Meatless Mondays: Lentil and Wild Rice Salad with Poached Eggs

Despite the fact that I’m a vegetable-crazy person, I often forget to put up a post for Meatless Mondays.  I nearly always eat vegetables with eggs or, more often with egg whites, (the dogs get the yolks) for breakfast…

Above: Sauté spinach a minute or two in a teaspoon or two olive oil in a small, nonstick skillet with a little red onion or shallot, crack egg whites only (2-3) evenly on top, season with salt and pepper, and cover, cooking until whites are opaque. Garnish with salsa.   

…but rarely write a recipe or post as the meals seem so simple–like the egg white and spinach omelet above.

Here are a few I have written and posted:

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50 Women Game-Changers in Food – #50 – Julie Powell – Poached Eggs

Poached Eggs:  They’re not just for breakfast anymore.   Alyce’s  Poached Egg Chef’s Salad

If you saw the movie “Julie and Julia,” you’ll know Julie Powell didn’t like eggs.  While working her way through Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume I in one year, Julie one day had to wake up and smell the eggs.  Yuck.  Something she never cooked.  But eggs were on the list and eggs are what she finally did fix.  And liked.  Who knew?

To begin with, Julie was a young married woman in NYC with a job that was stressful.   She needed more.  She loved to cook.  What else to do but to cook all of Julia Child’s recipes from The Art of French Cooking in a year and blog about it?  The original blog (2002-3?) is still online if you’d like to peruse it; blogs have changed immeasurably since then.  I actually did read it once upon a time…  If you’d like to read quite a bit of it all at once, you can still order the book, Julie & Julia .  As you more than likely are aware, the book became a very popular movie of the same name (2009) that taught everyone I know about  food bloggers.  I no longer ever have to explain what I do with my free (insert eye roll) time; people just say, “Oh, like Julie in Julie and Julia.”  I just nod my head, “Yes.”  What more can I say? She did change our world.  No doubt at all.  I don’t know how many food bloggers there were in 2005 versus 2012, but a current figure  (wrong/right?)  is over 11,000 in the United States alone.  Smile.

As far as poached eggs go, I’m a fan.  I often blog them:

Egg Salad #2

Alyce’s Asparagus-Mushroom Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Poached Egg #3
Poached Eggs on Grilled Cheese Tomatoes–one of my favorite breakfasts
After the cut.

Don’t know how to poach eggs or are scared?  Ah, gwahhn.  Heat up some water and let those eggs slip naked into the hot tub.   There are ways to make them more perfect, but here’s the easy lesson I posted in my Dinner Place blog, which is all about cooking for one person: 

Alyce’s Method for Poaching Eggs:

1. In a deeper small skillet or saucepan, heat 3″ water to boiling.  Turn down the heat to simmer and add a small splash of white vinegar (1 tsp) if you have any.  You don’t want a big boil here, the whites will fly all through the water.

2.  Crack one egg into a ramekin or tea cup and tip the egg slowly and gently into the water, holding the cup in place for a couple of seconds as the egg begins to set.  Repeat with second egg a certain distance away so that the whites, if possible, aren’t touching.  Either let simmer for 3 minutes or so (occasionally spooning hot water over yolk if you like)  or, alternately, turn heat off and cover tightly for 3-5 minutes, depending on how set you like your eggs.  3 for runny yolks, 5 for firm.  Approximately.

Not perfect, but perfectly edible.  Just add salsa.
I like my eggs “eye ball” set (haven’t drawn hot water over tops) and quite runny — often for salad dressing or part of anyway.   Most people want the yolk completely masked–above.

3.  Remove each egg from its bath using a slotted spoon or spatula and tap the spatula gently on a towel or paper towel to remove excess water before sliding the egg onto the plate.

4.  Season well with salt and pepper.   Eat immediately.

A couple of tips:  Room temperature eggs crack more easily than cold eggs; you have less chance of shell fragments.  Also:  crack  your eggs on a flat surface, not on the edge of the pan.  You can also buy egg poachers (metal cups with long handles on legs) or silicone poachers for the microwave.  I’ve never tried either gizmo, so let me know if you like them.

