Paleo Kitchen Basics: How to Boil an Egg

Few things bring me as much kitchen frustration as a badly boiled egg.  They can go wrong in more ways than one, but by far the worst is the egg that states that it is perfectly happy living in the shell, and will fight tooth and nail to keep from parting ways with its thin, crackly home.  The end result of that situation is an ugly, pock-marked egg that took two hours to get the shell bits off.  Those eggs are salvageable, except for those two hours you’ll never get back, if the goal was egg salad, since you can relieve your frustrations by chopping the little jerk up. If, however, you were planning on serving deviled eggs, it’s all over.  Despite perhaps being the world’s most perfect food, there’s something depressing about a deviled egg that looks like the surface of the moon.

I’ve tried all the “tricks” for boiling eggs.  Putting them in the water at different times, baking soda, ice baths.  The results have varied wildly.  Thankfully, all the experimentation has led me to my own foolproof method, which I discovered, of course, on accident.

Perfectly Boiled Eggs

  1. Fill a saucepan with 1 1/2” of water.  Cover.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Gently add the eggs one at a time with a slotted or wire spoon. If they bounce off the bottom of the pot they may crack, so try to roll them off the spoon into the water.  If one does crack, just continue to cook it.  It will make a mess in the water, but will still be usable for egg salad or a snack.

    Gently...Gently...Gently!

    Gently…Gently…Gently!

  3. Partially cover the pot with the lid, leaving an opening for the steam.
  4. Set the timer! Ten minutes is perfect for snack eggs, egg salad, and deviled eggs. Much longer will be too much.  The giveaway of an over cooked egg is the gray ring around the yolk.  Five minutes is perfect for a nice runny yolk to feed to babies.

    Baby superfood in just 5 minutes.

    Baby superfood in just 5 minutes.

  5. When the timer goes off, move the pot from the stove to the sink. Tip the boiling water out while rinsing the eggs with cold water.  Rinse just long enough to cool the eggs enough to handle.

    No ice bath necessary.

    No ice bath necessary.

  6. Here’s the magic step: Peel the eggs while they are still warm.  Tap the side of the egg just once or twice.  Pull off a few small pieces of shell with the side of your thumb so you have access to the thin membrane that lies between the egg and the shell.  Pinch the membrane to tear it, then use the side of your thumb again to peel off the remainder of the membrane and shell together. (Caution!  Did one of your eggs crack in Step 2?  This egg will probably have a pocket of boiling hot water inside the shell.  Drain carefully before peeling!)
  7. Voila! You should now have a lovely spread of perfectly peeled eggs ready for snacks, salads, and deviling!

    Big shell pieces = Egg bliss

    Big shell pieces = Egg bliss

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Chocolate PB&J Bars

These date bars are easy, versatile, and travel well. I started experimenting with making bars two years ago as fuel for long trail runs and races. It turned out everyone in the family loved them, so we’ve made quite a few since then.  Beyond just squishing a handful of dates together, the possibilities are endless as far as tweaking the additional fruits, flavorings, and seasonings.  This particular recipe came out really well.  It calls for dried blueberries, which always come sweetened, but you can easily dry your own.  Spread a package of fresh blueberries on a cookie sheet, and bake at 200℉ for 4-6 hours until the berries are shriveled.

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Chocolate PB&J Bars

Makes 8 bars or 16 bites

Ingredients:

2 cups medjool dates

1 cup dried blueberries

1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup almond butter

Directions:

1. Cut each date in half and remove the pit.  Place all the dates in a food processor and process until they become a uniform ball.  Remove the clump of dates to a mixing bowl.

2. Pour the blueberries, chocolate chips, and sea salt to the food processor and process until well chopped and mixed. Place these in the mixing bowl with the dates.

3. Add the almond butter to the mixing bowl and combine it all with a wooden spoon.  It will be very thick, so spreading the mixture out then folding it back on itself can be effective.

4. Place a sheet of parchment paper over an 8×8 glass dish, then drop the mixture from the bowl into the middle of the paper.  Use the spoon to spread the mixture into an even layer in the dish.

5. Refrigerate until firm, at least half an hour.  Lift the entire thing out of the dish by the parchment paper, and cut into bars or bites.  Store in the fridge to keep solid.

Smoked Salmon Omelets with Bacon, Artichoke Hearts, and Mushrooms

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A successful fishing trip a week ago led to piles and piles of salmon filets, which led to a week long extravaganza of marinating, smoking, and vacuum sealing. As an end result, we have an obscene amount of smoked salmon, which is nothing to complain about.  My first impulse was to poach a few eggs and whip up some hollandaise sauce to smother the eggs and fish in together, but I was out of lemons, so these omelets were my backup.  There were no complaints when I served them up Saturday morning!

Smoked Salmon Omelets with Bacon, Artichoke Hearts, and Mushrooms

Serves 3

Ingredients:

4 slices bacon
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup smoked salmon
1/2 cup artichoke hearts
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tbsp. butter, ghee or coconut oil
9 eggs
Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Cut bacon into bite sized pieces, and place in pan over medium heat.
2. Allow to almost crisp on one side, then give them a quick stir and add the mushrooms. Stir occasionally until mushrooms are soft.
3. Break the salmon into bite sized pieces, making sure all bones are removed.
4. Add salmon and artichoke hearts. Season with salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic powder and stir.
5. When salmon and artichokes are just warm, turn off heat.
6. In a second pan, heat 1/2 tbsp of the butter or coconut oil over heat just below medium.
7. Beat 3 eggs in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour egg mixture into pan.
8. Allow to cook undisturbed until about half the thickness of the egg is firm, about 2 minutes.
9. Top half of the egg with 1/3 of the salmon mixture and fold the egg in half over the salmon. Cook a minute more, then flip the omelet over to the other side and cook for an additional minute.
10. When egg is firm throughout, remove to a plate, and repeat steps 6-10 for remaining two omelets.