Roasted Tomato & Avocado Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict has been around for a long time. As with many dishes, there is always something that makes you want to take the classic combination to a new level which is equally delicious. Here are a few examples:

  • Classic Eggs Benedict: This brunch staple is typically composed of an English muffin, breakfast meat, a poached egg and Hollandaise sauce. 
  • Eggs Florentine: In this recipe, the Canadian bacon gets replaced by creamy spinach simmered in butter.
  • Eggs Royale: for royale, the Canadian bacon gets replaced by smoked salmon. This dish with the seafood twist is quite popular in the UK, Canada, and New Zealand.
  • Eggs Sardou: Try replacing your Canadian bacon with the delicious, buttered spinach, slow-cooked artichoke, and anchovies.  
  • Eggs Neptune: Canadian bacon gets replaced by fresh crab meat.
  • Eggs Cochon: To make this, replace the Canadian bacon with pork meat and the classic English muffin with buttermilk ‘biscuit’ to enhance the flavors. 
  • Eggs Tomato Avocado: Slow roasted tomatoes with sliced avocado.

I’m sure people will be eating eggs benedict forever. It will never go out of vogue. Eggs benedict is a dish that is here to stay for a long time. My choice today is with roasted tomato & avocado since Brion & I are avocado lovers. Of course, a little bit of bacon on the side wouldn’t hurt either!

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Roasted Tomato & Avocado Eggs Benedict
Instructions
Avocado Butter
  1. In a food processor, puree avocados, oil, lime juice, water & mustard. Cover & blend until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl & stir in cilantro paste & salt & pepper to taste. Cover & refrigerate until ready to use.
Roasted Tomatoes/Poached Eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. For Tomatoes: Line a baking sheet with foil. In a small bowl, combine a bit of Italian dressing with cherry tomatoes. Pour onto baking sheet and pull foil slightly up around them. Roast until they are starting to burst. Remove from oven & keep warm.
  3. For the poached eggs: For easier clean-up, grease each muffin cup. Then add 1 tablespoon water to each muffin cup–even if you are NOT making a full batch. Adding water to the empty muffins cups will help the pan not scorch in the oven.
  4. Crack one egg into each muffin cup.
  5. Bake for 11-13 minutes. 11 minutes, the yolk is very runny and egg whites are just about set; 13 minutes, the yolk is runny, but beginning to set around edges and egg whites are completely set.
  6. Using a spoon, gently scoop out the poached eggs at an angle, allowing the water to drain off the poached egg.
English Muffins
  1. Slice English muffins & toast. When toasted spread each piece with 'avocado butter'.
Serving
  1. Place 2 buttered English muffin halves on each of 6 serving plates. Divide roasted tomatoes between them. Lay sliced avocado on all 12 pieces. Top each muffin half with a poached egg then spoon more avocado butter on top. Sprinkle with fresh chives & serve immediately.

Pearl Couscous w/ Chicken Thighs

Often, when we think of chicken meals, rice comes to mind as an accompaniment. Couscous can be used as a fluffy grain alternative to rice and, because the flavors of each are subtle, swapping them won’t throw your entire recipe off course. Both rice and couscous take on the flavors of the seasonings you add, and neither needs much to shine.

While rice is a grain and couscous are a type of pasta, you can buy whole-grain versions of both. Couscous’s flexibility has made it a favorite ingredient in kitchens worldwide. This tiny pasta can be used as a side dish, as a part of an entrée, or added to soups and salads to boost texture. Its mild flavor makes it ideal for combining with seasonings ranging from sweet to spicy, and it can be used to recreate dishes from any cuisine.

Couscous is a pale, delicate grain that North Africans have served for centuries with a meat or vegetable stew on top.

Although it is made from wheat, couscous is the North African equivalent of rice, and it could be called a second cousin of German spaetzle, although it does not contain egg and the granules are much smaller.

Steamed in a manner similar to rice, couscous takes about 10 minutes to prepare. Delicious when served hot, it is equally good at room temperature.

Today, I’m preparing a sheet pan meal with roast veggies and chicken thighs and serving them with a couscous accompaniment. Should be good!

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Pearl Couscous w/ Chicken Thighs
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Instructions
Vegetables
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. In a plastic bag place Italian dressing. Add carrots, onions, zucchini, mushrooms & garlic. Shake well to marinate (do them separately if you wish). Place on a foil lined baking sheet & roast until tender. Marinate cherry tomatoes in a bit of dressing & add to the pan for the last 10 minutes of baking.
Chicken Thighs
  1. In a small dish combine all chicken seasonings. In a plastic bag, place chicken & 2 Tbsp olive oil. Shake well to cover thighs with oil then add spice mixture & shake well again.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil. Add chicken thighs & roast in oven at the same time as veggies are cooking.
Couscous
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high until just shimmering. Add the pearl couscous & toss around to toast until golden brown.
  2. Boil water & add it to the toasted pearl couscous. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low. Cover & cook for about 14 minutes or until couscous is tender. Remove from heat.
Serving
  1. On a serving plate, place the couscous & vegetables. Top with chicken thighs & drizzle juice from roast chicken over all. Serve.

