Poached eggs have always been a comfort food for me. As a child, each day started with a poached egg made by Mum. She used an egg poacher which was well-worn after years of use. I, too, have an egg poacher which my husband uses to make poached eggs for breakfast every Sunday morning. I find this poacher, with metal cups, inconsistent; it makes four eggs at a time, and if you just want a single egg, pulling it out of the cupboard and cleaning it up afterwards, is too much of a deterrent for me.
Mum and I have been working to perfect a method for a consistent poached egg in a saucepan. With or without vinegar, with or without a vortex, it boils down to preference. In fact, I have found it boils down to boiling!
Here is my preferred method for a single, perfect poached egg:
Firstly, crack an egg and place it in a shallow dish or ramekin.
In a small saucepan, bring a couple of inches of water to a rolling boil. Add a drop of vinegar (it will not flavour the egg and is supposed to keep the white from floating off). Now, reduce the burner to low, remove the pot from the burner for a few seconds to reduce the boil. Once the water is just at a soft simmer, return pot to burner and stir in the centre of the pot to create a vortex, a tornado in the pot! Carefully, hold the dish close to the surface of the water and allow egg to slide into the swirling water.
I like my yolk soft, so I use a three-minute timer. Adjust your time accordingly. Using a slotted spoon, scoop egg out of water, gently test for doneness by feeling the yolk. I like to let my egg sit on the spoon, suspended over the pot – it keeps the egg warm and eliminates the water puddle if left to sit on a plate.
Enjoy your perfect poached egg however you prefer to eat one. For me, it is mashed on a piece of toast. It makes an equally satisfying breakfast, lunch, supper, or even a filling snack (just not all in one day!)
Mum and I had a lovely day today, just the two of us. We shared a pot of tea and a ham and havarti grilled sandwich for lunch. We wondered and browsed around shops and found a new supply of our favourite body moisturizer (in a stick for easy application!) I bought myself some flowers and then we headed home.
My son has some sniffles and is in need of extra rest after his first week back to school. To help his immune system, I made a stir-fry filled with peppers and onions and added extra ginger to the teriyaki sauce. For dessert, peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate buttercream – cupcakes may not heal but they certainly sooth!
Peanut Butter Gluten Free Cupcake with Chocolate Buttercream
3/4 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/3 cup each granulated and brown sugar
6 tbsn butter (or margarine)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
In medium bowl whisk together flours, starch, baking powder and xanthan gum.
In large bowl, or bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and peanut butter together. Add white and brown sugars and beat until creamed and fluffy (about 3 minutes) on medium.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one. Blend in vanilla.
Add half of flour mixture to creamed mixture. Mix.
Add all of the milk. Mix.
Add remaining flour mixture. Mix.
Fill 12 liners of cupcake tin 3/4 full each. Bake in preheated 350F oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for few minutes. Remove cupcakes to cooling rack to cool completely.
2 cups sifted icing sugar
1.5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 – 3 tbsn milk
Melt chocolate in small heatproof mixing bowl over couple of inches of simmering water. Once melted, remove from heat and allow to cool.
In large mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Add 1 cup of icing sugar. Add 1 tbsn of milk and mix until coming together.
Add cooled chocolate to butter and icing sugar mixture and beat until chocolate incorporated.
Add the final cup of icing sugar and add milk, as needed, until frosting reaches the desired consistency. I pour a bit of milk into a creamer jug and then add it as I go along – there is much more control over adding a bit of milk from a small jug!
This is enough buttercream for 12 cupcakes if spread, but if piping larger swirls, there will be enough for only 9.
I don’t know where the expression “just peachy” originated, or what it originally meant. Now, of course, it is usually said it a sarcastic way with a bit of a snap to the delivery.
What could it mean? Literally, peaches are bright and juicy. They are fuzzy and sweet. The term would mean things are great (no sarcasm), looking good, everything is just wonderful.
So using the expression, literally, things were just peachy when my son brought home a basket of peaches from work on Saturday. There is one minor catch, however, I do not like peaches. I dislike the smell, texture and taste of peaches. I do like the colour though! Peaches are still welcome in my home, my husband loves them. But when faced with more than he can eat, what is one to do? When life gives you peaches, make curd! And since there were also nectarines in the basket, I used one peach and one nectarine in the curd…rumour has it that it went well with the brownie. I had a sour plum instead!
