Saturday, May 26, 2012

Better Homes and Gardens: Deviled Eggs


I love deviled eggs.  When it's warm outside and time for a picnic-type activity or cookout, these are one of the first things that come to mind.  Perfect little tart protein packages.  And they play so well with potato salad, cole slaw, and whatever it is your main dish might be (fried chicken?  barbecue?).  I try to make mine a couple of hours ahead of time so that they get nice and chilled and the flavors have a little time to get to know each other.  But when it's time to pull these babies out, all bets are off.

Deviled Eggs
Adapted from the 1974 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

6 large hard-boiled eggs
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
Dash freshly ground black or white pepper
Paprika

Halve hard-boiled eggs lengthwise; remove yolks and mash with the remaining ingredients until smooth.  Refill whites.  Sprinkle with paprika.

May also include: horseradish, anchovies, parsley, chopped onions or chives, flaked seafood, chopped stuffed green olives, crumbled crisp bacon.

Makes 6 servings

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Williams-Sonoma Breakfast Comforts: Buckwheat Crepes with Ham


I still make Mother's Day breakfast for my mom.  Even though I'm 34 and she's...29.  It's a tradition in my family, but it's made a little more difficult as the years go on by distance, time, and dietary restrictions.  Gone are the days of the chocolate almond croissant! (Unfortunately.)

I knew for the breakfast that I would need something relatively low-carb, so this immediately eliminated things like pancakes or coffee cake.  I decided an egg had to be involved.  And possibly bacon.  Then, I was flipping through the Williams Sonoma Breakfast Comforts book on Amazon.  I swear, I visit this book on a regular basis.  I need to just buy it.  But anyway, I was flipping through and I saw a recipe for buckwheat crepes stuffed with Gruyere cheese, Black Forest ham, and topped with a fried egg.  That would be carb, protein, protein, and protein.  Jackpot.

I had never actually made a crepe before.  I have two crepe pans from France and zero experience.  Hey, at least I was prepared, right?  The batter was super easy to whip up in the blender.  Then came the actual crepe making.  I knew I needed the pan to be hot, but not too hot, and buttered, but not too buttery.  I set the heat on medium and ran a buttered paper towel over the pan right before I dumped the batter on.  It took me about two crepes to get the hang of it, but then I was a crepe-making machine.  It's my new super power.

I carted the pre-made crepes over to my parent's condo, along with cheese, ham, and a carton of organic free-range eggs.  The crepes were easy to stuff (I had mine sans ham, but some wild mushrooms made an appearance), and I popped them in the oven just to warm them through and melt the cheese.  With a fried egg slapped on top, they were perfect for breakfast.  Because honestly, who is going to turn down melted cheesy goodness?

Buckwheat Crepes with Ham
From Williams-Sonoma Breakfast Comforts

For the crepes:
1 egg
1 cup milk
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup buckwheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon canola oil
8 teaspoons unsalted butter

For the filling:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 thin slices ham
½ pound Gruyère cheese, grated

To make the crepes, in a blender, combine the egg, milk, all-purpose and buckwheat flours, salt and canola oil and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or as long as overnight.

In a crepe pan over medium heat, melt 1 tsp. of the butter to coat the pan evenly. Lift the pan at a slight angle and pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the center, tilting the pan to spread the batter to the edges. Return the pan to the heat and cook until the crepe is golden underneath, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the crepe over and cook until golden on the other side, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and cover. Repeat to make 8 crepes.

To make the filling, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter, add the flour and whisk until smooth. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and keep warm.

Preheat an oven to 350ºF.

To assemble, lay a crepe flat, place a slice of ham and some of the cheese in the center and fold into a rectangular pouch. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining crepes and filling. Bake until the cheese melts, 5 to 7 minutes. Divide the crepes among 4 individual plates, top with sauce and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings