eat in my kitchen

To cook, to bake, to eat and to treat.

Tag: poached egg

Meet In Your Kitchen | Jessica Koslow’s Sqirl in LA & the Magic of Sorrel Pesto Rice

Jessica Koslow

It’s captivating to watch a craftswoman concentrating on her material, a carpenter choosing the right piece of wood, a tailor feeling the fabrics, or a chef taking about a new recipe and picking the right ingredients. Jessica Koslow is a craftswoman, but she’s equally an artist gifted with a huge sense for freedom and creativity and this shines through every single one of her creations. She’s also a scientist who critically re-thinks all the single components of a dish until the final result is complete, until the textures and flavors feel aligned, until it looks deliciously tempting. This woman is so much, which makes her one of the leading figures of a new powerful movement of female chefs in California, but also in the rest of the world.

Sqirl is located just around the corner from Vermont Avenue that leads straight to Griffith Park, the restaurant is almost unspectacular, pleasantly unpretentious and casual, but the dishes that come out of the kitchen can easily compete with Michelin starred restaurants. The open kitchen works smoothly, peacefully, every chef seems to deeply enjoy the part they have in the Sqirl universe, it’s a bit like friends cooking, just more precise. Like the Sorrel Pesto Rice, inspired by Pierre Troisgros, the father of the nouvelle cuisine movement, that blew my mind: Kokuho rose brown rice, sorrel pesto, preserved meyer lemon, lacto-fermented hot sauce, watermelon radish, French sheep feta, and a perfectly poached egg spreading its shiny liquid yolk all over this vibrant composition. And the Sqirl Chicken Salad with Marin Sun chicken, bok choy, dehydrated citrus and root vegetables, grated carrots, and black garlic vinaigrette balances crunch and tenderness, sweetness and bitterness, it’s a dish that excites and satisfies.

Jessica comes across as very relaxed, she laughs a lot, but when you ask her a question she pauses and takes her time to think, to answer with the same precision you can find in her dishes, in the same way that she designed her restaurant, and how she put her first cookbook together, Everything I Want to Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking. There is a vision that only she can see that seems to guide her in the right direction. She used to be a competitive figure skater which explains her discipline and dedication, and when she stopped at 19, she channeled her obsession into something new: food.

From then on it was all about cooking, eating, and tasting. She was fascinated by the moment when you put the first bite into your mouth and you’re overwhelmed. That’s the experience she wants to create at her restaurant and she knows that she only has this first second to reach and convince her guests’ taste buds. She and her team are gifted with outstanding produce, which she honors in her creations and that she receives from farmers who are friends and part of her community. This is the foundation of her work: “Raw produce defines a season, it’s the passing of times and in California, thankfully, it’s such a delicious marker of time. Our produce is an exciting time stamp and a building block from there.” The Sqirl world is about dishes that feel familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, they create comfort and inquisitiveness, it’s about different layers and textures, using the raw natural produce, but also playing with it, fermenting, pickling, or dehydrating it. As exciting as it is to eat this woman’s food, it’s a pure pleasure listing to her words.

Sqirl is a breakfast and lunch spot only, but in 2018 Jessica will open a dinner place for all her begging, hungry fans, called Tel – keep your eyes and ears open!

In the next months, I’ll share many new Meet In Your Kitchen features with you that took me to California, Italy, France, and Japan. Thanks to Zwilling for sponsoring these features for our culinary trip around the world! Thank you, my man James Hickey, for joining me on these adventures and helping me take pictures!

Jessica Koslow

 

Jessica Koslow

Jessica Koslow’s Sorrel Pesto Rice

Serves 6

3 cups (600 g) medium-grain brown rice, preferably Kokuho Rose
Fine sea salt
½ cup plus 2 teaspoons (130 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup (25 g) lightly packed kale leaves (stems removed)
2 cups (50 g) lightly packed chopped sorrel leaves
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving
1 Preserved Meyer Lemon, flesh removed, peel finely chopped
2-4 small watermelon radishes, very thinly sliced
¼ cup (60 ml) Fermented Jalapeño Hot Sauce
¾ cup (85 g) crumbled sheep’s-milk feta

6 poached eggs
Fleur de sel
Freshly ground black pepper

Boil the rice in plenty of salted water until it’s tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Meanwhile, make the sorrel pesto: In a blender or food processor, combine ½ cup (120 ml) of the oil, kale, sorrel, and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Blend until smooth, stopping and scraping down the sides as needed. Season with salt to taste.

In a large bowl, toss the rice with the dill, preserved lemon peel, 1 table­spoon of the lemon juice, and the pesto. Taste and add a bit more salt, if needed.

In a small bowl, toss the radish with the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice, the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and a pinch of salt. Set aside to marinate for a few minutes, until the radish is pliable and tender.

To serve, divide the rice among six bowls. Spoon a line of hot sauce across the rice. Arrange a little clump of feta on one side and a rosette of radish slices on the other side. Set a poached egg in the mid­dle of each bowl and season it with fleur de sel and black pepper. Gar­nish with a tiny sprig or two of dill.

Jessica Koslow

 

Jessica Koslow

 

Watch my interview with Jessica in LA in September 2017:

 

 

Thank you, Jessica! 

