Can you think of a happier breakfast than eggs Sunnyside Up? Think sunshine and smiley faces. How about stretching the cuteness factor by cooking them inside colorful bell pepper rings?
I found this new twist on the traditional Egg in a Hole (also called Egg in a Basket, Toad in a Hole, Turtle in a Shell, One Eyed Jack or Pirate’s Eye) on Natashas Kitchen. In the traditional dish you cut out a circle from a slice of bread, fry it in some melted butter and cook the egg inside the hole. In this new and improved version (which is originally a Martha Stewart brainchild), you use slices of bell pepper instead of bread to contain the egg while it cooks which adds a shock of color as well as flavor. Its also a good way to get people to eat their veggies in the morning. As an alternative, this can also be done with scrambled eggs. Just whisk the eggs with salt and pepper, and divide the mixture between each pepper slice. Eat plain if you’re a purist or top with cheese, avocado and fresh tomato for a more filling breakfast. Serve with fruit and you’ve got a delicious and nutritious start to the day and it takes only about five minutes to prepare.
Eggs got a bad rap for a while and we were advised for years to avoid eggs or limit our consumption of them due to their high cholesterol content. It is now recognized that, for most people, cholesterol in food we eat doesn’t increase cholesterol in our bodies. The real culprit is refined foods like white flour and sugar or polyunsaturated oils that cause inflammation in our bodies, resulting in heart disease and other health issues. In reality eggs are loaded with protein, vitamins and minerals, most of which are in the yolk. For a good article on why the egg is considered the perfect food read The Truth About Food. All eggs are not considered equal, however. 95 to 98% of eggs come from factory farms where conditions are inhumane and create food safety problems (for starters.) The List of Reasons to Boycott Factory Farms is almost endless, the least of which is from a nutritional standpoint. Factory Farmed eggs are less expensive but you get what you pay for. Eggs from factory farms are nutritionally inferior to eggs from hens raised on pasture. According to Mother Earth News, real free-range eggs contain:
• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene
• 50 percent more folic acid
• 70 percent more vitamin B12
TIP: I buy organic, free-range or pasture-raised, Certified Humanely Raised eggs (from an actual farm not a factory). If I’m lucky, I get eggs raised in the backyard next door in exchange for the extra produce from my garden. I also buy organic produce whenever possible. I think it’s worth the added expense and I like to support the farmers that do it the ‘right’ way. Sometimes its hard to know if your produce is organic or not, if it’s not labeled. I learned a handy tip from Dr. Oz (yes, on TV). In supermarkets check the sticker with the barcode. If the barcode starts with a 9 it’s organic. For example, the green pepper I just bought has a barcode of #94065, which makes it organic. A conventional green pepper would be labeled #4065. Check it out next time you go shopping!
1 bell pepper (any color)
Egg in a Basket
1 medium sized tomato
4 large eggs
¼ cup grated cheese (any combination of parmesan, mozzarella, reggiano, fontina, etc.)
1 Tbsn any fresh herbs, minced (parsley, cilantro, basil, etc)
1 Tbsp olive, coconut oil or butter
1 bell pepper (any color)