May 16, 2011

“You need to eat more protein” said my naturopath, “preferably at breakfast” she added. Being honest, I wasn’t totally surprised. My breakfasts recently had been cereal mixed with nuts and apples, covered in yogurt (Grace Harbor Farms for the world!). Looks like there is less protein in yogurt than I figured.

To some readers of this blog, that might be a shock. Given that my world the last couple of years has revolved around cured meat, pig and fish. This might be a tall order to expect you to believe this, but I honestly don’t eat much meat. In fact, a lot of the stuff I cure I give away. So, with all this in mind I set about coming up with a few fast breakfasts that revolved around my number 1 favorite food.


LOVE EM. Cannot get enough of them. Fried are great. So are soft boiled. My all time lovely favorite however is poached. Get yourself a good farm egg, gently poach and serve seasoned and steaming hot. It just cannot get better. I have recently been in a “put an egg on it” mood, where almost anything I cook I top with either a fried or poached egg. I gotta stop to be honest, but holy crap we are in asparagus season here in Seattle, so that is kinda hard..

I digress. Back to breakfast. I am addicted to this at the moment. I have eaten it almost every morning (with some changes..) for the last week. It is filling, yet light. Clean, but flavorful. But what the heck is it?

Quinoa, fresh fines herbs, miners lettuce, sherry vinegar and olive oil. Topped with a poached egg. I cannot begin to describe how darn addictive it is. Dare I even say “spring-like”? What is more, it all comes together in the time it takes to cook the quinoa. I have found that quinoa reheats pretty well too (if heated slowly with a little water).. so I have been known to make this to take to work for lunch too..

Right now at the farmers market we have some great wild greens coming through from a local forager. Miners lettuce is a favorite of mine. Crisp small green heads that are so tender and taste so delicate. If there was a green that reminded me of spring – this would be it. If you cannot find miners lettuce, you could use either arugula (rocket) or perhaps watercress. Some French sorrel might be nice too, if not a little bracing in this quantity.

“Fines herbs” is a French mix of delicate or fine herbs that get added to a dish at the last minute. I like to dress my green salads with it, or some lentils or chickpeas in the summer. Typically it is a mix of the freshest parsley, chives, dill, tarragon and chervil. In our garden we only ever really have parsley, chives and tarragon in any abundance, which seems to work well – they are honestly the main flavors of the mix anyhow.

Breakfast – Quinoa, Miners Lettuce, fines herbs, sherry vinaigrette

NOTES: If you cannot find miners lettuce, use arugula, watercress or French sorrel. If you want to make this for lunch at the office here is what to do: Cook the quinoa ahead of time, let it cool. Chop the herbs. Wash the miners lettuce. Mix up the oil and vinegar. Put it all in containers, separately. Poach the egg, then when done plunge it in to ice cold water. Put the egg in another container, covered with the cold water. When it comes time to eat, reheat the quinoa (add some more water to it), toss the herbs, lettuce and vinaigrette. Drain the poached egg and pour some boiling water over it to reheat it fast. Season the egg, and eat.

(serves 2)

2 really fresh eggs

1 cup of dry quinoa

handful of miners lettuce (or greens of choice)

small bunch of fresh parsley

a few stalks of fresh chives

a few sprigs of fresh tarragon (not too much, it is a powerful one..)

good sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

great olive oil

great sherry vinegar

Start by cooking the quinoa.  Put the quinoa in a saucepan and cover with two cups of water. Bring to the boil with the lid on. Once boiling, turn down to a simmer, and leave the lid half on. Let this bubble gently for about 10 minutes, until all the water is just absorbed and the grain is just fluffy.

Finely chop the parsley, tarragon and chives together.

