Eggs Blackstone

Life is very, very stressful for me right now, some of which is unbloggable, and some I’ll tell you about soon.  But if I don’t get some time to decompress in the very near future, my head may pop right off my shoulders.  There is just so much going on.

I haven’t had much opportunity to do much in the way of “creative” cooking lately, and that’s part of my problem – it’s hard to do a blog-worthy recipe when you’re constantly on the run.  But this Sunday I went out of my way to make something special for brunch, and I’m so glad I did.

Beloved is a huge Eggs Benedict fan; if you ask him what he wants as a special occasion breakfast or brunch, that will probably be his first answer.  Me?  Not so much, but I still make some version of the dish a few times a year, simply because he loves it so much.

I forget where I ran into this particular version – in the 1975 edition of The Joy of Cooking, I believe – and have been meaning to make it for quite some time.  Now is the perfect opportunity, since the cool weather is keeping our abundant crop of tomatoes from ripening quickly.  In other words, I’ve got green tomatoes out the wazoo in the back yard, so why not fry them up?

I have to say, out of all of the versions of Eggs Benedict I’ve made over the years, this is one of my favorites, right up there with the Crab Cake Benedict.  Beloved devoured it (in fact, he devoured thirds), and while I’m not a fan of poached eggs, this was just as good with softly scrambled eggs.  Just delicious, and while it’s a tad labor-intensive, it’s a marvelous special occasion brunch paired with some fresh fruit.

Eggs Blackstone. A unique version of Eggs Benedict featuring fried green tomato slices and crumbled bacon.Click the image to enlarge

Eggs Blackstone
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 ounces bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
  • 1 recipe [url href=”http://www.janssushibar.com/fried-green-tomatoes/” target=”_blank”]Fried Green Tomatoes[/url]
  • 1 cup clarified butter or ghee, melted
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 dash Tabasco sauce
  • kosher salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Make the Fried Green Tomatoes; set aside and keep warm.
  2. [i]Make the Hollandaise:[/i] Bring two inches of water to a simmer in the bottom half of a double boiler. Whisk the eggs with the cold water in the top half until light and foamy. Add a few drops of lemon juice and continue whisking over the simmering water until the egg yolks have begun to thicken.
  3. Begin whisking the clarified butter into the egg yolks slowly – just a few drops at a time. As an emulsion forms, begin adding the butter in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Once the butter has been completely incorporated into the egg yolks and the sauce is smooth and thickened, add the remaining lemon juice and Tabasco. Season to taste with salt and keep warm.
  4. [i]Poach the eggs:[/i] Pierce the large end of each egg with the pin about 3/8 of an inch deep; lower the eggs into a saucepan of boiling water for exactly 10 seconds, remove immediately and set aside – this will help the egg keep it’s shape during the poaching process. Pour 1/4 cup of plain, white vinegar into a wide, fairly shallow pan of simmering water; the vinegar will also help the egg retain it’s shape when poaching. Crack an egg sharply against the side of the pan and, holding the egg as closely to the surface of the simmering water as you can manage, break open the egg quickly and slide it into the water. Set a kitchen timer for 4 minutes and quickly repeat with the remaining eggs.
  5. Increase the heat slightly if you need to in order to keep the water simmering, and when the 4 minutes is up, remove the eggs with the slotted spoon, one at a time, in the order you dropped them into the water – depending on how quickly you got them into the water, you shouldn’t need more than 15 seconds between each egg – and place them in a large bowl of hot water. This will help keep them warm as well as remove the taste of the vinegar.
  6. Divide the Fried Green Tomatoes between 4 plates; top with the crumbled bacon. Place a poached egg on the tomatoes and bacon, then spoon the hollandaise sauce over the egg.
  7. Serve immediately.
  8. Nutrition (per serving): 593 calories, 51.5g total fat, 399.3mg cholesterol, 957.9mg sodium, 378.4mg potassium, 11.4g carbohydrates, 1.4g fiber, 2g sugar, 19.9g protein

Very Berry Baked Pancake

Sorry for the lack of posting lately, especially last week.  I’ve just been so darn busy lately, and it’s not going to let up any time soon – our busy season is coming up, and the canning/freezing supplies are coming out.  Add that to an increasingly heavy workload (although it’s work I enjoy, so I will definitely NOT complain), getting The Young One prepared for college in the fall, as well as lots of time being Meema, and I can barely find time to cook and photograph three recipes a week, much less blog about anything else.

Oh, well…it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, I suppose.

