Friday, April 30, 2010

Weekend Plans

I am very excited for my weekend to start--very, very excited! I am heading home to sunny Southern California to visit my family, get a much needed hair cut and highlights, and my final dress fitting!!! I already packed my shoes (I forgot them the first time--ooops!) and cannot wait to try on my dress and veil (which my seamstress made for me!)

I also plan on catching up on some reading on the plane and getting to spend time with family and friends I don't get to see enough! I will miss Woods and J while I am gone, but excited that my return flight gets me home in time so that I don't miss our weekly (and sometimes fancy) Sunday night dinner--yay!

Hope your weekend is as fun and relaxing and productive as mine is slated to be!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Benedict Arnold

Tonight I made Eggs Benedict...from bottled Hollandaise sauce, no egg poaching pans, no mayonnaise short cut like my Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook suggested.

Full disclosure: I did do a bit a whining to J when I first cracked open the New Cookbook (Red Plaid Cookbook)--the sauce looked complicated and called for a stick of unsalted butter (which I did not have) and directed me to let it sit out for fifty minutes (which I didn't do). I ended up measuring out 1/2 cup of our tub o' butter--glamorous NO, time saving and much easier to work with YES.

I used several of the Liberty Prairie eggs, which, as always, did not let me down. I also used prosciutto instead of Canadian bacon. The recipe, from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook Bridal Edition, is as follows:

Eggs Benedict, taken from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

For the Hollandaise sauce:
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
White pepper

For the Eggs Benedict:
Hollandaise sauce
4 eggs
2 English muffins-split
4 slices of prosciutto
Fresh spinach (Arugula would also work well)

First, prepare the Hollandaise sauce. The original recipe calls for you to cut the stick of butter into thirds. I just divided the 1/2 cup of soft tub o' butter into thirds.

Combine egg yolks, lemon juice, water and a third of the butter in a small sauce pan over a double broiler. The bottom of the broiler should be about half full--you do not want the top pan to touch the water.

If you don't have a double broiler, you can use a glass bowl over a sauce pan--which is what I did and it worked great! Bring the water to a slow boil, with big bursting bubbles. Whisk the ingredients until they combine. The sauce will be very thin and slightly orange at this point since the yolks have yet to fully cook.

Once it combines, add another third of the butter, mixing thoroughly and whisking constantly. Once this is combined, add the final third of the butter. Continue whisking rapidly until the sauce begins to thicken, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve the hot water in the bottom pan.

Meanwhile (I had J finish stirring the sauce while I prepared this next part) add eggs, one at a time, in a medium skillet, filled half full with water. Red Plaid Cookbook recommends lightly greasing the pan to start to prevent the eggs from sticking--I did a once over with a small stick of butter I had in my fridge.

Once the water is boiling, I cracked each egg individually in a small measuring cup and added carefully to the hot water. I highly recommend this method as it allows you to get the lip of the measuring cup very close to the water, which ensures the yolk will not break and gives you a very round poached egg. You also will want to space your eggs accordingly so that none of them are touching one another. These will cook 3-5 minutes (mine took 5) until the whites are set and the yolks are thick but not quite firm. A slotted spoon works best for removing the eggs once finished.

Meanwhile, place sliced English muffins--I used whole grain--on a cookie sheet under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until toasted. Once toasted, place 2 slices of prosciutto on top of each and allow to crisp under the broiler for another minute. Remove, serve over a bed of spinach and place one egg on each muffin. Top with Hollandaise sauce and paprika, if desired.

If you have some dead time between preparing and serving, place the eggs in a shallow bowl with some of the reserved water from the hollandaise double broiler--this will keep them warm but prevent them from drying out or getting hard.

Note: If the Hollandaise sauce becomes too thick, add a teaspoon or two of the reserved warm water to loosen.

The combination of the salty prosciutto and the buttery Hollandaise sauce is heavenly. I envy your first bite!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Okay, so that's a bad pun, but these days I'm all about fresh eggs. Eggs from Liberty Prairie Farm to be exact:

This farm is where I've been working and riding for the past several months. Their focus is on natural horsemanship and I am excited to add some Parelli techniques to my repertoire. As an equestrian of 15 years, it is exciting to be able to learn new techniques and styles of riding!

But back to the eggs, the farm has approximately 40-45 hens and several roosters and the best eggs! Their color, quality and taste is amazing! As you can see from the picture, the hens at Liberty Prairie produce green, light blue, brown, white and speckled eggs (not shown). Sometimes I think they are so pretty I don't want to eat them, but I always do. For two dollars a dozen, I buy fresh eggs each week. If you've never tried eggs fresh from the farm, you are really missing out! The yolks are large, bright orange and firm, while the whites are white as snow. Perfection in a small sphere. That may be going a bit too far, but they are delicious! If anyone in the St. Louis area wants me to pick some up, let me know! :-)

As far as this week's eggs, I have a dinner Eggs Benedict (with spinach and prosciutto instead of Canadian bacon), a fresh pie, hard boiled eggs for quick breakfasts in the morning, and other yummy treats planned for this week--so stay tuned!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Contrary to Popular Opinion...

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.

So it's been months, months, MONTHS, since I posted on here, and with all the blogs I read on a daily basis--which they update on a daily or at least weekly basis--I'm determined to try harder to keep mine up to date!

Tonight I'm making seared sea scallops and quinoa. It's my first time making quinoa, and while I've heard rave reviews and seen some great recipes online, including this one: that I am just dying to try, I've never had it myself.

I will let you know how it all turns out, but thought I would leave you with some photos of recent events in my life: namely, reorganizing my kitchen pantry (all for less than $20 I might add) and preparing my first St. Patrick's Day dinner!

I wish I had some before pictures for our kitchen pantry, but let's just say it was a mess. While we are very fortunate to have a pantry at all, it is pretty narrow which means it didn't take long for it to become unruly. Fortunately, in one afternoon, which I spent tossing expired microwave popcorn and granola bars and organizing the foodstuffs that were staying put, I was able to turn that around. Less than $20 dollars later, thanks to some cute bins and baskets at the Dollar Tree, I had a new and improved kitchen pantry. It's so sunny and cheerful, it makes me smile every time I open the door...seriously!

You will also notice I now have a shelf for my cookbooks, which were taking up valuable real estate on my kitchen counter! I also tried to group like items for easy access. For example, I now have a baking basket I can get out and use anytime I want to make cookies, brownies, you name it!

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Our cat, Woods, is helping set the table. He is an orange tabby, a true Irish redhead--ha!

Notice my cheap but fun decorations--a roll of shamrock garland from the Dollar Tree and some bright tea towels! Got to love decorating for a holiday for less than $5.00!

So there you have it, a mini update of what I've been up to lately. I promise I'll get better at posting more regularly!