Monday, February 7, 2011

Poach Pod Eggs

DH has no health issues. The man has no blood pressure, pulse, or cholesterol in his body! He can eat anything in any quantity. But does he? Oh, no. He has a built-in radar for portion control. And he claims to be watching his fat and sugar intake. He is invisible sideways and yet weighs himself every day. He tells people he exercises 5 hours a day so he can eat the food I make.

Given that he is a health nut, I try to cook healthfully for him. He does love eggs, so he was one of the first to applaud eggs being removed from the “bad for you” foods list the Food Gods designate every other day. But I don’t make eggs often. Eggs have been more of a company thing around Chez Moi. I use dozens in baking and my quiches (See a previous post for my fab recipe, she says modestly.), but not so much to just eat. Why is that?

Well, first, we eat few fried anythings, so eggs would be on that no-no list. I grew up with fried eggs. Fried in the leftover bacon fat so they were especially tasty. I thought there were only two ways to make eggs—fried and coddled. No, I don’t do fried. I’ve spent years in therapy trying to repress those memories.

I do remember Big Ma making “coddled eggs” when we were sick. Only time she’d do it. It almost made being sick worth it.

When I grew up, I learned that coddled eggs were poached eggs. I figure Big Ma called them “coddled” because she had to treat them so gently as she’d slide them into the boiling water and ever-so-carefully so as not to break the yolk lift them out and onto a piece of waiting toast. Good eats, those eggs! But, it was so hard, there’s no way I’d do them.

Fast forward to my life now. Somebody else’s mother made coddled eggs. And somebody else realized these took skill and experience to pull off. Since, they say, Invention is a mother . . . or something like that, somebody else figured out how to make poached/coddled eggs without breaking yolks all over the pan and without all those stringy little white threads (that we’re told is where the real nutrition is) messing up the water. Cleaning the pan is not a problem with somebody’s invention.

Do you know about Poach Pods? Well, I love them. I can give DH poached eggs any day he wants them now. I don’t even whine about the extra work. (See his normal breakfast is to pull out two kinds of high fiber cereals and add blueberries and strawberries with the milk. No sugar, of course.)

But back to Poach Pods. They are little silicone pouches that sort of look like bra inserts. You Pam them a little, put them into a pot of boiling water, break in an egg, and wait for them to be the doneness you like. Lift them out, pour off excess water that bubbled into the pouch, and slide it onto an English muffin or toast. They clean up in a snap, and the water pan is just water so it air-dries, and I am done.

I love gadgets. Have I mentioned that before? But Poach Pods are more than a gadget. They make DH think I really care.

[You can buy Poach Pods in catalogs or from Amazon at]

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tweat Tweets

I have been having the best time tweeting recipes @good2tweat, one of my two Twitter accounts. (The other, just in case you’re interested, is @RomanceRighter.) My “tweats” are a fabulous word puzzle for a word freak like me. I have taken to trying to convert everything I cook. Impossible, you say? Well, you’re right. But the fun is in the trying! 140 characters and that includes spaces and punctuation.

I was inspired in this new endeavor by Maureen Evans, author of Eat Tweet, the first to ever tweet recipes. I’m going to shut up now, and what follows are some of the “tweats” I have finished. More show up at Twitter, and some others will no doubt show up here later.

Hpy ckng!

Caramelized Veggies: Toss carrots, tomatoes, onions, parsnips, celery, and potatoes c EVO. Roast at 500° for ~35 min or until brown.

Gelato 2cmlk/1c cr+4egylk/.5csug Beat egz/sug 2 froth Wrm mlk/cr 2 foamy Slo por egz n2 mlk Ck 2 thck Sieve Chil ovnit N2 icecr mach Srv~4

[Re gelato recipe here: add in mint flavor + choc chips, ribbons of caramel, pecans, or other favorites to flavor it up for yourself.]