Peach Curd Recipe (naturally gluten-free)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup chopped peaches (approximately 2 whole peaches)
Reserve 2 tbsn sugar. Place remaining sugar in medium bowl. Whisk egg into this sugar.
Combine peaches, the reserved 2 tbsn sugar and water in medium saucepan, and place over medium heat. *note if the peaches are juicy the amount of water can be reduced – my latest batch had no additional liquid added.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat, boil gently until fruit is softened. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash fruit while cooking.
Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Slowly pour the hot fruit into the sugar and egg mixture, whisk while pouring. Then return mixture to saucepan and cook over med-low heat – stir constantly with wooden spoon until thickened (about 10 minutes).
Remove from heat and stir in butter one cube at a time, until completely smooth.
Chill *we like warm curd and have one serving warm, then allow the rest to cool before placing in jar. If you want to smooth the texture even more, place in blender or processor until the desired smoothness.
Makes 1 cup. Store in fridge.
Curd is really good over cupcakes, brownies, ice cream, or stirred into plain yogurt. You could even use it between cake layers, just make sure it is completely chilled as it will thicken more as it cools.
I have been thinking a lot about patterns this summer. Perhaps it is something which happens when one quilts; I see patterns in windows and brickwork and think of patchwork. Lately, it has been circular shapes catching my attention.
Just a quick glance around the kitchen and all the circles, spheres and round objects jump out. Plates, bowls, pots, pans, lids, the curve of the teapot, mixing bowls, tomatoes, a colander, the light fixture, coasters, oranges and an old baking powder tin. Even things we don’t think of as round, become round when sliced, a zucchini, a cucumber or a banana for instance; all of these elongated shapes slice into nice rounds.
“Running around in circles” isn’t necessarily the best thing…unless you are a dog chasing your own tail – he seems to get enjoyment out of it! But many of our routines do have a roundness to them. Groceries (at our home, for example) begin with the delivery of the weekly flyers, followed by the shopping a couple of days later. The fridge is filled for a day or two, and then the list starts again and before I know it the flyers are sitting in the mailbox. Full circle…
Of all the rounds I have noticed this week, I’d have to say the best rounds have nicely domed tops, bake in multiples and come in a variety of flavours. Did you guess cupcakes? I was thinking cupcakes…and then one cake in particular came to mind (and it is just as good as a 9″ round, or as 12 cupcakes).
1/2 c sugar, granulated
1/4 c canola oil
1 large egg
1 tbsn grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 c white rice flour
3 tbsn tapioca starch
3 tbsn potato starch (not potato flour)
1/4 c sweet rice flour (also called glutinous rice flour)
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 c buttermilk (can make own by adding tbsn lemon juice to milk)
Prep pan, line bottom of 9″ cake tin with parchment paper. Or line muffin tin with liners for cupcakes. Preheat oven 350F.
In medium bowl combine and whisk together flours, starches, baking powder, baking soda and xanthan gum.
In stand mixer bowl, cream together sugar and oil. Add egg and combine. Add lemon zest and vanilla to creamed mixture and combine together.
Add flour mixture to creamed mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk (2 additions). Mixing well after each addition.
Pour into prepped tin. Tap on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in 350F oven, or until toothpick/tester comes out clean. (Adjust time if making cupcakes.)
Allow to rest for 10 minutes, before removing from tin and allowing to cool completely on rack. Remove parchment paper while still warm.
Waste not, want not…use the fresh lemon juice instead of milk in the buttercream for a double shot of lemon.
Quick Buttercream…1/4 cup softened butter, 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, dash of vanilla extract. Add sugar 1 cup at a time and lemon juice by tbsn, as needed, until spreadable, or piping consistency. Buttercream can be doubled or halved as needed.
The weather continues to be hot and humid, but even with diminished appetites, we still need to eat. All the cooking has been done on the stove top this week and all the baking has been done in the toaster/convection oven – heat or no heat there must be cake in some form!
What can we do about it? There’s only one thing we can do, roll with it.
A number of years ago, I had an annoying ache in the back of my knee. The diagnosis, after x-rays and scans, was osteoarthritis, but not in my knee, rather in my back. I underwent physiotherapy and traction to ease the symptoms at the time.
