Tag Archives: brunch

I’ve Missed You: Crab Cake Eggs Benedict

Crab Cake Eggs Benedict with Roasted Tomatoes

Crab Cake Eggs Benedict with Roasted Tomatoes

Hello, there. I’ve missed you! April came, I blinked, and now it’s gone. While in Shut Up & Cook land I have nothing to show for the past thirty days, in my “real life” I’ve had a month bursting at the seams with:

  • House guests
  • Foster puppies
  • Delicious dinners
  • Too much wine
  • Lots and lots of laundry

If you have a heart and a soul, which you must since you’re reading this blog, I imagine you’re most curious about the foster puppies…because let’s be honest…who wouldn’t be. Yes, in a moment of sheer genius I decided that a month with 20 days of house guests was really lacking something…a certain je ne sais quoi. That something quickly became not one foster puppy, but two. Crazy? Yes. Worth every minute of insanity? Absolutely.

Sweet Kaya, pulled just hours before being euthanized or "red lined".

Amazing what a good night sleep can do for a pup.

Our two little foster puppies, Kaya and Deacon (formerly Kyan and Raisin), came from the Clayton County Animal Shelter in Georgia, a rescue that due to extreme crowding and over population has one of the highest kill rates in the country; literally thousands of dogs are put down there each year. The group I’m partnering with, Georgia Peaches, works to bring puppies out and place them into Seattle homes where they are loved and flourish. Both these puppies got placed within a week into utterly enviable homes and have literally transformed in front of our eyes, turning from scared, sick, malnourished little creatures into thriving, happy, squeezably cute, puppies.

Doesn't this just melt your heart?

Deacon, living the good life on his first night here.

When not standing in the back yard and cheerfully willing the puppies to “Go pee. Go pee. Go pee.”, there has also been quite a bit of cooking, made oh so much better for the visit of some college friends, one of whom is a tremendous chef and food stylist. Chelsey quickly put me to shame in the kitchen, and I was positively giddy at being relegated to sous chef/dishwasher. She is a delight to watch, creating delicious meals that are seemingly effortless, utterly intuitive, and absolutely satisfying.

Saturday morning she decided to whip up some Crab Cake Eggs Benedict for myself, Matt, Julia, and Kate (because be honest…who doesn’t just whip that up?).

It was….to die for. Decadent. Over the top. Amazing. It also helped me conquer my fear of making Hollandaise sauce (although if I’m being honest I did have a brief moment of panic when it didn’t emulsify correctly at first).   Make this on a Saturday morning when life is bursting with activity, and nothing sounds better than slowing down and indulging.

Crab Cake Eggs Benedict
Serves 4

The start of all good things: eggs.

  1. Place on warmed plates 4 English Muffins, split, toasted, and buttered
  2. Arrange still warm crab cakes on the muffins , recipe follows
  3. Top each muffin with one poached egg, recipe follows
  4. Coat with 1/4 cup Hollandaise Sauce, recipe follows

Crab Cakes

A good crab cake should be decidedly crabby in my opinion. I’m not a fan of adding vegetables, such as red peppers or scallions, though you’re certainly welcome to and people to. I prefer to keep it simple.

  • 1 lb lump crabmeat
  • 1 Egg lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 TB Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 2 TB butter, melted
  1. Combine the crab, egg, mayo, mustard, salt and pepper, and bread crumbs.
  2. Shape into 8 small cakes.
  3. Chill in refrigerator if you have the time, though not required
  4. In a non-stick pan, grill in melted butter until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  5. Put in oven to keep warm.

Crab Cakes About to Go Into the Oven to Stay Warm

Poached Eggs

  1. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, bring 2 to 3 inches of water nearly until boiling.
  2. Add 1 TB vinegar (any type, I used cider vinegar)
  3. Gently swirl the water, and while swirling crack each egg into a small cup and then gently slide into the simmering water. (you can probably do 2-4 eggs at a time, pending on the size of your pan)
  4. Cook until the whites are set and the centers are still soft.
  5. Remove with a large slotted spoon and set in second pot of warmed water to 150 degrees.
  6. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes, reheating to 150 degrees if necessary.
  7. Drain each egg with a slotted spoon and hold against a clean, dry dish towel to absorb as much water as possible.

