Saturday, March 21, 2009

Day 5 - How to Poach an Egg, How to Fry an Egg, Huevos Rancheros, and Roasted Asparagus

How to Poach an Egg (p. 81)

Lesson for the readers of this book: When Martha tells you to do something, just do it. If you think you know a shortcut or a better method, just let it go and surrender to the all-knowing Martha.

I set out to poach an egg, and Martha called for a "large, deep saucepan" to poach four eggs. So I thought, I can get away with a smaller saucepan to do only one, right? Wrong. There are reasons for everything she's written, I'm finding. The reason why the saucepan needs to be large is that you have to gently tip the egg from a small dish into the water, and if the mouth of the saucepan is too small, what happens is you freak out that you're going to burn your hand and then you do these pathetic, contorted, jerky movements that obliterate the possibility of a clean poached egg.

That said, this was surprisingly easy. Martha prepared me for some failure, but even with my jerky moves, this egg was absolutely respectable. There was definitely some egg white drop soup happening in the pan, but the egg itself turned out a nice size and shape, and the consistency was perfect. I didn't really get the whole concept of using a spoon "to 'fold' the edges of the white over the egg" while it's in the water. It seemed as if those attempts made it worse than better, disturbing the shaping process, but even with that, it was a serve-able poached egg.

For some reason, the poached egg was much more appetizing to me than the soft-cooked one. Maybe it has to do with runny whites and yolks vs. just runny yolks. Who knew?

Jeff: B+
Martha: A

Eggs, eggs, and more eggs! I was going to end the entry there, because the FNBF and I were going to eat dinner out tonight, but then we started backpedaling, and I already had the makings for Huevos Rancheros, so the egg festival continues. Besides, I have some amazing leftover soup from yesterday. It's an unconventional meal, but homey.

How to Fry an Egg (p. 84)

The fried egg method was different from my usual style only in that there was butter involved (I'm more likely to use Pam... diet-freak) and that Martha wanted me to spoon said butter over the yolk "to cook it slightly." That didn't really happen, because there just wasn't enough butter to make a difference, and what little there was kept getting caught in the crannies of the egg white. In fact, I was trying to salvage some of the cranny butter to respoon, and I inadvertently picked up some egg white, creating an adorable white freckle on the face of the yolk. (Not sure Martha would think it was so adorable...)

Jeff: A
Martha: A- (points off for the spooning of the butter)

Huevos Rancheros (p. 85)

I made these absolutely to the letter, but the FNBF thinks he's had Huevos Rancheros that were somehow different, so perhaps there's another variation out there? In any case, here's another dish I would never have chosen voluntarily. There's something about the corn tortilla and salsa in general that just doesn't tickle my flavor fancy. After a few burned tortillas, I finally got the hang of toasting them over the open flame. I used a fresh red salsa, but I noticed that Martha pictured a salsa verde, so maybe I missed the boat there.

Overall, I think this was well cooked, and I'd say it's a nice recipe... if you like that kind of thing. :-)

Jeff: A
Martha: A

Roasted Asparagus (p. 313)

I don't think I've ever had roasted asparagus before, and let me tell you, it's nice! The tips get a little crunchy, and it takes on a flavor that somehow recalled sharp cheese. I think it's my new favorite asparagus treatment. This will definitely make another appearance.

Jeff: A
Martha: A

Incidentally, we ate leftovers of the Indian-Spiced Split Pea Soup and the Roasted Pineapple. The soup definitely survived reheating, although the bright lime and cilantro flavors were definitely dimmed. The pineapple tasted a little better today, I think.

Until we eat again...

Huevos Rancheros, freckle and all

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