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Sunday
Jul032011

Individual Baked Egg Cups

Prociutto, Camember and Shitake Won-Ton Egg Cups

I would really like to give credit to someone for these, they are ingenious.  But I have no idea where I read about them.  It was about 4 or so years ago.  Probably while standing in line at the check out counter at the grocery store.  I didn't even buy the magazine, I never do.  I saw this method and my mind went wild. 

Won-Ton  skins.  How ingenious!  They called for 2 won-ton skins in a muffin tin one egg and whatever else you wanted, into the oven for 15 or so minutes, and presto...perfect little portable elegant little baked egg cups.  How cute is that. 

The first time I made these for a brunch event I made several different combinations.  There was a bacon and cheese, a smoked salmon and brie, and a roasted red pepper and goat cheese.  Everyone oohed and ahed, they were a hit.  Since, the combinations haven't stopped. 

Today just one flavor;  Prociutto, Shittaki, and Camembert. 

Ingredients:

1 cup Shittaki mushrooms, julienned, and sauteed

1 branch fresh thyme

1 tsp butter

12 Won-Ton skins

2 slices Prociutto, cut into 1/8" strips the long way

6 oz Camembert

6 eggs, (spring for the cage free ones here)

1 spritz pan spray

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

In a dry pan sautee the mushrooms till liquids released and evaporated.  Add a touch of butter and a branch of fresh thyme, salt and pepper to taste.  Quickly toss and set aside.

Spray a muffin pan with cooking oil spray (today pan for 6 muffins).  Push a won-ton skin into each muffin cup, go back and place a second at a 90 degree angle to the first.  Fill all six spaces.  You should have 8 points sticking up from each cup. 

Place two ribbons of Prociutto in each cup in a cross design.  Let ends hang over edges.  Place a few mushroom strips into bottom of cup.  Crack one egg into each cup.  Sprinkle lightly with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Top with 1 ounce of Camembert.  Fold Prociutto over top and tie off. 

Place into a preheated 350 degree oven.  I like my yolds a little runny.  So I start to check at 12 or so minutes.  Many friends prefer an almost hard yolk.  Adjust your time for that to about 20-25 minutes 

Prep time:  15 minutes

Cook time:  12 to 25 minutes

Yield:  6 Individual Egg cups

Wednesday
Jun222011

Aprium Butter

aprium butter over camembert

Not so quick but simple and let it cook itself...

2 lbs (give or take) apriums.  apricots work too.

2/3 cup (more or less) sugar

aprium butter 

Cut Apriums in half, and place in a heavy bottomed sauce pan.  Add sugar and place over high heat.  As apriums release their juice and it comes to a boil reduce heat to lowest setting and walk away.  Really walk away. 

There are many ways to make a "butter".  Smooth and milled, chunky at least as much as possible for the fruit does fall apart.  Spiced or not, with or without vinigar and more or less sugar.  I kept this one very simple.

Cooking the butter.  Some people will tell you to continuously stir.  I walk away.  I set the timer for 15 minutes and come back to stir every time the timer goes off.  Some will tell you it will only take an hour or so.  As a rule I plan for at least two hours, if not more.  The good news?  Laundry can get done in between stirs. 

2 lbs of fruit netted me 1 quart of "butter"

Sunday
Jun192011

Blue Cheese and Port Soufflé

Don't get intimidated!  The most difficult thing about making a souffle is taking it step by step and taking your time.  Don't rush from one section to the next, relax, and enjoy each step.  Be methodical, understand why you are taking each step.  I will try below to talk you through some of them. 

Blue Cheese and Port Souffle 

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp of Butter, melted

3 Tbsp of flour

2 shakes of cayenne, to taste

2 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese, grated

3/4 cup of milk

1 cup blue cheese crumbles

2 oz. Port

4 egg yolks

6 egg whites

souffle collar 

I lied above.  The most difficult part of this recipe is getting the collar around your soufflé dish.  Truly.  You need to secure a parchment paper collar around the edge of your soufflé dish with either kitchen string or a rubber band.  I tend to fight with the collar and the rubber band for easily 10 minutes before I  win!  The parchment paper collar should protrude a good 2.5 inches above the soufflé dish. 

Dip a pastry brush into the melted butter and paint the inside of the soufflé dish and the paper collar.  Then sprinkle in the parmesan cheese and "swish" around till evenly distributed over all parts of the dish as well as the collar.  Set aside. 

Into the melted butter add the flour and cayenne over medium heat.  Note:  This is not a dish you want to step away from.  The temperatures are important. 

