put an egg on it (red-pepper hollandaise sauce)

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In my small world, eggs play the role of the ubiquitous silk-screened bird. Birds are good for bathroom decoration and earrings, eggs are good for everything else. Don’t know what to do with all that smouldering spinach in the back of the refrigerator? Put an egg on it. Unsure how to tie potatoes and peppers together in a way that is fancy enough to celebrate the fact that your best lady-friends drove hours to come see you for the weekend? Put an egg on it. Starving and unable to think clearly because you have caught 10 babies in a month and caring for yourself sometimes takes super-human effort? Put an egg on it. Life simplified into a glorious combination of protein and ease.

This weekend I did a lot of egg-placing. Or, to be exact; egg poaching. In all truth, I finally figured out how to boil eggs without any of those fancy devices. Total satisfaction. My skills at IV placement are starting to lag which is causing me much trepidation, but man, I can achieve semblance of self confidence when a poached egg  comes out clean.

The eggs might be a little metaphorical. This week I’ve been reflecting a lot about what it means to be freshly out of my new-registrant period. About what I want for the next stage of life as a fully independent midwife who is supposed to be able to call the shots and run a seamless life where I don’t accidentally find myself without pants on or with a dead car battery when I am supposed to be at a birth. About being the kind of person who always answers their telephone. About wondering why I now feel odd pressure to figure out if I need to be meeting some sort of other prescribed developmental milestone of ones’ thirties like marriage or babies or home ownership or a phd now that my educational goals are distant and I don’t have a cycle of exams that tell me I am succeeding every four months. I didn’t think I would have to learn about how to be okay with “being just a worker,” and not a student striving for yet another set of public accolades and social prestige but alas, it is true. It’s almost embarrassing to watch the striver parts of myself try to find something else to climb. The deep chill parts of me (I like these ones better) just want to play music and make pottery mugs and have a garden and catch babies, but patterns from years of ritualized schooling are hard to kick. (photo below courtesy of a healthy kind of climbing: aka ski-touring times!)

Striving

Really, the main things I should be learning are how to control the daily stress of being in a caring profession. Its easy to give everything I have to people I barely know at work. To be overly patient with labouring families, and truly joyful and attentive in their journey. To focus on others completely for hours. To be calm in crisis. Then, with my own loved ones I can be an awful listener, quite self-absorbed, terribly goal-oriented, and turn quickly to sobs when confronted with minor turmoil. I think I don’t have this part of midwifery life balanced yet- I don’t get how to be a care-r without having to resort to others filling up my batteries with flattery or spending entire days in bed to re-charge. My wise mother tells me that these are the good, fleshy life questions that, in the process of unravelling, brings us closer to ourselves (and therefore able to live authentically with other people) but I find it fascinating how it feels easier to ignore personal growth in favour of pressing on and trying to win another award.

Going into the next six months of practice, maybe the best message is that it might be ok to slow down, be mindful, achieve less. Let my relationships be instead of pushing them into the places I think I want them to go. And, find a way to deal with days like today when the best answer is not to practice skills of expert napping (even though it is tempting), but to sit and meditate for awhile and then- when grounded and more settled- boil some water, gently cut some spinach, put the bread in the oven, and feel fully alive simply because there is warmth coming off of the stove.

Poached Eggs

*recipe after the jump*

How to Poach an Egg (I use this method and it is genius): http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/08/how-to-poach-an-egg-smitten-kitchen-style/

Red-Pepper Hollaindaise Sauce:

Ingredients:

Red pepper

Clove of garlic

2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted

1/3 almond milk or milk/milk.

2 egg yolks.

1/2 lemon, juiced.

Pinch of salt

Pinch of red-pepper flakes.

Dash of pepper.

(Optional-pinch of arrowroot powder to thicken).

Method: 

  1. Cut up the red pepper and garlic into strips or cubes, and fry at high heat in a cast-iron pan for a few minutes until soft.
  2. Put the red pepper/garlic mix in a high-powered blender with the coconut oil and almond milk and pulse until very smooth.
  3. Put the mixture in a small saucepan on medium heat. When warm whisk in the egg yolks one at a time and continue to stir until the mixture begins to thicken. If it doesn’t seem like this is going to happen you can take two spoonfulls of the mixture out into a small dish, blend in a pinch of arrowroot powder, and then put that back into the saucepan to help it thicken. I didn’t try it, but I bet you could make it vegan with just the arrowroot powder and a little less milk substance.
  4. Add the lemon juice, salt, red-pepper flakes, and pepper to season. Serve warm over poached eggs, potatoes, spinach, and toast.

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