benedict for one, please!

I love Sundays.

AO + I can typically be found wandering the Hollywood Farmers’ Market with a tradition of stopping over at the Farm Fresh Shellfish stall for freshly shucked oysters.

Today, however, he’s stuck at some training facility with a bunch of other camera nerds [and by stuck I mean happily filling his brain with knowledge]. So no Farmers’ Market tradition today but that’s ok with me because my other favorite thing about Sunday is brunch food, specifically THE BENEDICT. How can you resist something with meat + bread + egg all covered in a buttery sauce that oozes goodness? You might be able to but I DEFINITELY can’t.

One of my many faults is not being motivated enough to go outside the confines of home unless I have a very specific plan and today is no exception. So instead of popping over to one of the many wonderful restaurants in my area [try Blu Jam Café for a classic eggs benedict or get the Poached y Papas Benedict at The Griddle for the much more over-the-top approach], I decided to make eggs benedict for one instead.

I won’t lie to you: the one thing I hate about making this dish at home is the dishes. Typically piles of them. I somehow cut it down to half, mostly because I don’t like washing dishes.

Ena’s Eggs Benedict for One [or what I call a Sunday in Heaven]
what you’ll need / things you’ll eventually need to wash:
(1) baking sheet
(1) 3qt sauce pan
(1) stainless steel bowl
(1) microwave safe bowl
(1) whisk
(1) slotted spoon

for the base
2 slices of bread [I used an Italian loaf]
2-4 slices of ham [I like honey baked]
1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

Start by pre-heating your oven to 400ºF. Place the bread on the baking sheet, followed by a layer of ham which is then covered with a layer of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Once your oven is heated (it takes about 10 minutes), pop it in the oven until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown (approx. 7-9 minutes).

for the hollandaise sauce [adapted from Tyler Florence found here]
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
1 tspn lemon
cayenne pepper to taste

Put 2 tbpn of butter into a microwave safe bowl and zap it in 20 second intervals until melted. Set aside.

Fill the 3qt sauce pan with enough water to reach the middle of the pot and bring to a simmer [it’s that point just before it boils when you see little bubbles in the water but it doesn’t look like a storm is raging quite yet]. In the steel bowl, combine the egg yolk + lemon and whisk until it doubles in thickness.

Slowly add the melted butter while whisking continuously. Place the steel bowl over the simmering water and continue to whisk until the sauce once again doubles in thickness. You’ll know it’s coming together when the sauce begins to form peaks / sticks to the sides of the bowls. Remove the bowl from heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper to taste and keep in a warm place until ready to serve. If your sauce becomes too thick add a bit of water to thin out. **Note: don’t throw out the simmering water! You’ll use it in the next step.

[Disaster Strikes! If your sauce begins to separate — which means the egg yolks have cooked too much — don’t fret because all is not lost. Immediately remove from heat, crack open another egg and add that yolk to the mix and whisk, whisk, whisk. Bring it back to the heat for only a few minutes and hopefully your sauce from the gods will have been saved. Your hollandaise sauce will be a bit eggy-er, which you can temper by adding a little more lemon. If you can’t salvage it, toss the mixture into a skillet with a whole egg for super decadent scrambled eggs.]

for the poached eggs
2 eggs
2 tbsp vinegar
salt

There are many, many ways to poach an egg from using the microwave, to “egg” cups, to simply dumping the egg into simmering water. This, however, is the version that works best for me.

Rinse out the butter bowl from the last section, and fill with cold water then set aside.

Using the same simmering water, add 2 tbsp of vinegar and a good helping of salt. The vinegar helps tighten up the egg + salt helps water keep a simmer [or when making pasta, a boil]. Using the slotted spoon, stir the water to create a whirlpool then crack a whole egg into the middle of the mini-water-tornado. It’s gonna look a little crazy and a whole lot messy for a second, but the swirling action of the water will help bring your egg together and after about 3-5 minutes you’ll have a poached egg! Take the egg out of the pot using the slotted spoon and place in the water bath you set aside earlier. This will stop the cooking process and also get that yucky vinegar taste off the egg. Repeat steps for your second egg!

put it all together
grab a plate: bread + ham + cheese + eggs + hollandaise sauce = heaven!

Happy Sunday everyone!

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life, love, a recipe & the rest.

Wowzers… been a while right?

