Posts Tagged ‘Cooking’

Poached Eggs Over Asparagus

Spring is here – and with it a renewed dedication to blogging.  Being without internet at home and needing a new camera really put a damper on one of my favorite activities…so glad I’m back in business!

In honor of spring here’s an idea for a simple & quick meal.  Poached eggs with asparagus is a classic for a reason – the decadent mouthfeel of the runny yolk coating the green freshness of the asparagus really almost overwhelms you with its simplicity…

I made this for lunch yesterday out of leftovers – bread I had in the freezer and leftover blanched asparagus.  This is how it’s done:

  • Heat a small saucepan of water to simmering
  • Start toasting your bread
  • When the water comes to a simmer, dunk in the asparagus for a minute to reheat, then pull out with tongs and drain.  If asparagus is raw, just let it cook for a few minutes, until barely tender.
  • Crack one or two eggs into the gently simmering water.  The fresher the egg, the better it will look and taste. Let simmer until whites are firm, but yolk is still squishy feeling.  Pull out with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
  • Place toast on a plate and either butter or drizzle with a good quality extra virgin olive oil.  Stack on the asparagus, then top with the eggs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle with more olive oil, if desired.
  • Break the yolks open so they flood the toast and asparagus.  Enjoy!

If poaching an egg intimidates you, fry one up over easy instead.  Leftover roasted asparagus can be eaten this way, but you’ll have to saute it for a minute, or microwave instead.

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The Remains of the Day

I am saddened by the fact that this is my last taste of Thanksgiving stuffing.  I don’t eat a lot of stuffing and look forward all year to the batch I make especially for Thanksgiving.   No matter how much I make, it always goes fast – it has been known to convert stuffing haters!  This year I had a request for the recipe from some friends who weren’t able to make it up to our annual shindig…the amounts are approximate so you can customize it.  Different breads will also require different amounts of liquid. I never stuff a turkey, because by the time the stuffing reaches the 165F needed to kill off all the germs imparted by the blood and juices dripping into it, the turkey will be overdone and dry.  Plus, the turkey cooks in half the time without it being stuffed! (For more flavor, you can put herb sprigs, cut citrus fruits or other aromatics into the cavity to perfume the meat)  I like to make my stuffing with lots of chestnuts and fresh sage, but you can vary the additions to taste.  The biggest factor for creating great taste and texture is the bread used.  Sliced white bread or commercial stuffing cubes don’t cut it!  I used to make my own bread ahead of time, but now I just buy some good quality loaves.  I usually like to combine crusty wheat and white breads, but one of the best stuffings I ever had was made with pumpernickel and pistachios (good thinking Jeremy!).  I love chestnuts, but they are time consuming to roast and peel.  I highly recommend looking for the ones peeled and packed in air (I have seen them at Williams Sonoma and Whole Foods) as they will save you about an hour and they taste virtually the same as the ones you roast yourself.  Just don’t use the ones packed in water – yuck!  This stuffing would be equally nice with goose, chicken or a pork roast – or cold straight from the fridge.  That’s how I’m eating this last bit…

Chestnut & Sage Stuffing

Serves approx 8-10 people.

  • Get 2lbs of good quality crusty bread & cut into 1 inch cubes. Dry 1-2 days on sheet trays or dry in a 200F oven until  dry, but not browned. (The quality of the bread makes a huge difference!)
  • 4 or 5 leafy stalks of celery, diced (include the leaves)
  • 3-4 shallots, diced
  • 1/2- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 pkg fresh sage, finely minced
  • 1/2 pkg fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Chicken stock (the amount you need will vary – about 1-1 1/2 quarts) Get good quality as this is a major flavor component. You could also use vegetable stock.
  • 1-2 sticks butter (don’t skimp!)
  • 1 13-14oz jar peeled chestnuts packed in air, chopped  or 1 1/2 lbs roasted fresh chestnuts, peeled, chopped
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Grease a 9X13 pan with butter. Place the bread cubes in a very large bowl. In a large skillet, melt the butter & saute the shallots and celery until soft. Add the herbs & saute 1 minute. Add chestnuts, then season to taste (remember the stock will be salty, so don’t add a lot of salt). Pour this mixture over the bread cubes and toss well. Add enough chicken stock to make the bread moist, but not too soggy, mixing well – it should clump when squeezed. A few crunchy bread cubes are ok, but almost all should be moist. Taste & correct seasoning. If it doesn’t taste herby enough, add more. Pour this mixture into the baking dish and bake for 30 minutes @ 375, or until top is crunchy & stuffing is heated through.  You can make this up to 1 day ahead, covered & refrigerated- uncooked. Leftovers will last a week. (in theory)

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