Sunday, May 31, 2015

Egg, Smoked Bacon and White Asparagus on Toast with Buttermilk Sauce ~ Sweet Potato Home Fries







     A Modern Southern Style Breakfast Entrée! 
     I figured that I would whip up a nice petite modern southern style breakfast entrée with a few select ingredients that taste nice together.  White asparagus, smoked bacon and eggs are a good combination for a toast barge style presentation.  The tart flavor of a buttermilk sauce really adds a nice souther style complimentary flavor.  Sweet potato home fries definitely are some down home cookin'!  
     Sweet Potato Home Fries really cannot be cooked ahead of time, because they will become very soft and they will lose their appeal.  These home fries have to be cooked to order.  
     Real home fries are cooked in a cast iron skillet or on a flat top grill.  It cracks me up when I see deep fried home fries served at restaurants.  Deep fried potatoes are not home fries!  Deep fried home fries are only made by lazy restaurant chefs that really do not care about integrity.  
     When I am served deep fried potatoes at a restaurant, instead of real griddle cooked home fries, I complain and send the potatoes back to the kitchen.  This is what all restaurant customers should do, because serving deep fried potatoes as home fries is a deceptive marketing practice.      

     Sweet Potato Home Fries:  
     This recipe yields 1 portion.   
     Step 1:  Dice a peeled sweet potato into medium size cube shaped pieces.  About 3/4 cup is needed.(Parmentier 1/2" cube or Macédoine 1/4" cube French precision cut.) 
     Blanch the diced sweet potato in a sauce pot of boiling water over high heat for 2 minutes.
     Drain the water off of the sweet potatoes.
     Step 2:  Place a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add the blanched diced sweet potato.
     Add sea salt.
     Add 1 pinch of allspice.
     Sauté the sweet potato pieces, till they are lightly caramelized and fully cooked.
     Keep the sweet potato home fries warm on a stove top.

     Buttermilk Sauce:
     Butter milk will break and turn back into butter fats if it is heated on it's own.  A small amount of cornstarch slurry will bind the sauce.  
     Step 1:  Place a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of buttermilk.
     Bring the buttermilk up to a very gentle simmer.
     *If the buttermilk breaks, do not worry.  The sauce will be whitened with more buttermilk later in the recipe.
     Step 2:  Add just enough cornstarch slurry to bind the sauce, so the buttermilk does not break.  (About 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon of cold water.)  The sauce should be thickened to a medium thin consistency.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Add sea salt and coarse ground black pepper.
     Add 1/4 cup more buttermilk, while stirring, to whiten the sauce.
     Gently reduce to a thin consistency.
     Keep the sauce warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie.
   
     Egg, Smoked Bacon, White Asparagus and Toast Preparation:
     Step 1:  Heat sauté pan or griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Brush a thick slice of soft crust French boule loaf bread with melted unsalted butter.  (The bread slice should be about the size of 1 fried egg.)
     Grill the bread, till it becomes toasted on both side.
     Keep the toast warm on a stove top.
     Leave the pan on the heat.
     Step 2:  Grill 2 slices of hickory smoked bacon, till they are about halfway cooked and some bacon grease is rendered in the pan.
     Step 3:  Cut 2 to 3 thin white asparagus spears in half lengthwise.
     Place the white asparagus spears on the pan in the hot bacon grease.
     Sauté till the bacon is crisp and the white asparagus spears are tender.
     Keep the bacon and white asparagus warm on a stove top.
     Step 4:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter .
     Add 1 whisked large egg.
     Scramble the egg, till it is fully cooked.
   
     Egg, Smoked Bacon and White Asparagus on Toast with Buttermilk Sauce ~ Sweet Potato Home Fries:
     Place the toast slice of French bread on a plate.
     Place the scrambled egg on the toast.
     Place the bacon slices on the egg.
     Place the white asparagus spear halves on top of the bacon and eggs.
     Spoon the buttermilk sauce over the barge entrée.
     Mound the sweet potato home fried on the plate.
   
