Sunday, October 26, 2014

Eggs on Toast

Do you have any meals that you make that remind you of home?  I have a bunch, but this one holds a special place in my heart. Since we moved down to the DC area, I really do love it down here.  It never gets old when I run an errand and pass the Washington Monument, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials and Iwo Jima in one trip.  But I do miss having my family nearby.

I made this the other day and my mind was instantly flooded with memories of my mom and I sitting at the kitchen table enjoying this for dinner.  Or Breakfast.  Or whenever I asked her to make it.  You see, the rest of my family members (my dad, sister and 2 brothers) were not huge fans of this dish, but my Mom and I loved it.  So most of the time, when I ate this, it was just me and my mom sitting down together and having some mother-daughter bonding time.

And the best part about that is that her mom, my grandmother, taught her how to make it.  This was the first thing that my grandma ever learned how to cook.  She was a young girl scout and looking to get her cooking badge. So her troop leader took them all to a local school and Miss Alexander, a teacher, taught them all how to make this in the kitchen. It's actually called Eggs ala Goldenrod but we've always called it Eggs on Toast.

I was chatting with my grandma the other night and she told me that she would make this for my mom all the time growing up, but the rest of their family were not big fans either.  After hearing that, I imagined my mom and grandma enjoying this meal for many years together, just like she and I did.  And that,makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  

Eggs on Toast
4 hard boiled eggs (instructions for the perfect hard boiled egg here)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
bread of choice

Hard boil the eggs.  Peel eggs and let sit in the refrigerator until sauce is ready. 

In a small saucepan melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk until a paste forms.  Let cook over heat for about 2 minutes.  

Slowly add milk, constantly whisking to combine into the flour mixture.  Turn heat up to medium high and continue to whisk until the sauce comes to a boil.  Once the sauce is boiling, it should thicken up.  Reduce heat to low, add salt and pepper and keep simmering to cook the sauce.  

Prepare eggs by slicing in half and separating the yolks from the whites.  Slice the whites into bite sized pieces and add to sauce.  Mash up the yolks in a small bowl with a fork.  

To serve, top toasted bread with a few spoonfuls of the sauce.  Sprinkle about a tablespoon of the crushed egg yolk on top of the sauce and garnish with some chives.  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Beer Braised Sausage & Cabbage with Homemade Spaetzle

Most of the time when you read my blog, each post looks very put together and everything turns out so pretty in the end but I have a confession to make.  I have kitchen fails too.  

Take for instance the time I tried to make homemade falafel out of juice pulp.  They were sooooooo bad.  I had high hopes and took all of the pictures but after I had my first bite I thought "There is absolutely no way I can subject my readers into ever making this"!  Fail.

And then there was that time that I attempted to make a Chocolate Crack Pie (inspiration drawn from the famous Momofuku Crack Pie Recipe).  I think I ended up baking the thing for over an hour and it was still raw in the middle.  Riddle me that??  Fail.   

Which brings up to this dish.  Let me just tell you my spaetzle making story...

So Matt and I were out running errands and I abruptly told him to pull into Williams Sonoma because I needed a spaetzle screen (because who doesn't need a spaetzle screen??).  What is a spaetzle screen you may ask?  Well, this is a spaetzle screen.  The ladies were looking all over but unfortunately, WS does not carry spaetzle screens.  

My little heart was set on making some spaetzle so I decided that I was going to just use the steamer pan that I had at home. I thought "It has holes... it will be perfect"! 

So I make this beautiful batter and get the water and pan all ready. As soon as I spoon the mixture over the pan, I realized the holes were too small.  I am frantically trying to push the batter through these tiny holes but it just ends up cooking on the pan.  Fail. 

I start tearing open drawers and cabinets trying to find anything with bigger holes.  Enter the ricer.  Yes!  The ricer will be perfect! 

I spoon the batter into the ricer and when it comes out, It just ends up forming a huge ball of dough in the water.  Fail.  

Then I see this flat ladle with holes.  Yup... still too small.  Fail. 

Defeated and frazzled, I just ended up picking up handfuls of the batter with my fingers and dropping it in the water (my hands were clean... promise).  The end result was not the prettiest, but I somehow managed to make an entire bowl of spaetzle with uneven sizes and shapes.  

So, to illustrate that all is not perfect in my kitchen, I included all of my "fail" pictures of this exhausting process.  

