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Eggs

There is a scene in Julie & Julia where they spend hours and hours trying to properly poach eggs.

For a long time, I had a deep fear of poached eggs. Having never encountered them, I always thought they would be runny and gushy. However, the first time I had a poached egg, during brunch at Alice’s Tea Cup, I was quite pleased to find that that was not at all true. The egg whites are cooked, but soft and almost fluffy. The yolk is warmed and runny, tasting totally rich and delicious.

Since then, I have had the pleasure of poaching many an egg.
Maybe it’s just me, but I really do not understand why it’s so difficult to poach an egg. These are ones I made for breakfast this morning and I have to say other than a broken yolk, these were quite lovely. I enjoyed them with Canadian Bacon.

I’m not sure there’s a secret to how I make a poached egg. When I first wanted to make poached eggs, I used this tutorial from WikiHow. I’ve adapted that to make it easier and more fool-proof for myself.

Here’s my process to make a poached egg.

  • Fill a medium saucepan with water and a splash of vinegar.
  • Heat the water until it reaches shivering point – right before boiling.
  • Crack an egg into a ladle.
  • Place the ladle into the water, letting some of the water in to temper the egg white.
  • Pour the egg out of the ladle and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon or a spider to remove the eggs from the water. Let any water drain.
  • Serve the eggs on toasted, buttered English muffins.
  • Chana Masala and Kale

    L. and I have been trying to embrace this whole Meatless Monday movement. In general we’re fans of vegetarian food, but don’t think about incorporating it into our menu often enough.

    Last night I made Orangette’s Chana Masala. It was so divine and delicious. Even as I was cooking and tasting it, I could tell the pay off was going to be huge. The dish was well-spiced, but not hot, full of tomato and onion flavors. It was incredible and I had to fight not to consume the entire bowl right then and there.

    I followed Orangette’s recipe to a tee, with the following exceptions:

    – I topped ours with a serving of tofu, to balance the carbs and protein ratio. In general, I would have preferred the protein to come from paneer but our local market didn’t have any. Apparently you can use Queso Blanco for a substitute but I know paneer is super easy to make at home. My co-worker Seema is always talking about how she makes it in the morning before work. Maybe I’ll give that a try.

    – We didn’t have any garam masala on hand. Garam Masala is actually a spice blend and I was able to find the right combo of spices on the internet. The combo we used was the second one listed here. To be honest though, we did not mix up a whole 1/4 cup. I just tossed in a little bit of each with the spices.

    – We had ground cardamom and not cardamom pods, so we substituted 1 tsp per pod. The actual ratio is 1/6 tsp per pod, so we were probably a touch heavy on the cardamom.

    Next week I plan to use Orangette’s recipe as a base, but substitute okra for the chickpeas, making one of my favorites: bhindi masala! I’m also going to make some Naan because the dish was crying out for some yummy bread to scoop up the sauce.

    Beets with Dill, Tomatoes and Basil, Corn and Veggies

    Yesterday I made an epically yummy meal. I was telling my mother about it before and explained that my rationale behind it was “Hey, let me put together a bunch of stuff that I enjoy eating.” At the farmer’s market, I was mentally throwing dishes together, but not everything clicked until I got home.

    What I made was as follows: Balsamic Basil Chicken with Bruschetta topping, grilled veggies (red onion, zucchini, squash), Corn and Vegetable Salad and Beets with Dill.

    The chicken was great – I threw it in some balsamic and oil with basil and garlic and let that marinate over night. I grilled it on my Le Cruset pan then and the smell of the garlic bits roasting along with it was lovely. I let it sit a bit when done and then topped it with a kind of bruschetta: halved cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, parsley, basil, balsamic, oil, salt and pepper. Then I put it in the oven to get the cheese all melty. It was divine!

    Everything else I did sort of just got thrown together, tasting as I went. I don’t much care for corn but the corn salad was AMAZING. I am in love. It was very sweet, crisp and just delightfully refreshing and cool. The beets were just perfection – the sweetness and saltiness, mixed together to really elevate the way the beets tasted. It was heavenly.

    Corn and Vegetable Salad
    Inspiration from PJ’s Fresh Corn Salad

    4 fresh ears of corn
    1 half medium zucchini
    1 medium red onion
    1 half large green pepper
    Olive Oil
    Balsamic
    Sirracha
    Salt
    Pepper

    Cut all the corn off the ears by standing them up vertically in a bowl and running your knife top to bottom. When all corn is removed, scrape the cob and add in any of the starchy pulp that comes out. It helps bind the salad.

    Using the size of the corn as your guide, dice the remaining vegetables into similarly sized chunks. Overall the whole salad should be uniform in size. Add the diced veggies to your corn.

    For dressing – you don’t want to overwhelm the veggies, so add just enough olive oil and balsamic to lightly coat. I added a drop of sirracha for spice. Salt and pepper to taste, then mix everything together.

    Beets with Dill

    6 small roasted beets
    1/2 tbsp lemon juice
    1 bunch dill

    Canned beets would work for this recipes, but I’ve gotten some lovely ones from the farmers’ market, so I decided to use those. To roast them, I clipped everything about about 2″ from the top of the beet roots. I sprayed them with cooking spray, topped them with lemon juice, salt and pepper, then wrapped dill around them, putting the whole thing in foil. I put them in the oven at 400 degrees for 1 hour. The bigger beets took about 1 1/2 hours.

    Cut the beets up into small chunks. You could leave them as slices, but it’s harder to dress them.

    Put the beets in a bowl and pour the lemon juice over them.

    Using a knife, scrape the fronds off the dill, leaving the stems behind. Put the dill on top of the beets.

    Mix the beets to combine.

    Top with salt and pepper. Kosher salt is amazing on this.

    Tonight for dinner I am making, a veggie stir-fry using a bunch of stuff we picked up at Trader Joe’s today. (I am a TJs addict.) In the mix are onions, peppers, mushroom, bok choy, carrots and snow peas. I’ve put them in a sauce with soy, basil, siracha and terriyaki.

    I’m serving it over some doctored up Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend. I made it with some chicken broth, scallions, basil, garlic and sirracha.

    Part of my move towards getting back on track with healthy eating is trying to have at least one vegetarian meal a week.

    I love Trader Joe’s Chicken-less strips because they are a lot more versatile and sturdy than plain tofu. Sometimes I’ll go to the store and pick up some tofu and think I’ll figure out something to do with it, but I never do. With the chicken-less strips, I just substitute them in a dish where I’d use chicken. Taste wise – they won’t fool anyone into thinking they’re chicken, but they’re still delicious. The strips taste like slightly spicy tofu.

    Overall, dinner was delicious. We are out on the front steps since it’s so hot inside today.

    I packed up the leftover for lunch and I’m so looking forward to enjoying them later this week.

    About

    Cristen, a New York City school teacher who loves to cook, even if she's not always amazing at it. Lives in Queens with her husband and two pit bulls. Total cheese addict. Fan of anything savory and sweet, espescially Thai food. Likes to eat seasonally. Trying to be a locavore. Learning how to explain what she likes in a red wine: dry, medium bodied with hints of fruit. If I could only have one network on my TV, it would be the Food Network. I cannot get enough of competitive cooking shows like Top Chef and Iron Chef. I adore Anthony Bourdain more than I probably should.

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