Monday, June 23, 2014

Short Rib Eggs Benedict

Short Rib Eggs Benedict
Recipe by William Colsher

When I'm not cooking stuff from elBulli 2005-2011 I've been on a sort of Eggs Benedict trip lately. This week I decided to go with super tender sous vide short rib for the meat and replaced the English muffin with potato pancakes.
Yield: 2 servings
Calories per serving: Don't ask
Fat per serving: Plenty

  • 7 Large Eggs
  • 3 Meaty Short Rib Chunks
  • 2 Medium Russet Potatoes
  • 1/2 Large Onion
  • 1/4 lb Butter
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Cayenne
Cooking Directions
    Short Ribs:

  1. Seal the short ribs in a vacuum cooking bag and cook in a water bath at 185 F for 12 hours.
  2. Remove them from the bath, chill in an ice bath and then refrigerate until you're ready to serve.

  3. Potato Pancakes:

  4. Preheat your oven at the lowest temperature available - about 170F
  5. Peel the Potatoes and onion.
  6. Grate both onto a clean kitchen towel, then squeeze out as much water as possible.
  7. In a bowl large enough to hold the potatoes and onion beat one egg, then add the potatoes and onions, season to taste and mix well.
  8. Warm a large skillet over medium high heat and film with olive oil.
  9. Form the potato mixture into four pancakes and fry the slowly until golden on one side, then flip and repeat.
  10. Place the pancakes, covered, in a warm oven.

  11. Finish the Short Ribs:

  12. Remove the short ribs from the cooking bag and clean them of excess fat, and connective tissue. Remove the bones if necessary.
  13. Heat a small non-stick skillet on high and film with olive oil.
  14. Brown the short ribs well on all sides, then place them covered in the oven to heat through.

  15. Make the Hollandaise:

  16. Melt 1/4 pound of butter.
  17. Place two eggs yolks, the juice of the lemon and a pinch of cayenne pepper in a small pan set over simmering water.
  18. Slowly add the hot melted butter, whisking constantly.
  19. Continue whisking until the Hollandaise thickens.
  20. Set the Hollandaise aside covered.

  21. Make the Poached Eggs:

  22. In a pan of simmering water poach the remaining 4 eggs.
  23. Set them aside on a clean kitchen towel to drain.

  24. Assemble the Benedicts:

  25. Remove the short ribs from the oven and gently shred the meat. You want it sort of chunky. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  26. Place 2 potato pancakes on each serving plate.
  27. Top the pancakes with the short rib meat.
  28. Top the short rib meat the poached eggs,
  29. Pour a couple tablespoons of Hollandaise over each Benedict.
  30. Serve immediately.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Lobster Eggs Benedict

Lobster Eggs Benedict is probably the most complicated thing I'd ever want to make for breakfast. Even so, it's not particularly difficult and by cooking the lobster sous vide the potential horror of rubbery, overcooked lobster is effectively eliminated. Here's how to do it:

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Making a Natural Starter

Making a natural starter is one of the scarier things that happens in the kitchen, mainly because it seems so un-natural. Who would deliberately leave some dough out until stuff starts to grow in it? But that's exactly what you do. I learned this method from Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread book.

Natural Starter
Recipe Adapted from Tartine Bread
  • 50 grams Bread Flour
  • 50 grams Whole Wheat Flour
  • 100 grams Water
Cooking Directions
  1. In a small bowl combine the ingredients and mix with your bare hands to form a sticky dough.
  2. With a plastic spatula scrape any dough off your hands and into the bowl. Then push the dough into a compact mass.
  3. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and set it in a dark place for a few days.
  4. Start checking for bubbles after 3 days.
  5. Once the starter begins bubbling and smells a little cheesy it's ready to feed.
  6. To feed your starter stir it up well and place about 50 grams of it in a clean quart wide mouth canning jar. Discard the rest.
  7. Add 50 grams each of bread and whole wheat flour along with 100 grams of water. Mix well (I use a fork). Cover the jar with a double layer of cheesecloth and screw on the ring to hold it in place. Put the jar in dark place with stable but slightly warm temperature (I use the cabinet above my refrigerator).
  8. 7:30 AM - Just Fed 11:30 AM - Its Alive!
    3:00 PM - That's It - Happy Starter!
  9. In a few (maybe as long as 12 - it depends on temperature and the vitality of your local yeast) hours the jar should be about half full of foamy looking starter.
  10. Feed the starter in the same way every day for the next week or so until it reliably foams up every day. It will then be ready to use to make a leaven for baking.
  11. Most sources say to feed every day. I've found that my starter is happy being fed every 2 or 3 days. When I plan to bake I start feeding daily a few days before hand. If you'll be away for a while it will rest happily in the refrigerator for a week or so.

Flour - I use King Arthur flours because I've always used King Arthur flours. When I'm retired and have plenty of time I might experiment. KA works for me and it's readily available pretty much everywhere in the US.

Water - The #1 cause of starters not starting is that nice clean water from your kitchen faucet. If it's been heavily treated at the municipal supply it can kill off the weak yeasts and beneficial bacteria in the flour and on your hands. Here in Philadelphia we're "blessed" with water that's full of living things. (If you leave a jar of tap water in a sunny window here you'll see green algae growing in it a couple days later.) If you're not sure about your water pick up a gallon of distilled water when you buy the flour and use that when making your starter, leaven and bread dough.

Yeast and Bacteria - They're everywhere but for baking you have to encourage the right kind. That's the reason for the mixture of flours and the daily feeding. You're gradually developing a culture of your local strains that is strong enough to do the job.

Tartine Bread - I cannot recommend this book too highly. If you only buy one book on bread making, this is the one.


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