     This breakfast entrée has an old fashioned flavor.  The tangy thin buttermilk sauce has a few curdled butterfat bits after cooking.  This a nice southern style breakfast entrée! 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Tomato and Pancetta Omelette with Formaggi Pecorino Romano







     An Omelette With Classic Italian Flavors!
     I purchased some great looking imported Pancetta at an Italian delicatessen the other day.  Pancetta is Italian style dry cured pork belly.  The pork belly section is lightly seasoned and rubbed with curing salt, then it is rolled, trussed and hung up to dry cure in a mountain cave.  After the pork belly dry cures and ages, it develops a very rich tasting flavor with a light refined aged cheese aftertaste.  Pancetta is truly the gourmet bacon of all bacon!  Pancetta is used to start many Italian sauces and it tastes nice with eggs.
     American national brand lunch meat companies do make pancetta, but it is nowhere near the high level of quality of the real deal imported Italian Pancetta.  Honestly, it really does pay to spend a few extra pennies to get the real thing, as far as Pancetta is concerned.  Supporting the Italian artisans that make hand crafted Pancetta the old fashioned way is an act of preserving cultural tradition.  As a chef or a home cook, maintaining integrity should always be part of the decision making process when purchasing food of any kind.  Buying cheap mass produced factory food simply does not cut the mustard when cooking with pride!

     I have said this many times before.  The color of an omelette is a matter of personal choice and cooking eggs to a golden color is best for certain recipe applications.  Sometimes the flavor of an omelette benefits from eggs that have light golden brown highlights.  This is especially true for omelets that are made with sausage or rich tasting bacon.

     How To Learn To Flip Eggs:
     To learn how to flip eggs properly, simply place the heel slice from a a loaf of Pullman Bread in a small sauté pan, then start practicing flipping the bread slice.  The heel of a loaf of Pullman Bread is the same weight as 1 large egg.
     Flip the bread by letting the bread slide forward in the pan and then in one motion, pull back on the pan and the bread heel will ride up the curved rime of the pan, then it will arch through the air and land on the center of the pan.
     Flipping the bread heel is actually done by using a back and forth motion and not a vertical motion.  I can flip an egg in a pan that is set on a flat surface, just by using two fingers to pull the handle of the pan backward.  The curved rim of the pan causes the bread to fly with an arching motion!  The word sauté actually does translate to "flip."  A real sauté pan is designed to easily flip the ingredients in a pan with one quick fluid hand motion!
     To be a great sauté cook, one has to be a great breakfast cook first.  In the old days, all sauté cooks had to show plenty of breakfast cooking experience on their resume.  Breakfast cooking is the means for developing lightning fast hand speed, along with great hand-eye coordination.

     Tomato and Pancetta Omelette with Formaggi Pecorino Romano:
     This recipe yields 1 petite omelette.
     Many omelets do need to be flipped twice, so the ingredients can be seen on the surface.  Finishing the eggs, so they have a light golden color is best for this omelette.
     Step 1:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     A  2 pinches of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Add 1 small pinch of basil.
     Add 1 small pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 small pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of milk.
     Whisk the ingredients, till they are blended.
     Step 2:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of pomace olive oil.
     Add 3 tablespoons of chopped pancetta.
     Saute till the pancetta is a light golden brown color.
     Step 3:  Raise the temperature to medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/4 cup of diced seeded plum tomato.
     Sauté till the tomato just starts to become tender.
     Step 4:  Add the egg mixture.
     Even the edges of the omelette with a rubber spatula.
     When the bottom half of the omelette is cooked firm, flip the omelette.
     Step 5:  When the omelette becomes fully cooked and firm, flip the omelette a second time.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of finely grated imported Italian Pecorino Romano cheese on the omelette.
     Triple fold the omelette while sliding it from the pan onto a plate.
     Sprinkle a couple pinches of finely grated Pecorino Romano over the omelette.
     Garnish with Italian Parsley sprigs.

     Practice makes perfect, when flipping eggs!  

Cajun Grillades 'n' Sun Dried Tomato Grits








     Grillades and Grits!
     Grillades and Grits are a traditional Louisiana breakfast item.  The pan gravy can be plain and simple or fancy.  Today's fancied up grillades gravy recipe has a full range of Cajun flavors.  
     For Louisiana Cajun cooking, the Trinity is the key to creating the base flavor of most sauces, soups, gumbo and jambalaya.  The Trinity vegetable combination is 2 parts onion, 1 part bell pepper and 1 part celery.  Green onion is added separately.  Green onions are usually called shallots in old Cajun recipes.
     There are rules of thumb for making roux for a sauce in Cajun cuisine.  Dark meats require a sauce made with a white or blonde roux.  Light color meat or fish requires a sauce made with a dark brown roux.  A sauce made with a red or reddish brown roux can be served with meat that has a color that is somewhere between light and dark.
     Most of the rest of the Cajun cuisine cooking rules are abased upon 200 to 500 year old French cuisson techniques, but cooking traditions that are uniquely Cajun do come into play.  Native American ingredients are incorporated in Louisiana Cajun cuisine.  Canadian Acadian Cuisine makes use of wild game, but the food looks like very old pre 1700 French cooking.  
     African and Spanish ingredients are also incorporated in Louisiana Cajun recipes.  Louisiana Cajuns adapted many cultural food resources into their cooking over the years, but the cooking techniques remained traditional Cajun with Native American cooking influences being retained.  As one can see, Louisiana Cajun food is down to earth early American self sustenance at its best.  Cajun food is all about flavor!
 
