Thursday, February 25, 2010

New cooking adventures

Julia Child would be so proud- I made a poached egg for the very first time yesterday at breakfast ! For some reason, in all of my 40 odd years of cooking ( I became the family cook as a teen) I have made many things but never a poached egg. Why ? the idea sounded too "french" to me- meaning too fiddly. However poaching is a definite healthy style of cooking and the recipe sounded very yummy, so I go brave. Poaching really is simple- take a pan with about 2 inches of water, add 2 tablespoons of vinegar or there abouts, bring to a rolling boil then reduce to a simmer. Slide your eggs in and if necessary spoon a small quantity of the liquid on top to make sure they are set. Cook for about 5 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon. Sort of a cross between a hard boiled egg and a dumpling ( less cooking time means a softer egg, so it's a texture preference thing.

Poached Eggs over Spinach & Mushrooms

* 4 large eggs
* 1 tsp light vinegar, (rice, white wine, or apple cider)
* 1 TBS chicken or vegetable broth
* ½ medium onion, chopped
* 2 cups sliced mushrooms
* 1 medium tomato, seeds and excess pulp removed, chopped
* 3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
* 3 handfuls baby spinach( or 10 oz frozen, thawed and squeezed dry)

1. Chop onions and garlic and let sit for 5 minutes to enhance their health-promoting properties.
2. Bring water to a high simmer in a 10-inch skillet with 1 tsp of vinegar.
3. In a separate skillet heat 1 TBS broth. Healthy Sauté onion and mushrooms in broth for 3 minutes
over medium heat stirring frequently.
4. Add tomato, garlic, spinach, salt and pepper and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
5. When water comes to a high simmer poach eggs for about 5 minutes, or until whites are firm.
Remove from water with a slotted spoon and place over spinach mixture. Serves 2

Lunch was a repeat of the other day, redone. We took the black bean salad, heated it with a tablespoon of salsa and rolled it up in a high fiber wrap ( hot just sounded better than cold). We had leftover Healthy Slaw on the side

After a productive day , dinner was something I was a little apprehensive about. It involved a combination of vegetables that I would NEVER had considered putting together, but I decided to operate on trust. I found it in Eat for Health, and so far all of the recipes in the book were delicious, so this should be the same. It indeed was !

Pasta with roast vegetables and a grilled Pork Chop. In hindsight , next time I will just make the pasta and vegetables alone, as it was definitely filling enough ! To make you cut yellow summer squash, eggplant, 2 red bell peppers and butternut squash into small cubes, toss with 1 T olive oil , spread on a cookie sheet and roast at 450 for 30 minutes. Meanwhile make a half a pound whole wheat pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Core, seed and dice 2 tomatoes and a 1/2 cup fresh basil if you have it ( or substitute 1 1/2 T dry). Toss the roast veggies, pasta, tomatoes, basil, 2 T balsamic vinegar, 2 cloves of garlic minced and 1 T olive oil and as much reserved cooking liquid as needed to moisten. Serves 6- I was planning on keeping half for lunches but we were all STARVING and it dissapeared. Some days are just hungry days ( my excuse is a metabolic one due to a monthly visitor)

We were looking for something different to watch last night, flipping through the On Demand offerings and I saw that they had episodes of Hoarders available- a show that my blog friend Mary has mentioned a couple of times. I had been a little hesitant to watch the show because it brings up a really sore subject from my past. Previous to this apartment we lived in the upper half of a Victorian Home , and the lower floor was inhabited by our landlord, who was a Hoarder. It was one of the contributing factors in our eventual reparture from the place. My mother in law also dealt with the disease for a long period of time, and this can have the same impact on an extended family as any other addiction. Because of this problem, family dynamics get very unnatural. One example is the simple act of giving a gift. Not only do you have to consider the person's likes, size, preference and so forth but in comes the worry that no matter what you give them it contributes to the problem. If you have children you cannot simply bring them over because of very real concerns about their health and safety. No matter how hard you try to help clean up the situation, until they face the compulsion that brings them to this behavior , it is useless. The episode was very realistic- no overnight fixes for these people and it showed just how emotional the process of change is. I think I will catch this one again.


Kristina said...

Those black bean salad wraps look so yummy. I was thinking about trying to poach an egg the other day for a recipe I found, but thought it would be too I know ill have to try it.
I watch Hoarders too......its so sad to see people living like that and not being able to control it

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

Good for you on tackling the poached eggs - Julia would be proud! I've seen the Hoarder episode before - it was amazing to see. I felt so sorry for those people, but was glad to see they were getting help. What was interesting was the reactions of their family members.

Dutch said...

My hubby loves poached eggs but I have never tried to cook them. I guess that will be my next cooking adventure.