Recipes

Summer Breakfast Series: Eggs Benny

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Eggs Benedict seems so luxurious because it’s the meal you always order at brunch but never make at home.

Hollandaise + Poaching seem like a 1,2 punch to most home chefs and I don’t blame them. Double boiling for a sauce? Not bursting the yolk of an egg in boiling water? Seems like a hassle. But I promise you it does not have to be this difficult and you’ll be poaching eggs and whipping up Hollandaise on a Tuesday morning before work as a treat for you and yourself.

Now I did not stumble into knowing how to make Eggs Benny nor will I even pretend to have some superior knowledge about Hollandaise and egg poaching. I looked this up and was supported by my wonderful culinarily minded friends (shoutout to Anna who found and then riffed this Hollandaise recipe to perfection). This recipe does not require a double boiler nor does it truly require an immersion blender, a quick hand and a fork will do just fine (I promise I promise I promise, and if anything goes wrong just throw the sauce into an actual blender).

Now you could spend your lifetime researching egg-poaching techniques and never come to the end of the list nor hear any overlapping opinions but I have tested (and tested and tested) Bon Appétit’s guide to poaching eggs and I can truthfully and honestly swear by it. It’s simple, doesn’t require an inordinate amount of tools, and is completely straightforward. The only thing that I will say about this recipe is that the eggs will require a bit more cooking than is stated. Don’t be fooled by the whites becoming white, gently (VERY GENTLY) lift the eggs out of the water and see if the whites are genuinely set through and through, the yolk ought to still be ooey-gooey but warm.

If you follow the recipes above you’re all set (see I did nothing for you except show you how easy it is to achieve this wondrous breakfast) but I will now go on to show you how to assemble. You should again do whatever you please, I don’t like Canadian bacon so I don’t actually ever make a traditional Eggs Benedict I instead often use smoked salmon (technically called Pacific Northwest Eggs Benedict) or crabmeat (Eggs Neptune). But here are a list of different pairings that make an excellent Eggs Quasi-Benny

Eggs Benedict:

  • English muffin
  • Canadian Bacon
  • Poached Egg
  • Hollandaise
  • Chives (if you’re fancy)

Assembly is simple enough, it goes English muffin, Canadian bacon, poached egg, then hollandaise and chives sprinkled on top.

Pacific Northwest Eggs Benedict: (as pictured above)

  • English Muffin
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Arugula
  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Red Onion
  • Poached Egg
  • Hollandaise

First your English muffin, hopefully toasted to perfection. Then your smoked salmon, gently ribboned over your muffin. Next, consider the structural integrity of your Benny, layer your red onion and tomato and then arrange your avocado overtop (there is a great opportunity for slippage between the tomato, avocado, and salmon so be gentle but firm). Next take your arugula and create a nest for your poached egg (they are very prone to rolling off your English muffin and God knows where else), and cocoon your poached eggs in the foliage. Drizzle with Hollandaise, take pictures so you can flex on everybody on instagram (use #homemade to really drive home how much a domestic God/Goddess/Ethereal Being you are) and then devour with a knife and fork. Feel free to remix this recipe however you please, once you have the poached eggs and Hollandaise, the sky’s the limit!

 

Now eat a luxurious breakfast, and be good.

Recipes

Summertime Breakfast Series: French Toast

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My religion is late exorbitant breakfasts.

Alright not really (forgive me Jesus) but there is something I find wholly decadent about making yourself a luxurious breakfast and sitting down to eat it in the late afternoon. So if you are like me, or will actually wake up early and eat breakfast at a decent hour, I suggest trying this recipe. Hint: this is gonna be a rather vague recipe too because do we ever know how many people we’re cooking breakfast for?

What you’ll need:

  • Eggs – I suggest 1 less egg than the number of people you’re cooking for, or 2 minimum. e.g. 3 eggs for 4 people, 5 eggs for 6 yadda yadda yadda)
  • Heavy whipping cream – A quart should be more than enough
  • Milk – I don’t drink below whole but you do you
  • Honey – 2 tablespoons per 4 people
  • Brown sugar – a ¼ of a cup for four people
  • Vanilla – 2 teaspoons
  • Cinnamon – a pinch
  • Butter – to cook your toast in
  • A loaf of challah bread or brioche – or more depending on how many you’re cooking for
  • Powdered sugar – for dusting
  • Varied toppings – fruit of choice, syrup, bacon, whipped cream, mascarpone whatever you want (Like Drake and Nicki in a 7-11)

Now many people will discuss and debate the history of French toast and what is absolutely necessary about its preparation but I think the real takeaway is this: French toast is the easiest form of custard the home chef can make. No separating egg yolks, no tempering liquids, no water bath just eggs, cream, and bread. This is also why I suggest using challah or brioche. They are both eggy breads that will add to the egg in your unofficial custard and create this dream like substance we all know as french toast. Now let’s get started!

