The spring of my 3rd year of college, I studied abroad in Ireland. Dublin, more specifically, though I travelled all over the country.
Long story short, (and there will be many long stories about my semester abroad in future posts), between the euro-dollar exchange rate, and my desire to travel anywhere and everywhere in Europe that semester, I was broke. My food budget was extremely minimal, and I simply couldn’t afford the amount or type of groceries I bought in the states. So long, 100 calorie packs. Adios, frozen dinners. Avocados, see you in the states.
Ironically, for the most part, this budget made me a much healthier eater. I couldn’t afford any of the “convenience food” I had in the states. But even more so, eating in Ireland, and living abroad in general, clued me into something: simple food tasted better in Europe.
But again, that is another post for another day.
I first noticed this phenomenon with eggs. I had never been a huge egg eater in the states except on occassional weekend mornings, but eggs were the ultimate Irish budget food, so I tried them out for dinner.
Oh. my. word. They were so good. I ate eggs every which way, probably 2-3 times a week for an entire semester and was perfectly content.
So imagine my surprise when, about a month after I returned to the states, I craved an Ireland-style egg dinner. For some strange reason, these scrambled eggs left me unsatisfied. I thought maybe I had just overdosed on eggs while abroad. I didn’t try it again for months.
Then, back at UVA, I solved the mystery. A friend of mine, a Charlottesville native, had a farm house out in the mountains that we visited one weekend. Before we left he gave all of us a dozen eggs from the family’s chicken coup. I made some for dinner that night and realized THESE were the eggs I had been missing! Farm fresh eggs obviously taste better than the ones from the grocery store, but in Ireland, ALL of the eggs are farm fresh. I was so spoiled.
I should have realized this when I saw that eggs in Europe don’t require refridgeration. I only just found out that when eggs travel less than a certain distance from their farm, they don’t need it. Freshness = taste, duh!
So now, some people call me an egg snob. I prefer “connoisseur.” I pretty much only eat eggs that I buy from a farmer’s market, otherwise they’re just not worth it to me. This is why it’s so upsetting when I can’t get to a market for a few weeks in a row, because if I run out of eggs, I can’t just run to the store to get them!
Thankfully, that wasn’t the situation this morning. I prepared some delicious farm eggs in one of my favorite styles: poached!
Now, I’ve never understood the need for an egg poacher, unless you’re cooking a lot of eggs at once. I am not the best at handling eggs (every omelette I attempt turns into a scramlette) but this fool proof method works every time.
Steps to perfect poached eggs:
1) Boil about 5-6 inches of water, enough to cover your egg.
2) Crack 1 egg into a bowl
3) when your water is boiling, pour in about a teaspoon of vinegar- this makes the egg cook together
4) Set your timer for 2-3 minutes; 2 if you like a runny yolk, 3 if you want it firmer
5) While the egg cooks, toast a piece of bread
6) When your timer goes off, remove the pot from the burner and drain into a colander or remove with a slotted sppon.
Now, today I had a slight hiccup during step six. Look at this beautiful runny yolk, just running down my kitchen sink 😦
But, I am repeatedly convinced that everything happens for a reason, because when I dried my tears and cracked another egg, look what happened: DOUBLE YOLKS!!
It’s going to be a good day.
After I repeated the above steps with the superior egg, I completed the steps: place the poached egg on a piece of toast (some people butter it, I don’t think it matters, to each his own), top with black pepper, and if you’re like me and you have a problem with hot sauce addiction, top with tabasco.
Too runny? Not for me!
You know, all this egg talk has inspired me to do something I always say I’m going to do, and never actually do. Since I have no time to sit down for breakfast during the week and am confined to smoothies or pb&j on toast that I can eat on the way to work, the only way I could eat eggs for breakfast Monday-Friday is to hardboil them ahead of time and take them on the go. I’m going to do that now.
Wowie. I think this means I’m an adult now. What’s next- chopping veggies for the week to save time on dinner? Planning my weeknight menus ahead of time ? Going to the grocery store with a list instead of meandering around Whole Foods for an hour?!
Yikes, I’m growing up.
… But not quite. I did spend all day yesterday at a wine festival with unlimited tastings, and instead of snapping pics of what I actually ate, just marveled at the 18 inch corn dogs and frisbee sized funnel cakes for sale.
Thankfully, some things will never change.