     Sun Dried Tomato Grits: 
     This recipe yields 1 large portion of grits!
     Step 1:  Place 3 sun dried tomato halves and 1 cup of water in a sauce pot over very low heat.
     Simmer till the sun dried tomatoes are tender.
     Drain the water off of the sun dried tomatoes.
     Dice the sun dried tomatoes and set them aside.
     Step 2:  Boil 1 1/2 cups of water over medium high heat in a sauce pot.
     Add 1/2 cup of stone ground old fashioned hominy grits.  (Instant grits are taboo!)
     Stir the grits with a whisk, so they do not become lumpy.
     Bring the grits to a boil.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Add the reserved sun dried tomatoes.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Stir the grits occasionally, till they become soft and thick.
     *Add a splash of water if the grits become too thick.  The grits should be thick enough to slowly pour off of a spoon.
     When the grits are tender, keep them warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie.
 
     Cajun Grillades of Pork: 
     This recipe yields 1 hearty portion!
     Country Style Pork Ribs actually are a lean section of a boneless pork shoulder that is close to the rib section.  Pork loin can also be used for today's recipe.
     Step 1:  Cut 3 slices of boneless country style pork rib that weigh 2 to 3 ounces apiece.
     Pound the pork cutlets flat with a meat mallet or wine bottle.
     Lightly dredge the flattened pork cutlets in flour.
     Step 2:  Heat a wide sauté pan or wide cast iron skillet over medium heat.
     Add 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add the floured pork cutlets.
     Sauté the cutlets, till they are lightly browned and fully cooked.
     Remove the pork cutlets from the pan and set them aside.
     Step 3:  Leave the pan over medium heat.
    *There should be about 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter left in the pan.  Add enough unsalted butter to increase the volume to 2 tablespoons total.
     Add an equal amount of flour to the butter in the pan, while stirring with a whisk, to make a roux.  (The roux should look shiny, not caky!)
     Constantly stir the roux as it cooks, till it becomes a reddish brown color.
     Step 4:  Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped celery.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped mixed red and green bell pepper.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped jalapeño pepper.
     Stir the hot red roux as it "grabs" the vegetables.  (The vegetables will stop the roux from cooking any further.)
     Stir the roux and vegetables for one minute.
     Step 5:  Add 1 finely chopped green onion.
     Add 1/2 cup of ham broth.
     Add 1 1/4 cups of pork broth.
     Add 1 ounce of dry white wine.
     Stir the mixture with a whisk as it thickens.
     Step 6:  Bring the sauce up to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Step 7:  Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Add 1 pinch of tarragon.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon pinches of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 2 to 3 pinches of cayenne pepper.  (to taste)
     Step 8:  Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Stir the sauce.
     Return the grilled pork cutlets to the pan.
     Gently simmer the grillades and gravy, till the sauce becomes a medium thin consistency that easily coats the pork.
     Step 9:  Keep the grillades warm over very low heat.
     Remove the bay leaf before serving.  Add a splash of pork broth is the gravy is too thick.
 
     Cajun Grillades 'n' Sun Dried Tomato Grits with Sunny Egg: 
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 or 2 eggs.
     Cook the egg sunny side up or however you prefer your eggs!
     Step 2:  Place a portion of the sun dried tomato grits on the plate.
     Place the grillades on the plate.
     Pour the Cajun gravy over the grits and grillades.
     Place the egg on the plate.
     Sprinkle a little bit of thin bias sliced green onion top over the grillades and grits.
     Garnish the plate with an Italian Parsley sprig.
 
     This is a lip smackin' good tasting Louisiana Cajun breakfast!          

