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Various rules have been given for testing the freshness of eggs, but there is only one which is reliable, and it is, perhaps, the most simple of all. It is merely this: open the egg and look at the contents in a strong light. It is better to hold it near the eyes and at the same time take a deep breath inward.
Strictly fresh eggs come from the country sometimes with the date of their appearance stamped indelibly in purple on the egg. This is done by giving the hens chopped calendars with their meals. Care should be taken, however, to furnish this year's calendar. Nobody wants an egg with a last year's date on it and the error is likely to disarrange the digestion of the hen. Eggs flavored with onions or tomatoes are secured by turning the hens into a neighbor's vegetable garden. A certain florist feeds his unsold roses to his hens and sells rose-flavored eggs to his customers at a fancy price. The hint is well worth remembering. Violet-flavored eggs might be had, doubtless, in the same way.
At a formal breakfast, all precautions should be taken to insure the freshness of the eggs. A conscientious hostess would be very much mortified if she served chicken out of its proper course.
Use a skillet, or muffin-rings placed in a pan of water, not too deep. The water should barely cover the eggs. Bring the water to the boiling point, drop in the eggs carefully, one at a time, and remove from the fire immediately. Cover the pan and let stand until cooked. A teaspoonful of lemon juice or vinegar in the water will keep the whites firm and preserve the shape of the eggs. Poached eggs are usually served on thin slices of buttered toast. Take up with a skimmer and let drain thoroughly before placing on the toast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. As every other writer who has given directions for poaching eggs has said that "the beauty of a poached egg is for the yolk to be seen blushing through the veiled white," the author of this book will make no allusion to it.
Put two heaping tablespoonfuls of butter into a frying-pan. When it sizzles, break into it quickly six fresh eggs and mix thoroughly with a silver spoon for two minutes without stopping.
Season with salt and pepper and a slight grating of nutmeg if desired. Scrambled eggs should be thick and creamy.
EGGS — II
Beat the eggs thoroughly, add one teaspoonful of cold water or milk for each egg and beat again. Cook as above.
EGGS WITH ASPARAGUS TIPS
Have one cupful of cold cooked asparagus tips ready. In boiling asparagus its color will keep better if the smallest possible pinch of baking soda be added to the water. It should be cooked quickly in an uncovered saucepan. Prepare the eggs as for Scrambled Eggs — II, and when they begin to thicken, put in the asparagus tips and stir until the eggs are done. One half cupful of the asparagus tips to each three eggs is about the right proportion, but more may be added if desired. In making scrambles, allow one egg for each person and one extra for each three persona.
EGGS WITH DRIED BEEP
One cupful of minced dried beef, which has been soaked in boiling water for five minutes. Put it into melted butter, stir till the butter sizzles, then pour over six or seven well-beaten eggs. Stir till the eggs are smooth and creamy. Serve at once. Any scramble may be served on toast if desired.
Three tablespoonfuls of butter in the frying-pan. When it sizzles, slip in the broken eggs carefully, one at a time. Tip the pan and baste with the melted butter while cooking. If wanted crisp on both sides, turn the eggs over when the under side is done. Wet in cold water the saucer on which an egg is broken and the egg will not stick to it, but will slip easily into the pan. Olive oil may be used instead of butter, but the pan must be covered during the cooking, as the oil spatters.
EGGS AU BEURRE NOIR
Pry eggs as above, using butter or oil. When done, skim out, add more butter or oil to that in the pan, season with salt, pepper, vinegar, or lemon-juice, and let brown. When the butter is brown pour it over the fried eggs and serve.
À LA CRÈME
Make a cream sauce, using one tablespoonful of butter, two of flour, two cupfuls of milk, and pepper and salt to season. When the sauce is thick and creamy, add hard-boiled eggs coarsely chopped, and serve at once on toast. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
À LA TRIPE
Fry two sliced onions in butter, but do not brown. Stir in one cupful of milk or cream and enough flour to thicken, rubbed smooth in a little of the cream or milk. Season with salt, white pepper, and a bit of grated nutmeg. Stir till thick, then add eight hard-boiled eggs, sliced crosswise. Heat thoroughly and serve.
Butter a atone platter that will stand the heat of the oven. Break into it carefully enough fresh eggs to cover it, taking care not to break the yolks. Place in the oven till the eggs are set. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and minced parsley and serve at once.