  1. Take your brown sugar and put it in a large mixing bowl and add your eggs, cover your eggs with heavy cream (I know this is vague but you’re gonna shoot for around a pint (a cup to a cup and a half), add a couple splashes of milk (no more than ½ a cup), your honey, your vanilla, and your cinnamon. Whisk until well combined and frothy.
  2. Pour your “custard” into a shallow pan or baking dish that can encompass your bread.
  3. Slice your bread into thick, 1-inch slices
  4. Place your bread face down into your custard. Do this one at a time if need be. The custard will probably only come halfway up your bread and that’s fine you’re going to flip it over. BUT, please allow each slice of bread to swim in that delicious custard for at least 2 minutes per side. This may seem to make your bread soggy but I promise the payoff will be excellent, be gentle flipping your bread in the mixture so that it does not rip.
  5. While your bread is soaking put a pan of medium-low heat and melt your butter.
  6. When your bread is done soaking put it on said pan and let it cook until it is golden brown on each side. This should take about 8-10 minutes per side. Keep an eye on it but don’t worry, since the bread is so thick it will take some time to cook through, and there is nothing worse than a soggy, instead of custardy, piece of French toast.
  7. Remove each slice from the heat. Take your powdered sugar and put a tablespoon in a mesh sieve and gently tap it over your toast. Voila! You now have French toast that any brunch spot would kill for, master a mimosa and you’ll never have to leave the house. I like mine piled high with fruit, whipped cream, and syrup (what can I say I’m a glutton).

 

Now be good, and eat breakfast in the late afternoon happily.

Recipes

French Fries aka My Heart and Soul

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I love french fries.

They are one of the most perfect foods in this world and I love them wholeheartedly. I think they are my real soulmate and all other relationships I have will just be entertainment for the time spent absent from french fries (I told you I was prone to dramatics). But I really do love french fries and I believe that if you love a food, you should know how to make it. So here goes my french fry recipe.

What you’ll need:

  • Russet potatoes – you’ll need 2 potatoes per person
  • A gallon of canola oil – you can fry in peanut or in vegetable or even in corn, they all impart a different flavor. I like canola, it doesn’t set off any allergies, and its pretty cheap and easy to find.
  • Salt & Pepper

Ok so first, I think most people approach frying at home with a little bit of fear and loathing but that doesn’t have to be the case. Use a deep pan, I use my dutch oven and I only fill it about ¾ of the way. This way, the oil doesn’t get all over my stove and clean up is relatively easy. Also you have to approach frying calmly, hot oil can sense fear.

Secondly, many assume that they can fry raw potatoes into delicious crispy french fries in one go, this is incorrect thinking piggies. To achieve delicious french fries you must double cook, you can either fry them twice or blanch then fry. I am of the blanch then fry school of thought because it does not require a thermometer and can be better performed in batches but that’s just me.

Now we can get started! First, scrub and I do mean scrub your potatoes clean then cut them into your desired shape (shoestring is the best ever since I have yet to achieve curly at home). I chop my potatoes on a mandolin so they are all the same width, but feel free to cut them with a knife. Place all of your cut potatoes in a bowl and cover them with water to keep them from oxidizing and turning red.

Next, fill your dutch oven with oil (again about ¾ of the way up) and place on high heat. Then, fill a large pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil. When your water comes to a boil, place your first batch of fries in it and leave them in for 3 minutes (time precisely!).

Now in the meantime you can test if your oil is hot enough. One way to test is to place a droplet of water in the oil I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS METHOD as it causes a ton of popping and genuinely freaks me out. Another method you can use is placing the back of a wooden spoon in the oil. If the oil around the spoon bubbles up and fries then it is ready. I like my oil very hot as it makes crispy quite blistered fries but if you do not, consider heating your oil a bit later on in the process, or using a thermometer and heating the oil to 400°.

