Saturday, April 29, 2017

Honeydew Melon with Ginger Honey Mint Yogurt

     Healthy and Refreshing!
     A fruit cup is a typical side dish for breakfast in many restaurants.  In cheap "Greasy Spoon" diners, a fruit cup is usually made with canned fruit.  At chain restaurants, fresh pack prepared citrus fruit from a container is used.  At nice casual restaurants and fine dining restaurants, a fruit cup may be more of tasteful experience, because fresh fruit is the standard.
     Whipped Cream or yogurt usually accompanies a fruit cup in a fancy restaurant.  In modern times, yogurt has become the healthy choice.  Yogurt is easy to flavor, so it is easy to create a yogurt sauce that goes well with a specific fruit.
     Goat milk yogurt and mint sauces are popular in the Middle East and North Africa.  Yogurt and mint is a very refreshing classic combination.  Ginger also goes well with yogurt and mint.  From a health standpoint, eating some ginger is one of the best ways to start a day.  Ginger is a strong antioxidant, it increases cardiovascular efficiency and an it is an anti cancer food.  Starting the day with some ginger definitely has its benefits.

     Ginger Honey Mint Yogurt: 
     This recipe yields about 2/3 cup.  (2 portions)
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of goat milk yogurt (Greek style yogurt) in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of honey.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced fresh mint leaves.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Place the Ginger Honey Mint Yogurt in a container.
     Chill in a refrigerator for 30 minutes, so the flavors meld.

     Honeydew Melon with Ginger Honey Mint Yogurt:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Remove the rind from 1 Honeydew Melon.
     Cut the melon in half.
     Use a spoon to remove the seed pulp.
     Step 2:  Cut the prepared honeydew melon into bite size pieces.  (About 2 cups will be needed per fruit cup.)
     Step 3:  Select a shallow ramekin or custard dish that is about 4 1/2" to 5" in diameter.
     Mound the honeydew pieces in the ramekin.
     Step 4:  Spoon a generous amount of the Ginger Honey Mint Yogurt over the honeydew.  (About 1/3 cup.)
     Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.

     This simple fruit cup is pretty to look at and it is a healthy way to start a day!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Finocchio Eggs Cocotte with Caramelized Onion, Parmigiana Cheese Crisp and Paprika Beurre Noisette

     Breakfast Food Does Not Have To Be Boring!
     During the past 50 years in America, breakfast has been overlooked as an opportunity for serving fine food.  Many modern fine dining chefs ignore breakfast cuisine altogether.  Most fine dining restaurants do not offer breakfast at all.  This is a shame because there is a large sector of the dining public that no longer wants the same old greasy spoon diner style breakfast food.  Fine dining breakfast food actually is in high demand, yet relatively few chefs are willing to take advantage of this opportunity.
     Las Vegas does have several fine restaurants and buffets that offer a fine dining breakfast experience.  Egg entrées that are baked in silicone baking molds with fancy presentations to match have become a recent trend.  I personally like creating this modern style of egg cocotte and the cooking techniques are relatively easy to master.
     Today's modern baked egg cocotte recipe features classic European flavors.  Florence Fennel (Finocchio) has a mellow anise flavor that tastes nice with eggs.  Caramelized onions add a naturally sweet flavor.  A delicate parmesan cheese crisp adds eye appeal and great flavor to match.  Paprika Butter it a classic egg accompaniment and it adds comfortable warmth to the breakfast entrée.  A modern breakfast entrée like this appeals to those who are absolutely tired of being offered the same old boring breakfast food at every local restaurant that they go to.
     Caramelized Onions:
     This recipe yields 1 garnish portion.
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 cup of diced onion.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Sauté and stir till the onions caramelize to a light brown color.
     Step 2:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Place the caramelized onions in a ceramic cup.
     Keep the caramelized onions warm on a stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.
     Paprika Beurre Noisette:
     This recipe yields 1 ounce.  (1 or 2 garnish portions.)
     Paprika Butter can be made cold, like a compound butter and then melted over a hot food item.  Paprika butter can also be made with Beurre Noise for a more intense butter flavor.
     Step 1:  Place 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Cook the butter till it is light golden brown color with a hazelnut aroma.
     Step 2:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Pour the Beurre Noisette into a ceramic cup.
     Allow the beurre noisette to cool to about 135ºF.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of Spanish Paprika while stirring.
     Keep the Paprika Beurre Noisette warm on a stove top.
     Parmigiana Cheese Crisp:
     This recipe yields 1 garnish portion.
     Step 1:  Place an 8"x 8"piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan.
     Lightly brush the parchment with melted unsalted butter.
     Sprinkle a thin layer of thin grated Parmigiana Cheese on the center of the paper.  (About 3 tablespoons.  Spread the cheese out in a random shape, so it is no more than 3/16" thick.)  
     Step 2:  Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Bake till the Parmigiana Cheese is a golden color.  (This takes less than 10 minutes.)
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Gently use a cake spatula to loosen and free the Parmigiana Cheese Crisp from the paper, while the cheese crisp is still warm and slightly flexible.
     Leave the Cheese Crisp on the baking pan.
     Set the pan aside where the Cheese Crisp will not be damaged.
     Modern Finocchio Eggs Cocotte:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée portion.
     Old fashioned Eggs Cocotte are baked in a ceramic baking ramekin.  Modern Eggs Cocotte are baked in a non-stick silicone baking mold, so the cooked eggs can be placed on a plate on their own with no ceramic baking dish.  This free standing Eggs Cocotte style presents an opportunity to create a fancy presentation.  
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/3 cup of thin sliced Florence Fennel.  (Anise Bulb or Fennel Bulb)
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Sauté till the fennel starts to become tender and a few golden highlights appear.
     Step 2:  Add 1 cup of water.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of chopped fennel top leaves.
     Simmer and reduce till the liquid evaporates.
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Set the braised florence fennel aside to cool.
     Step 4:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add the braised florence fennel.
     Whisk the egg mixture till it is blended.
     Step 5:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 of the egg mixture.
     Gently sauté and scramble the eggs till they are only halfway cooked and still very loose.
     Step 6:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Add the half cook eggs to the raw egg mixture in the mixing bowl.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Step 7:  Select an 8 ounce capacity non-stick silicone baking mold.
     *Any shape will do.  A Star shaped silicone mold was used to make the Eggs Cocotte in the photo examples.
     Brush the silicone baking mold with melted unsalted butter.
     Place the silicone mold on a baking pan.
     Pour the egg mixture into the silicone baking mold.
     Step 8:  Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Bake till the eggs are fully cooked and firm.  (A probe thermometer should read 148ºF.)
     Remove the pan from the oven.
     Keep the Finocchio Eggs Cocotte warm on a stove top.
     Finocchio Eggs Cocotte with Caramelized Onion, Parmigiana Cheese Crisp and Paprika Beurre Noisette:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Invert the Finocchio Eggs Cocotte silicon mold onto a cutting board.
     Remove the silicon mold.
     Spread the Caramelized Onions on top of the eggs.
     Use a wide spatula to transfer the Caramelized Onion topped Finocchio Eggs onto a serving plate.
     Step 2:  *This step must be done carefully, so the Cheese Crisp does not break!
     Cut a slit in the top center of the Eggs Cocotte that is barely long enough for the edge of the Parmigiana Cheese Crisp to fit in.
     Gently part the slot on top of the eggs with a paring knife.
     Carefully insert the Parmigiana Cheese Crisp, so it stands vertically.
     Step 3:  Garnish the eggs with fennel leaf sprigs.
     Use a spoon to paint and drizzle the Paprika Beurre Noisette on the plate around the eggs.
     This Modern eggs Cocotte recipe will keep a cook busy, but it is well worth the effort.  Breakfast should be an inspirational start of a day!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Conque Étouffée Omelette

