Eggs

Creamy grit bowls with roasted broccoli, poached eggs, & dill

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I'm not sure why I went into the fog. There was something beautiful about the way it creeped. The way it crawled. A slow moving breath that had a thousand floating legs. As if someone was controlling the fog on a silent crank. It dipped down and up the hills of the farm, a caress between the fog and the ground. It was alluring. I could hear voices coming out of it. At first they were whispers. Sweet whispers. They made me remember a time long ago. It crept closer and I could no longer see the pines in the distance. I knew I should go back home, I had things to do. My legs didn't move as fast as they did years ago. A frost was setting in and the grass crunched beneath my feet. The fog gained on me, I could feel its tickle on my skin. 

"Bill! Where are you? Bill?"

He liked to spend a few moments alone on the bench by the lake the mornings, he was such a quiet man. I love that about him. A quite confidence. I didn't like to be without him for long. Years back we abandoned our individuals.

"Bill!"

The fog was thick around me now. It was a blanket; dense, soft, and familiar. I needed to make the cake. We had the kids coming over later for dinner, it was Bill's birthday. Chocolate birthday cake, it was tradition. Bill and I would eat the leftover cake with coffee over the next several mornings, I was looking forward to this. Our kids always declined to take leftover cake with them because they know our sugary secret. When they were children, it was all we could do to prevent them from finishing the cake in one night.

The fog was so thick now it was dizzying. I was lost in a cloud. I sat down on the grass to stop my head from spinning. I was still thinking of birthday traditions. The children... oh how they loved that cake too. I needed to get them to sign the birthday card for Dad. They would scribble in their names and cover the envelope with hearts and XOs. Each of them would have something small they made out of the craft box at home and, beaming, would give it to their Dad. I really needed to get back, the children had been alone for too long! Why did I wander so far?

"Bill!" I yelled. "Bill, where are you?"

The fog started to clear. The pines in the distance reappeared. I stood up and started in the direction of home.

"Bill!"

The fog was thinning quickly, just as quick as it came. I could see a man walking towards me in the distance, wisps of fog making his figure fade in an out. Oh how silly of me. I remembered that the kids weren't young anymore, they were grown. I had no card for them to sign, there would be no crafted gifts. Sometimes I forget.

"BIll! There you are! I need to make the cake."

The last bits of the fog passed away and I reached the man. It was not Bill.

"Mom, I'm not Bill. Bill isn't here anymore remember? Maybe you shouldn't take walks too far away from home anymore. I could hear you shouting for Bill. Are you OK?"

"Oh yes honey, I'm OK, it was the fog... I got confused."

"It is alright Mom, lets go back. We have some Chocolate cake inside."

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Recipe (serves 2)

Grits - 1/2 cup (on the generous side)

Cream - 1/4 cup (on the generous side)

Water - 1 and 3/4 cup

Broccoli - 1 head, chopped off the stalk into smaller pieces

Scallions - 1/2 a bunch, slivered

Garlic - 2 Cloves, minced

Dill - 2TB, fresh, minced

Eggs - 2

Lemon juice - juice of 1 lemon

Olive oil - 2TB

Apple cider vinegar - 1TB

Salt/pepper - to taste

Lemon zest, extra dill, extra scallions - to top (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take two eggs out of the fridge and let them rest on the counter. Chop & prep all veggies.  Toss together the broccoli, garlic, scallions, fresh dill, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt/pepper. Spread the broccoli on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 30 minuets, flipping half way through. Meanwhile, place the grits, water, cream, and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan, covered, over low heat. Let it slowly simmer until cooked about 20-30 mins, stirring occasionally. After it is cooked, season with fresh black pepper.  

About 10 mins before the grits are done, put about 2 inches of water in a deep skillet with the apple cider vinegar, and heat over medium until it starts simmering. Lower the temperature just a bit to keep the water at a low simmer. Crack one egg into a small bowl or ramekin. Gently slip the egg out of the ramekin into the skillet of simmering water and cook for 5 minuets, so all the whites are set but the yolks runny. Meanwhile distribute the grits between two serving bowls and top with broccoli mixture. Remove cooked egg with a slotted spoon and place over the bowl of grits & broccoli. Repeat with the second egg. Top the bowls with lemon zest, more dill & scallions if desired. 

