Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Chicken and Egg

Happy St. Patrick's Day to the many of you who celebrate. Unfortunately there will be no recipes for green eggs and ham today but there are a lot of egg recipes to be found in Chicken and Egg by Janice Cole.

For Christmas I got an amazing pasta book from my sister: Making Artisan Pasta. In fact, the book was so perfect for me that my in-laws got me the same book. Since I didn't need two copies, I returned one copy to Amazon and received a credit. Two of the books I ordered in exchange were Chicken and Egg and The Good Egg. I put off reading it for a while but once I decided to clean out my cookbooks, I decided that owning so many egg cookbooks was probably unnecessary. I already owned Eggs and The Fresh Egg Cookbook before the holidays and four books on cooking eggs seemed a bit much. Chicken and Egg is shorter than The Good Egg, I decided to start with Chicken and Egg.

I sat down with it at the kitchen table and was immediately enthralled. I read the book in one sitting, yes it took a couple of hours but it was hard to put down! The book has everything going for it: humor, beautiful photos, factual information and recipes. I am so glad that I decided to spend my credit and evening reading this book.

Ms. Cole definitely has a great sense of humor that is conveyed through out the book. She refers to her chickens as free therapy and I am willing to admit that I think she is right. Watching my chickens during the day always provides me with a sense of calm. E will sit at the window (now that the snow has started to melt. Hooray!) and tap on the glass, talking to them. She seems completely content to just sit on the other side of the glass, babbling away, watching their heads bob and swap as her little fingers move.

Ms. Cole does a great job answering all kinds of beginning chicken keep questions. Her answers are simple, well written and well researched. It is not a complete how-to guide. The question range from whether you need a rooster to get eggs, what kind of feed is best, understanding the color of eggs and yolks and other such questions that people ask me all the time.

As someone who raises chickens for meat, I didn't have some of the same worries about chickens and their feelings. I do care that my chickens are healthy, happy and well cared for but I have never felt guilty as I have thrown chicken on the grill when the chickens could see. Nonetheless, it was very fun to read.

Her recipes sound amazing. Since I read this book a couple of months ago when we weren't getting any or no more than 2 eggs a day, most of the recipes weren't something I was ready to try. Now that we are getting almost a dozen a day, I am excited to try some, such as Hong Kong Sweet Egg Tarts, Golden Egg Pancakes, Smoky Cheddar and Bacon Puffed Eggs, Blueberry Sour Cream Tart and Orange Shortbread Bites. There are also a few that I would love to try but probably never will such as the Creamy Deviled Egg-stuffed Chicken Breast and the Grilled Japanese Chicken skewers. If you bake with sugar, this book has some amazing looking dessert recipes. If there weren't so many parts where I would need to substitute honey or maple syrup for sugar, I would be tempted to give some of them a try. Alas, my lack of energy lately does not bode well for trying complicated dessert recipes with substitutions. If one of you decides to try some of the recipes, with or without substitutions, I would love to know what you think. Or better yet, feel free to invite me over for a sample.

A lot of the recipes use only half an egg i.e. either the yolk or the white. I always put the other half in the fridge to "use later" but later never comes and it gets dried out so I tend not to be a big fan of those types of recipes. I am getting better about taking what is left and pan frying it up for the dog but depending on the day, doing that immediately doesn't always happen and I hate to waste eggs.

This book was definitely worth the time and the money. I won't keep it forever but I do plan on trying a few of these recipes and keeping the ones we like and then passing the book on. I would also happily give this book as a gift because it offers more than just recipes.

Have you read Chicken and Egg by Janice Cole?

This article was shared on The Chicken Chick

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