Tag Archives: eggs

More Food Porn: Country Benedict

 

For a while, I considered dropping the “More Food Porn” kinda posts, because they didn’t seem to fit in with what the website is evolving into. But then I took a look at this picture and said “Y’know…food porn is exactly one of the things I would like to see on this site.”

The reason is simple – nothing captures a singular joy about a simple topic than a good picture. And when I see this picture, I see joy.

Granted, the joy comes from the memory of Tara taking me down to a small greasy spoon by where she works and treating me to breakfast.  But the place she took me to, a little hole-in-the-wall called Loretta’s, represents a lot of what I enjoy about food. Done well, it doesn’t have to be fancy or full of pretense. It just has to be good…

…and, perhaps, run the risk of a major coronary event.

 

 

 

More Food Porn: Creole Benedict

Creole Benedict, from a recent brunch at Ama-Ama.

As always, porn is posted due to previous political piece.


Highland Eggs

One of the primary problems in recreating dishes from recipes from other lands is that they are viewed through the lens of you own culture. So when a dish comes out…well…different, you’re not sure if the problem is with the recipe and how it was written, or if the problem is with your own expectations.

Take, for example, this recipe for Highland Eggs, a Scottish breakfast recipe found in the book The Scottish-Irish Pub and Hearth Cookbook. I followed the instructions as written, with one notable exception, and the dish came out…very wet would be the best description.

It had mostly set, and I had left the dish in the oven for an extra five minutes to be sure that it had cooked the entire way through, but there were still parts that were very soupy. I’m unsure if this is how it should be.

But the taste of the dish rates very high, getting praise from the entire household. So, make his dish at your own risk. It’s tasty. But it can come across as an unset quiche in its consistency if not made correctly…I think.

  • 2 cups fresh, whole wheat bread cubes
  • 1 cup grated white cheddar cheese
  • 8 strips of bacon, fried crisp, drained and diced
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped chives
  • Salt, to taste

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10-inch glass pie pan.

Sprinkly one cup of the bread cubes over the bottom of the pie pan. On top of that , sprinkle 1/2 cup of the grated cheese, and 1/2 of the bacon bits.

Break the eggs over the bread cubes, spacing them evenly. Try to ensure that the yolks do not break. Cover with the remaining bread cubes, cheese, and bacon, in that order. Pepper to taste. Pour the cream over the ingredients.

Place the dish in the oven and bake until set, between 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for another 5 minutes. Top with chives and serve.

Serves 4


The Passion of the Dippy Eggs

It is the simplest of dishes; soft boiled eggs broken over chunks of bread, and then a judicious amount of salt and black pepper thrown on top. As a meal, it’s hardly notable. If I were Pete Wells, I’d dismiss it out of hand as being…oh I don’t know…common?

But I am a Pittsburgher, and dippy eggs are part of the culture, and played a part in my education whilst I was a youngun’. Whether it was disputing that they were soft boiled eggs or fried eggs served over easy, or if they should be served over bread that had been toasted or not, it was the first “dish” that made those of us who were paying attention realize that food could be vastly different even when the ingredients were the same.

Dippy eggs are but one of only a handful of foods that can transport me back to when I was a child. Sure, candy and boxed cereals remind me of my youth, but dippy eggs, as well as strawberry shortcake and beef stroganoff, were foods that I remember being made for me, as far back as pre-kindergarten. How many foods can make that claim in anyone’s life?

I have spoken of dippy eggs to very few people in my life once I became an adult. My thinking was that if you lived outside of Western Pennsylvania, well you simply wouldn’t understand. Eggs and bread! With the tasty yolk? What’s not to love? But it was it’s name that would turn people off I believed.

But when I offhandedly mentioned the dish to Tara one day, she was instantly intrigued. “When are you going to make this?”, she asked me from time to time. I would pretend not to hear, thinking to myself “No. You wouldn’t get it.”

But this weekend I broke down, and made plans for the great unveiling. Dippy Eggs were to be served with Scones and a cup of coffee. The only change to the recipe I made was I used a batard for the bread instead of Wonder Bread. Even for a recipe that reminded me of my youth I could not be convinced to buy cheap, sliced white bread.

The results? Anyone who was not from Western Pennsylvania was less than impressed. It is, after all, only eggs over bread.

But as I ate my dippy eggs, a small smile came to my lips. Yes, it is only eggs over bread, but what it represents made it that much more delicious.


How to make the perfect Hard-Boiled Egg

…well, first off, one shouldn’t boil the egg, at least to Hervé This (pronounced Tees), one of the group of people involved in molecular gastronomy. Molecular gastronomy is the application of science to the making of food.