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Baby artichoke & new potato breakfast hash

The Sun.

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Walking home from the dog park yesterday evening the air was so warm and dense on my skin. The day in Denver had been very hot, hot and dry. There were pillows of dandelion fluff rippling along the sidewalk. I've never seen dandelion gather and blanket the ground so thickly before. Little tuffs of the dandelion were floating around, I like to call them fairies. The sun was so low on the horizon that the fairies were illuminated as they bumped along in a sea of orange sun rays. The warmth felt so good, so peaceful on my mind, I closed my eyes to the bright sun rays ahead and kept walking. I allowed my skin to see for me, my eyes remained closed. My whole body soaked up the sun in sweet, warm kisses and the sun's brightness could still be seen through my closed eyelids. It felt like how it would feel to be walking into the sun. I floated along like one of the dandelion fairies. 

A poached egg, with its sunny yolk spilling out and touching everything in this dish; it is that low-horizon sun. 

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Recipe (serves two generously) 

New potatoes - (about 1/2 lb)  rinsed/slightly scrubbed and then quartered

Baby Artichokes - I used 7 but feel free to use a few less, trimmed and quartered

Lemon - 2 lemons

Parsley - 3-4TB chopped (fresh)

Garlic - 3 cloves, minced

Olive oil - about 4TB

Salt/pepper - to taste

2 eggs + 1 egg yolk

Trim your artichokes (Removing the hard outer petals until you reach the softer, paler inside ones - baby artichokes have less to remove and you don't have to trim out the hairy choke (since there is none on the babies, yay!) . Also trim off the top and bottom of the artichoke. If using larger artichokes there will be more to trim and also trim out the hairy, internal choke) then quarter the hearts. Bring a medium pot of water with a pinch of salt to a boil, add in your potatoes. Let it low boil for about 5 minutes and then strain.

Add in 2TB of olive oil to a large skillet and turn on medium heat. Add in your minced garlic, let it cook for 1 minute and then add in your potatoes. Let it sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are almost cook and start to brown a bit. Add in your artichoke hearts. Keep sautéing for several more minutes until the artichokes begin to soften.  Add in a bit more olive oil if needed. Once the artichokes are cooked, squeeze in the juice of one and a half lemons and then add in the parsley. Cook for another minute and then season with salt/pepper. Divide the mixture between two plates and cover them to keep it warm until the poached eggs are ready (saving any oil left over in the pan and then add in your last 2TB of olive oil into the pan and set aside for later).

While the mixture is sautéing make your poached eggs. (Tip a cracked egg into about 3-4 inches of slightly simmering water (mixed with 1TB apple cider vinegar) and then use a wooden spoon to gently swirl the water towards the egg in order to keep the whites as close together as possible. Let it simmer for about 4 minutes and remove with a large slotted spoon, let the water drain. Top each hash portion with a poached egg. Place your egg yolk into a small mixing bowl and add in your last half of lemon juice, whisk together. Pour out and discard slightly less than half of your egg yolk/lemon mixture. Slowly, very slowly, drizzle in the oil from your pan (its ok if there are little garlic or herb bits in it) while whisking until the aioli slightly thickens up. Add a pinch of salt if needed, but it should been seasoned from the leftovers in the pan. Drizzle the aioli over the two dishes. Top with more parsley and cracked pepper if desired. Eat in the sun. 

 

 

 

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Lemon-butter haricot verts over hominy with a poached egg.

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This dish comes together so beautifully that it looks like a dish that would be served at a cozy, upscale cafe. You know the ones you pass by while walking on the sidewalk of a popular city street. You peer through the big, open windows at the beautifully arranged tables and see plates of delicate meals being served to wide-eyed faces thinking you wouldn't ever be able to make that at home. Little surprise is that you can. It is lovely to go out and be served with inspiring creations and share laughs with friends but sometimes its just as sweet to surprise yourself at home. 

