Tag Archives: food

How to Poach an Egg with Minimal Crying/Frustration

13 Jan

Poached eggs!

Have I mentioned that breakfast is my favorite meal? Well, it is. Except for dinner.  But it definitely beats lunch by a long shot.  I used to detest breakfast, as I’m sure my mother would tell you.  This didn’t really have to do with not liking the actual eating of food, rather just the fact that I also tend to value my sleep a lot, and never saw the point in giving up 10 precious minutes in bed to force a piece of toast down my throat before going to school in the morning.  Despite my aversion to waking up early (in middle school I had an infamous shirt with the phrase: “Morning person- not!” on it), I have always loved a good breakfast/brunch, especially a huge full English breakfast, the likes of which would probably give anyone not familiar with it heart attack.  In my opinion however, fried bread, sausages, eggs, bacon, and baked beans should be additions to every breakfast table (I usually do without the black pudding though. No thanks).

I know you wish you could eat this every morning...right? Anyone? Whatever, it looks delicious to me.

Sadly, I do not usually have the time or ingredients to make myself an English breakfast on the weekend mornings when I have enough time to make anything, so I save those for family brunch trips to Soho House in New York.  Instead, I tend to rely on tried-and-true favorites such as my famous scrambled eggs (which I may at some point blog about, but only if I decide to give away my secret recipe), soft-boiled eggs with toast soldiers, and poached eggs on toast or with other breakfast fare.  I know poached eggs seem intimidating, but they are actually pretty easy to make once you’ve practiced a couple of times (or just buy something like this).  Some people use white vinegar to help the whites coagulate, but I don’t particularly feel like buying white vinegar for this one purpose, so make do without.

Oops, lost some egg whites in the tornado.

When I’m making poached eggs I just bring a big pot of water to boil, turn down the heat very slightly so the bubbles aren’t going crazy, and create a tornado-like swirl with a wooden spoon.  Then very quickly either crack an egg or slide an egg you have already cracked into a bowl into the middle of the water, and kind of coax the water back into a swirl with your spoon again for a couple of turns.  At this point the water will probably be very foamy with egg white that has floated to the top, but the key is to have faith that your egg will cook and come together.  Cook for 2-3 minutes and you should have a perfectly soft poached egg.  It definitely takes a couple of practice tries to get the technique down, but as long as you come to terms with losing a couple of eggs in the process you should be fine.  The recipe below is poached eggs with avocado toast, which is a delicious and cheap combination, and as a bonus, only requires you to have three ingredients in your kitchen!

Poached Eggs on Avocado Toast
1 serving

Equipment: Large saucepan, wooden spoon

Ingredients:
1/2 of a whole, ripe avocado
2 whole eggs
2 slices bread
Lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Begin by boiling a large pot of water to poach the eggs in. When the water is boiling, put your bread in the toaster and then get ready to poach some eggs! Have your eggs out of the container and right next to the pot, and using a wooden spoon, begin to stir the water so it is moving very fast in a circular motion. When the water is spinning around crack the first egg into the center of the pot, pick up your spoon and continue to move the water in a circular motion. The white should congeal around the yolk in a few seconds; don’t worry if you lose some of the whites to the surface! Cook for 2 1/2 minutes until white is set and yolk is runny inside.

While egg is cooking, take the bread out of the toaster and halve your avocado. Divide one half of the avocado and spread over both pieces of toast (save other half for another use), then squeeze a little lemon juice over each piece. When the egg is ready, remove with a spoon (preferably slotted, but just try not to get too much water in it if you don’t have one) and place onto the avocado-toast. Repeat the process with the second egg. Salt and pepper your eggs before serving, and enjoy!

Indianish Turkey Chili

9 Jan

Finished chili

This recipe comes from Aarti Party on the Food Network- she was the winner of The Next Food Network Star over the summer, and is basically my food idol.  From the first episode of Food Network Star you could tell she had an extremely camera-ready, bubbly personality, and, just as importantly, knew how to cook some seriously good food.  Her show focuses on Indian flavors that can be used in everyday dishes- she injects Indian flavors and spices into many different dishes.  While Indian food can seem intimidating, Aarti takes the fear factor out of it, and doesn’t only do complicated curries and masalas (although I love both of these things, and hopefully she will showcase some more classic Indian recipes on this season of her show), but salads, stews, and simple appetizers inspired by Indian flavors.

The turkey mixture. It is totally ok to spill some over the side of the pan.

