Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Old Habits...

Old habits are like a well worn hoodie, you relish in finding them and enjoying them once more and miss them terribly when you can't get to them. I have longed to bring normalcy back to my life...routine, being the OCD person that I am I crave it. Unfortunately my life has been anything but normal the last few months....the holidays, life at a start-up company and the random social events I find myself committed to seem to have taken their toll in a lack of convention. So as I try and re-start my good habits (and kick the bad ones) I find myself coming back to my blog. This has always been a struggle for me, I've never been a writer, unless it was a research paper or something academic it never came to me. I'm a little critical of myself and my writing (ok maybe very critical) so I have always looked at what I write and erased it numerous times. This blog has been the only exception to that rule so here I sit once more, back from an extended furlough attempting to do something that is good for me.

Now, to clarify, just because writing on this blog is good for me doesn't mean I'm going to post recipes that are exclusively healthy :) No, to the contrary, I have stores of photos and recipes I've made over the past few months (and stockpiled hoping I would eventually get around to posting them) and since they were very holiday focused for two months they won't necessarily be healthy...oh well being all good is never that much fun!

The first two of such recipes are healthy in a devilishly tasty way, so I guess it's walking the fine line between the good and bad. Thanks to Foodbuzz and Egglands Best for a coupon for a delicious dozen eggs. With some of the beautiful Egglands Best eggs I pulled together two simple dishes, an appetizer (although I love it as a vegetarian dinner on weeknight) and one of my favorites, an egg custard.

Originally I came across this in a Curtis Stone cookbook (Cooking with Curtis) where it is listed as a hearty appetizer, however it has quickly become a favorite for me and can be found gracing the dinner table after a long day at the office. It's the perfect comfort food, delicious crunchy toast with a perfectly poached egg and amazing mushrooms.

Sauteed Mushrooms on Fried Ciabatta with Poached Egg
*Adapted from Cooking with Curtis by Curtis Stone

3/4 Cup White Wine
1 Tbsp White Vinegar
6 Tbsp Butter
1/2 Shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 Garlic clove, peeled and minced
14oz mushrooms, I prefer a mix of Baby Bellas and Button Mushrooms for everyday cooking but Oyster Mushrooms or some Shitake would be great as well
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped
4 Slices of Ciabatta
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Place a large deep saucepan over medium-high heat with butter inside. Once butter has began to melt, add shallot and garlic. Sweat 1-2 minutes.
2. Add mushrooms and wine, allow wine to reduce to about 1/2 its volume.
3. While wine is reducing, bring a pot of water to a boil (add 1 Tbsp White Vinegar to the water).
4. Break eggs into boiling water and poach for 2 minutes.
5. Place ciabatta slices on a griddle pan or cast iron, brush with olive oil and toast until slightly crispy.
6. Place toasted ciabatta on serving plate and top with the mushrooms, top mushrooms with a sprinkle of parsley and then the poached egg. Drizzle with olive oil, serve.

This should comfortably serve 4 people.

Now if that amazing poached egg doesn't make you want to run out and get a dozen eggs then I'm not sure what will! Oh wait, I do know, it's this egg custard. I love egg custard, I have vague recollections of watching my grandmother make this in an ancient oven (not because she's that old but because she lived in a very old, historic ranch house for a long time). Mimi would put these in and turn on the light in the oven and that was really the closest I would get to the custard until after dinner...of course she made them mid-afternoon so I would sit in anticipation for quite sometime until I got to eat the dessert! This is such an easy recipe that I was astounded, funny, I hadn't actually made my own egg custard until I tested this out...but I will surely be making more soon.

Easy Egg Custard

2 cups whole milk
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Freshly grated or ground nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. Place six 4-ounce ovenproof cups (you can use ramekins, or coffee cups marked as oven-safe) in a deep baking pan just large enough to hold them.
3. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer over medium-low heat.
4. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar, and vanilla.
5. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the simmering milk, whisking gently to combine.
6. Pour the mixture through a fine strainer into the cups (if the strainer clogs, use a spoon to scrape it clean), then sprinkle lightly with the nutmeg.
7. Pour hot (not boiling) water into the pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cups.
8. Bake until the custard is just set (it can still be a little loose), 30 to 35 minutes.
9. Let the custard cool in the water bath for about 2 hours before serving.

I'm rather embarrassed to admit that in all my free time I forgot to take a photo of the egg custard : (

Now I feel officially like I might be back on track, got up this morning and exercised, packed a healthy lunch, posted on my blog, came home from work and made a pretty healthy dinner....now if I can just lather, rinse and repeat for tomorrow I'll be set!


Chef E said...

Welcome back! This looks pretty good to me, could you deliver to NJ?

Dee said...

I love a good egg custard. Your Mimi would be so proud. Yummy! Glad you are back & blogging. Our furlough was far too long.

Anonymous said...

So glad to see you back online! Both recipes featuring eggs sounds excellent!