If you work as a food writer, you are not allowed to complain. There’s no way around the fact that whining about eating food for a living makes you sound like a schmuck.

But at the risk of sounding like a bastard, beast, bleeder [British], blighter [chiefly British], boor, bounder, bugger, buzzard, cad, chuff, churl, clown, creep, cretin, crud [slang], crumb [slang], cur, dirtbag [slang], dog, fink, heel, hound, joker, louse, lout, pill, rat, rat fink, reptile, rotter, jerk [slang], scum, scumbag [slang], scuzzball [slang], skunk, sleaze, sleazebag [slang], sleazeball [slang], slime, slimeball [slang], slob, snake, so-and-so, sod [chiefly British], stinkard, stinker, swine, toad, varmint, or vermin (sorry—I couldn’t choose from the riches of Mirriam-Webster’s schmuck synonyms), I’m going to just get something off my chest:

Sometimes I get sick of restaurants. And sometimes I get sick of cooking. And sometimes, when the planets align just right, these two things occur simultaneously like some sort of eclipse of my food-loving heart. I’ve never gotten to the point of wanting to live off of an IV drip, but I’ve had more than my share of raisin bran and a glass of red wine for dinner.

Having just returned from researching a magazine story on tacos wherein I ate at 14 taquerias in 2 days, and ingested everything from cow face to fried pig between a lot of tortillas, I’m on that breaking point. This last assignment was the kind of front-line food reporting that calls for a true antidote, something to make you pure again—something healthy and semi-homemade, like Sandra Lee meets Goop. Something like my new favorite soup.

Takeout Rice Soup with a Poached Egg
This fugly but tasty Asian-y soup is preferably eaten during the winter, when it’s raining outside (btw, it’s raining in San Francisco—halle-f’ing-lujah) while couching it in front of something relatively brainless like an episode of Girls, while drinking a cold, crisp Budweiser out of a nice glass. I like to use the brown rice from my favorite little Thai joint in the Castro, but any rice is fine, as is any dark green, as is a fried egg instead of a poached egg (or, hell, just crack the egg right into the hot soup and give it a second to cook). Generally speaking, this soup is pretty bullet proof. Serves 4, but to get the real benefits, this should be all about you. 

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-inch or so of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 box of low-sodium chicken stock
Glug of Shaoxing wine
Dash of fish sauce (or soy if you prefer)
Kosher salt to taste
1 small bunch of dino kale (duh—you knew it had to have kale), chopped
Handful of chopped shiitake mushrooms, should you feel like it
1-2 cups cooked rice, like the kind in the takeout box in your fridge
1 egg (or more if you have a friend or family)

Over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Season to taste with the Shaoxing wine, fish sauce, and salt. Add the kale and mushrooms and let cook for about 15 minutes. Add the rice. (I like to add quite a bit of rice, which makes it somewhere between jook and soup.) Continue to cook at a simmer for another 5 minutes.

In a small saucepan, heat water to a simmer. Take a slotted spoon and stir in one direction to get a little whirlpool action going. Confidently crack your egg on the side of the pot and drop in the egg. Cross your fingers that it swirls into a nice, neat little ball of eggness. And if it doesn’t, don’t sweat it. It’ll still taste good.

While the egg is cooking, ladle your soup into a bowl. When the white of the poached egg is opaque, gently scoop it up with the slotted spoon and place it on top of the soup. Drizzle the whole thing with Sriracha.

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