Thursday, August 29, 2013

Eggs Benedict

I hadn't made Eggs Benedict since I took a French cooking class probably two years ago.  While we were away on vacation, my husband ordered it and I got the bright idea to make it myself at home.  I went ahead and promised the boys I would try to make it.  I used a recipe that I got from  I figured that the simpler, the better for me.  It turned out well, I think.  Especially since my son requested it twice since I first made it.

Eggs Benedict
8 pieces of bacon or 4 pieces of Canadian bacon
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish
4 eggs
2 teaspoons white or rice vinegar
2 English muffins

Blender Hollandaise:

10 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
Dash of cayenne or Tabasco 


1.     Start with the bacon, Heat a large skillet on medium low heat.  Add the strips of bacon or slices of Canadian bacon.  Slowly fry, turning occasionally, until the bacon is browned on both sides, and if using strip bacon, much of the fat is rendered out (about 10 minutes).  Use tongs or a fork to remove the bacon from the pan, set on a paper towel to absorb the excess fat.  Don’t pour the bacon fat left in the pan down the drain!  Either soak it up with paper towels when it has cooled or pour it into a jar to be used later.
2.     While the bacon is cooking, bring a large saucepan two-thirds filled with water to a boil, and then add the vinegar.  Bring the water to a boil again, and then lower the heat to a bare simmer.
3.     To make blender hollandaise, melt 10 Tbsp. unsalted butter.  Put 3 egg yolks, a tablespoon of lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt in a blender, and blend on medium to medium-high speed for 20-30 seconds, until eggs lighten in color.  Turn blender down to lowest setting, slowly dribble in the hot melted butter, while continuing to blend.  Taste for salt and acidity and add more salt or lemon juice to taste.  Transfer it to a container you can use for pouring and set it on a warm – but not hot – place on or near the stove top.
4.     To poach the eggs, work one egg at a time.  Crack an egg into a small bowl and slip it into the barely simmering water.  Once it begins to solidify, you can slip in another egg, until you have all four cooking.  Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let sit for 4 minutes.  (Remember which egg went in first, you’ll want to take it out first.)  When it comes time to remove the eggs, gently lift out with a slotted spoon.  Note that the timing is a little variable on the eggs, depending on the size of your pan, how much water, how many eggs, and how runny you like them.  You may have to experiment a little with your set up to figure out what you need to do to get the eggs exactly the way you like them.
5.     As soon as all the eggs are in the poaching water, begin toasting the English muffins.  If you can’t get all the muffins toasted by the time the eggs are ready, gently remove the eggs from the poaching water and set in a bowl.
6.     To assemble the eggs Benedict, butter one side of an English muffin.  Top with two slices of bacon or 1 slice of Canadian bacon.  You can trim the bacon to fit the muffin if you’d like.  Put a poached egg on top of the bacon, and then pour some hollandaise over it.  Sprinkle some parsley over it all and serve at once. 

Yield:  Makes 4 one-egg one-muffin servings of eggs benedict.


The Creative Cook

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bison Stew

I never thought that I would be making Bison Stew but after traveling to Utah and Montana to visit Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks, I had to do it for my son and my husband.  We (they) tried the bison stew during a tour we took at Yellowstone.  I actually ate just the cornbread and a cookie.  They seemed to enjoy the stew on the tour and asked me to make it when we got back home.  I probably should have tried the stew myself but for some reason I can't bring myself to eat any meat but the conventional chicken, beef, pork, etc.  I know it is probably much healthier to eat bison but still...  Anyway, I made this version from Robert Irvine and the boys seemed to enjoy it.  The only complaint (from my son) was that it was a bit heavy on the wine.  I will have to agree that 4 cups is a LOT of wine.  I am not convinced that I needed to add the butter at the end of the cooking process.  I served the stew over couscous.

Bison Stew
by Robert Irvine

1/4 cup canola oil
2 pounds bison meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup diced white onion
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup tomato paste
4 cups low-sodium beef broth
4 cups red wine
1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
1/4 cup unsalted butter


1.  Cook wild rice or couscous, for serving.

2.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, until almost smoking.  Brown the bison meat in the hot oil until golden brown, then remove from the pan to a plate and set aside.

3.  In the same pan, add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the flour and tomato paste and stir well.  Slowly add in the beef stock, red wine and canned tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

4.  Return the seared meat to the pan and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Continue to cook for about 45 minutes.  The liquid, when close to finishing, should have reduced in volume by 1/2 of what you started with and the meat should be fork tender.  Cook's Note:  if the liquid begins to evaporate too rapidly, you can add more stock or water.

5.  To finish, stir in the fresh herbs and the butter.

6.  Transfer the stew to a serving bowl and serve immediately with wild rice or couscous.


The Creative Cook

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Chicken & Waffles

My son has been wanting me to make him chicken and waffles for a few years now.  I only recently discovered that this is a Baltimore, Maryland favorite dish.  I had no idea until I read about it on Wikipedia! I also discovered that there is an Amish/Pennsylvania Dutch style of this dish which is fairly different (probably healthier since the chicken is roasted).  In the meantime, I found a recipe for these cornbread waffles that sounded like a perfect combination with the buttermilk chicken.  They were.  My son has requested that next time I make this dish, I use a regular buttermilk waffle recipe to see how that tastes.  It is supposed to be made with buttermilk waffles that have maple syrup and butter on top.  The butter on top seemed like it would be overkill but my husband disagrees.  Apparently, it is the sweetness of the maple syrup that combines so nicely with the salty taste of the fried chicken that makes this dish so appealing.


Cornbread Waffles
From Soul Daddy Restaurant

1-1/2 cups cornbread
1 cup flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. sugar
2-1/2 cups buttermilk
¼ cup soybean or vegetable oil


1.     Preheat a waffle iron.
2.     Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3.     Add buttermilk and oil and whisk until smooth.
4.     Spray a heated waffle iron with cooking spray.
5.     Add 2/3 cup batter and cook until crisp and lightly browned (5 to 6 minutes).
6.     Serve warm.

By Carrie Farias

2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk + fresh juice of 2 lemons)
8 pieces of chicken (thighs, breasts or legs)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsps. Fresh thyme (1/2 tsp. dry thyme)
Extra virgin olive oil for frying


1.       Rinse the chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
2.       Add the chicken to a resealable plastic bag along with the buttermilk and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or all day.  Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 10 minutes before you are ready to fry.
3.       Prepare the coating mixture by mixing together the flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, dry mustard and thyme.
4.       Pour the oil into a large pot, Dutch oven or deep fryer and allow to heat over medium-high heat.
5.       Coat the chicken one piece at a time by dredging it into the flour mixture; then add the chicken to the oil.
6.       Fry the chicken 7-8 minutes per side; allowing them to turn golden brown;
7.       Drain the chicken on paper towels; then place on a baking sheet lined with a rack or foil.
8.       Bake the chicken at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken has reached the proper internal temperature.

Chicken Gravy

3 tbsps. butter
3 tbsps. flour
1-1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste       

Whisk the flour with the poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.  Melt the butter in the same skillet that you used to fry the chicken and whisk in seasoned flour until smooth.  Bring to a simmer, whisking until the gravy is smooth.  Meanwhile, toast the waffles.

Assemble Chicken and Waffles:

Place a toasted waffle on a warmed plate.  Pour a drizzle of maple syrup and a pat of butter on the waffle.  Place 3 pieces of chicken on top of the waffle then pour gravy on top of the chicken.