Poached Eggs 3 Ways

People in San Francisco love brunch. They wait more than two hours sometimes to get a bite of brown sugar-glazed bacon or brioche french toast. I’ve never been a huge brunch-goer, but I have experienced some of San Francisco’s well-known spots (Zazie, Sweet Maple, Mission Beach Cafe) without the wait by going early.

One of my favorite brunch meals was spinach and mushroom eggs benedict, a vegetarian version of a typically meat-heavy dish. The poached egg was perfectly prepared and paired with delicious flavors like caramelized onions. The dish inspired me to try making poached eggs at home.

Poached eggs are no easy task, at least that’s what I’d heard, so I was prepared to fail a few times before successfully poaching an egg. I thoroughly researched tips and tricks, and to my pleasant surprise was successful on the first try.

The method I followed was as follows: Bring a saucepan with 1″-deep water to a boil over medium heat. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat off and crack an egg into the water with care, so it doesn’t splash all around. Immediately cover with a lid. Poaching eggs is all about timing and being attentive. After four minutes, remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon. You may find you need to leave the egg in the water a little longer, so be prepared for a little trial and error if this is your first time.

Once you’ve figured out the right timing and mastered it once, poaching eggs is simple and fast. They’re a great way to add protein, richness and texture to breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes.

Below are several of my favorites:

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Savory oatmeal with poached egg and walnuts

Make oatmeal on the stove, following the directions on the box. Add 1/2 cup kale and a pinch of salt once oatmeal is nearly cooked. Cook until kale is wilted. Serve savory oatmeal with poached egg and walnuts. Try this recipe with other veggies such as mushrooms, zucchini and tomatoes as well.

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Cauliflower rice and veggies with poached egg

Saute 1/2 cup cauliflower rice, 1 medium-sized zucchini cut into bite-size pieces and 1 cup sugar snap peas for 5 minutes. Serve with poached egg, and season with salt and pepper.

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Roasted veggies and chickpeas with poached egg

Roast fingerling potatoes, heriloom carrots and chickpeas seasoned with salt and pepper for 30 minutes at 400°F. Serve topped with poached egg.

How have you served poached eggs? Share your recipe in the comments section.

Mushroom-Lentil Bake with Egg

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Often we look at something, whether it be an object, place or relationship, and simply see it at surface level. We might see a worn book as tattered and not worthy of $10 instead of seeing it as a well-loved gem that many have read over and over again.

Last week I ate at a Vietnamese restaurant that had an outdated facade, but once I entered, I could tell it was a family-run place with authentic food, cooked with love. There was a long line of customers waiting to be seated, and while many might pass the restaurant since it doesn’t entice you in with this street-facing appearance, what really matters is how the food is cooked and tastes.

The mushroom-lentil bake recipe has similar qualities. From the outside, it looks like it’s simply mushrooms and lentils, but once you cut into it, you discover the egg hidden beneath the surface. More and more, I’ve been eating foods that look delicious from the outside, and then when I dig into the dish, there’s a pleasantly surprising ingredient inside. It’s a good reminder to not view things at surface value.

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Mushroom-Lentil Bake with Egg

Ingredients

> 1 cup green lentils
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 1 cup mushrooms, chopped (1/2 cup white button and 1/2 cup crimini)
> 2 carrots, chopped
>  1 onion, chopped
> 4 eggs
> salt and pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 370°F. Boil the lentils for 15 minutes, strain very well and place in a large bowl. Meanwhile, boil two eggs.

Heat olive oil in a large pan and saute mushrooms, carrots and onion for about 10 minutes. Place them in the large bowl with the lentils. Add two eggs, salt and pepper to bowl. Whisk together.

Place half of the mixture in a greased bread pan or other pan. Add the peeled boiled eggs and cover with the other half of the mixture.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until cooked through. Let cool before removing from pan.

Makes 3 servings.

Adapted from Gourmandelle.

 

Corn-Potato Soup

In the winter, as the cold settles in, I’m often reminded to nourish myself with things that make me warm, from soup and lattes to yoga and long hikes. But it’s not just during the cold months that we need to bring warmth and nourishment into our lives.

Tangible things that make the body warm like hot foods and activities that increase your heart rate are what people initially think of when they want to heat their body, but warmth also means surrounding yourself with people you love. Catching up with a friend, snuggling up with your cat or enjoying the company of a loved one makes you feel loved and wanted.

Lately I’ve been focusing on bringing more warm and nourishing elements into my life, because life is too short to live feeling cold. Simply thinking about all of the people, close by and thousands of miles away, that support me and care about me gives me a warm feeling inside. So before the next cold burst comes, I challenge you to reflect on what makes you feel warm and nourished and bring more of that into your life.

Soup is one of the tangible things that is nourishing and warm, so I’ve been experimenting with different recipes. This one is inspired by a corn chowder that a good friend made. While it’s hard to beat delicious soup and good company, this recipe is a healthy vegan alternative to classic corn-potato soup.

