My First Poached Egg

It may come as a surprise (it does to me) that with all the cooking I do, I’ve never poached an egg. Maybe because I went several years without eating eggs, or maybe because I only recently discovered my love of eggs benedict, but whatever the reason, I decided that this morning, I would conquer that experience.

I did a bit of research and found a few really helpful tips online. Smitten Kitchen, a blog by a woman who loves poached eggs but claims to not make them well, had the absolute best advice I could possibly find. What was the advice?

1: Break your egg in a bowl instead of straight into the water. It’s much easier to slip your egg from bowl to pot than to try and crack an egg over hot water without dropping any shell bits.

2: Make a whirlpool out of the hot water by quickly stirring the water before sliding your egg in. Bonus – it works especially well when you’ve followed Tip #1 and have the egg prepped in a bowl.

I did, however, go against what many websites say and left out the vinegar. It’s supposed to help the egg form it’s shape, but I believed the whirlpool would do a good enough job.

So I heated my water to just below boiling. I cracked my egg into a bowl. I stirred the hot water until it whirled around like a little cyclone. And I slipped the egg into the hot water. I stared down into the pot, and to my amazement, the egg stayed almost entirely in tact.

Not to brag, but it was a beautiful poached egg.

My toast was all nice and toasty, with a bit of herbed goat cheese and two slices fake bacon, when I started to wonder: How the hell do I get the egg out of the water?

I began to panic: I don’t have enough time to look it up or enough time to clean my tongs. So I panicked. And I scooped it out with a big spoon and dumped it on my toast.

Of course there was water everywhere. The toast was ruined. The facon was soggy. But the egg was still perfectly in tact.

So I pulled myself together, threw away the soggy mess and made some new toast. I had a perfect piece of toast and a perfect little poached egg. How did I transfer my poached egg to the new toast?

Well.

I couldn’t.

After all that, my egg broke open as I tried to wiggle a fork underneath it to prop it up onto the toast. The good news is that the yolk soaked into the toast from the bottom and I salvaged the white and plopped it on top. I guess you could call it a deconstructed poached egg.

Still, I’d count it as relatively successful for my very first poached egg. And it was delicious.

 

 

 

(the photo is from stock.xchng and is only what I wish my egg had looked like!)

What’s Cookin’?

. . . Everything.

You could say I’ve rediscovered my love of cooking this past week, so I haven’t had much in the way of new restaurant experiences. As much as I love dining out, it is so rewarding to sit down to a satisfying and delicious meal I made myself.

I wanted to post specifically about my awesome eggplant experience because I’ve never actually cooked eggplant before – no, not even eggplant parmesan. If you couldn’t tell by that blurry camera phone image, I successfully tackled the eggplant parm.

Although I’m not a fan of recipes, I do browse them to see that I’m doing everything right, and I was surprised to find that most eggplant parm recipes are fried. Frying eggplant just seems so . . . harsh. Why wouldn’t you bake this deliciously delicate vegetable?!

Of course I baked it.

If you wanna try baking it, here’s a few tips from my own personal experience:

A lot of fried eggplant recipes seem to call for thin slices of eggplant, but if you’re baking it, you can be a bit more generous with thickness. It’s going to be slow-cooking in there, so the whole piece will get nice and tender.

Use enough egg! I tried to make two eggplant “patties” with one egg yolk alone, and it didn’t quite cover the eggplant; as a result, it was really tough getting the crumbs to stick. Make sure you’ve got enough stick for your stuff. And add a bit of white while you’re add it – it definitely didn’t hurt mine!

Flip it often. Why? You want to get both sides toasted, of course, but it also gives you a chance to reapply some bread crumbs (and maybe even some extra egg if necessary!) to thicken up your coating. Or, if you like it thin, flip it anyway so it cooks evenly.

 

I personally baked this particular eggplant similar to how I prepare baked ziti. I cooked the breadcrumb-coated eggplant for several minutes on each side all by itself to get the coating stuck on their good. Then I topped it with some sauce, basil leaves (optional of course, but I love basil) and big slices of fresh mozzarella cheese.

Fresh mozzarella is definitely the way to go. You get a wonderful indicator of when the meal is ready as the cheese melts down and around your food. It also pairs so well with the basil – combined with the tomato sauce, it’s like a Caprese salad in your mouth. If you buy the mozzarella balls in water, they’ll last for a while, too!

 

I’m sure you can find the cooking temp and time somewhere on the internet, but if you’re curious, I cooked this (with the sauce and cheese) for about 45 minutes at 325. It was perfectly tender and all the flavors had smushed into something delicious. The green bean salad (cold, blanched green beans in an orange juice/balsamic/mint dressing) was so starkly different from the warm, gooey eggplant parmesan, adding crunchy texture and citrusy flavors – I highly recommend throwing a cold salad of sorts to get that delicious combination.

 

Enough about my eggplant. Time to cook.