Eggs Benedict with Home Made Hollandaise Sauce

Weekend breakfasts are great! They allow for lazy long mornings where you have time to spend an hour or two making breakfast. I had an awesome such morning this weekend, where I decided it was high time I tried making my own home made eggs Benedict, smothered in home made blender hollandaise sauce.

I started by frying up some bacon in a pan, while I was preparing the hollandaise sauce.

Once I found a good recipe for hollandaise sauce, I couldn’t believe it! The main ingredients to hollandaise sauce are egg yolks, butter and lemon juice. That’s it! No wonder it tastes so good!

I separated 6 eggs (I doubled the recipe).

I had to take the bacon off the stove because it was nice and crispy at this point.

Then I blended all the egg yolks together with some salt and pepper.

Next, I had add the melted butter to the blended egg yolks, while the blender was on. This made a hot buttery mess all over my kitchen. It was great fun though!

I also poached some eggs with my handy dandy egg poacher.

Then I assembled the benies by layering toast, eggs, bacon and hollandaise sauce. This was quite the rich breakfast. I wasn’t able to eat again until dinner!

Jacquie’s Home Made Eggs Benedict and Blender Hollandaise Sauce (Courtesy of the Food Network)

For the hollandaise sauce, you will need

- 3 large egg yolks

- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

- 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the eggs benedict, you will need:

- Four medium eggs

- 1 pack of bacon

- 2 pieces of whole wheat multi grain bread

Blender hollandaise sauce instructions:

Put the egg yolk, lemon juice, and cayenne in a blender. Pulse a couple times to combine.

Put the butter in a small microwave safe bowl and melt in a microwave until just melted. With the blender running, gradually add the melted butter into the egg to make a smooth frothy sauce. If the sauce is very thick, blend in a teaspoon of lukewarm water loosen it up. Season with the salt and serve immediately or keep warm in a small heat-proof bowl set over hot (but not simmering) water until ready to serve.

Assembling the benie:

Cook bacon until crisp. Poach eggs to your desired softness. Toast the bread. Layer the bacon and poached eggs on top of toast. Slather generously with hollandaise sauce. Enjoy!


Rhubarb Crisp and Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (without an ice cream maker)

Ah May Long weekend… What a lazy, sunny, wonderful start to summer. Justin and I spent most of the day on Saturday going to the market and lazing around in the backyard, and doing some gardening. I also decided it was high time to make some homemade ice cream. I’ve always wanted to make homemade ice cream, but I don’t have an ice cream maker. So, I improvised and found a recipe online that gives you instructions if you don’t have an ice cream maker. It was quite a lot of work, but it turned out pretty tasty. I also ended up making mine organic, without even meaning to! Awesome!

The ingredients to homemade ice cream are pretty simple. Milk, sugar, egg yolks, and cream. Vanilla too, of course. I ended up using a Groupon I had to the Earth’s General Store to pick up the all local, organic and fair trade ingredients for my Ice Cream. Loved it!

This was the sugar we used. 100% fair trade organic raw sugar. Now that is tasty, ethical sugar!

The first step was to cook the milk and sugar together until it dissolved.

While I was waiting, I separated 6 eggs (because I had doubled the recipe).

I took he milk off the heat and added the yolks, whisking until fully incorporated.

Next, I added the organic half and half.

and whipped the mixture up in the hand blender for about 3 minutes. (I covered it with a cloth because it was splattering everywhere!)  – Now here was the hard part: Every half hour, for the next 3 hours, I had to take it out of the freezer and repeat the whipping process. It would have worked out well enough had I remembered that I had doubled the recipe, and thus probably should have doubled the whipping time, which I did not.

That’s probably why I ended up with a milkshake-esque bowl of ice cream. It tasted pretty good, but didn’t quite have that smooth tasty texture that ice cream normally does. Oh well! Trial and error I guess!

Jacquie’s Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (Courtesy of Eatomanic)

milk – 1 cup
sugar – 3/4 cup
salt – 1/4 teaspoon
egg yolks – 3
vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
whipping cream or half and half – 2 cups
In a pot on medium flame, combine the milk, sugar and salt.
Once the sugar and salt have dissolved completely, add the egg yolk and stir continuously for 3-5 minutes.
Take the mixture off the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
Once cooled, add the vanilla extract and the cream or half and half. Stir well and place in the refrigerator for a few hours (an hour at the very least).
Take the mixture out of the refrigerator and whip well with a whisk or a handheld mixer. Place it in the freezer.
Every 30 minutes for the next 2 – 3 hours take the mixture out of the freezer and repeat the whipping process. This is to prevent the ice crystals from forming.
Let the mixture stay in the freezer for about 2 hours after the whipping process is over. The ice cream is ready to serve and best if eaten fresh.
* If doubling the recipe, like I did, make sure to double the whipping/freezing time.

