestnut tree, bake it 'til hard, thread a string through it and then you have your weapon ready to play "Conkers".)  We're assuming that the game of jarping involves hard-boiled eggs...

On the subject of hard boiled eggs, we stumbled across this irreverant egg timer and toast stamper combination in Amy's Place, the cookshop at the Market.  Having cooked your perfectly timed egg, you can accompany it with a miraculous image of the Madonna, courtesy of this "Holy Toast" duo. 

We just might give this one a try!

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