Saturday, February 23, 2013

Faking poached eggs

There are many skills I don't possess in the kitchen. There are many skills I don't possess in life, either... but that is a different topic for a different day. First off, I am terrible at cooking meat. Being a vegetarian for a good amount of my formative years, I just don't get how to cook it. Dry, tough, chewy. These are the words used to describe anything I cook with meat. Another problem I always face in the kitchen is rice. I am not patient enough to wait for the rice to be perfectly cooked, so, I always end up with undercooked rice. Thankfully, Trader Joe's has saved me the pain and embarrassment with there frozen brown rice.

Today I want to look past my kitchen faults and relish in my kitchen creativity. For example, my faux-poached eggs. In my opinion, nothing is more delicious than a poached egg. The soft white opening into a ooey, gooey lava of bright orange yoke, smothering the toast, asparagus, or lentils beneath. I believe adding an egg to any dish can make it taste better but adding a poached egg takes it to a whole nother level. While I'd love to top everything I eat with a poached egg, my cooking skills have hindered me to do so. Hopefully. One day.  Maybe soon, I will poach an egg but until then I rely on this solid replacement.

 I like to begin by taking my egg out of the fridge and letting it warm up for a bit. This is something I do in baking and found it helps with cooking my eggs, too. After about a half-hour, or so, bring a pot of water to boil. When the water begins to boil, carefully, plop that sucker in there. I have this really cool egg-timer that I use for boiling eggs, so I popped that into the pot, as well.

Cover the pot with a lid and turn the heat down, so that the boil turns into a simmer. I like a runny yolk, so, I let my egg cook for about 4 minutes. If you like your yolk a little more cooked, just add on more minutes to the simmering time.

While the egg cooks, get your accoutrements set up. Plate that asparagus or toast and butter that bread. Also, during this time prepare an ice bath for your finished egg to cool off in. Within mere minutes your egg is done!

To cradle my egg, I used Trader Joe's Cinnamon Roll Bread with a nice spread of butter.

Then I cracked that baby open and let the ooey, gooey goodness soak my toast. Seriously, I only had this two hours ago and am ready for more. I, especially, love the combination of the savory egg and the sweet rasins in the toast. Another favorite breakfast combo would be to butter and jam a biscuit with this egg on top. Same idea, equally delicious.

Faux-Poached Eggs
Seriously, ya'll! It's not that hard to boil an egg!
Serves 1. More eggs means more servings.

What you'll need:

  • One room-temperature egg
  • A pot
  • Something good to sop up the yolk, like, toast, asparagus, pasta, rice, potatoes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Ice water, or you can use some really cold fridge water or melt some snow if you live in Vermont

What you'll do:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  2. Gently, place the egg into the boiling water.
  3. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and bring water down to a simmer.
  4. Let egg simmer for four minutes, or until desired doneness.
  5. Remove egg from water and place into a bowl of ice-water. Cool until easy to handle.
  6. Peel the egg and enjoy as you please!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bon Jour!

Sometimes I like to pretend I am French. Je parle Francais (un peu), je porte des rayeurs (souvent), et je mange croissant et je bois latte (yum...thats universal).  While, today, I did not wear stripes, I did speak a little French and I did enjoy a magnificent latte as an afternoon treat.

Maison Kaiser is a pâtisserie and boulangerie by way of Paris. With the opening of his first New York outpost, Eric Kaiser has enriched the lives of those on the UES, especially me. Never have I gone into Maison Kaiser when there isn't a line at the bakery counter or a seat open in the dining area. Usually I grab my treat to go, whether it be a Plié Chocolat or one of their famous breads in mini form. I have to admit, though, I always envy those enjoying their espressos and tartines at a cafe table, leisurely sipping the afternoon away. 

Today was a different story. I was quickly seated at little table with a menu placed in front of me. Everything sounded so good but I came with a purpose. A latte with soy milk and madelines, s'il vous plaît.  And then I was thrown for a loop in the form of flour, yeast, and water. A bread basket filled to the brim with all those mini-loaves I love so much and, usually, take home for breakfast the next day. There was the cheese bread, the traditional baguette, the seeded baguette and a loaf with turmeric, oh my! I looked at the basket and at my fellow dining companions. I knew if I started on the bread I would be overcome. You know the person who ruins dinner by finishing the bread basket? That's me! Maybe, I could sneak the bread into my purse. But no, I thought, I am being French and that certainly is not what happens in Paris. 

And then this arrived.

Bon jour!

Don't be fooled. There were three madelines on that plate but after the first latte-soaked bite I knew I was in trouble (remember the whole bread basket thing, that applies to cookies, too). I tapped my neighbor on the shoulder and said, "Madame, voulez-vous un madeline,". "Mais, oui," she replied. How lovely to share this crisp-on-the-outside-but-so-creamy-on-the-inside cookie with someone else. With one cookie enjoyed by another, I devoured the other two and sipped my latte, not for the whole afternoon, but for a good forty minutes as I read for class and people-watched. Just enough time to escape to France!