Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Heavenly Cake Baker's - Orange-Glow Chiffon Layer Cake and Devil's Food Cake w/Midnight Ganache

The Heavenly Cake Baker Group is captivating, in-depth, enthusiastic, imaginative, and open to new ideas. We are also honest to the best of our knowledge for trials, mishaps, flub-ups, victories, and a finished product actually looking and tasting like the cake is suppose to. This last week we baked the Orange-Glow Chiffon Layer Cake using the batter recipe from the Bostini cupcake batter, only changing the flour from cake flour to unbleached, all-purpose flour and baking in a 9-inch spring form pan. I thought I was error free on this recipe and just noticed while typing this post how Rose tells us to put (2) cakes strips overlapping the entire outside surface. I used one, which could be the reason my Chiffon cake was a little more sunk in the middle then others.

We also whipped together a delicious True Orange Whipped Cream to be dolloped over the top of our Chiffon cake. The orange marmalade, strained, is such a great touch along with the orange zest.

I was in a slight hurry so put the strained syrup into the freezer to cool faster before adding to the heavy cream.

I have read in Hannah's blog, another amazing baker, about why using a flower nail works so well for even baking outside to center. This cake was my first time trying the flower nail for myself and I loved how well the small metal piece works to help equally distribute heat for even baking.

Loved the cake, and loved the true orange whipped cream! Check out the rest of the group's cakes by clicking here for the blog list to see just how talented this group is.

I also made the Devil's Food Cake with Midnight Ganache back on March 13th with the rest of the Heavenly Cake Baker's but did not have time to post so I thought I would now.

I shared a slice of this cake at work and the cherries were a HUGE hit, especially since mine soaked in the cognac for over 1 week. I actually prepared to make this cake WAY ahead, knowing I was going to have a crazy schedule.

The midnight ganache lived up to the name even though I toned down the deep chocolate flavor a little by using half milk chocolate with the dark chocolate and cocoa.

If a person is looking for a chocolate overload, look no further . . . The Devil's Food Cake w/the amazing Midnight Ganache is loaded with a deep chocolate flavor, inside and out! Everyone enjoyed the cake in small pieces because of the richness and I have people still talking about the cherries two weeks later.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Menu #26 for the Gutsy Cook's Club - Cassoulet!

Another week has ramped up to demonstrate menu #26 of The Gutsy Cook's Club:
Roasted Beet and Feta Salad



Dessert: Baked Pears in Marsala

We are all cooking/baking from The Illustrated Kitchen Bible by Victoria Blashford-Snell. Monica of Sweet Bites (mastermind behind the Gutsy Cook's Club) has received permission from Victoria for each host to present the recipe in his or her blog as well. If you would like to read a brilliant write-up of this delicious, savory and sweet menu, please go to The Gutsy Cook's Club Announcements segment. You will not be disappointed! Monica has posted great ideas, antidotes, and history behind the meal. I chose a light salad and dessert because the dinner is hearty and deserves colorful, bright, fresh vegetables and fruit to compliment a heavy main course. Cassoulet has enamored me since I read about the dish in Julia Child's first French cookbook published and I have only made the dish once before (not Julia's recipe but another's). The dish took 3 days total. Victoria's cassoulet took me (1) day and my only alterations were using chicken legs instead of duck; duck legs would have required an hours drive; and andouille sausage filled with chicken, feta cheese, and herbs. We loved every bite; extremely filling. The roasted beet salad was picked out of a fascination for any recipe that compliments beets. Beets are a healthy root vegetable and gorgeous for plating purposes (definitely messy as well). The dressing used to toss the salad together has great flavor and depth with just a hint of sweet from the honey. The pear dessert was chosen for simplicity, color, and plating. I chose to serve ladyfingers on the side, soaking up the Marsala sauce, waiting to be used as a scoop for the slightly sweetened whipped cream. The pears were light with a tinge of cinnamon and Marsala flavor. We enjoyed all three segments of the menu and I could see myself making each dish again.