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Camembert and Garden Pea Omelette with Sweet Shallots






     Delicate Classic Flavors!
     French Camembert Cheese is like Brie Cheese, but there are subtle differences.  Basically Camembert is shaped smaller than Brie.  Camembert Cheese is inoculated with a wash of Penicillium camemberti.  Brie Cheese is inoculated with one of three types of fungus, which includes Penicillium camemberti.  Therefore, Brie Cheese can have a slightly different texture and flavor than Camembert.
     Camembert is a double cream type of cheese, so it easily melts.  For an omelette, Camembert is best when it is just warmed enough to slightly melt.  If Camembert is overheated, the cheese will liquify and only unsightly pieces of rind will remain.

     Sweet Garden Peas are a popular omelette ingredient in Europe.  Sweet Peas give today's omelette a nice mellow garden fresh flavor that compliments the flavor of Camembert Cheese.  The sautéed sweet shallot topping adds even more appeal.
 
     Camembert and Garden Pea Omelette with Sweet Shallots
     This recipe yields 1 petite omelette.
     Step 1:  Boil 2 cups of salted water in a sauce pot over high heat.
     Add 1/3 cup of frozen garden peas.
     Boil the peas for about 20 seconds.
     Cool the peas under cold running water.
     Drain the water off of the peas.
     Set the peas aside.
     Step 2:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 large shallot that is finely chopped.
     Gently sauté till the shallot turns clear in color.
     Place the sautéed shallot aside in a small bowl and keep it warm on a stove top.
     Step 3:  Place 2 large eggs into a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of cream.
     Whisk the egg mixture, till it is blended.
     Step 4:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add the egg mixture.
     Immediately add the reserved blanched garden peas.
     Even the edges of the omelette with a rubber spatula.
     Step 5:  When the bottom half of the omelette is cooked firm, remove the pan from the heat.
     Place several thin slices of Camembert Cheese on one half of the omelette.  (About 1 1/2 to 2 ounces)
     Place the omelette pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Bake the omelette, till the top half is fully cooked and the Camembert Cheese begins to soften.  (About 1 to 2 minutes.)
     Step 6:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Double fold the omelette in the pan.
     Place 4 thin wedges of camembert cheese on top of the omelette.
     Return the omelette to the oven for about 1 minute to soften the camembert cheese topping.
     Step 7:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Slide the omelette onto a plate.
     Spread the sautéed shallot topping over the cheese on top of the omelette.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of finely chopped Italian Parsley over the omelette.
 
     The combination of light flavors in this omelette are delightful!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mayan Chocolate Omelette Soufflé with Vanilla Yerba Buena Crème








      A Light Airy French Omelette Soufflé With A Complex Classic Mayan Chocolate Flavor!
     I have used the classic flavor of the ancient Mayan Chocolate Drink to make few dessert and milkshake recipes in the past.  The complex flavor of the Mayan Chocolate comes from a combination of ingredients that are difficult for most people to imagine.  First of all, the chocolate is bitter and unsweetened cocoa powder is similar to the chocolate that Olmecs and Mayans prepared.  Achiote, chile peppers, cannella, corn flour and vanilla bean flavored the Mayan Chocolate Drink.  Honey was probably added occasionally too. 
   
     Today's Mayan Chocolate Omelette Soufflee recipe was made for breakfast, but sweet omelette soufflés can also be served as a dessert course.  Omelette soufflé is fairly easy to make.  Egg whites are whisked till they form medium soft meringue peaks.  The meringue is folded into the flavored egg yolk mixture, then the omelette soufflé is first cooked in a pan like a regular omelette.  Transferring the pan to an oven allows the omelette soufflé to finish cooking like a regular soufflé.  
     Sweet soufflés are best when a very light thin crust forms and the same can be said about sweet omelette soufflés.  French omelets or omelette soufflés can be served flat, folded in half or triple folded.  They can even be baked in a mold.  

     Yerba Buena is a mint varietal that is native to Mexico.  Yerba Buena is usually sold as a dried herb and it is not sold fresh, because it is highly perishable.  Mexican mint varieties tend to have strong complex flavors that are more interesting than domesticated European mint varietals.  Some varieties of Mexican mint have flavors that compare to Thai basil and perilla.  Some have a strong peppermint flavor.  
     Vanilla is part of Mayan Chocolate Drink recipe and vanilla flavors the Yerba Buena Sauce in today's recipe.  Vanilla bean producing orchids are also native to Mexico.  Vanilla Yerba Buena Crème adds a refreshing flavor contrast to the a Mayan Chocolate Omelette Soufflé . 