Hollandaise Sauce

  1. Place in the top of a double broiler 3 large egg yolks and 1 1/2 TB cold water
  2. Off the heat, whisk the egg mixture until it becomes light and frothy.
  3. Place the top of the double broiler over, not in, barely simmering water and continue to whisk until eggs are thickened, 2 to 4 minutes, being careful not to let the eggs get too hot.

    Whisking the eggs for Hollandaise.

  4. Remove from heat and whisking constantly slowly add in 1/2 cup warm butter.
  5. Whisk is 1 – 3 tsp lemon juice, a dash of hot pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.

Note: The trick with making Hollandaise is the emulsion, or adding the butter to the egg, you must do it slowly and whisk like your life depends on it. If the sauce is too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water. Sauce may be kept warm for up to 30 minutes on a very low simmer.

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Filed under Breakfasts, Comfort Foods, Entertaining, Seafood, Uncategorized

Erina Cake: & Sticky Buns

Clearly this requires no explanation.

Thursday night my mama arrived, full of big smiles, rolling laughs, and a declaration that we must, simply must make Sticky Buns.  She also brought a piece of my artwork that she’d found while cleaning out her files this winter. It was a small piece of construction paper on which I had drawn myself on one side (helpfully labeled “Erina” lest my mother or father forget my name) and a cake on the other (helpfully labeled “Cake” lest one not be able to tell).

“See Nana-B”, (that being just one of my family’s very sweet and slightly embarrassing nicknames for me), “you’ve been cooking and baking for years. It says it right there: Erina. Cake.”

She then resumed her campaign about making Sticky Buns having just had them while visiting her brother and sister-in-law in Norfolk, Virginia (which incidentally she is incapable of saying without laughing since Norfolk sounds like Nor-F*ck…get it, get it?). We are easily amused, what can I say.

Sticky Buns have always seemed like one of those “scary foods” requiring too many steps, too much skill, and the dreaded bread hook on my KitchenAid. But buoyed by my mother’s enthusiasm and my apparent child prodigy nature in the kitchen we got to baking, and you know what? They aren’t that hard. At all! And they are delicious! And impressive. So impressive I had to invite our friends Angela and Harrison (remember them?) down for an impromptu Saturday brunch so that others could witness their goodness.

Go ahead and give these a try…take that childhood enthusiasm and confidence that we seem to lose along the way, put on your apron, and make a bold declaration as only a five-year-old could. Erina. Cake.

Cinnamon Pecan Sticky Buns
Adapted Slightly from Simply Recipes

A perfect and easy Saturday brunch because you make them the night before. Serve with a pot of coffee and hard-boiled eggs.

Utter deliciousness. (I was just so proud it worked!)

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 1/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°, you can use a meat thermometer to check)
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter chopped into about 16 small pieces, plus more for greasing
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon. salt
  • 4 to 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Topping:

  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) coarsely chopped pecans

Method

  1. Make the dough.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine warm water, yeast and 1 tsp. sugar. Stir to dissolve and let sit until foamy, about 7 – 10 minutes. You want to see some little air bubbles.
  2. Add milk, butter, remaining sugar, egg yolks, lemon zest, salt and 3 cups flour.  Mix on low speed until blended. Switch to a dough hook and then, again on low speed, slowly incorporate the remaining 1 cup of flour. Increase speed to medium, kneading dough until smooth and slightly sticky (adding a little more flour if too wet), 3 to 5 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large, buttered bowl. Turn dough over in bowl to coat with the butter from the bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour (or 2 hours if not in an entirely warm place). After the dough has risen, punch down. Turn out onto a lightly floured cutting board and let sit 20 minutes.
  3. Make the filling. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Melt butter; keep separate.
  4. Roll dough out into a 12″ x 18″ rectangle. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Starting with the long side, roll dough into a cylinder. Place seam side down on a flat surface and cut crosswise into 15 slices.
  5. Make the topping. In a 1-quart saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, honey (or maple syrup) and corn syrup over low heat; stir until sugar and butter are melted. Pour mixture into a 9″ x 13″ pan and sprinkle pecans on top.

    Waiting for the raw sticky buns to arrive and sit atop.

