Foodie news: Spice up the budget friendly egg | SierraSun.com

Foodie news: Spice up the budget friendly egg

Sheri Alzeerah
Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Eggs are a cookand#8217;s best friend. Sure, thereand#8217;s the usual variety: scrambled, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, fried, poached and the other hotel-breakfast-approved favorites. Youand#8217;ve heard them all before, youand#8217;ve eaten them all before, and chances are, youand#8217;re tired of the norm.

And in another blow to the unloved egg, according to the Consumer Price Index, the egg market is yet another victim of the seemingly unavoidable food mark-up trend. Though egg prices only increased 0.5 percent in July 2011, the cost remains relatively high, sitting 13.3 percent above the July 2010 level.

Following are a dozen ways to get the most out of your dozen, inside and outside the kitchen.—

1. Thicken pasta sauce. Step away from the milk and heavy cream, and go for a healthier thickening vehicle and#8212; eggs. Eggs are a great way to make pasta sauce creamier without the added calories and added guilt. Good-bye, spaghetti and meatballs. Hello, pasta alla carbonara.

2. Top a pizza. Hard-boiled eggs bring pizza to the next level especially when paired with compatible toppings, such as brie and anchovies. Whether tossing and twirling pizza dough made from scratch or building off a pre-made crust, get the whole family involved and make the pizzas personal.

3. Paint food. Make edible paint by adding water and food coloring to yolks to transform boring pastries into a rainbow of sweet color.

4. Float it. Whether on soup or even homemade salsa, fried eggs sit pretty on an assortment of bowled dishes. The yolk breaks, and voila! A new dish is born.

5. Make meatballs. Eggs are fantastic binders for meatballs (and meatloaf). When heated, eggs coagulate, sticking the ingredients together into a solid ball (or loaf) of deliciousness.

6. Cook up a casserole. The types of egg casseroles are endless in cookbooks and online. Turn brunch from boring to beautiful with fun twists on morning eggs by adding unexpected ingredients to bakes, like hot dog buns.

7. Go beyond the border. A quick look into cuisines around the world shows just how versatile eggs are. Try making latkes, a Jewish potato pancake made of grated potato, egg and flour.

8 Get crafty. Eggs are sticky, so itand#8217;s no surprise that eggs can double as glue. They have surprisingly tough holding power thatand#8217;s perfect for arts and crafts.

9. Treat yourself to spa treatment. Eggs are abundant in Vitamin A and moisturizing agents, which keep skin and hair happy and healthy. Go online to find concoctions for a homemade facial cleanser or hair treatment, and see how Mother Nature knows best.

10. Donand#8217;t ditch the shell. Instead, use the shell as a pot for small plants for a quirky kitchen window garden. Or mix shell shards into soil to prevent weeds from encroaching on plantsand#8217; nutrition by providing a boost of calcium.

11. Throw it into your compost. Eggshells and compost go hand-in-hand. Get your green on and make compost by crushing egg shells. Soil loves calcium, and plants love calcium-rich soil.

12. Use the carton. From organizing jewelry to feeding birds to holding paint, the 12 compartments in egg cartons can do much more than keep eggs from cracking.-

and#8212; Sheri Alzeerah is a journalist and freelance writer for meal planning site http://www.foodonthetable.com.