Here’s my equipment:

And, of course, tasty eggs–all sizes!

We can raise chickens right in the city here in St. Paul.  These are from Cathy Velasquez-Eberhart and her ladies.

Here’s my copy–a first edition even.

Julia’s Method

 Notice that Julia Child was always “Julia Child” until the movie came out.  Now she’s just Julia.  Kind of like Just Joan. (“Jewel of the Nile” l985–Kathleen Turner)  Well, maybe not!

Just for grins, I’m going to look up Julia’s instructions. Hold on.  Whoa.  This is all coming back to me.  If you’ve the book (Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I), it’s on pages 116-117.  Yes, it’s two pages of instructions that you’re welcome to.  I make my instructions short and simple; you’ll learn technique and improve your eggs over time IF you’re a beginning cook or even an accomplished cook who hasn’t made poached eggs.  Not that my technique is better (cough cough), but while I’m wordy, I’m not quite as wordy as Julia—usually. 

One biggy is that even Julia admits you might want to make a 6 minute (boiled) egg instead of poached.  (Not likely for me.)  She also wants you to use fresh eggs, which are worth hunting for.  Check out your Farmer’s Market if you can’t find eggs any other way.  You can then set up a schedule to buy eggs from that person throughout the year.  I trade things for my eggs–things like baked cookies, granola, homemade ice cream sauces, etc.  You could try trading a service even.  Often, however, the eggs are no more expensive than quality eggs from the store.

One thing Julia writes is that if you need to keep the eggs for any length of time, place the cooked eggs in ice water.  You can store them in the frig like that.  Later, to heat them, slide them into salted hot water for 30 seconds. This is perfect if you’d like to have some friends for Sunday brunch.  You fix your poached eggs on Saturday, and do the hollandaise and English muffins (oven) on Sunday.
Or what if you’d like to do a few eggs for yourself for weekday breakfasts?  Do them Sunday afternoon and eat them Monday-Tuesday.

A Couple of Thoughts About Eggs 

We eat a lot of eggs and while they have a bad rap for cholesterol, so far we have no problems as we ease on toward 59.  I encourage young or new cooks to make eggs.  They are easy, fast, accessible, and inexpensive protein.   They store well.  They travel beautifully (if boiled.)  You can do all kinds of things with them!  In two minutes flat, you have an omelet and you can put nearly anything in the frig or pantry into it.  In twenty, you’ve cooked a dozen, boiling, and you  have lunches for work done.  Go eggs.

Want more about Julie Powell?

Watch a great video of Jacques Pepin and Julia Child poaching eggs together.  Julia uses the metal egg poacher with the long handle!  HA HA!!
Read Amanda Hesser’s 2003 NYT article about Julie Powell’s “web log or ‘blog'”
NYT 2009 updated article on Powell
Julie’s 2010 blog
Wiki biography
Time Magazine, 2010–Julie becomes a butcher.


With this post,  I give a low bow and fine thanks to our great group of bloggers writing about Gourmet Live’s 50 Women Game-Changers in Food as we come to the tail end of our project.  A few folks will write another post summing up the whole 50 or writing about someone spectacular who didn’t make the list (Marion Cunningham for me), but mostly this is our last hurrah.    I joined the group late, but have enjoyed all of my experience and am thankful for all of the learning, camaraderie, and fun…  Please take time to visit the other fine bloggers and see what they made for “Julie” week — or any other week, for that matter.


Linda A – There and Back Again, Nancy – Picadillo, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits
Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen, Annie – Most Lovely Things, Jeanette – Healthy Living
Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce – More Time at the Table
Kathy – Bakeaway with Me, Martha – Simple Nourished Living, Jill – Saucy Cooks
Sara – Everything in the Kitchen Sink

Several of us plan to begin another blogging venture (though I’m about to put the blog on vacation and join up a little later) featuring the 38 healthiest foods featured in 

Power Foods: 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients by The Editors of Whole Living Magazine (Dec 28, 2010)

I hope you’ll join us!

