Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Egg and We

It's not so much that the photo sucks, but the food didn't come out as pretty as I wanted. Couldn't have got a better picture with this strange, fractured, leaky-looking stuff. There wouldn't be one.
But blogphotoproblems aside, I really loved this dish.
Cranky and I have a long history of eating little bowls of polenta for breakfast. (We don't have jobs to go to; there is time in the morning to start the tiny slow cooker where the corn meal and water have been soaking all night long, and to wait a couple of hours for creamy success. No stirring!)
For years, we added chopped jalapeños, along with a handful of grated cheese. Really good, in a sí, señor, but Gastric Reflux kind of way.
Anyway, the other day we simultaneously realized we didn't want the chiles anymore (cheese, yes).
Cranky proposed a poached egg. But I wasn't keen on a dripping, ghostly blob of cluckberry. I wanted the egg cooked IN the polenta.
So as soon as the polenta was soft and smooth, we put it in our bowls and spooned out little holes (which doesn't work because: molten) and dropped fresh cracked eggs in. Then put the bowls into the microwave to help the ambient heat of the polenta to cook the eggs.
You see that oozing of liquidy egg white? That ain't right.
I guess the eggs were kinda old, even though we haven't had them long. (It's winter. The hens don't lay as much. I can't really gripe at the farmer for selling oldish eggs.)
This is really nice food. We just haven't figured out how to do it properly.

19 comments:

Kate said...

I'm thinking maybe this: you cook the polenta, get some deep and narrow bowls, a preheated but low oven. 175-200ish. Warm the bowls in said oven just before the polenta is done. Spooge some polenta in yer warm bowls. Make a divet in each if you can, and crack in the eggs. Spooge more hot polenta on top to cover. If a smidge of egg peaks through the top, punish it with a large dab of butter. Stick bowls in oven. And here you'll have to play around to see what timing works. I'd probably start at 9-10 mins, and see how that does.

cookiecrumb said...

Kate: Wow, good recommendations. I totally think the low-temp oven is important; our cheesed-up polenta sagged in the microwave. The divot will be hard, but I'm thinking of "delivery systems" for the egg, like my canning funnel. (Hoot!) I wanted the egg to show, not be buried... But I remember the egg in polenta dish I ate at Ubuntu, and it was totally buried. As I recall, their egg was a little precooked before they buried it. Think coddled might work?
Anyway, low oven for sure. Thanks.

Kate said...

A canning funnel is brilliant! As for coddling, hmmm.... I have actual coddling cups. I'm not seeing how that would work very well for what you're after. Barely poached seems more workable, with super quality eggs (whites very tight in the raw). The coddling cups, I think, would either cook them past the point you're aiming for, or else not really be of any advantage. How would you easily get the coddled or semi-coddled egg buried in the polenta? Just my sense though, so if you think it would help, play around with it.

Have you considered a large ramekin? I know you like tiny servings. I sometimes bake an egg in cream in a large ramekin. Sautee onion, garlic, spinach first, pour in cream, reduce very slightly. Line bottom of ramekin with the goods, crack in the egg and fill the ramekin with the rest of the goods. ~5 mins in preheated hot oven, then broil till cream is bubbly and begins to color. Dip in with unbuttered toast. Strong black tea. Yes. ...So maybe something like that but with polenta instead?

Zoomie said...

I tried to bake eggs, too (post coming) without success - mine were more like hard boiled. Let us know if you come up with the secret. Ees tricky, no?

namastenancy said...

Well, I don't care how the photo looks because your description made my mouth water. I love polenta (aka corn meal mush) with lots and lots of cheese; having a poached egg on top just makes it more delicious. I am going to use some of your miso tricks for my new Examiner.com column; I am now their "frugal food writer" and will be shamelessly poaching (no pun intended) from my betters.

Ms Brown Mouse said...

That's cluckberry blood ... isn't it?
(ps, we say cackleberry)

Elizabeth said...

I did polenta in the oven the other day, not wanting to do the stirring routine and not having a slow-cooker. 350 degrees for about an hour and a half, with the ratio of 4 units water to 1 unit polenta; just mix it all up with a few pats of butter, put it in the oven and walk away. Stir at about the hour mark (if you're adding cheese, do it here), then again every 10 minutes or so, until it's all done. I would think that you could wait until it had 5-10 minutes or so to go, then push the back of a soup spoon or ladle wherever you wanted the eggs, crack them in (maybe drizzle a little melted butter over, and s&p) then leave them in the oven until the eggs were how you like them.

cookiecrumb said...