It was a new way of living from that diagnosis on. My son, a toddler at the time, learned to jump when being lifted to decrease the bending I
had to do. I began bending at my hips, not my waist, and kneeling to get to toddler level. Inside and out I always wear orthotics.
Our family used to travel, upwards of six hours in the car (there and back) to visit extended family. Now, I squirm after 45 minutes, as the discomfort starts to build…and we’ve had to stop the trips. I have learned to control and adjust, the arthritis is a part of who I am and what I do now. I continue to work with my hands, daily, sewing or knitting to keep the joints moving and schedule heavier tasks for earlier in the day.
After a year of taking iron supplements, my son’s iron levels were showing little sign of improvement. Our doctor started ordering tests to see if there could be a cause. (We were fortunate because I have read of other’s having years of problems before getting the appropriate tests.) The diagnosis for my son was Celiac disease.
So began another round of learning to adjust to the conditions. We began eating gluten-free in the house. All of my baking had a learning curve as I learned the differing qualities of gluten-free flours and binders. My first loaf of bread was heavy, gummy and unpalatable! We have experimented and found our favourite bread and bun recipes-our millet bread looks like egg bread and I prefer it to the gluten containing loaves I can still eat. Grocery shopping became more involved, as every label has to be read, every time. We never leave the house without food now. And we never ate as much produce as we now do. In fact, we are all probably healthier because of the Celiac disease diagnosis and we look at what can be eaten instead of what is off-limits!
So when life gives you lemons you can make lemonade or when your bananas are starting to spot and turn brown, roll with it.
Gluten Free Banana Roll with Maple Buttercream Filling
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch or potato starch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3 eggs (large)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup mashed banana
Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
Whip eggs with whisk attachment until starting to grow in volume.
While eggs whisk, mix flours, cinnamon and xanthan gum in bowl and whisk to combine.
Once eggs have some volume, gradually add sugar.
Once egg and sugar mixture has increased even more in volume, gradually add mashed banana.
Slowly add dry ingredients to egg, sugar, banana mixture. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl (carefully you don’t want to lose the volume you’ve created)
Pour batter onto prepared sheet, spread evenly and tap pan on counter to release air bubbles.
Bake in preheated 350F oven for about 20 minutes.
Turn out onto rack, remove parchment paper. Allow to cool.
Mix 2 tbsn and 2 tsp butter or margarine with 3 tbsn maple syrup and 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar. Mix until smooth and spreadable (if too thick add drops of water until right consistency)
Once cake is cooled, spread buttercream over the top of cake. Roll the cake from the short end and place with seam down on platter. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.
There is something about the wisdom of mothers which gives their advice more weight. Just how do they know what you need at the moment? I have a teenager who I can judge pretty well, so I should know the answer. We just don’t think of someone else as being as perceptive as ourself.
I had thought about beginning my own blog before. I have been a regular journal keeper for years. But in the back of mind, I never really thought that I had anything important to add to the blogasphere. I enjoyed reading blogs and I enjoyed two of the things necessary in the types of blogs I read regularly, writing and photography.
Last week, at lunch, ( a loaded open-faced veggie sandwich on gluten-free focaccia) my mother said ” you should start your own blog. You’re always reading them.”
I was really rather surprised by her suggestion. She was just so sure that I could be successful at it, that I began looking into it and then signing up and then here I was writing my own blog and pushing a publish button.
I have been very lucky to have my mother standing behind me and encouraging me all my life. Her faith in my abilities has never wavered and it is aways at it’s strongest when I am at my weakest.
I hope that one day my son will look back and feel the same way about me as I do about my own mother and think to himself ” mother knows best.”
p.s. Mother says to share this recipe which I adapted from Allrecipes.com and Gluten-free Cook
Chocolate Zucchini Dessert Waffles
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cocoa
2 Tbsn tapioca starch
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp zanthan gum
Mix all of the dry ingredients together with a whisk. Whisk together the sugar and oil, add the egg and mix well.
Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Batter will be thick, so use a spoon to now stir in zucchini.
Heat wafflemaker as recommended, add 1/4 cup batter, which will remain domed if you use a scoop. With my wafflemaker it makes a nice round waffle, instead of a square one this way.
Makes 9 waffles which can be topped with ice cream and sauce like stewed rhubarb or fresh strawberries.