Recipe: Soft Boiled Eggs Benedict

Brunch is one of those things that is excellent in a restaurant, but can be a bit tricky to perform at home, as the main event tends to rely on the every fiddly ingredient: Eggs.

To present at their best, eggs ought to be enjoyed as soon as they are cooked. But who wants to spend their whole morning in the kitchen hovering over a steaming skillet, serving one plate of flapjacks at a time?

This is a quick and easy dish I rely on when serving brunch in my tiny apartment, and it hasn’t let me down yet!

https://youtu.be/AlrjpYOzPM4

Blender Hollandaise:

(From Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

3 egg yolks

1 stick of butter (melted)

1-2 tbs lemon juice

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 black pepper

In the bowl of a blender combine the egg yolks, 1 tbs lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Blend on high until well combined and thick. Add melted butter 1 tbs at a time, blending continuously. Once half of the butter has been incorporated, add the remaining butter all at once. When the sauce is thick and homogeneous, taste and adjust seasoning with additional lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.

If you need to ‘hold’ the sauce while preparing other components, pour sauce in a lidded glass jar, and place in a pan of tepid water to keep warm.

Soft boiled eggs

(adapted from the clever folks at Cooks Illustrated)

Allow eggs to reach room temperature so they don’t crack when placed in the pan. Bring 1/2 an inch of water to boil in a large flat pot with a tight fitting lid. With tongs, gently place eggs in boiling water. Cover with a tight fitting lid and steam for six minutes (for soft, runny yolks. Add another 30 seconds for lightly set yolks, and 30 more seconds for firmer yolks). With tongs, place eggs in a bowl and run cold water over them for 1 minute. Peel eggs under running water, and serve. If you need to warm the eggs just before serving, simply place in warm water for 30 seconds.

St. Patricks Day Recipe: Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops!

A perfect recipe for a cool winter dinner, or to practice now for a St. Patrick’s Day feast!

Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

2 shoulder chops

3 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 small onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, skinned and left whole

2 anchovies , oil-packed

1 tbs tomato paste

1 cup dry wine (red or white)

1/2 cup stock

1 bouquet garni (2 stalks of rosemary and 6 stalks of thyme)

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Season the chops with salt and pepper. Pat dry. In a heavy skillet bring a heat a tablespoon of oil to smoking. Sear the chops until crisp and brown on both sides, about 1 minute on each side. Remove chops to a plate. Lower heat to medium. Add the carrot, onion, and celery to the hot pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add anchovies and cook for 1 minute until anchovies begin to melt into the vegetables. Add tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables

Add wine and stock, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring liquid to a boil, then return lamb chops and accumulated juices to the pan. If needed, add additional stock or water to ensure the liquid nearly covers the meat. Reduce to a simmer and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce heat to low (or place in a 240degree oven) and simmer until meat is fork tender but not falling off the bone, about 1.5-2 hours.

Remove chops to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Skim fat from the surface of the braising liquid. Strain braising liquid through a fine strainer, discard solids. Return liquid to pan and reduce until liquid coats the back of a spoon. Serve chops on a bed of mashed potatoes, glazed in braising liquid and topped with gremolata.

Gremolata

Zest of 1 lemon (fine)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup of fresh parsley, chopped

Combine ingredients and chop fine. cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made up to six hours in advance.

Recipe: (Heart) Beet Wellington

When I was a kid, my mother treated Valentine’s Day with the same attention as most people give Easter. Valentine’s breakfast would feature heart studded socks tucked in my juice glass and conversation hearts in my cereal bowl. This was, of course, after sitting with me a few days prior to design and create an elaborate valentine’s box in which to stow all of the cards and candy I was sure to receive on the Big Day.

Now that I am a grown up, nothing says Holiday like a beautiful meal with an impressive culinary centerpiece. And nothing says ‘I Love You’ quite so well as ‘I made fresh puff pastry for you, with my very own hands.

I wanted to post this in plenty of time for Valentine’s Day, in case you ant to give it a test drive.

Buckle up, kids this one is an epic!

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Hospitality @ Home: Kale Salad

shaved brussels sprouts
kale salad ingredients
the beginnings of a beautiful salad

Let us take a moment to consider Kale. That humble, sweet green with the bitter bite that has the texture of an innertube when not prepared correctly.  You can’t swing a salad spinner around Los Angeles these days without hitting a restaurant with a Kale Salad on the menu.  I am ever hopeful, but alas, have been burned many times by the sub-par kale salad.