     A Louisiana Style Omelette Smothered With A Rich Conch Sauce!  
     Étouffée basically translates to "smothered with sauce."  Crawfish Étouffée is the most famous of this style of entrée and it is always served over rice.  There are exceptions to the Étouffée over rice rule, like when a guest craves Étouffée for brunch.  For brunch, Étouffée can be served over biscuits, home fries or even an omelette, as long as everything is smothered with sauce.  Since an omelette can only soak up a portion of the sauce, offering biscuits, cornbread or toast as "gravy mops" is necessary.  Of course rice can be served with the omelette too, but using gravy mops to sop up every last bit of Étouffée on a plate is one of life's simple pleasures!
     I have never heard of any Louisiana chef making Étouffée with Conch or a black roux, but more than likely this has already been done many times.  Cajuns have a long history of culinary adaption and incorporating local ingredients into their cuisine.  Since Conch meat requires a long simmering time to become tender, it is a good choice for making Étouffée, because this sauce also requires plenty of simmering time.   
     Black roux is is what gives today's Étouffée its dark color.  The basic rule for roux in Cajun cuisine is, dark color roux for light color meat and light color roux for dark color meat.  Conch meat ranges from white to a light orangish tan color, so it qualifies for a sauce made with dark roux.  Conch also has a rich shellfish flavor, so a dark brown roux or black roux is a good choice.       
     One thing to keep in mind when making dark roux, is that the darker that the flour is cooked, the less thickening power it will have.  The flour in a white roux can absorb much more liquid than the flour in a dark roux.  If a large batch of today's black étouffée sauce is needed for guests, then it may be necessary to make a little more black roux than what the expanded recipe calls for.
     Black Roux is rich tasting and it has a burnt popcorn aroma.  The strong black roux flavor does mellow after the sauce simmers over a period of time.  For some odd reason, black roux accents the flavor of conch in a nice way.  For those who associate rich flavors with dark colors, today's Conch Étouffée will not disappoint!  Those who like food smothered with sauce are in luck today too!
     Conque Étouffée Sauce: 
     This recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups.  (1 generous portion.)  
     Conch meat is usually sold shelled, poached and frozen.  Fresh conch meat and fresh frozen conch meat are also available.  The average size of a frozen conch is about 3 to 5 ounces.  One conch is about enough for one portion of sauce.    
     *Prepare all of the ingredients before starting to make the roux!       
     Step 1:  Select 1 shelled conch that weighs about 4 ounces.     
     Cut 4 small thin slices of conch and keep them chilled.  (About 1/8" thick slices.  The conch slices will be used as a garnish.)
     Cut the rest of the conch into 1/4" thick slices.
     Tenderize the conch slices with a meat mallet. 
     Finely chop the conch meat and set it aside.
     Step 2:  Finely chop these vegetables:
     - 1/2 cup of onion.
     - 1/4 cup of mixed green bell pepper and red bell pepper.
     - 1/4 cup of celery.
     - 2 green onions.
     Place the minced vegetables in a bowl. 
     Add 2 minced garlic cloves.
     Add 2 teaspoons of minced shallot.
     Set the bowl aside.
     Step 3:  *The roux has to constantly stirred or it will scorch!  Wear protective gloves, because hot roux can cause severe burns.
     Heat 2 ounces of unsalted butter in a sauce pot over medium/medium high heat.
     Add an equal amount of flour while constantly stirring with a whisk.  (The roux should not be thick or caky.  It should look shiny and have a peanut butter texture.)
     Constantly stir with a whisk till the roux becomes darker than chocolate brown and it looks almost black.  
     Step 4:  *Use caution, because steam will be produced in this step!  Wear protective gloves!
     When the roux becomes a deep dark brownish black color, immediately add the reserved bowl of chopped vegetables.
     *The hot roux will instantly cook the vegetables and garlic in just a few seconds.
     Wait till the steam dissipates.
     Briefly stir the black roux and vegetables till combined.
     Step 5:  Add 1 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 2 cups of shrimp stock (or fumet).
     Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of canned crushed tomato.
     Add the reserved prepared conch meat.
     Stir the sauce as it comes to a boil.
     *The sauce will be a very thin consistency at this point. 
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to low/very low heat.
     Add 1 pinch of basil.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Add 1 pinch of tarragon.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Step 7:  Add 1 or 2 pinches of cayenne pepper.  (to taste)
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1 pinch of white pepper. 
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Stir the sauce.
     Step 8:  Gently simmer the sauce for 1 hour.  Add broth if the sauce becomes thick.
     Step 9:  After 1 hour, allow the sauce to simmer and reduce till it is a medium thin consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Keep the Conch Étouffée Sauce warm over very low heat or reheat the sauce to order.

     Buttered Conch Garnish:
     This recipe yields 1 garnish portion.
     Conch will be tender if it is cooked for a very short time or it will be tender after simmering for an extended amount of time.  A few thin slices of conch that are briefly sautéed in butter are used to garnish the omelette.  
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add the reserved conch slices.
     Lightly season with sea salt and white pepper.
     Gently sauté till the conch is fully cooked and it is still tender.
     Step 2:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Keep the pan of buttered sliced conch warm on a stove top.

     Conque Étouffée Omelette:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     No starch accompanies the omelette in the photos examples.  Breakfast Potatoes or Plain Long Grain White Rice should be offered with this saucy omelette. 
     Biscuits, French bread or Corn bread also should be served on the side with this omelette.  The bread can be used as a gravy mop to sop up the extra sauce!  
     Step 1:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.  (Use 3 eggs for a large omelette.)
     Add 1 pinch of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 2 teaspoons of water.
     Whisk the egg mixture till it starts to foam.
     Step 2:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add the egg mixture.
     Use a rubber spatula to even the edges of the omelette.
     Sauté till the bottom half of the omelette is firm.
     Step 3:  Flip the omelette.
     Sauté till the omelette is fully cooked.
     Step 4:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Triple fold the omelette and place it on the center of a plate.
     Step 5:  Pour a generous portion of the Conque Étouffée Sauce over part of the omelette and onto the plate.  (About 1 1/3 cups to 1 1/2 cups is plenty.  Étouffée means to smother with sauce!)
     Step 6:  Garnish the omelette with the reserved Buttered Conch Slices.
     Garnish the omelette with an Italian Parsley sprig.
     Serve with plain white rice or breakfast potatoes and a choice of bread on the side.

     Hoo Dawgy!  There is no shortage of good flavor in this Louisiana style brunch entrée!  

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Safflower Saffron Egg White Omelette with Shrimp and Mitica Sardo

     A Tasty Egg White Omelette That Is Not White!
     During the last few decades Zero Cholesterol Egg Products have been in high demand.  Most of these products are really nothing more than egg whites blended with water, chicken base and yellow food color.  
     The price of Cholesterol Free Egg Products tend to be much higher than the price of fresh eggs or cartons of pure egg whites.  Cartons of Pure Egg Whites are used by many restaurants and this product is usually not available in grocery stores.  Consumers that prefer natural egg whites over a Cholesterol Free Egg Product must separate the yolks and whites themselves.
     The benefit of using egg whites to make an omelette, instead of a Cholesterol Free Egg Product, is that the egg white will become light and fluffy when whisked.  Cholesterol Free Egg Products just remain flat after whisking, so the omelette will not become light and airy.  Whisking egg whites till soft peaks start to appear will guarantee that the omelette will not only be light and fluffy, the omelette will also look bigger than it really is.  Food that looks bigger than it should does create visual satisfaction.
     An egg white omelette does not have to be white.  Adding yellow food color, water and chicken base is not the best way to turn egg whites yellow.  Adding spices that tint food yellow is best!  Oddly enough, yellow tint spices like Safflower Saffron and Turmeric are traditionally used together and these two spices taste good with eggs.  Safflower Saffron has a much milder flavor than Crocus Sativa Saffron, so it is better suited for mild breakfast flavors.  Safflower Saffron Water is easy to make, but it sells for a low price in Mediterranean food markets.  A little bit of Safflower Saffron Water and turmeric will give egg whites a golden yellow color.
     Shrimp and cheese tastes good with eggs and saffron.  Today's omelette recipe features an aged sheep milk cheese from Sardinia, Italy.  Mitica Sardo is an aged sheep milk cheese (Pecorino) from Sardinia that has a hard texture.  Mitica ages their Pecorino Sardo for 18 months, so the flavor is buttery smooth with a bit of savory sharpness that is not overbearing.  This type of Pecorino Sardo can be fine grated just like Parmigiana or Pecorino Romano.   A little bit of Mitica Sardo is enough to flavor an omelette, so this Sardinian cheese is perfect for those who need to limit their cholesterol intake.

     Safflower Saffron Egg White Omelette with Shrimp and Mitica Pecorino Sardo:
     This recipe yields 1 omelette portion.  (3 large egg whites)
     Popcorn Shrimp For Salads are usually sold as a pre-cooked frozen product.  Package sizes range from a single portion to several pounds.
     Saffron Water is made with Safflower Saffron.  This product is available in Mediterranean food markets.  Safflower Saffron has a mild flavor and it also sells for a low price.    
     Step 1:  Measure 2/3 cup of Frozen Popcorn Shrimp.
     Place the tiny shrimp in a container.
     Add enough water to cover the shrimp.
     Wait about 5 minutes till the tiny shrimp thaw.
     Use a fine mesh strainer to drain off the water.
     Press the shrimp in the strainer to squeeze out all of the water.
     Set the Popcorn Shrimp aside.
     Step 2:  Separate the yolks and whites of 3 large eggs and place the egg whites in a mixing bowl.
     *The egg yolks can be saved for another recipe or they can be discarded.
     Add 1 teaspoon of Saffron Water to the egg whites.
     Add 2 pinches of turmeric.
     Add 1 pinch of rubbed Safflower Saffron.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Whisk the Saffron Egg White Mixture till it is foamy.
     Step 3:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.  (7" or 8" wide)
     Add 1 tablespoon of Pomace Olive Oil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
     Add the Saffron Egg White Mixture.
     Sprinkle the reserved Popcorn Shrimp on the uncooked egg white mixture.
     Step 4:  Sauté till the bottom half of the omelette is firm and golden highlights appear.
     Step 5:  Flip the omelette.
     Sauté till the omelette is fully cooked and golden highlights appear.
     Step 6:  Flip the omelette a second time.
     Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of fine grated Mitica Sardo Cheese (Aged Pecorino Sardo) on the omelette.
     Step 7:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Fold the omelette in half while sliding it onto a plate.
     Step 8:  Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of fine grated Mitica Sardo Cheese over the Safflower Saffron Egg White Omelette.
     Sprinkle 1 generous pinch of Safflower Saffron over the omelette and onto the plate.
     Garnish the omelette with a few long bias sliced green onion slivers.    

