Pumpkins have returned. After last season's pumpkin shortage, due to rain, Mother Nature has been good to us and pumpkins are back, both in the flesh and in the can. Seemingly have arrived overnight, I found myself picking up several fresh pumpkins at the market -- large field pumpkins, good for displays and making Jack-o'-lanterns, sugar pumpkins for cooking, and miniature white varieties, a real find for helping to turn harvest settings from country-style rustic, to wedding-day elegant. Folks with a love for pumpkins of every color, who may also have plans for a fall wedding, might already have checked out Illinois' Frey Farms Produce 's "For the Love of Pumpkins: A Visual Guide to Fall Decorating with Pumpkins and Ornamentals." Published in 2007, the book written by Sarah Marie Talley and photographed by Angela R. Talley was produced with the kind of imagination and style needed to transform a pumpkin patch nuptial into a Cinderella-at-the-ball fantasy. But, even storybook weddings come to an end, replaced by the reality of everyday cooking. Be it for couples new to cooking, or for the cook looking to acquire more knowledge, Robert E. Blakeslee's "Your Time to Cook: A First Cookbook for Newlyweds, Couples & Lovers, with its step-by-step recipe directions and full-color images, is almost as good as sharing the kitchen with a culinary-school trained fairy Godmother. Even dishes, like classically romantic Eggs Benedict, good for breakfast-in-bed, or brunch (if you must get up), are there. Blakeslee's book, filled with wedding facts and trivia, is also good reading before the wedding, as well. Check for these books wherever books are sold, or on-line at www.Amazon.com.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recipe courtesy "Your Time to Cook: A First Cookbook for Newlyweds, Couples & Lovers", by Robert L. Blakeslee. Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Square One Publishers, www.SquareOne.com.
4 toasted English muffins
4 slices Canadian bacon
1 package Hollandaise sauce mix, or EZ Hollandaise Sauce (recipe follows)
Poach the eggs (see below). Prepare the Hollandaise sauce. Top each English muffin half with a slice of Canadian bacon. Place a poached egg on top, then spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of Hollandaise sauce over the eggs. Serve immediately. Yield: 2 servings.
*Kitchen Ade Note: For safety, it's best to use pasteurized eggs when making Hollandaise sauce. Use large eggs for this recipe.
Fill a 1- or 2-quart pot (depending on the number of eggs you are poaching) with 3 inches of water and place over high heat. As soon as the water begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low to maintain the simmer. Crack the eggs over the pot and gently drop them into the water. The water temperature will drop and the water will stop boiling, but don't change the heat setting. Gently separate the eggs with a slotted spoon. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the whites are thoroughly cooked but the yolks are still runny. Remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and serve immediately. Add salt and pepper to taste.
"Not only is Hollandaise sauce classically enjoyed on Eggs Benedict, it's excellent over steamed asparagus, broccoli, and many other vegetables,
as well as on boiled or oven-browned potatoes." -- Robert L. Blakeslee
4 egg yolks
1 stick ( 1/2-cup) butter
Juice of 1 medium lemon
Separate the eggs. Discard the whites (or reserve them for another use) and place the yolks in a blender. Juice a lemon and add the juice to the blender. Heat the butter in a small pan until it is bubbling.* Be ready to use it immediately. (I usually transfer it to a measuring cup at this point, which makes the next step easier.) Run the blender on medium speed to blend the egg yolks and lemon juice. Pour the hot butter into the opening of the blender in a thin steady stream. The sauce will begin to thicken right away. Best if used immediately. Yield: About 1 cup. *Important Tip: It is crucial that the butter is bubbling hot when adding it to the blender. It must also be added in a slow, steady stream. If the butter is just warm, or you pour it too quickly, the sauce will not thicken properly.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture, www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Focus_On_Shell_Eggs/index.asp#34
"Egg processors typically print dates commonly called "Code Dates" on cartons for purposes of rotating stock or controlling inventory. " EXP," "Sell By," and "Best if Used Before" are examples of terminology used for code dating. Use of code dates on USDA graded eggs is optional; however, if they are used, certain rules must be followed:
If an expiration date is used, it must be printed in month/day format and preceded by the appropriate prefix. "EXP," "Sell By," and "Not to be sold after the date at the end of the carton" are examples of expiration dates. Expiration dates can be no more than 30 days from the day the eggs were packed into the carton. Another type of code dating used indicates the recommended maximum length of time that the consumer can expect eggs to maintain their quality when stored under ideal conditions. Terminology such as "Use by," "Use before", "Best before" indicates a period that the eggs should be consumed before overall quality diminishes. Code dating using these terms may not exceed 45 days including the day the eggs were packed into the carton."
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