     Vanilla Yerba Buena Crème:  
     This recipe yields enough for one omelette soufflé!  (about 2 1/2 ounces)
     This is a simple reduction style sweet cream sauce.  
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.  
     Add 1/2 cup of cream.
     Add 1/4 cup of milk.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of crushed yerba buena.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of granulated sugar.
     Step 2:  Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it is a thin sauce consistency.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat and keep the sauce warm.
     Add a splash of milk, if the sauce becomes too thick.
     Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter while whisking, just before serving.   
     
     Mayan Chocolate Omelette Soufflé:
     This recipe yields 1 petite omelette soufflé.
     Step 1:  Separate the yolks and whites of 2 eggs into two separate mixing bowls.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of piloncillo (Mexican raw sugar) to the egg yolks.
     Add 2 teaspoons of milk. 
     Add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cannella. 
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper or ground chile arbol.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground chile ancho.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground anatto.  
     Add 1 pinch of salt.
     Stir till the raw sugar dissolves and the ingredients combine.
     Set the flavored egg yolk mixture aside. 
     Step 3:  Whisk the egg whites in the other mixing  bowl, till medium soft meringue peaks are formed.
     Step 4:  Gentle fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg white meringue.
     Step 5:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add the Mayan Chocolate Omelette Soufflé mixture.
     Use a spatula to even omelette shape.
     Sauté till light golden highlights appear and the bottom of the omelette is firm.
     Step 6:  Flip the omelette soufflé.
     Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Bake till the eggs are fully cooked and light brown highlights appear.
     Remove the pan from the oven.
    
     Mayan Chocolate Omelette Soufflé with Vanilla Yerba Buena Crème:
     Spoon the Vanilla Yerba Buena Crème on a plate as a bed for the omelette soufflé.
     Place the Mayan Chocolate Omelette Soufflé on the vanilla yerba buena creme. 
     Sprinkle a few pinches of powdered sugar on the warm omelette soufflé.
     Garnish with mint sprigs and fruit or serve it plain.

     This Mayan Chocolate Omelette Soufflé with Vanilla Yerba Buena Crème will satisfy any exotic chocolate fan!  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Bubble and Squeak





     English Style Leftovers For Breakfast!
     Bubble and Squeak is an English recipe that is made with leftover vegetables and potatoes.  Most often, the leftovers come from a Sunday roast dinner.
     There is no solitary strict recipe for Bubble and Squeak.  The recipe can vary from household to household and the ingredients pretty much just depends on what kind of leftover food is in the fridge.  The rule of thumb is, if it can be chopped or mashed, then it can be turned into Bubble and Squeak!

     Leftover cabbage and potatoes is the hallmark vegetable combination for making Bubble and Squeak.  Leftover boiled potatoes, roasted potatoes or mashed potatoes all can be used.  Leftover roasted potatoes have the best flavor, but boiled potatoes easily combine with the cabbage when mashed.  Soft mashed potatoes can be a bit tricky, because they can stick to a hot grill.  Sometimes it takes a little bit of ingenuity to figure out a way the make Bubble and Squeak cook as it should.
  
     Bubble and Squeak is usually served as breakfast.  The mashed vegetables and potato is formed into a patty shape and then grilled.  Leftover meat from a Sunday roast can be sliced and served with the Bubble and Squeak.  Chopped small bits of leftover meat, salt pork or bacon can be added to the Bubble and Squeak too.  Adding some spices, like curry powder or Cajun Spice can really jazz up the flavor.
     Bubble and Squeak gets its name from the loud sizzling, popping and squeaking noise that it makes when it is grilled with butter or bacon grease.  One has to be careful to not get the grill too hot, because pieces of Bubble and Squeak can pop and literally fly through the air.  A moderate temperature works best.

     *This entire recipe yields 1 entrée.
   
     Bubble and Squeak:
     The leftover potato can be roasted, mashed or boiled potato.  French Fries (English Chips) are not really a good choice for making Bubble and Squeak.
     Any chopped leftover vegetables can be used, but cabbage is the most popular.
     Step 1:  Place 1 cup of a leftover cooked  potato in a mixing bowl.
     Add 3/4 cup of chopped leftover boiled or braised cabbage.
     Add 2 tablespoons of minced onion.
     Add 1 chopped green onion top.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 2:  Mash the ingredients, till the ingredients can stick together like a coarse vegetable potato pancake.
     Press the Bubble and Squeak mixture into 2 patty shapes.
     Step 3:  Heat a seasoned cast iron skillet or griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Place 2 tablespoons of  unsalted butter or bacon grease on the griddle.
     Place the Bubble and Squeak patties on the griddle.
     Step 4:  Grill the Bubble and Squeak patties on both sides, till they are piping hot and golden brown highlights appear.  (If the patties pop and fall apart, then use a spatula to press them back together.)

