Tony was supportive when I joined a weight-loss program last May. He cheered me on for eight months, though vacations and holidays, as I lost 30 pounds. By January he’d had enough. Would I please abandon my sensible eating plan for our two-month stay in Florida? Could we just live a little?
Good lord, it was like firing a starting gun.
I ate sweet rolls and pasta. I had deep-fried shrimp and ice cream cones. I snacked on chips in the evenings with Tony. By the time I stepped on the scale at home in March, I had gained ten pounds. And I was HAPPY! I thought I had gained more.
No problem, I thought. Then the pandemic hit and in lockdown, all bets were off for many of us. We baked. We ate. We did not exercise. From March to May I gained another ten.
This time I was NOT happy. My health is on the line, so once more I am watching what I eat. Is this the month you, too, rang down the curtain on corona-eating? I see fewer photos of breads and cakes on social media. Hardly anyone is sharing recipes for cinnamon rolls these days. It was fun, but now we must face the flab.
My game plan, as it was last year, is simply eating sensibly — lean proteins, lots of vegetables, fewer carbs and smaller portions. Boring but effective.
I’ m trying to eliminate the boring part by dreaming up recipes for filling, flavor-packed meals that fit into my lower-carb, lower-cal plan. That’s how I came up with this latest full-meal salad. It features two poached eggs (lean protein) over a pile of foraged dandelion greens, showered with a chopped tomato salad in a Vietnamese-inspired dressing. Fresh basil and mint punch up the flavor.
The night I made the salad Tony prepared his own dinner (ramen, I think) and complained later about the absence of snacks in the house. He’ll get over it. I just hope never again will he tell me to “live a little.”
POACHED EGGS ON GREENS WITH HERBED TOMATO SALAD
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced (2 cups)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. lime juice
2 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. water
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
4 large eggs
4 to 6 cups torn dandelion greens, arugula or leaf lettuce, washed and dried
Coarse sea salt, fresh-ground pepper
Place tomatoes and chopped herbs in a medium bowl. In a custard cup, combine remaining tomato salad ingredients and stir well. Pour over tomatoes and toss to coat. Set aside.
Break eggs one at a time, spacing evenly, into a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Gently nudge the eggs with a slotted spoon to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. Cook to desired degree of doneness (I like set but moist yolks, which take about 7 minutes). While the eggs cook, pile greens on two dinner plates. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and nestle atop the greens. Spoon tomato salad over all. Season with coarse salt and pepper. Makes 2 servings.
What I cooked last week:
Tomato, pesto and melted Cheddar on toast; poached eggs on dandelion greens with basil-mint tomato salad; cauliflower-coconut soup with Thai curry; chicken, tomato and pesto on toast; pesto, tomato, hard-fried egg and melted feta on toast; hamburgers and bagged chopped salad; roast steelhead trout glazed with sweet soy sauce, with roast cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, red peppers and potatoes; grilled filet mignons, steamed asparagus and a 2010 Black Ridge Merlot.
What I ordered out:
Thai chicken and pibil conchinita tacos from Funky Truckeria in Norton.
From Lauren F.:
Forget the Instant Pot for hard-boiled eggs and don’t worry about buying them early. Here’s the fail-proof method for easy-to-peel eggs that I learned from Cooks Illustrated Magazine:
Put steamer basket in saucepan and add water to level just below bottom of steamer. Remove basket. Set pan on heat and bring to boil. Set eggs in basket and set basket in saucepan. Cover and lower heat to a high simmer. Simmer for 14 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Remove eggs with tongs or slotted spoon into bowl of ice water. Let sit until cold.
I am not scientifically inclined, but the steaming method vs. the boiling method has something to do with causing that membrane between the shell and the white to release, making the eggs a breeze to peel.
Thanks for that great tip. I will try it the next time I have fresh eggs and a batch of deviled eggs to make.
From Ann F.:
You are absolutely correct about Béarnaise sauce – it is the best, especially over a nice medium rare piece of beef. Like you I only make it on rare occasions, but when I do I have used the red wine Béarnaise recipe from Madeline Kamen. It is always a hit and I have broken it a couple of times but my friend Cheryl learned how to rescue it so that you don’t throw away a whole cup of butter. I find the real problem is locating fresh chervil as I like the fresh herb version. Still miss the old West Point; they always had it. I have managed to find it when needed, but right now it is not a good idea to have to go to multiple stores to find it.
You probably noticed I left out the chervil. I would plant some but I use it so seldom it doesn’t seem worth the trouble. Does anyone else use chervil on a semi-regular basis? What do you use it for besides Béarnaise?
For those who are wondering, a broken Béarnaise can be rescued by whisking the sauce, drop by drop, into an egg yolk in another bowl.