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Ode to the Egg: Benedict Style


Southern Eggs Benedict

Southern Eggs Benedict

I have always loved eggs benedict. I think it’s the hollandaise sauce that really brings the whole thing together and is the “something different” needed to make it more special than a typical egg dish…ah…love it. My family use to make it on Sundays for brunch when we were in the mood to work on poaching eggs. I remember watching my parents work as a team to try and drop the eggs in boiling water and do their very best to remove them without doing damage to their precious cargo. I remember hearing a lot of frustrated sighs and maybe even a few expletives in the process I think my mom has finally gotten it down to a science using ramekins and the microwave to help with the process. I’ve yet to attempt it on my own and since I like scrambled eggs better, I take the easy way out.

I got excited by eggs benedict again recently when I went to a local restaurant in Fullerton, CA that has a very inventive and tasty breakfast menu. Early Bird is the new go-to place for breakfast or brunch on our area. I went there with my co-workers for a fun team building day and got to know the owner a little bit as he interacted with our group. He’s serious about good food and took a showy offense to one persons comment about his chicken for the chicken-n-waffles dish being “like KFC but better”. (P.S…never tell a chef his chicken is even remotely like KFC. You will get a run down for all the reasons it is NOT like KFC and a dirty look to boot.  Insult at your own risk my friends). Needless to say, his passion and creativity in his menu was obvious and made you want to pick his brain and try a little of everything he raved about.

The menu contains a few interesting versions of eggs benedict on his menu which were all very unique and inviting. However, the one I chose for the day was a special. It was a pork belly benedict! The bennie had the expected English muffin on the bottom topped with crispy pork belly and an over easy egg. It was drizzled lightly with a spicy chipotle sauce and garnished with chives. I really enjoyed it and found it to be a deliciously, creative and tasty version of Eggs Benedict. The components of the traditional were there but the outcome looked and tasted like no benedict I’ve had before.

Pork Belly - Percy Street BBQ

Pork Belly – Percy Street BBQ

The egg and pork belly parts of the dish reminded me of something I had in Philadelphia at Percy Street BBQ. Percy’s  pork belly appetizer (photo cred goes to Foobooz)  What you see pictured is a salt cured egg placed on top of a toasted round of potato bread which is laid next to some crispy, salty pork belly, while sitting in a puddle of maple syrup.  OMG. It’s a somewhat atypical thing to have on a dinner menu at a BBQ restaurant but it was so incredibly decadent and delicious and something you did not want to stop eating. (And just for context, I’ve never used the word “decadent” to describe anything I’ve eaten before. Ever. It was THAT amazing.)

At our initial visit we asked them what “salt cured egg yolk” meant since it was a foreign concept to us.  The waitress explained that they basically take an egg yolk and let it sit in salt (not sure what kind) over night. It creates a thicker outside of the egg and makes it easier to handle and very tasty. I’ve never been one for runny yolks, but this just pulled it all together.

As a whole, we tried a lot of their meat and side dishes and we were not disappointed by any of them. The group I was with in Philadelphia went back two other times during our stay just so they could order that appetizer again.  It’s a really fun restaurant with a lively atmosphere and a lot of fun things to try. So, next time you’re in Philadelphia, please give Percy Street BBQ your business. It’s worth it and you won’t be disappointed.

Sorry back to eggs…So Benedict. What’s that all about? My recent inspiration to get creative with the traditional recipe got me researching a bit about the name and origin of the dish. I’m remembering an introduction to this history from some Food Network show (probably Alton Brown) but decided to freshen up on my knowledge of it for this post. (You’re welcome). I found a quick history of Egg’s Benedict on What’s Cooking America which tells the story of an unsatisfied customer desiring something a little more special then what the menu offered at the famous Delmonico’s Restaurant. Chef Charles Ranhofer took on the challenge and was the creative brain child behind said dish and thus was born…Eggs Benedict. Ta-da!

What I love about this story is the unsatisfied customer, because I am just such a customer when it comes to eggs in general. They are such a bland food when I think about them in breakfast food. But that also makes them an exciting ingredient to work with because they are obviously versatile and a sponge for flavor. I’m always wanting to try something new with eggs (trying to earn a crease in my chef’s hat) and my most recent creations with eggs have been a very encouraging improvement to my previous attempts. So, I am coming out of a some what long hiatus from writing to share my inspiration and hopefully get myself back into blogging and cooking.