I love those delicate little french beans known as haricot verts. They have a sweeter flavor for green beans and seem less "stringy" to me. Usually they are cooked and served as a nice side to a meal but in this recipe they shine as the star. The "meat" of the dish, if you will. Hominy is corn grits, you can certainly use other types of grits or polenta but hominy, if you can find it, does great here. Hominy cooks up much creamier and smoother, without adding anything else to it. This is because the hominy (type of corn kernel) is soaked to remove the hard casting (that thing that gets stuck in your teeth while eating popcorn), it is then dried and ground. Its a nice contrast to the lemon juice and white wine vinegar flavors in the haricot verts. Then, of course, butter. Well I'm sure I don't have to convince you of how tasty butter makes this. 

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Recipe (Serves two brunch portions)

Eggs - 2

Haricot verts - About 1/2lb fresh, rinsed (you can either snap then ends or not - I don't)

Ground hominy - 1/4 cup

Garlic - 2 cloves, minced

Lemon - Juice of 1 lemon

Butter - 3.5Tb

White wine vinegar - 2tsp about

Apple cider vinegar - a splash or a generous capful

Salt/pepper - to taste, I used a generous amount of fresh black pepper

Heat a medium pot of water 2/3 full up to boil. Get a large bowl ready filled half way with cold water/ice and then place a colander in your sink. Add 1 cup of water with a pinch of salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring it to a simmer. Once the water in the small saucepan is simmering add in your hominy and turn on low, stirring occasionally until cooked (about 15 minutes). Once the hominy is cooked add in about 1.5TB of butter and season with salt/pepper to taste. While things are heating mince up your garlic. Once the medium pot of water is boiling add in your haricot verts. Let them low boil for 3 minutes. Remove the beans with a slotted spoon and place in your bowl of ice water (keep the pot of water from your beans for your poached eggs).  Let the beans sit in the ice water for a minute until cool and then drain in the colander. Keep the water at a low boil and add in a splash of apple cider vinegar.

Melt the remaining 2TB of butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add in the white wine vinegar and lemon juice, stir. Then add in the beans and sauté for about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat. Get out two plates and divide the hominy between the two and then the beans, pressing the beans into the hominy slightly.

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Get out a wooden spoon and have it ready, its time to poach your eggs. Crack an egg into a little ramekin or small bowl and slightly tilt it into the gently boiling water. Take the spoon and gently move the water around the egg towards the center of the egg with little "paddling" motions to keep the egg together. Let the water get back up to a low boil, not any hotter. Keep and eye on the time and remove the egg with a slotted spoon after about 3-4 minutes if you want mostly runny yolk. Keep the egg in longer if not. Place the egg on top of hominy/beans and drizzle with any sauce leftover from the bean skillet and sprinkle with more pepper. Repeat with the second egg and enjoy! 

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Vegetarian ramen with homemade noodles

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I never really did the whole college ramen cuisine thing. Not because I didn't eat easy, packaged food, I did. I was just way too weight concerned (with incorrect nutritional knowledge) that I wouldn't make a habit of a whole meal out of carbs (still a good habit not to do). I missed the boat on the ramen train, admittedly, I'm a little sad about it. Recently, we took a weekend trip into DC. We went to the United States Botanical Gardens, The National Museum of the American Indian, did a lot of walking around, visiting memorials, flea market, Sigur rós show, ate at a great Indian restaurant, crêperie, and an El Salvadorian pupusaria. Although I have this image stuck in my head from a magazine about DC's 100 best restaurants. One of them being a restaurant that sold traditional Japanese ramen. Oh my stars it looked good. Ty glanced at it and responded, "I want that." Yes Ty, so do we all. 

This is my version of traditional Japanese ramen that is not so traditional. Traditional ramen varies in the type of broth, a fish broth, pork broth, soy sauce broth, or miso broth. There are some borrowed flavors from pho broth here, but also I combined the soy sauce and miso style broths into one. I also took my hand at making homemade noodles. They were very good and easy to make even though I do not have a pasta machine. Feel free to buy regular ramen noodles too!

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Recipe (Makes 4 bowls)

Veggie broth - Great time to use your own if you have, you want it tasty.

