Friday, October 10, 2014

Breakfast With Smurfie #Couples Rituals

Breakfast has always been the husband’s way of showing his love. Well one of many ways. It’s not unusual to wake up to breakfast in bed or on a lazy morning sipping my coffee while he cooks. It works for me because breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day. Sometimes I will even make breakfast for dinner…yes, it’s that deep, my love for breakfast that is. Our schedule has changed and it can get quite busy so I’m grateful for these #offdays (and late start days too). These days, on a typical #offday he will see Juliana off to her bus. Then, he will usually return with two cups of coffee in tow. His specialty is pancakes with sausage. Or he will serve up my favorite scrambled eggs (not too soft not too hard) with bacon baked to perfection; toast also baked---we don’t have a toaster yet---topped with my favorite grape jelly. Yes, I said baked bacon lol. If you don’t know you better ask somebody! If you have fried it but haven’t tried it, I urge you to bake your bacon! It’s less mess, no grease splatters and virtually no shrinkage!

After breakfast, we will usually venture out exploring around our neighborhood, window shopping, driving without a destination (#DWD), or look at open houses from new builders. There are quite a bit of new homes down here in our neighborhood as the area is fairly new and experiencing major residential and commercial growth. Though, most of our open house ventures take place after church on Sundays now.

I was inspired by an episode of The Chew that aired this past week. I decided that this Friday (#offday) I would make breakfast this time and that I would make homemade biscuits with sausage gravy and “over light” eggs. Papa Smurf loves his eggs just so, he prefers them soft. I have another cooking tip to share, this time it will be about eggs. But I will get to that later. Anyways, I was inspired by Chef Michael Symon on The Chew but I made it my own. Cooking for me is like interpretive dance to a musical masterpiece. Because let’s face it, almost everything has been done before. I watch a recipe on tv, read one in a book or online. I see a culinary masterpiece and then I cook it the way I see it, I play around with seasonings, extra ingredients to enhance the flavors and make it my own.

Sausage Gravy
1 fresh ground pork sausage roll (I used Jimmy Dean)
1 bunch of fresh scallions (green onions) chopped
1 tsp of sage
1/2 to 1 tsp of ground peppercorns (I used McCormick’s peppercorn medley)
1/2 to 1 tsp ground coriander and fennel (this is usu in the peppercorn medley so I am listing it in case you may be using a plain peppercorns)
1 pint whipping cream
1-2 cups of water

2 cups of flour (all purpose)
4 tblspns of  butter (cold and cubed)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder 
3/4 cups of milk or buttermilk
1 egg beaten
1/4 cup of water

Mix all of your dry ingredients together until evenly distributed. Next, add in your wet ingredients until you have a sticky lumpy dough. The dough should not be smooth or dry. A tip to consider is adding in your liquids slowly and gradually to achieve the right texture. Once your biscuit dough is at the consistency that you like you can either just use a scoop or large spoon to take out your dough and arrange it on a baking sheet. Or you can roll it out on a floured surface and use a biscuit cutter. I prefer the first method as it it fuss free. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on the edges. If you would like to keep your biscuits warm you can return them to the oven on a Warm/Keep Warm setting. Most ovens have a Warm/WM setting or you can set it to below 200 degrees.

Now for the biscuit gravy. In a large skillet brown your sausage. I added in a little over half of the scallions once the sausage was 3/4 of the way done to avoid burning the scallions; but still allow for caramelization and for the flavors to blend. I reserved the rest for a garnish. Once the sausage is browned reduce heat to a low/med low setting to simmer. Do not drain the oil from the sausage, you will need these drippings to make your gravy (at least a more flavorful one). Add 2-3 tablespoons of flour and whisk quickly. It will be ready once it turns a dirty blonde in color. Be sure not to let it burn. Next, add the whipping cream and whisk well to work all of the lumps in the cooked flour and to evenly distribute. Next, slowly add 1-2 cups of water to get the consistency that you would like for your gravy to have. It should have a little thickness to it. Reduce the heat to low, add in sage, kosher salt, ground peppercorns, and coriander. Be careful not to over season your gravy! Remember the ground sausage is already well seasoned. Cook on a low heat and simmer for 35-40 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste. Taste your gravy to make sure it has the right flavor. One of my other secrets to cooking is that I taste and smell EVERYTHING! Measuring only gets you so far, and what good is it to get your measuring just right but your food tastes bad! Taste matters! LOL
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 My secrets to the perfect “over light” egg…
I can’t remember from whom or where I learned this technique but it’s been in my repertoire for quite a few years. My secret is….WATER! Yes, water. Something so simple huh? But it works wonders in helping you achieve the perfect texture for over light eggs. I start off by frying the eggs sunny side using just enough oil to coat the surface in a small to medium sized non stick frying pan over medium high heat. I drop the eggs in carefully so as not to break the yolks (this is also key). Then I add a pinch of salt and pepper to the top of the eggs while they are still raw (so the seasoning can melt in, also tastes better this way). As the edges firm up, and I begin to see a small ring of toast forming; and the whites are set like a firm gelatin pudding no longer liquid like but a solid white I know they are ready. So I slowly add water, just 1/4 to a 1/2 cup around the sides and bottom of the pan. Do not pour the water directly over the eggs or you will break the yolks. So basically I finish cooking the eggs with water and steam. The water should be just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Then cover the pan and cook over a reduced low heat and cook for an additional 2 minutes at the most. You can check the eggs during this time they should mirror the photo as far as looks. A little thin covering of the whites may coat your yolks but this is okay, the yolks will not be broken. You are mostly doing this to maintain the soft texture, prevent burning or over crispy egg whites. The other plus to this technique is that your eggs should slide right out, you shouldn’t even need a spatula.

Assembly: On a plate, place your biscuit, then top with sausage gravy, scallions and eggs. You may add salt and pepper to your eggs (to taste) again if needed or wanted. Enjoy!

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