I give you…Southern Eggs Benedict! My own creation, mind you, so don’t get offended if you see this and don’t believe it’s actually Southern. It’s the name I’ve giving it and along with that name is room for improvement and hopefully the building blocks for your own version of Southern Eggs Benedict. I wasn’t inspired to write until after I took the first bite so there are no, work-in-progress type pictures I usually try to include. But hopefully the instructions below will be helpful! Enjoy :) Tell me if you try this recipe and what changes you end up making!

20130804_120609SOUTHERN EGGS BENEDICT

Ingredients

  • 3 Eggs(we’re doing scrambled eggs folks)
  • 3 Tbs milk or water (for eggs)
  • 3 slices of bacon chopped (pre-cooked is easier)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup onions chopped
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 pkg refrigerator biscuits
  • chives
  • 1/2 cup smoked cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 1 pkg Hollandaise sauce  (I use Knorrs and don’t even try to make my own…true confessions)

Directions

  1. Prepare biscuits according to directions on packaging. Set aside to use for base of benedict when done.
  2. While biscuits are in the oven, begin working on your onions. Over low to medium heat melt your butter in a small saute pan. Once done melting, add your onions and stir to cover in butter. Put heat on low to allow them to soften and caramelize to your liking. When done, remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Prepare your Hollandaise sauce according to package. Keep an eye on it because it can burn easily if you’re not careful. (I would prepare it before the eggs so it can be babied with all your attention and then sit on the stove to stay warm as you’re doing your eggs).
  4. For your scrambled eggs, combine your milk/water and eggs and salt and pepper as desired (I even added a little cumin which complemented the bacon and smoked cheddar really well). Using the same pan, add your egg mixture. I would keep in on lower heat so you can control how fast the eggs cook. As they begin to scramble and firm up, you can begin adding your bacon, onions and cheese to the eggs. Before removing from the heat, mix in your chives for flavor or use them as a garnish for color.
  5. Assemble your bennie by splitting your biscuits and spooning the eggs over top. Pour that yummy Hollandaise over the whole thing and dig in!

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Bacon and Corn Griddle Cakes….MY WAY!



What to make when you’ve lost your wisdom teeth and cringe at the thought of eating something crunchy…..I’m not sure if you’ve had the same dilema but that’s what has been on my brain recently since getting my wisdom teeth pulled on Friday. I was lucky and didn’t have any swelling or major jaw pain like I hear others struggle with. However, I still have 4 big holes in my mouth that do nothing but collect food when I eat. Talk about frustrating. Mashed potatoes, jello, pudding, ice cream, soup…all wonderful food, but I’m sick of them! I saw this recipe on Pinterest this week and figured I would give them a try for my poor mouth.

Don’t these look fantastic?! That’s what I thought too…a big Hurray for me since I’m not the biggest fan of pancakes. I love the idea of doing something savory sweet for breakfast and this has all of those elements. Pancakes are something I just have to be in the mood for, but these looked ideal at any time of the day, breakfast or dinner. Don’t drool to quickly though…that is just the picture posted from Recipe Girl who has her own story about making these griddle cakes. Mine look a little more noivce…just like me! You’ll see my picture at the end and be super disappointed, but consider it a generous dose of reality for when you make yours. Good luck making them look this awesomely perfect.

I decided to try these for dinner tonight and wasn’t disappointed. I made a few modifications to the recipe because I forgot to grab montery jack cheese from the store and the store didn’t have chives, AND I’m not the biggest fan of corn ( I know…the list of things I’m not a fan of are growing by the posts) but also though that would be a no go for my mouth condition. Here is the recipe and next to it is what I subbed some of the ingredients for:

8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives green onion
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2/3 cup milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 cup frozen, canned or fresh corn
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese smoked mozzarella cheese
warm maple syrup, for serving

I have become a huge fan of smoked mozzarella but it’s such a strong flavor that it’s something to be used with consideration. I’ve used it on a few home made and naan pizzas I’ve done recently but it just isn’t quite right. But then again, I stink at making home made pizza memorable so you may not want to take my advice. I love the cheese so much that I’m willing to find recipes that it can be used in! I would LOVE to hear how others are using it and what flavors go well with it so if you know a few, send them my way. I found my round of smoked mozzarella at Fresh and Easy and I’m starting to see it at other grocery stores too. If you ever come across it, just throw it in your cart to try and see what you dream up for how to used it in your normal recipes. It’s just yummy by itself so you won’t regret buying it. For the record, It goes really well in this recipe.

