I cook breakfast. Every day.
Some days I do nothing more than put some fruit on cereal, but most mornings, Greg and I eat a real breakfast; buckwheat pancakes; quinoa and maple-glazed trout; scrambled eggs or sometimes oatmeal.
So when the weekend comes around, I am more than happy to toss aside my spatula and go out to brunch.
While brunch is the new dinner according to NOW Magazine food critic, Steven Davey, my colleague over at Gremolata, Ivy Knight, is more than happy to explain why a restaurant brunch is a very unhappy thing for the folks who actually have to cook it.
But, see… people like to go out for brunch because it allows them to eat foods they wouldn’t, or couldn’t, cook at home.
Many breakfast dishes are fussy, with many ingredients, all cooked á là minute, and if keeping two pots and two frying pans and maybe the oven all under control at the same time isn’t your cup of tea, going out for brunch where someone else can do the juggling for you probably is.
My plan this morning was to make crepes. I had a container of leftover sautéed mushrooms in the fridge from the mushroom pastries I made for dinner one night last week. I also had a bag of spinach that needed to be eaten. Spinach and mushroom crepes seemed like the answer, but the thought of singeing my fingertips while manually flipping the crepes had no appeal.
I pulled out a couple of multi-grain bagels and figured I could do an Eggs Florentine kind of thing, only without the eggs. Bagels and spinach and a mushroom cream sauce. Then Greg walked in and I stupidly asked him if he wanted it with eggs.
“Eggs are good,” he says. And then I think about whether I’m up for wilting spinach, building a sauce, toasting bagels and poaching eggs all at the same time.
“I’ll do the eggs,” he says. “I can do them in the microwave.”
A word of warning to you all – if your spouse ever offers to poach eggs in the microwave, immediately insist that they take you out for brunch.
Happy to have one less task, I agree, and Greg goes about finding instructions on the intarwebs, then dumping eggs into bowls with water and vinegar and piercing the yolks so they don’t explode.
All goes relatively well until the eggs start coming out. Even though he followed the instructions, microwaves are finicky things and the egg yolks are totally hard. We plate them anyway, as everything else – bagels, sauce and spinach – are all hot and ready. I poke one of the eggs yolks with a knife to see just how hard-cooked it is and…
Every surface within a two-foot radious is covered with egg.
And then my darling husband says, “Good thing that didn’t explode inside the microwave, huh?”
Because apparently, cleaning the egg from inside a small enclosed box is more of an effort than wiping egg off the wall, the counter, the toaster, the food processor, the sides of the cupboard, underneath the cupboards, the floor, my face, my shirt and yes, down my cleavage.
The most frustrating part is that had the eggs been poached properly, with the lovely oozing yolk, the dish would have been an absolute wonder (despite the fact that the mushroom sauce was kind of grey). With half-exploded overcooked yolks, it was still good, but not amazing.
Next time, I’ll do more of my meez ahead of time – finish the sauce and keep it warm, wilt the spinach and then reheat it in the microwave if necessary, all so I can pay attention to properly poaching the eggs.
Or I can insist that we go out for brunch and someone else can poach the damn eggs instead.