2 cups dried Great Northern Beans

1 T. olive oil

8 Italian pork sausages

9 oz. pancetta, diced

2 onions, finely chopped

1 carrot, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 duck legs

1 sprig of thyme

1 bay leaf

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 T. tomato paste

3 1/2 cups hot water

one 14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes

1 cup white wine

2 cups bread crumbs

1 garlic clove, minced

1 T. chopped parsley


1) Place the beans in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by 1-inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand 2-3 hours. Drain.

2) Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and cook for 7-8 minutes, until browned. Transfer to a plate. Add the pancetta and cook for 5 minutes, until browned. Transfer to the sausages. Add the onions and carrot and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Set aside for 1 minute.

3) Preheat the oven 425 degrees F. Prick the duck skin all over with a fork and put on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer the duck tothe sausages and reserve 2 Tablespoons of the fat in the pan, Reduce the oven temp to 275 degrees F.

4) In a large flameproof casserole, layer half the beans, the onions and carrot, sausages, pancetta, duck legs, thyme, and bay leaves, followed by the remaining beans.

5) Dissolve the tomato paste in the hot water, then stir in the tomatoes and their juices and the wine. Pour over the beans. Cover and bake for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and uncover. The cassoulet should be thick, but moist. Taste and season with salt and pepper and add a little hot water, if needed. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 1 hour more.

6) To make the topping, mix the bread crumbs and garlic. Heat the reserved duck fat in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the crumbs and cook, stirring often, about 7 minutes, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Stir in the parsley. Remove the cassoulet from the oven and stir. Sprinkle the bread crumb topping over in a thick, even layer, and serve hot.

Roasted Beet and Feta Salad


6 small beets, scrubbed but unpeeled

2 T. olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 red onion, thinly sliced

4 oz. arugula

4 oz. feta cheese, cubed

2 T. chopped mint

For the Dressing

1 T. balsamic vinegar

1 T. Dijon mustard

1 t. honey

3 T. olive oil


1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the beets in a roasting pan. Add 1/2 cup water and drizzle with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Roast about 1 3/4 hours, or until tender.

2) Uncover the beets and let cool. Peel and dice the beets.

3) Whisk the vinegar, mustard, and honey together in a small bowl, then whisk in the oil. Combine the beets, onions, and dressing in a bowl and toss. Sprinkle the arugula, feta, and mint over the top. Toss gently, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Baked Pears in Marsala


6 firm, ripe pears, such as Bosc, peeled, halved, and cored

1 cup dry Marsala

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 t. vanilla extract

one 3-inch cinnamon stick

1 cup heavy cream

2 T. confectioner's sugar


1) Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place the pears in an ovenproof dish, cut side up, and sprinkle with the Marsala, sugar, and vanilla, then pour in 1 cup of water. Tuck in the cinnamon stick.

2) Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, basting occasionally, until tender.

3) Meanwhile, in a chilled bowl whip the cream, gradually adding the confectioner's sugar until firm peaks form. Serve the pears warm (or cool to room temperature and refrigerate until chilled), in their syrup, with the whipped cream.

What a whirlwind of a month. Thank you for letting me host the menus for the month of March. What a great experience this was!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gutsy Cooks Club - Menu 25 - An Asian Inspired Dinner

The Gutsy Cook's Club is at week 25, hence menu #25, and an Asian theme. Cooking out of Victoria Blashford-Snell's cookbook, The Illustrated Kitchen Bible, each of the Gutsy group members take turns assembling menus for each week from the recipes presented in a 544 page collection of recipes from around the world.

This weeks Menu:

Sesame Shrimp Toasts found on page 50;

Thai Noodle Stir-fry found on page 200; and

Sweet and Sour Chicken found on page 303. With permission retrieved by Monica of the blog SweetBites (creator of the Gutsy Cook's Club), I will be posting the recipes below.

Before I continue with posting the recipes, I would like to add that I actually followed each recipe down to the tablespoons and only altered ingredients when adding more soy sauce and fish sauce. I am notorious for playing with recipes and changing them to my own tastes but this time I wanted to see if the recipes chosen pulled their own weight in flavor. To my surprise, we enjoyed each one immensely. My intent is not to sound negative about Victoria's cookbook but some recipes in the past seem to be bashful in the seasoning/flavor department.

