How is it the days you don’t go into work are the ones you feel most rushed, with a neverending list of to-dos? One of life’s mysteries, I suppose. More like one of life’s little jokes. No work should equal relaxation… A lazy day filled with mugs of steaming, creamy coffee, time spent curled up with a blanket and a good book, a lengthy yoga session or walk [not when it’s 2 degrees], a call to a family member or friend, baking cookies [or scones], and of course, day-dreaming. HA.

Aside from spending an inordinately long period of time in my pajamas, I got in one quickly-drank cup of coffee, a half chapter of Atlas Shrugged and a few stretches.

It’s now 4:20p and I haven’t the foggiest where the day has gone… I had a discussion for my Public Health Evaluation in Health and Mental Health Settings course. Riveting, yes. Wrote an abstract paper for Children’s Health: Issues, Programs and Policies. Slightly more up my alley. Errands in the frigid cold. Never pleasant. And a bit of necessary cleaning beckoned – floors and kitchen…

I’ll tell you quickly about a weird quirk of mine: The kitchen sink freaks me out. Do you, reader, know just how dirty it really is?! I think my issue with this sink is compounded by the fact that it’s stainless steel, which seems to cling onto every random bit and crumb of food. And I am sure the jus from meats or water used to rinse off fish and shrimp is absorbed into its walls. Heebie-jeebies, right? I know, I know, common sense tells me it should be cleaned basically after every use. I use it how many times during the day? How hard should it be to wipe down every time… I forget, okay? But no more. I am going to magnet a sign to the side of my refrigerator like the ones in bathrooms reminding employees that they “must wash their hands before returning to work”; except mine will be: “Wipe down the sink NOW so you never have to be grossed out cleaning it again. NOW!” Really it wasn’t that gross, but I’ve read so many articles about the bazillions of germs ‘lurking in your kitchen sink,’ and that it’s one of the ‘dirtiest places in your house.’ PSA over. Wash your sink.

So today was hurried, however I did manage to enjoy my idea of the perfect working lunch. Only a glass of crisp white wine could’ve made this lunch better [the Europeans have their priorities right!]…

working lunch

Baked chilli mozzarella with tomato  and a poached egg [serves 1]

Printable recipe.

fresh mozzarella cheese, cut 2 thick slices and reserve the rest [the original recipe calls for feta, but I haven’t made it to the Greek market this week]

1 plum tomato, coarsely chopped or sliced

a few sprigs fresh mint, coarsely chopped [basil would be nice, too]

chilli flakes, however much you can handle

fresh lemon juice

extra virgin olive oil

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

a few sprigs fresh parsley, coarsely chopped

slices of ripe avocado [BBC suggests chopped Kalamata olives, which would have been lovely – I really should have gone to Greek market]

1 t distilled white vinegar

1 egg, cracked into a small bowl

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Line a small baking dish with foil and coat with a bit of olive oil. Place mozzarella [or feta] in dish, topping with tomato, mint, chilli flakes, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in sides of foil a bit but not fully closed. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a medium saucepan almost full – you want the water to be deep enough so the egg doesn’t stick to the bottom – and heat over a high flame. Add the vinegar while the water warms up. Have your egg ready in its bowl. As soon as the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down so it can sit at a soft simmer. Once the larger bubbles have subsided, get egg bowl as close to the water as you can without burning your fingers, and gently pour the egg into the water. [I’ve never been a fan of the swirling water technique, but go ahead and try it.] If you like, use a slotted spoon to gently coax the white flyaways back onto itself.

Allow the egg to cook in the simmering water for about one and a half minutes, then ever-so-gently use the slotted spoon to flip the egg over in the water. [Not sure where I got this idea, it just works. It is entirely okay to skip this.] Let the egg cook for another one and a half minutes. After the total three minutes – which yields a fairly runny yolk – remove the egg from the water with your slotted spoon and pat dry on a paper towel.

At this point the cheese should be done. Remove from the oven and scoop onto a plate, topping with chopped parsley and the poached egg. Sprinkle with sea salt or grey salt and more freshly cracked pepper. Serve avocado slices alongside. Drizzle more olive oil over top, if you like. I added some leftover pomelo segments and a kumquat to the plate as well. Not pictured is the obligatory hunk of crusty, fresh bread.

Adapted from this recipe via BBC Good Food.

Back to the to-do list. And welcome [officially] to the Year of the Ox!

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