15 August 2005

compleanno del mio fratello

so... we had my brother over yesterday for brunch. it was his 34th birthday, and it was pretty obvious he'd had a.. um... *intoxicated* evening. sooo... i knew the menu was going to be perfect.

it was him, the hub and i, the parents, and my cousin deb and her mom, my aunt joan. we were fixing eggs benedict with crab cakes instead of back bacon. potatoes da delfina. wen'l made english muffins from scratch *!!!!!*. a cake made with olive oil and citrus zest and almonds with a citrus compote.

i used jumbo eggs in the hollandaise, and didn't count on needing extra lemon juice and probably a bit more fat... so it ended up horrible. tasted great, but it was umm... scrambled? lol the crabcakes were amazing, the potatoes wonderful. there was a definite lemonyness to the meal.

my husband fucking rocks tho! he saved the day by making HIS first hollandaise, and it was the bomb, yo.
i ended up alone in the kitchen when everyone had been served, and i poured a wee splash of vodka into my naked oj.

soo... here's the recipes, in the order you should do them.

english muffins

1/2 cup warm (approx. 110°F) water
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm (approx. 110°F) milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 2/3 cups king arthur unbleached a-p flour (get this if you can... ka flour is all we use around here.)
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup lukewarm water

combine the warm water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl and let sit until foamy. add the warm milk and salt to the yeast mixture, then stir in the flour. beat hard, using an electric mixer, for 5 minutes (this beating, as well as the addition of baking soda just before cooking, will help the finished muffin develop its holes).

cover bowl, set in a warm place, and let batter rise for 3 hours, or until it is very bubbly. don't worry if the batter bubbles up, then falls down; if it does, just proceed to the next step.

dissolve the baking soda in the 1/4 cup lukewarm water, and stir it gently into the batter. let rise again, this time for only 30 minutes.

heat a greased griddle over low heat for 10 minutes. spoon about 1/4 cup of batter on to griddle. tuna cans, well-cleaned and with both ends cut off, are useful in containing the crumpet batter, but not necessary. just set them on your frying surface, being sure to grease well first. nudge into a round shape with the back of a spoon or fork.

let muffins cook 5 to 8 minutes, or until bottoms are golden, then flip over and let the other side cook the same amount of time, removing from pan when both sides are brown.
place muffins on a wire rack to cool. to serve, split muffins with a fork and toast. serve with butter, jam, etc.

olive oil cake with citrus compote

1 1/2 cups a-p flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c sugar
3 large eggs
2 t orange zest
2 t lemon zest
1/4 c whole milk
3/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 c sliced almonds, toasted, coarsely crumbled
powdered sugar, for sifting

citrus compote:
2 T grated orange peel
2 T cointreau
3 T sugar
3 oranges, segmented
2 pink grapefruits, segmented

to make the cake: preheat the oven to 350 degrees. lightly oil a 9" cake pan. whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs, and zests in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. beat in the milk. gradually beat in the oil. add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. stir in the almonds.

transfer the batter to the prepared pan. place cake pan on baking pan to collect any possible spills. bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. transfer to a rack and cool for 15 minutes. remove cake and place on serving platter, top side up. sift powdered sugar over the cake.

to make the citrus compote: stir the orange peel, cointreau, sugar and 2 tablespoons of accumulated juices from the segmented fruit in a small bowl to blend. cover and let stand 15 minutes for the flavors to blend.

potatoes da delfina

2 lb creamer potatoes (red or yukon gold if possible)
2 T gray salt
peanut oil for frying
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c chopped garlic
2 t lemon zest
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley

put the potatoes in a large pot with generously salted water to cover. bring to a boil and cook until a knife slips in easily, 15 to 20 minutes. drain the potatoes. when they are cool enough to handle, hold one between your hands as if you were clapping and press gently with the heel of your hand. you want to smash the potato to about a half-inch thickness while keeping it in one piece. the skin will split, but the potato should not fall apart.
repeat with the remaining potatoes. you can prepare the potatoes to this point several hours ahead.

put 1/4" of peanut oil in a large skillet and heat over moderately high heat. when the oil begins to smoke, carefully put the smashed potatoes in the oil and cook on both sides until crisp and well-browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. transfer to paper towels to drain. season with salt and pepper.

while the potatoes cook, combine the parsley and lemon zest in a serving bowl. add to potatoes and stir very gently to combine.

the bigger the pan you use for this, the better. also, the potatoes can be kept warm in a 200 degree oven, uncovered, while you fix the rest of the meal.

hollandaise sauce

4 large egg yolks
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 c unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
pinch cayenne
pinch salt

vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. continue to whisk rapidly. be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. take the bowl off the simmering water if it gets too warm as needed.
slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a thermos until ready to use for the eggs benedict.

crab cakes

1 lb. lump crab meat (drain VERY well)
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1 bunch green onions, chopped fine (the white part and about 2" of the green part)
1 1/2 + 1/2 c panko bread crumbs
peanut oil, for frying

in a bowl combine the crabmeat, mayonnaise, parsley, green onions, 1/2 c panko and pepper. form into 3-ounce cakes. dredge well in the panko to evenly coat.

pan-fry the cakes in 1" of 375 degree F peanut oil until golden brown and flip to brown on the other side about 3 to 4 minutes per side. drain on a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet. can be held in oven with potatoes while you poach the eggs.

poached eggs
usu. 2 per person
get a deep 12" or larger pan, and fill about 2/3 the way up the sides with cold water. add 1/4 c white vinegar, and bring to a simmer. when water is barely boiling, crack the eggs and drop into the water, as close to the surface as feels safe. cover and cook 5 mins.
drain well when removing the eggs from the water.

one tip... this is a VERY labor intensive meal. it will require good help (ie, someone who can handle some steps, like my husband and the muffins and hollandaise and basically helping with mise en place for my stuff) if you are making it for more than 2. save this one for a very special occasion if preparing for a crowd.

1 comment:

tetricus said...

This sounds silly, but I never thought of making english muffins. They are one of those things that I always assume was store bought