Lemon grass - two stalks, sliced

Star Anise - 3

Tofu - 1/2 brick sliced into squares

Kale - 1 bunch torn off the stem into pieces

Crimini mushrooms - 5 or 6 sliced mushrooms

Radish - 3 radishes slivered

Green onions - 2 or 3 slivered

Garlic - 3 cloves

Eggs - 2 soft boiled (5 minuets)

Sesame oil - 3TB 

Mirin - 1TB

Yellow miso - 1TB

Soy sauce - 2TB

Rice vinegar - 1TB + 1tsp

Sriracha - to top

For the Noodles

All Purpose Flour - 1 Cup

Egg yolk - 1

Baking soda - 1tsp

Salt - 1/2tsp

Water - 1/4 cup + a few TB

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Make the noodles. Mix together the flour, salt, & baking soda in a bowl. Make a well in the center and egg in the egg yolk. Pour in 1/4cup of water in the well. Using your fingers mash up the egg yolk with the water and stir into a slurry, slowly incorporating the flour. Adding in another tablespoon at a time until all the dough sticks together but before it sticks on your hands. Knead the dough with your hands for several minutes. If it gets too sticky, sprinkle in a little extra flour. Let the dough rest in the bowl for 30 minutes at least but an hour would be better. Go on with the rest of the meal. When the dough is done roll out the dough into a long rectangle as thin as you can get it. Lightly flour the rectangle and fold it in half, hotdog style. Take a very sharp knife and slice into very thin noodles, mine were about 1/8" thick. Unfold the thin noodles and lay out flat to dry for a bit. 

Heat up the veggie broth with the lemongrass and star anise and let it simmer/ low-boil for 30 minutes at least. While the broth is simmering, prepare the rest. Heat up 2TB of sesame oil in a large skillet on high heat and then toss in the tofu. Toss and flip for 5 minutes or so until they turn golden. Add in 1TB of tofu and stir until combined. Dump out the tofu into a bowl and add in the last TB of oil. Add in the garlic and sliced mushrooms, cook for about five minutes until it colors a bit. Add kale (in two batches) cooking for a few minutes until wilted and all the kale can fit into the pan. Add in 1TB of mirin and stir until combined. Pour out into a bowl. Strain out the broth and place back into the pot and keep on low heat, do not let it boil at this point. Add in 1TB of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and miso. Whisk until combined. Heat up a medium salted pot of water to a low boil. Add in the noodles and the whole eggs and cook for 5 minutes after they get back up to a low boil until done. Run the eggs under cool water.

Distribute the noodles into four bowls and ladle over some broth. Top with some of the kale/mushroom mixture on one side, sliced radishes on the other, tofu cubes in the center, and then sprinkle over some scallions. Peel the hard boiled eggs and slice in half carefully, the yolk will still be runny. Place an egg half in each bowl and squeeze over some sriracha.

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Spring equinox egg salad made with yogurt & fennel. + Watercress & black bread.

Spring.

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Happy Spring Equinox! March 20th was the equinox. A time for new beginnings, putting the past and the dreamtime of winter behind you. It is time to birth those creations you have been hibernating with all winter. I am really trying to kick my arse and be productive about this things I THINK I want to do. I'm letting go, leaving all the grief and uncertainty and questions winter leaves us stagnated with. Spring truly is about new beginnings and branching out into a new life. You can feel the soil thawing out from under you, it is a mindset of accepting this new season. Spiritually and physically. For me, this spring does mark a significant period of change, even this website is one of my new beginnings. My herbalism course ended on Tuesday and we went out under the moon that evening to give thanks for our experiences and honor the coming of spring. I am so thankful for having the experience of this herbalism course and the teachings I have received. Not to mention all the beautiful people I got to study with, it truly has made my beginning months in Charlottesville much better. They are kindred spirits whom I will be sad not to meet with every Tuesday from here on out. Ty and I made a recent trip down to GA & NC to visit friends and family. Being in Athens really rejuvenated me and filled me up with all the love that is there; something I think I have been lacking a bit of up here this winter.

I do have exciting things to look forward to and have finally been able to make a decision, at least a small one. Not one so grand as "what in the stars will I do with my life?" One battle at a time right? Ty got an internship (that will lead to a job once he finishes grad school) in Denver, CO. I've decided to hold off on working here in Charlottesville, VA and move to Denver with him for the summer. I'm extremely excited, I've never been to Denver but have always held the idea of Colorado in a very special spot in my heart. I'll be doing some work there this summer but I cannot wait to get into those mountains! Spring really is for new beginnings and for me this spring it's Colorado and all the changes that will unfold because of it. I'm just afraid we won't ever come back! 

