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Of Eggs, Forks and Comfort 2 comments

I ate breakfast late today. I know I’m not supposed to do that, but … there it is. I had a big pub outing after hockey last night and just felt unable to introduce more protein until after noon. Today’s egg creation involved frying mushrooms, onions, red peppers and ham together and then dumping eggs beaten with many kinds of cheese and a few dashes of Worchestershire sauce on top, stirring until set. The WWBA and I call this “Scrambled Eggs with Stuff”. The radio was on as I was doing this and Stuart McLean was reading one of my favourite Dave and Morley stories, Holland, about when Dave and Morley met.  In that story, Morley made her version of “eggs with stuff” and they were not to Dave’s liking, nearly contributing to the end of their very young marriage.

Somehow, I’ve acquired two small kitchen whisks in the past number of years and I’ve started to use them, exclusively, for whipping eggs for “eggs with stuff”. That is what they are for, after all. Whisking things. Usually, I plop the eggs on top of some cottage cheese and maybe some romano, pelt the mixture with some Worchestershire sauce and get the whisk going. It sounds like it does on the cooking shows. Busy and thoroughly important, accented with high tinkly sounds of the metal strands hitting the glass. Today, however, I had a sudden aversion to making one more kitchen implement dirty for this task and, instead, used the fork that I’d already used to dish out the cottage cheese. My mother never had a whisk, after all, and this is how she whipped eggs for the pan. For that matter, this is how I did it until I got all cityfied and started using a whisk.

Beating eggs with a fork, in a glass mixing bowl, sounds totally and completely different than beating eggs with a whisk in a glass mixing bowl. I’d forgotten. There is a deep, gurgling, plopping sound caused by the fork lifting and dropping the mixture that is missing from the more treble sound of the whisk. There is still metal on glass, yet it sounds somehow more aggressive and forceful with a fork than with a whisk. It is, for me, a nostalgic sound, reminding me of my mother being both consciously instructive with me in the kitchen (“watch for egg shells in the mix, here, use a spoon to get that out.”) and unconsciously instructive as she tried to do as much as possible as quickly as possible. Scrambled eggs with stuff was fast, nutritious, cheap and tasty. Thus, also popular.

On a day like today, after a week like this week, the simple sound of eggs being whipped in a bowl to create “eggs with stuff” was profoundly grounding to me. A short plane ride away, a scene of unimaginable devastation is unfolding as a bottleneck of well-intentioned assistance sits, waiting to be deployed. It is gut-wrenching.

At work, the results of a mid-week strike vote have definitively answered precisely nothing, for anyone, on any side of the table.

As privileged and fortunate as my life is – and it is – I am aware that I am powerless in both of these situations. Once the donating and the voting is done, there is nothing I can directly and personally do to affect either of these outcomes. Sometimes I catch myself imagining jumping on a plane and taking control of the airport, directing the flow of traffic, or building quick on-the-spot teams for aid deployment. Or, bursting in on the negotiating teams with some new revelation that will solve all the threads of distrust and mis-information that have sprung up over years between management and the union. But, wistfully, I put those things away back when the day came to put away childish things.

So, I make eggs. And I remember that my good fortune springs not from my “stuff” or acquisition of “stuff”, but from all that I have learned and continue to learn, and all the mistakes I’ve made and continue to make. And I hope for the best. For everyone.

How To Poach An Egg (a.k.a. How To Get UnSettled In Your Ways) 2 comments

I have always been a good poacher of eggs. A properly poached egg is a thing of beauty. Fully set white, very runny yolk on buttered toast with salt and pepper. A perfect breakfast that seems decadent in its rich flavours and textures but is actually fairly healthy. (The butter won’t hurt ya, really …)

My former egg-poaching methodology involved any old pot with boiling water that has a dash of salt and a splash of white vinegar. (The vinegar helps the whites set without as many stringy bits.) I’d crack the eggs directly out of the shell into the water and then stand over them until the exact right moment, usually about two or three minutes. I also had an method of using a frying pan to boil the water, and now I see that is just WRONG. I remember my brother also enjoying poached eggs and using the heel of a loaf of bread to drain them first before transferring them to his toast. The heel would get tossed.

My ex says I make the best poached eggs. I have them most mornings for breakfast.

My friend Miriam and I talk about poached eggs a lot. She shares my love of the perfectly poached egg. Ever helpful, Miriam sent me a video a while back on how to poach an egg. This arose out of her disdain for the idea of putting a splash of vinegar into the water, which I do understand.

For weeks after I watched this video, my poached egg mojo was totally messed up. I couldn’t get it right as I was trying some combination of my old method and this new method and just getting it all wrong. After years of getting it mostly right, new information totally threw a monkey wrench into the works. The guy in the video leaves out some important pieces. How hot is the water when you start? Do you leave it covered or not? What do you mean, leave the egg in for TEN MINUTES???

Experimenting with this new method of doing something I know so well has taught me a lot. For example, the pot matters. If you are going to leave the eggs sitting in water, they have to be completely covered in water, and the pot needs to be heavy and able to hold heat for some time. My thin-walled small saucepan is a bust. My larger thick-walled saucepan rocks, but only if it has enough water in it to cover the eggs.

I have finally got it right.

How To Poach An Egg Perfectly Without Vinegar and Without Standing There And Staring At It and Fussing Over It

1. Select a heavy pot and put enough water in it to cover the eggs. Add a few pinches of salt and bring to a boil.

2. Crack the eggs into a cup, carefully.

3. Put some bread in the toaster.

4. When the water is boiling, stir the water in a circle in any direction you care to.

5. Carefully drop the eggs in one motion into the centre of the vortex and immediately cover the pot. Turn the heat off. Set your timer for three minutes.

6. Whistle a happy tune. Maybe pour a cup of coffee.

7. When the timer goes off, butter the toast. The eggs need the last 30 seconds or so.

8. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon onto toast. Decorate with salt and pepper. Enjoy!!

One Perfectly Poached Egg

One Perfectly Poached Egg

What to Eat / Not Eat 4 comments

Haven't posted much about food lately. I'm such a foodie. This diet is killing me. Sigh. So I've been both bad and good this weekend.

Bad: Pizza from Magic Oven. OK so not "bad", actually so very very good. This one is the Gourmet Meaty Pizza (proscuitto and some other stuff, artichoke hearts, garlic spinach, two kind of cheese) and I had them add roasted red peppers. Mmmm …


Between the beer, pizza and GlenLivet … I was up three pounds the next day. Damn. 🙂

Good: Sunday a.m. Breakfast.

Two eggs scrambled with cottage and mozzarella cheese, spinach, red peppers, mushrooms and onions. Sliced fresh tomato with fresh basil, kosher salt and drizzled with aged Italian balsamic. Guatamalan fair trade organic coffee with stevia (the other white powder from Columbia) and hazelnut "real" cream.

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