The second part of this post is devoted to rhubarb. I never really knew how awesome rhubarb was until I began cooking with it (which began his weekend!). To me, rhubarb looked a lot like big, pink celery, and had the same consistency and texture to it. putting it into a desert didn’t really appeal to me, until I realized that I had a massive bush of rhubarb growing in my garden, and it was threatening to take it over. I didn’t really have a choice. Rhubarb crisp it was!

There’s the crazy rhubarb plant, taking up a huge chunk of the garden!

It is rather pretty though…

I chopped down a few stalks for the crisp.

I cut the stalks up into small pieces, and made a base using sugar, water and cornstarch. Yummers!

The crisp was really easy to make too. Granola, flour, brown sugar and butter. Yum!

Here’s the before baking picture.

And here’s the after… All gooey and crispy.

You can enjoy the crisp with whipped cream…

Or homemade ice cream! (I highly recommend the ice cream. It adds a delicious creamy sweet mixture to the crunchy sweet and sour taste of the crisp. Yum!)

All in all, I’m very happy that I finally tried cooking with rhubarb. That weird looking pink celery turned out to be delicious when baked with sugar! If you have a rhubarb plant threatening to invade, you should chop it down and turn it into a crisp. You wont regret it!

Jacquie’s Rhubarb Crisp (Courtesy of Kitchen Simplicity)

Rhubarb Filling
  • 4 cups chopped fresh or frozen (thawed) rhubarb
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Place rhubarb in an 8×8 pan or divide between 6 ramekins.
  2. Mix together sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan, stir in water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over rhubarb.
Crisp Topping
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used almonds and cashews)
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. Mix together flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, salt and walnuts. Stir in melted butter until even distributed. Crumble over filling.
  2. Bake at 350ºF for 45 min or until rhubarb is cooked through and filling is bubbly.

Scones and Cucumber Sandwiches for a Royal Wedding

Wow, this post is a little late… Sorry about that! We’ve been a bit busy on our end. My sister Michou got married yesterday, quite the celebration! That, of course, postponed my posting on the royal wedding. But here it is!

I decided to make some English classics as finger food for my Royal Wedding party: Scones with Raspberry Butter and Cucumber Sandwiches. Hmm… Delicious!

I didn’t make them 100% whole wheat, as I still wanted them to be light and fluffy.

I used a heart shaped cookie cutter. They turned out so well!

Here they are, all nicely baked.

Delicious little pillowy scones. They were so good!

Raspberry butter is so easy to make and is such a treat on scones. It really does add a lot to your baking. I would suggest having some on hand, even in your freezer, for special occasions!

I used generic raspberry jam.

And mixed it half and half with butter. Using a whisk, I whipped it up as best I could.

Tada! delicious and easy raspberry butter!

Jacquie’s Tasty Scones and Raspberry Butter

You will need:

For the Scones:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk

For the Raspberry Butter:

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of your favourite raspberry jam

For the scones:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter. Mix the egg and milk in a small bowl, and stir into flour mixture until moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead briefly. Roll dough out into a 1/2 inch thick round. Cut into 8 wedges, and place on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

For the raspberry butter:

Warm butter briefly in the microwave, until soft. Whisk jam and butter together until smooth.

The cucumber sandwiches were super easy. I only used three ingredients for the pickling base. Vinegar, sugar and dill.

Mix them together in a Tupperware and shake until the sugar is dissolved.

I used local mini cucumbers. These are so tasty!

I cut them all up and let them marinade overnight.

I used whole wheat bread. Yummy.

I used margarine to keep the cucumbers in place on the sandwiches.

Then I filled the sandwiches with marinated cucumbers.

I cut them up in little triangles, just like at a real English Tea.

They were sooo good.

We ate them while we watched William and Kate get hitched!

While wearing silly hats and crowns :)

Jacquie’s tasty Cucumber Sandwiches.

You will need:

1 cup of white vinegar

1/4 cup of sugar

2 Tablespoons of dried dillweed

5 mini cucumbers

8 slices of whole wheat bread

margarine for spreading inside the sandwhiches

Combine sugar, vinegar and dillweed and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Slice the cucumbers up and marinate them in the vinegar mixture overnight. When the cucumbers are marinated, spread the margarine on the bread,  line with cucumbers, and slice sandwiches into triangles. Enjoy!