     Viola!  A tasty Italian style egg white omelette that has a golden color! 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Tomato Parsley Oeufs Cocotte and Cheddar Leek Crisp with Petite Ham Steak and Serrano Potato Medley

     Modern Free Standing Cocotte! 
     The original Oeufs Cocotte was eggs or an egg mixture that was placed in a ceramic ramekin, the baked in a bain marie or steamed.  Oeufs Cocotte was served, by simply placing the ceramic ramekin of eggs on a doily lined plate.  Basically, Oeufs Coquette was an alternative gentle way of preparing Shirred Eggs, but Shirred Eggs are whole eggs baked in a small casserole dish.  Oeufs Coquette differs from Shirred Eggs, because Oeufs Cocotte can be made with either whole eggs or a complex whisked egg mixture.  Some of the classic Oeufs Cocotte whisked eggs mixtures were quite fancy, so Ouefs Cocotte was always looked upon as being more elegants than Shirred Eggs.
     During the last decade, a few kitchen equipment innovations have enabled chefs to modernize and redefine classic French egg recipes.  Non-Stick Silicone Baking Molds have changed the rules as to how Oeufs Cocotte can be prepared and presented.  Instead of serving the Oeufs Cocotte in the ceramic ramekin that it was cooked in, when using a non-stick silicone baking mold the Oeufs Cocotte can be popped out of the silicone baking mold after they finish cooking.  Because of the nature of silicone baking molds, baking the Oeufs Cocotte in a bain marie is not always necessary, so one step can be eliminated in the classic recipe.  The best part of using a silicone baking mold to make Oeufs Cocotte is the plated presentation.  The eggs or whisked egg mixture can easily be popped out of the non-stick silicon baking mold and the Ouefs Cocotte can be plated as a free standing presentation, with no ceramic baking mold to clutter the plate.
      Adding integral garnishes to a free standing Oeufs Cocotte increases the eye appeal.  A thin pastry crisp garnish or cheese crisp garnish increases the height of the Oeufs Cocotte presentation in an extravagant way.  A leafy herb sprig combined with a complimentary sauce is another way to garnish a modern free standing Oeufs Cocotte entrée.  A free standing Oeufs Cocotte can even be topped with a gourmet cheese and passed under a salamander (broiler) till the cheese softens and melts.  As one can see, modern free standing Oeufs Cocotte has opened the door for new presentation ideas.
     When plating a modern free standing Oeufs Cocotte entrée, it is best to design the plate presentation with a sense of order.  Arranging petite accompaniments, like potatoes, roasted tomato, sausage or ham on the plate should be done with uniformity and clean open space in mind.  Using a ring mold to confine and shape loose accompaniments will achieve a clean looking plate that does not look cluttered.
     Making a modern free standing Oeufs Cocotte entrée with a silicone baking mold may initially seem intimidating on a first attempt, but the entire procedure actually is fairly easy to do.  When I first saw a modern free standing Oeufs Cocotte at a high end buffet in Las Vegas, it only took a few minutes to figure out how the entrée was actually made, because the pastry chef was using silicone pans at a 5 Diamond resort in Florida that worked in way back in 2001.  I figured that the 36 individual cup silicone muffin molds were the only way that a modern Oeufs Cocotte could be prepared mass production style for an elegant Las Vegas buffet.
     When I back got home in Chicago, I purchased silicone baking molds and figured out the rest.  I actually made a perfect modern free standing Oeufs Cocotte on the first attempt.  I even anticipated a trick involved in the process when using a fancy whisked eggs mixture that prevents the solid ingredients from sinking to the bottom of the silicone egg mold.  The trick is to cook one half of the egg mixture till it is scrambled very loose, then recombine the extra soft scrambled eggs with the other half of the raw whisked egg mixture.  This step keeps the solid ingredients in suspension, so the solid ingredients are evenly distributed in the free standing Oeufs Cocotte.  To ensure that the whisked eggs do not oxidize to a gray tint, a small amount of lemon juice must be added.  

     Cheddar Leek Crisp:
     This recipe yields 1 cheese crisp garnish.
     The cheese crisp is delicate, so it must be handled very gently!  It is best to make the cheese crisp ahead of time, then set the pan where it will not be damaged.  
     Because cheddar is an oily cheese, the thin grated cheddar must be dusted with a small amount of flour, so it becomes crisp instead of flexible.
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over low heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 10 thin julienne sliced leek threads.  (Thin julienne = 1/6" x 4")
     Gently sauté till the leek threads start to become tender become tender and flexible.
     Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.
     Step 2:  Place an 8" x 8" square sheet of parchment paper on a baking pan.
     Lightly brush the parchment paper with melted unsalted butter.
     Arrange the soft leek threads on the center of the paper, so they are scattered over a 4" to 5" area.
     Step 3:  Place 3 tablespoons of very thin grated cheddar cheese in a small mixing bowl.
     Add about 1/2 teaspoon of flour.
     Toss the flour and cheese together, till the thin grated cheddar is lightly dusted.
     Pick up the dusted cheese and leave any excess flour in the bowl.
     Step 4:  Sprinkle a thin layer of the flour dusted grated cheddar cheese over the leek threads that cover a 4" to 5" area.
     *The layer of cheese should be a maximum of 1/8" thick.  Leave a few small open spaces between the pieces of cheese to create a lacy effect when it is baked.
     Step 5:  Place the pan into the 325ºF oven.
     Roast the leek thread and cheddar crisp, till it is no longer moist and it becomes a crispy golden brown.
     *Keep an eye on the cheese crisp, because once it turns crisp it will start to burn if it is roasted for a few minutes too much!
     Step 6:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Use a thin metal spatula to gently loosen and scrape the cheese crisp free from the parchment paper, while the cheese crisp is hot and it is still slightly flexible.
     Leave the loosened cheese crisp on the pan.
     Set the cheese crisp pan aside where it will not be damaged.
     *As the cheese crisp cools it will become a brittle texture, so handle the cheese crisp carefully later in the recipe!     
     Serrano Potato Medley:
     This recipe yields 1 petite portion.
     Step 1:  Place 1/4 cup of large diced (parmentier) peeled russet potato in a small sauce pot.
     Add a 2 1/2 to 3 ounce whole unpeeled purple potato.
     Cover the potatoes with water.
     Place the pot over medium high heat.
     Boil till the potatoes are halfway cooked.  (blanched)
     Step 2:  Drain the water off of the potatoes.
     Cool the potatoes under cold running water.
     Peel the blanched purple potato with the back of a paring knife.
     Large dice the purple potato.
     Step 3:  Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add the large diced purple and russet potatoes.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Gently sauté till the potatoes are tender and golden highlights appear.
     Step 4:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of Korean style Red Serrano Chili Pepper Paste.  (sambal)
     Add 1 teaspoon of water.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Keep the Serrano Potato Medley warm on a stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.

