Friday, January 2, 2009

A breakfast dessert

As much as everyone appreciated the eggs Hussard for a crowd breakfast, the bananas Foster put the breakfast over the top.

Bananas Foster by Lori K
Serves 4

I adapted this from Brennan's recipe; they use banana liqueur, which I have never cared for. So I just upped the rum.

Ingredients:
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup Meyer's rum
4 bananas, cut in half lengthwise, then halved
4 scoops vanilla ice cream

Instructions:
Combine the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet. Place the pan over low heat, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in half the rum, then place the bananas in the pan. When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rest of the rum. Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum. (If the rum doesn't ignite, just continue When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and place four pieces over each portion of ice cream. Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Orleans breakfast

Brennan's in New Orleans serves an incredible brunch, and it has been one that I have used as a benchmark for all others. It was three courses, beginning with a rich, sherried turtle soup, followed by eggs Hussard, followed by bananas Foster, and accompanied by milk punch. I don't think I can get away with serving turtle soup in California, but I'm going to do my eggs Hussard for a crowd (the real thing requires poaching eggs; fine for a party of six but for more than a dozen, I prefer a strata base). I may substitute thick hot cocoa for the milk punch, unless someone wakes up needing the hair of the dog.

Eggs Hussard for 14

Plain Strata for Eggs Hussard
6 whole eggs and 1 dozen egg whites
4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 loaf of dry bread, torn up and crusts removed
Butter to butter pan with

Mix eggs, milk and salt well. Pour over bread. Soak overnight. Put in a buttered 9x13 pan.
Bake at 375 about 45 minutes until puffy and golden.
Top with 2 cups of marchand de vin sauce and 2-2/3 cups holandaise

MARCHAND DE VIN SAUCE
1/3 cup butter
3/8 cup onion
2 scallions
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup minced ham
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup red wine
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a large saucepan and sauté the onion, garlic, scallions and ham for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes.
Blend in the flour and cook for 4 minutes, then add everything but the parsley. Simmer until the sauce thickens, about an hour. Remove bay leaves and put in fridge.

Reheat sauce slowly. Add parley before serving and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Blender Hollandaise
1 lb butter, melted
1 dozen egg yolks
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Blend the yolks, juice and pepper slightly in the blender or food processor. Turn the blender on high, then slowly add the melted butter. Cover, then pulse on for 60 seconds, off for 30 seconds, until the sauce thickens to the point that it does not drip down readily from a spoon. Do not reheat.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Onions: Cry me a river

I love onions, but I hate the tears that I usually am reduced to when cutting them. I've tried most every tip I've read. I've breathed through my mouth, kept a slice of bread under my tongue as I cut, refrigerated the onions before slicing, made sure my knives were extremely sharp, even worn goggles. Nothing works completely for me. But since many dishes would be lacking life without the allium, dice I must.

I like this video of how to chop onions and shallots; it's a technique that has worked well for me. But as hard as I try, still I cry.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Why can't we make water?


Well, Element Four (http://www.elementfour.com) has come up with the next best thing to creating water from combining hydrogen and oxygen. Its Water Mill takes the humidity out of your air and gives you a glass of drinking water. Pricey, yes, but we're on our way....