Garlic Salmon w/ Roasted Veggies

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!

Food has always been a powerful symbol especially at the start of a new year. Fish on New Year’s Day is like turkey at Christmas.

People all around the world eat a variety of traditional foods from grapes to lentils, to smoked fish at the stroke of midnight. Fish have also been linked to prosperity or wealth with their scales round and abundant like money. Because fish swim forward, they’re considered a lucky food and represent progress. Not only that, but salmon travel in schools, which is supposed to symbolize prosperity. 

There is also a German tradition of eating fish for the New Year’s Eve dinner, and keeping a fish scale from a carp in your wallet all year to ensure wealth for the whole family.

New Year’s celebrations bring thoughts of new beginnings, letting go of the past and a future of wealth and good fortune.

Whatever food you chose to have today, enjoy it to the fullest with family & friends as we enter this new year.

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Garlic Salmon w/ Roasted Veggies
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Instructions
  1. In the microwave, bake potatoes with skin on until almost done. Remove & carefully cut into wedges. Set aside. Take beans out of freezer.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  3. Spread salmon with mustard; sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  4. In a skillet over medium-high, heat oil & add garlic. Cook, stirring often until garlic is fragrant & light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Pour hot oil over salmon on a large baking sheet. Place potato wedges at one end & spread out beans on the other. Sprinkle potatoes & beans with salt & pepper.
  5. Roast until salmon flakes easily with a fork & vegetables are tender & roasted. Remove from oven.
  6. Transfer salmon to a platter; sprinkle with tarragon & chives. Arrange vegetables on platter & serve.

Breakfast Turkey Hashbrown Burgers

There’s something fundamentally satisfying about the textural contrast of biting through a crisp savory shell into a juicy turkey burger. It’s not like burgers needed to be reinvented, but I’m all about trying new things to see if there’s something novel and delicious to be discovered. 

Breakfast can be many things to many people. Hash browns come in many shapes and sizes. They can be prepared in various ways. Some consider it the ultimate breakfast food that needs to be served with eggs.

Brion has always enjoyed hashbrowns, not the diced, fried to a crisp in a deep fryer kind, but the nice shredded, golden kind. My inventions for new culinary techniques that revolutionize the way we eat usually happen in the middle of the night during a bout of insomnia. But all it takes is a quick Internet search to reveal that I’m far from the first person to have invented the cookery method, and hundreds of recipes already exist. Nevertheless, this idea for an interesting breakfast is a good example of that.

I crusted the turkey burgers with some shredded potatoes, so when they cook and get crispy, they act as a barrier that locks in all the juices.  The roasted tomatoes add a nice little garnish to the burgers.  I topped the burgers with poached eggs, because when you cut into it, the velvety, creamy yolk pours out onto the burger and acts as a sauce…and what goes better with potatoes than eggs, right?  So, there you have it …. crispy, golden hashbrowns, meat, eggs & tomatoes …. what a breakfast!

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Breakfast Turkey Hashbrown Burgers
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Course Brunch
Cuisine American
Servings
Course Brunch
Cuisine American
Servings
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Hashbrowns
  1. Thaw shredded hashbrowns on paper towel. In a bowl, place the flour, cheese, egg, onion, garlic, coriander, smoked paprika, salt & pepper. Add 'dried' shredded hashbrowns. Using a fork, mix everything until combined being careful not to break up the hashbrowns. Set aside until burgers are ready to be coated with the mixture.
Turkey Burgers
  1. In a bowl, combine burger ingredients & divide into 4 equal portions. Form into burger patties. Coat burgers with hashbrown mixture, gently pressing coating down to make sure it adheres well.
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
  1. In a small bowl, place cherry tomatoes & add some Italian dressing to coat. Place on a foil lined baking dish.
Cooking
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a skillet, heat 1 Tbsp EACH butter & olive oil. Carefully place hashbrown burgers in skillet & cook burgers on each side only until they are a golden brown. Remove to a baking pan & place in the oven to continue the cooking process until the meat is fully cooked. Roast the cherry tomatoes at the same time.
  3. While the burgers are in the oven, prepare the poached eggs. Heat a small pot of water until it is almost at a boil. Add 1 Tbsp vinegar to help the eggs to congeal. Crack the eggs gently right above the surface of the water. Turn off the heat & cover the pot for about 3-4 minutes or until the whites of the eggs are fully cooked but the yolks are still runny. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon.
  4. When the burgers & tomatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven. Place them on serving plates & top each burger with a poached egg. Garnish with sprigs of fresh thyme if you wish.