     Presentation:
     Some English pubs present breakfast food with a sense of order.  Items are placed on the plate in an organized manner.  The better the leftovers look on a plate, the easier they are to sell!
     Place the Bubble and Squeak patties on a plate.
     Serve with a variety of breakfast food items like those in the photos above:
     - fried egg
     - grilled tomato slices
     - caramelized grilled onion slices
     - sliced leftover roasted beef, pork or sausage
     Garnish the plate with parsley sprigs.
  
     Bubble and Squeak is simple English home style comfort food!  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Poached Eggs and Tomato on Whole Grain Rusk with Safflower Saffron Sauce Suprême and Grilled Scallions







     A French Mediterranean Style Breakfast Entrée!
     This poached egg entrée is nice brunch item!  This egg entrée has an elegant flavor and it looks pretty on a plate.  Safflower Saffron is a mild tasting spice that is not overbearing.
     As everybody knows, honoring Mothers Day usually involves bringing moms to a restaurant for brunch or dinner.  Cooking breakfast for mom at home on Mothers Day is a good option too.  Whipping up a fancy Mothers Day breakfast entrée really makes a mom feel special.
     Today's recipe is a nice choice for those who are intimidated by the thought of making hollandaise sauce.  The Safflower Saffron Sauce Suprême is definitely a bright yellow color and the flavor is superb.

     Basmati Breakfast Rice:
     This recipe yields 2 portions.  
     Step 1:  Soak 1/2 cup of basmati rice in cold water for 1 hour.
     Rinse the rice with cold water.
     Step 2:  Place the rinsed rice in a sauce pot.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Place the pot over medium high heat.
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to a low heat.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of cumin.
     Add 1 pinch of coriander.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil.
     Step 4:  Cover the pot with a lid.
     Gently simmer the rice till it is tender.
     Drain off any excess water.
     Keep the rice warm on a stove top.
 
     Chicken Velouté:
     This recipe yields about 1 cup of velouté sauce.
     • A white roux is used in place of a blonde roux, when making a velouté sauce that will be used to make sauce suprême!   
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour, while stirring with a whisk.  (The roux should look shiny, not caky.)
     Constantly stir, till the roux cooks to a pale white color.
     Step 2:  Add 2 cups of chicken stock.
     Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Whisk the sauce occasionally as it comes to a gentle boil.
     Step 3:  When the sauce comes to a gentle boil, reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add a tied bouquet garni of:
     - Leek
     - Celery
     - 1/2 of a small bay leaf
     - 1 small prig of thyme
     - 1 parsley stalk
     Step 4:  Gently simmer and reduce the sauce, till it is a thin sauce consistency that barely glazes a spoon.  (There should only be about 1 cup of velouté sauce after the reduction is completed.)
     Step 5:  Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a container.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter, while whisking.  (Monte au beurre.  This will keep a "skin" from forming on the velouté.)
     Set the velouté aside.

     Suprême Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/3 cups of sauce.
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of velouté sauce in a small sauce pot.
     Add 1 tablespoon of mushroom peelings.
     Add 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup of crème fraîche.  
     *Modern crème fraîche is a mixture of 50% sour cream and 50% cream.  Only add enough crème fraîche to turn the velouté into a white color. 
     Step 2:  Place the pot over low heat.
     After the sauce heats, simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.
     Whisk the sauce, till it becomes smooth.
     Step 3:  Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a second sauce pot.  

     Safflower Saffron Suprême Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/3 cups of sauce.
     Safflower Saffron has a very mild flavor.  If higher grade Crocus sativa Saffron is used, then only add 1 small pinch.  
     Step 1:  Place the sauce pot of Suprême Sauce over low heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of chicken stock.
     Add 1/4 cup of milk. 
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of safflower saffron.
     Add 1 pinch of turmeric.
     Step 2:  Simmer and reduce till the sauce is a medium thin consistency that can easily coat a spoon.
     Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.  
     *The sauce will turn yellow after about 5 minutes and the flavors will meld.  Add light chicken stock or milk if the sauce becomes too thick.  
 
