Eggs Benedict, Charlesford-style!

I haven’t quite decided, but I think this year’s Father’s Day Brunch was probably my best attempt yet at making eggs benedict.

The day started off a bit frantically because I accidentally slept in and we were supposed to be at Mom & Dad’s for 11am, but otherwise, I think we had a really nice breakky with everyone on Sunday morning.

I have altogether given up any hope of being able to masterfully serve breakfast to six people all piping hot at the same time. I am not capable of pulling those sorts of rabbits out of my hat, as much as I try. It’s never gonna happen and I have no idea as to how one might actually go about doing that sort of thing anyhow. If you think about it, unless you’re a restaurant, it’s an impossible feat. But to be honest, I am okay with that.

In the end, breakfast was actually quite simple: Homemade eggs benedict, Charlesford-style, and some fresh berries.

I realize that not everybody in my family finds this tidbit of information as amazing as I do, but it still makes me incredibly proud: I made everything from scratch!

The English muffins surprised me — the single tablespoon of wildflower honey that I used in the recipe made the muffins so incredibly fragrant and gave them a lovely marbled effect when you fork-split them in half for toasting. It’s a shame that I don’t actually have a picture of the english muffins split & toasted, because it would be lovely to show you how intensely dark the honey swirls were throughout the muffin.

As to the hollandaise sauce, I think I have finally found the recipe that my whole family enjoyed. It wasn’t too lemony and was perfectly seasoned, not to mention an absolutely stunning yellow as the picture above can attest from using my farm fresh eggs for the sauce.

I can’t remember which recipe I’ve used in the past for hollandaise, so what I ended up using was actually the recipe from the Culinary Institute of America(!)’s website. I don’t know why it’s never occurred to me to use their recipes in the past, but it certainly did work and it was really nice being able to have their Youtube videos to watch for reference. I think I had stumbled upon the videos originally because I was thinking that one day I might like to try making my own english muffins — not sourdough, just plain, and the CIA videos were suggested.

The original compilation of videos is actually a three part series Mother’s Day brunch where they showed you how to make eggs benedict from scratch, start to finish — english muffins, hollandaise sauce & poaching eggs.

Since I had already found my own english muffin recipe that I am pretty pleased with, though I do think I would like to try making them again, since they didn’t quite have the proper nooks & crannies that I am used to in a store-bought muffin, I only needed the recipe for the hollandaise sauce. Like I said, I’m surprised, but my entire family enjoyed the hollandaise as is, so I guess this will officially be my go-to-recipe.

As a side note, I made the full recipe of sauce and there is a lot of sauce to be had, lemme tell you. Usually what I will do is I will halve a the recipe because my family just doesn’t eat sauce, of any kind, in copious amounts — and especially hollandaise, with its never ending amounts of butter. Since I woke up late, and I had to be at Mom & Dad’s for 11am, I just made the whole recipe as it was and I am glad I did. I really don’t think that the CIA recipe would be easy to halve without some dire consequences. The numbers are just too weird, so just close your eyes and enjoy the taste sensation of homemade hollandaise, knowing that this is not an every weekend occurance.

Culinary Institute of America’s Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise Sauce

Makes 2 cups

1/2 teaspoon cracked peppercorns
1/4 cup white wine or cider vinegar
1/4 cup water, or as needed
4 large fresh egg yolks
1 1/2 cups melted whole butter, unsalted
2 teaspoons lemon juice, or as needed
2 teaspoons salt, or as needed
Pinch ground white pepper
Pinch cayenne (optional)

Combine the peppercorns and vinegar in a small pan and reduce over medium heat until nearly dry, about 5 minutes.
Add the water to the vinegar reduction. Strain this liquid into a stainless steel bowl.
Add the egg yolks to the vinegar reduction and set the bowl over a pot of simmering water.
Whisking constantly, cook the egg yolk/vinegar mixture until the yolks triple in volume and fall in ribbons from the whisk. Remove the bowl from the simmering water and place it on a clean kitchen towel to keep the bowl from slipping.
Gradually ladle the warm butter into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
If the sauce becomes too thick and the butter is not blending in easily, add a little water to thin the egg mixture enough to whisk in the remaining butter.
Season the Hollandaise with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne if desired.
Serve immediately or keep the sauce warm in a bowl over simmering water.

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Scope is done.

Well another scope down and I am still in one piece.

Everything went swimmingly with Wednesday’s GI scope and for some reason it feels like it was three days ago. Strange.

GI Guy said that everything’s looking fantastic, there are no problems whatsoever, there was no food left in my stomach after 12 hours which was awesome and like everyone else keeps telling me: Keep doing whatever it is I’m doing and I’ll see him again in 3-4 months time.

