Saturday, November 22, 2008

Poached Eggs and Astronauts

I have great respect for those that can poach an egg freestyle - no special little egg-shaped pans. Just a pot of hot water and the egg. The poached egg is my current white whale in the kitchen. On the surface, it seems fairly simple: bring water to simmer, add a bit of vinegar, slowly drop in egg, cook for a few minutes...enjoy.

For each one of these steps a zen-like focus and calm is required. Move too quickly and you'll have yourself a nice starter for egg-drop soup. Today, things went pretty well for me. The water was a nice temp, the eggs held together pretty well. They looked pretty nice on top of my little version of huevos rancheros. The whites were cooked and the yolks were perfectly custard-y.

Just like NASA and it's Gemini mission that practiced the fundamentals of a lunar voyage: rendezvous, docking, etc... These "practice eggs" of today are just that until I am ready to graduate to the next level: the Apollo mission of poached eggs: crispy poached egg. Mentioned in my post of some days ago - the poached egg that had been coated in bread crumbs then gently fried. Oh yes. Did I mention that sucker was served with pork belly?

Both the Apollo mission and a crispy poached egg are fraught with peril: miss your rendezvous, spin off into space, bust the yolk at some point in the process and it's over; de-oribt too steep? Burn up in the atmosphere, water too hot? Egg drop soup! Houston, we have a problem.

Here's a preview: we're about T-minus two weeks on launch. That is to say my 7 to 9 pound hunk of side meat (pork belly) will be available - and ready to pair with the elusive crispy poached egg. Until then I'll be practicing in the cosmodrome of my kitchen - and enjoying every bit of it.

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