  6. Place dough slices, flat side down, on top of prepared topping. Space out so that they roughly fill the whole pan while still slightly touching in places. Cover with plastic wrap, leaving room for the buns to rise, and refrigerate overnight.

    I should have done a better job of more evenly spacing out in the pan.

  7. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator an hour before you want to make and let come to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°. Bake buns on the middle rack until golden, 28 – 32 minutes. Remove pan from oven and immediately (and carefully as not to spill hot topping on your toes!) invert onto a serving tray or baking dish. Let buns cool slightly and serve warm.

    Before the flip.

    A sticky bun and a hard boiled egg...the perfect combination of savory and sweet.

    15 buns...5 adults eating...let's not focus on the math.

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Filed under Breakfasts, Comfort Foods, Desserts, Entertaining, Make ahead, Uncategorized

Neighborhood Loving: Turkey Sausage Egg Bake

Cane Corso Mastiff

Onca assisting at the neighborhood clean-up.

By now you’ve probably guessed that I can be a bit of a food snob. I rarely eat fast food, I don’t think twice about spending $20 on a hunk of cheese (but am appalled at how expensive the car wash is), and whenever I do get something pre-packaged at the grocery store I find myself offering a long, bumbling, drawn out excuse to the check-out teller, who frankly couldn’t care less, about why I’m buying Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese (to donate to the food bank obviously).

This weekend our lovely neighbors and neighborhood were planning a Spring Cleaning to get the streets a bit spruced up post-Winter, throw away the cans of Steel Reserve that had accumulated in the drains, and generally continue to signify to our transitional neighborhood that somebody does now actually care about it.

Mr. Wesley...taking care of business. With mittens on of course.

Our friends Brent and Ila Sole (don’t you wish that was your last name?!) offered to host a post-cleanup brunch featuring Bloody Mary’s, Mimosas, Fresh Baked Scones, and a few egg dishes. Ila did an amazing Artichoke Strata which I’ve already put in my bid to get the recipe for, and I decided to do a Turkey Sausage Egg Bake that been sitting in my inbox for years, helpfully labeled as “Recipes to Try”.

This recipe came my way via one of those Recipe Exchanges and is inspired from Chile, Corn & Croissants: Delicious Recipes from New Mexico Inns by Joan Stromquist. I have to admit that when I saw it called for shredded, bagged hash browns my snobby meter went off, but I pushed through…and boy am I glad I did.

This thing is delicious! A wonderful brunch addition, you can assemble it in advance, and use it as a base to throw whatever leftovers you have into. It is quite heavy, and not altogether healthy, so I wouldn’t suggest it all the time, but for a sunny, Sunday brunch with good friends, and happy dogs romping in the background, it was just the ticket.

Cane Corso Mastiff

A girl can only have so many mimosas...

Cane Corso Mastiff

And you don't want to get a sunburn.

Serve with Mimoas, Bloody Mary’s, and a side of Neighborhood Activism.

Turkey Sausage Egg Bake
Serves 8

Turkey Sausage Egg Bake

Turkey Sausage Egg Bake

3/4 pound Italian spicy turkey sausage
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red chile pepper, roasted, peeled and chopped
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 pound package frozen hash browns, thawed (if you forget to thaw them until the morning of, like I did, just pop in the microwave for about a minute until broken apart)
1 tsp seasoned salt (or to taste)
1.5 cups cheddar cheese, grated + extra for topping
8 farm fresh eggs

Preheat oven to 350

In a large skillet, place the sausage and cook it on medium heat so that
it is brown. (Do not drain the grease). Add the bell peppers, red chile
peppers, onions and tomatoes. Saute them for 5-7 minutes, or until the
onions are tender.

Add the hash browns and saute them for 5 minutes. Add the seasoned salt
and stir it in.

Add the cheese and heat it for 2 minutes, or until it begins to melt.

Place the mixture in a lightly greased medium baking pan. Make 8 divots
in the mixture with a spoon. Place one egg in each divot. Sprinkle tops with remaining cheese.

I thought this looked so cool before you baked it.

Bake the casserole for 30 minutes, or until the eggs are done, and the cheese on top is bubbling.

**Darling doggy photos compliments of the lovely Nadia Flusche.**

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Filed under Breakfasts, Cheap Eats, Entertaining, Make ahead