Has this ever happened to you ?
It felt as if I was kissed on the forehead with a cheerful “good morning sunshine” greeting by god himself.
I know some people will disagree – but personally – I believe yolks are one of nature’s most glorious inventions. Rich and creamy – nutritious – shiny yellow. A little salt – a tiny sprinkle of black pepper – some fresh baguette … perfection.
Me being me – I immediately turned to Google for all available information on “double-yolked eggs”. To my disappointment – I found out that my personal miracle was actually quite a common practice for young chickens (in their early period of egg-production – they produce a double-yolked egg every few days).
One just have to wonder – where the hell are all those double and triple yolked eggs ? how come we are deprived from that luxury ? The sad answer is – Uniformity. We – the consumers – like our produce uniformed and predictable. We expect apples to be in a specific size (2 month on a ladder thinning up apples in New-Zealand will teach you that) – we like our citrus shiny (waxed – please do wash the lemons before using their zest) and in the appropriate shape. Cucumbers need to be straight – tomatoes need to be round – watermelons need to be seedless – we are repulsed by the hairy peel of those kiwi fruits (yep – scientists already solved the problem) … and eggs ? we all know eggs have one yolk – so please don’t confuse us with any irregularity. We are taught that nature is all about mutations and different individuals – but when we look at produce – we expect industry standards – as if those fruits and vegetables were assembled on a fabrication line.
Double-yolked Eggs (identified using light) – bruised fruits – ugly vegetables – they all end up being used by the food industry – or even worse – being destroyed (some article claim its as much as 40% of the produce). Isn’t it ridiculous ? So much waste of great produce just because it is not “state of the art” looking ?
Mirror, mirror, on the wall – who is the guiltiest of them all ?
I never buy bruised apples/nectarines (or anything to be honest). I will never buy those fat cucumbers – nor greenish tomatoes. A cauliflower will not enter my kitchen unless it is small – firm and shocking white (even if my plan is to disassemble it and make a soup). I never buy a box of fruit – boxes are used to hide the least appealing members of the herd at the bottom. Peaches must be firm yet blushing red – grapes must have no seeds. I admit – I even pick my cherry tomatoes one by one.
Long friendly relationships with your food suppliers will allow you to do that (I claim its my delightful personality – my husband insists my open wallet deserves the credit).
I’m invited to walk with my butcher into his refrigerator and pick the best cuts of meat (my tribe is not vegetarian – just me). He will always call me when a fresh cut of “Pikania” arrives (especially if its from a primipara).
My wine supplier and I go a long way back (although the shop changed ownership 4 times during that period – different faces – same relationship). This friendship started when I first entered the shop with a label of a Rioja I drank in a restaurant a few days earlier. I left the shop with my requested 20$ Rioja + 2 additional 25$ bottles I could never explain why I bought. This relationship flourished so rapidly that 6 month later I was escorting a 100$ bottle back home – promising myself I will get out of this twisted relationship ASAP … did not … but i’m happy to update I did set some clear boundaries.
At the spice shop – I lie in wait like a predator near the spice counter. Old ladies – that’s my fetish. They ask for those unpronounceable spices – and surprisingly enough – the shop always have them – hidden behind those popular ordinary cumin and coriander. “What are you cooking with that ?” is my ultimate pick-up line. The best cooking lessons – free of charge.
But the most enduring will obviously be my greengrocer. I always challenge him for the weirdest stuff on the non applicable season – strawberries in mid summer – watermelon in winter … And i’m picky with my colors too – orange beets – white corn – purple carrots – yellow potatoes.
The current recipe required 3 Meyer lemon.
“I need 3 Meyer lemons” – “its mid July – I have fresh Limes” – “Nope” – “Meyer – never heard of that” – “Its a cross between a lemon and a mandarin – its sweeter and less acidic – and it has a deep color – a little orange” (I spill the information I collected from Google with all the confidence I can come up with) – “I don’t think they can grow in our climate” – “she wants those special mandarins – with the bump at the end” (helps the Arab friendly worker) – “No I don’t” – “Hold on – let me phone my supplier – if someone can get those lemons – he’s the guy)”. Now, that’s the part he picks up his phone – and i’m pretty sure he dials /dev/null (meaning nowhere in tech language) – and no one is actually on the other side of the line – but he does actually perform a full conversation – and announces proudly by the end – “don’t worry – come over tomorrow – your lemons will be here”. Needless to say no lemon will ever wait for me (nor white corn – nor colorful beets – nor colorful carrots – nor pea shoots) – but I do appreciate his enthusiasm – so I keep trying.
My quest for the holly Meyers moved to Facebook.
The US relocated TBD musketeer : “We have them in 6 packs for 4$ at the supermarket”
me : “You have shrimp in your supermarket too …”
him : “We also have lobsters and crabs in season”
me : “And guns and roses in all seasons”
him : “Nope – roses are available just in spring”
Still – no Meyer lemons for me.