     Petite Ham Steak and Roasted Shallot:
     This recipe yields 1 petite portion.
     Step 1:  Use a 3" ring mold as a guide to cut a round ham steak that is about 1/2" thick.  (A 2 1/2 to 3 ounce portion.)
     Step 2:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Place the ham steak in the pan.
     Place 1 peeled small whole shallot in the pan.
     Gently sauté till a few golden highlights appear on the ham.
     Step 3:  Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Roast till the ham steak is hot and shallot becomes tender.
     Step 4:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Keep the petite ham steak and roasted shallot warm on a stove top.

     Tomato Parsley Oeufs Cocotte:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     "Modern Baked Eggs" is another name for the free standing Oeufs Coquette style.
     Step 1:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 tablespoon of milk.
     Whisk the egg mixture till it is blended.
     Step 2:  Heat a small non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 tablespoons of finely diced tomato.
     Add 1/2 of the whisked egg mixture.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced Italian Parsley.
     Briefly scramble the ingredients till the eggs are cooked loose and runny.
     *The eggs should only be partially cooked.
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Return the partially cooked egg mixture portion to uncooked raw egg mixture portion in the mixing bowl.
     Stir the two egg mixtures together.  
     Step 4:  Lightly brush a non-stick silicone custard cup baking mold with melted butter.
     Pour the egg mixture into the silicone baking mold.
     Place the baking mold on a small roasting pan.  (pie tin)
     Add about 1/2 cup of water to the pan.
     Place a piece of parchment paper that is lightly brushed with unsalted butter over the eggs in the custard cup.
     Step 5:  Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Bake till the eggs are fully cooked and they feel firm to the touch.  (About 9 to 12 minutes.  A probe thermometer should read 145ºF to 148ºF.)
     Remove the pan from the oven.

     Tomato Parsley Oeufs Cocotte and Cheddar Leek Crisp with Petite Ham Steak and Serrano Potato Medley:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Remove the protective parchment paper from the Tomato Parsley Oeufs Cocotte silicone custard cup mold.
     Invert the eggs and silicone mold together as one, onto the center of a plate.
     Remove the silicone baking mold.
     Step 2:  Use a 3" ring mold as a guide to place the Serrano Potato Medley on the plate next to the eggs.
     Step 3:  Place the petite ham steak next to the eggs.
     Place the roasted shallot on top of the ham steak.
     Step 4:  Cut a 3/4" deep slit into the top center of the baked eggs.
     Gently part the top of the eggs open just wide enough to vertically insert the Cheddar Leek Crisp.
     Step 5:  Place 2 small Italian Parsley sprigs on top of the eggs.

     Viola!  A nice looking modern free standing Oeufs Cocotte breakfast!                              

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Venison Tenderloin Schnitzel with Sherry Confetti Pepper Glacé Viande, Rösti and Sunny Eggs

     A Gourmet Swiss Style Venison Breakfast Entrée!
     There are relatively few venison breakfast recipes on the internet or in book form.  Venison Sausage is just about the only breakfast offering.  Venison is a good choice of breakfast meat, because it is lean and nearly fat free.  When an organic high protein meat is combined with long acting carbohydrates, eggs, a small proportion of lipids and vegetable nutrients, the breakfast meal will provide strength and long lasting energy for outdoor activites on a chilly day in the mountains.  This nutritional goal is what hunting lodge cuisine is all about!
     European countries are great sources for classic wild game recipes.  Austrian Schnitzel is a popular method of preparing tender cuts of wild game in the Alps region.  Fried egg garnishes for wild game date back to the late 1700's and this combination is perfect for breakfast.  Rösti Potatoes are a popular Swiss breakfast item, especially when the weather is cold.  Sherry flavored sauces add warmth on a cold day.  Sherry flavors the Confetti Pepper Glacé Viande in today's recipe.  Glacé Viande was originally made with wild game meat and bones over 400 years ago, so it is a perfect choice for a Venison Schnitzel sauce.  Confetti Peppers are multi color tiny sweet bell peppers and they have an agreeable mild sweet pepper flavor.  It may be difficult to imagine how good this sauce tastes with the Venison Schnitzel and eggs, but one taste is all it takes to agree.
     Glacé Viande:
     This recipe yields about 2 to 2 1/2 cups of glacé viande.  A little glacé viande goes a long way!
     Step 1:  Place 4 pounds of veal bones, lamb bones, beef bones, pork bones and lean meat scraps in a roasting pan.
     Add 5 ounces of tomato paste.
     Add 8 to 10 ounces of rustic un-peeled mirepoix of carrot, celery and onion.
     Stir the mixture together.
     Step 2:  Roast the mixture in a 350ºF oven, till the bones and vegetables caramelize to a deep brown color.  (Stir the ingredients occasionally.)
     Step 3:  Place the roasted bones and mirepoix in a stock pot.
     Deglaze the roast pan with water and add the jus to the stock pot.
     Step 4:  Cover the bones with 2 " of extra water. 
     Bring to a gentle boil over medium high heat.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat 
     Simmer for 4 hours.
     Add water occasionally to cover the bones.
     Occasionally skim off any fat and impurities from the surface.
     Step 6:  Remove most of the bones from the pot and discard them.  
     Pour the stock through a fine mesh strainer into a second pot.
     Discard the bones and vegetables.
     Skim off all of the grease that floats to the top.
     Step 7:  Place the pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Simmer the meat stock, till the volume reduces by a little more than half.
     The glacé viande should be able to glaze the back of a spoon with a thin coating.
     Step 8:  Remove the pot from the heat and cool the sauce to room temperature.
     Place the sauce in a container and chill till it is needed.  
     *Glacé Viande can also be frozen in portions for later use.  When the thin Glacé Viande is used in recipes, it will be reduced to a slightly thicker consistency.

