I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

daring cook, december

This month's challenge was poaching. No, not sneaking off to the woods to steal endangered animals, but the cooking technique.

Poached eggs remind me of childhood. Coming into the sunny kitchen in the morning, the little radio playing the morning show while Dad had a poached egg on toast before leaving for the office, is one of those childhood vignettes for me. It comes back to me whenever I make that breakfast for myself, something I often do. It's comfort food, both from the happy memories and the simple goodness of it. So the poaching technique was not really new to me, but using it to make eggs benedict definitely was.

"Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num."
The eggs were poached in just-simmering water, cooking gently until the white was set and the yolk softly cooked. And once again, the hens were contributors to the challenge. Fresh eggs do poach more easily as the white tends to stay around the egg better in the water.

Hollandaise sauce! One word: "yummm". Six words: "I wanted to lick my plate". Smooth, buttery lemony goodness. Oh, it was amazing and the technique, while requiring attention, was not as difficult as I had thought (thanks to the wonderful directions provided by the DC hosts this month!). Our first attempt at eggs benedict was English muffin, bacon, poached egg and the sauce. Delicious! I only had salted butter on hand, though, and found less salt would have been better. But for a first take, I loved it and the family did, too. It made for a Saturday breakfast that felt remarkably pampered and indulgent.
Eggs benedict, traditional on English muffin with bacon

On our second go, we altered things a bit; I made crepes and used prosciutto in the place of the bacon. Unsalted butter this time made for a better hollandaise, but the prosciutto itself was quite salty and I think a lower-salt version of the prosciutto might be a good thing. Regardless, these were a huge hit with the taste testers (D and the 3 girls) and the crepes were actually preferred to the muffins by the kids.
Eggs benedict on crepes with prosciutto.

This recipe is another keeper for us. Using a broad saucepan let me poach several eggs at a time, which is nice for serving a group. I would like to try the other poaching recipe provided this month, oeufs en meurette, eggs poached in red wine and served on toasted baguette slices with mushrooms and onion... it sounds amazing. Another time, though!

Side note: hollandaise is also a delight on broiled salmon. We took the sauce knowledge and applied it to a non-poaching. So good!

Side note 2: my other egg comfort food: a soft-boiled egg, cut off the top and dip buttered toast fingers into it. Simple and wonderful. Eaten by a crackling fire, with tea: divine.


shelley c. said...

I had to laugh about your opening comment about "poaching" - you may be surprised what odd results come up if you google "poaching recipes" based on that misunderstanding... :) Both versions of your eggs Benedict look absolutely mouth-watering. You did a fantastic job with the challenge!

Ruth H. said...

I never would have thought of using crepes! What a fun and creative idea! I am so glad you enjoyed this challenge. Both versions you made look exquisite!

Audax said...

Crepes now that is a good idea wonderful! And great to hear that the kids liked it so much. Lovely work.

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Jenn said...

Beautiful, I love both renditions that you made - glad you enjoyed this challenge!!!

blepharisma said...

Yup, that sounds heavenly! A crepe with the egg sounds really good.

Miri said...

looking delicious!Your kids look like they eat really really well!

Renata said...

Like you, I also had a blast with eggs Benedict. Very interesting idea to use crepes...

Mary said...

Two great versions of the challenge! I made crepes too, but with a very different sauce--I'll have to try this one. I also have lots of wonderful breakfast memories, but mostly of fried and soft-boiled eggs. Glad the whole family enjoyed this.

Robyn Clarke said...

Love the crepe idea, think I'm going to have to give that a go.....maybe Christmas morning breakfast.

FabFrugalFood said...

Can I come to your house for brunch?

Great job!


David and Stacy said...

Great results, well done!

Crepes will need to be tucked away on our perhaps-for-a-change list - thanks!