Sing a new song and poach a new egg,

"Egg Salad" or Ah Gotta Code in mah Noz and TIME

Egg Salad #2

 Living in a new place can do a lot of things to you.  You might retreat into comfortable behaviors and forms of communication. You might call your old friends every day. (Or you might want to.) You might surround  yourself with things that you know.  You might cook meals that are soft and warm.  Or not.  You might just take this opportunity to start anew.  I’ve done it all a bit.  For one, I’ve made chicken and noodles or chicken noodle soup three times in the last week, attempting to get a perfect recipe for a one hour meal.  I posted the first attempt here, but I continue.  The most recent (with boneless, skinless chicken thighs) is on examiner, for which I just included a link.   I’ve also made new and perfectly crisp AND soft  salads, replete with poached eggs.  Textures, textures.

Egg Salad #1–in examiner article

Newest attempt….Truly done in under an hour.  Way under if you use the food processor.

Being in St. Paul is a joyous venture and adventure.   Every day is something new, but that might be because it’s spring.  The icebergs have almost melted unless you live on the south side of the street!  The yard is waking up day by day.  Nothing’s in bloom (crocus blooms at the neighbors), but the bulbs are peeking their little heads up.

I couldn’t wait and bought these at the market.

 The birds, as I told our realtor, are nuts.   The previous owners fed them, and I’m continuing the insane practice.  Soon I know I’ll have thousands of little Jack Sparrows, Woody Woodpeckers, and “My Little Chickadees” flying around my kitchen windows.  I know this because I see the little biddies chomping around with bits of twigs and grass in their mouths.  I know what’s happening out there.  I have two jays who pop in, grab peanuts and depart making noises a little like Groucho Marx.  They are not sociable like the sparrows, who argue and kibitz at the trough all day long like old men in the coffee shop.  Not flighty like the chickadees who are easily scared off. (Boo!)  Not jealous like the male cardinal, who, until yesterday, wouldn’t share the feeder with anyone–not even his wife.  Yesterday, I did see him sharing and wanted to give him a little “high five.”

Jack Sparrow and friends in the side yard if you look carefully.
Girl cardinal mixing it up with the sparrows.

  I have very little around me that belongs to me.  I feel light.   While I have a decent percentage of my kitchen in  place (but not appliances I’m used to), I don’t have furniture that has my butt imprinted on it.  I have few clothes, which means laundry is simple.  There’s no piano here; no practicing.  My time is definitely my own; I have no job except for writing cooking articles for in St. Paul.  The rooms of the house are pretty empty; I sweep them with a broom.  Wipe up the bathrooms and kitchen and I’m done with housework.  Hm.  

I didn’t bring one of these.

 In other words, I have time for dog walks. I often read a blog called, “Don’t Eat Alone” (you can find it on my blog roll to the right) by a guy named Milton Brasher-Cunningham in Durham, North Carolina.  There’s a great post this week about walking. I think it was Barbara Brown Taylor who called it, “the spiritual exercise of putting one foot in front of the other.”

“Come on, Mom.”

   Time to listen to Minnesota Public Radio ad infinitum, where I hear things I’ve never had time to hear before. (Chanticleer singing Ralph Vaughn Williams’ version of “Loch Lomond” for one.)  I hike on down the grocery (ok, it’s a block and a half) if I need an onion or a piece of meat.  (They have a great butcher counter and lovely butcher named Daniel.)  If I’m feeling flush, I mosey on over to Whole Foods (four blocks) or Coastal Seafood (four blocks) for fish or organic blueberries.  Time.

I’m told “Goof Off” gets paint off wood.  Right.

 I’m painting my office.  Slowly.   It’s Pepto Bismol pink and it’s on its way to becoming a whiter shade of pale.  I think it’s called “moss” and, really, it’s kind of a dusty teal.  In my next life, I’d like to be the person who plays timpani (only in the orchestra, thank you) or writes paint names. Either will do.  If I named this paint, it would be “a greener Robin’s egg blue”, which is why I don’t write paint names.

A local office designer is working on the furniture for my office and he sent me a chart of colors from which to choose the colors of my cabinets.  There are 25 colors, clearly visible, but the names are not legible over the computer.  I was so down.  I don’t know if I got Brackish Water or Dusty Sunset. 

