Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Favorite Breakfast

Now, the title of this post isn't entirely accurate. My favorite breakfast, and this is saying a lot, as I don't often pick favorites, is eggs benedict. Ever since I first had the dish at Bob Evans in college, I've been hopelessly devoted to it. That combination of smoky ham, creamy egg, and tangy sauce is divine. I've made simplified versions of eggs benedict at home (substituting turkey ham for Canadian bacon or a simple cheese sauce for hollandaise, etc.) but never the real, complete thing. Someday I will, and I'll post about it. For now, I'm just going to introduce you to my next favorite breakfast, easily made at home.

I grew up eating over-easy to over-medium fried eggs with toast my whole life. It's one of my mom's favorite ways to eat eggs, and has become one of mine too. What truly makes this dish superb, though, are the fresh eggs we get from my aunt's home-raised chickens. To see the visible difference, click here. Store-bought eggs, often gathered from chickens raised in cages and fed a poor diet, have pale, lemon-colored yolks, while cage-free chickens fed on food scraps and grass produce eggs with deep orange yolks. The whites from natural eggs are also sturdier and easier to cook, and the flavor is rich, tasting almost, like Julie claims in Julie & Julia, "like cheese sauce." I've been permanently spoiled. If I must buy eggs at the store, I always buy cage-free, and even they aren't quite as good as eggs you could buy locally. I am destined to spend the rest of my life obsessively hunting down chicken raisers and begging them to sell me their eggs.

I cook my eggs in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat with a little olive oil. I like my whites thoroughly cooked but the yolks still in a liquid state. I estimate that in a well-heated pan, I cook my eggs for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on one side and 45 seconds to 1 minute on the other; different pans and stoves may alter this time, however. Meanwhile, I toast the bread (this morning, Italian Wheat) and throw anything else into the pan that I'm hungry for, usually a slice or two of turkey ham or some Swiss chard (pictured).

There's no beating this breakfast for economy of time and money, and an abundance of nutrition. And it's delicious.


  1. Interesting to see the differences in the egg yolks. I always figured the color difference was because Dad's chickens lay brown eggs and the store bought ones we get are white. Apparently not. Good to know.

  2. Seriously, that looks so good. You pretty much have to live with us.

  3. Another difference in diet between home-raised and grocery-purchased "free-roaming" eggs, is insects. This may account for some of the difference you note in flavor, color, and texture. Most commercially raised free-roaming chickens rarely see the light of day, but rather, are uncaged and free to roam inside a building, with limited access to the outdoors.

    Every time we visit Tim's parents, we come home with a dozen or two of their chickens' eggs. Currently, is it illegal to have any farm animals within the limits of Philadelphia, but we have signed a petition to allow up to four backyard chickens. If it is ever approved (I doubt it will be), I would like to make a flat portion of our roof into a green roof, and put a coop up there. Not sure what the neighbors would think, but maybe some fresh eggs would assuage their concerns? :)


  4. Interesting about the eggs. I had no idea it made such a difference. I don't like eggs unless they're baked into something else, but they look delicious in your photo ;)