I've always had a weird love for egg salad. A lot of people hate it and its a shame! My Mom said that when she was pregnant with me that she had mad cravings for egg salad sandwiches with chocolate milk. I really like both of those things... but not together. Though it might be why I have a peculiarly strong appreciate and cravings for egg salad. This recipe actually does combine chocolate and egg salad but in a very delicious, balanced manner. I chose to eat egg salad today though because it is the spring equinox. Spring is for new beginnings and what food better represents new beginnings than eggs? 

This black bread was slightly adapted from the beloved smitten kitchen blog. I love pumpernickel bread and have made it several ways but I love Deb's version.

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Russian Black Bread (suped-up) Two loaves.

Active Dry Yeast - 1.5TB or 2 packages

Sugar - good pinch

Warm water - heated between 105 & 115 degrees to create the right yeast environment.

Coffee - 2 cups of fresh brewed strong coffee.

Molasses - 1/4cup

Apple cider vinegar - 1/4 cup

Butter - 4TB unsalted

Cocoa powder - 1.5TB (unsweet)

Whole wheat flour - 1/2 Cup

Dark rye flour - 3 Cups

Bread flour - 3 Cups (unbleached)

Wheat germ - 1 Cup

Caraway seeds - 3TB (some people grind these, I like the whole seed texture)

Fennel Seed - 2tsp (some people grind these, I like the whole seed texture)

Salt - 1tsp

In a small bowl combine the 1/2 Cup of warm water, yeast, and pinch of sugar. Dissolve and let sit aside for about 10 minutes until it gets foamy. This provides a nice warm environment and food (sugar) for the yeast so it can activate and begin to breed, eventually making lovely air pockets inside your bread.

Make your coffee (I made a french press) and, if the coffee is still hot, add it in a bowl with the butter and stir until butter melts (if not then heat up on a stove with the coffee until melted). Then add in and combine the molasses, vinegar, and cocoa powder. Set aside. 

Combine all your flours together in a bowl and whisk until evenly distributed. 

In a bowl fitted with a dough hook add in 2 cups of the flour mixture, the wheat germ, all the seeds, and the coffee mixture. Let stir until almost combined on a low setting. Then add in the yeast mixture and stir until almost combine. Keep adding the rest of the flour about a 1/2 cup at a time until the dough starts to come together. Increasing speed as needed. I had a scant 1/4 cup flour left which I reserved for later use. The dough should be tacky but firm. Sprinkle a counter with some of this flour and knead several minutes to help the gluten continue to develop. Form the dough into a round and place into a oiled bowl, flipping the dough in the bowl to coat with oil. Leave in a warm place covered with a cloth for 1.5-2 hours or until doubled in size. 

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Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two. Shape the two loaves into a desired shape. You can make a round, a loaf pan, or any shape you desire. I made two bâtard shapes which is basically shaping a round (a boule) but adding pressure while rolling towards the ends to elongate and taper off. I placed each loaf onto a lightly greased baking sheet. You could also try just baking them on bread or pizza stones if desired. Let sit and rise for 45 minutes or an hour. You want it almost doubled again. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. I then brushed the tops of my loaves with olive oil and put the rest of the flour in a sieve and sprinkled to coat the tops of my bread. Then I took a bread knife and slashed the loaves with three angled lines. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes - 1 hours. It took me closer to an hour. The internal temperature should be around 200-210 degrees. The bread should be a dark color and a hollow thump when tapped on the bottom with a knuckle. 

*Nice thing about making two loaves? Stick one in the freezer for later. Having homemade bread twice with half the work!

Cool it and eat it! It is so good. Or make an egg salad sammie.

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Egg salad with yogurt, fennel, & watercress. (enough for 4 sammies)

8 eggs - Hard boiled, peeled, and chopped

Yogurt - 1/3 cup. Plain, whole milk.

Dijon mustard - Scant 2TB

Fennel - 1/4 a bulb finely diced

Celery - 1 stick, finely diced

Red onion - 1/4 an onion, finely diced

Dill - 1TB scant, dried.

