Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Eggs, Zucchini, Bacon and Onions. Oh my.

This is one of those times when they tell you to put all your eggs in one basket and you should. This delicious new recipe that I conjured today took into account the many, many egg salad sandwiches I have eaten in my lifetime. Not to mention every hard-boiled egg, every deviled egg, and certainly every color-tainted easter egg. The hard-boiled egg is a very delicious thing.

So, in making something new, I decided to keep it simple and let the ingredients do the talking. I chose some nice hard-boiled eggies, some succulent zucchini ripe off the vine and some meaty, healthy, all-natural (and I do mean natural - hormone-free, antibiotic-free, everything - but deliciousness - free) pre-cooked turkey bacon from my local PCC. Mix them together with organic carrots and a little bit of basil and mayo and wa-la, you have today's favorite.

This new recipe isn't really all that new - it's just something new to enjoy. There are a million variations of egg salad and I had a desire to create one for my friendly corn maze outing tomorrow that add some raw veggies into my diet without all the crunch and munch. Instead, you get a lightly crunchy, soft and chewy egg salad with a pack of flavor and tons of nutrition. I am big on both. You can't really enjoy something - I mean, truly enjoy it - if you know it's going to be less than favorable in the end. It just loses its appeal.

So, I tossed in a group of ingredients I had waiting in my fridge and made something fun for lunch tomorrow. How great is that? Life should be simple and enjoyable and so should our eating experiences. Pleasurable, savory without a ton of fuss. That's what we pay the pros for.

Before we get to the cooking and the sampling, I have a couple of tidbits to share with you.

One - I didn't fry my bacon first. I know, I know. Bacon that's not fried? How could I, right? Well, I did and for a good reason. The bacon would lose much of its crispiness by tomorrow and it wasn't really necessary. You could, but you don't have to. There are plenty of other things in there to crunch it up.

The turkey bacon I used this time was Garrett County's Uncured Turkey Bacon. I switch between this brand (also known as Wellshire Farms) and Applegate Farms which I get at Whole Foods. I am not a fan of some of the less flavorful turkey bacons found in most mainstream grocery stores. They have fillers and not a lot of flavor. It's worth the time and effort to find really good, meaty turkey bacon that will make you drool every time you use it. And I promise you, you will find uses for it just to sneak it in. It's that good. Low-fat, low-cal, high-protein and delicious and safe in so many ways - can you ask for more?

Yes, you can.

Wellshire makes an array of other healthy meat cuts including a very interesting Uncured Beef Bacon. For you beef lovers out there, this is something of an interesting treat. The bacon fries up much like pork bacon, but has a distinctly beef texture and flavor. It's quite unique and worth the try. Beef lovers will rejoice, as will many people for who pork is decidely becoming a health issue. I'm a turkey girl, but the beef was a nice alternative.

Two - For those of you who eat meat, I highly recommend checking out your local Whole Foods, if you have one. They have a wide variety of fish, seafood, and meats to accomodate just about any palate. I am most impressed with how stringent their meat production requirements are. It's not perfect, but by far, it's better than almost any other food retailer I know. I once asked if they carried rabbit for a recipe I was making and the butcher told me they stopped carrying it because the manufacturer couldn't agree to the 'no antibiotics' rule. Good. Good for us. Good for Whole Foods. Now, I want them to make manufacturers provide strict humane practices for all animals - fresh water, fresh food, sunlight, free space to roam and graze (if they do that) and act like what their species acts like. Cows that eat grass; rabbits that roam freely; and chickens that peck and scratch at the ground, not each other. So, if you're into meat, it's worth asking them about their strict manufacturer requirements. It's eye opening.

And third - the bread I choose most often is Food for Life's Millet Bread which I can buy at almost all natural stores where I live. I am also a big fan of Udi's Gluten-Free Breads, but because they are based out of Denver, I cannot get them here. Both are equally delicious and for those of us who are gluten-free they are such an amazing improvement over some of the truly uneatable 'gluten-free' breads out there. Those are not bread, my little kid inside says. Not bread. Some of them are cardboard in a plastic bag. And that is really giving gluten-free a bad name. If you're not gluten-free, eat on. If you're gf-curious, try one of the two above brands. You might truly be surprised. For those of you who are gluten-free, take heart. There is a whole culinary world out there working to make the best possible products for us and some of them are down-right delectable. We are no longer second-class eaters. Gluten-free is becoming the next green.

Okay, onto the deliciousness!

Michelle’s Open-Faced Egg Salad Sandwich

Serves 2-3

4 hard-boiled eggs, diced

2 slices cooked turkey bacon, diced

¼ cup raw zucchini, diced

¼ cup raw carrot, shredded

¼ cup onion, minced

1 tsp fresh basil or dried basil

3 tbsp Vegenaise grapeseed oil mayonnaise (or mayo of choice)

2-3 slices bread of choice (for gluten-free, I recommend Food for Life’s Millet Bread or Udi’s Bread)

Place eggs, bacon, zucchini, carrot, onion and basil in a medium bowl and gently stir together. Add mayo and gently fold ingredients together stirring as few times as possible to keep egg pieces intact.

Toast bread lightly and place half to 1/3 of mixture on top. Sprinkle a little basil on top and enjoy!

Happy eating!

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