tomatoes

Eggs Benedict

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To go with every great homemade English muffin, it’s always good to make a classic eggs Benedict. In this post I’m not going to explain the details for making the hollandaise sauce, but you can find it in this earlier post.

Eggs Benedict
makes 1 serving

Ingredients
2 eggs
4 slices of Serrano ham
4 cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons shaved, Paremsan-Reggiano cheese
kosher salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

 

To start you need to prepare the various layers of the eggs Benedict.

First, slice the cherry tomatoes in half and then place them skin side up in a hot frying pan.  Let them sit for about 3 minutes or until they’re slightly blackened.

Once the tomatoes have been cooked, place the ham in the same frying pan with a little olive oil for about 6 minutes or until it is somewhat crispy.

When that part is done you can start to assemble your creation. Start with half of an English muffin, then add the ham.

Ham First

Then add the blackened tomatoes to the top

Parmasean Reggiano

Next, add the Parmesan-Reggiano
Parmesan Reggiano  Third

After the base of your eggs Benedict has been set up, it’s time for star of the dish – the poached egg. When you poach an egg, it is definitely easiest to use an egg poacher. These guys create beautiful, less messier poached eggs and are really useful if you like eggs Benedict or really anything with poached eggs! If you’re looking for the best and most affordable egg poaching mechanisms, you can find a great list here on Comparaboo.

 

In my kitchen, until I get a chance to buy an egg poacher, I do it the old-school way. Boiling vinegar and water together in a deep pot creates a liquid that will poach the egg without the yolk turning green. The idea is also that the whites stay together. However, the water temperature must be perfect. The water needs to have been boiling, but with the heat reduced enough that there are no bubbles running rampant through it that would make a mess of the whites, which will take longer to cook. When the water and vinegar mixture reaches this state, you can crack an egg and drop it in, immediately using a spoon to keep the whites close to the yolk. It might be messy, and the first time around you might lose an egg or two (which is why I recommend an egg poacher). If you get the whites together, just slightly cooked, you can then cover the pot and let the egg poach for a few minutes, or until it is your desired consistency.  Next, lift it out with a draining spoon and place it on your stacked Benedict construction!

Poached Egg

To top it off, pour your hollandaise sauce on, dress it with cilantro, and sprinkle it with kosher salt and pepper!

Finished Dish

 

Enjoy!

-William

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Toasted Corn and Edamame Tomato Salad

edamame saladThis is a pretty hearty salad. It’s full of protein from the edamame, and packed with flavor from the addition of both basil and mint. The dressing and corn both add a hint of sweetness which rounds out the dish nicely. I love this salad because you can keep it in the refrigerator and it only gets better as all the flavors start to marinate together! It is super colorful and an amazing starter to any summer meal. It also differs a bit from most traditional salads, so you can surprise your guests!

As a vegetarian, I can usually eat around a cup and a half of this and it works as a meal, but for the meat eaters out there, it would go nicely with some chicken or fish! A little tip: if you don’t want to spend a ton of money and time on uncooked packages of edamame, just go to the Whole Foods salad bar and get a box of their fresh edamame!

Toasted Corn and Edamame Tomato Salad

Ingredients
1 cup edamame
5 tbs olive oil
2 1/4 cups corn kernels (about 3 ears)
2 tbs plain low-fat yogurt (I use plain Greek yogurt and it works fine!)
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp clover honey
1/2 tsp minced garlic (one small clove)
kosher salt
black pepper
1 heaping cup of quartered cherry heirloom tomatoes (here, the more multi-colored the better!)
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped basil

edamame saladFirst, make the vinaigrette. In a liquid measuring cup whisk together the honey, garlic, yogurt, and lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp of salt. Add in 4tbs of olive oil, whisking together to create the dressing.

edamame saladIn a skillet, cook the corn in the remaining 1tbs of the olive oil over medium heat. Keep turning the corn until it starts to brown and become fragrant (about 8 minutes).

edamame saladIf you purchased uncooked edamame, cook it according to the package directions and let it cool. If you got edamame from the salad bar, put it into a bowl with the chopped tomatoes, and toasted corn. The best way to prepare the basil and mint is to chiffonade them, roll the leaves up and cut across to create little strips, but as long as they are chopped well into small pieces, it’ll be yummy! Either way, after the herbs have been chopped add them to the bowl.

Pour the vinaigrette into the larger bowl and mix it all together!

edamame saladEnjoy!