     Potato Rösti:
     This recipe yields 2 petite Rösti.  (1 portion)
     The lightly blanched potato mixture must be cooked shortly after grating or it will oxidize and discolor.      
     Step 1:  Place a sauce pot of water over medium high heat.
     Bring the water to a boil.
     Step 2:  Select a large 8 ounce russet potato.
     Peel the potato.
     Place the potato in the pot of boiling water.
     Blanch the potato for 4 or 5 minutes, so the surface is still firm and the center just starts to heat up.
     Step 3:  Remove the potato from the hot water.
     Let the potato cool till it can be handled with bare hands.
     Step 4:  Grate the hard blanched potato into a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1 pinch of Herbs de Provence.
     Add 2 pinches of minced Italian Parsley
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Step 5:  Heat a wide non-stick sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Place 2 stainless steel ring molds in the pan.  (3 1/2" to 4" diameter ring molds)
     Divide the Rösti mixture into 2 equal size portions.
     Place the 2 Rösti portion in the 2 ring molds.
     Use a spoon to press the Rösti mixture flat and even inside each ring mold.
     Remove the ring molds.
     Step 6:  Sauté till the bottom half of the Rösti are light golden brown and crispy.
     Step 7:  Use a spatual to flip the 2 Rösti.
     *If the Rösti is damaged or it falls apart, it is okay.  Just use a spatula to pack the Rösti back into a petite pancake shape!
     Briefly sauté the second side of the Rösti for 30 seconds.
     Step 8:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Place the pan in a 350ºF oven.
     Bake till the Rösti Potatoes are fully cooked and golden brown.
     Step 9:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Keep the 2 petite Rösti warm on a stove top.
     Sherry Confetti Pepper Glacé Viande: 
     This recipe yields about 1/3 cup.  (1 generous portion)
     The proportion of Confetti Peppers should be relatively high in this sauce.  Confetti Peppers are colorful tiny sweet bell peppers.
     *This sauce can be made while the Rösti finish baking!  
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/3 cup of small chopped mixed Red, Orange and Yellow Sweet Confetti Peppers.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Sauté till the peppers start to become tender.  (Try not to brown the peppers!)
     Step 2:  Add 3/4 cup of sherry.
     Add 1/4 cup of thin Glacé Viande.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the sauce is a thin consistency that can easily glaze the back of a spoon.  The finished volume should be a little more than 1/3 cup.
     Step 4:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Place the Sherry Confetti Pepper Glacé Viande in a ceramic cup.
     Keep the sauce cup warm on a stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.  
     Venison Tenderloin Schnitzel:
     This recipe yields 2 petite Schnitzel.  (1 portion)
     There are two sections that are called tenderloin on deer.  The true tenderloin is small and it runs from the hip toward the ribs.  The back straps from either side of the spin are also called tenderloin.  Deer only use the back strap muscle section for jumping, so the back straps are as lean and tender as the tenderloin section.  A Deer Back Strap was used to make the Schnitzel in today's recipe.  
     Step 1:  Cut 2 medallions of venison tenderloin (or backstrap tenderloin) that weigh about 2 1/2 ounces apiece.
     Use a meat mallet to gently pound the medallions flat and thin.
     Step 2:  Lightly season the venison with sea salt and black pepper.
     Dredge the venison cutlets in flour.
     Dip the cutlets in egg wash (or buttermilk).
     Dredge the egg dipped medallion cutlets in plain fine French bread crumbs.
     Step 3:  Heat a wide cast iron skillet over medium heat.
     Add 3 tablespoons of rendered duck fat or lard.
     Add enough vegetable oil, so the fat and oil is 1/4" deep in the pan.
     Adjust the temperature so the frying medium is 350ºF.
     Step 4:  Place the breaded venison cutlets side by side in the hot oil.
     Pan fry the cutlets till they are crispy golden brown on both sides.  (Try to only flip the cutlets one time.)
     Step 5:  Remove the 2 Venison Schnitzel from the pan.
     Place the venison schnitzel on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Keep the Venison Schnitzel warm on a stove top.
     Venison Tenderloin Schnitzel with Sherry Confetti Pepper Glacé Viande, Rösti and Sunny Eggs:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty entrée.
     The eggs can be cooked any style that is preferred.  Sunny Side Up looks best!
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 large eggs.
     Cook the eggs sunny side up.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Step 2:  Place the 2 Rösti on the back half of a large plate.
     Place the 2 Venison Schnitzel on the front half of the plate, so they lean against the Rösti.
     Step 3:  Spoon a generous amount of the Sherry Confetti Pepper Glacé Viande over the Venison Schnitzel and onto the plate.  (About 1/3 cup.)
     Step 4:  Use a rubber spatula to separate the 2 Sunny Side Up Eggs in the pan.
     Place 1 Sunny Egg on each Venison Schnitzel.
     Garnish the plate with an Italian Parsley sprig.
     This Swiss style Venison Schnitzel breakfast entrée is a modern classic that will please guests! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Southern Ham Scramble with Jalapeño Home Fries

     A Great Tasting Ham Scramble!
     The Ham Scramble was a breakfast entrée that was once on the menu at nearly every classic diner in America.  The Ham Scramble was a customer favorite because it presented good dining value.  The Ham Scramble was also a favorite of restaurant managers, because it reduced food costs.    
     A classic Ham Scramble is made with 3 eggs and a good size portion of chopped ham.  Usually only broken eggs are used to make a Ham Scramble.  In a busy old fashioned breakfast restaurant kitchen, any eggs that break in the pan are scooped into a container, then saved for making Ham Scrambles.  Scrambling 3 partially cooked eggs with ham for a reduced price eliminates waste and keeps customer satisfaction high.     
     In modern times, cooks simply throw broken eggs in the garbage, but this brings food costs up and the increases waste cost is reflected on menu prices.  Managers now prefer to raise menu prices, rather than control waste costs with well founded managerial skills.  Overall, this lackadaisical managerial strategy results in inflated menu prices and lower customer flow numbers.  A breakfast restaurant depends on high volume sales and as can be seen at the majority of modern breakfast restaurants, sales are not as good as they should be.  This creates a vicious circle, because the first thing that a lazy manager cuts is labor costs when customer flow numbers are low.  Low pay cooks create more waste than well payed highly skilled cooks.  A breakfast restaurant that has high waste costs, high menu prices and low paid cooks is basically destined for business failure.  
     Once again, items like a Ham Scramble take some skill to make, they increase labor efficiency, reduce cost and increase dining value because of reduced prices.  Items like the Ham Scramble increase customer flow numbers and increase customer loyalty.  In an old fashioned diner restaurant, a Ham Scramble is a win-win proposition! 
     Local sourcing and sustainable food sourcing is more than just a restaurant marketing scheme.  Good restaurant chefs seek local crafted products, because the quality is higher.  For example, a local top shelf Virginia Ham is a far better choice than choosing the same old mass produced low quality ham that 95% of all breakfast restaurants sell.  Customers notice the improvement in quality, especially when it comes to ham and they will return for more.
     Dry Cure Virginia Ham is also called Southern Ham.  A good Dry Cure Virginia Ham easily compares to the finest European hams.  The large piece of Edward's Virginia Ham in the photos above is as good as it gets.  The salt cure is traditional and the ham is dry aged to perfection, just like Italian Prosciutto.  The result is a dense dry aged ham that has a rich strong flavor that lingers on the palate for quite some time.  When used in breakfast recipes, the high quality of this fine Virginia Ham is easily noticed.  Guests actually compliment a ham like this as being the best they have ever tasted.  Using a local sourced product like Edward's Virginia Ham will bring an old fashioned Ham Scramble up to a new high quality standard! 
     Today's recipe photo example started as a simple 2 Eggs Over Easy Breakfast Entrée.  The yolks broke on the eggs when they were flipped, because the eggs were too fresh.  Eggs that are aged for 3 days to 2 weeks are much easier to flip, because the excess moisture in the egg whites evaporates.  
      Instead of settling for broken eggs for breakfast, I remembered what the good old Ham Scramble theme was all about.  I placed the partially cooked 2 broken eggs in a mixing bowl and added 1 more egg, then I set about making a classic Ham Scramble just like back in the good old days.  The only ham in my kitchen was an Edwards Virginia Ham, which was a gift sent by relatives in North Carolina.  My only thought was that this Ham Scramble was going to be the best one that I ever made and I was correct!  A Southern Ham Scramble is the cream of the crop!  
     In a restaurant, a Southern Ham Scramble definitely is still a good cost cutting menu item, even though Dry Cure Virginia Ham commands a slightly higher price.  It is the quality that counts and customers will not balk at a slightly higher price if the quality is there.  The flavor does all the talking and a Southern Ham Scramble will give guests plenty to talk about! 