Shitake Mushroom Tapenade

Mushrooms are probably one of my favorite vegetables. It’s actually pretty hard to put my finger on my favorite veggie, but Mushrooms are most definitely up there on the list. Since I haven’t tried too many variations of mushrooms, I figured it was about time I diversified my mushroom intake. I tried these shitake mushrooms in a stir fry earlier on in the week, and decided that their unique and rich flavor needed to be singled out, and so I decided to make an Asian mushroom tapenade.

Here are the Shitake’s, washed with stems removed. I read somewhere that you should never eat a Shitake Mushroom stem.

I diced them up nice and small, as a tapenade.

I sauteed them with a touch of cooking oil, and reduced sodium soy sauce. It brought out the flavor of the mushrooms in such a delightful way!

Serve on some crackers, as is. Enjoy!

Jacquie’s Shitake Mushroom Asian Tapenade

1 Pound Shitake Mushrooms, washed with stems removed (I got mine from Eat Local’s Good Food Box)

1 Teaspoon of cooking oil (I used Mighty Trio Organic’s Canola Oil)

1 Tablespoon of Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce

Dice mushrooms small. Saute with cooking oil until desired texture has been achieved, add soy sauce, cook until heated. Enjoy with your favorite crackers!


Coconut Curry Goat Stew

Ah Spring. You are so fickle in Edmonton. It makes me want to cry that the tulips that were consistently growing outside my house are now turning yellow and dying because of the massive snow dump we got a few days ago. I hope it melts soon…

The return of January-like weather makes me want to eat crock pot food. So I made myself a stew. This one has a twist though. I received some goat meat from the good people at Eat Local First’s Good Food Box (who, by the way, have a FABULOUS new website that you’ve gotta check out!)

I searched the internet high and low to determine exactly what to do with goat stew meat, and found that many recipes prepare it with curry. So that’s what I did, but I added my own Jacquie twist.

I began by preparing the base of the stew. All I used was Thai Curry paste and a can of coconut milk. Seriously, that was it!

I used certified Halal goat meat, for anyone with dietary restrictions, this option works!

In the morning, I mixed the base with the goat meat and some onions, and cooked it on low for 8 hrs. Hmm. It smelled amazing when I walked in the door after work!

Tada! I served it with wild rice from the Good Food Box. This was a really good hearty meal, and it warmed us up during this foul weather!

Jacquie’s Coconut Curry Goat Stew

You will need:

1 pound of goat stew meat

1 onion (and any other veggies you’d like to throw in the crock pot)

1 can coconut milk

3 tablespoons Thai curry paste

1 teaspoon of cooking oil

The night before, prepare the base by heating the oil curry paste together in a sauce pan until you can smell the flavour of the curry beginning to emerge from the paste. Then add coconut milk, and stir until incorporated. Refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, place goat stew meat, sliced onion (and all other veggies), in your crock pot. Either set timer, or turn on low right away and cook for 8 hrs.

Serve with wild rice, and enjoy!


Portabello Mushroom Burgers – aka: The return of the BBQ!

WOW. What amazing weather we’ve been having here! It’s been so warm that we finally decided that it was time to bust out the BBQ!

I ordered a half pound of Portabello mushrooms in my Good Food Box this week, and all I could think about was grilling them on the BBQ with a little bit of garlic and olive oil. These were some of the tastiest mushrooms ever, with their intense Italian flavor, which compliments just about anything you serve with them! I think next time I’ll order a full pound…

These were a decent size as well. Perfect burger size!

This is my BBQ. We have to grill on the back porch because it’s electric, and needs to be plugged into an outlet in the house. Interesting set up. We’ve been talking about getting a real one this summer, for practicality sakes…

We cooked these alongside some some falafel burgers from the Happy Camel. (I am going to do a full post devoted solely to the Happy Camel one of these days. This little snippet today does not do justice to the amount of amazing product they carry!)

Once cooked, I placed a dollop of goat cheese on the mushroom to let it melt a bit. The flavors worked so well together!

Served inside a delicious, fresh 50% Whole Wheat Pita from Happy Camel, topped with mixed greens from Morrinville Greenhouse, which I acquired once again through my Good Food Box, and slathered with some homemade garlic and herb mayo, this Portobello Burger was a sure celebration of the return of warm and sunny weather!

Jacquie’s Delicious Portobello Mushroom Burgers

2 large Portobello mushrooms

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves fresh garlic, minced

2 dollops of fresh goat cheese

several leaves of local baby lettuce, for topping (and any other of your favorite toppings!)