This chili-type stew was on the first episode of Aarti Party, and I had been looking to start experimenting with Indian food and this seemed like a good place to start.  She makes this as a kind of sloppy joe with buns, calling it Bombay Sloppy Joes, but I forgo the buns and eat it as a chili with pita bread or on top of a baked potato.  I’ve made some modifications to the recipe to use a couple less ingredients, and I do usually add the half-and-half at the end, but don’t feel it’s totally necessary.  Buying spices for dishes like this can be expensive at first, but they really do last a long time, and you can put them into so many different things.  A lot of the spices used in this dish are also staples for basic hummus recipes, and add extra warmth and flavor to certain soups or stews, even if they are not at all “Indian”.  If you think you don’t like Indian food, please try this sometime- I promise it’s not overwhelmingly spicy, and makes a great lunch or dinner.

Indianish Turkey Chili

Equipment: Large saucepan, large skillet, knife, wooden spoon/spatula

Ingredients:
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 seranno chile, seeded and minced finely (use other half for turkey)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 15-oz can basic tomato sauce
1 cup water
For the turkey:
3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Small handful shelled pistachios, about 1/4 cup (optional)
Small handful raisins, about 1/4 cup (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds/cumin powder
1/2 seranno chile, seeds intact (not chopped)
1/2 large white onion
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup half-and-half (optional)

Make the sauce first, warm the oil in a saucepan over medium heat until it shimmers.  Then add the ginger, garlic, and serrano pepper. Saute until the ginger and garlic brown a bit, then add the garam masala and paprika and saute for about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until thickened.

For the turkey, if using the raisins and pistachios, warm 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet, add the pistachios and raisins and cook until the raisins swell up and pistachios are slightly toasted (only a couple of minutes). Remove from the pan and set aside.  Heat 1-2 more tablespoons of oil, then add the cumin and saute for about 10 seconds.  Add the onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the serrano pepper and saute a couple more minutes, seasoning with a little salt.  Stir in the turkey, breaking up the big lumps with a spoon, and cook until opaque- about 5 minutes.

By now the sauce should be ready- pour the sauce into the skillet with the turkey.  Stir and bring to a boil, the lower the heat and simmer about 10 minutes. When turkey is cooked and sauce is thickened, add the pistachios and raisins back to the pan, with the honey and half and half.  Remove the serrano pepper and taste for seasoning.  Serve with warm pita bread or naan, or on top of cous cous, baked potato, etc.

An Ode to British Food

2 Jan

The best fish and chips and mushy peas around

British food gets a bad rap, and I am here to correct that.  Many people may not think that England has

Delicious bakewell tart, a sponge tart with jam and almonds

much exciting food, and that we are constantly eating fish and chips and basically nothing else.  This is not true, although I am very partial to a good fish and chips.  England has a much more diverse food scene than many places, including America, which, while containing many different food cultures, is not in my experience particularly adventurous in its eating.   You can look no further than London to find the multi-cultural array of food available in Britain- for example, London (and most of England), has many fantastic Indian restaurants, and Indian food is readily avaliable in take-out form, and in all the mainstream grocery stores across the country.  I love Indian food, but it is sadly very hard to find as easily in the US.

Bangers and Mash! These ones are pork, apple, and black pudding and were amazing

Apart from all of the foods brought from other cultures in England, I would say food most classically identified as “British” is pub food.  And I’m not talking about greasy fish and chips or bland chicken dishes, but real pub food- bangers and mash, steak and ale pies, fish cakes, full Sunday roasts, sticky toffee pudding, treacle tart, I could go on and on.  Pubs started in England as mainly social meeting places where the locals would meet to have a drink and catch up each evening.  My small village in Devon once had over 30 pubs, so local that you wouldn’t be welcomed in a pub that was the next street over from you.  This village now has about 10 pubs still up and running, which are thankfully not as locally-prejudice, and many now serve excellent food along with the traditional ale and cider.  Good pub food is delicious, and you will find a much wider array of meats and fish than in many restaurants in America there.

