LOW-CARBON LIFE

Moving toward resilience and a lower carbon footprint through appropriate technology

 

WHAT IS LOW-CARBON LIVING?

It's re-imagining our lives to be more resilient, more abundant and more luxurious, while also being gentler on the Earth. Sound impossible? It's not! My little family of four utilizes appropriate technology to lower our homestead's carbon footprint, and it makes us happier, healthier and better connected to our community. Check out what we're doing to learn how.

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  • Kara Stiff

A Dozen Ways to Eat a Dozen Eggs

And just like that, spring is here. It’s still cold and rainy, but the daffodils and forsythia have bloomed. Also, I can tell it’s spring because I was getting three eggs a day through the darkest months, and now I’m getting 12 or 18.

Possibly I have overdone it with the chickens. I hear this is not uncommon. It even has a name: Chicken Math. As in, I start with six Barred Rocks, add a few Speckled Sussex because they’re so pretty, let my hens raise some chicks, and somehow that equals approximately 97 chickens. The air resounds with the cries of tiny avian dinosaurs and the pasture is suddenly a moonscape. It’s an age-old story.

“Fill the incubator, it’ll work better,” said my friend the Goat Goddess. Like a fool, I did and it did, which meant that even though I gave away hens and processed roosters for the freezer, I came through the winter with 25(!) hens. We turned a few of the older ones into favorite chicken soup, but I’ve still got 19 laying. That is a lot of eggs.

Which is excellent! Because I’ve started a new physical therapy program, and since we don’t eat a lot of meat, those eggs are contributing very necessary muscle-building protein right now. (Worried about cholesterol? Don’t be, unless you’ve got an unusual medical situation. They finally got around to doing some science on the dietary guidelines set out years ago, and it has largely found that high dietary cholesterol does not cause high blood cholesterol). Our eggs are pastured, with bright orange yolks that indicate lots of vitamins, and plenty of choline which is an essential brain nutrient. I swear, everybody started concentrating better on their math and spelling when we upped our egg intake, including Mom.


I give eggs away and even sell a few, but there are still a lot left. I have to change things up, but I also don’t have a lot of time or stamina for fancy cooking. I admit I’m a little slap-dash in the kitchen. Here are some of my favorites.

1. Homemade lo mien. I love my pasta roller, but I have also cut pasta by hand and it is not too hard and very worth it. The local organic sprouted flour we buy is very fine and fluffy, which means a batch of noodles will absorb five eggs. I scramble the other seven, fry with some veg and garlic, and toss with the noodles, soy sauce, lemon juice or vinegar, and home-canned pickled pepper sauce. It sates the craving for take-out in a cheaper, healthier, higher-protein and higher-fiber way. With broth, this also makes a fine egg-drop soup.


2. Rice pie. Speaking of craving take-out, apparently I reeally needed to find a way to eat soy sauce with breakfast. Readers, please tell me if I made this up, or if you’ve seen it somewhere. I fry a couple cups of leftover rice in a hot pan. Add grated carrot, ginger and garlic, and toss once. Sprinkle some frozen peas over the top, and pour scrambled eggs over that (eight eggs for three servings, 10-12 for four). Cook until set, slice in pieces like pie, and turn out on a plate upside down, so the crispy rice is on the top. Douse with soy and hot sauce. My kids love this for breakfast.

3. Grit cakes or mashed latkes. Another breakfast thing. We like eggs on toast, but sometimes mom is doing PT when she should be making bread. When we have leftover grits from our home-ground corn, or leftover mashed home-grown sweet potatoes (orange, white or purple), I stir them up with a couple spoonfuls of flour and three or four eggs, then drop by the spoonful into a hot pan. I serve with a fried egg on each cake and homemade sauerkraut on the side. The kids love this one, too.