WITH CREAMED CELERY
Make the cream sauce and put into it enough boiled celery, coarsely cut, to serve as a vegetable. Spread on buttered toast and lay a poached egg on each slice. The tough, unsightly portions of celery stalks may be used in this way.
Use one cupful of chopped cooked chicken livers and six or seven well-beaten eggs. Prepare like other scrambles.
One half cupful of grated American cheese and six well-beaten eggs. Mix the cheese with the eggs before cooking.
À LA PAYSANNE
Put one half cupful of cream into a baking-dish, break into it six fresh eggs, and place in the oven till the eggs are set. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, minced parsley, and sweet green pepper.
Make the cream sauce and add to it the shredded whites of six or eight hard-boiled eggs. Spread on buttered toast and rub the yolks through a sieve, sprinkling each slice of toast with the powdered yolk. Sometimes called "Eggs à la Goldenrod."
One cupful of oysters, cut fine. Pour boiling water over, drain on a fine sieve, and add six or seven well-beaten eggs. Prepare as other scrambles.
One cupful of cooked mushrooms, cut fine, six or eight well-beaten eggs. Serve on toast.
One cupful of cold cooked lobster, six or eight well-beaten eggs. Mix before putting into the hot butter.
One cupful of stewed and strained tomato, or of fresh tomato peeled and rubbed through a sieve, six or eight well-beaten eggs. Mix before putting into the hot butter.
One cupful of cold cooked green peas, six or seven well-beaten eggs. Mix before beginning to cook.
One cupful of cold boiled ham, minced, mixed with eight well-beaten eggs. A little grated onion is an improvement.
Fry one cupful of shredded bacon until partially cooked, drain off part of the fat, add six or seven well-beaten eggs, and finish cooking, stirring constantly. A little grated onion may - be added with the eggs.
One cupful of cooked shredded crab-meat, six or seven well-beaten eggs. Shredded green peppers may be added at pleasure. The canned crab-meat is nearly as good as the fresh.
One cupful of finely cut cooked shrimps, six or seven well-beaten eggs. Green peppers may be added. Canned shrimps may be used.
One cupful of cold cooked kidneys, cut fine, six or seven well-beaten eggs. Prepare like other scrambles.
One cupful of cooked sausage-meat, finely minced, mixed with six or seven well-beaten eggs before cooking. Or, use uncooked sausage-meat and prepare like Bacon Scramble.
Add the juice of half a lemon to one cupful of finely cut sardines. Use the oil from the can instead of butter. Beat six or seven eggs thoroughly and mix with the sardines before cooking.
One cupful finely minced cooked tongue, six or eight well-beaten eggs. Season with grated onion, shredded green pepper, or minced parsley.
WITH FINE HERBS
Use a heaping tablespoonful of minced parsley, chives, and tarragon to eight well-beaten eggs, mixing before putting into the hot butter.
Split three sweet green peppers, lengthwise, and take out the seeds. Fry two minutes in very hot butter. Pry six very thin slices of ham and place on slices of toast, lay the peppers over the ham, and put a fried or a poached egg on each slice.
Cook together one cupful of stewed and strained tomato, one bean of garlic, finely minced, one chopped onion, and two sweet green peppers, seeded and chopped. Cook gently till reduced one half. Spread on thin slices of toast and lay a fried or poached egg on each slice.
CHICKEN AND POACHED EGGS
Make a cream sauce, add one cupful of minced cooked chicken, spread on toast, and lay a poached egg on each slice.
EGGS — I
Put the eggs into a saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil. Boil one minute and serve at once.
EGGS — II
Have a saucepan of water at a galloping boil. Drop in the eggs carefully, cover, and let stand till the eggs are cool enough to handle. They will be perfectly cooked and much more easily managed than if the shells were piping hot.
Cut stale bread into slices an inch thick. Scoop out the centres of each slice and remove the crust. Rub with butter, drop an egg into each cavity, and put in a hot oven till the eggs are set
Butter ramekins or custard cups. Drop an egg into each cup and place in a hot oven till the egg Is set. This method of cooking eggs may be endlessly varied by filling the cups half full of minced meat, fish, seasoned crumbs, creamed vegetables, or anything else which combines well with eggs. Anything used in a scramble or an omelet may be placed in the bottom of the ramekin. If too dry, moisten with cream, milk, or water. The egg may be sprinkled with crumbs and dotted with butter. Grated cheese and minced parsley may be added at pleasure. A "left-over" which is otherwise hopeless may often be used advantageously in a ramekin with an egg. The small individual dishes are pleasing, when served on a fresh doily. Lacking the individual dishes, or for variety, a stoneware platter, or a baking-dish may be half filled with the mixture and the eggs broken on top.