     Jalapeño Home Fries:
     This recipe yields 1 portion. 
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 3/4 cup of peeled russet potato that is cut into 1/4" thick bit size pieces.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Sauté till the potatoes are a little more than halfway cooked and golden highlights appear.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to medium low/low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped Bermuda Onion.
     Add 1 small green jalapeño pepper that is cut into 3/16" thick slices.
     Sauté and stir till the potatoes are fully cooked and the vegetables are tender.  (Try not to brown the onions and jalapeños.)
     Keep the Jalapeño Home Fries warm over very low heat.  
     Southern Ham Scramble with Jalapeño Home Fries:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Broken Over-Easy Eggs are perfect for making a Ham Scramble, so save them if you got them!
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/3 cup of hand torn bite size Dry Cure Virginia Ham chunks.  (About 3 1/2 ounces.)
     Sauté till the ham heats and a few golden highlights appear. 
     Step 2:  Add 3 large eggs.
     Immediately use a rubber spatula to vigorously scramble the eggs with the ham.
     Scramble and toss till the eggs are thoroughly mixed and fully cooked. 
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Mound the Southern Ham Scramble on the front half of a plate.
     Place the Jalapeño Home Fries on the back half of the plate.
     Garnish with a curly leaf parsley sprig.
     *Serve with cornbread, toast or biscuits on the side.

     Viola!  The best tasting Southern Ham Scramble ever!                  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Classic Eggs Benedict with Lyonnaise Potato Medley and Grilled Tomato

     Classic Eggs Benedict!
     Hollandaise can be easy or frustrating to cook on a first attempt.  Hollandaise is one of the five French Mother Sauces, so it is important to learn.  
     Many chefs take shortcuts when making Hollandaise and the result is inconsistent quality.  Using a blender or emersion blender usually results in a Hollandaise that easily breaks.  Instant Freeze Dried Hollandaise Mix products taste like chicken broth, so they should not be used at all.  Sous-Vide Hollandaise products (Vacuum Packaged Hollandaise Sauce) usually has a consistency that is too thin for many applications, because concessions must be made for packaging.  As one can see, shortcut Hollandaise products should be looked upon as a last resort.
     I use two different Hollandaise recipes that require two different cooking methods.  Each recipe can be tailored for specific applications.  Today's Eggs Benedict recipe requires an old fashioned Classic Hollandaise.     
     Some historians say that the original Eggs Benedict recipe was created in New York City, but this may not be correct.  Other food historians say the recipe was invented in New Orleans before the New York Eggs Benedict story took place.  The reason for questioning authenticity is because back in the late 1800's, news did not travel as fast as it does today.  In fact, mass media corruption was rampant back in that age and many news articles were fabricated.  Chefs in major cities actually laid claim to recipes from remote regions where news travelled slowly.  Many recipes that were created by lesser known chefs, were claimed by big city chefs that happened to be lauded by the local mass media companies.  In other words, a great recipe from New Orleans, like Eggs Benedict, quite possibly could have been claimed by a chef in New York City that had a corrupt relationship with a local news media company that only cared about promoting New York City as the top culinary city in America. 
     When looking at a list of great recipes created during the late 1800's, then it is easy to see that most originated in New Orleans.  Oysters Rockefeller, Peach Melba, Cherry's Jubilee, Strawberry's Romanoff, Omelette Alaska, Cocktail Sauce and many more great recipes were invented by the chefs of Antoine's in New Orleans in the late 1800's.  The Eggs Benedict that was offered at Antoine's was quite a bit fancier than the New York City version.  This gives credence to the originality claim.  Therefore, the Antoine's Eggs Benedict recipe is the guideline that I follow.   
     The original Antoine's of New Orleans Eggs Benedict recipe requires Beurre Anchois (Anchovy Butter) spread on Holland Rusk, instead of English Muffin or toasted bread.  It also requires ham instead of back bacon (Canadian Bacon).  A thin slice of Black Truffle on each egg was an optional garnish.   
     Making Holland Rusk is not too difficult, but most home cooks do not want to bother with lengthy baking projects in the morning.  Holland Rusk has an airy English Muffin texture and the dough is like a sweet Brioche.  Imported Holland Rusk is packed in cans to keep the rusk from breaking.  
     The definition of Rusk is crisp crunchy oven dried sliced bread that has no golden brown color.  Bread slices are baked at a very low temperature to make Rusk.  Nearly any kind of bread can be used to make Rusk, so making regular Rusk for Eggs Benedict is easy to do, if Holland Rusk is not an option.  Making Rusk with sliced Brioche will produce nearly the same flavor as Holland Rusk.     
     Beurre Anchois:  
     This recipe yields about 2 ounces.   
     The flavor of anchovy butter adds a classic subtle umami flavor that is not overpowering.  
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 tablespoon of anchovy paste in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 2 ounces of softened unsalted butter.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Mix the ingredients together to create a Beurre Anchois.  (Anchovy Butter)
     Step 2:  Place the Beurre Anchois in a container.
     Chill the compound butter for later use.