*sigh*

On the one hand, that’s fantastic — no one ever wants to be told that "they found something" or "they need to run more tests". That line of thinking generally leads to rather dark & scary places in my head which I care not to relive if at all possible. But on the other hand, it means that I have to continue suffering with the pain and discomfort that I’m having to deal with on a generally regular, if not daily basis and this troubles me.

I’ve gotten around the problem of getting food down into my stomach by drinking larger than normal quantities of fluids so they don’t get stuck in my esophagus or halfway down. The problem after consuming so much fluids usually involves being overfull and having to purge myself of the excess liquids after I’ve eaten, which sometimes results occassionally in partial bits of my meal coming up at the same time. This is a pretty normal procedure for me and so I don’t think much of it for the most part unless I have the days where I projectile vomit absolutely everything I’ve eaten — that is somewhat problematic because by that point, I have no desire to eat anything at all anymore and I’ll eventually end up with low blood sugar because all I’ve eaten has been lost. We’re still working on figuring out how to get something back into my system when I’ve had a bad eating day.

As disturbing as that whole eating business is, the most frustrating and painful GI issues I’ve been dealing actually has more to do with The Moose than anything else. Lately, everytime I take a dose of The Moose, I end up with incredible stomach pains unless I eat or drink something with the medication. I don’t really know how to get around this problem and usually when I’m in pain eating isn’t exactly the highest activity on my priority list — how is it that something that’s supposed to help relieve me of my pain causes me so much pain that I actually consider not taking it? This is really hard and GI Guy’s answer unfortunately was that he’s not surprised that I’m having problems with it at this point, but to just… try to grin and bear it.

I guess there can always be worse things he could tell me.

The only other news he had was that he’s still waiting to see what the new medication that we discussed last year is like. He has yet to see it and is still crossing his fingers that it will be of benefit to me if he can get his hands on it. I can’t remember the name and only vaguely know what it does — I think it’s supposed to move food through your system even faster than the Champagne meds (domperidone, funnily enough, sounds like Dom Perignon) do.

So that’s what’s going on with GI Guy.

… Onwards, then …

In other news, this year I am finally getting my chance to sign up with a CSA! I’ve finally looked into it early enough in the year that there are still some farms that have CSA shares available!

After a bit of kerfuffle-age, I am hopefully going to be getting a Noble Farms CSA share this year. I should mention that I really, really should have taken the post-operative instructions from yesterday more seriously. Especially the note about not doing anything which involves important financial transactions, driving and anything else which might require proper attention to detail and safety for the next 24 hours.

Fingers crossed that Noble Farms will get back to me tomorrow saying that there’s a spot for us to purchase a half-share in their CSA program and if not, I will be mighty sad. I am also kind of hoping that the CSA will also give me the opportunity to buy some other fantastic products from other vendors at the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Farmer’s Market this year when we do our weekly veggie pick-up. I am really wanting to buy farm fresh eggs from a local producer — yes, they are kind of expensive, but it would be so worth it when it comes to eating. I will probably continue to use regular store bought eggs for baking, but for eating, my goal is to be able to have farm eggs.

*Really hoping for a CSA share this year*

Some things really do go wonderfully together…

In this case, what I’m referring to is my version of Nigella Lawson’s Boxing Day Bacon & Egg pie.

Every Thanksgiving, Christmas & Easter, my Mom makes a turkey. My family’s not huge into breast meat and I usually (though, not always) end up taking a whole breast home with me to stash in the freezer for supposedly future sandwiches. At least, that’s what I used to do with them. Nowadays, I’m not so much into sammiches because I no longer eat breakfast on a bus on the way to work, so my usual run of things generally include fried rice and the above mentioned pie.

I do of course make changes to the above recipe, and I can’t recall if I’ve even posted it before in the past, but I figured it deserved a re-visit given we’ve just had Thanksgiving a week ago and I was left with a half turkey breast to use up.

The recipe itself calls only for bacon and eggs and I’ve found that the original recipe is just a wee bit too salty for my likings, so I’ve come to add turkey to the mixture. When I don’t have bacon on hand I’ve substituted ham and the results are just as stellar, if not more so, if I do say so myself. The other changes I make include: using a whole onion, adding some extra greenery to the filling with the addition of some frozen peas and a generous handful of dried parsley, and substantially increasing the quantity of eggs to the mix so everything sticks together inside the crust.

Finally, because the only pie plates I own are rather huge, I’ve come to the realization that I have to make a double quantity of the pie dough just to cover everything — it does make for an extremely rich & satisfying pie, so be warned. When I double the quantity of dough, there is always just enough remaining from the cut-offs to make one hand pie which I stuff with whatever appeals at the time. This time around I used a little bit of tomato sauce, pepperoni and a chunk of gruyere.

