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Waking Up to a Wonderful Valentine's Day

Berkshire Kitchen

Waking Up to a Wonderful Valentine's Day

by Jane Worthington-Roth

Restaurants are generally packed for dinners on Valentine’s Day, but you don’t have to wait until the evening to treat your sweetheart to a delicious Valentine’s extravaganza. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or a birthday, there’s nothing more special than waking up to breakfast-in-bed. Setting a pretty tray with a placemat, napkin and a small vase with a flower (or even a little herb) sets the mood for something special.

An original American breakfast treat is Eggs Benedict. Thought to have originated at New York’s Waldorf Hotel in the late 1800’s, most folks shy away from making this delicious classic at home because they feel it’s too complicated. I’ve made the recipe a lot easier by making my Hollandaise sauce in a blender. It tastes just as delicious as the original and it a lot less stressful to make.

No-Stress Eggs Benedict

Ingredients

3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
1-2 drops hot sauce (optional)
½ cup butter, melted
2 English Muffins (split)
a little butter for the muffins
4 pieces Canadian Bacon or ham
4 eggs
White vinegar (you can substitute any light colored vinegar such as rice or champagne)
Chopped parsley or chives, for serving
Special equipment: blender and toaster

The secret to making Eggs Benedict is to set up all your equipment and measured ingredients before you begin so that no time is wasted and nothing gets cold. I like to have the breakfast tray all set with the place setting, juice poured and some hot water in the coffee cup to keep it warm while I cook. Read all the recipe instructions before you begin so you will be able to work efficiently. This recipe makes 4 Eggs Benedict, serving two to each person.

Directions

1. In a blender, blend together the 3 egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and hot sauce (if using). Drizzle in the warm melted butter through the opening in the cover of the blender – extremely slowly - while mixing on low. You want the warm butter to cook the eggs a bit and thicken the sauce without curdling. The sauce will emulsify into a perfect Hollandaise sauce. You will re-blend the sauce just before plating.

2. I generally find that English Muffins take a couple of passes through the toaster before they are fully cooked. I toast them once then set them aside – giving them the final toast just before plating.

3. Heat the Canadian bacon or ham in a little butter in a cast iron skillet until lightly browned. Set aside and keep warm.

4. Heat 1½ inches of water in a frying pan until just boiling, then set on a slow, gentle simmer. Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar to the water (this will help to hold the eggs together while they poach). Break the eggs – one at a time – into a shallow bowl then carefully slip them into the simmering water. The eggs will poach for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how you want the yolks set. Don’t worry if the eggs appear a bit scraggly around the edges, you can always trim this off with a knife.

5. Re-toast the muffins until nicely browned, then you’re set to compose perfect Eggs Benedict! Place two English Muffins on each plate, top each with a piece of bacon or ham. Carefully drain your poached egg with a slotted spoon (trim if necessary) and place one on top of each muffin/bacon tower.

6. Pulse the blender Hollandaise to make sure it is perfectly mixed then pour a little on the eggs. Top with some chopped parsley, chives, or another dash of hot sauce and you’re ready to deliver the perfect breakfast-in-bed!

This blender Hollandaise sauce is delicious and extremely versatile. Top a steak with a Béarnaise sauce by adding to the blender: 1 tablespoon minced onion, 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon, ½ teaspoon chervil, and 2 tablespoons white wine (or 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar). If you prefer fish or vegetables, change the sauce into a chilled Mousseline sauce by first cooling the blender Hollandaise to room temperature. Just before serving, beat ¼ cup whipping cream until stiff then fold into the sauce.

Spoil your Sweethearts and Friends by treating them to a delicious BerkshireStyle breakfast-in-bed!



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