June 18, 2009
There’s a self-consciousness that comes with grief, the consciousness that the people around you:
a) have never experienced anything like what you’re going through,
b) are utterly at a loss for what to do to comfort/support you,
c) wish you would just “get better” already,
d) are terrified by the thought of death and hate you reminding them that their loved ones will die.
Sometimes I feel like “that girl who talks about her dead father all the time.”
In the filing cabinet of my brain and heart, food and my father are inextricably linked. One of the great ironies of it all is that losing my father, an unabashed epicure, sent me straight into the kitchen, where I got really good at cooking all kinds of things I wish I could make for him now.
For example, Eggs Benedict and an excellently spiced Bloody Mary—robust, made with love, fit for a king. It’s the brunch I’d make for my dad if I could.
Pray tell, what are you feeding your father (or husband, partner, uncle, grandpa, etc) on Sunday? Are you cooking at home or taking him out? Does your family have a Father’s Day culinary tradition? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Wishing all Dads a very happy Father’s Day, with lots of love from BJG.
EGGS BENEDICT (BLUE JEAN GOURMET STYLE)
There are lots of variations on theme of EB; this is just how I happen to like mine. I really don’t think you can go wrong if you stick to the basic premise of layering toothsome pork product & gooey egg on top of crusty bread and slathering the whole thing in hollandaise.
A word about hollandaise. It’s really not as fussy as everyone makes it out to be–at least, it has not been a culinary-pain-in-the-butt for me. I’ve heard tell that you can make hollandaise in a blender, and if you have done so with success and think it’s way easier than my method, please do share. I’ve made mine several times the old-fashioned way with great success, so if you’ve been afraid to try the stuff, I urge you to give it a whirl.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
spinach (either a package of frozen, chopped or a big bunch of fresh)
English muffins (traditional) or another bread product
Canadian bacon (substitute thick-cut ham or many slices of thin-cut ham)
eggs, butter, water, fresh lemon juice (for the hollandaise)
salt & pepper, hot sauce (optional)
TO MAKE HOLLANDAISE:
2 egg yolks
juice from 1/2 a lemon
6 T butter, cut into cubes
salt & pepper
Combine the egg yolks with lemon juice in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine over low heat; the yolks should thicken quickly. Toss in the butter cubes and continue whisking until the butter has melted.
The mixture will become a bit lighter in color, which is a good indication that you’ve got things well-emulsified. Add salt & pepper to taste.
The trickiest part about making this breakfast is the timing. You basically want to save the hollandaise for last, because it does best when served very soon after it’s made–it’s a little bit diva like that (na-na-na-a-diva-is-a-female-version…okay, yeah I’m going to have that song in my head now.)
My plan of action is usually this:
1) cook spinach, season with salt & pepper, set aside
2) brown Canadian bacon in a skillet, keep warm in a low oven
3) toast English muffins, add to the low oven
4) poach eggs* & turn out into a paper-towel-lined platter in, you guessed it!, a low oven
5) make hollandaise
6) stack ’em: English muffin half on bottom, top with Canadian bacon, then spinach, then a poached egg. repeat. pour on the Hollandaise with a generous hand!
* The internet is full of wisdom for how best to poach one’s eggs; I’ve done them the old-fashioned way, in a pot of vinegar-spiked water and I’ve done them the lazy way, in an egg poacher. However you get your eggs poached is fine by me!
BEST BLOODY MARY MIX
1 large bottle spicy-hot V8
Juice of 2 limes
2 T. white vinegar
2 T. prepared horseradish
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. garlic powder
1 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
A generous glug of any of the following—
olive juice, pickle juice, or juice from pickled jalapeños
Plenty of freshly-ground pepper
garnish: celery, spicy green olives, limes, celery salt
Combine all ingredients and store in a pitcher in the refrigerator. When you’re ready for drinks, first “salt” the rim of your glasses. Rub the lip of each glass with a lime wedge; then, turn the glass upside down and onto a plate-full of celery salt. Twist the glass to form a rim.
To mix a drink, combine 3 parts mix to 1 part vodka or gin over ice. Garnish with a tall stalk of celery and a toothpick speared with an olive & lime wedge.