Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Eggs Benedict with Homemade English Muffins: Daring Cooks Challenge

December's Daring Kitchen challenge marks a series of firsts for me; the first time I have poached an egg and eaten a poached egg, the first time I've made English Muffins and the first time I've made Hollandaise Sauce, so I managed to cover many firsts in one post.

Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.

For me, I found poaching an egg more mentally challenging than technically, since I have only recently begun incorporating various forms of eggs into my life. The world of poached eggs was a realm I had yet to delve into and I was also put off by the thought of Hollandaise Sauce... because it seemed too egg-y.  [For better understanding of my egg-centricities check out my post Eggs & Yogurt] Aside from having to talk myself into eating Eggs Benedict, I found that the techniques involved were rather easy.  My first few eggs were a tad undercooked, then I managed to find perfect water temperature and consistency.
The Hollandaise portion of the recipe was a bit intimidating because I had never made it before. I was always worried that my emulsification would either break or fail to coagulate.  Once I had everything prepped, it went fine. One small snafu was that I had the water of my double boiler simmering a little too low, so it took me about 8 minutes, instead of 3 - 5 minutes to whisk the yolk and water mixture, so it coated the back of the spoon properly.  Once I started adding the small pieces of butter it all came together nicely.
To make this recipe perfect, Michael Ruhlman posted a recipe for home made English Muffins, which I think really added to my Eggs Benedict. They were like nothing I have ever tasted.  My only experience with English Muffins were the cardboard-esq Thomas', which aren't available in Bulgaria (aww shucks!) I experimented with molded muffins and free-form, but I think a combination of the two worked best. I used the cookie mold as a circular guide, but then remove it, so they cooked free-form.
They were easily fork splitable and had what I consider a good amount of nooks and crannies... oops is that copyrighted?
 
I found the overall taste of the dish really heavy, like a butter explosion in my mouth!  With the eggs, sauce and bacon... I could literally feel my arteries clogging.  This would be a nice lunch or dinner dish rather than breakfast... for me anyway.  The only criticism I received about the dish from my husband was that the bacon "sucked"! I ended up using some crappy bacon-esque crap I found at Fantastico... If I could have cured my own bacon in time for this post that would have been a spectacular treat... oh well!

What are some foods that are a challenge for you to eat? What have you done to overcome eating them?

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