Moral of the story; if you are going to make spaetzle from scratch, buy a spaetzle screen.  

Beer Braised Sausage & Cabbage
6 strips of bacon
6-10 raw sausage links of your choice
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 head of red cabbage
1 bottle of beer
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 chicken bullion cube, mashed into a powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 bay leaves

Chop bacon into thin strips.  Preheat large stock pot our Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add bacon and cook until crispy.  Remove bacon from pan and add sausage.  Brown on both sides then remove from pot.  To the pot, add sliced onions and cook in the bacon grease for 5-7 minutes until they start to caramelize.  

While onions are cooking, whisk together the beer, mustard, vinegar, chicken base, salt and pepper.  Once onions are browned, pour beer mixture over them and then stir in cabbage and bay leaves.  Return sausage and bacon to the cabbage and simmer covered over low heat for 30-40 minutes.  

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper
fresh grated nutmeg (pinch)
1 tablespoon fresh grated parmesan cheese 
1/3-1/2 cup of milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructional video can be found here

Whisk together flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cheese in a large mixing bowl.  Create a well and crack eggs into it.  With a wooden spoon, gradually pour the milk into the eggs and begin to scramble the eggs.  Gradually bring the flour down from the sides and stir with the spoon until a wet and smooth batter forms.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for at least 2 hours (overnight works best).  

When time to cook, bring a pot of water to a boil and place spaetzle screen on top.  Using a flat scraper and working quickly, push the dough through the holes on the screen into the water.  When the spaetzle floats, it is done. 

Strain spaetzle out from water into a clean bowl and add the butter, parsley and cheese.  Stir to coat.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Green Bean & Potato Salad

Hi guys!  Can you believe that I made this potato salad almost 3 or 4 weeks ago and I am just now getting around to posting it?!?!  Things have been pretty busy around here, mostly because I have been spending my evenings learning how to KNIT! 

A friend of mine took some time (thanks Jen!) to teach me the basics of knitting a few weeks ago.  Right now, I am just trying to master the pearl and knit stitches.  I have to admit, my scarf that I am knitting right now is not the prettiest.  The bottom half is scattered with a few mistakes but I am just doing my best to get comfortable with the yarn and needles.  

It is really therapeutic!  I love sitting on the couch with my hubby and doggies, but feel much more productive when I am using that time to create something.  I'm hoping that practice makes perfect and that eventually, I can move on to more complex things like blankets, hats, gloves and dog sweaters! 

Back to this potato salad.  I just love these tiny little potatoes.  I was lucky enough to find these gorgeous purple potatoes at our local Whole Foods.  If you can't find these minis, regular potatoes will do just fine.  Just make sure you chop them into similar sized pieces so they cook evenly.  

I was so pleased with the way this turned out because I was bringing to to our first cookout here in Arlington (Thanks Jen and Sean!).  The green beans add a nice crunch and the dressing was creamy, tangy and savory.  I hope you like it as much as we did!

PS- To all you knitters out there, let me know if you have any tips :)  

Green Bean & Potato Salad
1 pound mini Yukon gold potatoes or fingerlings
1 pound mini purple potatoes
8 slices bacon
1/3 pound fresh green beans
1 small onion, diced

1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons bacon fat
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley 

Half or quarter the potatoes so they are bite sized pieces.  Put them in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 12-18 minutes (cooking time will vary depending on the size of the potatoes).  They should be tender and offer no resistance when a knife is inserted in the center.

While the potatoes are cooking, slice the bacon into bite size pieces, trim the green beans and dice the onions.  In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crispy.  Remove from pan and place on a paper towel to drain.  Remove (and save) all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease from the pan. Add onions and saute for 4 minutes over medium heat until softened and slightly translucent.  Remove from pan and place in a large mixing bowl.  

Remove  potatoes from boiling water when finished and place in the mixing bowl.  Add the beans into the hot water for just about a minute, just until they turn a bright green color.  Remove from water and add to mixing bowl.  

In a separate bowl, make the dressing.  Add shallot, garlic, sugar, vinegar, bacon grease, salt, pepper, mustards, mayo and parsley.  Whisk to combine.  

Pour dressing and crumbled bacon over the vegetables.  Mix until coated and place in refrigerator to cool. Prior to serving, remove from fridge and bring potato salad to room temperature.  

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