Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Healthy Lunch Series: Baked Egg Cups over Lime-Tahini Spinach


This simple and rather scrumptious lunch idea was inspired by a ballerina.

I was catching up on some on-line news the other day when a video caption flashed across my screen: "curious about the eating habits of Canada's top ballerinas?" Immediate seduction.

And surprise.

I guess I've always feared that the pressure put upon these individuals is so grave that they are required, for their own professional survival, to follow a diet of deprivation.  I've also come across heartbreaking documentaries on the eating disorders that can run rampant in similar professions.  So, when I watched the clip of the talented and beautiful Heather Ogden, I was not only surprised but also delighted to see the quality and expansiveness of her diet as well as the clarity of her views on it. "I like to focus on all the things I can eat to build a healthy body rather than what I should be excluding. Calories are not my focus."

There's also something about that six hours of daily exercise thing that has a way of keeping the body slim and trim (!). Among some of Ogden's favorite foods as showcased in the segment, were the most delicate and seductive looking eggs I've seen in a long time.  I suspect they may have been poached but no matter, the flash image was enough to launch my vessel. I knew where I was going with this one.

Although I am not new to baked egg cups, there was just something about this presentation with the yolks standing at attention, clear and radiant in the center, that reminded me of sunlight.



Healthy Lunch Series

Baked Egg Cups over Lime-Tahini Spinach

For the Egg Cups & Spinach Salad:
  • 90 grams (about 3 cups) fresh baby spinach
  • 70 grams (about 1 cup) sliced mushrooms of choice
  • 6 dried apricots, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed or sliced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 large (25 g) green onion/scallion, finely chopped

For the Lime Infused Tahini Dressing
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 tsp tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp lime zest
  • sea salt & cracked pepper to taste

Serves 2

Notes:
  1. Make-ahead option: These baked eggs store beautifully in the fridge for 3 days (or longer) so you can make them at a time that is most convenient.
  2. I recommend using silicone muffin cup liners for the eggs to facilitate release.  I purchased my silicone liners at a very reasonable price at a hardware store (Canadian Tire). 
  3. You can easily scramble these eggs (and toss in veggies and cheese if you like).  For instructions, have a look at the link above under "baked egg cups".
  4. The baked eggs travel well in office lunch bags as well as school lunch boxes with ice packs.  Even though identical in content, my boys found these egg cups more interesting and novel than the usual boiled eggs.
  5. If packing the spinach salad for the office, best to bring the lime-tahini dressing in a separate small container and pour over spinach just before eating (otherwise, you will have a heavily wilted spinach salad by lunchtime).
Directions:

Heat oven to 400 F
  1. Crack eggs directly into silicone (or paper) cup liners that have been gently sprayed with olive oil.
  2. Cooking time will vary depending on the heat of individual ovens and how well cooked you like your eggs.  I'm one of those weirdos who likes my eggs well done (I know, how gauche.  Also explains why there are no oozing egg shots ;o) but by all means, rescue yours before they turn to rubber. Place eggs on top rack of oven and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes or until well done.  If you like your eggs runny (like most people!) cook the eggs for approximately 10-15 or until desired doneness is achieved.
  3. Place spinach, mushrooms, sliced apricot and avocado in a bowl.
  4. Assemble lime-tahini dressing by simply combining ingredients in a dish and whisking together.  If the dressing is too thick, simply add a touch of water incrementally until desired consistency is achieved.
  5. Pour lime-tahini dressing over spinach salad and mix gently but thoroughly to combine. 
  6. Divide the lime-tahini spinach between two plates.  Place two egg cups over or beside the spinach and top the eggs with some green onion.

© Inspired Edibles

  Print this recipe card


Crack eggs directly into the silicone cups
(I always make extra)

A perfect little egg cup emerges from the mold




Et voilà! Sun-kissed Spinach ;o) c'est jolie, non? 

31 comments:

  1. OH, dear... I LOVE THIS. You made this post for me, right? Well, I am not a ballerina but love to dance. And love the sun, and see the sun on these eggs too... Beautiful take on baked eggs, which I've never made but should definitely do it. I make hard boiled eggs in the oven yesterday, interesting method, I might blog about it once I perfect it.

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  2. Kelly, I LOVE the description and the recipe. Wow! Thank YOU!! You are an amazing writer, nutritionist, and cook.

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  3. Heidi, thank *you* for stopping by and making my day! xo

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  4. So happy to hear that Sally! I love when a particular recipe resonates - I love hard boiled eggs too; this is a fun switch-up on that. Have a lovely day! :O)

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  5. 6 hours a day exercise. Nah A Ballerina being wouldn't have been something for me. Yes their feather light life can be a challenge no doubt. Some of them really have bad health problems, that kind of always reminds me of the movie Black Swan. Kelly, your baked Eggs are indeed très jolie. =)

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  6. Sonia! The Healthy FoodieJune 5, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    Talk about making an egg joli indeed! Seriously, I've never seen an egg look so pretty before. Tell me, Kelly, is that yolk still runny? I'm guessing it isn't, which is kind of disastrous. Tell me it at least stays somewhat soft and doesn't become all rubbery...


    Now I need to buy silicone molds just so I can bake pretty eggs like that.

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  7. Haha, disastrous, love it! Please read point 2 in the Directions -- I actually address the disaster that is me :o)

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  8. I don't know, I'm sure many ballerinas are muscular and perfectly healthy. I guess we can never generalize about these things but yes, 6 hours of rehearsing a day might be a bit much for my sensibilities too ;0). Thanks for stopping by Helene!

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  9. I love that this particular ballerina is able to find balance in her diet and profession....I've heard some pretty unfortunate stories about ballerinas and it's so sad! It must not be easy to be in that position.


