One of the qualities I admire most is elegance. Women who walk like they have a tea cup balanced on their head, the slope of a swan’s neck, the way water pours out of a tall glass pitcher….these things are elegant to me.
One thing I like even more than elegance is when it is applied to efficiency. When something is conducted in such an efficient manner that it is elegant…oh! My heart beats a little faster.
An example, perchance? Consider how you can use a dozen eggs in a myriad of ways to produce edible varieties of an ovoid origin. There is something so elegant and efficient about how an egg can be so versatile and applied to various tasks, always performing with graceful success.
Let us begin with a friend’s request to make angel food cake. I started with 12 eggs from which I separated the yolks and whites. I like to use my hands to pass the yolk back and forth, allowing the white to drip through my fingers. Gently holding the egg in my hand permits me a moment to be grateful for a chicky’s hard work, and the use of an unrealized life. Moreover, passing the yolk between the two halves of the egg shell inspires fear and a sense of poor foresight – that sharp, craggily edge of the shell is not your yolk’s friend.
Part 1: Angel Food Cake
After making a full-sized cake with whipped cream, pecans, and caramel sauce, I made a smaller single-serve version with some of the leftover cake:
After all the whites were used in the cake, I was left with 12 yolks. The first two I used to make scrambled eggs for a quick solitary weekday lunch alongside buttered toast. The next three I used to make mayonnaise, which I have had little success with in the past. Bolstered with the confidence that I had many yolks left in case I needed to start over, I slowly dribbled olive oil over my three yolks while whisking furiously. Miraculously, after all the oil was added the mayonnaise was still happily wobbly in its emulsified state. Joy! With a judicious squeeze of lemon juice, a few good dashes of salt and a sprinkle of dill, it became the sauce accompanying some crab cakes for a dinner party.
Part 2: Dill Mayonnaise
After the party I still had some mayonnaise left, so I used it the next day as the batter for chicken fingers. The chicken strips were dipped in flour, then in some watered down mayo, then in Panko bread crumbs, and then panfried. Heaven.
Finally, with the remaining seven yolks, I made a luscious Meyer lemon curd. After letting it cool under a sheath of plastic wrap to prevent a crusty skin from forming, I folded it into the whipped cream left over from icing the Angel Food cake. The resulting lemon mousse was served after the chicken fingers.
Part 3: Lemon Curd
The journey of these 12 eggs has been a happy link between the meals I have created over the past few days. Perhaps I live a small life…but the ease in which the yolks and whites applied themselves to varying situations, and how none of it went to waste…that for me is a beautiful example of elegance and efficiency, wrapped up in a delicate white shell.