EGGS WITH CHEESE
Make toast and hollow the slices slightly in the centre. Mix grated cheese to a paste with milk and spread over the toast. Arrange on a stoneware platter or in a baking-dish, break an egg over each slice, sprinkle with more cheese, and place in a hot oven till the eggs are set.
EGGS WITH HAM
Make the cream sauce and add to it one cupful of cold cooked ham, finely minced. Butter custard cups, break an egg into each, and stand in a pan of hot water in the oven till the eggs are firm. Spread the minced ham on a platter or on slices of toast, and turn the eggs on to it. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and minced parsley.
Allow four tablespoonfuls of milk for each egg. Beat together thoroughly, cook in a double boiler till creamy, and serve on toast.
(May Irwin's Recipe)
One pound of fresh mushrooms cleaned well in several waters, and wiped dry. Put into a saucepan with two ounces of butter, half a teaspoonful of salt, and a dash of white pepper. Set over the fire till thoroughly hot, then turn into a shallow baking-dish, and break over them six eggs. Sprinkle with stale bread crumbs, dot with butter, dust with salt and pepper, and bake in a hot oven till the eggs are set. Serve on buttered toast.
Scoop out the crumb from stale rolls, first cutting an even slice off the top. Toast or fry the shells thus made, or rub freely with butter and set into a piping hot oven until crisp and brown. Drop a fresh egg into each shell, add a little minced parsley or a teaspoonful of cream, if desired, or any preferred seasoning of minced fish, or meat, or vegetable. (See Eggs in Ramekins.) Bake in a hot oven till the eggs set, put on the covers, and serve. A pleasant surprise for the person who expects to find only a roll.
À LA MAITRE D'HÔTEL
Make a sauce of half a cupful of melted butter, the juice of half a lemon, and a teaspoonful of minced parsley. Cut hard-boiled eggs in slices lengthwise, arrange on buttered toast, and pour the sauce over the eggs, or, pour over poached eggs on toast just before serving.
EGGS ON ANCHOVY TOAST
Work a teaspoonful of anchovy paste, or more, if desired, into half a cupful of butter. Spread on thin slices of crisp toast and lay a poached egg on each slice.
SUR LE PLAT
Beat the whites of eggs to a stiff froth, spread an a buttered platter, and make hollows in the froth with a spoon. In these hollows drop carefully the unbroken yolks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in a hot oven until the eggs are set.
Use recipe for Eggs sur le Plat. Arrange in ramekins or on slices of toast.
BASED IN TOMATOES
Cut off a slice from the top (blossom end), of a small, ripe, well-shaped tomato. With a silver spoon scoop out the pulp carefully, sprinkle the inside with salt and drain for a few moments, upside down. Put a tablespoonful of seasoned bread crumbs in the bottom of the tomato, break a fresh egg into it, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place in a hot oven until the egg is set. Prepare one tomato for each person.
Rub a stoneware platter thickly with butter, cover it with very thin slices of fresh Gruyère cheese, break fresh eggs upon the cheese, sprinkle with grated nutmeg, pepper, and salt, pour half a cupful of cream over the eggs, sprinkle with the cheese, grated, and bake about a quarter of an hour in a hot oven. Serve on the same platter on which the eggs were baked.
Use one cupful of cold cooked chicken, shredded or chopped, to seven well-beaten eggs, and prepare like other scrambles. A bit of green pepper or of chopped pimento is an agreeable addition.
À LA BONNE FEMME
Fry two sliced onions brown in butter, then add a tablespoonful of vinegar. Butter a platter, spread the fried onions over it, break upon it six fresh eggs, sprinkle with crumbs, dot with butter, and bake in a hot oven until the eggs are set.
À LA BOURGEOISE
Cut slices of bread half an inch thick and trim off the crust, lay on a buttered platter, and sprinkle with grated cheese. Beat eggs enough to cover the bread, season with salt and pepper and grated nutmeg, pour over the bread and bake in a moderate oven until the eggs are set.
