Cherimoya, Flowers, & Brunch

Bah! It snowed yesterday and it has been cold this past week. I want real Spring! What’s a girl gonna do when it’s too cold to frolick outside? Well, as i write this, my salted chocolate bourbon pecan pie bars are cooling on the table 🙂 I never wait until they are completely cool-always have to eat a piece while it’s warm 😉

How does one transition smoothly from one topic to another? Never been good at that. Random thoughts everywhere. Speaking of random, have you ever had a Cherimoya? Mark Twain described this fruit as “the most delicious fruit known to man.” I would eat these with my mom in my younger days, and it is pretty darn good. You can read all about it here. There is even have a recipe. So many things you can do with this creamy, custardy filling–I had no idea! Another interesting link tells you the different ways you can eat it . Who knew you could bake it or grill it?! I bought the one below from Whole Foods. The ones I used to eat looked more like the ones in the first link. One, just one Cherimoya was freaking expensive but I hadn’t had one of these for many, many moons, so I splurged 🙂

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This one kinda looks heart shaped.
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Don’t eat the seeds!

Speaking of seeds… recently, a very close family friend gave us a Christmas Cactus, which gives white flowers. I have one with pink flowers, from the same person, and it will bloom whenever it wants to. Our apartment seems to be the ideal environment for flower blooming. We get natural sunlight through two big windows. There were three buds on the Christmas Cactus, and two weeks ago when my in-laws were visiting, we were all lucky enough to see three beautiful flowers.

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So pretty!
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Almost there…
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Ta da!
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All three beautiful white flowers 🙂

Speaking of white…ahem, and yellow… I made Eggs Benedict and Hollandaise sauce! I am so proud of myself. It’s the little things, folks. I did not take any pictures of the process because I just didn’t have time. I was trying to concentrate on not messing anything up. But I did take a picture of the gorgeous egg perched atop a slice of Canadian bacon, which was sitting on an English muffin.

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Here it is, Mr. Benedict himself, right before I gobbled it up. I forgot the cayenne pepper but hey, nobody’s perfect.
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That sauce! Oooooooohhhhhhh!

I used J. Kenji Lopez Alt’s recipe from The Chew. I love that show. It cracks me up and they make some damn good stuff. only thing I didn’t do was tip the egg into a strainer before dropping it in the water but it turned out just fine. I used my handy dandy immersion blender, a birthday gift from Online Guy, who is, yep you guessed it, online right now.

Make this next weekend or make it now and treat yourself. Come on, you deserve it 🙂 Listen to me, I am almost always right!

INGREDIENTS:

EGGS BENEDICT

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 slices Canadian bacon or thick-cut ham
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 English muffins (split, toasted, and buttered)
  • 1 recipe Foolproof Hollandaise sauce (kept warm)
  • dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • minced fresh parsley or chives

FOOLPROOF HOLLANDAISE SAUCE

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter (cut into rough tablespoon-sized chunks)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt

STEP-BY-STEP DIRECTIONS:

  • Combine 3 quarts water and the salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • While the water is heating, heat the vegetable oil in a 12-inch stainless steel or cast-iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the Canadian bacon (or ham) and cook, turning once until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
  • Carefully break the egg into individual small bowls or cups. Turn off the heat under the boiling water. Carefully tip one egg into a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl and allow the excess white to drain. You should be left with the yolk surrounded by tight egg white. Gently lower the strainer into the water, then tilt the egg out into the water. Repeat with the remaining eggs.
  • Allow the eggs to cook, swirling the water occasionally to keep them moving lazily around the pan and gently turning them, until the whites are fully set but the yolks are still runny, about 4 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
  • Top each English muffin half with a slice of Canadian bacon, followed by a poached egg. Spoon some hollandaise sauce over the eggs, sprinkle with cayenne pepper and herbs, if using, and serve immediately, passing the extra hollandaise in a warm bowl on the side.
  • Foolproof Hollandaise Sauce:
  • TO MAKE HOLLANDAISE WITH AN IMMERSION BLENDER: add the egg yolks, lemon juice, and hot water to a blender cup (or a cup that will just barely hold the head of your blender).
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and continue to heat until the butter just begins to bubble and registers 180˚ to 190˚F on an instant read thermometer. Transfer it to a liquid measuring cup, leaving the thin layer of whitish liquid behind  (discard it).
  • Insert the head of the blender into the bottom of the cup and run the blender. Slowly pour in the hot butter. You should see the sauce begin to form at the bottom of the cup. As the sauce forms, slowly pull the head of the blender up to incorporate more melted butter, until all of the butter is incorporated and the sauce has the consistency of heavy cream. Season with cayenne and salt to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl or small saucepan, cover, and keep in a warm spot (not directly over heat!) until ready to serve.
  • TO MAKE HOLLANDAISE IN A STANDARD BLENDER OR FOOD PROCESSOR: add the egg yolks, lemon juice, and hot water to the blender or food processor and blend on medium speed until smooth, about 10 seconds.
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and continue to heat until the butter just begins to bubble and registers 180˚ to 190˚F on an instant read thermometer.
  • With the blender running on medium speed, slowly drizzle in the butter over the course of 1 minute, stopping to scrape  down the sides as necessary and leaving the thin layer of the whitish liquid in the bottom of the pan (discard it). The sauce should be smooth, with the consistency of heavy cream. Season with the cayenne and salt to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl or small saucepan, cover, and keep in a warm spot (not directly over heat!) until ready to serve.

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