Our menu starts with an Appetizer, the Sesame Shrimp Toasts.

9 oz. medium shrimp, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 scallions, roughly chopped
one 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and shredded (I used fresh ginger puree)
1 t. soy sauce (I used 1 T.)
1/2 t. sugar
1/2 t. Asian sesame oil (I used 1 1/2 t.)
1 large egg white, beaten
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper (I was pepper happy and used about 1 t.)
3 large slices firm white sandwich bread, crusts trimmed (I used 4 slices)
2 T. sesame seeds (I used toasted sesame seeds)
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
fresh cilantro, to garnish

Prepare ahead: The toasts can be prepared to the end of step 2 up to 4 hours in advance, ready to be fried just before serving.

1) Combine the shrimp and scallions, white and green parts in a food processor and process until they form a paste. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the ginger, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil. and enough egg white to bind the mixture together. Season with the pepper.

2) Spread the bread thickly with the shrimp paste. Cut each slice into four triangles. Sprinkle the sesame seeds evenly over the top.

3) Pour enough oil into a deep-fryer or skillet to come halfway up the sides, and heat to 350 degrees F (180 C). In batches, add the toasts, shrimp sides down, and deep-fry for 2 minutes, until the shrimp paste is puffed. Carefully turn them over and deep-fry until the toasts are crisp and golden brown.

4) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the toasts to paper towels and drain briefly. Serve hot, garnished with coriander.

Note: Good with sweet chili sauce and chilled sake or a cold beer.

Next, Thai Noodle Stir-fry:

6 oz. cellophane (mung bean) noodles
3 T. peanut or vegetable oil
3 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 onion, sliced
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 lemongrass stalk, peeled and bottom part minced (I used ground, dried lemon stalk)
1 t. peeled and finely grated fresh ginger (I used pureed ginger)
1 fresh hot Thai red chile, seeded and minced
1 head of bok choy, shredded
2 T. soy sauce (I used 3 T.)
1 T. Asian fish sauce (I used 1 1/2 T.)
1 t. sweet chili sauce (I used 1 T.)

1) Soak the noodles in a bowl of very hot water about 10 minutes, until softened. Drain well and rinse under cold running water. Cut into manageable lengths with kitchen scissors.

2) Heat 2 Tablespoons of the oil in a wok over high heat. Add the chicken and stir-fry about 3 minutes. or until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate.

3) Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 Tablespoon oil. Add the onion and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, bell pepper, lemongrass, ginger, and chili, and stir-fry about 2 minutes, or until the bell pepper softens.

4) Add the bok choy and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, or until wilted. Return the chicken to the pan and add the noodles. Pour in the soy sauce, fish sauce, and sweet chili sauce, and toss everything together over the heat for 2-3 minutes, or until piping hot. Serve hot.

Last, Sweet and Sour Chicken:
For the Batter:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt
1 cup lager beer

For the Sauce:
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 T. soy sauce
3 T. rice vinegar
2 T. ketchup
1 T. honey
one 3/4" piece fresh ginger, peeled and shredded (I used fresh ginger puree)
1 t. cornstarch dissolved in 1 T. cold water (I used 2 t. cornstarch in 2 T. cold water)

4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 T. unsalted cashew nuts or whole blanched almonds
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
8 scallions, cut into 1 inch lengths
1/2 cup cubed fresh or drained canned pineapple

Prepare ahead: Steps 1 and 2 can be completed several hours in advance.

1) To make the batter, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center, add 1/2 cup of the beer, and whisk, gradually adding the remaining beer. Let stand for 30 minutes.

2) To make the sauce, stir the stock, soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, honey, and ginger in a small saucepan over low heat until the honey is melted. Stir in the dissolved cornstarch and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, until just thickened. Set aside.

3) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F (95 C). Fill a wok halfway with oil. Heat to 350 degrees F. (180 C.). Place the flour in a bowl. In batches, toss the chicken in the flour, then coat in the batter and add to the hot oil. Deep-fry about 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and keep warm in the oven.