2 whole wheat pitas from Happy Camel

2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning.

Wash Portobellos. Brush with olive oil and 1/2 of the mined garlic. Grill until Mushrooms are cooked to your liking.

Place dollop of goat cheese on mushroom while still very warm, so that the cheese will melt a little. While you’re waiting for the cheese to melt, pop the pitas in the toaster. Once everything is ready to go, assemble the pita burgers, and add toppings, such as lettuce, tomatoes, and/or pickles.

For the garlic Mayonnaise: Combine the rest of the minced garlic with the mayonnaise, and Italian seasoning. mix until combined well. Slather on pita before adding other ingredients.

Enjoy!!


Homemade Whole Wheat Superstar Crackers

Hello Dear Sunshine-Loving Edmontonians!

My sincerest apologies for ignoring you for the past week. I blame it on the fact that during my illness, Justin was sweet to me to have rented the 2nd season of the Tudors from the library, so I have been eagerly getting through the awesomeness that is Henry VIII’s and Anne Boleyn’s love affair. Also, its been nice out, so when I’ve not been watching the Tudors, I’ve been outside, enjoying the sunshine!!

To make up for my lack of blogging, I have an amazing post for you today, inspired by one of the most amazing of all food bloggers, Smitten Kitchen. (Seriously, if you’re ever looking for a good red, hit the “surprise me” button on her left hand side tool bar. You will be amazed every time. Absolutely stunningly beautiful food!) She made homemade goldfish for her son! These were so cute that I just had to make them. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a fishie cookie cutter, so I used a superstar one instead.

For the crackers, I used delicious cheddar cheese. I really do love cheese. I think if I ever had to live with one food forever, it would be cheese.

For the whole wheatie goodness, I used Gold Forest Grain’s 100% local organic whole grain flour from Eat Local First’s Good Food Box. Wow! This flour has a rich intense whole wheat flavor that works well in any baking (seriously, try using it in some cookies, or muffins. It adds so much and fills you right up.) I was very impressed with this flour. For someone who tries to sneak whole wheat flour in anything she bakes with, this flour is top knotch and worth every penny. Plus, it’s local! Who can argue with that?!

I have a funny story for you about this recipe, that led to a series of culinary mishaps that I’m still laughing about… Anyway, this recipe called for a food processor. Unfortunately, I don’t have a food processor. I do (or did, rather) have a hand blender. I thought it would work just as effectively. I began blending the dough with the hand blender, which was plugged into the only electrical plug in our silly old kitchen (which is attached to the stove, as I suppose they didn’t feel the need to add electrical sockets to a kitchen built in 1946). I was blending away and my hand blender exploded. It didn’t just break, it exploded, with sparks and everything, which blew the breaker on the stove, killing our only electrical socket. The next day, having forgotten that I blew the fuse on the stove socket, I ruined an entire crock pot full of stew, as it had sat on the counter all day, not cooking at all. It was a sad chain of event indeed. But at least the crackers were good!

I rolled out the dough, and used my cute little star shaped cookie cutter to cut out the star crackers.

They turned out so well. I was seriously impressed!

Now don’t those look good?

Jacquie’s Whole Wheat Super Star Crackers (Courtesy of Smitten Kitchen)

Yield: About 100 1 1/4 inch goldfish

6 ounces (1 1/2 cups coarsely grated) sharp cheddar, orange if you can find one you like
4 tablespoons (2 ounces or 57 grams) butter
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces or 62 grams) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup (1 1/8 ounces or 31 grams) all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon onion powder (I used garlic powder instead)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon table salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients in a food processor, running the machine until the dough forms a ball, about two minutes.

If the dough feels warm or worrisome-ly soft, wrap it in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes. This also makes it easier to transfer shapes once they are rolled out.

On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out 1/8-inch thick. Form shapes with a cookie cutter, dipping it in flour from time to time to ensure a clean cut. Gently transfer crackers to an ungreased cookie sheet with a 1/2 inch between them. Bake the crackers on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are barely browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.


Thinking about food a little differently…

My apologies folks, this post will not be a recipe post. Rather it will contain my rambling thoughts about, well… food!

