Ok, I’ll admit it. I went to Whole Foods the other day. Yes, yes, I know… I wrote a whole scathing blog about how Whole Foods is full of self important assesbut, damn it, it is right across the street from a really interesting wine store and it was just easier to roll into there to collect some things for the meal I had to make that night. So kill me. I did not buy any meat, so I respectfully beg my lovely local butchers at The Butchers Blockto please still let me visit, although they are so close I tend to lazily drop by in my most sloppy clothing, including my gray sweat shorts and my Billy the Exterminator VexCon tee. For that I apologize, though I firmly plan to continue doing so.
Anyway, there I am, rolling through the produce section when I see it: (cue the angels singing) AN OSTRICH EGG. Much like planets and moons, I am attracted to other spherical objects. Not so much to gravitate around, but to hold them, especially if they are cool. Probably out there somewhere there is a Freudian laughing about what that means and how I should run – not walk – to my nearest therapist, but it is true. So imagine my excitement when presented with a GINORMOUS refrigerated egg. I picked it up. Held it. Had to have it. Took it home.
Things you’ll need when cooking with an ostrich egg: a drill, a chicken egg so you can oogle over the size difference, booze.
Once home, reality set in. While I like eggs, my husband and the only other human in the house, wouldn’t eat them on a bet. I can’t help but feel having an egg party is just weird. So now I am faced with a $19.99 egg, the equivalent of 18-24 chicken eggs, and no real plan on what to do with it. I turn to the Internet.
I find a story where Fraser Lewry (of blogjam.com) has created a giant Scotch eggwith an ostrich egg. This seems like a hoot, but he fully admits in the end that the excess of white encased in an ostrich egg made it a bit icky.
I receive a notice from a friend on Facebook that she has made a giant deviled ostrich egg before, but again, the strange clearness of the white made it appear a tad like an alien egg which just generally turned off everyone involved.
Two fun ideas down the drain. I could just scramble it up, but then I would have to have scrambled eggs for breakfast for weeks, which I can’t help but think might put me off eggs for the rest of my life.
Finally, I decide to put a little aside for the next day’s breakfast, and make egg nog using a recipe from the Food Channel’s Alton Brownwith the rest. The bonus to this move is once I enjoy a cup of straight heavy cream with bourbon, I can then run the whole mess through the ice cream machine and create egg nog ice cream, which I can then enjoy for a month without worry that it will go to waste. I imagine you could do this with any egg-based ice cream, though at the moment I am not sure what the others might be.
Important things to know before you tackle your ostrich egg:
- You will need a drill to get into it. Or a hammer. Or somebody’s skull, a rage issue, and a good lawyer.
- Ostrich eggs feel like they are made out of porcelain. This is dangerously delightful. Try not to stroke it in the store, or they ask you to leave before you can make the precious your own.
- Doing a recipe where you can politely remove the contents from the egg without destroying the shell means you can then turn the empty shell into art. Now I personally have no artistic talent, but I have the empty egg sitting on my kitchen counter and some day I will either go and buy a Dremel so I can carve it into something I hope will be beautiful but in the end will be sad and hideous, or I will paint something sad and hideous upon it. My mother said I should hot glue some bows to it and turn it into an Easter Egg, but that is something only your mother would suggest, and even though she started suggesting things like this when she was the same age I am now, I refuse to fall for it.
- If you make something that requires you to split the egg white from the egg yolk, you’ll probably have to crack that lovely shell. I tried every trick I could to shake the yolk and white separately from the little hole Mike and I drilled in the bottom of it, but in the end the white was 30% yolk and the yolk bowl had 30% white in it.
- Scrambled, the ostrich egg tasted very much like an chicken egg, except it was a bit fluffier and perhaps a bit creamier.
Mission accomplished – the egg nog ice cream turned out very tasty, and if I really don’t get around to eating it all until Christmas, I can just melt it down, add some extra bourbon and drink it.
The Egg Nog Recipe – By Alton Brown
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 pint whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 ounces bourbon
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 egg whites*
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.
Cook’s Note: For cooked eggnog, follow procedure below.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator to chill.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture.
A special thanks to my neighbors Gwen and Paul, who lent me nutmeg when I thought I had a bunch but did not have enough just like my husband said I probably did not have and I stubbornly ignored his warning. Also, to Suzy for warning me away from the deviled egg, Alton for his recipe, and Fraser for suffering through the Scotch egg so I did not.