Now when your 3 minutes are up use a slotted spoon to remove the french fries from the water and place them on a plate, bowl, baking sheet, or platter lined with paper towels (you do not want to go straight from water to oil, it will be far too dangerous). Once the blanched potatoes have had a minute or 2 to dry, place them in the oil with the slotted spoon. And cook until they are your desired shade of golden brown. Stir as needed to make sure they don’t stick. Now your oil will be quite hot and foam quite a bit so you won’t actually be able to see your fries the first few minutes they cook, but I promise the oil will calm down and you will see them before they burn. Take them out when they are done and put them in a paper towel lined bowl and toss with your desired amount of salt and pepper (or add parmesan too like I did). Repeat until all your potatoes are done. Voila!!! You can put McDonald’s out of business and fuel your own french fry addiction!

 

Now eat happily and be good!

Recipes

Cobb Salad

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I’m surprised there aren’t more odes are poems written about Cobb salads because they are the perfect salad. They’re also basically a deconstructed sandwich, but if you want to know how to make my favorite salad here you go!

What you’ll need:

  • “Greens” – I put this in quotes because I’m not talking about collards or swiss chard but your salad green of choice. I really do prefer romaine for a Cobb because it provides structural backing without intruding on the overall flavor but I also make salads with whatever I have in the house, so just choose your favorite.
  • 1 tomato/grape tomatoes
  • ½ an avocado
  • 1 ear of corn
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 boneless chicken thigh
  • Bleu cheese – get the smallest portion your grocery store sells, you really don’t need too much.
  • Dressing of your choice – I really recommend a creamy dressing when it comes to Cobbs. Balsamic and French just don’t do it, you’ll need ranch or bleu cheese. But again that may be just me, so get/make whatever you’d like. I’ll include THE dressing recipe at the end of this recipe just in case.

Alas, this is a salad so it is just about preparing each separate ingredient and then putting them together in a bowl, so the instructions will be quite simple.

Heat your oven to 350°, rinse your chicken thigh (this will make the skin crispier, if you don’t like or want the skin remove it and skip this step), pat it dry and rub it down with olive oil. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper and place it on a baking sheet along with the bacon. Place in the oven and cook for 18-20 minutes checking the bacon constantly (it will take less time for the bacon to cook, remove it after 12-15 minutes depending on the thickness). The chicken is done when you poke the thickest part and the juices run clear. Remove it from the oven and let everything cool.

While your chicken is cooking boil your egg, I really love a soft-boiled egg in this recipe, the oozy yolk adds to the dressing and really pulls the salad together, but if you don’t just add another minute or so to the cook time. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan, gently place your egg in and let sit in the boiling water for 7 minutes PRECISELY. Then remove and place in an ice bath. Wait 5 minutes then crack the shell, peel it, slice in half, and set aside while your prepare the veggies.

Rinse your greens and dry them, either in a salad spinner or gently place them in a kitchen towel and whip it around outside until all of the water is gone (I’m serious, my dad does this for me and it really works). Place them in your serving bowl and move on to the rest of your veggies.

Rinse and chop your tomato (or tomatoes), avocado, and corn. I like raw corn here but feel free to roast it along with your chicken and bacon, just rub it in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and remove it when you remove the bacon. Chopping corn off the cob can be scary because kernels are prone to flying around your kitchen. However, if you lay the corn on its side and run your knife along the cob you will get every last kernel in your bowl and not on your floor, or in your hair, or behind your cupboards…

Once your chicken and bacon cool, chop them into chunks (your bacon will just break apart and that’s just fine!). Also crumble your bleu cheese. Now, you’re ready to assemble! As you can see from the photo I like to give each ingredient it’s shine (but that’s also because I’m an obsessive food photographer) so I will describe the assembly as I did. Place the chicken on top of your greens, while it will be delicious its color composition does not add much to the photo so allow it to hide away. Next, add your ingredients in a quasi-color wheel. So place the tomatoes in ⅕ of your bowl, then add your avocado chunks in the next ⅕, add your egg halves, then your bacon, then your corn. In the center, place your bleu cheese crumbles, and then there you are! A delicious, splendid, beautimous Cobb salad!