     Poached Eggs and Tomato on Whole Grain Rusk with Safflower Saffron Sauce Suprême and Grilled Scallions: 
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Cut 2 round crouton medallions of whole grain bread.  The croutons should be 3 1/2" wide and about 3/8" thick.
     Bake the croutons in an 200ºF oven, till they are crisp, but not browned at all.  (rusk)
     Set the rusk croutons aside.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 2 green onions that are cut into long thin strips.  (If scallions are available, then use them!)
     Grill the green onions till they are tender, with a minimum of caramelization.
     Set the grilled scallions aside and keep them warm on a stove top.
     Step 3:  Leave the sauté pan on the heat!
     Grill 2 thick slices of plum tomato on both sides, till light brown highlights appear.
     Season the tomato slices with sea salt and black pepper.
     Set the grilled tomato slices on the rusk croutons and keep them warm on a stove top.
     Step 4:  Poach 2 large eggs in gently boiling salted water over medium heat.
     Step 5:  Place the grilled tomato and rusk croutons on a plate.
     Set the poached eggs on top of the tomato and rusk croutons.
     Use a ring mold to place the seasoned breakfast rice on the plate.
     Spoon the Safflower Saffron Suprême Sauce over the poached eggs.
     Place the Grilled Scallions on top of each egg.
     Garnish the plate with an Italian Parsley sprig.
 
     This is a nice tasting breakfast entrée!  

Friday, May 8, 2015

Omelette Soufflé with Asparagus, Cheddar and Capelin Roe







     Light Fluffy Omelette Soufflé!
     A two egg omelette soufflé looks larger than a regular 3 egg omelette.  As one can see in the photos, a two egg omelette soufflé literally fills the plate!
     The omelette soufflé technique is very easy to master.  Only a couple more steps need to be done, to take a regular omelette up to the next level.
     Capelin Roe has a very mild flavor.  Capelin Roe is a nice breakfast omelette garnish, because it looks nice on a plate and it adds a mild umami flavor.  Capelin Roe is called Masago in Japan and it is used to decorate sushi.  Capelin Roe is sold as a frozen product in Asian food markets.
  
     Omelette Soufflé with Asparagus, Cheddar and Capelin Roe: 
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Boil salted water in a sauce pot over high heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of asparagus tips and thin sliced tender stem pieces.  (Peel the asparagus if the stalks are thick or the skin is tough.)
     Blanch the asparagus in the boiling water, till it is cooked al dente.
     Drain the hot water off of the asparagus.
     Cool the asparagus under cold running water.
     Drain the water off of the asparagus.
     Set the asparagus aside.
     Step 2:  Separate the whites and yolks of two large eggs into 2 separate mixing bowls.
     Add the blanched asparagus to the egg yolks.
     Whisk the egg whites, till medium soft meringue peaks appear.
     Gently fold the egg yolks and asparagus into the egg white meringue.
     Step 3:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Use a rubber spatula to assist pouring the soufflé mixture into the hot pan.
     Cook the omelette soufflé, till the bottom of the omelette is firm.
     Step 4:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Sprinkle 1/4 cup of grated cheddar cheese over the uncooked eggs on top of the omelette soufflé.
     Place the pan in a 350ºF oven.
     Bake the omelette soufflé, till it puffs up and the eggs are fully cooked.
     Step 5:  Remove the omelette soufflé from the oven.
     Fold the omelette souffle in half and place it on a plate.
     Place a spoonful of Capelin Roe (Masago) on top of the omelette.
     Garnish the plate with Italian Parsley sprigs.
  
     Light, airy and fluffy!  This omelette soufflé tastes nice! 

Texas Chicken Fried Steak & Sausage Gravy






     A Texas Specialty!
     Unfortunately there are more poorly prepared Chicken Fried Steak breakfasts served at two bit restaurants than there is good.  Cheap greasy spoon diners and corporate chain restaurants sell the worst Chicken Fried Steak entrées of the bunch, because only the bottom line profits are what counts.
     Low budget restaurants and chain restaurants usually sell pre-manufactured frozen Chicken Fried Steak that only needs to be dropped into a deep fryer.  Some of the worst restaurants actually go one step lower down the quality scale and they sell pre-manufactured frozen flour battered ground beef patties as Chicken Fried Steak.  That is as lousy as Chicken Fried Steak gets.
     Even the milk gravy is questionable ay two bit restaurants.  For example, a well known corporate chain restaurant that advertises itself as serving old fashioned country style food actually serves canned sausage gravy instead of making it from scratch.  This restaurant chain has locations along every interstate highway in America and plenty of consumers get suckered into buying the lousy food.  It is a sorry state of affairs when a restaurant serves sausage gravy straight out of a #10 can that came from some kind of a mystery food factory on the dark side of the globe!