Fill a small pan with about 2″ deep of water. Add a splash of white vinegar and a bit of salt. Bring to a simmer. Crack the eggs in to separate small bowls. Gently pour the eggs in to the hot water (shouldn’t be bubbling) keep as much distance between both eggs as possible. Leave them well alone for three minutes. Lift an egg out of the water and gently press on the yolk. It should have give, but the white around it shouldn’t wobble. If the white still seems a bit liquid, then back in the water for another minute or two.

Mix together the miners lettuce, warm quinoa and fresh herbs. Drizzle over a little vinegar and some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Divide between two bowls. Top with the poached egg. Eat immediately.

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  • Melissa May 16, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Eggs are so delicious. I love the creaminess of a runny yolk, so comforting. I’ve never poached an egg before. I want to try them poached since its healthier then frying but haven’t had a chance to sit down with a carton of eggs and practice. Maybe this week.

  • Deanna May 16, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I just changed the way I poach eggs during the week (eh… 99% of the time if I’m being honest). I take a little pyrex dish (or microwave safe coffee cup) and fill it with water. Then I crack an egg into it and microwave it for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Its perfect for during the week. I think the original instructions are from a recent bon appetit

  • John May 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Be careful with the eggs there. If you have cholesterol issues at all, you can easily blow out your daily allowance with one egg. I heart eggs just as much as you, but sadly my doctor has limited me to two whole eggs a week. 🙁

    • mattwright May 17, 2011 at 4:51 pm

      John – over the last few years there has been a number of studies done that show almost no correlation between the amount of cholesterol you eat to that which is in your blood. The biggest thing to raise your cholesterol level it would seem is trans fats and processed foods, and some think HFCS too.

  • kitchenbeard May 17, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Quinoa and eggs is one of my faves as well. I like getting the quinoa about 3/4 of the way done and then cracking an egg on top and letting it cook right there. Drizzle some sri racha over it and I’m quite content.

  • Brooke May 19, 2011 at 1:24 am

    I’m skeptical. You’re going to have to convince me. I’m coming over for breakfast tomorrow. Have the eggs poached and the quinoa softened. =)

  • Liz May 19, 2011 at 1:42 am

    I looooooove eggs over quinoa. Something about the two textures together is heaven on a plate! Found you on Food Gawker! 🙂

  • @HilaryFleming May 20, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Oh my, I just fell in love. FELL IN LOVE I TELL YOU. and Im hungry now too. I wish i would have thought of this. Poached eggs and quinoa. So brilliant. I love me some quinoa in the am and have even debated on adding eggs but never thought to add a POACHED egg to it. BRILLIANT!*singing*

    I usually just do warm and sweet cinnamon/agave type flavoring to quinoa. I like that you added the savory twist. And, like you—I LOOOVE eggs. I even blogged myself about a simple little egg scramble for breakfast that you might like on my blog.

    And you are totally right about the cholesterol thing–not a problem people! People, eat your eggs!
    ps I really like your blog and now I am going to follow it.

  • non ame May 21, 2011 at 4:32 am

    If you want more protein, you could try greek yogurt. It’s basically just strained yogurt, and 1/2 cup has 10-12 grams of protein.

  • Sebastien May 22, 2011 at 5:16 pm


    I have a question about my bresaola and lomo I am curring, but I don’t know how to contact you. Please reply

  • Christopher May 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    I like to blend quinoa with steel cut oats, toss in a scrambled egg and dress with olive oil (ht savory oatmeal on Penny de los Santos’ blog). It’s a bit heavier than your recipe, but I found it good for warming up through the winter.

    I’ll have to try this version now that it’s warming up…minus the poached egg. It’s a texture thing.

  • vanillasugarblog June 7, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    HA! my doc said the same thing to me “eat more protein!” So am i eating more eggs and that Siggi’s yogurt. Try that yogurt, it has a lot of protein in it and none of that sugar, fruit crap. Pure yogurt. Although I wish I could have this for brekkie–i am very bad at making breakfast for myself.

  • lynn @ the actor's diet June 26, 2011 at 3:01 am

    eggs and quinoa = heaven