As to how one eats this rather daunting pie with its thick and savoury shortbread-like crust is up to you. Day I is always hot from the oven and subsequent days are generally eaten cold, straight from the fridge or popped into the microwave for a minute just to take the brain-numbing, fridge-coldness off, making it more like room temperature.

The most important things to note about this pie is its accompaniments, the real reason for this post. You must always have them. Must. Must. Must. The Hubbs’ accompaniment of choice is dill pickles. Going along the pickled vegetable route, I’ve found that most any pickle will taste fantastic — I’ve found that pickled jalapenos are especially tasty, along with yumyums and beets. This time around I’ve been gorging on yumyums while I eat my pie, but ordinarily I would be eating the pickled beets.

The second accompaniment that you must have with your pie is cheese. An old cheddar has been our usual standby, but I was cleaning out the fridge of end bits and served some Swiss cheeses which went quite nicely. One was a harder cheese and the other was a softer one.

Now go. Make yourself a pie!

Yucky. Ucky. Blech.

I feel like awful.

I feel like I’ve done some serious injury to my intestines and I’m just wiped out.

I woke up this morning somewhere around 500am because the sun was shining ridiculously brightly into the bedroom and it just made the ongoing morning headaches and nausea I’ve got going on a million times worse. Eventually I gave up on trying to sleep in bed and just dragged myself to sleep on the family room sofa.

Needless to say, it has been a non-productive day.

Surprisingly enough, even though I’ve felt shitty, I did manage to impressively make myself a late late breakfast/lunch, whatever you might call my first real meal of the day — I don’t think 2 glasses of orange juice over the last 9 hours and a bunch of four cheese flavoured rice crackers at 630am counts as a meal.

With this whole thing of me trying to avoid bready/wheat products, I’ve been trying to figure out what to eat. I’m still keeping up with the consumption of fruits and veggies, which I’m pleased with, but I’m rather amazed that I’ve not ~really~ been craving bread, pasta, etc. Given how much I love those two food groups and how disheartening I found my first time eliminating wheat products from my diet a few years back, this has been an enjoyable walk in the park by comparison. I will admit that I am not 100% vigilent about tracking my consumption of wheat other than the obvious suspects. In some cases, I just don’t care. Ie: salad dressings.

Anyhow, I made migas! Well.. sort of migas. More like bastardized migas, I would say. I don’t know why it popped into my head, but while I was resting earlier, I realized that I needed real sustenance at some point and for some reason I kept obsessing about the corn tortillas I had still sitting in the fridge. Somehow the thought process advanced itself far enough for me to remember in the back of my head that Pioneer Woman had posted a recipe that involved eggs, corn tortillas and a bunch of other tasty ingredients: Migas, here we come.

The original recipe is simple enough, though very large, and of course I made changes accordingly to factor in ingredients and laziness on hand. Since I rarely have bell peppers around nor have I ever brought jalapenos home, I used jarred salsa to take place of the veggie components to the recipe. Milk was substituted for half and half and swiss cheese was substituted for Monterey Jack. Of interest to note: not only did I have corn tortillas on hand, but I also had some itty bitty mini chicken tacos that Mom & Dad had brought over yesterday afternoon to snack on from Costco. It was junk food day for them.

Onwards to the recipe

To be remembered for future reference…

Now I know exactly what to do with that obscenely large jar of marinated artichokes I have in the fridge.
Bought from Costco.
‘Nuff said.

Recipe from Fresh with Anna Olsen.
——————————————————————

Artichoke Asiago Squares

* 2 cups jarred marinated artichokes, drained
* 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed
* 1/2 cup chopped onion
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 2 tbsp lemon juice
* 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano (optional)
* 4 x large eggs
* 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
* 1/2 lb. grated Asiago cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 ?F. Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper so that the paper hangs over the sides.
2. In a food processor, pulse artichokes, spinach, onion, garlic and oregano, if using, until finely chopped but not puréed.
3. Pulse in eggs, then pulse in breadcrumbs and Asiago.
4. Scrape mixture into prepared pan, spread to level and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until set.
5. Cool to room temperature before slicing into squares and store refrigerated.
6. Square can be served at room temperature or warmed in a 325 F for 10 minutes.

Mmm… eggs.

Given that today is Easter, everyone’s got stuff going on in the chocolate, egg & bunny department.

I stumbled upon a couple of nifty egg-related recipes that I’m wanting to try:

Chinese Tea eggs — mom picks them up from T&T, the local asian market, when she’s feeling lazy.
Pickled Red Beet eggs — oh my god the colour, that alone is reason to make these. I like pickled beets… but how do pickled eggs taste normally?
Soy Sauce eggs — a variant of the tea eggs, sans tea leaves. Mom makes these cuz they’re easy.

Flavoured Eggs” on the other hand disturb me.