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.
This is my first Daring Cooks Challenge. I joined the Daring Bakers because I love to bake, and although I love the baking challenges that we’ve done so far, I wanted to try something a little tougher. Enter the Daring Cooks. Baking comes naturally to me, cooking does not. The Daring Cooks will definitely push me to try things I would never otherwise do.
December 12th is my moms birthday. Since she already had dinner plans (busy girl) I decided to make her and my family Eggs Benedict for brunch. Eggs Benedict are opened faced sandwiches traditionally made with English muffins, Canadian bacon, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce. You may have seen poached eggs on my blog before, like here and here, but I’ve always used a poach pod to make them. Now that I’m a Daring Cook I had to do it old school, that is, poor ‘em into some hot water and hope for the best. Actually that’s not technically true. I did a lot of research to figure out the best way to poach an egg, and as luck would have the episode of Good Eats where Alton Brown makes Eggs Benedict aired on Food Network Canada a week before I planned to make them. Armed with this knowledge I felt pretty confident about the eggs. I was still pretty nervous about the Hollandaise sauce though,as overcooking the eggs is really easy to do.
I used a loaf from Premiere Moisson instead of the english muffins, mostly because I forgot to buy the muffins. I also used regular bacon instead of Canadian bacon, (I have to say that as a Canadian I have never actually had Canadian bacon).
I started the process by cooking the bacon. Next I made the Hollandaise. For a few moments I was worried that I had curdled the eggs, but I whipped like a mad woman and managed to save them. Next I poached the eggs in a very large pot with four small bowls placed in it, as Alton suggested when poaching for a large group. I toasted the bread while the eggs poached then assembled.
I have to say I was quite pleased with the results. My first Hollandaise was rich and creamy, my eggs were cooked to with a slightly runny yolk (just how I like them), and the bacon was .. well it was bacon. You can’t really go wrong with bacon. The only issue I had was it was a little difficult to remove some of the eggs from their bowls, I broke two of the yolks.
For the Hollandaise
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tsp water
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter cold, cut into small pieces
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- cayenne pepper to taste
For the eggs
- vinegar or lemon juice (1 tsp per cup of water used)
- Green onion (optional)
- Make Hollandaise. Set up a double boiler; fill a large sauce pan with 1 inch of water bring to a boil then simmer. In a mixing bowl that will fit over the sauce pan whisk the egg yolks with the tsp of water until the colour has lightened, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar then whisk for 30 more seconds. Place the bowl over the sauce pan and whisk for 2 to 5 minutes until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Take the bowl off the heat and add the butter one piece at a time, whisking until it is completely incorporated, place the bowl back over the simmering water if necessary to ensure the butter melts completely. Stir in the lemon juice, salt and cayenne.
- Poach the eggs: Place four small bowls in a large pot, fill with water until the bowls are covered by a quarter inch. Add vinegar and salt to the water. Bring to a boil then remove from the heat. Add one egg to each bowl the cover and let sit for 7-8 minutes for a runny yolk, longer if you prefer the yolks to be more cooked. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon.
- Assemble the sandwich: Place a few pieces of bacon on each slice of bread, top with poached eggs and pour Hollandaise sauce over eggs. Sprinkle with cayenne and garnish with green onion.
Earlier today we celebrated Sasha’s second birthday. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of fun I had at a child’s party. Turns out toys are fun for grown ups too. I have to tell you I am incredibly proud of myself for not breaking my sugar-free/gluten-free fast. Turning down the birthday cake was a lot easier with a gluten-free buddy, and I discovered that another party goer was in the process of eliminating gluten to test for intolerance. We both agreed that snacks and breakfast are the toughest meals of the day. She’s tackling the situation the way I did the first time I eliminated gluten, by replacing her usual foods with gluten-free versions. Although that works it is very expensive; a small loaf of bread is anywhere from 5 to 7 dollars in Montreal.
This time I decided to tackle the situation by actually changing the way I eat. Gluten free bread is a poor substitute for the real thing, so I see no point in eating it. The question then becomes, what to eat for breakfast? This meal is one of my solutions. I was inspired by Janice’s Bistro Style Egg Sandwich, but replaced the English muffin with oven baked home fries. This breakfast is great for a Saturday morning. It’s filling and delicious and pretty easy to make if you have a little time. I used a poach pod to poach my egg as none of the traditional methods ever work for me.
Poached Eggs With sautéed Spinach and Mushrooms and Home Fries.
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1-2 mushrooms per person
- A large handful of baby spinach per person
For the Potatoes:
- Slice the potatoes in half and peel them.
- Boil the potatoes in salted water for 10 minutes. Potatoes should be slightly less than cooked through.
- Cube the potatoes and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight if you are planning ahead (this step is important, it leads to crispy fries)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
- Toss the chilled potatoes with olive oil to coat and salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake for 20- 30 minutes, flipping the potatoes at least twice so that the are properly browned.
For the Spinach and Mushrooms
- Heat some olive oil in a skillet. Cook the sliced mushrooms until browned.
- Add the spinach and cook until wilted.
For the Eggs
- Crack an egg into a lightly greased poach pod.
- Fill a medium pot with about 2 inches of water. Heat until simmering. Gently place the poach pod in the simmering water. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cover.
- Cook the eggs for 4 to 7 minutes, depending on the desired doneness (that might not be a word).
Place the spinach and potatoes on a plate, and top the spinach with the poached egg. Season with salt and pepper.