Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A huge egg! With feet!!

One of many things that I have grown to appreciate a lot more since moving out to California is poached eggs. I don't exactly remember when I made my first poached egg--maybe it was for Heidi's poached eggs over rice on March 22--but there have made a lot of memorable ones. Probably my favorite was after an unpleasantly hot afternoon of shoveling dirt I came inside, poured some cold pasta salad with tuna, corn, and peas into a bowl, and broke a warm, melty poached egg over it. Yes.

Here is an awful picture of oeufs a la bourguignonne -- OR -- eggs poached in red wine. It looks awful mainly because I have not figured out the way the light in Jeff's kitchen works yet, except for the fact that taking pictures on this countertop does not produce an appealing result. You poach the eggs in a mixture of red wine and beef broth, then strain the broth to remove any coagulated whites, reduce it by half, and then add a little flour and a Childish amount of butter to make a velvety sauce.

So I'm only posting this awful pictures because I am really proud of these poached eggs. Why? Well, when I poach eggs, I normally do it in just some plain water, and water is transparent, so I can see what's going with the egg, whether it's holding together and how completely the white has set. I walk away, I come back, and when it looks done, I pull it out.

Red wine is kind of the opposite of transparent--it's opaque. So to poach eggs in it, you just have to kind of drop them in the wine, watch the bubbles, count to 250, cross your fingers, and lift them out. Maybe it was just luck or maybe I'm getting good at this poaching thing but even after poaching the eggs, cooling them down, and warming them back up in a pan of water I ended up with four very nice eggs, with firm, compact whites surrounding beautiful runny yolks. It was a great day, and now I'm thinking about all the other liquids I could try to poach eggs in--tomato sauce, chicken stock, bean broth. Yes. Liquids.

Speaking of eggs, Jeff and I also made some eggnog on Saturday night. Honestly, I don't know if I had ever consumed eggnog on purpose before. Seeing it in cartons at the grocery store has always made it seem a little repulsive--once again, I am troubled by the opacity. Are the contents of the opaque carton closer to milk or closer to egg beaters? How can I know? And then you have people who want to mix it into lattes or something, and it's like: why would this drink be improved in any way by the addition of coagulated eggs? I don't get it.

This simple recipe turned out outstandingly, though. It helped that I have made ice cream a few times recently and that the basic process is pretty much the same as making ice cream base--infuse spices into some cream, temper egg yolks with the cream, heat it up until it coats the back of the spoon. And if the last step, instead of "cool it down and then churn with your ice cream machine", is "while it is still warm pour it into a glass with a shot of bourbon"... well, how bad can that be?

If you had asked me the next morning whether I had actually seen this window display while wandering around San Francisco or whether this was just an invention of my nog-induced hallucinations, well, I think I would have gone with the latter. Luckily, I thought to snap a picture of it. I guess if you are trying to appeal to the demographic that shops at Barney's, the tattooed disembodied head of Thomas Keller is not the worst image that you could choose.

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