I read Julie and Julia on my flight to and from Vancouver last week. (I was fortunately enough to get to go cheer on the athletes at the Olympics and see cross country, bobsled, and biathalon in Whistler and the Olympic Torch in Vancouver.) Ever since finishing the book–well, really, ever since starting it–have been dreaming (literally) of chopping lobsters in half, making mayonnaise, and poaching eggs.
Today, I became a poacher. The plan was two poached eggs, one on each of the two halves of the rosemary roll from Acme bread that I’d toast, with salt and pepper. The result: two poached eggs, one on each of the two halves of the rosemary roll from Acme bread that I’d toast and then top with fresh spinach from my CSA box, with salt and pepper.
Of course, the plan I mention above does not describe all of the details of my imagined attempt at cooking breakfast today. The Complete Plan included four or five eggs bound for the the compost bin after they fell apart into goopy bits, contaminating my near-boiling water. In accordance with The Complete Plan, I used some eggs that one of my roommate’s house guests had left for us in the fridge.
The Complete Plan did not go as planned. I nailed the eggs two for two. Woohoo! On the downside, I didn’t end up eating anyEatwell Farm eggs (little golden-filled sacs of deliciousness). On the upside, I havn’t yet produced a goopy not-poached-but-obliterated-in-hot-water egg, only beautiful poached eggs that come out in one piece. The first was near perfect, turning into a complete oval with just one strand of run-away white. The second took the shape of an amoeba for a bit but I was able to smush it back together after I picked it up with the slotted spoon (my favorite kitchen utensil) and plop it on the spinach.
The secret to my surprise success: The Vortex Method. I’d done a bit of reading online for tips on how to poach an egg and made the vaguest of notes in my mind about adding vinegar to help the whites solidify and something about spinning the water. My mom was the one who cleared up the whole mess–and kept me from making a mess. The Vortex Method, which I (or, more likely, someone before me) dubbed it, comprises spinning the near-boiling water and vinegar with a spoon to create a whirlpool effect so that when you drop the egg in the middle (slowly), the water holds it in the center and wrap the spindly legs, which so love to extend away from the main blob, around it.
The Vortex Method works like a charm. The only difficulty I had was keeping the spinning motion going (with the egg in the center) once I dropped it in. Overall though, it’s really quite easy, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Rob, my wonderful beau, questioned the safety–and, I think, sanity–of it. Maybe poaching an egg is easier done than described. But, then, he also doesn’t care for poached eggs.
Pictured above is my first egg a few seconds after I dropped it into the water. Those wispy legs tucked right into the main egg once I set my camera down and started the whirlpool action again.
Tada! Poached eggs (and my Three Africans coffee ground with the grinder Rob gave me for Christmas and the Bodum French press my mom sent me for Valentine’s Day!). Rob asked a good question the night before I made these: “Do you like poached eggs?” I wasn’t really sure, to be honest, but told him that I love eggs so how could I not like poached eggs!? (This was partially true but was also a bit of an attempt to convince myself that I was not going to be poaching eggs for nothing. Fortunately I found that I do quite enjoy them.)
For dinner tonight, I was planning on cooking my leeks from the CSA box but decided I’d save making a pie crust from scratch until Saturday. So instead, I poached again!
This time I made whole wheat couscous (one of my favorite grains) and sauteed a quarter of an onion from my CSA box to go on top of it. I realized that the photo would look rather bland with just couscous, onions, and an egg. I decided to spruce it up by adding some of the CSA box green garlic to the onions in the frying pan. Not only was this an aesthetically pleasing addition, it also added quite a lot to the taste, as well.
Cooking the egg came last, since it only cooks for two minutes if you want a runny yolk, which, of course, I did. This was by far my best poached egg. No stringy sections. No white left in the water. Just one beautiful, mostly oval-shape, poached egg. I think the extra-fast vortex that I created tonight did the trick.
The above photo most certainly does not do this dinner justice.
But this photo, though a little washed out, absolutely helps. Just look at that yolk run down over the onions and green garlic and onto the coucous!
Man, this is making me hungry again…