Some of the offerings at Darts farm, including duck, pheasant, and pigeon

I am always upset when I come back to the US and find myself faced with endless portions of chicken and

Ox cheeks and mash I had for lunch at a modern-looking pub

beef, but no good sausages (because we don’t have local butchers here), Cornish pasties, meat pies or clotted cream.  One would be hard-pressed to find good game meat in the urban US, which is a shame as birds such as pheasant, duck, goose, are much more flavorful than chicken (also, plucking pheasant that has been shot is surprisingly relaxing, you should try it sometime).  Lamb, which is one of my favorite meats, is also much more widely consumed, and since most towns have their own butcher, a wide variety of fresh meat is always available (my town has both a local butchers, Arthur’s and Darts Farm Shopping Village down the street, which used to be a small shed selling vegetables and is now a huge complex with award winning butchers and fish and chip stall. Darts Farm is run by the Dart brothers, and my mother’s first job was canning vegetables there). Another advantage of living in the middle of the countryside is that fresh fruits and vegetables are also all around- and, since they have not been modified like many American fruits, they are much tastier. For example, British strawberries are not large and perfectly shaped like American ones, but very small and therefore much more strawberry-y tasting. Darts Farm sells its own seasonal freshly picked vegetables, advertised as coming from the field to shop in 48 minutes, and we also have Richard’s Greengrocer in the center of the village (Richard himself was my mother’s paperboy when she lived there growing up. It’s a small town).

Traditional cream tea- scones, clotted cream, and strawberry jam, with a pot of tea

All in all, I am very well-fed while in England, and I’m sure if I move back there someday I would promptly gain a lot of weight from all the delicious food, cakes, and Devon cream teas that I adore (also because, at my aunt and uncles for dinner the other night we were fed Polish dumplings, accompanied by a bowl of hot goose fat with pancetta. Hey heart attack).  While at boarding school there, we were served 5 meals a day, including “break”, toast and tea/coffee at, well, break time (in between breakfast and lunch), and “free-tea”, which consisted of a different cake or pastry everyday, with more tea, at tea time (in between lunch and dinner).  Of course, if you were in trouble you had to do “breakers” as punishment, and run the mile down to the river and back during break time and sadly miss your tea.  Luckily I never had to do these, as I do not enjoy running, and do enjoy tea and toast.  If you are ever lucky enough to go to England, do me a favor and make sure you eat a good fish and chips while you are there, don’t be shy about trying new meats, cheeses, etc, and bring me back a Cornish pasty and some Cadbury’s chocolate please.

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Coconut Cookies

17 Dec
C-C-C-C-Cookies

Try to be less messy than I am when putting cookies on the sheet

I only realized as I was typing the title to this post that all of the ingredients in this cookie start with C!  I did not do that on purpose, but it does make a fun alliteration.  These cookies were made when at 9:30 one night I decided I really wanted homemade cookies, despite the fact that I was planning on going to bed in an hour.  I happened to have a container of some dried cranberries, coconut, and chocolate chips in my fridge, so I decided just to throw them in some batter, and thus, Chocolate Chip Cranberry Coconut Cookies were born.  And then I chopped up another bar of chocolate and added that as well, just for good measure.  I’m completely guestimating the amount of ingredients used, as I didn’t measure the add-ins at all.  Mine had very little coconut, but I would definitely suggest adding some more, as when the flavor comes out it really adds to the overall cookie experience.

Your batter will not look exactly like this if you remember to add flour.

I got the recipe from this chocolate chip recipe on All Recipes, just because that was the first thing that came up when I googled chocolate chip cookies. I used the basic batter as a starting point, and it turned out very well- the cookies were chewy and crispy at the same time when first out of the oven, and lasted very well for the next few days (I know, because one night I ate about 4 while I was waiting for my dinner to cook).  I have to admit though, these were very nearly a complete cookie failure, because the first time I scooped out the cookies onto my baking sheet I realized I had forgotten to add flour.  In case you are not familiar with baking, the flour is a pretty important ingredient in basically any cookie.  I blame the fact that I was rushing in my cookie-craving state, and also that I was distracted by how good the sugar and butter mix tasted that I forgot I was missing the main ingredient.  Luckily I realized before putting the sheet into the oven, otherwise I would have had a very buttery messy situation on my hands.  If you’re looking for a cheap gift for anyone for the holidays, these would be a great holiday cookie to make and wrap up nicely!  They only take about 30 minutes from start to finish, and as long as you remember the flour, they are pretty much foolproof.

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Coconut Cookies
Makes 24 cookies

Equipment: Big mixing bowl, stand or hand mixer, spatula, spoon, cookie sheet and parchment paper or silicone mat

Ingredients
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla. Dissolve the baking soda in hot water, and add to the batter along with the salt.  Beat to incorporate, then stir in the flour, chocolate chips, cranberries, and coconut (with a wooden spoon or spatula). Drop by large spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat (but not greased).  Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges are brown.  Cookies will keep for a few days in an air-tight container at room temperature.

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