Monday, November 19, 2012

*simply the nest.


Ain't that just a sunny vision?!

Granted, this weeknight dinner might be a bit more happily tongue in cheek if I'd made a bird—but then I'm still not sure if eating poultry with eggs is OK or sad.

Frankly, I try not to think about it too hard.

The portion size here probably looks a little indulgent; that's because it is. But I do like to spiral a plate out from protein to starch to green veg ... It creates a nice balance, at least until you eat a three-hungry-lumberjacks-size scoop of mashed potatoes.

Confession: I don't really have a go-too recipe for mashed potatoes; as you can see from this attempt I was feeling rather peppery, but mostly I make sure there's plenty of butter (best for flavor) and whatever dairy I can find (cream, half-and-half, milk, sour cream) for moisture. Also sometimes there's cheese if I'm feeling particularly luxuriating (which would be always).

This is Giada's pork tenderloin, one I've made before. It may have been a stretch to attempt this many components in one meal because whereas my first go at it turned out great, this one was a smidge dry. The flavors were still great, though, and that honey mustard sauce is delicious on anything.

The biggest step out for me was the collard greens "nest" with the poached egg in the middle—if you hang around on the Woodside long enough you're bound to find an egg perched on, baked in, or stirred into something. On this night I was inspired to try something I'd saved on Pinterest but hadn't yet had the opportunity to put into practice: poaching an egg in a plastic wrap bundle. (Better explanation available here.)

As with most things labeled "easy," it wasn't as simple as I'd hoped, but I think with a couple of minor adjustments this could be my signature method. I erred on the side of those velvety yolks and aimed for the shorter, three-minute recommended cooking time, so my whites came out not quite as set as I would have liked. I used kitchen twine instead of a twist tie, and unbundling the bundles was a bit of a wrestling match. And this really is a time when bargain-basement, off-brand plastic wrap is not your friend; even though I had sprayed each square with cooking spray, in a couple of cases they didn't want to give up the goods without a fight.

Boy I do know how to sell a thing, don't I?

I did love this method! And I would do it again. I really appreciate the way it satisfies my tidiness sensibilities. And having everything neatly tied up takes the guesswork out of trying to create the perfect poach. These little nests were rather adorable, and could be accomplished with just about any ingredient you love: all manner of greens, leek-studded rice, creamy risotto or noodles, even that pile of mashed potatoes in the corner—if you can form a well in the middle of it, it can cradle a luscious egg.


Pork Tenderloin with Honey-Dijon Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, and Poached Eggs in Collard "Nests"

Cooking spray
4 large eggs
Easy, Don't-Take-All-Day Collard Greens
Pork Tenderloin with Honey-Dijon Sauce
Hot cooked mashed potatoes

1. Place a square of plastic wrap in a small ramekin, and spray lightly with cooking spray. Crack 1 egg into ramekin, and gather corners of plastic wrap together into a bundle, securing with a twist tie. Repeat with remaining 3 eggs.

2. Bring water to a simmer in a medium saucepan; add eggs, and cook 4 minutes. Remove eggs to a towel with a slotted spoon.

3. Divide Easy, Don't-Take-All-Day Collard Greens evenly among 4 dinner plates, forming a well in the center of each portion. Carefully remove eggs from plastic wrap, and place on top of collard greens "nests." Serve with Pork Tenderloin with Honey-Dijon Sauce and mashed potatoes. Makes 4 servings.





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I am a work in progress. I perpetually need a hair cut. I'm totally devoted to my remarkable nieces and nephew. I am an elementary home cook and a magazine worker bee. (Please criticize my syntax and spelling in the comments.) I think my dog is hilarious. I like chicken and spicy things. I have difficulty being a grown-up. Left to my own devices, I will eat enormous amounts of cheese snacks of all kinds.