Easter in only two weeks away, and I've been thinking a lot about eggs. I hadn't been thinking about them much before Friday, but while I was waiting in the walk-up line at L.'s school I overheard two of the moms from third grade talking about an upcoming art project, and wondering how they could incorporate a spring theme using eggs, without making it an Easter one (celebrating specific holidays is, of course, taboo in the public school system). L.'s school, alas, doesn't have a dedicated art room, or a dedicated art teacher, so art is always run by parents. At first we thought this was a great idea--especially when my schedule allowed us to help out now and again, and to be in the classroom to help run activities--but for about three years in a row art is always on days/times when neither Scott nor I can help out. I still try and participate when I can, even if it's just over e-mail, or in an impromptu planning session in the walk-up line. When I heard the moms brainstorming ideas I thought immediately about decorating blown eggs. If you've never done these, they're really easy (although messy) and make beautiful ornaments--for year-round holidays, even. But when I suggested this one of the parents crinkled up her nose.
"I don't know..." she said, turning the idea over in her head.
"We can't do that," the other parent said quickly. And then she added--and I kid you NOT--"it might be a liability issue."
That word again!
"Eggs?" I said, confused.
"Well, what with allergies and/or salmonella poisoning..." she shuddered, perhaps imagining a room filled with stricken, vomiting third-graders, and let her voice taper off.
Later that day, though, the room parents sent an e-mail around asking for blown-out eggs for next week's art project. Maybe someone rethought the liability issue (you can use straws to blow out the yolks, so your lips need never touch the yolk), who knows, but in the name of art T. and I set about blowing yolks out of eggs on Sunday.
Blowing eggs, just like cutting the crusts off of sandwiches, has the potential for quite a bit of food waste unless you set about making an effort to use the unwanted parts and not to waste them. While you can make all sorts of easily-stored things with bread crusts (croutons, bread crumbs, etc.) you pretty much have to use the eggs while you can. Having a surplus of the insides of eggs shells all of a sudden made me remember one of my favorite things to make: popovers. Years ago a family friend introduced me to popover-making, even giving me an impromptu lesson in her kitchen. Contrary to what people who make kitchen products want you to believe, you do NOT need an actual popover pan to make popovers--a large muffin pan, well-greased will do just fine.
What are popovers? Delightful roll-like breads that, when made right, are croissant-like crispy on the outside, and deliciously creamy and airy on the inside. They are super-easy to make and hardly take any time at all. They also need 3 or 4 eggs (depending on how custardy you want them) and so are perfect for all those left-over, insides of eggs you must do something with.
Popovers (adapted from here and from Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook)
3 tbs melted butter or fake-me-out substitute
1 1/2 cups plain soy or 2 % or whole milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Preheat the oven to 450, and grease a 12-cup muffin tin. While the oven is preheating, beat together the eggs and milk in a bowl. Add the flour and salt and continue to beat with a whisk.
Let your batter stand for about 10-15 minutes, just as you would pancake batter (you know you should always let pancake batter stand for a bit, don't you?). After your batter has "rested" (whew!), fill each muffin cup about 2/3 with the batter. Bake for 20 minutes at 450, then reduce the heat to 350 and bake an additional 10 minutes.
Don't open the oven door while they're baking!!
When they've puffed up and turned golden-brown, remove from oven. Prick each one with a fork to let the steam escape. Serve immediately with lots of butter.
And you know the best part? L. ate FOUR!