À LA ST. CATHERINE
Select smooth, shapely potatoes and bake until soft. Cut in halves lengthwise and scoop out a part of the pulp. Break an egg into each half, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add a teaspoonful of cream to each egg and bake in a moderate oven until the eggs are set. In the meantime, beat the white of an egg to a stiff froth, and work gradually Into it the potato pulp which has been scooped out. Heap roughly over the baked eggs and keep in the oven till well puffed and brown. A little grated cheese or minced parsley may be sprinkled over the top.
Cut a thin slice from the stern end of a green pepper and take out the seeds. Cut a slice from the smaller end, so that the pepper may stand straight, and put on a slice of buttered toast. Make a small hollow in the toast under the pepper and break an egg into each one. Bake until the eggs are set.
POACHED IN MILK
Butter a frying-pan, add a pint of milk, and bring the milk to a boil. Slip in fresh eggs, one at a time, and poach as usual. Skim out, season with salt and pepper, and put each egg on a slice of buttered toast Pour the milk over and serve immediately.
EGGS À LA WASHINGTON
Lay a slice of fresh fried tomato on each slice of buttered toast. On each slice of tomato arrange some shredded sweet pepper, fried. Lay a poached egg on each slice, and sprinkle with parsley and sweet pepper minced together.
Use the scarlet pimentos which come in cans. Chop rather coarsely and use half a cupful to each four eggs. Prepare like other scrambles.
À LA ESPAGNOLE
Make a cream sauce and add to it half a cupful of shredded pimentos. Spread over buttered toast and put a poached egg on each slice.
Use one cupful of shredded salt cod which has been freshened, and seven well-beaten eggs. Salt Mackerel, Finnan Haddie, Smoked Salmon, or other salt fish may be used. Clams, Caviare, Herring, Sturgeon, and many other leftover. are also acceptable.
Break fresh eggs into buttered custard cups and steam until set.
EGGS ON RASHERS OF BACON
Have ready some thin slices of bacon fried until transparent, but not crisp. Lay two strips of bacon on each slice of toast, arrange in a baking-pan, break an egg over each slice of toast, and bake until the egg is set.
EGGS IN CUPS
Prepare stale rolls as for Eggs in Ambush, but bake the buttered rolls until crisp and brown. Fill with scrambled eggs and serve immediately.
Use a cupful of cold cooked rice and eight well- beaten eggs and proceed as for other scrambles. A little milk or water may be necessary.
Boil fresh eggs four minutes, skim out, plunge into cold water for an instant, then remove the shells. Dip each egg into egg and crumbs, then fry in deep fat.
Spread hot boiled rice on a platter, season with melted butter, lemon juice, and minced parsley. Poach six eggs and arrange them on the rice.
Beat three fresh eggs with two tablespoonfuls of butter, and add a teaspoonful of milk. Stir over a moderate fire until it puffs up, then serve at once on buttered toast.
À LA WALDORF
Beat six eggs with half a cupful of cream, half a teaspoonful of salt, and a sprinkle of pepper. Cut two large mushrooms into dice and fry one minute in two tablespoonfuls of butter. Pour the egg mixture over the mushrooms and stir rapidly until it begins to thicken, then take from the fire and beat until smooth and creamy. Serve at once on buttered tout.
Beat six eggs separately, the whites to a stiff froth. Mix thoroughly, season with salt and pepper, and pour into two quarts of salted water at a galloping boil. Stir one minute, then drain through a fine sieve. Serve on buttered toast and garnish with crisp rashers of bacon.
Make the cream sauce. Have ready eight hard-boiled eggs and some dried bread crumbs. Butter ramekins, put in a layer of crumbs, then sliced eggs, then butter in tiny dots, then sauce, and so on, until the dish is full, having crumbs and butter on top. A little grated cheese may be sprinkled over the top. If too dry, moisten with a little milk or cream. Bake until brown.
EGGS WITH CREAMED SALMON
Make a cream sauce and reheat in it either canned salmon, or a cupful of salt or smoked salmon. Spread on buttered toast and lay a poached egg on each slice. Sprinkle with minced parsley and garnish with lemon quarters.
À LA MARTIN
Boil six eggs four minutes, plunge into cold water, then remove the shells. Arrange in a baking-dish, or in ramekins, cover with cream sauce, sprinkle with bread crumbs and a little grated cheese, dot with butter, and bake until brown.