     Today's Chicken Fried Steak recipe is made the original Texas way.  A traditional Texas Chicken Fried Steak is hand crafted.  The cutlet of beef must be pounded thin and flat, so that it pan fries evenly and quickly.  The beef is buttermilk and flour battered.  The batter coated steak is pan fried and it is not deep fried.  When made the old fashioned Texas country style cooking way, a Chicken Fried Steak is as good tasting and satisfying as can be!
     When I first started cooking professionally, the first thing that I learned how to make was sausage gravy in a busy little breakfast restaurant.  An old U.S. Navy Master Cook was the boss and he really knew his stuff.  Sausage gravy is one of the easiest to make Milk Gravy variations.  Sausage Gravy can be made with raw bulk sausage or it can be made with leftover fully cooked breakfast sausage.

     Texas Chicken Fried Steak & Sausage Gravy does have an ominous nickname.  Many Americans refer to this entrée as a "Heart Attack On A Plate!"  This undeserved reputation is mostly due to the lousy breakfast restaurants that serve cheap frozen Chicken Fried Steak.  Deep fried frozen battered steak really absorbs a lot of grease and after it is smothered with sausage gravy, the level of saturated fats goes through the roof.
     A freshly battered chicken fried steak that is pan fried at the correct temperature actually will absorb very little grease.  Even so, Texas Chicken Fried Steak & Sausage Gravy is not exactly a good choice for those who are on a low cholesterol diet plan.  This is a high calorie and high fat content plate of breakfast food no matter how one looks at it.  An entrée like this should only be eaten occasionally, because it is so rich.  Dietary moderation is the key to vanquishing the "Heart Attack On A Plate" reputation of Chicken Fried Steak & Sausage Gravy!
  
     Sausage Gravy:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups of sausage gravy. 
     The object is to not brown the sausage or the gravy will end up being a tan color.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 4 ounces of uncased bulk pork breakfast sausage.
     Stir and break up any sausage clumps as it cooks.  
     Cook the sausage till it is fully cooked and it is a light tan color.
     Step 2:  Add a little bit of flour, while stirring with a whisk, to soak up the grease and to make a simple roux.  (About 1 1/2 tablespoons)
     Constantly stir the roux and sausage for about 30 seconds.
     Step 3:  Add 2 cups of milk while stirring with a whisk.
     Stir occasionally the gravy heats and thickens.
     Step 4:  Bring the gravy to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the gravy is a medium thin consistency that easily coats a spoon.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.  (To taste, if necessary.)
     Keep the sausage gravy warm over very low heat.  Add milk if the gravy is too thick.
   
     Texas Chicken Fried Steak:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Place an 8 ounce piece of skirt steak on a counter top.
     Pound the steak with a meat mallet, till it evenly thin and tender.
     Step 2:  Season 3 cups of flour with sea salt, black pepper and 1 pinch of ground sage.
     Step 3:  Pour about 1 cup of buttermilk in a mixing bowl
     Step 4:  Dredge the steak in the seasoned flour.
     Dip the steak in the buttermilk.
     Dredge the steak in the seasoned flour a second time.
     Step 5:  Heat a wide cast iron skillet over medium heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of lard.
     Add enough vegetable frying oil, so the oil is about 3/8" deep.
     Adjust the temperature so the oil is 360ºF.
     Step 6:  Pan fry the steak on both sides, till the buttermilk batter coating is a crispy golden brown.
     Remove the chicken fried steak from the pan.
     Set the fried steak on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Keep the chicken fried steak warm on a stove top.
     *Home Fry style breakfast potatoes can be cooked in the pan while the oil is hot!
   
     Texas Chicken Fried Steak & Sausage Gravy: 
     Cook the 1 or 2 eggs any style that is preferred.  
     Place the chicken fried steak on a plate.
     Spoon a generous amount of the sausage gravy over the steak.
     Place the sunny side up egg on the plate.
     Serve with some home fries of your choice.
     Garnish with a parsley sprig.
  
     There is nothing like a good old fashioned Texas Chicken Fried Steak with Sausage Gravy!  Chicken fried steak is best when it is made from scratch and cooked to order.