Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Eggs and Asparagus

Ok so I have finally gotten around to starting this blog, w00t! It's been a little longer then a month to get this project started but now that it is I am going to try keep the pace to at least 1 recipe a week if possible.

The major reason for my delay were two trips to South America (can't really complain there) and a badly sprained ankle, which kept me couch bound unfortunately. The side affect of this is that even though everyone I know IM'ed or emailed me about the Under Pressure: Keller + Ruhlman discussion I wasn't able to make it due to being a gimp. C'est la vie.

So now I am back from the wilds of South America and I have two working feet so there is no more excuse to not get cracking. I chose Soft Boiled Hen Eggs with Green Asparagus, Creme Fraiche aux Fine Herbs and Butter Fried Croutons. I chose it for two main reasons, it was a very breakfasty type dish and I thought it a fitting way to kick off the "official" start of the blog.

Also, it looked like the easiest one. And it was (I think).

This dish alltogether took 2 days to put together but that was mostly because the brioche for the croutons had to rest over night in the fridge. Besides that this was a snap to put together.

Ok so first off is the flour (cake and all purpose) approximately in equal amounts:

Two fun notes about this picture. One - immediately after I took this picture I opened my cabinent and a container of red pepper flakes tumbled out, shooting this everywhere, awesome. Two - Whole Foods (at least the one on Houston in NYC) has about a 60 kinds of flour but NOT cake flour. For that I had to go to the ghetto fab Fine Fare (which is pretty awesome but not a place for niche ingredients).

So you sift this together in with the sugar and salt, then slowly cut in a stupid amount of butter. 2+ sticks for 2 loaves of bread, no wonder this tastes so delicious (and it does).

The butter is two different colors because its two different brands (had to run out to the store mid recipe, evidence of my solid planning skills). But both are unsalted.

All this fun stuff is mixed together in my awesome kitchen aid and then let sit to rise until doubled:

Then it is folded over a couple times and thrown in the fridge.

After a few hours in the fridge it is pulled out, and gently divided into two pans

It doesn't say to put flour on top but there was some left over from the floured board I divided it up on and I just went with it. It turned out pretty well and just made the picture a little bit prettier.

Anywho, you are supposed to let it rise to 1/2" above the pan, but I have a bad habit of eating dough while making bread (it's delicious, sue me) and couldn't depend on this. So I basically just let it rise till it looked about right, I feel like it came out pretty solid, if anything the crumb could have been denser but that may be because the butter wasn't quite room temperature but who really knows. This is the first loaf of semi decent bread I have ever baked (aside from one no knead loaf) so that was pretty awesome.

After a comparatively short time in the oven I am left with this:

Which when sliced, looks like this:

So you can see what I mean about the crumb but it was still pretty delicious if a bit dry, which I don't understand considering the amount of butter that went into this badboy but maybe I just overcooked it (probably). Anyway still the best bread I have made to date, so I got that going for me.

That was just for a garnish really. the actual dish was much easier.

First up was some "Fine Herbs", here you can see them looking all fine:

This combined with some Creme Fraiche (Pronounced crem fresh I pronounced this like "creme fraish" until corrected, woops!) and a little bit of water made a completely delicious sauce, you need to make this sauce for your eggs, so good and takes 30 seconds:

That went into the fridge while the eggs cooked (sorry no pics of this but picture eggs in a plastic bucket and you have the idea) and I prepared the cruotons and the asparagus. One small note about the eggs. I really think that 62.5 is just not high enough and strongly prefer eggs cooked at 64.5 but that's just me you can see the results for yourself below. Please note for this recipe I did keep the 62.5 becuase he's Thomas Keller and I'm not. In the future I would probably stick with 64.5.

I cut the asparagus into equal length spears (only 21 here since I made it for myself and two roommates):

And then cubed up some brioche, this was a pain to get small enough and I have a feeling that TK's cooks would laugh em out of the kitchen even still (that green knife on the side is one of those awesome color coded tiny paring knives for reference):

I then fried these in a pan with some butter and ended up with crunchy delicious little butter bombs. Super amazing.


So I blanched the asparagus very quickly (those of you following along at home notice I dont have pictures of the spears tied up in neat little bundles for blanching because I didnt bother to do this and just durmped them in unceremoniously.)

I arranged it all on the plate and ended up with this, Please note this is totally free form as the book does not include a picture of this particular dish, if anyone has a real picture let me know but I'm relatively happy with the plating If any thing too much sauce. I was hoping the egg would go on top of the spears but it was too soft and just rolled off so I went with it:

Long story short, this was delicious its very simple but its also very very delicious. The sauce is so basic but it works together really well and you can bet I will make this or a variation of this quite a lot in the future, highly recomended.

My roommates universally agreed so thats a plus I suppose.

I think it would be interesting to keep track of how much I spent on each dish I do so here is the price break down:

Eggs - $5USD/12 = $1.70 for 4
Herbs - $5 for all the herbs, used about 1/5th of them so = $1
Asparagus - $2.99
Butter - $5
Creme Fraiche - (not sure but I got 2 for 1 from Saxelby Cheese thanks to an impending sell by date, lets call it $2.50
Flour, sugar, salt, negligible - $1

So the total cost for this meal was $14.19 or $4.73 per person. Not too bad considering I have a spare loaf of brioche and am planning on making this sauce to incorporate into scrambled eggs for tomorrow.

Anyway one down, sixty three to go :)


Christopher said...

Hi Kevin!
The plating of this is actually quite inspired, I think. I like the way the free-form of the asparagus draws the eye.


roopa said...

1. It looks v tasty. Good job.
2. Why didn't you invite me over. I don't think too many things in that book are vegetarian, but this is, and you didn't call me? Jerk.
3. Where is Shake? I think I see the bottom of his cup in the picture with the herbs but it could be any old cup.
4. Oh my god there is a ton of butter in this dish. No wonder it tastes so good :)

Kevin Stadmeyer said...

Hey Roopa.

1. Thanks
2. Because I suck, I will make this if and when we ever do that dinner.
3. He is definitely in the pics :)
4. Yes that is what makes it so delicious :)

Christian said...

Hi Kevin,

I wish you luck on your voyage through the realm of Under Pressure. I am excited to play along with the book as well. I just received an immersion circulator today so after a thorough cleaning I will be ready to play.