Sunday, April 7, 2013

1) Is there anything bacon can’t do?: If you’re a repeat late-night snacker, you may want to reintroduce yourself to bacon and eggs in the morning. A study just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that people who eat breakfasts high in protein are considerably less likely to chow down on foods loaded with sugar or fat late at night.
Now that I've caught your attention, I'm going to come clean. This post isn't about bacon, it's about brunch. But, don't turn that page. I'll introduce Pancetta which many Italian/Americans refer to as BACON. Still interested?

A pastry student of mine, Harvey, asked me to do a brunch class for his family. How fun was that?


The menu:
Baked Ham and Eggs in Crepes with Hollandaise Sauce
Mystery Breakfast Salad
Fruit Rolls
Cinnamon Rolls
Citrus Soufflés
Before the appointed date I was warned:
"My sisters' favorite food is butter flavored cooking spray"

"If it can't be cooked in the microwave, it can't be cooked."

"Cinnamon rolls, we have to have cinnamon rolls."


Okay, I might have misquoted a bit, but that was the idea.
We prepared crepe batter, let it rest; prepared fruit rolls and cinnamon rolls and let those proof; prepared soufflé base, let it cool; prepared sweet dough so that they could see the process from the very beginning and make their own rolls the next day; baked the proofed rolls; prepared the mise en place for the baked ham and eggs; made the mystery breakfast salad. I'll stop to explain.
Knowing I would want something on the plate with the baked ham and eggs I proposed a salad. BUT, like any good chef, I waited to define the salad until I saw what ingredients at the store moved me, inspired me, made me think "that would be fun." I saw some baby kale. I saw some beautiful portabella mushrooms, I was in the mood for pancetta. So I bought from the butcher counter a half pound round of pancetta, NOT SLICED.
We sautéed the pinky finger sized pieces of pancetta. Towards the end of the process we added the mushrooms into the pan. We put the kale in a large bowl, and put the hot pancetta and mushrooms and all of the drippings onto the kale, wilting it just a bit. That alone was amazing. I had some olive oil and balsamic from KRISTOS Olive Oil in Arvada, some blood-orange infused olive oil and fig balsamic. We dressed the salad ever-so-lightly with the oil and vinegar. Voila!
Continuing: we baked the ham and egg crepes. While they were baking we made Hollandaise sauce. Butter and egg yolks! Hey, every once in awhile, why not?
We sat down to eat. I whipped some egg whites for the soufflé. Baked them. Ate some more. And the coolest thing happened. After eating, enjoying the food, enjoying the company, the family en-mass stood and cleaned every plate, bowl, and pan in a matter of seemingly seconds.
I'm still glowing with happiness the next day. I hope they are as well.
Here's the recipe for the baked ham and eggs in crepes:
Yield: 9 crepe squares
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons melted butter
9 thin slices ham
9 eggs
Chopped fresh parsley

 Combine flour, sugar, salt, milk, four eggs and the melted butter. Let rest for 30 minutes.

Heat a 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat and lightly coat with butter. Add 1/3 cup batter and swirl to completely cover skillet. Cook until underside of crepe is set, about 1 minutes.

Loosen edge of crepe with spatula and then either using large spatula or your fingers, lift it up and flip it over. Cook another 1-2 minutes and then slide out of skillet onto wax paper. Repeat until all crepes are done. You should have about 9 when you are done.

Preheat oven to 350. Place crepes on a rimmed baking sheet (you can fit 3-4 per sheet). Place ham slice in center of crepe and carefully crack egg onto ham. Fold edges of crepe toward center, using the egg white as a kind of glue. Season with salt and pepper and bake until egg white is set, about 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve at once.

Yield: 1 cup
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup 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.

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 warm spot until ready to use. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.
Ready? GO!




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