perfect poach

May 19, 2012 Comments Off on perfect poach

Eat to run, run to eat, as my brother says.

Ever since Runner’s World reported that the high cholesterol in eggs didn’t seem to cause high cholesterol in humans, I’ve been all about the little $&#@ers.  Huge protein hit, only 90 calories each.  A lot of saturated fat in the yolks, but with some careful planning a good two-egg breakfast doesn’t set you back too far.  And we get good local eggs in Iowa.  Golden, almost red yolks, and super-fresh.

So I went nine miles this morning, and for the last half hour or so what kept me going was the realization that I had all the fixings for a breakfast spectacular in the fridge.  Eggs, yesterday’s light wheat bread, basil (not from the garden–yet), organic cherry tomatoes, parmesan, and bottarga.  Along with meringues and souffles, I’m not too modest to admit that I’ve got poaching down pretty well, too, now that I have some nice silicone cups.  Boil some water, have the eggs waiting in separate ramekins, oil the cups, and then dump the eggs in them for 3-1/2 minutes.  Superb.

O saw the wreckage when she got home from her sleepover and immediately put in an advance request for an egg-and-bacon sandwich for lunch.  Fried, not poached, but I’ve done some technology transfer-type learning and have figured out not to let the pan get too hot when I fry eggs up.  So the whites on her sammies are now quivering and blob-like instead of frayed and crispy.  And the yolks explode when she bites into them, soaking the bread and making a delicious–and much-appreciated–mess.


bittersweet chocolate…

May 16, 2012 Comments Off on bittersweet chocolate…

…in many forms.  It’s my last week with the kiddos before I decamp for two weeks of design-building a food stand for an Omaha food festival and then four weeks of research and travel in Italy.  Tough gig, I know.  I told them that we should do some of our favorite kitchen things together to mark the occasion.  Grilling is big on the list.  So is pizza.  We did a Food and Wine mac’n’cheese recipe last night and, as usual, C reported that it was “good, but not as good as pimiento mac.”  I agreed with him.

They didn’t mention desserts at all, so I figured I’d experiment a bit.  I overbought bittersweet chocolate a couple of weeks ago, and I certainly don’t want it in the house while they’re gone.  Because I’ll make something, and eat it.  So instead I found two recipes that I thought we could do as a team, that would use up the chocolate, and that would be ridiculous.

Like chocolate souffles!  This is actually an NPR recipe for Salted Chocolate Soufflettes.  The point was that souffles aren’t all that hard, and they’re delicious, so why don’t people make more of them?  I couldn’t agree more.  I’ve played around with enough French pastry recipes in the last few weeks that I’ve become pretty comfortable with beating egg whites into a stiff froth.  There’s timing involved, but once egg white has enough air beaten into it to stand on its own, I’ve realized that it takes some effort to deflate it.  So I figured these seemed eminently doable, even with my ham-handed kitchen skills.  Super easy–melted butter, cream, and chocolate get mixed with egg yolks, the whites from those eggs (plus one or two extra whites, which I had leftover from this weekend’s pistachio ice cream) get beaten into a frenzy and folded into the yolk mixture, and the resulting foam gets spooned into some ramekins and baked for 25 minutes at 375°.  The results were spectacular–C actually backed away from the oven after he took a peek inside because they grew a fairly alarming amount.  They deflated a little bit as they cooled, but with some leftover strawberries and raspberries they tasted great.  Light, airy, and crunchy exteriors, but also rich and pudding-like on the inside.  We’ll do these again.

And for the last round of lunch cookies before the summer peregrinations?  These spectacular &$%ers.  Brown butter chocolate chip cookies, from Food and Wine this month.  No real secrets, here, just brown the butter before it gets creamed with the requisite sugars.  Small detail, huge difference.  Even though the rest of the recipe is basically a simple Toll House cookie, the browned butter adds a really nice nuttiness and some serious color.  The dough sits overnight, which I’m guessing autolyses the flour nicely.  And, helpfully, the recipe calls for a full quarter-cup scoop of batter per cookie.  I’ve been more economical with the portions this year, but what the hell.  O reports that they’re watching videos every day in at least a couple of classes, so if teachers are calling it a year, I say add sugar-and-carb madness to the soup of spring-driven tween hormones.  A full quarter cup it is.  “When I opened my lunchbox,” O said, “I thought it was a hamburger patty.”  Total win, and soooper tasty.  They’d better eat all of them before they go to their mom’s place.

Not sure how we’ll top those, dessert-wise, but I’m thinking an almond cake would be appropriate given the looming departure for Italy…

pasta salerno

October 22, 2011 Comments Off on pasta salerno

Most.  Decadent.  Pasta.  Dish.  Ever.

