Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Breakfast: Part I

I am just about the biggest proponent of breakfast that you will ever find.  I work about two blocks from my apartment, and yet I still get up two hours before I have to be at work so I can make a good breakfast, eat it at a leisurely pace and read my newspapers.

Everybody has different requirements when it comes to breakfast.  Some people aren't hungry in the morning, some people like something very light, like toast or a brioche, and others, like me, need some serious protein to get through until lunch.   

For the protein crowd, I present to you the poached egg, the greatest breakfast on the planet, and my weekday staple.

I know that poaching an egg in the traditional way (i.e. dropping a raw egg into simmering water) is not particularly difficult, but honestly, in the early morning, such machinations seem like too much.  So instead I employ my trusty egg poacher, a pot with a rack that holds four egg-sized cups over boiling water.  From the looks of the thing it's been in my family for quite some time...a family heirloom that my parents sent me off to college with.

But it really couldn't make things simpler.  You put an inch of water in the pot, set the rack over it with the cups in place, and coat your chosen cup with non-stick spray.  When the water comes to a boil, break an egg in your cup, put the lid on and cook for as long as it takes for your toast to toast (assuming you are toasting frozen bread and like your yolks runny).  Perfect each time. 

Occasionally I need a change of pace so I go with the soft boiled option.  It's a little more work, so generally I save it either for the weekends or for days I don't need to be at work particularly early.

No special equipment necessary...just boil a pot of water, turn down to a simmer and drop your egg in gently.  If your egg came straight from the fridge, simmer for 4 1/2 minutes, if it is closer to room temperature, 4 minutes.  The timing is very important, so set your kitchen timer.  While it cooks, prepare some toast.  Butter it lightly, and then cut into long strips, or soldiers, so that you can dip them into your egg once it is cracked.  Once egg is done, fish it out of the water (I use a chinese strainer) and place it in an egg cup.  Cut the top off (I find a serrated knife works best) and place it next to egg.  Sprinkle coarse salt (I like Maldon) over both the egg and the lid.  Dip toast soldiers in the egg until yolk is gone, then dig the rest out (both the egg and the lid) with a spoon.  Delicious, and oh so civilized.

And last but not least, I absolutely must have my tea every morning, regardless of what I eat.  It is, without fail, PG Tips.  I always go for the loose tea over the tea bags.  I won't try to tell you that I can taste the difference, but the loose takes up much less room, it's a less wasteful option and I like the daily ritual of the teapot and strainer. 

My tea cabinet:

Teapot from the Tao of Tea (lovely gift from my mom), PG Tips Paul brought back from England (they seem to sell the bags in the US, but it's hard to find the loose tea), tea strainer from god knows where (but you can get a similar one here) and the jar is filled with dried hibiscus blossoms from SOS Chefs that I use to make tea in the evening on occasion.

Tomorrow:  non-egg breakfast options.


Terry B said...

Charming photos, Laura. I especially like the New York Post in the shot, rather than the more respected, more obvious choice, the Times. My bride has long been a fan of soft boiled eggs; I only recently succumbed. Regarding the poached variety, we bought some silicone cups not too long ago that you float in simmering water. Still haven't tried them yet, but I'm hoping for photogenic results like yours.

Laura [What I Like] said...

My parents are huge fans of the silicone...they keep trying to buy some for me but I refuse to let go of my beloved egg poacher.

Terry B said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
aaron said...

All hail the poached egg.

Ian said...

Another great way to have your eggs soft boiled is to crack them into some Plastic wrap, tie up with a twistie tie and then cook as you would a regular soft boiled egg. I like to put caramalised diced onions in along with the egg. YUM!

It's kinda cheating, but it makes it DELICIOUS.

Laura [What I Like] said...

Ian- That is a method I haven't heard of before! May have to give that a try one morning when I'm feeling adventurous.

carolyn said...

I thought I was the biggest proponent of breakfast!

I eat, nearly without fail, a soft-boiled egg and toast every morning. I love each one better than the last! And I, too, only drink PG Tips--wish I could find it loose.

Laura [What I Like] said...

Carolyn - not sure where you live, but I'm told that in New York Garden of Eden sells it loose.

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