Sunday, August 8, 2010

Manly Man Cooking

I have had good luck growing hot peppers in containers around my patio. I have 2 pepper plants -- one cayenne and one jalapeno. The jalapenos are coming in right now -- I can pick as many as I want and it still seems like the "bush" is loaded! This afternoon, my husband picked a peck (not literally!) and then HE stuffed them for a super easy, summer appetizer:
Hot Peppers Stuffed with Cream Cheese and Bacon!
Hot stuffed peppers are a really manly thing to eat, so it's fitting that Mr. Man steps into the kitchen to make them. My hub likes to be in control now and then, and I always embrace it! Especially when the dish is as tasty as this one is!

We all know that everything tastes better with bacon, right? To make the stuffed peppers, have on hand some light cream cheese, a few rashers of cooked bacon and as many peppers as you need for your group to eat. Tonight, we made 9 stuffed peppers, and used 3 slices of bacon. First prepare your peppers. Cut off the stem and cut out a little elongated triangle from the pepper and clean out some or all of the seed. The more seeds, the hotter; the less seeds, the milder the appetizer will be. We had only used these peppers in chili and a stir fry, and weren't sure how hot these peppers would be on their own, so we cleaned out all of the seeds.
When you have your peppers ready, put about a tsp. of light cream cheese into them, just enought to fill them but not spill over the top. You want to keep the cheese IN the pepper!
Then, chop your bacon into slivers and sprinkle this over the cheese, very carefully, making sure each pepper has several little pieces of bacon on it. Lastly, grill the peppers until they are a little charred on the outside and the cheese is nice and hot. Make yourself a cocktail, and enjoy!

Monday, July 19, 2010

ALMOST Julia's Beef Bourguignon

We got a great deal, TWICE, on an entire beef tenderloin, which we had cut into steaks. There is not too much waste with a whole tenderloin, but you always have that little end piece, not big enough to cut into a steak, but the meat is way too good to throw away. I had two of those little packages in my freezer, and my husband asked for some boef bourginon. Even though it's hot as blazes outside, I agreed, since we hadn't had it in ages. I fixed it early in the morning and then dumped it into my crock pot, which he had retrieved from summer exile in the garage. Turned that baby on low, and headed off to work. Returning home, the heavenly smell filled the house. All that was left to do was cook up some noodles, warm the bread and dump lettuce and tomatoes (from my garden!!) into salad bowls.
I kind of followed Julia Child's recipe, but mine is not so complicated. I also cut way down on the amount of cognac that I used, since the hubby is not to fond of that spirit. Let me say upfront that it is ABSOLUTELY NOT necessary to use tenderloin in this recipe. As a matter of fact, the original calls for beef sirloin or chuck ("stew"). Since this is a slow cooking meal, there is plenty of time for the meat to tenderize as it cooks. Don't leave out the tiny, pearl onions, even though they are a little pricey -- they make the dish special.
We like this over buttered egg noodles with a little fresh parsley, but growing up, my mom always served it over rice. I've even seen it served over mashed potatoes or simply as a stew, with lots of crusty bread to soak up the sauce. Whatever your family prefers, that's the right way to make it!

Beef Bourguignon

3 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 - 1 1/2 lbs. beef, cubed into bite size chunks

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 carrots, halved and sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 heaping T. tomato paste

12 oz. fresh mushrooms, some halved, some sliced (white, baby portobellos or a mixture of both)

1 can beef consomme' + 1/2 can water

1 cup hearty red wine such as cab. sauv.

1/4 c. + 2 - 3 T. flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper

1 bay leaf

2 -3 dashes worcestershire sauce

3 T. fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
2 oz. good cognac (more if you love it!)
12 - 16 tiny pearl onions, frozen or from jar (not pickled!)

