By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Most people can identify a food with which they share a checkered past. Broccoli or peas are popular candidates for this culinary relationship. Others may share a love-hate thing with bleu cheese or Brussels sprouts.
For me, it’s eggs.
As a child, I refused to eat them. Looking back, I felt extreme distaste for breakfast foods. Despite a trusty family recipe, I could not stomach pancakes and waffles were only a slightly crispier attempt at disguising what I saw as soggy bread. While my dad could coax me to eat one of Great-Grandma Kiebert’s pancakes with peanut butter and jelly, eggs were out of the question.
While most adversarial food relationships are overcome with time and changing taste buds, I can hardly say I’ve made it that far with eggs. Regardless, as life would have it, I had to make at least partial peace with the fragile, gooey things in adulthood. Feeding yourself is expensive, it turns out, and eggs happen to be a cheap, easy source of protein. That reality, paired with moving in with my egg-loving then-boyfriend-now-husband, brought eggs back into my life in a big way about five years ago.
I learned a few key things about making eggs tolerable during my past few trips around the sun. For one, flavor was never my problem — it was texture. To this day, when my husband asks how I want my egg, I say: “Kill it.” In other words, fry the crap out of it. If I have the slightest sense of booger-like texture when it hits the plate, I can’t do it. Scrambled-near-burnt — and with at least two pieces of buttered toast — is best.
However, I discovered the true magic of eggs more recently. I’ve been blessed with extreme cravings for vegetables in my mid-20s (which sure beats the pizza roll cravings of my early-20s) and I now know that eggs can simply be a conduit for spinach, potatoes, peppers, microgreens, onions and — my personal favorite — tomatoes. Throw some salsa and cheese on top and there you have it: an acceptable meal any time of day in my home. Of course, there still has to be toast.
These forays into egg consumption became all the more important when we got chickens. The number of hens has fluctuated over the years, but today there are 14, and they are celebrating the return of longer days with plenty of beautiful brown eggs. I’ve learned that chickens are ruthless, funny and hard-working little creatures, and for someone who never cared much for the product of their labors, I can sure taste the difference between store-bought and farm-fresh, and I’m officially a snob about it.
Today, eggs make up a sizable portion of my diet. I am thankful to my chickens, to my husband for keeping the coop clean and for the knowledge that I can name the exact source of another part of my daily intake of sustenance. It’s the same feeling I get when I harvest tomatoes from my garden in the summer, and when my family harvests elk and deer from the mountains in the fall.
Here’s to eggs, and to all the other good foods we may need to trick ourselves into eating with a little extra butter and toast. No shame.
Lyndsie’s overnight egg bake • This is my go-to recipe for family brunches, or for when the hens are working overtime and I’m simply drowning in eggs. It needs to sit overnight in the fridge, so it’s perfect for when you want breakfast ready to pop in the oven when you wake up. This recipe is more of a general guideline than a true recipe, because you can tailor the egg bake to your individual tastes.
• 1 doz. eggs
• Flour tortillas
• Veggies of choice
• Meat of choice
• Cheddar cheese
• Salt, pepper and other seasonings you like
Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking oil and set aside. Cook the chosen meat on the stovetop (I regularly use pork sausage, but pre-cooked venison smokies are also great and donít need stovetop preparation) and set aside. Chop veggies (my favorites are spinach, peppers, cherry tomatoes and potatoes) and set aside.
Next, lay out a flour tortilla and fill it with a mix of meat, veggies and cheese. Roll it up like a burrito, and lay in the baking dish so that the ends are sealed against the long sides of the dish. Repeat until the entire dish is filled with rolled tortillas. Next, whisk about a dozen eggs in a large bowl with salt, pepper and whatever other seasonings you enjoy in eggs, then pour over the top of all the tortillas. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and uncover the baking dish. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake for 40-45 minutes. Check intermittently with a toothpick to make sure the eggs cook through. Once done, let cool, then slice into squares and serve with preferred toppings. I like avocado and fresh tomatoes on top of my slice.
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