I don’t, as a rule, believe in dieting. When people refer to a rich chocolate dessert as “sinful,” my inner response is, “No, aggravated assault is sinful. This is cake. Get a grip.” I think self-imposed deprivation is bad for the soul.
That said, not being able to button my jeans comfortably wasn’t doing my soul any favors, either. So for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been eschewing sugar and starch, opting instead for lots of vegetables and lean protein. Healthy, yes. But the nutrition literature I read said that, after a few short days, I would no longer crave those insidious refined flour and sugar products. Bullshit. It’s been two weeks and I’d sell my firstborn for a big-ass bowl of spaghetti carbonara, followed by a vat of chocolate Haagen Dazs.
All this to say that I kind of snapped today. I didn’t break my diet, per se, but I think the Cholesterol Police would like to talk to me about my dinner. It all started innocently enough.
I was inspired by an essay written by Amanda Hesser, in which she described the quiet beauty of coming home to an empty apartment and fixing herself a supper of poached eggs atop leeks melted in butter. I’d never poached an egg in my life, but I had a lonely leek in my fridge, along with two dozen eggs, so I figured I had some room for error.
With the canny guidance of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything (Seriously, to all non-cooks, aspiring cooks and, yes, accomplished cooks: get this book. It’s indispensable.), I set about trimming and cleaning my solitary leek. Then I proceeded to melt the leek in (copious amounts of) black truffle butter, which I just happened to have on hand. Hey, if I can’t have sugar and I can’t have starch, you can bet your ass I’m going to turn to butter for solace.
And, for the first time, with Mark Bittman’s clean, unfussy instructions, I poached–expertly, I might add–two eggs. Perfectly poached! The first time! And, by another freakish stroke of good luck, the eggs finished poaching exactly as the leeks reached their desired truffled translucency.
My little supper was not exactly low-calorie. Some dieters might even call it “sinful.” But the alchemy of velvety egg yolks enveloping butter-bathed leeks, faintly redolent of black truffles, was not sinful in the least. In fact, I’d call it “divine.”