12 oz. cooked, buttered egg noodles with 2 T. fresh parsley

In a large, deep frying pan, cook the bacon until crisp. While your bacon is frying, dry your beef cubes off a little, by placing them on a paper towel or two. This will aid in the browing process. Remove the bacon to a paper towel, and all but 2 T. of the bacon fat. Add the beef cubes to the hot bacon fat. Stir them around, so that they brown on all sides. When they look nice and brown, turn the heat down a little and add the onions, garlic and carrot. Stir in the worcestershire sauce and a little salt and pepper. When the onions begin to brown and soften, add the 1/4 c. of flour. Mix this into the meat/veggie mixture until ALL the flour is absorbed. If there is still fat/liquid in the pan, add a little more flour, 1 spoonful at a time. When the flour is incorporated, add the consomme', water,wine, tomato paste and mushrooms. Turn the heat up a little bit, bring the mixture to a boil and add the pearl onions, bay leaf, cognac and thyme.
At this point, you may put the mixture in your crock pot and cook it on low for at least 5 hours OR put it into an oven proof casserole and cook on 300 degrees for at least 3 hours. I like the crock pot way the best! 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Summer Classic: Ratatouille

Classic Ratatouille

When the markets are bursting with colorful, fresh veggies, I typically buy too many. Since I can't stand to waste anything, I often turn to ratatouille to use up my extras. Ratatouille is very forgiving, up to a certain point. You've got to have tomatoes, garlic and spices. We prefer a more classic ratatouille, with peppers, squash and eggplant. I think it's the ideal side dish for grilled meats and fish, but many vegetarian friends eat this as a main dish, over pasta or polenta. Try it while the local vegetables are abundant. Cut all of your ingredients into approximately the same size, while your garlic and onions soften in the olive oil.

If you have not tried this before, I am betting it will become part of your regular side dishes!


1 T. olive oil

2 minced garlic cloves

1 medium yellow onion, small dice

1 green pepper, chopped

1 red pepper, roasted, then chopped

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thickly sliced

1 medium yellow "summer" squash, cut like the zucchini

1 small eggplant, peeled and diced

1/3 c. V8 Vegetable juice

6 medium tomatoes, diced OR 1 11 oz. can diced tomatoes PLUS 8 halved cherry tomatoes

freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup packed, torn, fresh basil

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In a LARGE nonstick pan, warm your olive oil over medium heat. Add in the garlic and onions and continue chopping the veggies. (You probably will want to roast your red pepper first.) When the garlic and onion soften, add in everything else EXCEPT the basil, and bring the mixture to a bubble, stirring to break up the tomatoes and release their juice. Put on a lid and turn down the heat. Let this simmer for about 30 - 45 minutes, making sure it does not stick and burn, stirring occasionally. Lastly add the basil and pour the entire mixture into a shallow baking dish. (If your tomatoes were very juicy, and the mixture looks too runny, mix 1 T. flour w/1/2 c. water in a jar, shaking it well to dissolve the flour, and then add it to the ratatouille, stirring it in completely and bringing it back to a boil. This will help it to thicken up a little.)

Top w/cheese, if desired. At this point, you can refrigerate the dish and hold it up to 3 days or bake it off. If you need to hold it until later, be sure to set it on the counter for at least 15 minutes before baking. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Some Words on Cooking with Herbs

My herb garden is exploding -- the basil and parsley are trying to bolt and go straight to seed, the chives look like mutants from another planet and the thyme is popping up everywhere! The rosemary is huge and fragrant. My lavender is getting ready to bloom, but the dill is struggling. Nevertheless, I managed to pull a few fronds from it last week to flavor a few dishes.

I know several people who grow herbs, but rarely use them in their cooking. I think it's basically fear that keeps them from trying out some new tastes in the kitchen. Here are a few things that I like to do with my herbs. I've been fooling around with herb blends and medleys. Basically that means I go out into the garden, cut lots of herbs and bring them into the house. I give them a rinse, shake out the excess water and blot them with a towel. Then I get to chopping.
The next step is to decide what other flavor I'd like to add in. I almost always opt for a clove or 2 of garlic and some freshly ground black pepper. Often, I use a little lemon zest, from my handy dandy microplane grater. A little olive oil can moisten the mixture, and is welcome especially if you are planning on grilling your dinner.