Friday was “Pasta as you like it” night.  C chose simple tomato sauce (bless him).  O wanted carbonara.  Sure, I said, but we’d done carbonara a couple of weeks ago.  What if we find something else with eggs?  She was game.

Cook’s, of course, had something that went even beyond that in terms of protein and fatty goodness.  Pasta with eggs, Salerno style.  I don’t know anyone from the city of Salerno, but I think they’ve got it right.  The dish is mostly an assembly process.  Toast some bread crumbs.  Boil some pasta.  Saute some garlic to flavor some oil.  Add the pasta to the oil and garlic, throw in some pasta water, top it with bread crumbs, then quickly fry an egg in the saute pan and drop it on top.  Holy crap.

Done right, the yolk ends up saucing the pasta, not quite drenching it, but combining with the breadcrumbs to make a ridiculously satisfying combination of salty and sweet.  And it’s ridiculously filling–like having breakfast and dinner in one bowl.  I’d run ten miles that morning in anticipation, so I had completely earned one bowl of the stuff, and to make it sound healthy I made it with whole wheat pasta.  O saw that and raised me a crumbled slice of bacon in hers.  We both woke up this morning ready to take on the world…

morning sunshine on a plate

June 30, 2011 Comments Off on morning sunshine on a plate

Math quiz:  (Leftover biscuit + surplus eggs + plenty of fresh basil in the kitchen garden) / six-mile tempo run = um, yes.

circular eggs

February 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

When I lived in New York, it was big news that the polar bear in the Central Park Zoo, Gus, was suffering from chronic depression.  He lolled around all day, not very polar-bear like, and they finally called in an animal psychiatrist.  Apparently those exist, even for polar bears.  The psychiatrist told the zoo to occasionally spice up Gus’ routine, by putting peanut  butter on his bouncy ball, for example.  Apparently, this half-assed attempt at polar bear therapy worked a treat, and soon Gus was stomping around his pen, oblivious to his confinement and happy to get the occasional smear of peanut butter in return.

I have discovered that the same treatment works with 12-year olds.  Once or twice a week, I bound into the girl’s room at 6:30, announce that it’s time to get up, and instead of just flicking on the light and leaving her to her own devices, I suggest a breakfast treat.  Pancakes have always worked.  This morning?  I suggested fried eggs.  And was met with the usual sullen “meh.”

“But we’ll put them in the new egg rings,” I said, “the ones you picked out in Minne!”

She gave me a modest shrug, which frankly is no small beer given her usual morning self.

And they worked pretty well.  Except that O pointed out maybe I should PAM them first.  It was a little sticky getting the finished eggs out.  And as they’re cooking, and I’m wondering how to flip them so she can have over easy, she points out that the little cork handles are on rivets, and they rotate up for easy flippage.  Total parental dumb-assedness.  But now we know.

So yeah.  Circular eggs.  They are better than spready eggs.  O ate them up with some baguette toast and practically skipped out the door.  (OK, not really.  But she did give me a hug on her way).

brunch–spinach and eggs

January 24, 2011 Comments Off on brunch–spinach and eggs

So my first issue of Bon Appetit came last week, and I have to say I tore into it like my teenage self used to tear into the annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.  Most of it is clearly over my head, but the girl and I found a complex but doable brownie recipe, and I think I’ll work my way through a good winter salad article–though I won’t tell the kids what most of the ingredients are.

One quick meal caught my eye, though, and sounded simple enough.  Spinach and eggs made up one of my late evening meals last year in Chicago, and there was a version of it that added some mustard and vinaigrette bread crumbs.  The recipe I’d used called for steaming the spinach and then at the last minute cracking a couple of eggs into the pot–effiicient, but tough to dig out without losing half the yolks.  This one called for frying the eggs and sauteeing the  spinach separately, so one more pan to wash, but a much easier assembly.  The key ingredient here, though, is fresh bread crumbs mixed with a mustard vinaigrette.  I just used some store bought crumbs, but they worked well and mushed up nicely.

This was perfect today–I had a lunch meeting with one of last semester’s students at the cafe in campustown, and I knew all I could really have there was a salad.  Anything else and I would have shot my day completely.  So my morning snack became brunch, and I figured I could use the extra protein to get through the afternoon.  Worked a treat, and of course the spinach is full of potassium, which I need by the ton, apparently.  And it took all of three minutes to throw together.  The mustard bread crumbs were awesome, and may show up again in something like baked chicken–big flava and not much in the way of carbs.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with eggs at Domestically Challenged.