I am going to put forward a question to you, dear readers: Do you ever sit down with your morning cereal, or your afternoon banana snack, and think about the food you are eating? I don’t mean thinking about the food in terms of tasty factor (although that is always important too), but I mean really think about the food you’re eating. Do you every ask yourself where exactly the food came from, how it was processed, how many people it took to make the finished product of cereal, and what truly is the cost (environmentally, nutritionally, ecologically, geographically…etc) of the food you’re eating? No? You don’t think about those things? Unfortunately, I tend to forget about these things as well, as I’m running out the door to work in the morning, or scarfing down a snack in the afternoon between events. These questions are very important though, and here’s what got me thinking about them:

I attended a lecture last night at the U of A called “Taking Charge of Dinner: Growing, Knowing and Loving Food” (I find the title so inspiring that I just had to head to my alma mater after working a 10 hr day.) There were two wonderful and inspiring guest speakers: Nettie Wiebe and Jessie Radies, that challenged the audience to think a little differently about their relationships with food.

Nettie Wiebe, a international food activist, eloquently painted a picture about our personal relationships to food that I will not soon forget – She spoke  about how our individual relationships to food, here in North America and in the Canadian Prairies, should not be one of just eating to eat, or food as a commodity that is marketed and bought and sold, but rather, food is about a personal relationship that you have with others and with yourself. Food is about so much more than just sustenance; it is the cultural construct of our lives, and (just to embellish a teeny bit), it feeds our creative souls. I loved the image that this created for me, as this is how I feel about food. Sure, I am persuaded once in a while by a beautiful commodity food item, however, it is the relationship I feel to my food, and my desire to share it with those around me, that I cherish when eating.

Nettie painted another picture for me that I wanted to share with you all: Currently, the way most people think about food is a linear food chain, that goes from growing a product, harvesting it, processing it, distributing it and finally, having it land on your table after you purchase it from the grocery store. Instead of this image, Nettie got us to think of a more interconnected world where our relationships to food are much integrated, and rather it being a linear chain, it is viewed as an interconnected web, where customers have personal relationships with producers and farmers, and who are conscientious about the food they produce and consume and how it benefits the local food economy and their individual health. Beautiful thought, no?

Jessie Radies, founder of live local Alberta and Original Fare, was able to paint an entirely different picture of food for me, that, after being engrossed in Nettie’s beautiful picture, was much more tangible and accessible to me as a local food consumer. She started off my illustrating to the audience how, if we as Edmontonians, were to dedicate only 20% of our food spending to the local food economy, it would generate 1.5 BILLION dollars within the local food system. (*Note, these numbers are from Seatle, but can you imagine the impact that it would have here?!) These dollars directly come back to you, as the consumer, in original local products (you’ll never find a product like happy camel anywhere else, would you). This can happen simply by eliminating the middle part of the linear chain Nettie previously discussed. This is honestly done so easily, and the benefits to the local economy are enormous!- Make yourself a deal to go to the farmer’s market once a week to get local fruit and a loaf of bread. Done. That’s 20% right there.

As a volunteer for live local Alberta, I appreciated Jessie’s shameless plug of live local’s good food box, because they have honestly made it so simple for you to support the local food system by buying local products through them, and they will deliver it to your door!!

Needless to say, I was inspired last night to continue to live as local as possible, and to encourage those dear to me to really think about the food that they are eating (try it, it’s fun!). Stay tunes for more locally inspired recipes, and more ramblings about food thoughts.

Yours in food solidarity,

Jacquie


Classic – Eggies in a Basket

Welcome to my first recipe post! – Ouh, this is getting exciting!

This morning, I woke up wanting to make something special, rather than the regular, run-of-the-mill cereal for breakfast as usual. This was because last night, Justin and I celebrated our 4-year anniversary. It was a lot of fun! We went out to the Keg and ate A LOT. (Merci encore a grand-mama, grand-papa et MaTant Diane pour les certificat cadeaux!) Continuing on the celebratory tasty food indulgences, and focusing on the local foodie ingredients I had in the fridge this morning, I decided to make my family’s classic “special” breakfast dish – eggies in a basket.

You may begin to notice a pattern with me – I don’t follow any strict recipes. As the great Chef Michael Smith says: “Let your ingredients be your inspiration.” And that’s exactly that I did! I found some delicious multi grain Gramma Bear’s Bread from the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market in the freezer, some free range local eggs (also from OSFM) in the fridge, and went to work! Begin by cutting a hole in the toast with a cookie cutter (we used heart shaped ones, to continue with the theme from last night), then butter the outisdes of the hole with margarine or butter. Then crack the egg in the middle, sprinkle with a little salt, pepper (or in my case, garlic powder… hmmm… garlic!!), let cook a bit, then flip it over! Meanwhile, let the little heart shape toast bits brown up beside the eggies.

I served them with some strawberries (unfortunately not local), but any local fruit works!


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