Recently, I've used my "herb medley" in a sauteed shrimp dish and a baked salmon. For the shrimp, I simply put a little butter and olive oil into a non stick frying pan, and added 2 cloves of minced garlic. I let this cook, very low and slow, until the garlic got tender. I hate the taste of burned garlic, so I am always careful to cook it slowly, to let it's flavor develop in the oil. To the butter, oil and garlic mixture, I poured in 1/4 cup pinot grigio and about 2 T. of my basic herb medley -- that night it was basil, rosemary, flat leaf parsley, a little thyme and some garlic chives --and allowed this to simmer away for about 10 minutes and reduce a little, while I enjoyed a cold drink and prepared a salad and some bread. Then, I dropped in 10 peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp, tails off. I turned up the heat and let it cook for about 5 minutes, allowing the shrimp cook through and turn pink. I sprinkled the skillet with some sea salt and served it over angel hair pasta. It was a big hit!

The second meal I prepared was my trusty old standby, baked salmon. I spread a little olive oil on the bottom of a cookie sheet, laid on the salmon, and topped it with the herbs. This time, I made sure the medley included as much dill as I could harvest from the garden, and lemon zest. I incorporated the garlic clove while I was chopping the medley. I added a few tablespoons of white wine to the pan -- once again the pinot grigio -- and covered the fish with foil. I baked it for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees. It was tender, juicy and had a bright, fresh flavor. So easy, so fast!

Whatever you do, don't leave those herbs outside, languishing in the heat! Bring them in and cook, cook, cook!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I scream, you scream...Homemade ICE CREAM!

Happy 4th of July, Everyone! What could be more All American than homemade ice cream? I've had this recipe for years, and used to make it often when my children were little. It made for a very exciting day -- ice cream churning away on the back deck, lots of little hands adding in ice and rock salt. Today, it churned away in a brand, new ice cream churn, right in our kitchen sink.

It turned out just as sweet, however!

This recipe came from a Southern Living Cookbook, circa 1985, the year my first son was born. The cookbook was a gift from my mom and I bet I've cooked more recipes from it than almost any other I own!

If there is a flavor combination better than Chocolate and Peanut butter, I can't immediately think of it. After all, if you are going to take the trouble to make from scratch ice cream and have the patience to wait for it to get ready, go for the really good stuff. And believe me, this recipe is the really good stuff!

Peanut Butter Ice Cream w/Butterfinger Candy Bits

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 T. creamy peanut butter

3 13 oz. can evaporated milk

3 cups whole milk

6 2.1 oz. Butterfinger candy bars, chopped into bite sized pieces

Beat eggs at high speed and add peanut butter and sugar. Continue to beat until well blended. Add in evaporated and whole milk and beat another minute. Stir in chopped candy bars. Chill mixture about 30 minutes. Freeze in an ice cream maker, following the manufacturers directions.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fresh and Cold, Farmers Market Pasta Salad

We spent part of Saturday morning at the South of the James Farmers Market, off Forest Hill Ave., here in Richmond. In spite of record high temperatures, the market was full of people and wonderful fresh produce, interesting crafts and all things local. We bought some delicious peaches, juicy blackberries, and the first local tomatoes of the season. My garden is full of flowers, but if you aren't so blessed, the zinnias and sunflowers were a good buy and abundant.

When it's hot outside, like it is here in Central Virginia, I can hardly think straight some days. Cooking and even eating are almost chores -- well the cooking part anyway. I like to make a lot of things all at once, so I can enjoy the labor throughout the work week. This weekend, I cooked a salmon, made a large, hot pasta dish, whipped up some cold cucumber soup and our favorite pasta salad.
I always love something cold on a hot day, and my cold cucumber soup fits the bill for lunch or dinner (check my blog archive from last summer). I like to eat the soup with a little bowl of pasta salad. Here's a simple one, using the tastiest ingredients from the farmers market. The bold flavors remind me of the antipasto plate from the local Italian eatery we love, and the fresh veggies simply scream summer!

Farmers Market Pasta Salad

12 oz. tricolor rotini pasta

1/3 c. olive oil

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp salt
1/2 - 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (1 makes it slightly hot)

2 green onions, sliced thinly, green and white parts

1/2 roasted red pepper, diced (from the jar is fine if you don't want to do the prep!)

1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli (small pieces) blanched or raw, however you like it!