What can I say? Just around the time of my last post, I booked a project which rolled into another project… and then another and another and before I knew it I was 5 months in & 13 jobs deep. It was a roller-coaster of a summer to say the least. After months of work, sleepless nights and a few tears I came away with new friends, a great sense of accomplishment and a store of new experience. I actually feel a tinge of confidence in my work now. I don’t come in to a new office with an unsettling fear that I will fail and disappoint the people who hired me (along with those who recommended me). It’s kind of great.

So now where am I?

Professionally, I’m working on a new project with a new PM and new Producer and entirely new crew. It’s a bit strange to come on to a set and not immediately recognize 50+ faces but… that’s the name of the game in commercial production (I was just spoiled by my golden summer).

Personally, I’m spending most of my free time playing video games on a couch I’ve grown extremely comfortable laying on, reading cooking blogs (smittenkitchen.com, amateurgourmet.com & thekitchn.com are my current favorites), and missing my family. All of the siblings are now spread out across the country with the singer and I still in LA, the actor in Davis, the photographer in Chicago and the baller (and littlest of all of us) studying her brain out in Tennessee. What’s worse than us all being spread out? It will be the first Christmas that we can’t all be together. In the past, there were times when some of us were in the Philippines for the holidays but this is truly the first time we don’t really have a choice in the matter. I love this time of year but this really will be a bittersweet Christmas.

“]

my amazing family (mia: photographer, baller & gopher)

Ok, enough sap for one evening.

The real reason I thought about posting is because of a picture of huevos rancheros I posted on facebook this past weekend. Backstory: On Sunday, I was whipping up the boyfriend’s favorites for breakfast (french toast, corned beef & hash + fried eggs) when I was at a loss as to what to make for myself. We’ve really been into Chopped lately so he decided to throw a “secret ingredient” at me which I had to use in my meal (though I really think he was just trying to get rid of something he bought by mistake). It was a can of El Pato’s salsa de chile fresco which translates to “roasted fresh chile salsa”.

After I popped open the can & tasted its contents [pretty much tastes like tomato sauce with a very large kick], all I wanted was to bring back memories of my mini-trip to Mexico and have huevos rancheros for breakfast. Not to toot my own horn, but they turned out pretty good. And apparently other people thought so too! Ever since I posted this picture, I keep getting messages about the recipe. So here goes…

Typically huevos rancheros is made with fried corn tortillas, fried eggs & tomato-chili sauce. Mine? I made it with whatever I currently had in the kitchen. This is a super simple recipe that involves cooking 4-separate parts which is then combined together on a plate.

Ingredients:
1 can of salsa de chile fresco
2 eggs
1 large flour tortilla
1 can of refried black beans
shredded monterey jack & cheddar cheeses
1/2 medium yellow onion (chopped)
butter
vegetable oil

Pre-heat the oven to 500ºF. Or if you’re not fussy like me, just set it to a high-broil. You’re just toasting tortilla’s after all.

Sauce:
I started by melting about a teaspoon of butter in a 3qt sauce pan. Once the butter had fully coated the bottom, I added the chopped onions and sautéed until tender then added the can of salsa de chile fresco. Bring sauce to a simmer and leave uncovered to reduce the sauce and thicken it. Alt: If you don’t care for onions, pour that bad boy into a microwave safe bowl and heat till warm.

Tortillas:
Cut up the tortilla into triangular bite-sized pieces. Toss them on to a baking sheet and pop ’em in your pre-heated oven for about 10 to 15 minutes until they crisp and brown. Alt: For extra crispy tortillas, sprinkle them with a bit of olive oil & salt to taste then mix with hands before toasting in oven.

Beans:
In a small skillet, coat the bottom with a bit of vegetable oil (I use stainless steel this is necessary but for you teflon folks, a teeny bit of PAM spray should do it) then add your can of refried beans (I prefer the black variety). Once it begins to soften, add a small handful of the shredded cheese. Continue heating until cheese melts, stir in & set aside.

Eggs:
This already a super heavy meal… so I used a non-stick pan with the teeniest bit of oil (I poured some on a paper towel and spread it on the fry pan), cracked two eggs in, added some salt & covered on medium-low heat until the whites were fully set. Alt: Poach em’, fry em’, boil em’—do it your favorite way… whatever’s clever loveys!

Plate:
Start with the tortillas — put them on the plate so that they sort of cover the bottom. Cover with the heated refried beans and then lay on those eggs. Pour the sauce over everything then sprinkle on a handful of shredded cheese.

ena's not-so-typical huevos rancheros

¡Provecho!