I finally contacted the farmer actually growing those lemons – farmers take a lot of pride in their work – he was moved by the fact I could distinguish between lemon varieties (which I could not) – and he promised me that a few of them Meyers will be arriving to a grocery near my home at the beginning of the week. On Sunday 08:30 I stood at the entrance of the mentioned grocery – and picked some different looking lemons – a little orange in color and aroma – I baptized them as Meyers – put a nice V next to lemons on my ingredient list – and sent my husband on his motorcycle to get me some clarified butter and Lecithin from a tiny shop in the middle of a huge city (i’m not a chocolate and flowers girl).
Back to those eggs.
When reading a lot of recipes – you cannot avoid the confusion forced by the 2 separate parts of the egg – the white stuff – and the yellow stuff.
Most languages did their users the courtesy of using the simplest and clearest terms – egg white/egg yellow – want some examples ?
- Spanish – yema de huevo / claras de huevo
- French – blanc d’oeuf / jaunes d’œuf
- Italian – tuorlo d’uovo / bianco d’uovo
I really have a lot of respect for the English language – but seems like something went wrong there. How else could you explain “yolk / egg white” ? I mean – you guys did bother to come up with a dedicated word for the yellow part – why stop there ? can’t you see the egg white looks neglected – unimportant – like the leftovers ?
But obviously the trophy goes to our mighty beautiful – yet – complex challenging language. Like anything defined by Hebrews – complexity is the main guideline (keep it complex – that’s the motto).
That’s our version : Helmon (yellow stuff) and …. Helbon (white stuff) – need I say more ?
Not a single cake recipe can be published in this language without someone asking the obvious question – do I need to whisk the yellow or white part of the egg ?
Generations of high school graduates will stare at their final Hebrew exam sheets – trying to figure out which is which – and why the hell can’t they just be called white and yellow like common sense requires …
Yet another great example of our ability to focus our efforts on the things that really matter in life.
Not only the egg white was called Helbon because it resemble milk (Halav) when cooked – the brilliant minds behind this conspiracy realized that the egg white consists mainly of proteins (not really true – but good enough for them). So they did what anyone would not dare to do – they named Proteins Helbon too. How hilarious does it sound telling your kids that beans contain a lot of “egg white” ?
Now that we mentioned proteins – and assuming that everyone knows that the yolks are the “nutrient-bearing portion of the egg whose primary function is to supply food for the development of the embryo” – looking at a picture of an egg – there is only one question left unanswered …
Where is Twitti ???
The most reasonable answer will be that the yellow molecules will do some sort of extraordinary maneuver to form this fluffy yellow little chick – but obviously – that’s not what happens.
Have a look at those fertilized eggs – and all those little spots to become twittis
An egg is this incredible self sustainable tiny universe – sheltered by the hard egg shell – wrapped inside a breathing membrane – fully sourced with all nutrients needed for the tiny spots of cells to divide and develop into this wonderful living creature . A masterpiece of nature’s engineering.
Yolk Drops (Asparagus, Meyer Lemon, Black Pepper) – Alinea Cookbook
Its time for a little challenge. The Alinea cookbook is one of the most gorgeous cookbooks in my collection. Every recipe includes many preparations – and a lot of advanced molecular techniques are used.
This recipe was perfect for my adventure – a. because it was vegetarian b. because it was not too complicated
I started by preparing the Meyer lemon puree. I quartered the lemons – removed the seeds and put them (with the peel) in my blender. Took a little time – but they did turn into a puree eventually.
I pressed the puree through a sieve – added some simple syrup and some salt – and it was ready.
Next I prepared a very simple vinaigrette – just some Meyer lemon juice – some grapeseed oil – some salt – done.
Asparagus – I cut of the tips – blenched them in boiling water for 10 seconds and cooled in ice water.
The stalks were cut into pieces – blenched in boiling water for 45 seconds and cooled in ice water
Now – I had to turn my Asparagus stalks into – Asparagus juice – so – I bought a slow juicer – and got perfect juice.
I added some salt and Lecithin to my Asparagus juice – and set it aside – ready to become Asparagus foam later.
Last – my yolk drops. Mixed a few yolks with a little salt and put in a little squeeze bottle.
I warmed my clarified butter to 77 degrees (of course I used a thermometer to verify).
Using the squeeze bottle – I dropped the egg yolk into the butter – and they just puffed up and emerged to the surface. I collected them – a little bunch at a time – until I had a nice amount of those yellow little drops.
Time to assemble the dish …
I mixed the egg drops & asparagus tips with a little vinaigrette.
Used a blender to turn the Asparagus juice into foam.
I put some puree in the plate – put some egg drops & asparagus on top – and added the Asparagus foam on the side.
Then we took pictures – a lot of pictures – it was beautiful !!!
Then we tasted … should have stopped before that step. It was WEIRD – no other word could describe it better.
The Meyer lemon puree was delicious – but had nothing to do with the rest of the components on the plate.
The drops – if I would have blind tested them I would have never identify them as yolk drops. They were nice – but nothing remarkable. Asparagus is always nice – and it was nice in this dish too – no complains. The foam – well – its adventures – and very nice on the plate …
I though maybe I did something very wrong – so I Googled a little – and found a few other adventurers who had prepared this dish at home. None of them liked it – I guess i’m in good company.
But I will surely try other recipes from this Alinea cookbook – i’m not giving up so easily.