1/2 c. chopped zucchini

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

10 slices pepperoni, diced

2 oz. Monterrey jack cheese with peppers or plain, diced

1/2 c. sliced or halved black olives

1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained well

1 small cucumber, scrubbed well or peeled, halved lengthwise then sliced

2 sliced pepperoncini peppers

about 15 large basil leaves, torn into small pieces
 or thinly sliced into chiffonade

1/2 c.  or a little more Parmesan cheese

1/2 c. red wine vinegar

Cook your pasta according to the package directions. Add the broccoli for the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Drain well. Put the hot pan back on the burner you turned off, and add your olive oil, minced garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Begin chopping your veggies. Add the pasta back into the oil and mix well. Add in your all the veggies and pepperoni, and toss until combined. Next add the vinegar and finally the diced jack and grated Parmesan cheese, along with the torn basil. It's easiest to do this a little at a time, so the cheese does not melt and clump together. THEN, CHILL, BABY, CHILL, for at least 2 hours, until nice and cold.

If you want a vegetarian pasta, just don't add the pepperoni, it's equally delish.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

As Promised, Delicious Salmon Spread

Here's a spread my family loves, both as an appetizer and for making sandwiches. My mother always made a Salmon Ball, for holidays or whenever she had cocktail parties. I took her original recipe, probably from the early 1960's, and adapted it for today's tastes and style. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Let me also say that my mother ALWAYS used canned salmon. I started using "fresh" because my family loves to have it for dinner and I always had some leftover, and I thought "Why not?". My husband has the definite opinion that he absolutely prefers this spread made with the "fresh", but my kids don't seem to have a preference, they snarf it up either way I make it! As for me, I will say that there is some textural difference. The canned salmon makes a smoother, almost, whipped spread. I like it both ways, though. Salmon Spread 12 oz. fresh baked or canned salmon 10 oz. "lite" cream cheese (neufchatel) 2 T. lemon juice 1/4 onion 1 - 2 T. prepared horseradish 2 drops Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp. dried dill or 1 T. chopped fresh dill The easiest way to do this is to throw everything into a food processor and pulse away. If you don't have one, bring the cream cheese to room temperature, grate the onion and mix, mix, mix away until you get a mostly smooth spread. That's how my mom did it, but personally, I like my food processor! Serve this with party rye bread, fresh cucumbers, club crackers, chopped hard boiled egg, capers and garnish with some fresh dill or flat leaf parsley. To make a sandwich, thinly spread a piece of rye bread w/the spread, top that with thin sliced cucumbers and a little shredded lettuce, salt and pepper and another piece of rye. Summery time yummy sandwich!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Blackend Tuna, On the Grill or On Your Stove

Here's another "fish" post, because we love to eat fish, especially in the summertime! This week, we had blackened Tuna. It was so hot outside, I decided to do it inside, and it worked really well. All you do is buy some Ahi Tuna steaks, and some Paul Prudhomme Blackened Redfish Magic. You need some melted butter -- about 1/2 stick for 3 - 4 small tuna steaks -- and a heavy, hot frying pan. We happen to have a non-stick, stainless steel grill pan, and that works absolutely perfectly! (If you follow my blog and were waiting for salmon spread, I have not forgotten you! I simply forgot to take a picture, so I will be making some very soon, and posting next week, I promise!)

First, you've got to get your pan really, really hot. Get out 2 small, shallow dishes, big enough to hold a tuna steak. Put several heaping tablespoons of the blackening mixture into one. Melt the butter in the other dish, and dip the tuna, flipping to butter both sides. Then, carefully dip the tuna into the spice mixture. Put a drop or two of oil into your hot pan, and lay in the tuna steaks.

Cook them about 2 - 3 minutes on each side and DONE! Delicious, rare, tender, blackened tuna for dinner. How easy is that? Try it w/a fresh salad and my super simple summer dressing, which I have listed below. You will notice that the pesto I posted earlier made a reappearance for this dinner, over linguine instead of ravioli, it's yummy over either.

Super Simple Summer Dressing for Salad

1 large lemon

1 clove garlic

3 - 4 T. extra virgin olive oil

freshly ground pepper

a little salt

2 fresh basil leaves, cut into slivers ("chiffonade" style)

Crush and chop your garlic clove, as small as you can, or grate it into the olive oil. Zest half of your lemon and add it to the jar. Squeeze all of the juice into the oil, being careful to avoid adding the seeds. I use a small sieve over the top of the jar to help me. Add the basil, several grinding of fresh pepper and a pinch of salt. Put the lid on the jar and shake, shake, shake it until well blended. Pour and enjoy.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Favorite Family Dinner

We went to the South of the James farmers market last weekend, and I came back loaded down with veggies and inspired to blog again. If you have not visited this market in Forest Hill Park, it is well worth a trip.

