First try…Poached Eggs and Hollandaise…SUCCESS! (kinda)

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You never know when you will be inspired. New things come around the bend at every turn, and you really have to be prepared for what you’re thrown. Now, I’ll be honest, the idea of making my own poached egg scared the crap out of me. Much less, making a Hollandaise sauce was giving me the jitters. But, what the heck, I was in my own home and inspired, and you would be the only ones that would find out if I failed miserably or not. *smiles* Well….I didn’t (kinda didn’t)!

After attending a catering event with Fresh.Local.Good food group (which you can read about that event and my experience by clicking here), I was inspired through a few conversations I had with a couple of individuals there. One…there were leftover crabcakes, and when I was offered to take home a few, I was given the suggestion of making Crabcake Benedicts in the morning (who would turn down the most wonderful crabcakes ever???). Two…I had a conversation about Alton Brown. Three…well there is no three, unless you count the fact that I LOVE Crabcake Benedicts with a Roasted Red Pepper Hollandaise!!!

What better person than Alton Brown on teaching me how to make a perfectly poached egg and a tasty Hollandaise sauce. Away I went…

I followed his instructions below for the poached egg portion of the breakfast…

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Poached Egg Tips via Alton Brown

Ingredients

  • eggs

Directions

Always use fresh eggs. If you can’t see the difference between the “thick” white and the “thin” white, the yolks will probably break in the pan. Always deliver the eggs to the pan with a custard cup or large spoon. Avoid cracking directly into the pan. When using a non-stick skillet cook in no more than an inch of water. If you don’t have a non-stick pan, poach in a deep saucepan containing at least 3 inches of water. Always acidulate the poaching liquid with either vinegar or lemon juice (1 tsp per each cup of water). Bring liquid to a boil, add eggs, then remove from heat and cover. How long you ask? It depends on how many eggs. I like my yolks barely runny so I’ll cook 4 eggs for 7 to 8 minutes depending on there size. Since more eggs will absorb more heat from the water, they will take longer to cook, so for large batches always include an extra “test” egg. Always remove eggs with a slotted spoon. Poached eggs can be refrigerated in ice water for up to 8 hours, then reheated in hot water. Do not re-boil.

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Now that I had that part done…it was on to the Hollandaise. Well, sorta. Since I do use recipes as guidelines, I ended up

If that phrase "Taste the Rainbow" meant this rainbow...I'd be one happy redhead all the time!

altering this one a bit. Where it called for lemon juice and cayenne pepper, I used a favorite hot sauce instead…Pepper Palace, Sauce Makers Reserve Hot Sauce. My super good friend, Jo, brought it back for me from Mardi Gras! It has all of the wonderful bits of a hearty hot sauce and left the Hollandaise with the most perfect flavor and aroma! I did find the Hollandaise incredibly easy to make by his instructions. It reminded me of making my homemade Banana Pudding that I made for months on end that one time, with all of the whisking over the double boiler…(I think I’m still kinda tired of Banana Pudding *smiles*).

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Alton Brown’s Hollandaise

Ingredients

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teapsoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Pour 1-inch of water into a large saucepan; over medium heat, bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to low.
  2. Place egg yolks and 1 teaspoon water in a medium mixing bowl and whisk until mixture lightens in color, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar and whisk for another 30 seconds.
  3. Place the mixture over the simmering water and whisk constantly for 3 to 5 minutes, or until there is a clear line that is drawn in the mixture when you pull your whisk through, or the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
  4. Remove the bowl from over the pan and gradually add the butter, 1 piece at a time, and whisk until all of the butter is incorporated. Place the bowl back over the simmering water occasionally so that it will be warm enough the melt the butter. Add the salt, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Serve immediately or hold in a thermos to keep warm.

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So where is that beautifully poached egg footage like I normally have with the fork popping the yolk???? Ummmmm….I cooked mine too long. *big innocent smiles* I ended up with an almost completely hard-boiled egg, but it was still decently creamy inside. It wasn’t bad for my first attempt. However, the entire dish was phenomenal, and I even patted myself on the back for having such success after a long night and rolling right out of bed and cooking. Bravo, Jen! Bravo!

I sautéed red pepper, shallots, and jalapeno to serve the Crabcakes on, instead of a type of bread. Just made a lighter breakfast and added a tremendous punch of flavor! Once again…recipes are for your tweaking. It’s your kitchen, play in it!

Transported: Destination, Stoney Knob Café in Asheville, NC

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To be “transported”: To be moved from your current location. To be “beamed up” by Scotty (oh wait, that’s teleportation). To have a different experience than you expected. To allow yourself to relax in your current environment and go with the flow. Just….to be.

Granted the above is all my wording, but you get the point I’m sure. We can transport ourselves by plane, train, or automobile to anywhere we choose on this beautiful Earth, or beyond even. We have choices a plenty. Along that road of transportation, as a Foodie, we have another choice to make…where do we eat? I make it a goal to NEVER eat at a chain restaurant when traveling out of town. Lucky for us (sometimes), we have pretty much any chain restaurant you can think of within about a thirty-minute drive from home. Side note***When I say “chain restaurant”, I mean more than two or three of the same restaurants. I wanted to be clear here, because we have some wonderful local restaurants that are doing so well, we are fortunate enough to have more than one of their restaurants around us as they grow. They still have that local, hometown flair (unlike some of the more popular chains)…which is important in my opinion.