4) Pour all but 2 T. oil from the wok and return to high heat. Add the cashews and sit-fry for 30 seconds. Transfer to the baking sheet. Add the red pepper to the oil and stir-fry 2 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Add scallions and pineapple and stir-fry for 1 minute.

5) Pour the sauce into the wok, add the chicken and stir until coated. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with cashews, and serve hot.

Check out the rest of the Gutsy Cook's Club members dishes by clicking here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gutsy Cooks Club - Sunday Dinner

I have such fond memories of Sunday dinners growing up. My Mom is an amazing cook/baker and an inspiration. Granted, I think we compete on who has the most cookbooks BUT I have her beat, hands-down,on printed out recipes organized and put into binders for when I have no idea what to make for dinner, dessert, side dishes, breakfasts, etc. I am dying to go to Arizona just so I can mark up a few of her cookbooks, which Mom would probably not mind as long as we were making food together.

I get to host the Gutsy Cooks Club for the whole month of March and this week's menu (menu 24) was picked with Sundays in mind. The recipes are chosen from The Illustrated Kitchen Bible by Victoria Blashford-Snell. I chose Ficelles (long and skinny baguettes), Irish stew and a French Apple tart.

The Irish stew was modified by adding more herbs (sweet basil, 4 branches of fresh thyme, and a little rosemary) along with using pork tenderloin instead of lamb shoulder (I forgot to buy the lamb). Monica over at Sweetbites created the Gutsy Cooks Club and has the recipes posted for the Irish stew and the Ficelles on her blog. I will post the French Apple Tart recipe below.

I have never made a layered stew before and after making this one, I am excited to try different variations because we really enjoyed how well the stew turned out. The Ficelles fresh out of the oven had a wonderful aroma and were perfect still warm with butter slathered on, served with dinner.
The apple tart recipe was changed to individual miniature tarts and I added about 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon between all 4 tarts. Dorie Greenspan's recipe of sweet pastry dough in her cookbook Baking From My Home to Yours worked perfectly as the base of these cute little tarts.
French Apple Tart
1 refrigerated pie dough round for 9-inch pie
3 T. butter
1 lb 10 oz. McIntosh apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
2/3 c. sugar
2 T. Calvados or brandy
grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
3 T. apricot preserves, warmed and strained.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Fit the pie dough into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, fitting it tightly into the corners, and trim the excess dough. Prick the dough with a fork. Line with wax paper and fill with baking beans. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until the dough looks set. Remove the paper and beans and bake until lightly browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the McIntosh apples and cover tightly with a lid. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until broken down into a chunky sauce.
Strain through a coarse sieve into a bowl, then return to the saucepan. Stir in all but 1 Tablespoon of the sugar, the Calvados, and lemon zest. Cook and stir over medium heat about 5 minutes, until quite thick.
Spoon the applesauce into the tart shell. Arrange the Granny Smith slices in concentric circles over the applesauce. Brush with the lemon juice and sprinkle with the reserved sugar.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the apple slices are golden and tender. Brush the top with the warm apricot preserves. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan. Serve warm or cold. Good with vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche.

The dinner turned out beautifully! Check out the rest of the Gutsy Cooks to see each of the variations!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Craving Ellie in My Belly: Aromatic Beef Stew with Butternut Squash

CEiMB is Aromatic Beef Stew with Butternut Squash over whole wheat coucous. Kayte of Grandma's Kitchen Table is the host and a wonderful blogging friend! Kayte, I have never been a squash person and this stew changed my whole outlook on the vegetable. Squash is a vegetable isn't it?

I couldn't find just whole wheat couscous but there is a brand called Far East putting out a product called whole wheat couscous with roasted garlic and olive oil. The couscous package took all of 10 minutes from start-to-finish to assemble.

A definite repeat recipe! Go to Kayte's blog and give her a high five for picking out this recipe (Ellie Krieger too since this is her recipe from the cookbook So Easy) then get into your kitchen and try it for yourself! I bet you absolutely LOVE IT! The recipe can be found here.