Here's my strategy for perusing the market:

Wander all the way through, front to back, to get the lay of the land and check out the local musicians doing their thing. Buy yourself a hand made spring roll, taco truck taco, a cup of freshly ground coffee or an ice cold lemonade, and walk slowly back to the front, gathering up your faves. Then, stow your goodies in the car (make sure you've got a cooler with you!) and walk down to the newly renovated lake. The walk TO the lake is all downhill, so, therefore easy and refreshing. Take a few minutes checking out the great improvements and enjoy all the little kids trying to fish (it's all "catch and release"). Walk around the lake and you are sure to see mountain bikers up on the steep hills leading up to Woodland Heights. Is this a great city or what? White water rafting, mountain biking, lake fishing and farmers markets, all within a mile or 2 of each other, inside the city limits!

Then, suck it up, and head back UP the hill. You'll feel virtuous and won't feel guilty about the goodies you ate while browsing the market! OR the delicious dinner you will make tonight! There are lots of desserts, in my blog archive, check it out!

Here is a favorite family supper, using some fresh, fresh ingredients, easily obtainable at the farmers market or even your back yard!

Salmon, Ravioli, Salad and Bruschetta For Dinner

1 - 1 1/3 lb. salmon
2 T. olive oil

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

Freshly ground black pepper
1T. chopped fresh rosemary (a 2 -3 in. sprig will yield this
2 T. chopped fresh dill ( a few fronds)

1 lemon, 1/2 for slicing, 1/2 for juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Pour a 1 T. of the olive oil on a large cookie sheet (use one w/low sides) and spread it to the size of your salmon. Lay your salmon, skin side down, on the sheet and rub the rest of the olive oil over the surface of the fish. Sprinkle with the garlic salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Strip the herbs from their stems and chop the leaves from the rosemary and frondy parts from the dill together. Sprinkle over the salmon evenly. Squeeze the juice from half of your lemon over the entire fish. Thinly slice the other half, and lay the slices on top of the salmon. Cover the sheet w/foil, making a tent, so that the foil won't stick to the top of the fish. You may want to spray your foil w/cooking spray to make absolutely sure this won't happen. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Take off the lemon slices and enjoy!

Don't worry if you have leftover salmon, I've got a great salmon spread recipe coming later this week!

Serve this with spinach and cheese ravioli, your favorite salad (lots of fresh greens in the farmers market right now!) and brucshetta. For a good bruschetta topping, see my recipe from last summer, by accessing the archives to the left of the blog ("Bruschetta, A Super Simple Summer Treat"). For this dinner, I omitted the mozarella on top, because there was quite a bit of cheese in the ravioli. NOW, for the ravioli, we like the Mama Rosie's Spinach and Cheese brand, from the freezers at the local supermarket. I make a tasty pesto sauce to put on top. Here's what I use:

Simple Pesto

1/3 c. basil leaves (about 20 large leaves, give or take)

2 T. toasted walnuts

1clove garlic

2 - 4 T. extra virgin olive oil

2 - 3 T. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated

Three tips for success w/pesto: First, use only fresh, bright green basil. Second, toast your walnuts ( or pine nuts if you can afford them or prefer them). Third, use only Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

In a small food processor, or blender, place your basil, garlic and walnuts. Pulse until a they are finely chopped and Drizzle in your olive oil, slowly, until you get the consistency of a smooth, thick sauce. Add in the cheese, 1 tsp. at a time, until it starts to look and smell like pesto, spicy and green. You may need to add a little more olive oil. If you are super concerned about calories, you can substitute a little chicken broth for part of the oil, but you must have at least 1 T. olive oil. Serve over the pasta of your choice. Will keep for a week in a tightly covered container in the frig, if you put a little olive oil on the top too keep it nice and green.

Cooks Tip: You can freeze this, which I often do, just don't add the cheese at the end. I often make a lot, pour it into old fashioned ice cube trays, and freeze them. When they get solid, remove the pesto from the tray, and place in a zip top freezer bag. One cube is enough pesto for 1 - 2 servings.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Baby, It's COLD Outside!

