Saturday, October 15, 2011

This Morning's Breakfast

My sis/roomie and I both slept rather late this morning, and we'll both be having late suppers, so we wanted a rather substantial brunch. Somehow or other, it was decided that I (the less gourmet one of the pair) would make Eggs Benedict. So I looked up this recipe on my trusty, and set to work.

This pot was inherited from my great-grandmother, and it includes a double boiler (needed to make the hollandaise sauce) and an egg poacher. When have you ever heard of a pot having an egg poaching attachment? That's what the round thing with the three little muffin cups is. We didn't have English muffins, but we decided that croissants are a perfectly good substitute. No Canadian bacon, but smoked ham deli meat works; and no worcestershire sauce, but a splash of soy sauce works just as well...I hope.

We decided to split the recipe in quarters. Not only did we not have a full dozen eggs, but we didn't feel the need to eat two servings each, all by ourselves. After starting the hollandaise sauce, however, I decided that I should only cut the measurements for the sauce in half. That was a good decision--there was a little extra, but not twice too much. Note: before you add the butter, the hollandaise sauce looks and smells kind of yuck. Add the butter as soon as you get the eggs and lemon juice whipped up. Yes, I know that if I were a real foodie I'd have real lemons on hand, but for right now, the "RealLemon" stuff in the little plastic squeezy lemon will have to work.

Isn't this pretty? The hollandaise sauce started to come together and look nice as soon as I started adding the butter. It smelled a lot better, too.

Once you get the hollandaise sauce made, you have to keep it warm while you do everything else. My solution was to pull the double boiler out, clap a lid on it, and put it in the microwave with a hot pad underneath. It helped--the sauce was still warm--but I think it would have worked even better if I'd warmed the lid in some hot water beforehand.

Never start preheating the oven when the recipe tells you to, at least not on your first try. I nearly burned my croissants! By the way, even though you're supposed to butter the English muffins when putting everything together, there is absolutely no need to butter croissants--they're practically made of butter.

I tried two different ways of poaching the eggs, partially because I wanted to experiment and partially because I needed to poach four eggs and my pan and my pot would only hold three each. The first way (which, in the busyness of getting everything done, I forgot to photograph) was by oiling two of the little muffin cups of my poacher and putting them over the water, just like the double boiler. I added the eggs, salted them a bit, and let them cook. The second way, pictured above, was part of the way apparently espoused by the folks over at America's Test Kitchen. Unfortunately, my sis only told me part of the method. I heated water in a pan (not a pot--it's supposed to keep the eggs from floating around so much), salted the water a little, and slipped the eggs in. No white vinegar in the cupboard, so I couldn't add any to the water, but it's supposed to help keep your eggs unified. Unfortunately, I managed to overcook all the eggs. Not rubbery, but definitely solid all the way through. Apparently you're supposed to add the eggs to the boiling water, then turn the water off and just let them sit for a while--I guess until the whites are opaque. Then the yolks should still be nice and runny, perfect for soaking up with your English muffin (or croissant).

Fry up the lunch meat in an iron skillet with a little bit of olive oil...

And put it all on a plate! Definitely worth making again.

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