Which came first, the chicken or the egg? It is an age old, seemingly unanswerable question. But for me, the origins of my interest in cooking started with the egg.
When I was young, I can remember my mother cracking an egg into the pan while I stood nearby holding the spatula. “Listen for the ‘clucking’ sound before you flip the egg,” she would say. I waited patiently – ready to flip the egg and continue cooking it to a slightly over-medium perfection. I loved a good runny yolk with my toast.
The early lesson cooking eggs soon turned into cooking more sophisticated dishes, such as French Toast and omelettes. My mom was the queen of cooking eggs, whether deviled or poached, in French Toast or holding together an omelette. The egg was my mother’s best culinary triumph in the kitchen; my dad cooked everything else.
I treasured the time I spent in the kitchen with the two of them learning to cook. As I got older, I watched them run a business together and learned how important small businesses are to the overall economy. I was first in line to support a new local bakery or restaurant, and it was a great way to get to know the neighbors. I started supporting local farmers markets during college, which meant consuming local produce on a seasonal schedule.
Eggs are still a staple ingredient for me, specifically the eggs from Burnshirt Valley Farm in Barre, MA. While their specialty is actually pork products from their Heritage-breed pigs, they also have Heritage chickens and ducks. It’s the eggs from their chickens that are transcendent. To be a Heritage breed, the production, maintenance and care for the animals is guided by breed standards, mating practices, long life span, and growth rate. Crack open a Heritage egg, see the orange-as-the-sun yolk spilling out, and “yolk porn” will take on a whole new meaning.
Burnshirt Valley Farm has a table at the Waltham Farmers Market every Saturday morning. My advice is to get to there early, with cash in hand, so you can buy a carton of eggs and experience their sweet perfection for yourself.
Farmer’s Market French Toast
Total time: 25 minutes
Makes four servings
In my basket:
1 loaf of Semolina flour bread (from Bread Obsessions, Lexington MA)
8 Eggs (from Burnshirt Valley Farms, Barre MA)
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract (from Nashoba Valley Extract Co, Stow MA)
Maple sugar powder (from The Warren Farm, Brookfield MA)
Maple syrup (from The Warren Farm, Brookfield MA)
From the pantry:
1 ½ cups Milk
Butter for the pan
2 teaspoons of Cinnamon
- Slice the bread into ½ inch toast slices.
- Whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Heat the butter in the pan. When pan is hot, submerge and coat the slices of bread into the egg mixture until the bread is soggy, then place each slice in the pan.
- Coat the top of the french toast with maple sugar powder and cinnamon to taste. Flip the toast as edges turn brown.
- Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Colleen Bradley-MacArthur is a food, video and art geek from Waltham, MA. Busy wife / mom / worker bee. Follow her on Instagram @bradmac23 and Twitter @.