     Holland Rusk or Brioche Rusk:   
     This recipe yields enough for 1 portion of Eggs Benedict.
     *If Holland Rusk is available:  
     Select two slices of Holland Rusk and trim them so they are as wide as a poached eggs.  (3" to 4" wide.)
     Set the Holland Rush Medallions aside.
     *If no Holland Rusk is available:  
     Cut 2 slices of Brioche Bread that are about 3/8" thick.
     Cut each Brioche slice into a medallion shape that is about 3" to 4" in diameter.  
     Place the Brioche Medallions on a baking pan.
     Bake in a 275ºF oven till the bread is dried and crisp, with no golden brown color.
     Set the Brioche Rusk Medallions aside. 
     Classic Hollandaise Sauce:  
     This recipe yields about 1 1/4 cups.
     • The clarified butter should be cooked to a golden color, so it has a hint of noisette aroma.   
     • Add about a 1/2 teaspoon of warm water per egg yolk.  The water acts as a buffer.  This will make the eggs easy to control while whisking.   The small amount of water will keep the eggs from congealing.  Too much water added to the yolks in the beginning, will later cause the whisking process to take way too much time.  
     • Do not add lemon juice at the start or the lemon flavor will be too strong.  
     • The proportion of butter to egg yolk is 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 ounces of butter per 1 egg yolk for a rich full bodied hollandaise.  A hollandaise that is too thick is much easier to adjust than a hollandaise that is too thin.   
     Step 1:  Melt 5 ounces of unsalted butter in a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Cook the butter, till the milk fats evaporate.
     Continue cooking the butter, till it becomes a golden yellow in color and till the butter first emits a light hazelnut aroma.
     Take the pan off of the heat.
     Pour the clarified butter through a fine mesh strainer into a heat proof container.
     Allow the butter to cool to a little bit less than 125ºF.
     Keep the clarified butter warm on a stove top.
     Step 2:  Place 2 egg yolks (large eggs) in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of warm water to the egg yolks while stirring.
     Place the mixing bowl on a double boiler over medium low/low heat.
     Constantly whisk, non stop, till the egg yolks become a pale yellow color and soft ribbon peaks can be seen.
     Step 3:  Add the warm clarified butter 1 teaspoon at a time, while constantly whisking, till the mixture starts to emulsify.
     Slowly add a thin stream of the remaining butter to the eggs while whisking constantly, till all of the butter is combined.
     Step 4:  Remove the mixing bowl from the double boiler.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Whisk till blended.
     *The sauce should be rich and it should have a medium thin consistency that easily coats a spoon.  If the Hollandaise is too thick, add a few drops of warm water while whisking.      
     Step 5:  Place the Hollandaise in a ceramic ramekin.
     Set the ramekin in a 120ºF bain marie to keep it warm.  Stir the sauce occasionally.
     *The Hollandaise should be served within 45 minutes, so pathogen threats do not occur.

     Rustic Lyonnaise Potato Medley:  
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Leave the skins on all of the potatoes for the rustic effect.
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add about 1/4 cup of 1/4" thick onion strips.
     Add 1/3 cup of 1/4" thick sliced small Purple Potato. 
     Add 1/3 cup of 1/4" thick sliced Red Yukon Bliss Potato.
     Add 1 small handful of sliced small Yukon Gold Potato.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme leaves.
     Season with sea salt and white pepper to taste. 
     Step 2:  Sauté till the the potatoes are fully cooked and the onions are caramelized.
     Keep the Rustic Lyonnaise Potato Medley warm on a stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.
     Grilled Tomato:  
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat.  
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.  
     Add 2 thick Plum Tomato slices that are about 1/2" thick.  
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.  
     Step 2:  Briefly sauté the tomatoes till they are lightly caramelized on both sides.
     Keep the grilled tomatoes warm on a stove top. 

     Grilled Ham For Eggs Benedict: 
     This recipe yields enough for 1 portion of Eggs Benedict.
     The original ham for Eggs Benedict was imported French ham that was lightly smoked and dry cured in a mountain cave.  A top quality piece of smoked ham is an acceptable substitute.  
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter to the hot pan.  
     Step 1:  Cut 2 slices of smoked ham that are 3/16" thick.  
     Trim the ham, so it is a medallion shape that is 3" to 4" wide.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan or griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add the smoked ham medallions.
     Grill the ham on both sides, till light golden brown highlights appear. 
     Keep the grilled smoked ham medallions warm on a stove top. 
     Beurre Anchois Holland Rusk (Or Brioche Rusk) For Eggs Benedict:   
     This recipe yields enough for 1 portion of Eggs Benedict.
     Step 1:  Spread a thin layer of the Beurre Anchois on both sides of the 2 prepared Rusk medallions.
     Step 2:  Heat a griddle or sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Grill both sides of the Holland Rusk, till it is toasted to a light golden color. 
     Keep grilled anchovy butter rusk warm on a stove top.
     Classic Eggs Benedict with Lyonnaise Potato Medley and Grilled Tomato:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.  
     Never add vinegar to egg poaching water!  Vinegar changes the texture of the eggs to a rubbery texture.  The difference is noticeable!
     Step 1:  Heat enough water to poach 2 eggs with in a sauce pot over high heat.
     Add sea salt to taste.  (light brine)
     Bring the water to a boil.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to medium heat, so the water shows no signs of boiling.
     Add 2 large eggs.
     Poach the eggs, till the egg whites are fully cooked.
     Step 3:  Place the 2 Beurre Anchois Holland Rusk Medallions on the front half of a plate. 
     Place the 2 grilled smoked ham slices on top of the rusk.
     Use a slotted spoon to remove each poached egg from the water.
     Place the 2 poached eggs on top of the ham and Holland Rusk.
     Step 4:  Place 1 portion of the Rustic Lyonnaise Potato Medley on the back half of the plate.
     Place 1 portion of the Grilled Tomato on the back half of the plate.
     Step 5:  Spoon a generous portion of the Hollandaise Sauce over the eggs and onto the plate.  (About 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup.)
     Garnish each Eggs Benedict stack with a thin shaved slice of Black Truffle or 1/2 teaspoon of Beluga Caviar.  (Optional.)  
     Viola!  Classic Eggs Benedict!