The breakfast that I love, so much so that it causes me to exclaim about its deliciousness at least once a week, is kind of hard to explain. It starts out with an egg, which is obvious enough. Soft-boiling is where the complication begins. There aren’t many people I know who eat soft-boiled eggs anymore. Or ever did, for that matter. My mom occasionally cooked them for us when we were kids, spooning firm whites and liquid yolks into a teacup with butter and salt.
I’ve never tried to order a soft-boiled egg in an American restaurant, but given my hard luck with restaurant poached eggs, I think it best to stick with over-easy. Mexico, however, has the soft-boiled egg down to an art. You’ll find them on menus as huevos tibios, served with a basket of bolillos and a squeeze of lime.
So, soft-boiled eggs: uncommon, but intelligible. It’s with what’s next that things get more difficult, because instead of bread with these eggs, there is brown rice. Totally logical to most of Asia, and even Hawaii, but for now, rice remains quite outside the standard American breakfast lexicon.
How Kathy and I came to the rice and egg breakfast is a bit of a mystery to me. I think I heard about it from a friend who was raised on a free-loving, sometimes macrobiotic commune in Humboldt county, California: The hippies recommend steamed brown rice with egg and gomashio, a toasted sesame salt.
This, and variations of it, have become such fixtures in our daily routine, that I don’t remember the first time we tried it, or even when it was new to us. It just showed up at our breakfast table one day and shoved every other breakfast food into ancient history. Really. I can’t remember anything I used to eat for breakfast during the first decade of my adult life.
While remaining faithful to the basic concept of egg-rice-sesame, we began changing things up, working our way through the ancient grains, as lesbians are wont to do. As alternatives to rice, we steamed through millet, barley, amaranth and spelt, and settled on quinoa, brown rice’s only serious contender. At some point, the sesame salt became just salt and sesame seeds. And then, (this is embarrassing to admit), during a time when we were following a body builder’s diet and exercise routine, we started adding a couple of teaspoons of Udo’s oil. Which stuck. And has since crept up to a couple of tablespoons.
I sat down the other morning to our breakfast of red quinoa with soft boiled eggs, sesame, and Udo’s oil, and told Kathy, in all seriousness, that we were perhaps the only two people in the universe eating this particular breakfast on this particular day. I don’t know. Maybe, somewhere out there in a parallel universe, there are a couple of beings out there eating exactly the same thing. But I’d wager that they’re lesbians.
Brown Rice with Soft-Boiled Egg and Sesame Seeds
The thing that makes this breakfast so easy is our trusty rice cooker. We add the rice and water the night before, plug it into the ‘timed bake’ outlet on our 1950’s stove, and wake up to the smell of cooking rice in the morning. If you have a fancy rice cooker with a built in timer, all the better.
Keep in mind that free range eggs, while being the best choice for lots of other reasons, are the best for this recipe because their thicker shells make them less prone to cracking. In Albuquerque, our co-op has quite a few options for local free-range eggs, including Beneficial Farms, and my favorite, Ann’s Girls.
The Udo’s oil is optional, but it lends a delicious nutty richness and lots of trendy omega 3s. It has to stay cold, like flax seed oil, so look for it in a refrigerated case, usually somewhere near the supplements section in your natural foods grocery store.
2 free range eggs
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (or quinoa, or other ancient grain of choice)
unhulled sesame seeds, optionally toasted
Udo’s oil (optional)
Boil several inches of water in a small sauce pan. Using a large spoon, carefully lower eggs into the boiling water. Set a timer for four minutes if you’re in Albuquerque, or about three minutes if you are at sea level. Depending on elevation, you may need to experiment some to find the perfect amount of time for your soft-boiled eggs, but keep in mind that you want the whites to be just barely set, and the yolks liquid. If they’re too cooked, the eggs won’t melt into the rice like they should.
Divide the hot rice between two bowls. Crack open each egg: Place it in the palm of your open hand, and then give it a good whack in the middle with a butter knife. The knife should cut cleanly through the egg. Using a teaspoon, scoop out the egg onto the rice. Pour on the Udo’s oil, sprinkle with a teaspoon of sesame seeds and a pinch or two of kosher salt.
Serves 2 lesbians.