Until I encountered the amazing version at Food Lab in Silverlake.  I had read about it on Yelp!, Twitter, Facebook, everywhere, and when I met a friend there for lunch a couple weeks ago, I knew I had to have it. Studded with almonds, shallots, brussels sprouts and romano cheese, this salad is my new obsession.

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Hospitality @ Home: Beef Carpaccio

beef carpaccio recipe

 

Beef carpaccio is one of those dishes that looks incredibly ambitious.  The fact that it’s main component is raw beef can seem daunting to the home cook, as well.   But it is a dish that can be easily replicated at home, if given the proper preparation.

First and foremost, get the best, freshest, highest quality beef you can find.  You don’t need a lot of it, half a pound easily serves 4-5 appetizer portions, but it needs to be great quality.  If you have a local butcher, then get your meat there.  I generally use Filet Mignon when I make carpaccio, but tenderloin works just as well.

As long as you start with the highest quality meat, and keep it below 41 degrees F until it is consumed, you shouldn’t have any worries about contamination or food borne illness.  I like to put my serving plates in the freezer before I plate this dish, also, to help keep the meat at a nice, cold temperature.

Beef Carpaccio with Horseradish Vinaigrette

adapted from Darina Allen’s Forgotten Skills of Cooking

1/2 lb of organic, Prime Filet Mignon (fresh, not frozen)

1 cup arugula

Horseradish Vinaigrette

2 egg yolks

2 TBS dijon mustard

1 TBS sugar

2 TBS red wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1 TBS prepared horseradish

1 tsp fresh chopped parsely

1 tsp fresh chopped tarragon

 

Place the meat, well wrapped, into your freezer to firm up while you put together your vinaigrette (if you are prepping your vinaigrette in advance, just freeze the meat for an hour before you slice it).

In a bowl, combine the egg yolks, mustard, sugar, and vinegar. Mix well.  Whisk in the oil drop by drop, as though making a mayonnaise.  When all oil is incorporated, add the horseradish, parsley, and tarragon.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
Remove filet from freezer (after allowing 30minutes to 1 hour for the meat to firm up).  Slice the meat, carefully, with a very sharp knife into 1/2 slices.  Place a slice of meat  between two sheets of oiled plastic wrap or parchment paper.  Roll, gently, with a rolling pin until translucent and doubled in size.  Peel away one layer of plastic wrap, place the meat on a chilled plate, then remove the other piece of plastic.  Repeat for each slice of meat.  Drizzle with horseradish vinaigrette, and top with arugula.

Hospitality @ Home: Garlic-infused Olive Oil

One of favorite secret ingredients in my home kitchen is garlic infused olive oil.  I used it to make croutons, as a base for vinaigrette, as a substitute for truffle oil in recipes when I don’t feel like spending a zillion dollars on a single ingredient, or as a finishing drizzle on roasted chicken or fish.

It is such a simple ingredient to make and to use, and as a bonus, you get a bunch of roasted garlic to use however you want.

You don’t have to peel the garlic to roast it, but for this preparation I like to peel all the garlic.  Then at the end, I have a buttery smelling apartment, a jar of garlic infused oil, and a matching jar of roasted garlic that is ready to spread on toast, add to sauces, etc.

peeled garlic

Recipe after the jump…..

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Hospitality @ Home: Fool-proof Bruschetta con Cecca

bruschetta recipeI was working at a family owned steak house in Oklahoma City in 2006.  It was a dinner only sort of establishment, with a menu consisting entirely of red meat from the grill.  The chef at the time had formerly run the kitchen at the National Gallery of Art in D.C. as well as a flashy resort on Grand Cayman.  He could cook a steak that would knock your socks off, but his heart was in Italian food.  And, from working in places that did such high volume caterings, he had developed some foolproof recipes.  Such as the Bruschetta con Cecca he taught me when I was throwing my first grown up housewarming party with the Gent.

Cecca is the Italian word for the combination of tomato-basil-garlic that most of us Midwesterners called simply, Bruschetta.
The trick with this recipe is draining the water out of your tomatoes prior to mixing them with the rest of the ingredients.  the second trick is using prepared pesto.  It doesn’t add too much liquid, packs a more nuanced flavor punch, and best of all requires NO TIME AT ALL, when you are trying to get your eye make up done before your guests arrive….

recipe after the jump….

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