Happy Easter, Happy Passover, and HAPPY SPRING!!!
This early in the season it’s sometimes hard to tell in Jackson Hole that it is actually, truly, for-real Spring. But you can’t fool the animals. They know long before we do that the season is making its great, galactic shift. Proof positive: yesterday, I saw a mama grizzly and her cub (from the safety of my car). The day before, a mama andtwo cubs. Then later, one bison, nine moose, one eagle, two herds of elk and a koi swimming in a warm springs (there’s a song in here somewhere…).
Being an unrepentant foodie, signs of spring immediately bring to mind thoughts of eggs. Local hens are a-laying: Hallelujah! Loads of fresh, beautiful, colorful eggs (and if you stay at Windswept Ranch, one of The Clear Creek Group’s fabulous Jackson Hole vacation rentals, you can actually gather your own eggs every morning. No kidding).
[Windswept Ranch images courtesy of Gordon Gregory Photography]
Now, before you protest that eggs are fattening or cholesterol-raising, read this article – a very interesting breakdown on the egg/health dichotomy: Eggs: Healthy or Not? And this article: Eggs Are Healthy.
Local eggs – from hens raised on a small farm or even in somebody’s backyard – simply taste better. The yolks are dense and rich. Many large “organic” farms keep the henhouse lights off for most of the day (and allow the birds little access to the outdoors in order to be called “free range”). The advantage to the farmer of keeping the birds cooped-up in the dark is that they burn less calories and therefore lay more eggs…but the yolks from these eggs look thin, pale and anemic – and they don’t taste half as good.
For absolute top nutritional value, eat your fresh, local eggs within seven days. Yup! Seven! They stay good for weeks after that, but the seven-day mark is when they’re most beneficial. Eggs can also sit out for a week or more, unrefrigerated – however, once they have been refrigerated, they should stay that way.
Here at The Clear Creek Group, we are a little nutty about eggs (not just me!). In fact, the cookies you find when you first arrive at your Clear Creek Group home are made with Jackson Hole eggs. Check out my post from 2012 for that everyone-come-a-runnin’ recipe! And, luckily, you can find gorgeous eggs from Jackson’s finest chickens at local markets and farms all over the valley. Jackson Hole has a growing number of artisan farmers, bakers, beekeepers and cheese makers, all of whom take great pride in their fabulous products. One of my favorites is Generation Farms: a small, organic gem of a farmstead specializing in fruit and poultry. They do eggs, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, and even goat cheese. I’m not sure I could adequately explain how intensely delicious their berries are – strawberries, raspberries, honeyberries and huckleberries. In season, you can find these bright treasures at Jackson Whole Grocer and the Farmers’ Markets (Generation Farms: 307.200.1082).
Another favorite is The Hole Egg, which sits right smack in the middle of the Jackson Hole valley on Spring Gulch Road. Our luxury rental homes at Amangani and Spring Creek Ranch look right down upon it, so I’m always thinking about eggs when I’m at those properties, too
The Hole Egg started, literally, with a few pieces of leftover lumber and a young man from Buffalo, Wyoming, named Anders Rae who decided to build a chicken coop.
[The Hole Egg images courtesy of Catherine Coe Photography]
He is now the purveyor of some of the finest eggs anywhere, and his cartons of multi-colored beauties are often gone minutes after the Farmers’ Markets open, so delicious and sought-after are they.
Anders now has about 100 happy chickens, a good mix of Red Stars, Bantams, Ameraucanas and beautiful Black Tail Buff Marans. All the eggs are extremely pretty, ranging from a rich chocolate\rust color to pale blue to dark green (which I hear goes good with ham!).
So now is the season of the egg. Symbol of rebirth, renewal, fertility. A representation of the offerings brought to the Holy Temple. And a downright perfect food, wrapped up in a tidy package.
I simply can’t help myself and must end with this:
What do you call a chicken crossing the road?
Poultry in motion.
Love to everyone,
OK, I really just can’t stop……I have to share this recipe and how to poach the perfect egg… who thinks this stuff up?
So, don’t forget to buy, like, six dozen eggs on your next visit to the store or Farmers’ Market. You’ll need them because here is the first of some knock-your-socks-off recipes by one of Jackson Hole’s best chefs:
Chef Jarrett Schwartz’s 3-minute Farm Egg with Spring Vegetable Salad,
Walnut Vinaigrette and Sea Salt
[Images courtesy of Jarrett Schwartz]
Serves 4 People
4 farm fresh eggs
4 heirloom carrots, cut into batons
Handful of fresh green beans, sliced thin
Handful fresh snow peas, sliced thin
1 head cilantro, picked
Few pieces of fresh basil, torn
1. Get a large pot of water boiling, add vegetables (one type at a time) and blanch for 3 minutes each. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
2. Put all veggies in a bowl and toss with dressing.
3. Arrange on plate and top with sea salt.
4. The egg is foolproof: put a square of plastic wrap inside a large spoon or small bowl, rub olive oil on the plastic wrap, and crack the egg into the plastic-covered spoon or bowl.
5. Tie the plastic around the egg in a little package and drop in boiling water for exactly 3 minutes. Cut the egg open with a sharp knife and pour out on top of salad.
1/4 cup walnut oil, 1 tbsp sherry vinegar, 1 tsp mustard, 1/2 tsp sugar, salt pepper to taste…mix well…