Let the Flour cook about 2 minutes, then add the milk.  Keep over steady medium heat and continue mixing together the milk and roux (flour mixture).  You want to let thicken, but do not want to let come to a boil.  Once the mixture begins to thicken, add blue cheese crumbles.  In a regular cheese soufflé you want to turn off the heat and let the grated cheese melt into the warmed sauce.  THIS IS DIFFERENT.  The blue cheese will take longer to melt, so continue to stir over medium heat till 80% of the blue cheese has dissolved.  Turn heat off and transfer to a mixing bowl.  Add Port and mix in.  Add egg yolks one at a time and completely mix in before adding in the next one, set aside.  Continue to let cool.

Beat egg whites till completely stiff.  Cheese mixture will still be warm.  Add first third of egg whites and mix in completely.  Add second third of egg whites and fold in completely.  Add remaining egg whites and fold in carefully.  Most of the egg whites should be incorporated, though small patches of egg whites are acceptable. 

Fill prepared soufflé dish.  This quantity fills nicely a #6 soufflé dish.  I tend to make three smaller soufflés instead.  Either is acceptable. 

Place soufflé dish into a HOT water bath and into a preheated 375 oven. 

Large soufflé will take 60 minutes while smaller ones take about 35 minutes.  

Sunday
Jun122011

Strawberry Rhubarb Bread Pudding

strawberry rhubarb bread pudding 

For strawberry rhubarb compote:

2 Bunches Rhubarb stalks, (about 4 cups cut up fruit)

1 qt. strawberries

1 cup sugar

3 Tbsp tapioca starch, dissolved in 2 Tbsp water

 

For Bread Pudding:

leftover day old bread, today:

2 grocery croissant (on steroids, they were huge)

4 eggs

2 cups of milk

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp vanilla

 

For Compote:

Cut rhubarb into 1" pieces.  Place into heavy sauce pan over high heat.  Hull strawberries.  They weren't huge, I only cut two of them in half, the rest I left whole.  I wanted nice chunks of berries as I knew the rhubarb would disintegrate.  Add to rhubarb.  Add sugar.  It will take about 5 minutes for juices to start to release, once they do cook another 5 minutes.  Dissolve tapioca starch in water and add to compote.  Cook another two minutes till thickened. Turn off heat.

NOTE:  I have been experimenting with tapioca starch.  This worked as a thickener just beautifully.  I think next time I will try with 2 Tbsp of corn starch.  The difference I am finding is that cornstarch gives you a vibrant clear glossy color that the tapioca does not.  This would have been prettier with the high gloss, I think.  Would love to hear comments from others on Tapioca starch vs. corn starch.

For bread pudding:

Beat eggs and sugar then add milk and vanilla, mix together.  Slice croissants on the diagonal so you get nice big pieces about 1" thick.  NOTE:  Stale white bread or Challah work well in this bread pudding too.  I have an oddball sized casserole dish, about 2 quart round that worked well for today. 

Arrange first croissant in bottom of casserole dish.  Cover with enough egg mixture to just come to top, about 1.75 cups.  Next spoon in about 2 cups of the strawberry rhubarb compote.  You want to completely cover the first layer of croissants so it creates a seal between the layers.  Layer in second croissant and fill with remaining egg mixture.  It all just fit in my casserole dish.  Place into a preheated 350 degree oven, in a water bath.  Bake for one hour, or until set. Watch the top, you may need to cover after about 40 minutes to keep from over browning the top.

I did not use all of the compote, serve extra next to the bread pudding or jar it up for later.

NOTE:  I just won a counter top convection oven from KitchenAid.  Thank you KitchenAid and Thank you techmunch.  Yay!  It took about 1 hour 20 minutes to bake in my new little oven and I did have to cover with alluminum foil after 10 minutes.  I uncovered again for the last 10 minutes.  It is summer and though not as hot as it has been lately, this new appliance did not overheat my kitchen, bonus! 

Sunday
Jun052011

Blender Hollandaise

hollandaise over a poached egg and crab cake

1 stick of butter, melted and hot

3 egg yolks

1 tsp dijon mustard

2 key limes, juiced, about 1.5 tsp

dusting of cayenne, to taste

Place three egg yolks into the bottom of blender, add mustard, lime juice and cayenne.  Pulse two or three times.  Remove the center from the blender cover.  Place blender cover on blender with the top open, turn on blender and drizzle in melted butter.  Done, that it, really.  Now dollop over pretty poached eggs, or fish, or a filet, or, or, or...

Note:  3 egg yolks can absorb up to a third of a cup additional melted butter, it will be a little looser.