Stuck inside again, weekend after weekend? What to do? We've watched movies, read books and played lots of Wii games....So, I pulled out some old copies of Cooking Light, and tried a new pound cake recipe. I tweaked it just a little to suit our taste, and I must say, it came out very well. Lovely texture, sweet, but not too sweet, dense and moist. And, all in all, not too bad for you -- as far as cake goes! -- using less butter than traditional pound cakes and light sour cream.

Lucious Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake

2 T. dry bread crumbs

4 c. sifted cake flour (1 lb.)

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 c. light sour cream

3/4 c. butter (room temp.)

2 1/4 c. sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 large eggs

2 T. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10" tube pan OR 2 loaf pans w/cooking spray and bread crumbs. Weigh your flour OR lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.**

Combine flour and salt in a bowl, stir w/a whisk to combine. Place butter in a large bowl and beat w/a mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time. mixing well after each one goes in. Add lemon juice and zest, beat 30 seconds. Combine sour cream and baking soda, mixing well (mixture will begin to foam up - that's normal). Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream mixture to the sugar/butter mixture. Make sure your mixer is getting all the way to the bottom of your bowl, so no flour is left unmixed. Use a rubber spatula to help out with this, especially if you are using a small hand mixer.

Pour batter into the tube pan or the 2 loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out cleanly. If you are using loaf pans, check the doneness at the one hour mark.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then remove cake to a wire rack. Spoon over glaze if using while cake is still warm (put some wax paper or foil unter the rack to help w/clean up). Let cool completely before cutting. Makes 18 servings.

Lemon Glaze

2/3 c. sifted powdered sugar

the juice of one large lemon

1/2 tsp. lemon zest

Combine all ingredients in a large measuring cup, stirring well to combine. Spoon over warm pound cake.

** Cooks note; It is always more accurate to weigh your flour, but if you don't have a kitchen scale, make sure to LIGHTLY spoon your flour into your measuring cups, don't scoop it and pack it in.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year...start out right with a fabulous breakfast!

Fabulous poached eggs with biscuits and Country Ham! 
I love breakfast food, and the majority of the time I try and keep it healthy and low cal. However, every now and then, I love to get creative in the morning with a sinfully rich starter that's worth blogging about.

Many years ago, there was a great little restaurant within walking distance of our very first home together, called the Gallery Cafe. Some of you native Richmonders may remember this gem on Semmes Ave. They served a great brunch and made some mean bloody mary's! The dish I remember best, and get to craving now and then was a heavenly egg creation with a rich sauce, and broccoli. Here is as close as I can come to it, without knowing the recipe and filtering through about 25 years!

I used a little help from the store, and purchased a hollandaise sauce mix. I have a great recipe for hollandaise, but frankly, 9 am on New Years Day, was NOT the time to break it out! SO, I grabbed the mix I keep stached at the back of my cupboard, and cooked away. The envelope went into the trash so quickly, no one knew the difference! I also used refrigerated biscuits, but if you feel like making your own, go for it. The original recipe was made served over English muffins, so if that's what you've got around, use them.

Gallery Cafe Eggs

Serves 4 big eaters

8 eggs

8 biscuits or English Muffins

2 c. hollandaise sauce

2 cups cooked broccoli florets

4 slices procuitto or your favorite ham

Heat your oven and bake the biscuits according to the directions (or split the muffins for toasting). Set a wide deep pan half full of water and bring it to a boil, for poaching the eggs. Make your hollandaise sauce and steam the broccoli. Turn off the broccoli and keep the sauce warm while poaching the eggs.

To poach the eggs, the water must be boiling gently. Break one egg into a bowl, and swirl the water to create a vortex. Slip the egg into the center of the vortex and let it cook about 2 minutes. Remove it with a slotted spoon onto a warm plate, and continue cooking the eggs.

Now, for the assembly process:

Split the biscuits on a large plate (or a toasted English muffin). Top with a slice of ham, and 2 poached eggs. Arrange some broccoli attractively on the plate, and drizzle the entire dish with about 1/2 c. hollandaise sauce. Dig in and enjoy!

What a way to start out 2010! Let's hope it will be a happy, healthy and prosperous year!