Back to being transported…

While traveling, I have become quite fond of two Droid apps. One of which is Urbanspoon, and another is TripAdvisor. This time, I went with TripAdvisor. While glancing through their top-rated restaurants for Asheville, NC, I found Stoney Knob Café listed as number 6 out of 267 restaurants in Asheville! Number 6 isn’t half bad, I’d say! The funny part…Stoney Knob Café isn’t even in Asheville. *wink* It’s actually located in Weaverville, NC. Which, sure, it’s right there on the outskirts of Asheville…but, wouldn’t it be more fair to say it’s in Weaverville so Weaverville gets a little credit for having one of the most amazing restaurants around??? Not to mention another one we went to while in Asheville….it too was amazing, and in Weaverville. *smile*

We pulled up to Stoney Knob Café, located a bit away from the hustle and bustle of Asheville (which I loved, because you can only take so much “downtown” on vacation). We were immediately met with a “Diner” feel from the outside with an extra room added to each side. Should I mention I pulled a little close to the brick sign out front, so the hub had to shimmy out the door when he opened it…hehe. *mischievous smile*

When you walk into Stoney Knob Café, you are immediately met with color from top to bottom, right to left. It was absolutely breath-taking with all of the amazing details in the restaurant. I may have gotten a touch of ADD being in there with all of the elements to look at. You didn’t feel like you were in Asheville anymore (oh wait, you AREN’T!). Let me rephrase that…you didn’t feel like you were in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the middle of winter, surrounded by a lot of monotone, once you stepped over their threshold.

We had truly been transported…

It was unlike anywhere we had been before, and little did we know that the food was going to prove that fact. Sitting down, it was immediately realized how comfortable our booths were and how clean everything was. The coffee was ordered, and the Brunch menu was reviewed. With menu items like…

  • Blackberry Crepes – Two Crepes stuffed with Orange-Cream Cheese topped with Blackberry Sauce & Honey Cream with a choice of Bacon or Sausage.
  • Huevos Rancheros – Two crispy Corn Tortillas with scrambled Eggs, Guajillo–Chili Sauce, Black Beans & Cheddar Cheese. Served with choice of Grits, Polenta or Potato.
  • The Spinach Artichoke Frittata – Baked open-faced Frittata with Artichoke, Spinach, Onions & Feta Cheese.
  • Johnny D’s Breakfast Burrito – Scrambled Eggs, Tomato, Onions, Green Peppers, Mushrooms, Cheddar Cheese & choice of Ham, Bacon or Sausage wrapped in a Sun-dried Tomato Basil Tortilla served w/Salsa.

It wasn’t an easy decision to say the least. I went with the Stuffed French Toast – Two slices of Texas Toast stuffed with Orange-Cream Cheese topped with Blackberry Sauce & Honey Cream with a choice of Bacon or Sausage. The hub chose the Stoney Knob Benny – Two luscious Crab Cakes topped with poached Eggs & roasted Red Pepper Hollandaise Sauce with a choice of Grits, Polenta or Potatoes. For the record…I didn’t write the word “luscious” when describing the Crab Cakes. It was there already, and man oh man was it the truth!

The food…took the restaurant to a completely different level in our minds, as if the décor hadn’t already. The food was delivered with pure beauty, it tasted like pure bliss, and it left inspired smiles for the day of traveling ahead of us on our faces. The way the Blackberry Sauce dripped seductively off my fork tines as I tried to make the entire bite fit in my mouth just left you wanting the next bite even more. I know…it sounds like I was taking big bites, but come on…some of the bites need to have every single element of the dish on the fork, because there is a reason the genius Chefs put them on the plate together in such a perfect combination to begin with. Method to the madness, people. *smile* The Benny…oh the Benny! Back to that word “luscious” and the word’s relation to their Crab Cakes…they aren’t lying to you. They were amazingly luscious. You also know how much I adore a perfectly poached egg (maybe because I leave it to the professionals and don’t make them at home). Everything about both of these dishes was pure perfection, from the “pop” of the poached egg to the Honey Cream to the Red Pepper Hollandaise Sauce. I wish I could order this every morning for breakfast.

Plates were cleaned as if a hungry pup had enjoyed the remainder of the nibbles. Coffee cups were drained empty, good to the last drop as they say. This all signified that the transportation we had just experienced was coming to an end. The time came to journey back over the threshold of which we had crossed earlier, from our blissful transportation to a peaceful world with delightful food and on down the currently monotone mountains and back to our equally monotone piedmont area.

As we took a peak at the rest of the restaurant rooms (the additions previously mentioned), sighed in amazement, and headed back to our own mode of transportation home, we resolved ourselves to the fact that we could only get this experience in one city…Weaverville, NC. Thank you, Weaverville, for offering us a meal we will certainly never forget.

Stoney Knob Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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