Farm Eggs / Huevos de Granja

When I was growing up my mother raised chickens for our own consumption of eggs and meat. I remember that I did not like to eat the eggs or the meat of freshly slaughtered chickens. Yes, I ate them because my mother managed to not let me see that fresh eggs were just collected from the chicken coop or that I was eating soup made with a chicken that she slaughtered herself, cleaned and cooked while I was in school. I do not know why but I always said that these eggs were dirty and, as I knew the chicken in life, I would not be able to eat it when served on my plate. The same thing happened with the other animals that were raised at home for our good nutritious food.

I was born and raised in Tijuana, the city bordering San Diego, California. Because of its proximity to the United States, my family had access to many products from abroad. My dad and my older siblings, who worked in San Diego, always brought home bags of groceries with American products. I remember those frozen chickens that, when cooked, were white, unlike the yellow flesh of my mother's chickens. She always told me that hers were more nutritious. And yes they were - the eggs too.

Hens raised in a healthy outdoor life, with good food and clean water lay firm eggs with yolks with a more intense color and a thicker shell and, more importantly, these eggs are more nutritious than the ones from chickens raised in a factory, like the ones sold in supermarkets. Now I buy my eggs at farmers' markets and directly from the supplier from a local farm where chickens roam freely in open spaces and have access to green pastures - happy hens like my mother's.

At the market I find different types of chicken eggs and, occasionally, duck and turkey eggs. Eggs of different sizes and colors but the color of the shell has nothing to do with the nutritional value of eggs. White and brown eggs are most common in the markets. I read that the color of the hen indicates the color of eggs it will lay - the White Leghorn chickens, the most common type in the United States, lay white eggs. Rhode Island Red hens lay brown eggs. Blue eggs are from a chicken called Araucana native to South America and its relative, the Ameraucana. Whatever the color, I like it! And the more simple its preparation the more I appreciate its flavor.

Eggs in Cocotte
(for 2)

2 tsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature 
2 turkey eggs (or 4 chicken eggs)
3 Tsp. heavy cream
2 tsp. fresh tarragon, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Butter two individual casseroles or ramekins. Break 1 turkey egg (or 2 chicken eggs) into each casserole, then top each with 1.1/2 tablespoons of cream. Sprinkle with fresh tarragon and salt and pepper to taste. Bake in a 350°F oven for 7 minute. Serve hot accompanied by bread and your favorite side dish.