Daily Herald
Looking for a little egg-citement? Chefs share their secrets
By Deb Pankey | Daily Herald Food Editor
Published: 3/26/2008 12:04 AM

I'm willing to bet you've got some hard-boiled eggs in your refrigerator waiting to be turned into egg salad. Or maybe you're eating an egg salad sandwich as you read this.

So how is it?

If same-old, same-old, describes the bite you just took, get ready for two eggstraordinary spins on egg salad.

Truffle oil is the secret ingredient in chef Patrick Sheerin's egg salad (he heads the kitchen at The Signature Room at the 95th at Chicago's John Hancock Tower).

Mix ¾ cup mayonnaise, ½ cup whole grain mustard and 1 tablespoon black truffle oil in a large bowl, add 10 chopped or mashed hard-boiled eggs and a couple teaspoons of minced fresh chive. Season with salt and pepper. Serve open-faced on thick-sliced, lightly toasted bread topped with sliced of Campari tomatoes.

John Ayaleanos from Birch River Grill in Rolling Meadows adds avocados and sour cream to his mix.

His recipe calls for whisking together ½ cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon milk and ½ teaspoon paprika. In a large bowl, toss cubes from six avocados with 1 teaspoon lemon juice; add ½ cup finely diced red onion and five chopped hard-boiled eggs; fold in the sour cream mixture; season with salt and pepper. Enjoy on toasted multigrain bread.

All in a day's work: When it comes to the most overrated careers, this week's U.S. News and World Report lists chefs right up there with teachers and police officers.

In addition to identifying the best careers for 2008, the magazine highlights 13 occupations with mystiques that exceed reality. The list is subjective, of course, derived from a review of books, articles, Web sites, forums and blogs about people's experiences in careers, supplemented by confidential counseling sessions with 2,600 people over two decades.

"You envision yourself concocting delectable delights for a clamoring clientele at the latest 'in' restaurant. Maybe you'll even get to be one of those TV chefs," writes Marty Nemko. In reality, "most chefs don't work in frou-frou restaurants or even blaze trails in the kitchen. Instead, they're assembly-line cooks, cranking out dozens of the same item night after night … for each executive chef, a few assistant chefs -- the most typical job -- spend much of their time chopping ingredients and assembling salads."

At the Daily Herald, we recognize it's not always a glamorous job, but we agree that there's a mystique. Each week, we give chefs from all sectors of the industry a chance in the limelight in Chef du Jour. If you have a favorite chef you'd like to see shine, drop us a note.

Drink your sandwich: Don't let National Peanut Month slip by without raising a toast to this healthful legume.

Mix up a PB&J in a glass, seriously.

Rub the rim of a tall glass with 1 teaspoon creamy peanut butter and dip into 2 teaspoons graham cracker crumbs. Half fill glass with ice.

In a blender combine 6 ounces grape juice, 2 ounces low-fat milk, 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter and 1 graham cracker square. Process until well blended. Pour into glass and enjoy.

Budget cooking: Can you cook for four for $15? Find out from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday as Whole Foods Market Palatine hosts an afternoon of informational seminars in conjunction with "The Palatine Great American Health Challenge."

Drop in to watch cooking demonstrations, discuss exercise and nutrition with local experts or learn more about childhood obesity and ways to de-stress your life and decrease your risk of cancer.

The event is co-sponsored by the village of Palatine and the American Cancer Society. The store is at 1331 Rand Road. (847) 776-8080.