 

Jessica Koslow

 

Jessica Koslow

 

Jessica Koslow

 

Jessica Koslow

 

Jessica Koslow

 

Jessica Koslow

 

Jessica Koslow

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Poached Egg Sandwich

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Poached Egg Sandwich

At the moment I’m living, literally, next to a tree – our absolutely beautiful Christmas tree. It’s perfect this year. Lush and green, the branches thick and densely packed with needles, the straight tip rising close to the high ceiling of our living room. I’m in love with this tree. I decorated it straight after it entered our flat Saturday evening and we clinked mugs full of hot mulled wine to celebrate its arrival immediately. I moved my working space to the dining table, which is right opposite this beauty, and I have problems keeping my eyes on the screen of my laptop. In December, I feel like a distracted little child, all this glitter and sparkling, Christmas ornaments and cookie boxes – how are you supposed to keep your mind focused on anything else?

However, there was something that caught my attention: a wintery sandwich lusciously stuffed with fried sweet potatoes – not as crisp as normal potatoes but they make up for it with sweetness and flavour – salty bacon, poached egg and a little chopped rosemary made it complete. The composition is so hearty that I went for a dark bun sprinkled with linseed, sunflower and sesame seeds. It’s a keeper.

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Poached Egg Sandwich

 

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Poached Egg Sandwich

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Poached Egg Sandwich

Makes 2 sandwiches

olive oil
sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced (less than 1/2cm / 1/4″-thick), about 200g / 7 ounces
fine sea salt
pepper, crushed in a mortar
bacon 3 slices
organic eggs 2
whole wheat buns, cut in half, 2
fresh rosemary needles, chopped, a small handful

In a large, heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil and fry the raw sweet potato slices on medium-high heat for a few minutes on both sides until golden brown and soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a little olive oil in a heavy pan and cook the bacon on medium-high heat for a few minutes until golden brown and crisp, set the pan with the bacon aside.

For the poached eggs, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl. Hold a large spoon just over the surface of the simmering water and gently pour the egg onto the spoon. Lower the spoon into the water and hold for 3 minutes—use a second spoon to put the egg back into place if it slips. Lift up the spoon, let the excess water drip off, and carefully place the egg on a plate—you may have to gently scoop it off the spoon. Poach the remaining egg the same way, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a low simmer. It’s best to poach 1 egg at a time, but you can cook 2 at once. Once the first egg cooks on the spoon for 1 ½ minutes, let it float in the water— mind that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan—and poach the second egg on a spoon. Take both eggs out once they’ve cooked for 3 minutes each.

Brush the bottom bun with the frying juices from the bacon, spread a few sweet potato slices on it and lay half the bacon on top. Finish it off with a poached egg, chopped rosemary and crushed pepper. Season with salt to taste (if necessary) and enjoy.

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Poached Egg Sandwich

 

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Poached Egg Sandwich

 

sweetpotatobaconeggsandwich6

 

sweetpotatobaconeggsandwich7

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Crisp Bacon Sandwich

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Crisp Bacon Sandwich

Excitement in the kitchen! I made my first poached egg and it worked out perfectly. After a quick introduction to the art of egg poaching on Food52 I felt ready to give this challenge a try. To my surprise, it was much easier than I had expected so I could take my time and focus on the other ingredients for this week’s sandwich, grilled aubergine and crisp bacon.

My inspiration came from the great Sabih sandwich. I thought about it in the past couple days, how it combines all that lusciousness between two slices of bread, rich hummus, grilled aubergine and a boiled egg merged to true deliciousness. It could easily be too much but somehow this Middle Eastern sandwich classic does it just right. The egg and the eggplant are a great duo, they complement each other perfectly, so I used this idea but added a new flavour, salty bacon. I packed everything in between a large baguette bun and finished it off with some crunchy parsley leaves. I should warn you, this is more than a snack, it’s a proper meal, but anything smaller wouldn’t have worked, this sandwich has the same addictive quality as the scrumptious Sabih!

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Crisp Bacon Sandwich

 

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Crisp Bacon Sandwich

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Bacon Sandwich

For 2 large sandwiches you need

large, crunchy baguette buns, cut in half, 2
aubergine, cut into 1/2cm / 1/4″ slices, 1
breakfast bacon 6 slices
eggs 2-4
olive oil
coarse sea salt and pepper
fresh parsley leaves, a small handful

Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil on both sides, season with salt and pepper and put them under the grill for about 6-7 minutes on each side. Watch them as they should be golden, partly brown, but not burned. Take them out of the oven and put the slices on top of each other on a plate, that will keep them moist.

Heat a little olive oil in a pan and fry the bacon for a few minutes on each side on medium heat until golden brown and crisp. Lay them on kitchen paper to remove excess fat.

Put 2-3 slices of grilled aubergine on the bottom side of each bun and lay 2 -3 slices of bacon on top.

In a sauce pan, bring water to the boil, add some salt and turn down the temperature, it should be simmering, not bubbling! Crack an egg open and put it into a small bowl. Put a large spoon (the largest you have) on the surface of the simmering water and gently pour the egg onto the spoon. Hold the spoon with the egg in the water and put the egg back into place with a second tablespoon if it slips off the spoon (I had to do this a couple times). It needs around 3 minutes. When the egg is done, take the spoon out, let the excess water drip off and carefully scrape the poached egg  onto the fried bacon with a second spoon. Sprinkle with parsley, close the bun and enjoy!

It’s best to poach one egg at a time but if you are impatient, you can cook two at once. In that case, let the first egg float in the water after cooking it on the spoon for 1 1/2 minutes (mind that it doesn’t stick to the bottom when you let it float). Poach the second egg on the spoon and take both eggs out after they have cooked for 3 minutes each.

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Crisp Bacon Sandwich

 

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Crisp Bacon Sandwich

 

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Crisp Bacon Sandwich

 

Poached Egg, Grilled Aubergine and Crisp Bacon Sandwich

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