Lighter fare for winter days

poached egg bowl
Poached egg bowl (Keri White)

By Keri White

These days, many people gravitate toward warming, hearty dishes. Who wouldn’t seek solace in a bowl of macaroni and cheese?

But there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we want to fit into our clothes when the time comes that we can resume normal life.

With that cheery thought in mind, I offer three satisfying, healthy but lighter meals.

Poached egg bowl

Serves 1

My daughter is a fan of Brussels sprouts and avocados, so that is the selection described here. However, there is truly no limit to the options — you can use sauteed onions and white or sweet potatoes and top it with chopped fresh herbs or baby lettuces; cooked greens like spinach or kale topped with sprouts; or cooked broccoli topped with raw scallions, just to name a few.

The egg:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

The vegetable base:

  • Oil for spraying the pan
  • Pinch of salt, sprinkle of fresh cracked pepper
  • 8 Brussels sprouts, stemmed and cut in half
  • ½ ripe avocado, cut in chunks

Sriracha or your favorite hot sauce, to taste, if desired

Fill a 2-quart saucepan ¾ way with water; add the vinegar and salt, and bring it to a boil. While you wait, heat a small skillet, coat it with a light spray of oil and sauté the Brussels sprouts with salt and pepper until done, about 8 minutes. Set aside.

When the water boils, lower it to a simmer and crack an egg into a small cup, then gently pour it into the simmering water. Remove the pan from the heat, cover the pan and allow the egg to cook undisturbed for 4-5 minutes, depending on how firm you want it.

While the egg cooks, pour the Brussels sprouts into a bowl, then top them with the avocado and season as desired. When the egg is done, gently remove it from the water with a slotted spoon and place it atop the veggies. Drizzle with Sriracha, if desired, and serve immediately.

The best egg salad

Serves 2

My friend Kate Markowitz provided me with this recipe. She was spending some time in a friend’s vacant Florida condo and called me from the lanai, where she was enjoying this dish.

It was an improvised version because the condo was not equipped with a huge spice selection, so she had to make do, but now says her old version is out the window and she will use this recipe from now on. This is great served on a bed of lightly dressed lettuce or spooned onto rye bread.

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • ½ teaspoon “everything but the bagel” seasoning

Place the eggs in a pan of cold water (be sure they are covered). Bring the water to a boil and remove it from the heat. Cover the pan and allow the eggs to sit, undisturbed, for 12 minutes. Remove them from the hot water, cool completely and chop coarsely. Place the eggs in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix, chill, if desired, and enjoy.

Winter caprese salad

Serves 1

I am a huge fan of the summer version of this salad — in-season, local heirloom tomatoes are almost an addiction. But this time of year we can enjoy an alternative version.

Note: You will not need all of the tomato tea for this recipe. Feel free to save it and add it to pasta sauce, soups or other dishes that could benefit from an additional boost of flavor.

  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes cut in strips
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 small head curly green leaf lettuce (or your favorite type)
  • 1 ball burrata cheese
  • ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato tea
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place the cut tomatoes in a bowl or measuring cup and cover them with boiling water. Allow them to sit for about 30 minutes for the tomatoes to soften and the water to absorb the tomato flavor.

Place the lettuce in a bowl.

Drain the tomatoes, saving the liquid, and toss them over the lettuce. Add a burrata ball or fresh mozzarella. In a small cup, mix the vinegar, tomato tea, olive oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle it over the salad, toss and serve immediately.

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