Check out the rest of the CEiMB bloggers for each and every variation along with phenomenal photos.

Monday, March 7, 2011

HCB-Decadent Raspberry/Chocolate Genoise AND TWD's Corniest Corn Muffins

If pictures say a thousand words then this blog better start talking. I spent 3 days doing this cake in sections so I could fit it in and TAH DAHHHH . . . Here it is! Heavenly Cake Bakers has baked yet another fabulous concoctions, of light and airy chocolate cake, cocoa syrup, raspberry puree, and a chocolate/raspberry ganache. Boy, are there a kitchen sink FULL of dishes.

Further down the post is Tuesdays with Dorie - Corniest Corn Muffins chosen by this week's host (drum roll please) Jill of My Next Life.

Since I am in a hurry, the pictures will have to do the talking.

Below we have eggs whipped into a frenzy, filled full of air.

I was worried when I added the chocolate ganache to the whipped eggs but the process worked; never have I made a cake with all of 4 ingredients and had this fluffy result.

The raspberry/chocolate ganache has both dark and white chocolate grated to fine chunks.

Heavy cream and raspberry puree with the raspberry syrup previously cooked down from 1/2 cup to 2 Tablespoons is heated to a boil.

The syrup is poured onto the chocolate chunks while the processor whizzes along, making this delectable ganache.

The raspberry/chocolate ganache is chilled to thicken and cocoa syrup is coated on to layers that have been previously split into two, creating a 4 layer cake.

The result is a light, airy, moist chocolate/raspberry flavored cake. I did not find the raspberry as dominate a flavor as I was expecting. Still, a delicious and VERY charming cake to present and eat. Next week, we have another chocolate cake to present for the HCB'ers.

Now on to our host Jill and the TWD group. Corniest corn muffins!

I added fresh chopped thyme and sweet basil to the dry ingredients and lots of corn overall. More like 1 1/2 cups instead of the 1 cup called for. The muffins were served with a beef/butternut squash stew. Results: Absolutely Delicious and a Winner!
The only negative? Mine did not bake up as high and pretty as Dories but whose complaining?

Thank you Jill for hosting and check out the other TWD'ers muffins to see all the variations one recipe can present!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Gutsy Cooks and Sweet Melissa Sunday for Breakfast and Dessert!

Sweet Melissa Sunday and The Gutsy Cooks Group are sharing a post this morning. Leslie with Lethally Delicious picked an amazing Chocolate Pudding for SMS. I have the dessert posted further down =).

I get the pleasure of hosting for the month of March at the Gutsy Cooks Club and my choice for this weekend is homemade English Muffins and Eggs Benedict. I have made English muffins before and already know the muffins are pretty easy to make. My husband is usually the one to make eggs Benedict in our kitchen, so he helped with the poached eggs. We cheat a little with the eggs and I am going to share what we do.

I enjoy making English Muffins. In fact, the first time surprised the beegeebees out of me because I had no idea English Muffins were cooked on a griddle. You can bake the muffins in the oven but the griddle is much more fun.

Victoria Blashford-Snell's recipe for English Muffins in her cookbook, The Illustrated Kitchen Bible is:
3 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading (I use my KA mixer to knead the dough for 10 minutes)
1 teaspoon instant yeast (I use 1 pkg of fast rise instant yeast)
1 teaspoon of salt (I use 1/2 teaspoon of salt)
1 1/4 cup tepid water
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons of semolina (I use yellow cornmeal)

Mix the flour, yeast, and salt in a bowl. (I put the ingredients in my KA mixer and use a paddle attachment to combine.)

Make a well in the center and pour in the water and butter. Stir to make a slightly sticky dough.

Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. (I change out the paddle for the dough hook attachment and let the mixer knead for 10 minutes.) Shape into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap. Let stand for 1 hour in a warm place until doubled.

Line a baking sheet with a kitchen towel and sprinkle with most of the semolina. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead. Divide into 10 balls. Place the balls on the towel and press into thick disks. (I roll the dough into 1/4" thickness and use 3" rounds to cut my dough.) Sprinkle with the rest of the semolina. Cover with another towel. Leave for 20-30 minutes, until risen.