Tomato Pie

tomato pie

Tomato pie, or tomato tart, can be served as an entrée or as an appetizer. This is a great recipe that has Southern, Italian, and French influences. The concept of tomato pie is a favorite in the Deep South, but it’s main flavors (basil and garlic) are traditional Italian combinations. This particular recipe also uses a very basic, homemade French pastry dough for the crust, pâte brisée.

tomato pie

This is a great summer dish, it is fairly light and fresh tasting but the dough and cheese helps to make it more filling if you want it to be a full meal. We grow our own basil, and it helps to make the dish much cheaper, but even with the cost of purchasing basil it is surprisingly inexpensive for the amount of good food you’re getting out of it, and you will use a ton of the basil so there won’t be much left over from those giant packages they make you buy at the store (which always ends up going to waste just sitting in the refrigerator)!

tomato pie

If you don’t want to put in the extra effort, you can also use a frozen dough. (I like Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Shells, and they work so so well for little individually portioned appetizers!)* If you’re make the appetizers version, cut the filling ingredients of this recipe in half, and you’ll be good to go!

This dish doesn’t freeze very well, but it can stay refrigerated for about a week and if you’re doling out entrée portions, it will feed about 6 people.

*Note: If you would like to make individual, appetizer portions or if you simply aren’t interested in making your own dough, I suggest using Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Shells. See the bottom of this post for details and pictures!

Tomato Pie

For the pâte brisée:
12 tbs salted butter
2 tbs olive oil
6 tbs water
2 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 slightly rounded cups of flour

tomato pie

For the filling:
2lbs grape tomatoes
3 heaping tbs chopped, fresh basil
4 small cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of mozzarella or other Italian cheese mix
splash of olive oil
kosher salt and pepper to taste

tomato pie

Preheat the oven to 405°F (yes, 405°, I know that sounds weirdly specific but it will cook the dough perfectly so that it doesn’t brown too much but still gets that melt-in-your-mouth quality).  In a 9×13 cake pan place the butter (chopped by the tbs), olive oil, water, sugar, and salt. After the oven has preheated, place the pan on a middle rack and cook for about 15 minutes (until the butter is totally melted and a little brown on the edges).

tomato pie

While the butter is melting in the oven, chop the tomatoes and the basil and mix them up in a large bowl. Mince the garlic and mix that in as well. Make sure that you keep watch over the butter in the oven, because it takes people all different kinds of time to chop things and you don’t want to brown the butter too much!

tomato pie

 

Carefully remove the butter from the oven and add in the two cups of flour. The butter will be very hot and sputter a bit, so be careful not to burn yourself! Using a spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the flour with the butter mixture. It might take some time for the flour to soak in the butter, but be patient with it!

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With your hands, flatten out the dough into the pan. I know it doesn’t look like enough to cover this pan, but it spreads really well! Use the pads of your fingers to press the dough into the side. You want the pan to be covered completely, and on the bottom it should be fairly thin, but not so thin that you can see through to the dark pan. Then, take a fork and prick through the crust to allow it to vent while cooking.

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Place the pan in the oven, with no filling for ten minutes. While it is cooking, add the cheese and olive oil in with the tomato mixture. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste. Tomatoes are so delicious with salt, so don’t be too afraid to add tons of salt (you are making six servings of pie). Here, the ratio of the ingredients is really up to you. Test taste it along the way to make sure it has the balance of flavors that you like! The important thing is that, once you’re done, it has a fairly thick consistency. You don’t want anything too soupy or even too liquidy because the dough will get very soggy and won’t hold up when you try to serve it.

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After the first ten minutes of cooking the shell are up, take it out of the oven and spread the filling into it.

tomato pie

tomato pie

 

Then, cook for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the filling completely warmed. We like to serve huge portions of this because people end up eating way more than they expect, and it’s delicious with milk!

tomato pie

Enjoy!

 

tomato pie

 

P.S. If you want to make neat individual portions, us this dough as a starter.

Tomato Pie

This makes six portions, and only requires about  1/4 of the filling that the previous recipe calls for. Simply preheat the oven all the way to 425°F and place the pastry shells face up on a baking sheet.

Tomato Pie

Next, bake them for 15-18 minutes.

Tomato Pie

Using a knife, delicately cut out the tops and fill the shells with your tomato filling!

Tomato Pie

Place the tops back on, and put them in the oven for another minute or two or until the cheese seems melted.

Tomato Pie

Dinner guests love this kind of stuff and it is so so easy!

Tomato Pie

Tomato Pie

Tomato Pie