At any rate, we’re swimming in berries right now.  Strawberry season is almost over, but we’ve got blueberries and raspberries, both red and black, coming out of our ears.  Faced with a ton of each this weekend, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do with them (besides feed them to the berry eating machine that is our grandson).  Beloved urged me to put them in a breakfast dish for our brunch this Sunday…so I did.

I didn’t want to make anything too terribly complicated, so I decided to see if I could make something along the lines of a Dutch Baby.  It didn’t puff up like a Dutch Baby is supposed to, but it was freaking delicious – thus, the baked pancake.  We ate this with Scotch Eggs and watermelon; it was a lovely, filling brunch.  The pancake, while a bit on the rustic side, is tender and delicately sweet and tart from the berries.  I drizzled the wedges with pure maple syrup, but that is all it was – just a drizzle.  Beloved couldn’t stop raving about it, so I imagine I’ll be making this again before berry season is over.

It would make a good, simple dessert, too – top it with a little lightly-sweetened whipped cream.

Note: There is baking powder in the recipe; most commercial baking powders contain aluminum and GMO corn starch.  You can make your own quite easily – this is a good recipe.

Very Berry Baked Pancake. Mixed berries are a sweet-tart complement to this tender baked pancake.

Click on the image to enlarge

Very Berry Baked Pancake
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 cups mixed berries (black raspberries, blueberries, sliced strawberries)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place the berries in a small glass mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar; stir to coat. Allow the fruit to macerate for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Melt the ghee in a heavy, oven-proof 10″ skillet over low heat. Place the remaining ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into the skillet and sprinkle the berries evenly over the surface of the pancake. Allow to cook over the heat for one minute.
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the pancake is cooked through. Cool for 3 to 5 minutes; cut into 6 wedges. Drizzle with maple syrup, if desired, and serve.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 181 calories, 9.4g total fat, 108.3mg cholesterol, 120mg sodium, 172.3mg potassium, 19.8g carbohydrates, 1.7g fiber, 10.1g sugar, 4g protein

Banana-Blueberry Muffins

Sorry there was no post yesterday; The Young One and I were attending something called Destination Kent (we’re there again today, as a matter of fact) – a requirement for all incoming Freshmen.  I simply didn’t have time to do anything else.  I probably wouldn’t have anything today if I hadn’t had such a hard time winding down last night.  Talk about information overload.

I have to tell you:  I am exhausted.  Running around a college campus in a pair of shoes you thought were comfortable until you spent 12 hours walking all over creation and back has a way of sapping your energy.  The crappy food didn’t help much either; something that renews my trepidation about what The Young One will eat while he’s there.  Let’s just suffice to say after 3 chocolate croissants, a glass of apple juice and a cup of hot chocolate for breakfast yesterday morning, the sugar crash that happened was of nearly epic proportions.  It was all the kid could do to keep from sliding out of his chair into a snoring heap on the floor during the “welcome” portion of yesterday’s activities.

Afterwards, we had a serious, if brief, discussion about the importance of making better choices for breakfast – especially since he’s not used to such carbage (to say nothing of not being a morning person under the best of circumstances).  Of course, Mom may just have to make sure he has a steady supply of vat-pasteurized, non-homogenized whole milk from a local dairy that grass-feeds their cows and treats like these to keep him full, happy and reasonably healthy.

The Young One is not the only younger member of the family whose diet I keep an eagle eye on, at least in my home.  I always keep fruit in the house for the preschool-age G Man; he doesn’t really get cookies, candy or other sweet treats at Meema and Papa’s house.  But the boy just adores fruit, and he’s especially fond of bananas and blueberries, so I always try to make sure to have some on hand.  On the downside to that, I sometimes have bananas slowly rotting on my counter – after all, there’s only so many bananas a little boy can eat during his weekly visits to the grands, and the rest of us have to really be in the mood to eat a tasty nanner.

It seems to be different if you put the tasty nanner in bread form, for these disappeared quite rapidly (which is why I try not to bake very often).  I whipped these together for our Sunday brunch one day some weeks ago, and since I didn’t want to wait an hour for a loaf of bread to be done, muffins it was.  The addition of the blueberries was rather inspired, if I do say so myself, lending the muffins a light, fruity flavor that was just delicious.

I have a feeling The Young One’s dorm room is going to become quite popular when care package time rolls around.

Banana Blueberry Muffins. Blueberries add a touch of light fruitiness to these gluten-free banana bread muffins.