When approaching cooking as science, perfection can be qualified. So what does a perfect hard boiled look like? When you cut the egg open, the hardened yolk should be centered. The egg yolk should not have the green sulfur on the cooked outside. And the whites, when cooked, should be soft and tender. But how to get to that state of perfection?

The idea is to cook the eggs slowly. As This notes in his book, “Molecular Gastronomy – Exploring the Science of Flavor“:

How do eggs cook in the first place? The white consists of about 10% proteins (amino acid chains folded upon themselves in the shape of a ball) and 90% water. During cooking the proteins partially unfold (They are said to be “denatured”) and bind with each other, forming a lattice that traps water – in other words, a gel.

The tenderness of the cooked egg white depends on the quantity of water trapped (the loss of a part of this water is what makes overcooked fried eggs rubbery and overcooked egg yolks sandy) and on the number of proteins making up its lattices (more lattices mean that more water is trapped, rigidifying the entire system)…

…When an egg is cooked in boiling water, at a temperature of 100° C (212°F), not only does its mass progressively diminish as water is eliminated from the gell that forms, but many kinds of protein coagulate as well.

By cooking the eggs at a temperature of 154° F (68° C), water loss of the egg is prevented. As long as there is no water loss

As for keeping the cooked yolk in the center of the egg? Prevent it from rising within the shell by rolling it continually.

Technorati Tags: Molecular Gastronomy, Hervé This, Eggs


Fried Tofu-Egg

With all due respect to my vegetarian friends out there, a vegetarian fried egg sounds appalling, no matter how you dress it up.

The Vegan fried egg has been made with a special blend of tofu for the egg white and a Jamaican fruit called Ackee for the egg yolk. “The final icing on the vegan cake was the new vegan omega 3 oil with DHA and EPA made from algae called V-Pure that gives the egg a perfect nutritional breakdown of essential fats and amino acids” (said Yvonne Bishop-Weston, one fo the creators of the dish)

I’ve never quite understood the desire of some vegetarians to replicate meat-like meals. It strikes me as a half-hearted way of admitting that meat provides better tastes than what fruits and vegetabes can provide.

In reading the description of the fried tofu egg, I once again realize that I could never last as a vegetarian. If it was me that had to go through all of those steps to get a veggie-friendly fried egg, then about the time I was looking at algae suppliments in order to get the nutritional egg equivalent I would have said “To hell with this” and simply cracked open an actual egg.

Technorati Tags: Food, Eggs, Vegetarian


Chilaquiles

*sigh*

I’m not hitting very well on my recipes of late. Twice now, when reading a recipe, I’ve made a statement to myself along the lines of “well that doesn’t sound right”. Then I’ll sally forth without listening to my own instincts.

This recipe is based off of one in Mark Bittman’s new cookbook The Best Recipes in the World. There are several items in the recipe that I had made my own adjustments to, and then one critical step which I did exactly what the recipe called for. I’ve fixed the faux pas in the recipe below.

His initial recipe does not call for tempering the eggs before putting them into the tomato sauce. Like a fool, I did not adjust, thinking that the recipe knew best in this instance. I was wrong.

The taste of the dish, however, is still pretty good. Tara and I sat through dinner thinking of all of the different ingredients that would add to this dish. Shredded turkey, spinach, black beans and ham were all individually mentioned. Thinking on it now, any ingredient which can be put into an ommellette, can be put in this dish. What I’m trying to get at here is that, although this recipe can stand on its own, it should also be considered a basis for other recipes.

  • 15 five inch corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips
  • Corn oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 serrano chilis, seeded, destemmed and minced
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups queso asadero (Chihuahua or Menonita can also be used)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves(optional)

Place a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 inch of corn oil to the skillet. Bring to temperature.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the oil is hot, add a handful of the tortilla strips and allow to fry until golden and crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips until all have been fried. Set aside.

Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the oil. Then set the heat under the skillet to medium high. Add the onions, garlic and chilis to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and cook for 5-7 minutes. Drain any excess water from the skillet, then add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Lower the temperature beneath the sauce to a simmer and allow to cook until thickened , approximately 20-25 minutes.

In a seperate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs. After the tomato sauce has completed cooking, take 1/8 cup of the sauce and slowly mix it into eggs. Whisk together well. Then pour the egg mixture into the tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper and stir.

Coat a 3-quart pyrex baking pan with a layer of the tomato sauce. Top with a layer of tortilla chips, and the a layer of cheese. Repeat this tomato-chip-cheese layering, ending with the sauce and cheese.

Cover the baking dish with foil and place into the oven. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to cool and set, approximately 5-7 minutes. Cut into squares and serve, topping with sour cream and cilantro to garnish.

Serves 6
Technorati Tags: food, recipes, chilaquiles