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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Benedict For The Soul

A couple of nights ago I made a complete shambles of our dinner.  I over-shopped it, over-worked it, and completely over-thought it.  It looked good, but it wasn't. It was crap.  Period. Michael was sweet about it, all the while pointing out the good parts.  If I remember correctly, one fork bite held one good part.
Live and learn.

To top things off, my car has been dead.  Dead as a doornail. Flat as a pancake. Quiet as a mouse. Dead. No trips to the store for last minute suppplies. No farmers market. Stranded. I simply had to make things work with what I had on hand.

Last night, I needed something comforting and easy to quell any memory and aftertaste from the previous night's disaster.
I had baby fingerling sweet potatoes from an earlier trip to the market.  Perfect starting point.  I peeled them, cut them into obliques, and pan fried  them with sliced  onions and chopped green peppers.  When they softened, I seasoned the potatoes with salt, pepper, a pinch of ancho chili pepper, and a pinch of cinnamon. I  let them rip away in the skillet until they caramelized into a sweet potato hash.
I thought eggs benedict would pair nicely with the lightly spiced savory sweet potatoes. Pantry Panic. I didn't have the correct ingredients for benedict, so I improvised.  Instead of the required english muffins I toasted sliced rounds of thick country white bread and replaced the traditional Canadian bacon with gushingly ripe sliced garden tomatoes.

I whipped up a quick blender hollandaise with egg yolks, fresh lemon juice, a splash of water, and warm melted butter.  As the potatoes finished up, I roasted  pencil thin fresh asparagus until tender and slipped four organic eggs into a gently bubbling vinegar water bath to poach. 

When the eggs set up with soft jiggly centers, I threw it all together. I topped the toasted rounds with salted tomato slices, gently rested the eggs atop the tomatoes, balanced tiny roasted asparagus tips on the yolk pillows, and poured generous amounts of hollandaise over the eggs. A final dusting of paprika (old school) and shower of snipped fresh chives finished it off.

I nestled the spice stained sweet potato hash next to the benedict towers while Michael added extra toast points slathered with butter and topped with Wind Stone Farm Ky Seedless Blackberry Jam for sweetness.  Mercy me.

When cut, the runny yolks spilled into the lemony hollandaise taking snipped chives down river.  The underlying tomatoes exploded with  sweet summer freshness, lightening the richness of the yolk river with cleansing tomato water. The spiced sweet potato hash was bold and sweet; and paired beautifully with the soft velvety eggs. A different take on hash.  

It was nice to get it right and wash away the bitter aftertaste of a meal gone wrong.

I'll have to remember the soothing power of oozing saucy soft poached eggs.

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