How fun is people watching? Do you make up stories of strangers lives? I do. Yesterday a man hurried past me with a stern look on his face. He was on his way home to scold his 15-year-old son. After all, joy riding in their family mini-van with only your driver’s permit is hardly legal. He must have known if he gave into the laugh creeping up from his belly, his son wouldn’t take him seriously. Later, he’ll picture the teen cruising the street, windows rolled down, and rap music blasting. He’ll see his son acting tough and following in his footsteps. Yeah, later he’ll laugh. I’m sure of it.
I am really interested in what people around me are eating. It’s a people-watching symptom. At a recent lunch meeting, my colleague ordered a salad. It arrived with a glistening white ball on top. His fork slid through the egg like it was room temperature butter. The yolk spilled, bright and yellow over his lettuce. With each bite, yolk dripped off the lettuce and off his fork. One drip fell unnoticed onto his pants. He was staring out the window. It felt like the yolk was transporting him to a place where the sun warmed his skin. I wanted to be there too.
But poaching an egg is scary, right? Only seasoned, professional chefs poach eggs? Wrong. A poached egg is your best friend in the kitchen. It is the poor man’s truffle. The silky yolk adds richness to a dish at nominal cost. Plus eggs are a fabulous source of protein. What more could you ask for? Cheap, good tasting protein. That’s living on a budget.
You can poach eggs ahead of time. They will keep for a maximum of 2 days in the refrigerator. If you’re going to do this, fill a large bowl with ice water. Remove each egg at 3 minutes and transfer to the bowl. Refrigerate eggs in an uncovered cold-water bath. Eggs can be served cold, or reheated for 1 minute in lightly simmering water.
1 TBS white wine vinegar
1 large pot of water, filled 3 inches deep
1 small dish
1 long handled slotted spoon
Add vinegar to the water. Bring the water to a gentle simmer. Break the egg into the small dish.
Using the spoon, stir the water to create a funnel. Carefully drop the egg into the water at the center of the funnel.
Leave the egg in the simmering water for 4 minutes. Carefully remove the egg using a slotted spoon.
Dressed-Up Salad – Lightly toss enough lettuce for one person in ½ TBS lemon juice, ½ TBS olive oil, 1 dash Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. Top with still warm egg. (I prefer mixed greens, but spinach would work too.)
Decadent Toast – Lightly toast 1 piece of bread. Top with poached egg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
“Take Pause” Pasta – Toss ¼ cup cooked pasta, ¼ cup roasted tomatoes, and ½ an onion lightly sautéed. Top with poached egg. Season dish with salt and pepper to taste.