Jenn (from Jenn Cuisine) and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.
I have, in the past, tried my hand at poaching eggs. While they turned out tasty, they were not all that attractive, and I didn't feel like I had actually done the process as it deserved to be done. I had even recently torn out an article from a cooking magazine to which I subscribe about how to have better success poaching eggs. Then came this challenge! The timing couldn't have been better if I had planned it myself! What made the timing even more amusing was that the challenge was announced on a day where my weekly meal plan had us scheduled for eggs for dinner! The stars were absolutely aligned, this was something I was supposed to do!
Luckily for me, the hosts of this challenge were much more interested in getting us Daring Cooks to poach than they were in having us follow the exact recipes they provided. Even making substitutions for vegetarianism/Kashrut, Eggs Bennedict with its Hollandaise sauce wasn't something I felt the need to try. And the Oeufs en Meurette would be great, except we are not wine drinkers, so the wine poached eggs/sauce probably wouldn't have been appreciated... (The vegan sausages looked really great, but I didn't feel quite up to that challenge...) So I decided to be somewhat creative and give things my own spin.
While I was not making Eggs Bennedict, I did decide that English muffins would be a great base for my dish. After looking at a variety of recipes online, I decided to go with this one. I did sub in some whole wheat flour, which I was very glad to have done. I also baked them in the oven instead of using the pan fry/bake method. Again, I was very happy with this decision! The muffins came out beautifully and deliciously. I will never buy English Muffins again!!
Then next step was to tackle the poached eggs. The hosts gave a whole list of suggestions to try, some of which I had heard, some I had not. The one I made sure to use was adding vinegar to the poaching water. I don't know the science of it, but it does seem to help... I also made sure my water was simmering, not boiling and not simply warm. This did help a lot. My whites did spread a bit more than I would have liked, but I was much more successful this time than I had been on my previous foray into poached eggs!Finally it was time to assemble my dish. I started with warm English muffins, then placed a slice of cheese on each half. Onto the cheese went a poached egg, and all of it was covered with warm tomato sauce. Served with roasted asparagus and butternut squash, this was an amazingly delicious meal!! All of us agreed that this was something to be made and enjoyed again!!
So it seemed I was done with this month's Daring Cook's challenge. On the first day. Huh? I knew I couldn't let it go at that. So I gave it one more stab. On the last day. Yes, this post goes up on the 14th, I made another poached egg dish on the 13th. It seems I was into the timing extremes on this one. For this meal I wanted to do something similar to what I have done in the past as a comfort meal: eggs poached directly in tomato sauce. Eggs and tomato go so well together... Instead of using a bread base this time I made pasta to use under sauteed spinach and garlic topped with a roasted vegetable tomato sauce in which I poached the eggs. (It sounds kind of fancier than I meant it to be when it is all spelled out there...) This, again, was really yummy. The spinach and the tomatoes and the egg just worked so well together! They made for a great sauce for the pasta, and it was a great, hearty and comforting treat.
So thank you to Jenn and Jill for such a great challenge! I had so much fun trying different combinations, and poached eggs (and, hopefully, other things!) will definitely make it into our regular meal rotation!
To the the amazing creations of my fellow Daring Cooks, check things out here!