28 June 2011

I am pleased to announce that I am a good cook.

After a mere 29 years, I have discovered that eating isn't the only joy to be found in food; on the contrary, cooking is totally half the fun. Or, at least a quarter of the fun. Eating is hard to beat, you know?

Since we moved into the new house and spent all our money, we have been subsisting on frozen sale meat from grocery trips past, along with lots and lots of eggs. Don't tell 1999 Vegan Katie that 2011 Katie is subsisting on a protein only diet.

Seriously, though -- growing up, of course we had eggs, but an egg was never the focus of any meal. Eggs were appetizers, like deviled eggs. At Easter, our found eggs were chopped up for tuna salad. We had eggs for breakfast on occasion, sure, though we were a pretty basic scrambled egg kind of family.

I guess my lack of exposure to eggs cooked, for lack of a better term, runny, led to an aversion to them later in life. I have always kind of grossed out by eggs over easy or poached eggs. The slimy, gooey, oddly yellow, semi-solid ooze was always a little too much for me.

It is for this reason that I have recently decided to branch out and start trying to eat common foods in uncommon ways -- at least, common and uncommon as they are for me. My first adventure -- use eggs as a main dish.

The whole idea started with Eggs in Purgatory, which is basically cooking eggs in tomato sauce. I added sliced chorizo, red and yellow bell peppers, onions, and lots of red pepper flakes. It is so easy -- you literally just brown the sausage, add the veggies, add the sauce, plop in the eggs, and simmer. It went something like this:

Unfortunately, I cooked the eggs too long, so I didn't know then the wonders of the creamy yolk. I mean, don't get me wrong -- still delicious.

Did I mention I used to be grossed out by runny yolks?

But tonight, dear internet, that old way of thinking has fallen away, and Lord have mercy, I sure have have been missing out.

All week long, while I've been cooking for one, the joys of the egg have made themselves even more apparent. I came up with a routine: hard boil four eggs at breakfast, and get an egg salad sandwich for "free" come lunchtime! Fry an egg in the morning, making double sure the yolk is broken and cooked through. That's right -- I took the easiest way, the safe way, to ensure all eggs were runny yolk free.


Tonight, I found myself with only one lonely egg left in the carton, and a guilty conscience for taking the easy road so often.

In the pantry, I found a can of baked beans, and was suddenly inspired to make beans on toast with -- the coup de grĂ¢ce for my egg week finale -- my very first real live poached egg.

I quickly skimmed over how to poach an egg in the Joy of Cooking (seriously, thank the Good Lord for that book) while the water boiled, added a dollop of vinegar, carefully dropped the egg in the water, and --

It was so good, I forgot about the beans.