Friday, January 25, 2013

Another Lovely Leisurely Lunch

Hello again! Yesterday I thoroughly enjoyed another leisurely lunch with my dear friend Cristy (pictured on the left in my profile).  No Bistro this time, just me and my kitchen aka the safest place on earth. Unless you count knife injuries, but that's another story. My kitchen is safe in the sense of warmth and comfort and freedom from judgment, at least to me it is, and since I spend more time in there than most people, it works for me. We had several treasures to review together and plans to make about ramping up the snail's pace of renewing the extra bedroom space so we decided it was best she come here.

The menu started out as a simple spinach salad with some lovely little extras: hard boiled eggs, bacon, blue cheese, toasted almonds, a pear and some sliced baby bellas aka crimini. The dressing was a warm bacon vinaigrette using a bit of bacon fat, some extra virgin olive oil, Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar, Balsamic vinegar and a touch of salt and pepper. Easy enough!

Salad ingredients:

Toss them all together and drizzle with dressing on serving plate.

I think it was Wednesday night I watched an episode of one of Ina Garten's shows and in it she prepared a dish with roasted asparagus, crisped prosciutto, hollandaise and a fried egg on top. I had to try it! So as a sort of last minute item, this was added to the menu as well. I'm so glad!! It was out of this world!

Place the asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast them in a preheated 400 oven for about ten minutes. For the last 4 minutes of cooking, slide the other baking sheet holding the prosciutto slices, in the oven to crisp up.

Meanwhile make the Hollandaise sauce:

Whizz up the egg yolks in a blender **** They must be at room temperature**** it takes several hours to accomplish this, so you should take the eggs out way before you do anything else. Ina said she sometimes leaves them on the countertop overnight. (As usual my chronology is screwed.) Anyway, whizz the egg yolks about 15 seconds, add the lemon juice salt and pepper (pictured above is Magic Unicorn Salt) and lastly, melt the butter (see chronology above) and slowly drizzle the hot butter into the whizzing blender through the hole in the top. When finished, the sauce should have a very rich, creamy consistency and look something like this:
The amount this recipe makes is really enough for 4 asparagus servings, but you couldn't do less than this in the blender. In fact, I probably should have done it by hand, because 2 egg yolks just don't provide enough volume for the blades to properly mix. In any case, it tasted rich and buttery with a slight lemon tang, sort of like... Hollandaise sauce! Imagine that!

Last step in the prep is to gently (low medium  heat) fry an egg to top the dish. To assemble, place the asparagus on the plate, spoon some hollandaise on top, crumble the crispy prosciutto and top with your just done egg. I added a few chive bits for jazz.
This is a GREAT low carb lunch enough to fill you up for the entire day. Cristy and I ate and talked and laughed and reviewed photos of my trip to celebrate my Uncle's 85th birthday. It was lovely. Then, to laugh off our memories of our shameful behavior in the early 70s we watched Nadia G's Bitchin Kitchen Rehab recipes episode! It was great fun and we're so glad we don't behave that way any more.

Both of these recipes are very easy. Don't be afraid of hollandaise, it has an unearned bad rep. Thanks Cristy, for stopping by to see me! I had so much fun! Thanks for all who read this and may be inspired to try it.

See you soon.

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