April weather, rain, snow and sunshine is confusing when you hit the kitchen. Do you fix hot or cold foods in the spring, the time of eating healthier, lighter fare?
It's a time when vegetables, and lighter protein foods are on our minds and fill our bellies. Think eggs and greens. But when the big chill hits, confusion sets in and that's when versatile eats—cold and hot–come into play.
Several spring seasons ago, a former mom-like neighbor friend of mine from the Beatnik era was making lunch when I paid her a visit. It was a basic 20th century, budget-friendly egg salad sandwich. She used plain white bread (the cookie cutter generic type), white eggs, basic mayo, and salt with a side of potato chips. The sandwiches were sliced in half filled with smooth, mushy egg salad.
I was offered a half but I passed and ate a boiled egg. One, because I'm a picky eater. Two, I'm one of those post-hippie girls and a purist snob. Translation: Brown eggs, dark greens, whole grain bread, and fresh herbs. But I didn't try and preach my eating style and mum was the word.
Traditional egg salad sandwiches include chopped hard-boiled eggs and mayonnaise. It can be used on top of greens, too. Egg salad also can be dished up with a creative twist including herbs, spices, and an array of artisan breads.
The roots of egg salad and other sandwiches trace back to John Montagu, fourth earl of Sandwich, claim food historians. I'm switching it up 21st century-style for all generations. Here is my healthy version of egg salad inspired by good neighbors and good food.
Gourmet Egg Salad Baguettes
4 large brown, organic boiled eggs
4 tablespoons mayonnaise with olive oil
2-3 teaspoons red onion, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup organic spring baby spinach/kale mix
Ground pepper and fresh herbs (your choice) to taste
½ cup Roma tomatoes, sliced
French artisan baguette, sliced (or whole grain sliced bread, croissant, bagel)
Chives, chopped (optional)
In a bowl, lightly mix boiled eggs, chopped, with mayonnaise, onion, spices and herbs. Keep in chunky. Put in fridge for about 30 minutes. Spread baguette slices with egg salad. Top with chives. Serves six.
You also can slice a baguette (or bagel) in small submarine sandwich size. Top one slice with lettuce, egg salad mixture, lettuce, and tomatoes. Cover and eat whole or slice. Serves two.
Sweet Oven Fries
Wash and then slice two large russet or sweet potatoes into wedges. Place in shallow pan or on cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil and butter on top. Add a dash of ground black pepper and sea salt. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Turn at least once to get all potatoes crispy. Place on dish, sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve with ketchup.
Cold and hot egg salad for unpredictable hump month — both ways work and provide a bit of a gourmet flair with a rustic touch. It is perfect for living and eating in the mountains when you never know what type of weather you're going to get so it's best to be prepared. One more thing: Enhance these spring treats with iced or hot tea depending on the temperature outdoors.
Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, and Tea) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is http://www.calorey.com.