    This looks so beautiful, Kelly! I don't eat eggs, but I honestly think that if someone made this for me, I would have a hard time refusing it! Haha! Although it isn't ALL about the eggs- the salad and dressing are full of the things I love, and they look just as stunning! :-)

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  10. Looks delicious Kelly, what a cool idea!!
    Very creative and once again beautiful shots. I will agree with the other
    comment, so well written - always a pleasure to read :)

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  11. I'm glad it met your eggspectations Eva! (groan... ;0).

    I can think of no less fruitful use of time and energy in this very brief existence of ours than counting calories. Sure it's good to have a general idea of where things are at but beyond that, the obsessive control and measurement of food intake makes me very sad. Heather's philosophy of balance and inclusion really resonated with me too.

    I am not aware of any information/studies that suggest that cooking with silicone is unsafe. It is a synthetic rubber that contains bonded silicon and oxygen - a natural element abundant in sand + rock. It's believed to have low-toxicity and thermal stability and is currently viewed as a safer option than non-stick cookware treated with PFOA.

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  12. Cheers Lynn! I'm glad you like the idea and thank you for stopping by ;o).

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  13. Me too KoKo -- it's nice to come across a story like this and it's so true, these professions demand so much it must be incredibly challenging to stay whole and well. I was happy to come across the clip; very inspiring. Hugs to you! xo

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  14. I have to try the baked eggs ASAP! Love light and protein rich lunch!

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  15. These are SO adorable. And I love how the silicone cups left those beautiful ridges. I don't eat enough eggs...

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  16. Sandra @ Kitchen ApparelJune 5, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    I didn't think those ballerina eggs could look anymore beautiful but over tahini-lime spinach you just made them look so much sexier! I bet if I had this for breakfast I would have all the energy I needed to run around after two little boys ;) Beautiful recipe!!!

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  17. Sonia! The Healthy FoodieJune 6, 2013 at 5:20 AM

    Oh my, I am so ashamed! I can't believe I did this. I read the post, but not the actual recipe, and the answer was right there for me. I should've looked for the answer before I asked the question... ;) Real sorry about that!


    So really, you're saying that the egg white will be able to fully cook while the yolk will remain all nice and runny and beautiful? Because every time I've baked eggs, it just didn't work out that way. By the time the white got to completely cook, the yolk had become some sort of a tough rubbery mess... just the way you like 'em, I guess, weirdo! ;)

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  18. Heehee, love the prosecution style questioning (I'm going to get you a job with my brother ;-).

    I did make a runny yellow for my husband - he seemed to love it though I did not verify the rubber content of the white and therefore can neither confirm nor deny the veracity of the statement :).



    p.s. no need for shame - that stuff happens to all of us!

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  19. Sissi_Withaglass.comJune 6, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    Kelly, you are a genius! It's like having a little sun on one's plate indeed! The eggs look so cute, I kept on scrolling back to have another look and another look... It's a bit like seeing my bread tartlets without the bread. I absolutely must test this amazing method because I never have enough of egg recipes.

    You bet that a ballerina's diet is a good source of healthy meals... On one hand it keeps one slim, but on the other hand a ballerina cannot live just on salads: she needs energy to train and to keep muscles.

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  20. Thanks Kelly, glad to hear it's just the smell that's offensive. I have replaced all of my non-stick cookware many years ago when my poor Mom was diagnosed of a very serious brain disorder. I'm pretty sure the food even tastes better AND I get a workout with my cast iron pots and pans! Bonus!
    Eva

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  21. Sonia! The Healthy FoodieJune 6, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    HAHAHA!!! You're too funny, Kelly! Thank you so much for that! :)


    I guess there is but one thing to do now... make them gorgeous baked eggs and see for myself!


    I feel a trip to Canadian Tire coming up soon (not that they don't get to see my face like every week or so already...)

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  22. Yeah, no kidding, those cast iron pots are seriously heavy. Very sorry about your mom Eva.

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  23. Hi Kelly, what an absolutely adorable way of serving eggs, and I love the inadvertent, but nevertheless beautiful pattern of slight wrinkles emerging outwards from the yolk in the whites where the proteins have... er... contracted? (shrunk?). It looks very effective and indeed looks like a lovely lunch. So colourful too. I'd be inclined to add a couple slices of grilled baguette, but then I am a big boy after all :)

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  24. Ah yes, the rays of light emerging from the yolk that amplify the sun effect (aka: wrinkle patterns where the whites have rubberized - heehee - my friend Sonia is all over it! :). I do like a well cooked egg - LOL - but it's not for most. Cheers Charles!

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  25. The yolks are surprisingly present in these eggs. Often the white will rise to at least partially cover the yolk but here there just shining through. Like the universe meant it to be that way :).

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  26. I don't often hear the words spinach and sexy in the same sentence and I think I'm liking it Sandra - a lot. ;-).

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  27. The ridges are fun aren't they? All of these effects that I had no control over - the bright yolks, the bands emerging from the center and the pronounced ridges -- even food chemistry can surprise and delight :).

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  28. I like protein at lunch too - in fact I usually start the day with high fibre grains and eat a protein meal at 11 am -- that's when the day really starts :)

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  29. You know I have actually become rather obsessed with eggs. I never used to make them and now I can't get enough! This looks wonderful. I love how bright it looks. And I'm glad to hear there are healthy dancers. You're right there is a perception that they must be deprived. Like you said, six hours of exercise though whew!

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  31. This dressing sounds fab! And, I love baked eggs. I have a silicon mini-brioche pan that would make some beautiful ones.

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