Salt and Black pepper - to taste

Watercress - as a topping a small handful for each sandwich. 

Combine the yogurt, mustard, and dill together. Stir until well combined. Add the fennel, celery, red onion and stir to coat. Stir in egg and combine evenly. Taste and season with salt and pepper to desired taste. 

Assemble the sandwiches. Slice medium/thin slices of the black bread and toast. Lay down some watercress on one slice and then top with 1/4 of the egg salad mixture. Top with the other piece of bread. Enjoy! Mmmm egg salad, happy spring!

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Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprout hash with a poached egg & Thyme Hollandaise

Brunch.  

Brunch is special. I enjoy a weekend morning where I can take my time in the morning and make something that you don't traditionally think of as breakfast. Brunch breaks the rules and I love it! This meal was so surprisingly good that it will definitely be revisiting my belly for brunch. The only thing I would change is my hollandaise, I added maybe a bit too much lemon that I adjusted the amount in the following recipe. 

*If paleo omit the hollandaise

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Recipe (Enough to serve four) 

Brussels sprouts - 1/2 a bundle, each sprout sliced into four disk

Sweet potato - 2 peeled and chopped into small cubes of roughly equal size

Red onion - 1/2 roughly chopped

Garlic - 2 cloves minced

White pepper - 1 tsp

Salt - about 1/2tsp or to taste

Black pepper - pinch or two to taste

Coconut oil -2TB (feel free to use any oil, I just like coconut oil at higher temps) 

Eggs - one egg for each serving

Thyme hollandaise

Egg yolks - 2

Lemon - juice of 1/2 a lemon

Butter - 4 TB melted

Fresh Thyme - 2tsp chopped

Water - 1TB

Salt and pepper - a few pinches or to taste

Melt you 4 tablespoons of butter in a small sauce pan. Add the 2 tsp of thyme and cook for 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit to infuse while you prepare the rest of your meal.  Also set out the eggs for poaching on the counter, you want to bring the eggs to room temperature before cooking, it helps with poaching.

Chop up sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, red onion, and garlic. Heat a medium sauce pot filled with two inches of water until simmering. This will be used later for your hollandaise, so leave this pot aside (simmering) for several minutes until you have started your hash.

In a separate skillet heat oil on medium low heat and add garlic. Cook for a minute until fragrant. Add onion to this skillet and increase heat to medium. Cook for a few minutes until onion starts to soften. Add sweet potatoes and increase heat to medium high/ high heat. Cook about 8-10 minutes stirring/flipping occasionally until potatoes are almost cooked and start to brown. Add Brussels sprouts and cook for several more minutes until starting to color (4-5 minutes). Season with white pepper, black pepper, and salt. 

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Now, while sweet potatoes are cooking, you can work on the hollandaise sauce. Combine egg yolks, 1 TB of water and juice of 1/2 a lemon in a small-ish stainless steel bowl and place over the prepared pot of simmering water (hold with a oven mit or rag - the bowl will get warm). You want the bowl to be hovering over the simmering water, not touching the water if possible. Whisk eggs/water/lemon juice together for several minutes. It will start to get foamy and thicken. You want to thicken your eggs but not cook them. After 2-3 minutes remove from head and slowly drizzle in butter/thyme mixture while whisking vigorously. Keep whisking until your hollandaise has thickened up some. Set aside.

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After you finish the hollandaise, use your simmering pot of water and fill with more water (make sure it is a few inches full) and add in a splash of apple cider vinegar. Heat the pot up to a high simmer/low boil. At this time spoon your hash mixture onto plates to be ready for your poached eggs and get out a wooden spoon. Crack an egg into a small ramekin. Once water is ready, dip the edge of the ramekin into the water and gently pour the egg into the water (one at a time). Use the wooden spoon to gently swish the water surrounding the egg towards the egg to help hold the shape. Cook on a high simmer for 3-4 minutes ( I like my yolk runny) or longer for a cooked yolk. Remove egg with a slotted spoon, let drain and place on top of hash. Spoon over hollandaise. Repeat process for any other servings. Devour and lick plate clean. Happy brunching!

 

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