poached egg on arugula

It’s been hard to keep up with blogging, dissertation-ing, and a full time job. And as if I don’t have enough to do, I also signed up for a course this summer on teaching reading. So I’m definitely  in the mood for some baking therapy. I just borrowed a cookbook from the NYPL about baking cakes from scratch.  To keep myself sane, I’ve been indulging in some of my food cravings. After all, how can I live in New York City and not eat a bagel, especially a bagel from Absolute Bagels. The people behind the counter are Thai and they make the best Jewish bread, in my opinion, on the Upper West Side. But this is New York. And  I digress. Here’s something healthier… a poached egg “hat” on fresh arugula.

I had some arugula (organic, what a splurge), that spicy green leaf that tastes like black pepper, and is it ever so yummy! I dressed it up with a poached egg. And for a non-vegetarian variation, I put in some sliced pepperoni. The saltiness of the pepperoni is the perfect complement to the sharp flavor of the arugula. Delicious. This is a great, simple, and easy to make breakfast.

How to poach an egg

To poach an egg, boil three inches of water in a small saucepan and add about a teaspoon of white vinegar. Bring to a near boil–the water should have big round bubbles. Crack open an egg into a small bowl. Stir the water and slip the egg into the center of the whirling water. Cook 5-7 minutes; 5 minutes for runny yolk, 7 minutes for barely runny.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the poached egg and place it on top of a cupful of arugula with a few slices of red onion. If desired, add some slices of pepperoni on top of the arugula and serve with toasted cheese on top of a slice of multi-grain bread.

pepperoni pan pizza

This week the Foodie Joanie blog achieved a milestone, sort of. Two people signed up to receive e-mail notices of new blog postings. One is someone from the blogosphere, the other is Andy. I know he shouldn’t count. However he has the distinction of being an early connoisseur (and survivor) of my cooking ever since I baked him a chocolate cake from a mix for his birthday when we were in college.

This was a big week, cooking-wise, since Sandra came to show me how cooking is done in an Italian kitchen. I know now that pizza isn’t genuine Italian food but it’s such a big part of American food lore that America’s Test Kitchen decided to improve upon it. But with a Whole Foods a few blocks away that makes and sells ready-made pizza dough, it’s not hard to find a shortcut and a timesaver.

Pizza Crust
1 bag of refrigerated dough (I bought white pizza dough)
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 (9″x2″) round cake pans

Let the dough come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 200˚F then switch off the heat. Prepare the two cake pans. Put 3 tablespoons oil in each pan and set aside. Cut open the dough package and put the dough on a lightly floured board. Knead a couple of times and shape into a ball. Grease a large glass bowl with cooking spray, put the dough ball in it and turn it until it is coated with oil all over. Cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap and put it in the warm oven to double in size, about 1/2 an hour. Meanwhile, make the sauce.

Marinara Sauce for topping
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

In a cold saucepan, add the oil and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes. Cook for 15 minutes until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Pizza toppings
1 roll pepperoni sausage cut into thin rounds
3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, bundled and rolled into a cigar shape and sliced thinly crosswise
Red pepper flakes for serving, optional

Put the pepperoni rounds between sheets of paper towels on a plate. Microwave for 30 seconds to draw out the oil. Set aside.

Heat the oven to 400˚F. Gently swirl the oil around the bottom of the cake pan, being careful not to get any oil on the sides. Set aside. Turn out the risen dough onto a lightly floured board and cut the dough ball in half. Roll each half into a 7-inch circle. Drape one of the circles over the backs of your knuckles and gently stretch out the dough circle to 9 1/2 inches. The center should be thin, the edges thicker. Gently pat into a prepared pan. Don’t get any oil on the top of the crust. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set it aside as you do the second crust.

Remove the plastic wrap. Spoon one ladleful of sauce in the center of each dough circle and spread it towards the edges, leaving a 1/2 inch border. You may need to add a little bit more of the sauce to cover the dough. I forgot to mention that you will have leftover tomato sauce. Just refrigerate the leftovers if you plan on using it up in the next three days. If not, freeze the leftovers.

Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of the grated mozzarella cheese on top of the sauce. Spread the pepperoni on top of the cheese. Bake 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and let the pizza rest for 1 minute.  Sprinkle the top with fresh basil. Slice and serve with red pepper flakes, if you like. Yum!