Savory Sweet Potato Toast w/ Avocado & Poached Egg

Its hard to believe its already Easter Sunday. In North America, many of us like to enjoy or host an Easter brunch. Traditional favorites very often include glazed baked ham, quiche, frittata & French toast casseroles. Of course, there are the classic hard boiled eggs that have been dyed & decorated for the occasion. Many countries make their own signature Easter breads ands buns. The one thing that I always loved about Easter was it signified the coming of ‘Spring’ in our part of the world. Plants were coming to life in the garden, the birds were singing their cheery, little tunes & the stores were filled with beautiful pastel colored Easter ‘things’.

I wanted to come up with something unique for our Easter brunch this year. French toast is always good but I was thinking more along the savory line. Sweet potatoes seem to be one of those polarizing food items, people either love or hate. For most part, I think its the memory of the overly sweet casserole most of us remember from our childhoods. But have you ever thought about using them in a savory context?

I had seen an idea using grated sweet potato patties with avocado and poached eggs. The temptation to kick it up a notch and make a savory sweet potato ‘toast’ for a base become a wonderful Easter brunch for Brion & I.

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Savory Sweet Potato Toast w/ Avocado & Poached Egg
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Ingredients
Savory Sweet Potato Bread
Servings
Ingredients
Savory Sweet Potato Bread
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Instructions
Bread
  1. Pierce sweet potato several times, and wrap in a paper towel. Microwave the wrapped potato 4 - 6 minutes, or until it is soft to the touch & cooked through. Remove from oven, cool slightly, peel & mash. Measure correct amount needed for bread & reserve the rest for another use.
  2. In a small bowl, combine water, milk, sugar & yeast . Allow to sit until yeast is frothy.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together flour & salt.
  4. In a large bowl, combine sweet potato, butter, black pepper, cumin, coriander, thyme & sage. Taste & adjust seasonings if desired. Add yeast & flour mixtures. Combine well but don't overmix.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface & knead until dough is smooth & elastic. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, & set in a draft free place until doubled in bulk.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a flat work surface lightly dusted with flour. Leave to rest about 10 minutes. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Flatten, shape into a loaf & set inside of pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap & set aside to rise.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 F. When dough is about an inch over the top of pan, place in oven & bake about 45 minutes, rotating pan about half way through baking time. Remove from oven & allow to cool completely before slicing. It is a good idea to make bread the day before you want to serve it.
Additional Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place cherry tomatoes in an oven proof dish. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil & roast for about 15 minutes.
  2. Cut avocados in half & peel off skin. Lay one half of the avocado, cut side down, & slice the avocado thinly. Fan out avocado slices so that they form a long line with the slices overlapping each other. Starting from one end, curl avocado slices toward center. Continue curling the avocado slices until you have a 'rose'. Repeat with remaining 3 halves.
  3. Heat a griddle to 350 F. Slice sweet potato bread to your desired thickness. Lightly butter bread slices on both sides. When grill is heated, grill bread on both sides. Place on serving plates, cover & keep warm.
  4. Bring some water to a boil then poach the eggs for about 2 minutes. Drain.
  5. Top grilled savory bread with avocado roses, poached eggs & roasted cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, salt & pepper.
Recipe Notes
  • This dough is very soft so it is a bit tricky to work with. I would imagine if you prefer it to be firmer you could you less yeast. 
  • When working with it , I used a buttered spatula.

Balsamic Glazed Fig & Pork Kabobs

Thirty or more years ago, balsamic vinegar was relatively unknown outside of Italy. Due to our exposure to gourmet food magazines, television cooking shows and celebrity chefs, there is hardly a household without a bottle in its pantry these days.

Balsamic vinegar actually derives its name from the word ‘balm’, which refers to an aromatic resin or odor, as well as a substance that soothes, relieves and heals.

For hundreds of years, wealthy Italian families have made balsamic vinegar for their own consumption, nurturing their supplies over the years. Passed on from generation to generation, gifting small amounts to treasured friends and honored guests and perhaps even bequeathing some to a daughter as part of her ‘dowry’. Balsamic vinegar came to be considered a symbol of peace.

In about 1980, the popularity of balsamic vinegar soared due to Italian chefs discovering how intense flavors complemented modern Mediterranean cuisine. Local families couldn’t gear up production to meet the new demand. New producers developed imitation versions, consequently many of us have yet to taste truly authentic balsamic vinegar or ‘Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale’, as its known in Italian.

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Balsamic Glazed Fig & Pork Kabobs
Instructions
  1. Cut pork into 1-inch cubes. Combine next seven ingredients; place pork cubes in a plastic bag. Toss to coat well; refrigerate until ready to grill. In a small dish, make a glaze by whisking together vinegar, honey, mustard & oil. Set aside.
  2. On water-soaked wooden skewers, thread pork cubes & figs. Grill, covered, on a greased rack over medium-high direct heat, turning occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. During last half of grilling, brush cooked surfaces frequently with glaze.
  3. Let skewers stand 5 minutes; add a tomato to each. Transfer to serving platter & sprinkle lightly with Gorgonzola & basil. Serve some of your Blueberry & Blackberry Rustic Tart for dessert.