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Easter egg-cellency

Easter egg-cellency

By Rita Demontis, QMI Agency
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Last Updated: March 31, 2010

When it comes to Easter, it's all about the egg.

This special season is full of symbolism surrounding this humble little food source.

Research shows that during the span of history, the egg has represented mystery, magic, medicine and food...it truly is the universal symbol of Easter celebrations throughout the world.

According to author Jill O'Connor of Easter Treats (Raincoast), early Christians adopted the egg as a symbol for Easter and, for centuries, artisans from around the world have crafted and decorated eggs to reflect different events, whether religious values or just simple celebrations of the coming spring.

Plus the egg is the perfect kitchen staple. According to the Egg Marketing Board, eggs are an excellent source of protein, with one large egg providing 70 calories and many essential nutrients. At only five grams of fat -- zero trans fat -- eggs play an important role in healthy eating. According the Journal of the American Medical Association, healthy adults can enjoy an egg every day without increasing their risk of heart disease.

As for its religious history, Geocities.com, reports that, before the egg became closely entwined with the Christian Easter, it was honoured during many rite-of-spring festivals. In Pagan times, the egg represented the rebirth of the earth after the long, hard winter was over.

The egg, therefore, was believed to have special powers.

It certainly has special powers in the kitchen! The following recipes courtesy of the Egg Farmers of Canada are fast, user-friendly and perfect for Easter brunch.

EGG IN A BASKET

1 slice whole wheat bread
2 tsp. (10ml) butter
1 Tbsp. (15ml) prepared salsa
1 egg
2 tsp. (10ml) EACH chopped green onion and chopped green pepper
1 Tbsp.(15ML) shredded Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese

Trim crust from bread; discard or save crust for another use. Spread one side of bread with butter. Place butter-side down in large custard cup or ramekin (about 1 cup/250 ml size). Spoon salsa onto bread. Crack egg on top. Sprinkle green onion, green pepper and cheese over top.

Microwave on HIGH until yolk is cooked as desired, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Serves 1.

VARIATIONS:

• Smoked salmon or herb cream cheese, chopped fresh dill, chopped ham, Swiss cheese, diced tomatoes, chopped fresh basil can all be used in this recipe.

CAESAR EGG STRATA

Cooking spray
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. (30ml) low-fat Caesar dressing
1/2 slice whole grain bread, cut into cubes
2 tsp. (10ml) pre-cooked packaged bacon bits
1 Tbsp. (15ml) freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

Spray a small bowl with cooking spray. Add eggs, milk and dressing; whisk together. Stir in bread cubes and bacon bits. Microwave on MEDIUM-HIGH (70% power) for 1 to 2 minutes, until soft curds form, stirring several times so eggs stay fluffy. Top with cheese

Serves 1.

TOMATO AND EGG TOSTADAS

4 eggs
1/4 cup (50ml) milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. (30ml) butter
1 large tomato, diced
1/4 cup(50ml) EACH diced red and orange peppers
1 tsp. (5ml) chili powder (optional)
8 tostada shells
1/2 cup(125ml) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (125ml) chunky salsa
1/2 cup (125ml) shredded lettuce

Whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper, to taste; set aside. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add tomato, peppers and chili powder (if using) and sauté until peppers are tender, about 5 minutes. Pour egg mixture into skillet and cook, stirring gently, until eggs are just set, about 5 minutes. Divide egg mixture equally over tostada shells.

Place cheese, salsa and shredded lettuce in separate bowls so guests can customize their meal by adding toppings they like!

Serves 4.

TIP: Tostada shells are sold in the grocery aisle with the Mexican foods. If you cannot find tostada shells, use taco shells instead.

DID YOU KNOW:

- Canada has about 1,100 registered egg farms

- In Canada, a total of 25 million hens produce about 500 million dozen eggs per year.

- The egg industry contributes about $500 million to the Canadian economy

- 32% of Canadians between the ages of 25 and 44 will go on or arrange an Easter egg hunt.

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