Click to enlarge the photo

Banana-Blueberry Muffins
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup potato flour
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 4 tablespoons melted ghee
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F; generously grease the cups of a 12 serving muffin tin.
  2. Whisk together the flours, baking soda and salt in a large bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or another large mixing bowl if you’re using a hand mixer), mix the eggs, bananas, sugar, ghee and vanilla on medium speed until well blended. Add the dry ingredients in three additions on low speed, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Gently fold in the blueberries with a spatula.
  3. Divide the batter between the 12 prepared muffin cups and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  4. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out the muffins. Allow to cool completely before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 249 calories, 14.2g total fat, 56.7mg cholesterol, 230.1mg sodium, 264.9mg potassium, 23.9g carbohydrates, 3.4g fiber, 11.7g sugar, 2.2g protein

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

Yesterday, I mentioned that we’d had more than our fair share of “indulgences” while my kids were visiting.

This is one of them.

Strawberry-rhubarb anything is one of Beloved’s favorite things to eat; I can’t even begin to describe how happy he is to have both growing in our gardens.  Since we celebrated Father’s Day on Friday, due to his travel schedule, I thought it would be nice to make a strawberry-rhubarb something.  In years past, it would have been a pie, but crumbles and crisps are so much easier (and I haven’t perfected the perfect gluten-free pie crust yet).

Was it good, you ask?  Well, let’s put it this way – it didn’t last 24 hours.  Heck, half of it was gone before we ate the dinner for which it was supposed to be dessert.  It made a damn fine breakfast, too, paired with scrambled eggs and good, strong coffee.  An altogether delightfully delicious and versatile treat.

Note:  The cardamom in the “crumble” part gave it a really wonderful flavor, but if you don’t have it, that’s okay – it’ll still be good.  Also, make sure you place the pie plate on a foil-lined baking sheet before putting it in the oven; it will bubble over the edges of the dish.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble. A simple, gluten-free dessert featuring sweet, juicy strawberries and tart rhubarb.

Click on photo to enlarge

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sliced rhubarb
  • 1 quart strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine the rhubarb and strawberries with the 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice in a large glass mixing bowl. Allow the fruit to macerate for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir the 2 tablespoons of tapioca flour into the fruit mixture, then transfer to a pie plate and bake, uncovered. for 15 minutes.
  3. While the strawberry-rhubarb mixture is baking, combine the pecans with the tapioca and potato flours, evaporated cane juice, coconut, and cardamom in a small bowl. Stir in the melted ghee, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is moist and crumbly, but not wet.
  4. Spread the pecan topping over the fruit and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until the topping is brown and the fruit is tender. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 329 calories, 18g total fat, 7.6mg cholesterol, 7.8mg sodium, 523.5mg potassium, 42.2g carbohydrates, 7.5g fiber, 25.5g sugar, 3.6g protein

Fish Poached in Ghee

I think I mentioned in yesterday’s post that The Young One is picky about fish – he pretty much refuses to touch it, unless it’s shellfish – so Beloved and I tend to eat it at lunch.  Since our time at lunch is generally limited, I tend to cook fish recipes that are pretty quick and easy.  And really, really tasty.

This is one of those recipes.

Really, this dish is simplicity itself and is ready in 10 minutes.  It’s a classic preparation of fish, lemon and butter, only due to my issues with cow’s dairy, I substitute ghee – all of the flavor of butter, without the lactose or casein.  You can certainly use butter if you prefer, but whatever you do, you should make this dish – it is just delicious.

The pretty purple stuff underneath is a purple cauliflower mash, and it was a great vehicle for the fish.  You could serve this over rice or even mashed potatoes and it would taste very good, although it would look a little…one note.  The cauliflower was a nice contrast and the light, mild flavor complimented the richness of the ghee and the tartness of the lemon really well.  If you don’t care for cauliflower, a winter squash puree – butternut, perhaps? – would be delicious, too.

I used flounder for this dish, which I just love, but you can use any mild, white fish and it will be fine.

Fish Poached in Ghee. A simple combination of lemon butter makes a tangy sauce for mild, white fish.

Click to enlarge

Fish Poached in Ghee
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 10 ounces flounder or other mild fish
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons [url href=”http://www.janssushibar.com/ghee/” target=”_blank”]Ghee[/url]
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • finely chopped parsley
  • thinly sliced lemon
Instructions
  1. Lightly season the fish fillets with the salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning.
  2. Melt the ghee in a saute pan over low heat; stir in the lemon juice. Add the fish to the pan and spoon the ghee/lemon mixture over the fillets. Cover and cook, turning once, until the fish becomes opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 10 minutes.
  3. Using a spatula, transfer the fish to two warmed plates. Pour the pan sauce over the fish, and garnish with the parsley and lemon slices. Serve immediately.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 305 calories, 25.8g total fat, 124.9mg cholesterol, 422.8mg sodium, 241.5mg potassium, <1g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, <1g sugar, 17.9g protein