There are tons of kitchen obstacles I’ve never before now challenged myself to conquer. I didn’t even find myself interested in cooking until I met Neil and was the quintessential bachelor when it came to cooking and taking care of myself before meeting him (macaroni and cheese straight from the pot anyone?). Take for instance a few of the “appliances” in the back of my cabinets. These were purchased for me by my mom before I went off to school. The top is a microwave egg poacher, which as you can see hasn’t even been opened. Beneath that is a microwave omelette maker that I did actually bust out quite often in order to make the world’s most watered down, undercooked omelette.
After a Twitter conversation about kitchen challenges, I posted on facebook that I was endeavoring to poach my first egg. I felt pretty silly never having done this, but as it turned out, a lot of people in my mini-verse had also either never done so or been able to do it successfully. It was the perfect excuse to not only conquer the challenge but make one of my favorite dinners, “breakfast for dinner.”
We started our meal by shredding two potatoes for our favorite hash browns. Neil makes amazing hashbrowns. His dad did a stint at Waffle House back in the day and so he learned the art of breakfast from the master.
INGREDIENTS: 3 Tbsp olive oil, canola oil, or grapeseed oil; 1 lb Russet baking potatoes, peeled and grated; Salt and pepper; hot sauce (if preferred). DIRECTIONS: 1. Heat 3 Tbsp of oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat. 2. While the pan is heating, squeeze as much water as you can from grated potatoes. 3. When the oil in the pan heats up to the point of shimmering, but not smoking, add the grated potatoes, spreading them out like a pancake on the bottom of the pan. It’s best if they are no more than half an inch thick. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the potatoes. After a few minutes, lift up one edge of the potatoes and see how done they are. If they have fried to a golden brown they are ready to flip. Continue to cook until they are golden brown on the bottom. Note: Hash browns are made golden due to butter, so if you want true Golden hash browns, go Paula Deen on them.
Now we come to the challenge. Poaching the egg. Here’s how I did it:
- Fresh eggs (however many you want to poach)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons vinegar* (rice vinegar works well) (*I didn’t but wish I had and will next time)
- Equipment you’ll need: shallow saucepan and slotted spoon
- 1. First bring water in a saucepan to almost boiling. If the water is already boiling, lower the heat until it is no longer boiling. Add vinegar if you choose. The vinegar will aid the egg in congealing better.
- 2. Working with one egg at a time, begin by cracking into a cup. Hold the cup near the water and gently (but in one movement) ease egg into water. With a spoon, nudge the eggwhites closer to their yolks. This will help the egg whites hold together.
- 3. Turn off the heat. Cover. Let sit for 4 minutes, until the egg whites are cooked. Gently monitor the underside of egg to prevent it sticking to the bottom.
- 4. When complete, lift egg out of saucepan and on to waiting plate.
They turned out great, and weren’t as hard as I had convinced myself they were going to be. A few things I’ll know for next time:
- Non-stick pan, saves a lot of worry about the egg sticking to the bottom of pan.
- Vinegar is a must, as it helps the egg congeal.
- Use a leftover ring from a mason jar to corral egg and keep it more evenly dispersed.
So mark this off the list of kitchen phobias to overcome. They turned out great and were light and filling. I plan on doing this more throughout the year. The challenges are probably overly-simplistic to most, but as still somewhat a newb to many things kitchen, I’m stumbling through this with a sense of dry sarcasm and often waning optimism that I won’t burn my house down.