Saturday, January 5, 2013

Maggaliscious is Back

After more than a year I finally got the urge to write again and share some recipes and food stories.  Life threw me a few curves and put out the flames that fueled my desire for doing this. Those curves have straightened out some and now it's time to write again.  There isn't much that I enjoy more than having friends in to enjoy something delicious to eat! I think I enjoy having them here more than they enjoy coming!

I was out with a few friends for a Birthday dinner (not mine) and during the conversation, I described what I had made for breakfast that day.  They all thought it sounded so good, so I suggested a Brunch at my house.  It turned out to be a small group, but it was so much fun.
The menu:  Poached Eggs with Creamy Cognac Mushrooms, Turkey Bacon, Turkey Sausage, Smithfield Ham Slices, Toasted English Muffins and Fresh Pineapple.   Oh, and let's not forget the Mimosas! OK, here is how it all goes.

Setting up for Mimosas
MIMOSA.  Use Champagne or any sparkling white wine.  One of my guests brought  some Spumanti sparkling wine for us and it was a giant bottle!  She also told me that if you take the handle of a metal spoon and put it into the neck of the bottle after it's opened (but don't let it touch the sparkling wine), it will keep the bottle from going flat.  I can only believe her since the bottle was still bubbly later in the evening.  Fill your flute a little less than half full of orange juice and then fill the glass with sparkling wine.  I prefer an orange juice without pulp for this. (I enjoyed three of them!)

The day before I made the CREAMY COGNAC MUSHROOMS.
2 T butter or olive oil
24 oz. white button or crimini mushrooms
1 small shallot, diced finely
1/2 t. salt
1 T. flour
2 T Cognac or brandy
1/2 to 3/4 c chicken stock
2 T Half and Half (I used fat free)
Clean up the mushrooms by wiping them clean with a paper towel.  You should never run mushrooms under water.  They are very absorbent and will end up being chewy when they are cooked because of all the liquid in them.  Slice all the mushrooms fairly thinly and saute them with the shallot in a fairly hot skillet to evaporate the liquid as they cook, about 3 - 4 minutes.  Add the flour and keep stirring until the flour cooks up a little.  Add another pat of butter if you like.  Now add the salt and the cognac.  Stir well and add half of the chicken stock.  Keep adding chicken stock until you get a nice consistency.  Add the cream and simmer for a minute or two.  Done!  Set aside to warm later.

Now cook up some bacon, sausage or ham, whatever you like and as much as you like.

Next poach or fry or scramble some eggs.  I made them to order for each person since I didn't have a large crowd.  If you have a large crowd, you can make them in advance a little, but be sure not to overcook since you'll want to reheat a little when it's time to eat.   Most of my guests wanted poacched, so I poached 8 eggs.  I made one order of scrambled too, with a little cheese and some salt and pepper.  He liked them quite moist so I got them out of the skillet before they were done, and let them set up a bit more while I finished up the poaching.

Perfect Poached Eggs  There is a lot of discussion about how to poach an egg properly and there isn't really a single way.  I used a large deep skillet so I could do 4 at a time.  Be sure the water is deep enough to cover the eggs. But there are a couple of secrets to poaching a nice egg.  One, I greased the bottom of the pan lightly with butter before filling it with water.  This helped a little so the eggs didn't stick to the pan.  Two, don't drop your eggs into boiling water!  The boiling water will send your egg whites all over the pan.  So once the water boils, turn the water down to a gentle simmer.   Three, use the freshest eggs possible.  Eggs that aren't as fresh will spread out much more than afresh egg.  Crack each egg into a small bowl or shallow cup and very gently pour the egg into the hot water. Let them poach for about 3 - 4 minutes.   Cook them until they are the doneness you like.  You can check by gently pressing on the yolk to see how hard it is getting.  Some people like to put a little vinegar in the water.  Supposedly this helps to set the egg whites.  I prefer not to use the vinegar.   When the eggs are done the way you like, gently use a slotted spoon to remove them to a shallow baking dish for serving.

When the eggs were done, I had already loaded up the empty serving dishes on the buffet counter with the breakfast meats and we were ready to eat. 

I had toasted some English Muffins earlier.  We served it up kind of like Eggs Benedict.  A muffin underneath, Mushroom sauce on the muffin, an egg on top and a nice selection of meat and a little pineapple.  Some coffee and another Mimosa and we started eating and enjoying some conversation. 

Everyone has gone home to enjoy the rest of their Saturday.

We must do this again!

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