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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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Buffalo Wings Exploration


Preparation of these saucy wings traditionally includes melted butter and cayenne pepper hot sauce…which means as much heat as you can handle. The wings are first deep fried before coated in the sauce and everyone says the crispier the better. They are of course served with celery and blue cheese dressing, definitely to cut the kick that they are sure to provide.

Tasty looking, yes! However, I am sad to say that I’m not a fan. You’ll find that I say that a lot to the foods that everyone is “suppose” to like …spaghetti, lasagna, bananas. Hold your gasps and harsh words…my palate frustrates me too! I’m a sweet BBQ girl all the way so I’ve always sought out the sweeter version of these little guys!

Buffalo Wild Wings has been Hannah and my new favorite restaurant. Go on Tuesday and Thursdays and you’ll be there on deal days! (55 cent wings Tuesdays and 65 cent boneless Thursdays)!!  They have way more sauces then you can possibly try but my favorite with them has been their Honey BBQ.

I went with an old roommate Sarah to Chili’s last night (our usual dive) and I got some of their Honey Chipotle Chicken Crispers…(starting to get my idea of a yummy sauce for wings?!) To echo RR, yummo! Pretty sure that will always be my favorite item on their menu. If anyone has tips or tricks on how to make that honey chipotle sauce, I’ll happily take it!

I just went to Buffalo in September while visiting NY for my friend Rachel’s wedding and thought it very important that I embrace their native cuisine…the Buffalo Wing! I did a little research before I left and found that The Anchor Bar was the place to visit if I wanted the home of Buffalo Wings. Sadly, I missed visiting them but was able to grab some wings at Jack Astor’s Bar and Grill (pictured on the left) at the Walden Galleria. Jack Astor's Buffalo Fingers 3a I was super impressed with their menu and decided to try their chicken finger equivalent with their sweet chipotle sauce as well as a cup of beer cheddar soup. Holy cow, that meal was absolutely the best way to end my trip there! Calories galore and worth every bite. I wish Jack Astor’s B and G moved out of Canada and the NE and over our way! Anyways, they served the chicken with blue cheese dressing. I love the dressing on a wedge salad any day, but I have never been a fan of it with chicken. I am so glad that I decided to comply with their generosity because I have found my new dipping love for bbq chicken fingers/wings/nuggets…This is an amazing combination of flavors…sweet, spicy, creamy, cheesy, savory. Super Delightful! If you’ve never tried this, PLEASE DO, and then tell me what you think! I do believe you will join this blue cheese train and never go back to ranch ever again!

So here is a recipe I found that gives me the best of what I love in a buffalo wing and my love affair with BBQ flavored chicken.Best of both worlds! I am going to try these this weekend and report back on how they turn out. …THANKS to allrecipes.com:

SWEET AND SPICY BUFFALO WINGS

Ingredients

  • 6 pounds chicken wings, separated at joints, tips discarded
  • 1 1/2 cups Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 pinch garlic salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.
  2. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill the chicken 8 to 12 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear. (You can deep fry or bake the chicken instead if you want to, but it is best when grilled.) Remove chicken to a large roasting pan.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix the hot sauce, butter, honey, garlic salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Simmer about 10 minutes, until blended and heated through. Pour the sauce over the grilled chicken wings and stir to coat.