Heat a frying pan with a lid. (I use a griddle at 325 degrees. I cook 2 minutes per side, then turn the heat down to 300 degrees and bake for another 6 minutes per side, watching to make sure the muffins do not get overly brown.)

In batches, place the muffins in the pan and cover. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10-12 minutes, until they puff up. Flip and cook for 3-4 minutes, until golden.

Now for the Eggs Benedict:

I use a fast blender method for Hollandaise Sauce. The recipe is from Julia Child's very first French cookbook (Mastering the Art of French Cooking, pg. 81) and has "never" failed me. The sauce takes all of 10 minutes, tops, to put together.

According to Julia, this very quick method for making hollandaise cannot fail when you add your butter in a small stream of droplets.

(Makes about 3/4 cup of sauce.)

3 egg yolks

2 T. lemon juice

1/4 t. salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter

Put all the ingredients, EXCEPT the butter in the jar of the blender. Put the butter in a small saucepan and heat it to foaming hot.

Start blending your egg yolk mixture at top speed for 2 seconds. Cover, and still blending at top speed, immediately start pouring on the hot butter in a thin stream of droplets. (You may need to protect yourself with a towel during this operation.) By the time two thirds of the butter has gone in, the sauce will be a thick cream. Omit the milky residue at the bottom of the butter pan. Taste the sauce, and blend in more seasoning if necessary.

Victoria's recipe for Eggs Benedict is as follows:

8 large eggs
2 T. distilled white vinegar
4 English muffins
butter, for spreading
1 cup warm hollandaise sauce

Fill a large frying pan with water to a depth of 2-inches. Add the vinegar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. When tiny bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, carefully crack 4 eggs, one by one, into each pan.

Cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let stand for exactly 6 minutes. Remove the eggs using a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, split each muffin in half and toast. Butter each muffin half and place 2 on each serving plate. Top each half with a poached egg and spoon the hollandaise over the top. Good with ham or crisp grilled bacon on the side.

Now, our version:

My husband, Larry, makes the eggs Benedict in our kitchen. He cooks very little but for some reason, he has always been drawn to perfecting this breakfast dish. Who the heck am I to complain about amazing and perfect eggs Benedict? My job is to make the hollandaise sauce and English muffins if I have the extra time.

We use either thin ham slices, crab meat, or shredded chunks of moist, smoked salmon.

Here is our secret weapon for perfect poached eggs. A $10 egg poacher pan we bought at Wal-Mart several years ago. You put about 1 inch of water in the pan and bring to a boil. Larry sprays PAM in each egg cup then adds the egg. The eggs poach with the lid on for 3 minutes.

He then takes a toothpick and runs it around the edges of the cup so the eggs pop right out.

Sorry for the dark picture but you can see our steps. TOAST the muffin halves first, a little sauce next, then the poached egg.

Put the salmon over the egg, then more sauce, and finally a little chopped parsley. AMAZING crispy, creamy, lightly lemony, slight salty with the smoked salmon. The egg yolks ooze out over the sauce, making a thick and creamy gravy. This has to be my all time favorite breakfast dish!

I had so much fun hosting and taking photos this week! Thank you Gutsy Cooks!!!!!

NOW on to Sweet Melissa Sunday if you made it down this far! Leslie, I really enjoyed how easy the recipe was to put together. Thank you for hosting and the delicious choice!

Heating up heavy cream with half the sugar was a snap. Pour half of the cream over the chocolate chunks, let sit 5 minutes, stir till smooth, add the rest of the heavy cream, and stir. Now add this slowly to your egg yolks with the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Strain mixture into a pouring cup.

Fill your ramekins, add boiling water to fill half way up the ramekins, and bake for 50 to 55 minutes.

My pudding is pretty thick and I am waiting to see if everyone else's pudding was as thick. Loved the deep chocolate flavor! Add homemade whipped cream with vanilla sugar. A great dessert to an Eggs Benedict breakfast. Thank you Leslie and please check out the rest of the SMS bakers for all the variations of this recipe. YUM!