Savory Butter Plse n mini fd proc .5cbtr/3T bell pep/1grn onion/1clv garlic. Srv 1T on cookd meat. Sprd bread or Portbell shrooms n grill

BldMry 1.5oz vodka/.5c tom jus/2t lmn jus/Wrcstershr+Tabsc 2 taste. Mix c 1c ice+s+p. Shake & strain n2 glass of ice + celery stlk+lmn wedg

Black Bottom Cupcakes-pt 1 Mix 1.5c flr/1c sug/.3c cocoa/1t bs/.5t salt/.3c oil/1T vinegar/1T van. Beat. Put n muf pan ~18 1/3 full batter

BlackBottomCupcakes-pt 2 Mix 1c cr ch/1 egg/.3c sug/1/8t salt+1c choc chps. Top batter c 1 heaping t cr ch mix. Bake 350° 30m +/-

Lftovr prime rib, mash taters, grvy, peas/carrots? Shepherd'sPie! Layer meat, grvy, vegs. Cvr c mash pot & bake til bubbly and brown top.

Yorkshire Pudding 2cflr/2cmilk/4egz/2t salt+2T bf fat. Heat fat 2 bbl @400°. Blendr flr/milk/egz/salt. Por n2 pan. Bk til puft n gldn ~30 m.

CreamPuff Shell: Boil 2c H2O/1cbttr. Str n 2c flr. Cool. When cold+6egz 1 at a time. Beat 5 m ea. Tspfl on grsd pn aprt. Bk 425°~15m

CreamPuff Fill: 3T flr/1T cold milk Mix 2 smooth+1c cld mlk. +1 btn eg/1c sug+1t van Boil til thick Cool Slit puff, fill c 1t Sprnk pwdsug

Bruschetta Spaghetti 8 Roma tom/3 minst grlc clv/1 sliced grlc clv/2T evoo/3T chopt basil Mix. + 2T Asiago. Toss c 1# al dente whl wht pasta

Quik Marinara 2cns diced tom c garlic n basil/sm can tompaste/.5 onyn/4clv garl mnced/2clv garl slced/1c rd wine. Sim 2hrs. + 5T frsh basil

Leftover spaghetti? Saute 3 chopt grn onions/2 minced garl clv/2 sliced garlic cloves in 3T evoo. Fry til gar/onyns soft. Toss c hot pasta

Now you try it! Choose a fam fave dish and “tweat” it in comments.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Good Eats or Good PR???

So many of my writing friends have confided, that, like moi, they sometimes feel like frauds. They claim to be authors, but this niggling doubt, this negative editor-in-the-head hoots in laughter which they try to quiet before the whole world hears. That same guy lives in the side of my brain where cooking happens.

I claim the identity “author” loudly and often. Mostly that is to reassure myself, not necessarily to inform anyone else. But I have recently come to consider the same fraudness might be taking over my cooker identity as well. Yikes! I need these guys to move out of my head so I can do what I do.

Now, to be fair, I have never claimed “chef”, Heaven forbid. I don’t even claim “cook”. I call myself a “cooker”. A good cooker, or so I tell everyone.

I always offer to have the party at my house. I love hosting meetings. It is a chance to shine, to bask in the warmth of their admiration, that I, a busy writer, takes the time to whip up delectables simply because they showed up at my house.

I take cookies to play rehearsals. Partly it is to clean out the stuff from my house so I don’t get even fatter, but, truth be known, I like that they like my food.

And who would argue that I cook well? Surely not the people I’ve worked my PR magic on, telling them how much I love to cook, telling them how I develop recipes, showing off my cookbook collection, asking them to sample potential Pillsbury Bake-Off entries!

So, am I as good a cooker as I claim, or is it smoke and mirrors, the kind of PR Madison Avenue has trained me in so well? Say something often enough, and people will come to believe it is true.

I just had one such meeting at my house. People said they loved my quiche, but was it the golden mound they saw emerge from the oven sitting beside two kinds of muffins that convinced them it was wonderful? Or was it, really, the food?

Here is my basic recipe for quiche. Try it and tell me what you think. Am I a fraud good cooker?

Sharon’s Quiche

1 piecrust

1 ½ c Asiago cheese, shredded, divided

8 strips crisp bacon, chunked

3 c fresh spinach (or 1 c cup asparagus, broccoli, etc.)

3 green onions

1 c chopped mushrooms

8 eggs

2 c heavy cream

1 t nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400°. Put piecrust in pan and sprinkle bottom with ½ c Asiago cheese. Put bacon pieces over cheese. Put veggies on top of bacon.

Whisk together eggs and cream. Add nutmeg. Mix in ½ c cheese. Pour over veggies. Sprinkle last ½ c of cheese over the top. Bake for 1-1 ½ hours until risen, brown, and done in middle (insert knife to check when middle doesn’t jiggle when you move pan).