So, the first thing you do is take your bacon and start browning it in the pan…while it’s doing it’s thing, cut up your sweet onion and toss it in the pan. The recipe directions (see below) says to wait till the onion starts to brown, but I say throw it in whenever you want. I didn’t run into any problems with the onions being over done doing it this way. I ran it on medium heat which gave it time brown and me time to start mixing the dry ingredients without getting too ahead of myself.

Your dry ingredients include all purpose flour (I wonder what bread flour would do to this recipe….hmm. I will try and post the outcome. I’m thinking less dense cakes at the end), baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper and green onions. Easy.

Your next step is to mix in your wet ingredients and cheese. The wet ingredients include milk, one egg (beaten a bit), vegetable oil (mine I dumped in my milk which is why it looks a little funny), and of course your cheese. I mixed all the wet ingredients in then threw a handful of cheese in. I actually think I could have done more then the 1/2 cup suggested so don’t be afraid to add more if you’re a cheese lover. After that you’ll take your onion and bacon mixture and add it to the batter.
I made the mistake of not leaving some of the bacon and onion pieces out because I thought, the more the merrier for what was going in the batter….which was right, but there is something about having that extra bacon mixture for the top….SOOO…I caved and cut up a couple strips of bacon and some more onion to make some more. I did that while I began making the cakes which gave me enough time to finish up the bacon. I actually got lucky and timed it perfectly. The 8 slices was a good amount for the batter but secretly, I say you can’t have enough bacon! Make up the whole package for goodness sake! You can just use the leftovers in  eggs or a grill cheese sandwich.
Back to the recipe….I used a 1/4 cup and my mini spatula to get the size I wanted. I ended up adding some more milk to thinn out the batter. I probably should have added a little more, but I didn’t want them to loose the cake-essence of them…the recipe suggests it too, but add milk to get your batter the consistency you’re wanting. The picture to the right is of my first one…looks okay to me!
That’s basically it. I thought it was a very easy little recipe to throw together and I’m already thinking of the other varieties I could do with this basic flour, egg, salt, baking powder batter. I think this will quite possibly be one of the new recipes on my mental recipe box when thinking about meals for the week.
And to leave you in no more suspense, here is my final product…

 Give these a try and tell me what you think. Next time I may be adventurous and add the corn…but we’ll see. Happy cooking friends!

RECIPE AND DIRECTIONS FROM RECIPE GIRL

bacon and corn griddle cakes

Yield: Eight 4-inch griddle cakes

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 25 min

These unique pancakes are stuffed with bacon, corn and cheese. A good dose of warm maple syrup makes them a delicious choice for breakfast.

Ingredients:

8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2/3 cup milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 cup frozen, canned or fresh corn
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
warm maple syrup, for serving

Directions:

1. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon pieces until they begin to brown. Add the onion and continue to cook until the bacon is crisp and the onion is softened. Scoop out a heaping tablespoon of the bacon mixture for topping the griddle cakes upon serving- and set it aside.

2. While the bacon is cooking, combine the flour, chives, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in the milk, egg and oil, just until moistened. Stir in the bacon mixture, corn and cheese. The mixture will be thick. If you’d like the griddle cakes to be slightly thinner than those pictured, add a little more milk to thin out the batter.

3. Heat and grease a griddle or large skillet. Pour a heaping 1/4-cup of the batter onto the griddle and cook until it is golden brown- 3 to 4 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining batter.

4. Serve stacks of griddle cakes topped with a sprinkle of the reserved bacon/onion and a good dose of warm maple syrup.