Monday, April 28, 2014

Stuff I've been doing right and wrong

picture of the picture of the carbonara from Down South
I wasn't even going to cook dinner on Wednesday night, but idly flipping through Down South found we had all the ingredients for Donald Link spaghetti carbonara with deep-fried poached eggs. Link: "Instead of tossing the pasta with a raw egg yolk, I thought it would be cool if the egg yolk could run into the pasta at the table. It's blown a lot of people's minds since then."

I had to try this immediately.

Here's how it works: First, make an easy sauce with cream and some cured pork jowl. No pork jowl? Good lord, what is wrong with you? Ok, you can use bacon, prosciutto, pancetta, or, like I did, ham. Now poach some eggs and chill until firm. Shortly before you eat, cook the spaghetti, warm the cream sauce, and heat a pot of oil. Dredge the poached eggs in flour, then buttermilk, then breadcrumbs, deep fry for a minute until golden brown, and put one egg on top of each serving of spaghetti.

I wasn’t born yesterday so instead of poaching 4 eggs as Link suggests, I poached 8 to have extras to work with when the yolks broke. Which they did. Out of 8 eggs, I ended up with 2 deep-fried eggs. Those eggs were adorable, resembling little crispy brown hedgehogs, and the pasta was delicious. If I could master the art of deep frying the eggs, I’d make this often. 

Saturday night: Michael Ruhlman’s spaghetti carbonara from Egg, just to compare carbonaras. In this more traditional version, you toss hot spaghetti with cured pork (this time, pancetta) and its rendered fat, then add 8 egg yolks, half-and-half, and a lot of Parmesan. It was much easier and very tasty, but super-eggy. I'd cut back to 6 yolks next time.

We caught up with Game of Thrones while eating the Ruhlman carbonara. Mark and I don't love that show, but it's something we share with the 13-year-old boy in the household, and that's not something to give up lightly. We were either going to rush through dinner so we could go watch Game of Thrones, or we were going to eat at leisure while watching Game of Thrones. Perhaps we weren’t honoring the food, but I’m the only one who honors food anyway and I'm a great multi-tasker. 

Or so I like think. Perhaps not.
Isabel now does her own laundry. I wonder why?
I have no idea how the books ended up in the washing machine. I'm definitely the one who put them there. When I saw them, I flashed on that scene in Away from Her when Julie Christie tries to put frying pan in the freezer and it turns out to be an early harbinger of . . .

One of the books was the library copy of The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester, which was recommended to me in the comments of this blog. I'd read it a long time ago, but it's a novel that bears rereading and I was enjoying it immensely. I'll get back to it when the library acquires a new copy, paid for by me.

The other book I was happy to lose. I was struggling through it and now have an excuse to bail. 

15 comments:

  1. You see? This is why your blog is so great; you share your foibles. I have washed several heavy things, like shoes, but never books. That's curious. I appreciate that you are keeping us informed about Egg. I wonder if I should buy this book. My husband and I eat a lot of eggs, a lot. I checked the library, and they don't have it. Is it a typical Ruhlman book about method with some recipes thrown in?

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    1. Yes, very much about method with recipes used to illustrate his points. There are some unusual recipes I'm eager to try -- I'll let you know how they work out. How is SWEET working for you?

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    2. Oh, Sweet has worked out very well, too well, in fact! I have gained several pounds! I still have some cookies in the tin, but after that we are taking a short break from sweets in general. I need to be eating carrot sticks for my afternoon snack for a while. But I am sure we will get back to it. Thanks for reviewing it. I have not regretted the purchase.

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  2. Is that Life of Pi? I'm not sure it's legal to admit this, but I HATED that book, and wish I'd thought of running it through the washer.

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    1. Dancing Fish and Ammonites by Penelope Lively, one of my favorite novelists. It's her memoir of old age and I just couldn't get into it.

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    2. I, too, thought I'd love it, but couldn't plow through it.

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  3. I've never washed a book, though I've dropped a couple in the bathtub. I can usually salvage those, but I feel rather sorry for those two specimens of yours. They look like the washer gave them a rough time.

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  4. Actually, I was going to say The Debt to Pleasure looks surprisingly okay! Are the pages fused together? I'm glad you're rereading that one. I read it when it came out and then I kept thinking about it and finally ordered another copy (the first having been given away to a traveling friend in need of reading material.) I enjoyed the experience of dawning realization that the narrator is--SPOILER ALERT--completely bonkers.

    I love the idea of a fried poached egg! The other day I tried and tried to make a corn muffin with a soft-boiled egg baked into it. So hard to get right! If you boil the eggs soft enough to remain soft after baking, they are too rare to peel.

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  5. I don't think I'll ever have the courage or equipment to deep-fry a poached egg. You have, however, sold me on Ruhlman's egg book. I have a couple of books I would like to throw into the washer to escape reading them (book group assignments).

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  6. My boyfriend also washed a hardback library book. It was completely pulped. The only survivor was the plastic covering for the dust jacket. The librarian had never heard of anyone else doing that....you'd think they'd have seen everything.

    For several months the boyfriend was greeted with "Washed any good books lately?"

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  7. Every five years, we print a custom spiral bound cookbook for friends and family. We were coming up on time for a new edition and I was diligently making notes about what to add and change in my old one. Then I ran it through the washing machine. It came out as a plastic spiral, a couple of thin sheets of clear plastic from the laminated cover and a LOT of lint.

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  8. I don't always remember to check my boys' pockets and this past month I have washed a stack of Pokémon cards and several Lego mini figures (and their accessories). The worst was when a tube of chapstick (my husband's) went through the washer and dryer.

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  9. Recently I was standing over the kitchen sink reading and eating --what? like I'm the only one? -- and dropped the library book into the sink of dirty water. Not only did I have to pay for it, but I didn't even enjoy it much! The latest Flavia di Luce mystery; that series has gone downhill sadly.

    The deep-fried eggs look completely amazing. Once again I'm grateful I can have vicarious culinary adventures through you.

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    1. I agree. I liked the first one immensely, but they've gone south fast. The third one (I think it was the third one? The Christmas story) was terrible and lacked even basic continuity. I keep hoping for better ones.

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  10. I would suspect the cat had something to do with the books in the washing machine. No doubt you set them on the edge of the washing machine for a moment, neglected to pick them up again, and the cat came along and tipped them in.

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