The Chocolate Bunny turns one year old today!
You could say I started this blog on a whim – except that I was too stressed out about it for it to be a mere whim. I was so impressed (and still am) by all the beautiful food blogs out there, I wasn’t sure I could put together anything that would even come close to them. But it was still something I wanted to try, just to see if it was something that I could work into my lifestyle. And so I made myself not think about it, and just went for it.
I like to think that I’ve made some progress over this past year, even if I still have a long way to go. I’ve been making efforts to build up my knowledge of photography, in ways I know I wouldn’t have done if it hadn’t been for this blog. And I know I’ve learnt a ton of things in the kitchen, in part thanks to the Daring Kitchen challenges, but also thanks to the people who read this, and are kind enough to take the time to respond. It’s been wonderful, getting to know these different people (some in person, others through their posts and comments), and gradually feeling part of a community.
So my thanks to all of you. Here’s to another year of good eatin’!
I wish I could say I made something extra special for this blogiversary. Unfortunately, time got the better of me. So instead, I give you: last night’s dinner. In a way, it’s very appropriate for this occasion: it represents how everyday food can be simple, nutritious, and delicious.
I remember how proud I felt when I finally mastered poached eggs. It took many tries, a few different pans, and a lot of eggs. I was aware of “poachers,” those little containers that help the eggs keep their shape. But for some reason, I wanted to do this old-school: just eggs, and a pan of water. Even after I was successful for a few times in a row, it took a long time for me to relax during the poaching process. I’m nervous around eggs in general, because I’m very picky about preparing them perfectly, and I know it’s a delicate process. Laurent knows not to come into the kitchen when I’m standing over a pan of eggs, whether they are being poached, scrambled, or fried.
On Easter Sunday, we were fortunate enough to be given a carton of fresh farm eggs, from someone with ties to a farm. I knew they were something special, and immediately began thinking of ways to prepare them. Poaching seemed to be the way to go, because it would highlight the eggs themselves, and really allow us to taste the difference from supermarket eggs.
Usually, I make poached eggs for brunch on the weekends, and serve them on an English muffin, with smoked salmon. But for these little beauties, I wanted to make something with even cleaner flavours, to allow the eggs to be the stars of the dish. In the end, I decided for a simple mushroom stir-fry.
The eggs really were worth highlighting. You can see the difference in appearance, how much darker the yolk is. The texture of the white was nicely firm, and they tasted so clean and fresh! The woodsy mushrooms (shiitake and portobellini) added a welcome depth of flavour that didn’t overwhelm. There wasn’t any need for anything more.
This dinner was as basic as it gets, preceded by a simple vegetable soup (made from scratch and frozen). It was nothing special, and yet, in a way… it was. It’s the kind of food I love to write about. Obviously, I’m proud as a peacock when I pull off perfect macarons, or a spectacular layered cake. But I’m also proud of simple fare like this: it’s the kind of food I’m happy to serve. It’s the kind of food I want my kids to grow up on.
Poached Eggs and Stir-fried Mushrooms
4 large eggs
1 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp white wine vinegar (approximately)
2 whole wheat English muffins, sliced in half
500 ml (2 cups) wild mushrooms, such as shiitake and portobellini, thinly diced
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pour about 7 cm (4 inches) of water in a wide pot. Bring the water to a very gentle simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in the salt and vinegar.
Toast the halved English muffins.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Toss in the mushrooms, season with salt, and sauté, stirring often, until they are tender and have released some of their moisture. Season with pepper. Remove from heat.
Top the toasted English muffin halves with a couple of spoonfuls of mushrooms. Divide and arrange the remaining mushrooms on the plates.
Crack each egg into a separate ramekin or cup. Take each ramekin, one at a time, carefully dip it halfway into the simmering water, and gently tip the ramekin and let the egg slide into the water. Boil the eggs for 3 minutes.
Line a plate with a clean, lint-free kitchen towel. When the eggs are cooked, remove them individually from the pan with a slotted spoon, and gently place them on the towel, to get rid of excess water.
With the slotted spoon, or a thin, firm, wide spatula, lift each egg from the towel-lined plate, and place it on top of a muffin half. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, and serve immediately.