Anytime Bagel

This really isn’t a recipe, it’s more a prompt for designing a Breakfast Bagel & Lox.  In its simplest form, you begin with a toasted bagel and smear it with a topping such as cream cheese, ricotta, even hummus; it’s crowned with a healthy portion of thin sliced smoked salmon—plus any other touches, such as capers, onion, & dill.

People have their preferences on smoked salmon. If you are from the east coast it’s probably Nova Scotian or Scandinavian cold smoked salmon. On the west coast, we are all over the board, with even hot smoked a consideration.  As far as I’m concerned it is all good, but I do love pristine Nova.

Creating your masterpiece, you could go two-sided and build up both bagel halves. I’m happy enjoying a really good onion bagel with the focus only on one side. That’s plenty, because I like adding an egg.

For the egg(s), lately I’ve taken to using an egg ring and either poaching or scrambling the egg. It’s good to butter the ring and the pan surface before dropping in the egg. Once it begins to set, add water to pan, cover with a lid, and steam until the white is set and yolk is pink and cooked to taste.

If you are a dyed-in-the-wool bagel lover, you know this is not just morning food. Rather, it falls into the breakfast-all-day category. It’s good anytime.

Breakfast Bagel & Lox

Ingredients
1 bagel, sliced in half
2 Tbsp or more cream cheese or fresh ricotta
1 sliced tomato
1-2 eggs, poached*, scrambled, or fried
1-2 ounces thin sliced smoked salmon
capers, red onion, fresh dill or other herbs, ground pepper, sliced tomato, radishes, fresh lemon

Instructions
Toast the bagel and spread both sides with cream cheese or ricotta.  Layer on slices of tomato and top with prepared egg*.
Drape with smoked salmon and add capers, red onions, fresh dill and sliced lemon. Serves 1 or more.
*For poached egg using egg ring, heat skillet to medium. Butter ring interior and pan surface. Drop egg into ring in pan and let it set briefly. Drizzle pan with a few tablespoons of water to create steam, cover with a lid 2-3 minutes, until white is set and yolk is pink, or cooked to taste.

Juggling with Eggs: Handy Hollandaise and More

This year it seems I’ve had my share of conversations about the best way to hard cook eggs, of which I have previously offered one or two ideas here.  Still, I can’t help myself; I keep tweaking the process.

There is something highly rewarding and downright sensual about a perfectly prepared hard cooked egg.  It is not rubbery when you bite into it; it is moist yet supple, with a delightful contrast between the white and the yolk; the yolk is deep in color, firm, yet creamy.  It is the perfect package.

Krups Egg Cooker
Krups Egg Cooker

So, I wasn’t terribly surprised to find a Krups Egg Cooker under the Christmas tree this year (could it be a gift with a message?).  My reaction:  just what I need, another gadget.  Turns out, this little guy is designed to cook eggs to your preference: soft, medium, or hard cooked.  It even poaches and steams tiny omelettes, too.  Actually, it’s kind of cute.

Since I have also been planning to tweak my Hollandaise Sauce, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for a double egg whammy:  fire up the egg cooker, give the egg poacher a spin, and make modified Eggs Benedict, without the ham.  Yes, there was some egg juggling going on, but in the end, it was a success.1225141145

About the Hollandaise Sauce:  these days, not having my blender nearby necessitates a slightly different approach to my old  blender Hollandaise.  The revised recipe is designed for an immersion blender, but should work just as well with a traditional blender.

This sauce also has better holding power than the average Hollandaise.  The addition of cornstarch stabilizes the sauce, which allows it to be held without fear of breaking, plus it can be re-warmed prior to service.  Just remember not to overheat the sauce.

Handy Hollandaise
Quick sauce using immersion blender and microwave.

Ingredients

2 egg yolks, room temperature
1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp warm water
½ tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne or Tabasco to taste
1 tsp cornstarch
8 Tbsp butter (1 stick), cut into cubes

Directions 

  1. Heat butter in microwave until it is melted but not bubbling; about 40 seconds to 1 minute at power 6 or 7.
  2. In a small bowl or 2 cup measuring cup, place the 2 yolks through cornstarch and whisk with fork to combine well.
  3. With emersion blender running, slowly pour the warm butter into egg mixture.  It should become creamy within 1 minute.  Place sauce in microwave and heat 20-30 seconds at power 6 or 7.  Beat briefly with blender for thick and silky sauce.  Repeat if necessary.

Note:  microwave settings may vary depending on model.  The sauce an be made an hour or more ahead and held at room temperature.  Before serving, add 1-2 Tbsp hot water and blend again.  Yield: 1 cup, approximately.