Painting in an old house (ours is nearly 100 years old) is a physical and spiritual experience.  It’s a great way to get to know your house intimately.  Every wave in the wall.  Every slant in the floor.  (My office floor makes me tilt my head.)  Every color that went before.  Well, not every.  In fact, before the Pepto Bismol pink, that room was a LOVELY shade of water-filled, pale green.  I’m getting to know the carpenter who cut the wood for the door and window frames so long ago.  How perfect and meticulous he was (I’m safe in saying a he in 1911 maybe) with the available tools.  Did he know how long his doors would hold up?  Or that I would try so hard to not get paint on the windowsills?

There’s just something incredibly wonderful about being able to paint in the spring with the windows open and the music playing.  Spending the day with your hair in a bandana (shades of 1971), concentrating so hard on getting the green over the pink.  Hearing the street noises and trying to decipher them without looking.  Eating lunch on the the back steps in your sweatpants and the hub’s old black t-shirt full of paint smears.  Scrubbing the brushes at night, hoping they’ll dry by morning.   Living.

I just finished GOAT SONG by Brad Kessler, who has a lot to say about living.  Simply, GOAT SONG is a book about a guy and his wife (not so much about the wife) who leave New York behind and move to Vermont to raise a small herd of goats.  Now while that story sounds likely, simple, bona fide, and typical, it is, however, none of those.  Brad Kessler not only wants a different life, he claims it in a far-reaching, thoughtful and thought-provoking manner.   He’s a fine, fine writer.  He’s an historian and a spiritual guide.  He’s a cook.  He’s a cheese maker.  He looks at one hundred pieces of land before he chooses one.  He buys goats and brings them home in the car.  He falls in love with his goats and, while he teaches us the history of goat herding, we, too, fall in love.   The goats, in turn, fall in love with him.  He travels to France to learn goat cheese-making first hand and gets around to doing something tres, tres beautiful with that milk.  Because Brad only buys girl goats and if they have any boy goats, they get sold.  And that doesn’t begin to tell the story. What I mean is:  I have time to read.

I just started BLOOD, BONES, AND BUTTER:  The Inadvertant Education of a Reluctant Chef by  (Chef) Gabrielle Hamilton–just as good of a read, though light years away from Brad Kessler.  In common, they have a love of the land, our world, and food.  Sick as a dog with a wretched spring cold, I could not put down this book and fell asleep with it in my arms. Time.

If you came here for a recipe, I suppose I’d better give it to you.  This is a light lunch or first course for dinner done in 5-10 minutes.  Sweet and filling.  Crunchy and soft.  Make extra dressing and keep in the frig.  Note:  Dressing keeps longer without the shallots or onions.  And you can skip the dressing totally if you make the egg quite soft (runny) and use that as dressing.

“Egg Salad #2”  serves 2

4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
2 small tomatoes, sliced (Try the Mexican “brown” tomatoes–tasty and cheaper.)
2 carrots, sliced
1/4 c minced parsley
1/2 English cucumber, cut into thin half-moons
1t fresh lemon juice
2 poached eggs (slide raw eggs, each in a cup, into barely simmering water for 3-4 minutes til white is firm)

Dressing:  1 T balsamic vinegar, healthy pinch each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, 1t minced shallot or garlic, optional, 1/2 t honey, 1/4 t dijon-style mustard, 2T extra-virgin olive oil–Whisk salt into vinegar.  Whisk in all else, though drizzle in 1T olive oil at a time, being sure it’s incorporated well before adding the second,)

  1. Divide greens and vegetables between two large shallow bowls.  Drizzle equally with lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Top with well-drained egg and drizzle with dressing.
  3. Serve with a piece of hot, buttered whole wheat toast.

 Sing a new song and enjoy spring,

P.S.  I’ve come to realize a lot of my readers are from countries where English is NOT a first language.  I welcome you all, but hope you’re not trying to learn English from my blog!  I speak a little Spanish  (Hola, Que tal?) and less German (Wie gehts?)… and even less French (Mais oui!) Anyway, know that I’m aware and am grateful for your presence. I’d love to hear from any of you.  If you write in your own languages, I can figure out a translation.  But do write me–especially if you try the recipes!  Bon chance, mes amis.