Butter Poached Eggs and Beet Greens

I know it is the Fourth of July weekend and everyone is eating potato salad and burgers and guzzling booze.  Got that in my plans but this healthy and simple lunch is just the ticket to balance against all those less than healthy meals I plan on consuming. Bonus: it is naturally gluten free and tasty.

Beet greens are underutilized; most people buy beets in a can or if fresh, the beet tops are cut off.  But, if you grow your own maybe you have tried them.  They are full of vitamins and minerals and are crazy healthy (lots of protein, fiber, iron, folate, magnesium and calcium!) – some consider beet greens to be in the top ten of healthy greens:  http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=151.  I steam them a few minutes; depends on how much I put in the pan; maybe 5 minutes.  As shown above I love them with butter, salt and pepper: tasty with a subtle beet flavor.  And I still have the beets for use in another meal.  I do love raw beets in a salad; I suggest you try that sometime! I have a new recipe for that; trying this weekend.

To butter poach eggs melt a tbsp. butter in an egg frying pan at medium heat.  This is the Teflon pan I use only for making eggs.  They don’t stick when you don’t share the pan with other cooking.  I slide in each egg.  Then I add 1-2 tbsp. water and sprinkle the eggs with green Tabasco sauce.  It is far milder than the red and I love the way it goes with fried eggs.  Cover the pan with a lid and steam on low for 2 minutes.  Turn off heat and if you are like me; I want my eggs barely runny; so I let them stand a minute. If you want runny take them out after the two minutes.  Butter poaching with a tablespoon or so of water gives you a soft egg, no hard edges and the flavor almost of a poached egg but shaped like a fried egg. Bonus is you have total control because you can see the yolk, even touch it to test for doneness and you can flavor it as soon as the eggs go in the pan or as the eggs cook.  My green hot sauce is my go to topper but there are a host of sauce choices out there like sriracha sauce, Tabasco hot sauce, gf soy sauce, etc. For this posting I tried my eggs with a big sprinkle of fresh feta cheese or minus the feta cheese. I loved them either way. Feta cheese lovers rejoice!

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One of these eggs is a farm egg and one is from the grocery store.  Love farm eggs!

Sprinkle with good quality salt and freshly ground pepper and you have an inexpensive, tasty and healthy protein.  Eggs were out of favor for a long while but I never gave up on them. My dad always said they were good for you and that the lecithin in them counteracted the rich yolks.  Now experts say they are okay to eat within moderation. Go figure!  Regardless, I do love them for a quick satisfying meal at a low cost and they match perfectly with the earthy flavor of beet greens.  Don’t forget a touch of butter and the salt/pepper; this dish really needs it to brighten the greens.  Enjoy!

Eggs Benedict – DIY Hollandaise Sauce

Eggs Benedict is kinda old school elegant – but if you enjoy egg sandwiches you will definitely want to read this post. We love eggs benedict for brunch or Sunday supper. Since I went gluten free due to celiac disease I had to find gf English muffins that were more than just edible as the muffin is the base for the layers that create this tasty dish. I have made three different recipes. First two were just “okay.” This most recent one is from America’s Test Kitchen’s “The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook” published in 2014. It uses their make-it-yourself flour blend. There is no need for muffin rings unlike the other recipes I have made. The dough is very sticky; a stand mixer is pretty much required. You form it into balls using wet hands, let the dough rise an hour on baking sheets sprinkled with corn bread. They are briefly cooked on the stove top in a frying pan and then baked in the oven for 30 minutes. The flavor and texture are outstanding for gf bread. They remind me of homemade wheat flour muffins I used to enjoy years ago. I highly recommend this recipe. Fairly easy and I was thrilled with the flavor and texture. I am not sure what I will do with those darn muffin rings I bought a year ago…  cranberry tartlets 006 cranberry tartlets 007

I am not going to provide the muffin recipe today; you could consult the ATK cookbook for that, or use another gf muffin recipe or buy some gf English Muffins. But I will give my recipe for the easiest and best hollandaise sauce ever. It is a cherished family recipe my mom always used and although I have tasted other sauce versions I always come back to this one for its outstanding flavor. My family loves it over broccoli for our favorite side dish.

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Mom’s Hollandaise Sauce

Makes about ¾ cup.

1 stick salted butter
2 egg yolks (from large eggs)
Juice of ½ a lemon

Please, no substitutions of any kind will work for this recipe and you MUST make it in a Pyrex measuring cup placed in a pan of hot water; just below the boil and going no more than ½ the way up the sides of the glass measuring cup. pyrex measuring cupThe glass insulates the contents and allows for a slow measured melting of the butter and an equally slow and almost alchemical blending of these three ingredients into a smooth sauce. Unsalted butter gives a pale unbalanced sauce and not enough lemon makes the flavor insipid. Any leftover sauce can be gently reheated in a microwave or over water; stir a lot and you can add ¼ tsp. hot water if it separates. Beat it with a spoon until it comes back together.

Anyway, back to the recipe! Cut the stick of butter into 8 chunks and place in a Pyrex glass measuring cup; one cup size please. Add the yolks and the lemon juice, no pits either! Place in a sauce pan half full of hot water. Do not let the water boil or go more than half way up the measuring cup. Stir often with a spoon; I leave the spoon right in the cup. It will be hard to stir at first as the butter is still solid but the stirring will get easier. Stir almost constantly until the sauce thickens to coat the spoon and then continue stirring it to an almost custard like thickness. Take the cup of sauce out of the water bath and cover it with aluminum foil while you poach the eggs.

Egg Directions:

4 eggs
2 English muffins
4 slices Canadian bacon (round thin slices)

Eggs: get the best and freshest quality eggs possible. Old eggs spread out as they poach and you will have the perfect shaped poached eggs with really fresh ones. I got mine from a friend who raises chickens; far superior in flavor and freshness to anything from a store.

Spray a frying pan with cooking spray. Fill it with warm water. Bring the water to an active bubble, add a tbsp. vinegar. Break each egg into a short cup and gently tip into the hot water. Do not boil the water. Poach them 3 minutes for a soft squishy egg and 4-5 for firmer eggs. Some like lots of egg yolk liquid and others like a firmer textured egg. Do not overcook them or they are just hard boiled eggs. They should not be firm when you remove them. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain briefly on a paper towel.

While those eggs were poaching gently heat the bacon in a small frying pan with a tsp of butter. Cook about 2 minutes and flip, cook 2 more minutes.

Muffins; split each open with a dinner fork and toast in toaster; pale tan; not really browned.

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My sauce was leftover from the day before; slightly separated. Still tasted fantastic.

Assembly: place two hot muffin halves on each plate. Top with a slice of Canadian bacon and then a poached egg. Pour a big dollop of sauce on top. We like them served with briefly steamed asparagus spears in the spring and steamed broccoli spears the rest of the year.  Dig in!

Perfectly poached eggs make the best eggs benedict! Messy but yummy!

Perfectly poached eggs make the best eggs benedict! Messy but yummy!