Kate: Yes, the hard part would be removing the egg intact (although I've seen it done). Or I could poach them slightly in a plastic bag.
OR: If you read Elizabeth's comment, it gave me this idea. Crack a raw egg into a ladle. Use the ladle to mush out a hole in the polenta and twist/slide the egg right in.
Still experimenting. And strong black tea, by all means!
Carry on, urban homesteader. :)

Zoomie: Ees tricky, yes. Shirred eggs was one of the things we learned to cook in homemaking, sixth grade! It can be done. Good luck; looking forward to your "reveal."

Nancy: Yes, I may just do poached on top. I'll blot the water off (that's all that's bothering me).
Congratulations on your new gig! Cranky and I used to work for the Examiner, but not the Anschutz version. I can't wait!

Mouse: It is blood. :( (We say cackleberry too. I was just riffing.)

Elizabeth: Oh, brilliant! Polenta in the oven. I like that so much. Did you see my remark to Kate about ladling in the eggs? Thank you all so much!!!!!

namastenancy said...

You inspired me to do polenta and eggs but I did it the fast and easy way. Cook polenta on top of stove, take out about 1/2 cup (because I've got to watch the carbs), heat that with butter and cheese, break egg into the center of the polenta and cook for a few seconds. Turn off heat, put on lid and let egg finish cooking on the stored heat of the polenta. Take out, put on plate, sprinkle with more cheese. Eat. Yum. I took a photo and will put it up on my blog in a day or two - maybe even in my "new" food column. If I do "publish" it, you will get full credit.

cookiecrumb said...

Nancy: That's exactly what I'm trying to do. Practice, practice.
And, ACK, no credit. I'd hate to get back in the real world. You are kind but recipes are not copyrighted. (And I still haven't even got it right.) (And I got the idea from Ubuntu.)

Kate said...

The egg-in-ladle switcheroo is more brilliance. I like. Another egg thing that comes to mind. In Andalucia they have a garlic soup with egg. The soup is just very garlicky broth tinged with red flecks of oil (from paprika). But they start with a special terra cotta, very wide shallow bowl, hot from the oven. They crack an egg in that and pour over the broth. The egg sticks to the bottom of the hot bowl and kinda poaches, kinda bakes. Served with slices of fried bread, either on the side or chopped up as huge croutons.

I'm nearly free associating here, I know. Stop me now.

namastenancy said...

pimp, pimp, pimp.. My first column as a food writer (frugal, geriatric, artist AND gourmet).

http://www.examiner.com/budget-grocery-in-san-francisco/the-frugal-food-manifesto

Of course, you and Mr. Cranky were professionals. I am just what they call an "Examiner." I'm not dumb; I know that this is a way to get cheap content so that they can plaster the pages with advertising. But I am given freedom to write what I want within the parameters of each topic (art and food), get to meet lots of great people in both the art and food worlds and have a heck of a lot of fun. Money would be nice but you can't have everything and the entry doors into "real" journalism are closed to people like me. I went to the start up meeting for the "Bay Citizen" and when I saw who they were hiring - people with degrees from prestigious schools, tons of experience, etc, I wanted to go home and break out the medicinal brandy. But I am very tenacious and found a way to combine my art with my love of food and my writing.


Comments, criticism and input welcomed..

cookiecrumb said...

Nancy: Yay. I actually found it on my own. Loved it. Very classy. (I assume you're getting paid *something*.)
You're gonna love this gig.

namastenancy said...

I don't want to hi=jack your blog with more info than you want to know about my "job" at the Examiner. Just to clarify it, I do get paid. I know that more professional writers have become very disillusioned by the site and drop away in droves. But semi-pros like me, while preferring to make more money, realize that it's a way to develop some professional skills. But naturally, currently it's impossible to buy BOTH the yacht and the villa in Italy at the same time. I will have to wait for my book deal - how does the Frugal Geriatric Gourmet sound for a title?

Heather said...

That totally reminds of gumbo yaya. It's grits yaya! So a propos for the time of year, innit?

cookiecrumb said...

Heather: Well, yes, but. I thought gumbo ya ya was chicken, sausage...
Or did you mean "everybody talking all at once," because YEAH.

bewitchingkitchen.com said...

I've been trying to leave a comment a few times, for some reason it refuses my identity... this is just another attempt...

I was going to say that I would just fry the egg and add it on top, because I LOVE LOVE LOVE fried eggs, my favorite quick lunch ever! But I know it's not what you are looking for in this concoction...

cookiecrumb said...

BK: Well, that certainly would have been prettier! (We are thinking of ways to use the rest of the liquidy eggs... probably hard-cooked and scrambled. Hm.)

Greg said...

Gosh I love polenta!