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Eggs Can Be Eggsellent

Puns may be the lowest form of humor, but eggs can be an excellent source of important nutrients and health-protective substances. And now is the season for thinking about eggs. Eggs play a central role in the observances of both Easter and Passover, and they are ancient symbols for spring and for rebirth.

Many people began avoiding eggs when their high cholesterol content became a health concern. For healthy adults, the American Heart Association recommends a limit of three or four egg yolks a week, provided your daily intake of cholesterol is below 300 milligrams. So you can enjoy eggs in moderation.

Eggs are classified for market according to USDA standards for size and quality. So an egg graded AA is deemed of higher quality than one that gets a B. Most recipes call for large eggs. The color of the egg's shell - white or brown - depends on the breed of hen that laid it. Color has no bearing on taste or nutritive value.

Egg whites are an excellent source of protein and riboflavin. Egg yolks contain all of the egg's fat and are a good source of protein, iron, vitamins A and D, choline and phosphorus.

Eggs must always be refrigerated. When stored at room temperature, they lose more quality in one day than in a week in the refrigerator. Eggs should be kept in the carton in which they came; putting them in the refrigerator's egg container exposes them to odors and damage. Eggs used within a week will have the best flavor and cooking quality. But they can be refrigerated for up to a month, if the shells are intact.

Tomato egg nests with spinach bruschetta are a nice way to celebrate the arrival of spring.

Tomato Egg Nests with Spinach Bruschetta

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 medium vine tomatoes at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2-3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf spinach, stemmed,washed and dried
  • 4 thick slices whole-wheat bread, grilled or toasted
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Directions

    1. Set baking rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Slice tops off tomatoes. Scoop out soft flesh and seeds, turning each tomato into a cup-like shell. Break 1 egg into small cup. Slide it into one tomato shell. Set shell in a casserole dish (that has a cover) large enough to hold 4 tomato shells. Repeat with remaining eggs. Sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper. Cover casserole.
    3. Bake until egg whites are softly set all the way through, (not runny), about 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute garlic 1 minute, taking care not to let it color. Add spinach all at once. Stir with wooden spoon until leaves are coated with oil and wilted. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Turn spinach onto cutting board and chop coarsely.
    4. To serve, spread a quarter of spinach over each slice of bread. Place one slice on each of 4 plates. Using tongs or large spoons, set a baked tomato on each spinach-topped bread slice. Serve immediately.

    Nutritional Information Per Serving:
    254 calories
    10 g. total fat
    2 g. saturated fat
    30 g. carbohydrate
    13 g. protein
    5 g. dietary fiber
    300 mg. sodium
    Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Bread/Starch, 3 Vegetable, 2 Medium-Fat Meat

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