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All my holiday wrapping is done early
Merry Christmas to those who believe
Happy New Year to all
Hi all. I haven’t been posting much lately, lots to do and all. For those who missed the previous mentions I am now living in Central Virginia with kyttn It is kind of like the Amherst, Ma area. To let you know how I have been settling in I’m going to talk about food. Specifically about yesterday’s Sunday breakfast which was Eggs Benedict with fresh fruit.
Kyttn has given me a great deal of latitude in the kitchen, and as a result I have been doing most of the cooking. Most weekdays I have my typical peanut butter toast for breakfast, Saturday morning we are rushing out to catch the Yard Sales, so Sunday morning I like to make something special for breakfast.
You could say that it started with the coupon for the Oil & Vinegar store, which was for a free small bottle of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) with a $25 purchase. While we were looking at and sampling the artisan oils and vinegars I spotted a jar of hollandaise sauce. I have long been a fan of Eggs Benedict but I had never made it at home before (although I had helped to make them for the camp kitchen). I bought the sauce and started making my plans.
First I had to decide what else I would do with the sauce, there was enough in the jar for at least two meals and I didn’t want to serve the same thing twice. Traditional uses for hollandaise sauce are poached fish, asparagus, and of course Eggs Benedict. Kyttn and I are not fans of poached fish, but she does like asparagus, plus asparagus is in season. So I could serve Eggs Benedict for a Sunday breakfast, and have asparagus with hollandaise for a Tuesday dinner.
I planned on buying the eggs and asparagus at the local farmer’s market. There is a small one with about a dozen venders four miles from the house that is open Tuesday afternoons. About a third of them carry local eggs (both chicken and duck). I didn’t buy eggs the previous week because we weren’t out yet. With only the two of us we typically only use four eggs a week and two of those are to make bread in the bread machine.
Did I mention the bread machine? Last December when I was visiting Kyttn she mentioned that she would like to have a bread machine. I told her I had one years ago that I was happy with, but after about 10 years it stopped working. A couple of days later we were wandering through a thrift store and Kyttn saw they had a bread machine in the original box. She asked if I was interested. It was the exact model of bread machine I had used before, in mint condition. I can only imagine that someone got it as a gift, stuck it in a closet/attic and eventually donated it to Goodwill unused. So I have been making fresh bread and pizza dough with our Bread Machine.
Back to the eggs. I had been looking forward to picking up a dozen eggs at the local farmers market, but on Tuesday they canceled due to heavy rain (being early in the season, when they don’t have a lot of variety available yet, holding the market in the rain is less worthwhile). I still wanted to use local eggs; since the farmer’s market wasn’t open I went to Yoder’s Sugar and Spice instead. They are a store about two miles from home selling Amish and Mennonite made goods as well as bulk items (herbs, spices, flour, etc.) I picked up flour for the bread machine there earlier in the month. This week from Yoder’s S&S I got a dozen local free range eggs and some Swiss cheese.
The Swiss wasn’t for the Eggs Benedict (obviously) it was for the Reubens. Oh didn’t I mention the Reubens yet? When I first arrived in Virginia I was checking out what Kyttn had in the fridge and I saw a package of Sauerkraut. She likes it occasionally as a side dish, but for me the only way I like Sauerkraut is in a Reuben. So I started planning to get together the needed ingredients. I considered making the rye bread myself in the bread machine (I once had a good onion rye bread machine recipe) but the opening week of the local farmer’s market one of the venders was selling a special sandwich rye made with pickle juice, so I couldn’t resist. We got the corned beef on sale at Food Lion which is in the same shopping center as Yoder’s Sugar and Spice. It turns out that Kyttn is a big fan of corned beef and Reubens, although she prefers 1000 Island dressing to Russian dressing.
Since Kyttn enjoys corned beef I decided to also use it as the meat for the Eggs Benedict (remember the Eggs Benedict? This is a story about making Eggs Benedict.) Technically using corned beef makes it an “Irish Benedict” but the principal is the same. So meat, eggs & hollandaise arranged that leaves the bread. I debated using the sandwich rye to go with the corned beef, or perhaps using the fresh made wheat from the bread machine, but in the end I decided to go with traditional Thomas’s English muffins from the grocery store (Kroger this time).
As I looked at the pictures of Eggs Benedict online I notice the photo showed some chopped parsley sprinkled on top. I realized that I could do that too, with my herb plants. Of course I have some fresh herb plants, though I did not get the herb plants at the local farmers market, I got them at the big C’Ville farmers market. C’Ville holds a farmers market on Saturdays in downtown with about 50-75 venders. There you can get locally produced mushrooms, cheeses, as well as meats, vegetables and of course eggs. We went to that a couple of weeks before where I picked up seedlings of basil, chives, parsley, & rosemary. They had been growing nicely for the past two weeks and so I was able to pick a couple of parsley leaves and chopped them up for a fresh garnish.
This was my first time poaching eggs myself, but when we made them at camp my father recommended Alton Brown’s egg poaching technique (which is very easy to find online). All I can say is that it does work for me. As I assembled the Eggs Benedict on the salad plates it looked a little lonely, so I took a look in the fridge and found strawberries and chopped cantaloupe. Kyttn had picked them up at Martin’s food market, a local chain that she tells me has a reputation for good produce. We had some of each for desert a few nights before. Adding a strawberry and some cantaloupe chunks was just what the plate needed.
So that’s how I am settling in.
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