4. Egg roll in a bowl. I just planted out so many gorgeous little Napa cabbages, and many of them are destined for egg roll in a bowl. Shred a cabbage, grate some carrots and any other veg you like, saute, add eggs and scramble. Serve with soy sauce, hot sauce, or any fancy sauce you like (sweet chili, curry etc.) This turns scrambled eggs into low-carb dinner.

5. Pasta brocolara. We wanted pasta carbonara, but there isn’t a local processor that will cure bacon for our favorite pastured pig farm, and sad grocery bacon doesn’t please anyone. So I just added extra garlic and onions for the savory flavor, plus broccoli, olives and a whole bunch of scrambled eggs, and it made very nice pasta.

6. No-bake pumpkin sausage casserole, because it’s too warm now for the wood-fired oven, and too cloudy for the sun oven. This year we’ve done a better job of eating up the Seminole pumpkins we grow in such quantity, but last year we were struggling until I invented this. Peel and dice a pumpkin and some onions, and saute with half a pound of country sausage until just cooked. Pour in scrambled eggs mixed with a little flour and a dash of milk or water, but don’t stir. Top with cheese. Cook covered on the stove top until just set and the cheese is melted.

7. No-bake potato casserole. Not so different from above, but sans sausage. Diced potatoes or sweet potatoes, skillet fried with some broccoli or green beans and onion. When the veg is cooked through, follow the egg roux instructions above. Eight eggs is probably adequate for this, but if your pan is big enough 12 will fit.

8. Bean and cornmeal pie. Pre-cooked black beans, at least a can’s worth (I do mine in big batches and freeze them in quart bags for convenience food). A cup of cornmeal. Some diced onion or pepper or whatever, part of a can of leftover diced tomato or salsa (you get the picture). Mix with scrambled eggs and a cup of milk, pour into a hot pan, top with cheese and cook on low until set. Very hearty, and if you add a couple spoonfuls of flax meal for even more fiber, I promise no one will notice.

a really fancy omelet.
Goat cheese, wild spring onion and French sorrel omelet, with homemade sauerkraut and home-grown, home-ground corn bread. Goat's milk in the tea. Wild blackberry jam from the brambles on our land. Confession: I did not churn that butter.

9. Omelets for dinner. Some of my goats have kidded, and I have enough milk coming in to make a soft goat cheese. Also, the wild spring onion is growing fast along with all the other yummy spring weeds, and the French sorrel has really bushed out. I’m smelling a dinner omelet with goat cheese, spring onion and sorrel in our near future. Possibly topped with wild violets and scratch hollandaise.

10. Fried eggs over mashed or hashed potatoes. These sound like breakfast, and they are, but we also eat them for dinner sometimes. I admit it’s hard to eat a full dozen this way, but the four of us can eat ten no problem. We like our hash with mushrooms and carrots, ketchup for kids and pickled pepper sauce for adults. We like our mash with sauteed onions and peppers over the potato but under the egg.

11. Egg Shakshuka. Oh, so you managed to eat six eggs for breakfast, but there’s a pesky six still sitting on the counter and you know you’ll only find another dozen when you close the coop? Shakshuka to the rescue. This tomatoy goodness turns poached eggs into dinner (although we have also eaten it for breakfast like the rest of the world does). We eat ours over a little grits, but if you’re lower-carb you can skip the corn and just slurp the sauce.

12. Eggs in a Nest. A perfect recipe for when there are too many eggs and too many greens, which will be the case at my house before I know it. Almost any greens or a mix will work: chard, spinach, arugula that has gotten too spicy, collards, kale, cabbage, even the exotic greens like mizuna and hon tsai tai. Saute the greens until just wilted. Use your spoon to make depressions, crack an egg into each one, cover and gently poach. Top with your favorite seasoning: soy sauce, a little brown mustard, a dash of fancy vinegar, or our favorite pickled pepper sauce are common toppers around here. This is really low carb unless you want to serve it over rice.

What do you make when you have too many eggs? I could use some new ideas.

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