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Corn-Potato Soup

Ingredients

> 2 tablespoons olive oil
> 1/2 large white onion, chopped
> 4 cloves garlic, minced
> 2 russet potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
> 2 cups frozen corn, or 4 ears fresh corn
> 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
> 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
> salt and pepper
> 2 green onions, chopped for garnish

Instructions

Sauté olive oil, onion and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat for 4 minutes. Add potatoes and season with salt and paper. Cover and steam for 5 minutes.

Add corn, broth and almond milk and stir. Cover and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook until the potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes.

To serve, top with chopped green onion, a sprinkle of nutritional yeast (for a cheesy flavor) and paprika.

Makes 4 servings.

Carrot and Kale Thai Soup

At the start of the year, many people make New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more and drink less. While these goals are well intentioned, they often last a couple months — or sometimes as short as a few weeks.

To me, New Year’s resolutions should be goals or things you want to do for life, not just a couple months. And that may mean not making your resolutions very extreme. For example, instead of trying to eat healthier by cutting meat from your diet and avoiding all sugar, consider eating lean meat a couple times per week and saving sweets for certain days of the week or special occasions. Moderation is key.

After the indulgences of the holidays, I yearned for a simple, healthy and flavorful dish. I found a recipe called “Carrot and Kale Detox Soup,” which sounded like it would do just the trick. The mere name of the recipe inspired me to think about what “detox” means. To me, this recipe was filled with veggies and required only a few ingredients and minimal cooking time — just what I needed during the first few busy weeks of the year. To others, the word detox might cause them to think the recipe isn’t going to be as yummy or filling because it’s meant to be healthy. That’s not the case at all.

Words have certain connotations, but it’s all about how you interpret that word and what it means to you.

When I described this recipe to friends and co-workers, many said it sounded like a delicious version of Thai soup — thanks for the inspiration for the recipe name. Without further ado, here’s the recipe.

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Carrot and Kale Thai Soup

Ingredients

> 3 cups kale, chopped
> 4 medium carrots, grated
> 2 cups coconut milk
> 3 cloves garlic, minced
> 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> salt and pepper

Instructions

In a medium saucepan, sauté olive oil and garlic over low heat. Add kale and carrots. Stir and continue to sauté for about 7 minutes.

When the carrots and kale begin to soften, add coconut milk. Mix thoroughly and continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Add turmeric, salt and pepper, and stir. Serve and garnish with chopped green onions or cashews.

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Carrot Tzatziki

On my recent trip to Greece, I tasted some of the most refreshing and rich dishes I’ve ever had. While I indulged in decadent dishes like saganaki, made of fried cheese, some of my favorite meals consisted of salads and dips.

One tzatziki that I had while on the island of Naxos, was memorable for its salty flavor and creamy texture. None of the others lived up to the same standards — that is, until I arrived in Santorini and had a carrot tzatziki. The carrots don’t add much in the way of flavor, but bring a crunchy element to an otherwise smooth dip.

After my first couple of bites of the dip, I decided I needed to try to replicate this dip at home. While my version doesn’t compare to the one in Santorini, it’s easy and quick, requires minimal ingredients and makes a great appetizer or dip for roasted vegetables.

Carrot Tzatziki

Ingredients:

> 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
> 1 Persian cucumber, finely sliced
> 1/4 cup shredded carrots, broken into small pieces
> juice and zest from 1/4 lemon
> salt and pepper

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 appetizer servings.

Original recipe.

Kale Salad with Lentils Folded into Yogurt

With a bountiful supply of homegrown vegetables, it’s easy to simply have a lunch or dinner of veggies. The flavors may be filling and satisfying but I need a sufficient amount of protein to stay full. Lately, I’ve been eating a lot of hard-boiled eggs, spiced chickpeas and Greek yogurt.

To add variety, I whipped together a lentil-yogurt salad to mix with greens of your choice — I opted for kale. Top it with walnuts, and you have a protein-rich salad.

Kale Salad with Lentils

Ingredients:

> 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
> 1/2 cup cooked lentils
> juice from 1 lemon
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
> 2 cups kale, shredded
> salt and pepper

Instructions: 

In a small sauté pan, toast walnuts over medium heat until lightly toasted, 6 minutes. Chop into small pieces.

Mix together lentils, lemon juice and olive oil. Fold in the yogurt. Toss with kale, and season with salt and pepper.

Serve as a salad or on top of toasted bread.

Makes 2 servings.

Adapted from Food52.

Garden to Table Salad

There’s nothing more pure than picking vegetables from your garden and making a meal from them. Organic in nature, homegrown vegetables are fresher and more flavorful than anything you’ll buy at the store.

The farm-to-table movement has exploded across the U.S., and that same concept can be applied to your own cooking. If you don’t have a garden or a friend with a garden, simply join a CSA to get locally-grown produce. Feel free to improvise based on what’s in season in your locale.

Garden to Table Salad

Ingredients:

> 2 cups homegrown lettuce, torn
> 1 homegrown cucumber, diced
> 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
> 1 large heirloom carrot, cut into bite-size pieces
> 6 ounces canned chickpeas, washed and drained
> 2 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> salt and pepper

Instructions: 

In a medium bowl, mix together lettuce, cucumber, tomato, carrot, chickpeas and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve on plate and top with mozzarella.

Makes 1 serving.

Original recipe.