A Sunday afternoon, off topic blog about making poached eggs.

Samsung 85mm 1.4 lens. NX30 Camera.

I opted to go to the 10am swim workout this morning and I found it packed with fast people. We did a lot of yards, circling in the lanes, packed in like sardines. My favorite set was a "golf" set.  One of the secrets to swimming long and fast is to make sure your stroke is very efficient. That means getting from one end of the pool to the other in as few strokes as possible.

The golf set is designed to make you concentrate on efficiency in your technique. In golf the low score wins. That's the premise of this drill. Count your strokes for 50 yards, add in your elapsed time to swim the 50 yards and you have your "score."  We did twenty 50's on a minute. It's a long interval and you get X seconds rest (depending on your speed). All totaled that's one thousand yards. 

Here's how we did the drill: You swim your first 50 and count your strokes (I averaged 15 per length or 30 total for the 50). Then on each successive 50 you try to drop your stroke count by at least one. When you hit the point where you can't improve or you miss your previous low you are required to sprint the next 50 hard and then start the stroke count descend over again. At the very end of the drill we each sprinted a timed 50 with the intention of combining speed and efficiency.

If you swim a 50 yard sprint in about 30 seconds and you can hold your stroke count to 30 then your overall score is 60. My best score today was a middling 68. Some of the fast guys (like the young Olympians in lane six) were actually "shooting" well under 60. As with everything it's a combination of technique meeting intention and practice.

After the "golf" set and a bunch of other, assorted, yardage I headed back home and I was hungry. I decided to make some poached eggs and serve them to myself on some toasted, sprouted grain bread. But first I had to look up how to poach an egg. It's surprisingly easy and may be the healthiest way to eat eggs. 

Here's how you do it: Use the best eggs you can get. The ones from chickens that are free-ranging omega 3 eating, organic-vegetarian feed eating birds. Let the eggs sit out for thirty minutes so you aren't putting them into boiling water cold. Boil two quarts of water in a deep pan and add a bit of vinegar to the water. Just a tablespoon full will do. Crack your egg and divide the shell in one quick motion so the egg drops into the water in a uniform structure. This is the spot that is crucial. If you "pour" your egg into the water in a long flourish it will have many tendrils and the white won't surround the yolk in an aesthetically pleasing way. 

With the water at a gentle boil let the eggs cook for three minutes. A bit longer if you want a solid yolk. I use a pasta scooper to gently pull the eggs out of the water and deposit them on my toast. Voila. You have poached eggs. Three are just right after a nice work out. 

If you intend to photograph your poached eggs I suggest a nice, longer focal length macro lens. My favorite "egg" lens is the Nikkor 55mm Micro lens from the 1960's. Sharp but not too contrast. Convincing and not overly edgy. That, and some big soft light.

Studio Portrait Lighting


Mark Gillett said...

Hi Kirk if you stir the water just before you put the eggs in so you get a whirlpool effect the spinning of the water will hold the egg together so you have a solid white

Craig Yuill said...

I hadn't thought about leaving eggs out for 30 minutes - I'll have to try it some time.

About a month ago I saw an interesting short video piece on how a food truck operation makes their poached eggs. They put the eggs in the boiling water, until the yolk part is "whited over". They then take the egg out and immerse it in ice water. The egg is then refigerated until needed - usually to make Eggs Benedict on demand. They then take the egg out of the fridge and immerse it in boiling water for one minute. This supposedly results in poached eggs that have a "perfect" consistency. Again, this is something I have to try myself.

Kirk Tuck said...

Mark and Craig,

Thanks! both great hints about poached eggs. Love a great eggs Benedict. That and a glass of Champagne and I'm good for a few hours, at least!

scott said...

"The ones from chickens that are free-ranging . . . ."

Be aware that the label "free range" is highly deceptive. It means the hens are packed into sheds so tightly that they chop of their beaks so they don't hurt one another. The air is so filled with ammonia from their waste that it burns their eyes and lungs. It is "free range" because there is a little trap door at one corner that leads to a tiny outdoor cage. The door is locked most of the time but is unlocked occasionally for a short time.

"Pastured" or "pasture raised" eggs are generally from hens that aren't tortured their entire lives, although those terms can be abused as well.

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Kirk Tuck said...

Scott, I only buy humanely cultivated eggs from Whole Foods. No beak chopping, no warehousing. They are from "outside" chickens. Honest. I read the fine print. And I pay more for the privilege.

cluttery said...

I enjoy reading your blog, and just wanted to let you know that chickens are not naturally vegetarians--they are omnivores who love meat! Ours even eat mice when they can catch them. Last week, I accidentally ran over a snapping turtle with the tractor and our flock eagerly picked away at the remnants.