Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Brunch for One

My life is in a constant state of slightly frenetic motion.  I work full-time, while going to school full-time to finish my undergrad (finally!), and I bought a condo a few months ago.  I spend a lot of time going straight from school to work, then to my field placement back to work.  I don't get a lot down-time, and what little I do have is swallowed quickly by the never-ending cycle of homework and house-work.

I sound like I'm complaining, don't I?  I promise, I'm not.  Really.  I love my program (most days), and my job (most days), and everything that I'm doing is getting me to exactly where I want to be in life.  I have made some very intentional choices as to what this year would look like; full-time job, full-time student, new homeowner.   So I really can't complain (not too much, at least).

That being said...  Yesterday, I had someone tell me that I need to better at practicing self-care.  And they were right, I know.  Self-care is one of those things where, the less time you have for it, the more you probably needed it.  So this morning, after I came off shift at 9am, I took the time to do just that.  The fact that my 11am class had been cancelled might have helped a little bit, but that's beside the point.  Today, I did two things for myself: I made myself brunch, but (more importantly, I think) I taught myself how to poach an egg.

Of all kitchen tasks, poaching an egg is the only one that really TERRIFIED me.  No lie.  The idea of poaching an egg made me incredibly anxious.  I know this is a completely irrational fear, I mean, what's the worse that could happen?  I pop the yolk? The white doesn't set properly?  I kill the egg completely and have to start again?  It's not even that I thought the process was fussy, which isn't, really.  I live for fussy jobs in the kitchen; unwrapping 150 individual caramels to make my own chocolate turtles, for example.

So... This morning, I wanted a poached egg.  I followed Jeanette's instructions from the blog Everybody Loves Sandwiches, and it came out perfect.  Before I got started on that, I made a hash of cured ham (the crappy prosciutto-style stuff in the refrigerator section of the supermarket deli), mushrooms, and shredded potato.  I threw a large handful of baby arugula into the hash right before I plated everything together.  I cooked the egg like I was told, and it came out pretty nicely, with a perfect gooey yolk, and  a firm white (one of the things that ruins breakfast for me the most is gooey egg whites).  All that together, made one of the best breakfasts I've had in a long time.  Really tasty. And SO easy.

Perfect Poached Egg with "Parma" Ham, Mushroom and Arugula Hash
Partly adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches
A quick note about the eggs...  Jeanette says to use REALLY fresh eggs, which I'm told makes the whites hold together around the yolk a lot better.  My eggs have been sitting in my fridge for a while, so my whites got a bit whispy, and I think I lost a lot of them in the pan.  But my egg still looked really happy, and tasted great!!

1-2 oz prosciutto or cured ham, shredded chopped fine
1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
1 cup shredded potatoes (frozen works fine)
Olive oil
1 Tbsp finely chopped chives
Big handful of washed baby arugula
1 egg
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper

Fill a large pot with about three inches of water, and set on the stove over High heat so it comes to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat a medium frying pan over Medium heat.  When the pan is hot, add the ham, and let it cook down in the pan for a couple minutes, stirring frequently, to render out some of the fat.  Add the mushrooms, and continue to cook, so the liquid is cooked out of the mushrooms.

Once the mushrooms and ham are almost cooked down, push them to one side of the frying pan, and add the potatoes to the empty half of the pan.  Pour about 1 Tbsp of olive oil over the potatoes, and stir to coat.  Let the potatoes cook for a few minutes to soften the potatoes.  Once they're soft, combine everything in the frying pan together, and season with lots of pepper (the ham is salty, you don't really need more salt).  Cook this mixture, tossing frequently till the potatoes are crisp and golden around the edges.  Keep the hash warm while you cook your egg.

Crack your egg into a small mug or teacup.  Add a good pinch of salt and about a Tbsp of apple cider vinegar to the boiling water.  Lower the mug into the water, allowing water into the mug to cover the egg.  Let it sit there for a few seconds to start setting the egg, then GENTLY tip the egg out of the cup into the water.  Cover and turn the heat down to Medium-low so the water reduces to a simmer.  About 30 seconds with the lid on is enough for a runny yolk, but if you like firmer yolks, leave them in there for longer.  Remove the egg with a slotted spoon, and drain on a paper towel while you finish the hash.

Add the arugula and chives to the hash, and toss so the arugula just starts to wilt.  Put the hash on your favorite plate, and top with your perfectly-cooked poached egg.

No comments:

Post a Comment