If like Humpty Dumpty you're still on a wall about egg substitute, this could make you fall

September 16, 1992|By Mary Glerum | Mary Glerum,Dallas Morning News/Universal Press Syndicate

Virtue, in the form of low-cholesterol egg substitutes, costs.

But you can make egg substitutes at home for about half the cost of store-bought.

Colleen Perry, a research analyst at the Egg Nutrition Center in Washington, says egg substitutes are popular with people on highly restricted diets as well as those simply trying to reduce their cholesterol intake.

One large egg has 5.6 grams of fat and 274 milligrams of cholesterol -- all concentrated in the yolk. Plain egg substitutes have little or no fat or cholesterol, depending on the brand.

For cooks wanting absolutely no fat or cholesterol, Ms. Perry suggests substituting two egg whites for each whole egg in a recipe. A few drops of food coloring will give the eggs that familiar yellow color.

For those with a little more leeway in their diets, egg whites can be enhanced with flavorless vegetable oil or non-fat powdered milk, Ms. Perry says. Most commercial products contain some kind of oil.

Even if you aren't on a restricted diet, a simple substitution can help reduce fat and cholesterol in your diet. Instead of using two whole eggs, use one egg and two whites. The flavor and texture are almost identical to the real thing.

Cooking Light magazine has experimented a great deal using egg substitutes in traditional recipes.

"We haven't had much luck with custards or sauces, but in most everything else the egg substitutes work well," says food editor Mary Kreel.

Even quiches and baked goods can be modified to use commercial egg substitutes or egg whites.

The usual formula is to use two egg whites for every egg. In dishes that use a lot of eggs, it may work best to substitute for only part of the eggs.

Ms. Kreel suggests adding a teaspoon of oil with every two egg whites to pick up the slack if the whole eggs added necessary fat to a recipe.

When making homemade egg substitute, mixing everything in a blender until frothy helps distribute the ingredients and improves the texture of the finished product.

The mixture can be refrigerated for four to five days, according to the Egg Nutrition Center. Store it in an airtight jar or plastic container, shaking it before each use.

What to do with all the unused egg yolks? Cover them with cold water, seal tightly, refrigerate and use within two days in custard -- a lush treat for friends without cholesterol concerns.

Basic egg substitute

Makes 1/4 cup.

2 large egg whites

1 teaspoon safflower or corn oil

2 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

Mix ingredients in a blender or shaker jar until frothy. Use in place of 1 whole egg.

Note: Fresh, cold eggs separate most easily. Crack the shell gently on a hard surface. Working over a bowl, gently split the shell in half and pass the yolk from one half to the other until all the white has fallen into the bowl and only the yolk remains. Put yolk in another bowl.

Storage instructions: The recipe can be increased as needed. Refrigerate in an airtight container for four or five days; shake before using. For longer storage, freeze individual portions in ice cube trays; pop out and store in freezer bags for two to three weeks. Thaw overnight in refrigerator.

Per serving: Calories: 73; Fat: 5 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 100 mg; Percent calories from fat: 55 percent.

No-guilt Texas omelet

Makes 2 servings.

1 cup egg substitute (homemade or commercial)

1 tablespoon powdered non-fat milk

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon medium-hot salsa, plus extra for serving

1/3 cup non-fat shredded Monterey Jack cheese

In a blender or shaker jar, mix egg substitute and powdered milk until frothy. Set aside.

Coat a 10-inch skillet with cooking spray. Saute onion and bell pepper over medium heat until barely tender. Stir in salsa, transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Rinse out skillet, coat again with cooking spray and place over medium heat. When pan is hot, add the egg mixture. Stir for about 10 seconds, watching for eggs to thicken. As the edges of the omelet begin to cook, use a spoon or spatula to drag the cooked portion toward the center. Roll and tip the pan until the uncooked egg runs to the edge. Continue this process until the eggs are set through but not dry. Spoon vegetable-salsa mixture over half the omelet; sprinkle with cheese. Fold omelet in half and slide onto a serving plate. Pass extra salsa, if desired.

Per serving: Calories: 115; Fat: none; Cholesterol: 4 mg; Sodium: 409 mg; Percent calories from fat: 3 percent.

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