Now again, for this salad I really prefer ranch or bleu cheese dressing. It is a thick salad and it ought to be, so the creaminess is required. But I’ve had it with balsamic and French dressing and I don’t hate it (I could never hate a Cobb). So here is the only salad dressing recipe you ever need to learn, I promise:

What you’ll need:

  • Something sour (vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, etc…)
  • Olive oil
  • Mustard (good mustard like Maille’s dijon, yes I am a mustard snob and I stand by my position)
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

This is the whole recipe so read REALLY REALLY carefully otherwise you might miss something and we wouldn’t want that now would we? Take 1 part vinegar to to 2 parts olive oil, add the other ingredients, and mix it together. It’s really that simple but such a vital recipe because it’s a really good bragging point and will make you look like such a chef (which everybody wants to look like right?) Now drizzle your dressing over your Cobb salad and diiiiiive in!

Eat happy and be good. 💙

Recipes

Carbonara à la Patrice

My mom does not cook. While she is a literal star at everything else she does,  and anything she touches turns to gold (I’m talking about myself), she just does not cook. When I was little I recall a couple of dishes she made here and there, a tuna casserole, a beef stroganoff (with cantaloupe chunks), and this carbonara recipe. Now this is in no way a traditional carbonara recipe, Patrice’s only tradition is to break tradition,  and it is in NO WAY healthy. Also, I have never used measurements when it comes to this recipe so bear with me, it’s meant for you to develop your own tastes not to follow mine.

You’re going to need:

  • Pasta
  • Bacon
  • Onion (I prefer red in this dish, but it’s up to you)
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms (white button)
  • Cheddar (shredded)
  • Sour Cream
  • Parmesan (shredded)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • Wine (unnecessary but preferred)

So first, choose a pasta. When I want to pretend to be healthy I get whole grain but we all know whole grain doesn’t matter until it comes to pasta, then it inexplicably makes it taste horrible, but feel free to get whole grain if your opinion differs. Shape is important here, while you can always make it with traditional spaghetti or fettuccine, I find using shells is the best. They scoop up the sauce, stay solid, and just add another dimension to the dish. But again, it is your dish of carbonara with my guidance so buy whatever pasta you’d like, cook it, save some of the pasta water, and drain the noodles.

While your pasta is cooking chop and cook your bacon. I honestly use about ¾ to a full pack of bacon when cooking this dish for a family of four (I told you it wasn’t healthy) and do not use turkey bacon in this dish, I call myself Muva Piglette not Muva Turklette for a reason. Anyways, cut your bacon into square pieces and throw it into a pan with no oil, the fat rendered will be enough. Allow the bacon to cook until crisp (about 10-12 minutes), stirring to keep from burning,  then remove from the pan and put on a plate lined with paper towels, or chipotle napkins, whichever you have on hand.

Chop your onion into your most preferred pattern, I like slices in this dish, but you can mince as well. Throw it in the pan and mince your garlic (anywhere from 3-7 cloves, I love garlic) and throw it in the pan as well. Keep an eye on them as garlic loves to burn and flavor your entire dish. While they cook chop your mushrooms (again I like slices but do what you feel). If you’ve chosen to use wine, before you add the mushrooms pour a few splashes of wine into the pan (no more than ¼ of a cup if you want to be precise). Be careful as it will bubble up quite a bit, after it calms a little stir the bottom of the pan vigorously. Voila! You have just deglazed a pan and you’re a natural. Wait about 2-3 minutes for some of the alcohol to cook off then add your mushrooms and cook another 4-5 minutes.

Next, add a couple of scoops of sour cream a couple of handfuls of cheddar cheese and one handful of parmesan to your pan. Stir until they all blend together. If you find the sauce to be too thick add some pasta water, if it is too thin, add a bit more sour cream or cheese, your call. Taste as you go, add salt and pepper as you feel. Be careful as the bacon adds quite a bit of salt, so you probably need less than you think. To tie it all together, add the bacon and pasta into the sauce, toss to coat, and top with more parm. There you have it! Patrice’s Carbonara co-opted by me, then you! As is always true, this dish is even better the next day, and the next day, and the next day, and the next.

Now you may have some questions for me at the end of this recipe: “Ambre why did you make it so vague? Ambre why didn’t you use measurements? Ambre why didn’t you tell me the exact number of strips of bacon to use?” and to those questions I will say this, I want you all to believe in your own culinary ability. A recipe can tell you how many grains of salt you should add or tell you vaguely that you should use “protein”, but none of this matters if you don’t trust your own intuition in the kitchen. Who knows your palate better than you? My recipes will vary in precision, but I wanted to start with one that forces you to rely on yourself in the kitchen. That way if, God forbid, anything goes wrong later down the road you will have a bit of your own expertise and intuition to rely on, rather than the internet.

 

Now eat happily and be good.