Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Trompe-l'oeuf: EGG-citement and Cardamom-Vanilla Crêpes

Trompe-l'oeuf is not a real phrase. But it popped into my head as I was happily whisking some fresh Fogline Farm eggs into my crêpe batter this morning. Trompe l'oeil (trick of the eye) is a technique in art that involves realistic imagery to create an optical illusion that the painted objects exist in three dimensions. Think Pozzo's painting in Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio in Rome. L'oeuf means 'egg'. Trompe-l'oeuf = egg trickery. That's what I was pondering while cooking breakfast this morning.

Layers at Fogline Farm in Soquel

Here's my question: can I really discern the taste difference of an über-fresh egg from pastured-raised, antibiotic-free, and pesticide-free layers? I think I can.

Are the whites more clear, more taut? I think so. 

Are the yolks more vibrant from the insects and worms that the chickens have in their diets? Yes.

Is my EGG-citement about these beauties justified? I think it is. 

Or is it a trick of the eye...that affects my tastebuds?!?

I suspect that mindset of the the eater definitely affects how a food or drink tastes. Think about how a crisp white wine tastes better if you're sipping it with your toes in the sand on a beach in the Mediterranean. 

There is a gelateria in Rome whose owner once boasted that he had met the cows that gave him milk and the chickens that gave him eggs. Best gelato. Ever. Is that in my head? Maybe. But it was really, really good gelato.

As for the eggs I feed my family, I have to say that I will gladly pay more when I know that  the chickens have a better quality of life and that my money is going directly to the farmer.

Here's what I did with the last of my Fogline Farm eggs: crêpes. I can't wait to pick up another dozen soon.

1-1/2 C white whole wheat flour
3 eggs
2 C organic whole milk
dash of cardamom
splash of vanilla

Whisk all of the ingredients together until lump-free. Let sit for at least 20 minutes. Heat a large flat-bottom pan and rub the bottom with butter. Pour the batter in the middle of the pan and quickly make a tilting motion to distribute the batter all over the pan. The goal: have as thin a batter layer as possible.

Cook until the crêpes is a bit stiff and flip over, cooking for another minute The pancake should be lightly
browned on both sides. Repeat till all the batter is used; I made 10 crêpes with the amount listed.

I served these with smears of blueberry jam, raspberry preserves, carrot marmalade, and light dusting of powdered sugar.

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